Sunday, May 1, 2022

Custom Project: Karl Fairburne


    Although not much of a video gamer, I do enjoy the Sniper Elite series. The main protagonist, Karl Fairburne , is a skilled operator behind Axis lines. He often encounters Nazi wonder weapons and leaves the research plants crumbling in huge explosions. In the fourth title in the series, he links up with partisans in the Italian mountains. His uniform from this game is shown above. The jacket seems to be based on the Denison smock, just a little shorter and appearing in all sorts of colors throughout the game.

His leather bandolier resembles the US issue M1 bandolier, although a different material and harnessed with a cross belt and he carries the US M1923 Cartridge belt over what looks to be the braces from British 1937 Webbing. Interestingly enough, two Basic Pouches from the 37 Webbing system are strapped to his hips in an improvised fashion. Realizing I could kitbash this look, I went to work. 

    I started with the Bren gunner from Dragon's SAS set because the flared collar gave me Karl vibes. I love this kit and have a few to fill out my British Airborne force. Swapping the right arm for the kneeling officer's arm was a simple task. The harder part came with finding a head. Karl never wears any headgear in the recent games and most 1/35 heads are made for a helmet or some assorted lid. I looked at my in progress stack and found a Master Box artillery crew figure with an appropriate hair style and cut his neck to fit the Dragon figure. Guess I'll have to find a helmeted head in the scrap pile for him. 

    Now for all the equipment! Having the pouches from the SAS figures readily at hand, I secured those to his legs as well as the fighting knife to his ankle. Since I just finished a Vietnam project, I had a few M3 bandoliers for the M16 lying around. At this scale I can't tell a difference, so it found itself around Karl's chest. The bandolier was bigger than I expected and covered one side of the figure's waist, so I only had room for half of a cartridge belt. Using the "close enough" rule as always, a M1910 cartridge belt from ICM's WW1 range was glued to the other side

    Looking at more reference photos, I realized I had forgotten two important items; the US issue canteen and the custom holster that magicly fits every pistol Karl comes across. The canteen was easily fixed with an ICM M1910 from the same WW1 set as the belt. The holster was another matter. I had nothing like it in my bits bin and didn't want to sculpt a custom piece. However, since his equipment is a strange mix of US and Commonwealth, I went with an open top Webley holster.

    Over all, I think the figure turned out nicely. After batch painting for so long, I think I will slow down and try to do the best job possible on this mini. I haven't picked a rifle for him yet, as he carries everything from a Kar 98 to a scoped Winchester 1895 in-game. I experimented with a 1903A4 Springfield but wasn't satisfied with the results. As the fifth instalment of the series comes out this month, I'm sure a new crop of rifles will inspire me. I would love to hear from readers what rifle you think he should carry and what version of his coat I should paint. 

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