Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

World War II US Airborne Paratrooper

About 8 years (or so) ago in 2001, we were presented with an excellent war-drama/series on HBO called Band of Brothers ("BoB"). The TV series, which were jointly-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg was more or less an implicit continuation (or in parallel I should say!) from the movie Saving Private Ryan (1998) in which Hanks acted in himself as well.

BoB is a ten-part television World War II miniseries based on the book of the same title written by historian Stephen Ambrose. The episodes initially aired in 2001 on HBO and currently still enjoys constant screen time on various TV networks all over the globe. The main focus of the series was on the experiences of E Company ("Easy Company") of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, from Easy's basic training at Toccoa, Georgia, through the American airborne landings in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of Bastogne and on to the end of the war. Because of their eagle insignia (located at their upper arm patch) Easy Company were often referred to as "Screaming Eagle".

All of the events portrayed in the series are based on Ambrose's research and recorded interviews with the Easy Company surviving alumnis. All of the characters portrayed are based on actual members of Easy Company; some of them can be seen in prerecorded interviews as a prelude to each episode (their identities, however, were revealed only at the close of the finale).

The BoB miniseries details (albeit some exaggerated and simplified version of re-telling) the real-life exploits of Easy Company during the Second World War over the course of ten episodes, starting with their basic training at the Currahee training site in Toccoa, Georgia and ending with the capture/liberation of Germany. The experiences of Major Richard Winters (1918–) are made to be the backbone of the series, as he strives to keep his men together and safe. While the series stars a large ensemble of cast, each of the episodes generally feature one character prominently, following their particular individual actions during certain events (for example, the Siege of Bastogne & Operation Market Garden).

As the series is based on real-life events, characters share the same fate as their real world counterparts. Many of the characters either die or sustain severe injuries, some of which lead to them being sent home or escaping from the hospital to rejoin their comrades at the battlefront. The experiences and the moral, mental, and physical hurdles are the main focal of the stories as each soldiers try to overcome their own personal inner demons as the war progresses.

As far as accuracy were concerned, additional research and fact-finding were done by Spielberg and Hanks in support of the facts provided by the book by Ambrose. Dale Dye, a retired Marine Corps captain and consultant on Saving Private Ryan, as well as most of the surviving Easy Company veterans, such as Richard Winters, Carwood Lipton, Bill Guarnere, Ed Heffron, and Amos Tayler, were asked for input and opinion.

Similarly, there was a great aesthethic attention for details on weapons and original costume replicas. Simon Atherton, the weapons master, corresponded with veterans to match weapons and to scenes and assistant costume designer Joe Hobbs extensively used photos and veteran accounts. As a final accuracy check, the veterans/surviving former members of Easy Company saw previews of the series and approved the episodes before they were aired.
Now on to the geeky part of this entry..... :p
There is actually a 1/6th scale action figure of a US paratrooper from DiD which many would believe is loosely based on the BoB mini series, and the figure is supposedly to be a rough representation of one of the lead character, Capt. Lewis Nixon. In order not to infringe any copyright/trademark issues, these facts however, were not presented on the box/sleeves of the packaging. Instead, many collectors began comparing the likeness themselves and assumed that DiD were not given (or were not willing to pay the cost for) the rights to acquire the actor's likeness for the action figure.
I initially wanted a WWII airborne figure which was produced earlier in the early 2000s (post-BoB mini series) but I didn't have enough funds back then being a cash-strapped student and all. I'm glad i waited all these years and got myself this excellent DiD version instead. My search for this 2007 figure took me all the way up to Penang (northern state of Malaysia) where I accidently found the figure at a relatively small collector shop through my relentless browsing of the net (just when I wanted to give up hope of finding it!).
Anyway, I'm not gonna give a complete review of this figure. You can google that in the net if you want to. I rather let the pictures below do the talking for me...heheh. Geek rules!
(Pictures originally taken from my flickr page.)

Filled Under:


darthmental said...

pergh. detail la bro. berbaloi beli. btw, kat amcorp ada sorang seller juai loose 12" WW2 figs. rm65 each. tapi ada yg complete with weapon, ada yang tadak. you should go check it out la.