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Category Archives: WWII: Germans

May 40 (early war) Fallschirmjäger review

So the time has finally come to do that May 40 Fallschirmjäger review I indicated some time ago. I was kindly given four samples of the first castings from the range.

Now first things first… the minis themselves. The anatomy is great. The proportions are accurate and the animation is realistic. What I really like is the level of detail. The level of detail is higher than the photos posted on the Kickstarter would suggest. There is lots of little details on both the uniforms and weapons. There is also little things strewn in, like the handgrenade tugged under the belt or the officer wearing extra long gloves. Especially the faces are great. They are sculpted well and strike a nice balance between detail and overdoing it. As such they should work well with classic painting and washing techniques. The equipment on the minis is period correct and placed realistically. The casting quality is very good. No mould misallignment and flash is minimal and will be easy to remove. At least on the samples I received, the flash is never running over the middle of the faces, which is a big plus in my book as well.

Four samples of the May 40 miniatures

Now how do they compare to other companies offerings. I had Warlord Games minis, both metal and plastic, as well the as the Heer46 Mediterranean Fallschirmjäger.

Size wise they compare very well to the Warlord minis (both metal and plastic), but are a little smaller than the Heer46 minis.

The heft though is compareable between them and Heer46. The Heft on the metal Warlord minis is thicker and on the plastic Warlord thicker again.

The detail is on about the same level as with the Heer46, slightly better than the Warlord metal and a good deal better than the Warlord plastic (which is no big surprise since this is one of their earlier plastic offerings).

When it comes to the size of the weapons, which is often the defining factor if you want to mix different ranges, May 40 and Warlord are virtually the same. Herr46 are smaller and shorter. But please bear in mind, that the equipment with the Warlord is is geared more towards mid to late war (although select minis could be used for early war as well). Heer46 is also geared towards later periods and the warm weather mediterranean uniforms.

All in all all ranges are close enough to be mixed with one another. Warlord even being close enough, that one could even put minis from the both manufacturers on one base. They would work with Heer46 as well, but I would recommend basing them seperately. But to be fair… the May 40 and Heer46 minis are for different periods anyway.

Left to right: Warlord plastic, May 40, Heer46, May 40 and Warlord metal

Now for those of you who think “this is all very nice, but it will be some time before I can buy them”… well May 40 is running a late pledge option in their store right now. Not sure how long that will be online, but right now you will still be able to get a pre-order in at Kickstarter prices.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2019 in May 40, Miniatures, Reviews, WWII, WWII: Germans

 

Early war Fallschirmjäger

As you will have noticed, I have been working feverishly on my early war Germans. Nowthis all regular Heer, but in the first years of the war Germany used their Fallschirmjäger as strike forces taking key positions during most offensives. Naturally this means, that I am also interested in sore Fallschirmjäger to complement my forces for those early campaigns. So far there have been no appropriate minis, as all minis on the market are geared up for the later years.

But there are some coming up in a Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/may40miniatures/german-fallschirmjager-1940-invasion-of-the-low-countries

If you want / need some early war Fallschirmjäger, I suggest you take a look.

Everything I have seen so far looks extremely nice, poses as well as detail. And there are some great vignettes as well.

They are also offering a DFS 230 glider as a pledge on the Kickstarter:

I would have loved to give you a detailed review of the minis as I was send some samples, but unfortunately they only arrived after we left for our holidays (thanks DHL), so the review will only happen after we return or in other words,after the Kickstarter has ended. Hope those pictures have caught your interest already.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2019 in Battlegroup, Blitzkrieg, WWII, WWII: Germans

 

More shades of grey

More shades of grey

Do continuing my quest to build a large German army for the 1939 – 1941 period I tackled some more armour. Usually I am no big fan of using cell photo pictures, but when Intook these the other day (to show some of the guys at the club), I actually felt they turned out fine, so I decided to use them here as well. Only things that irritates me about these photos though is the slivering on some of the decals, since there is none in real live. Anyway… let’s get the party started.

Up first is a SdKfz 251 C from Blitzkrieg Models. Now this actually this is not meant for that period, but rather 1942up until maybe Kursk. Here I wanted a look of a haste camouflage job applied over a very faded Panzergrau. Since the model was assembled as it was and I was airbrushing grey anyway, I decided to mix it in. I simply went two shades lighter on everything, did some sloppy Dunkelgelb stripes and went heavier on the weathering. The sandbags were sculpted with green stuff out of necessity. The roof ring had been damaged in the mail and I found it more sensible to simply sculpt two sand bags on, rather than ask for a replacement. Crew and machine gun will be added later.

