Monday, 25 July 2011

WW1 Late War German Army

Steve started me off on this period, and the prospect of a game encouraged me to paint up a box of WW1 Airfix Germans and Yanks I have had lying at the back of the cupboard for absolutely ages. In fact in my infant years I had all the Airfix WW1 sets, which never saw a lick of paint, so it was to see what they looked like painted after all these years . The experience, coming after a few weeks of plowing through rank after rank of Napoleonics, which I never ever seem to finish, made me realise a WW1 army could be a 'quick win'. It shares with WW2 the much easier uniforms to paint, but without all the 'kit' ie.vehicles, which at times can make filling a WW2 order of battle quite a difficult and expensive task. I turned out each box of WW1 Airfix in about an evening each, so WW1 armies looked a 'quick win' and a potentially knocking out another WW1 army from time to time will be a bit of light relief from bigger projects.

So enthused was I with the period after a brilliant game with GW's 'Great War', mainly with Steve's Airfix WW1 Germans and Brits painted as Russians, that my next purchase was enough figures for 4 WW1 armies.

As Steve had early war, I thought I'd concentrate on painting late war first, though I my purchases included figs to expand on my Airfix Huns, too. I bought Brits and Germans to match up for the late war period. But I also snapped up some Hat (re-issues of Airfix) WW1 French which are now OOP and selling out and a lot cheaper than Airfix which have started manufacturing them again themselves. The French dropped their early war uniforms earlier than the other armies, and so when painted would give me a post-1914 French army to fight both early and late war Germans (in fact for Verdun and other 1915 battles you can use both early and late German figures, as units new arrivals had the new steel helmets, where as older units had the original 'picklehaubs').

I initially based up my early war Germans on 1p pieces, but changed my mind with these and went for 2p coins instead. Despite needing more storage space, I'm glad I did. They look much better on the tabletop, and I'll probably stick the Early War Germans I've based already straight on top of 2p coins and terrain with sand, too. The extra height won't do any harm. For my Napoleonic skirmish set that I started on 2p coins, but switched back to 1p coins for line infantry- so I could get them in close formation- but these WW1 figs look fine on 2p coins as infantry were increasingly fighting in looser formations by this period.

The figures are Revell, and I'm not sure my snaps do justice to them. They are nice figures, towards the larger end of 20mm figures, size-wise, with a lot of good poses. The key feature is the steel helmet first issued in 1915. To aid unit identification I have painted some helmets in grey, some in camo as shown below, and some in brown which was also a common colour that they were issued in.

Close-up of a couple with 'camo' helmets:
Close-up of a trio in brown helmets:
Two boxes of Revell gave me 70 riflemen, and ideally I'll add another box, but there's no rush as their first outing will most likely against the French and I have the box of Early War figs painted earlier to supplement them. I need to paint up the MGs, but having also finished a bigger French force, I'm taking a little break from WW1 again.

The officers in the set look like junior officers leading the attack, but as senior officers/generals often retained the 'picklehaub', the command figures from the Airfix set are fine to use for the battalion commanders you need for GW's great war rules, or the 'staff officers' you use in 'Contemptible Little Armies'.

I would also in future like to add some artillery, probably the Hat set, and at some stage some aircraft and maybe an AV7 tank! Either way a good start for now, and expandable over time.

To finish here's a snap of the whole lot, barring a handful I discovered had flaked before varnishing, and are back on the workbench to touch up.

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