Hobby: Rich Dando’s USMC Stretcher Teams

Following his original collection of US Marines earlier this year, our Richard Dando has been quietly beavering away trying to incorporate as many weird and wonderful components into the army as possible – to the point where the Mail Order team are now offering challenges… ”How could you incorporate this model in the army?”. One of the more successful projects has been a pair of Stretcher Teams. We’ll let Richard explain…

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Richard: Following my initial foray into the Pacific Theatre after the release of the US Marine plastic kit way back in January, I’ve been working on a host of projects… Polish, Partisan, and German armies for Bolt Action, Robots for Judge Dredd, and more recently – Monkeys! But more about those another time…

The underlying theme, and ongoing project has been my US Marines – I keep coming back to them again and again, with little conversion ideas. I’ve been revisiting our plastic US Marines kit recently, and have to say – although I’m a little biased – it’s a cracker! The amount of options available straight out of the box is fantastic, and there’s much more scope if you get stuck-in and tackle a few simple conversions.

My big passion is telling stories with my models – creating mini-dioramas and little points of interest throughout the army. Conversions here and there that add character to the army – they might be subtle touches such as swapping-out hands or heads, re-positioning legs, or they might be more drastic projects that require hacking apart several metal models and performing madcap Dr.Frankenstein-style surgeries using my limited Green Stuffing skills, attempting to smooth everything together and make it look natural.

Having worked in the Warlord Games Mail Order Department for just over a year now, I’ve picked and packed just-about every product that we offer, so I’ve seen and handled a lot of miniatures!

I’ve acquired models from right across the Warlord ranges – upon closer inspection, the keen-eyed viewer will see that my US Marine force contains elements from our plastic US and Germans, metal components from our Bolt Action British and German Engineers, there are some Roman components, Zulu British – it’s a veritable smorgasbord of just about everything really! I’ve had varying levels of success – there have been plenty of late-night incidents where my fingers have become structurally integral to a number of models, and I’ve glued myself to more models than I care to admit to but I’m having a lot of fun hacking apart models and trying to create something a little bit different,and unique.

A couple of my favourite conversions so far have been my stretcher teams having re-watched the brilliant ‘The Pacific’ television series, and read further into the history of USMC Corpsmen, I had to attempt to create a stretcher team, so…

Note – these are Work-in-Progress shots – the models still require plenty more Green Stuff and finishing!

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The first attempt – a two-man team – are carrying a stretcher made from three Sherman 75mm barrels chopped-up and re-conjoined… and the top-surface of a bench from the back of an LVT – it’s not pretty at the moment, but with a little more Green Stuff, it’ll look alright! The stretcher bearers themselves are a mixture of USMC and US Army plastics, with a head from the US Rangers Boxed Set (which happens to have the Red Cross on.)

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As I was half-way through the first team, we uncovered a stash of plastic Scutums in the warehouse – remnants from the hobby table at this year’s Warlord Games Day event… and the cogs in my brain started turning again… perhaps the curved cross-section of the Scutum could be used to represent the fabric of a stretcher canvas?… so, out came the tools again, and – with a spear attached to each side as handles, VOILA! – A second stretcher…

Again, the models have been created from a mixture of US Army and Marine plastics. I had to re-pose the arms to accomodate the stretcher, but with a couple of cuts at the elbow and wrist and the final effect is absolutely worth the effort!

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Going forward, who knows?  I’ve got a heap of converted Marine models on my desk at the moment – everything from Medic Teams, Cameramen, all sorts of interesting Command miniatures, Engineers, Weapon Crew, and some more interesting pieces – a captured Japanese Kurogane Scout Car crammed with Marines, and a diorama of Marines who’ve uncovered a stash of Japanese Rice Wine, standing around taking swigs from bottles.

So – why not dive into your bits box, or trawl back through some of those part-used sprues that we all have lying around, and look a little closer at the components – there’s some serious potential conversions in there! Or, if not, you could always pick-up a fresh box of Marines…

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