"FNGs" Camp Bearcat, Vietnam 1967

My vote is ball cap guy, some folks did prefer them. The bush hats are a little more fun because they were worn in so many different ways, and they could be either issue hats or (as your PSG is wearing), a PX/local economy version. You’re the artist…

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Thanks for the input, Y’all. I will go with the head with the cap. Hopefully sometime today I will start the sculpting process of this conversion.

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I just finished sculpting pockets, the collar, and the roll of the sleeves. Here is what the squad leader figure looks like. I thought I would carve the breast pockets but after looking at these photos I think I will go ahead and sculpt those, too, to maintain continuity with the others. I will have to wait until the putty cures so I don’t accidentally touch anything that is still curing.

I think he turned out fairly decent and that he has the “thin from a C-ration diet, the humidity, and calories used humping in the jungle” look about him.







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Wow, just wow! It is great seeing the figures come to life.

Once again, thank you for sharing your work, it really is an inspiration.

Mario

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Yes, James I think you have really nailed the look you described.

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Thanks, Mario and Karl.

Yesterday I started painting the faces of the Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant. My intent is to make their skin darker than that of the white new guy to convey that they have been out in the elements for quite some time. I am not sure how well you can tell in these photos, but the are quite tan compared to the new guy.






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Today I started painting the Squad Leader’s uniform. I still need to finish shading and highlighting parts of the uniform and then paint the cap, arms, boots, and gear. The intent is for his uniform to appear more faded than those of the new guys and the clerk. I think he is well on his way to depict that








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That is some really fine painting James- those skin tones exactly convey the look you are going for of a new guy vs. guys who’ve been their some time- and I think the uniform tones are also indicative of that. This is some inspiring painting- being able to tell part of the story like that through the painting alone- just brilliant!

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Oh yeah - that new boot looks absolutely pale next to the vets. James your skintones are remarkable AND tell the story all by themselves!

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Thanks, Karl and Matt. It is encouraging that what I am trying to attempt seems to be working.

Tonight I finished painting the Squad Leader. After I apply the groundwork to the diorama I am sure that I will add a bit of weathering, but overall, I am calling him done. Now on to the Platoon Sergeant and the accessories…










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Looks great! Don’t know what else to say, Squad Leader’s boots are not only worn, but scuffed in the right places. I’m still amazed at how you can take an “ordinary” moment in the war and turn it into a vignette that tells a story.

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Hey buddy! I haven’t been on this site much lately so I missed the whole thread here. You know I’ve been following elsewhere but this of course is a much more comprehensive build log.
This format is way better for this kind of purpose and always has been. Maybe more guys will get back to this place in the future.
Anyway,no need to repeat all the accolades I gave you over at the other place. Drive on dude !
Keep goin’ high speed low drag,
J

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Regarding NCO rank insignia…
I’ve seen embroidered insignia for officers and WO’s for BDU or utility collars but never NCO version…
until now (these are definitely not sleeve insignia)…

Unknown

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Great job on the contrasts between newbies and short timers, and as others said, the boots really hit the spot. MPs wouldn’t let him in the PX with those boots! Ha ha. Keep up the fine work. Wayne

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I remember seeing EM embroidered sew on collar rank in the late 1960’s, but it was pretty rare. Seemed like a lot of trouble and expense compared to the pin on chevron. Some guys used them on their hats, so they definitely did exist.

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This is simply stunning work. The sculpting, painting etc are amazing.

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Thanks for the positive feedback as it lets me know that things are moving in the right direction for what I am trying to achieve. I wish I were at the level of painting skill like that of Calvin Tan, Mike Butler, or any of the other guys who can knock out figures with a realistic look to them, but since it will be quite some time before I can even hope to come close, I will continue with my own style that looks halfway decent at viewing distance.

In regards to the sew on enlisted rank insignias, the practice of using them did not become a common practice until the mid1970s / early 1980s. Since the Army was going through the transition from sleeve to collar during Vietnam, the pin on rank was what was normally utilized rather than having it sewn on. I am sure some Senior NCOs at the larger HQs probably had their direct embroidered on their collars, but the common Soldier usually wouldn’t have that effort put into it. When we had BDUs and DCUs when I was in the Army, I sewed the collar rank onto my uniforms rather than having to pin them on each time I changed uniforms. I hated the velcro nametags and rank when the ACUs came out. I was glad when we were finally allowed to sew those things on.

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Actually during my time,early 70s, a lot of guys got them done locally in country. Same as having names, etc. stitched on our hats. Mine had E… R, short for easy rider, my nickname cause I was a biker. My buddy had 4 dead Ohio, after the Crosby Stills Nash song, cause he was from there. Wayne

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That is good information to know, Wayne. Were they direct embroidered on or were they embroidered onto cloth and then sewn on? Perhaps that practice was the catalyst of the Army’s development of the sew on rank that Barnslayer showed the photos of.
I based my comment on what the Army’s Center of Military History was teaching new employees about the history of Army uniforms, insignia, and equipment when I first became a museum exhibits specialist. Sometimes the “official” info differs from actual practices just as much as things being done differently depending on location, unit, and time period.

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They were sewn on pieces of old fatigue material, old shirts, etc. I believe the helicopter crews had sewn on rank. On the hats the lettering was like this. Wayne

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