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Author Topic: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit  (Read 2994 times)

Offline FramFramson

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For my mid-30's pulp games, I have a Soviet military team with a jetpack pilot hero. In our background, jetpack pilots are very rare, since only a few people have the necessary instincts and reflexes to pilot a jetpack and not die. The Soviet hero is a military aviator but also a source for propaganda. I painted her with a uniform derived from actual Soviet air force pilot uniforms, but also with a flashy helmet whose face is covered with a big red Soviet star.

I have Tin Man minis' rocketeer and have decided the Americans need a counterpart, a cocky young buck who is similarly both military test pilot and propaganda piece.



Some parts are easy - for instance, I know that the metal surfaces of the helmet and jetpack will be chrome (the Soviet hero already used the bronze theme and American mid-century planes often being chromed is a well-known look). The jacket should be a standard American dark brown with khaki pants and brown boots. I also want to use the USAAC roundel on the jetpack:



I'm having trouble finding out what sort of insignia, if any, would be correct for the shoulders or sleeves for say, a Captain. This is also complicated by the fact that I'm not sure if jetpack infantry would really be USAAC or actually a project of regular army (but I will probably go with USAAC since until the USAAC became the USAF in 1941, the USAAC was subordinate to the US Army and primarily intended as ground support anyway - plus I just want to use the roundel, haha).

Any help on the uniform (assuming he's still going to have a brown leather pilot's jacket and khaki aviator's pants) would be appreciated, since I'm actually having trouble finding USAAC uniforms from the 1930's (1935 being a transition year for the USAAC, as well as the nominal year our games take place doesn't help matters).

I'm also wondering if I should add any other patriotic nods on the helmet. I don't want to paint the whole thing like an American flag, since that's more "superhero" than "military test pilot". I'm probably going to replicate the USAAC's blue-and-yellow aircraft colour schemes of the 1930's on part of the helmet, like striping the rear 2/3rds of the fin, so that's already getting into fiddly detail territory and I'm not sure it's wise to add more than that. Maybe a small white stars on each of the lower helmet cheeks? I'm open to other suggestions if anyone wants to make some.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 11:13:03 PM by FramFramson »


I joined my gun with pirate swords, and sailed the seas of cyberspace.

Offline fastolfrus

  • Galactic Brain
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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 11:30:31 PM »
Why not USMC?
If you consider it logically, he's not ordinary infantry, and neither are they.
Gary, Glynis, and Alasdair (there are three of us, but we are too mean to have more than one login)

Offline FramFramson

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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2015, 12:04:07 AM »
Naval aviation is in its infancy in the 30's, but in any case, I think it would be a different group than the Marines.

In any case, having him be USMC would be mismashing three branches instead of two - and why the hell must all storybook American types be Marines anyway?  ;)

Offline commissarmoody

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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2015, 12:19:03 AM »
Can't go wrong with kaki uniform. Or you could make him part of an off shoot of the army AirBorne Corp. Paratroopers that is.
I was a paratrooper so I am a little biased.  ::)
"Peace" is that brief, glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

- Anonymous

Offline FramFramson

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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2015, 12:26:50 AM »
 lol

Paratrooper is also an idea.

EDIT: Actually even if he's not a paratroop, paratroops are a pretty good guide for what branch of service he's in. As I recall, in the 30's the USAAC kept trying to assert its independence from the regular US Army and competing redundant forces in different service branches are an old American, uh, tradition. Perhaps the Jetpack soldier programme was a USAAC response to the regular army's development of airborne paratroop forces.

Of course, in actual reality, none of the allied nations of WWII had serious, large-scale paratroop programmes until after the Germans demonstrated their effectiveness during the invasion of Crete. But the US did have nascent experimental forces during the 30's, so it's fine.

Now I just need to figure out what, if any, insignia he would have - shoulder patches, etc. I can put captain's bars on the helmet (seems insignia on soft caps for Air Force personnel in heavy coats was normal). For shoulders, this would have been the "regular" shoulder patch for the USAAC (I think on the left shoulder only?), but I don't know if they had variants for special troops or an additional unit patch on the right (as in the army) or such:

« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 02:34:33 AM by FramFramson »

Offline Valerik

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  • "...promiscuously brandishing a revolver..."
Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2015, 05:17:50 AM »
OK, USAAC & its successor the USAAF  were ARMY troops, not a separate aviation service, as many wished.  That didn't happen until 1947 with Truman's creation of the USAF, who initial wore Army uniforms with distinctive buttons & insignia.  So khaki jodhpurs, brown boots, dark brown horsehide flight jacket is spot on.  
The transition to blue uniforms didn't finish until well after Korea.

Consider please the appropriate USAAC pre-1939 shoulder patch for the brown leather A-2 jacket:



This "pinwheel" insignia represented a whirling 3 blade propeller was worn on the left shoulder only.  
Hi tech lookin' n'cool huh?  Also not readily identifiable, yet perfectly correct.

Captain's bars on the  shoulder loops outboard of the jetpack's straps.

A (former) squadron insignia on his chest would be common.  I'd suggest the 103rd Pursuit, the pilots from the Escadrille Lafayette who transferred to the US Air Service in 1917.



Or The 94th "Hat in the Ring" Sqdn:



Interwar flying jackets tend to be plainer, & more uniform, than the gaudier WWII varieties we are used to seeing.  After all, in such a small service everybody knew everyone else.

Since you want to use the later winged star insignia, how about a helmet 'decal' foreshadowing both the future USAAF shoulder patch, & the issue, quite common USAF early jet pilot helmet decoration:



Yellow & blue were USAAC aircraft wing & fuselage colours.
I think I'd find them, or indeed any sort of official or tribal markings
'busy' & out of place on such an experimental device.
Can't go wrong with OD, or shiny steel,on the jetpack, with tan webbing or brown leather straps, same as his pistol belt & holster.  
If you must,  then go with tail markings, vertical blue, horizontal red & white stripes.  



A variety of squadron/group specific ones are readily identifiable.



Please pause & peruse a point: as test pilot & pioneer of personal pulse propulsion perhaps plain is preferable, for pulp purposes perforce.

All due respect to Marine Aviators, arguably the finest fliers on our planet, the Corps always got the fuzzy end of the lolipop, hand me down equipment the Navy & Army no longer want or need.  Cutting edge gear has never been a blessing the USMC enjoyed. Rocket tech for the Old Breed?   Nah...,  not happenin'...

Paratroopers go down, rocket troopers, by definition, go both ways...

I trust this further muddying of your creative concepts actually helps...

Valerik

"The French do see arrogance as a virtue."
Dr. Donald Mallard, NCIS

EDIT  my miserble spelling & punctuation
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 10:54:21 PM by Westfalia Chris »
BGR

"Fart in the devil's face"
Martin Luther


Offline FramFramson

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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2015, 08:47:37 AM »
 :-*

Zowee! Information overload. But the good kind!

Just one question - for the squadron chest insignia, are we talking large or small? If small, over which breast?

Offline Valerik

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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2015, 11:17:55 AM »
The left:





That Wright Field patch would be another good choice:



Especially as LOTS of secret techno stuff happened there, before they moved to California.

As seen here the left breast is the overwhelming choice among all pilots:



Very few patches worn on the right breast, fewer still have both, at least interwar.

Valerik
propensity "to drink wine and chase after young ladies known to run slowly"

Offline FramFramson

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  • But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back
Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2015, 09:09:04 PM »
Awesome stuff, Val! Thanks again!

Offline fastolfrus

  • Galactic Brain
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Re: Little help deciding on an American military rocketeer uniform/outfit
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2015, 10:15:05 PM »
All due respect to Marine Aviators, arguably the finest fliers on our planet, the Corps always got the fuzzy end of the lolipop, hand me down equipment the Navy & Army no longer want or need.  Cutting edge gear has never been a blessing the USMC enjoyed. Rocket tech for the Old Breed?   Nah...,  not happenin'...
Valerik

Possibly.
But who is more expendable if you want to strap a fizzing bomb to his back - an expensive college trained pilot, or a jarhead?
Then once it's a working, dependable piece of kit, deploy it to the others to use it properly.
:~}

 

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