Up next is the SdKfz 232 in the six wheel version. This model is by Warlord games and one of only two in the whole early war German complement in 1:56th scale. Not

Much to say about it, except that it is a fairly nice kit, which suffered from a lot of bubbles on the fenders. Most of which I sculpted over, but looking at the picture, I seem to have missed a few of the smaller ones.

The Adler scout car is the other model in 1:56th scale and also by Warlord. Again a nice little kit, but a much cleaner casting.

Now this is a Steyr ADGZ. I always liked the vehicle for its looks, so I asked my friend Martin to print me one. Big downside to this is, that a) the file itself is very I detailed and b) this was one of the first models he ever printed and it shows. At some point I was close to not finishing it at all and simply throwing it away, but decided to carry on. Although I think it might not see that much tabletop use.

Up next is a Corgi SdKfz 7. The original paint job was quite OK, but the weathering was horrible (just a few strokes in a baby poo colour with a broad brush), sonI repainted the whole thing. It still. Red to be crewed and I will probably go for Warlord Games Plastic seared Germans.

This is a 3D printed Famo recovery half-track. I chose a covered version since I wanted this done quickly without having to paint a crew or load.

Horch Kfz 18 by Tamiya that will serve either as the overall command vehicle or the command vehicle for a non-armoured infantry platoon. I will later do another heavy car (this time a Steyr) in case I want to use both options at once. It still needs to be crewed and will probably receive the Tamiya minis that came with it.

Two Krupp Protze light trucks with PaK to serve in the light PaK battery. I have to say, having played mostly 1943 and later over the past nearly two decades, I was initially not too keen to even field one 3,7cm PaK, but after our first test game set in France 1940 I found that these actually were quite good for the period, so a whole battery became an option. Both of these are by Tamiya and will probably get the crews that came with them.

And a Schwimmwagen for the Kradschützenplatoon, finally completing that thing. The vehicle is by Tamiya the crew might be Company B, but I am not sure.

Flakpanzer II. The model is a 3D print, the FlaK and crew are Warlord games. The gun from the print was horrible and since I wanted to use the crew anyway, I decided to replace the gun as well.

A Bunkerflak. Again a 3D print. Not the best either but way better than the Scouts right above. The crew is a converted plastic Warlord Games mini.

A Acht-Acht FlaK by Italeri to provide some extra punch against those French heavies or Russian KV-IIs. Again, the crew are converted Warlord Games. I decided to build the model firing while limbered up, which it could do. When I was a young boy there was a very good multi part documentary co-produced by German and Russian TV stations. I seemed to remember seeing one fire while limbered up, so when I was building the model this winter I began by searching for pictures but could find none. So I looked at Wochenschau films and there were a lot of them firing while limbered. But the more war progressed, the rarer this became. I guess when you are moving fast through Europe and have all the advantages you do not spare the extra 2 ½ minutes to unlimber. But when you are outnumbered and have to fight from hiding you better spend that time to have a low profile.

And last there an AT-team completing the support options for the infantry platoon. I have to say I found the metal offerings on the market were all poorly sculpted, so when Warlord released their Afrika Korps Set with a Banzerbüchse I bought it and cobbled something together. The shooter is actually a Blitzkrieg body with Afrika Korps arms and the Spotter exactly the opposite. It also gave me the option to do a different position from the usual prone one.

 

Lots of early war German vehicles

Lots of early war German vehicles

Work is still ongoing on my German early war (Poland to Barbarossa) project. It is amazing how many vehicles one actually needs for this fairly short period. Between all these and the ones Inposted last year, there are still lots to do. All of these were done over the fall to early spring period of this year.

Up first is the SdKfz 222 from Blitzkrieg models. Really nice model. The only thing that disappointed me a bit, is that it comes with sand tyres, which would fit a model for the Afrika Korps, but not Europe. Fortunately I had the SdKfz 260 not from ICM, which comes with two sets of wheels. Both with regular tyres and even though the plastic version is already great, there I a rubber set. So one of these was fitted to the SdKfz 222.

This is the above mentioned SdKfz 260. Unfortunately it has no place in the Battlegroup lists, but I simply liked it looks too much! We have already used it as the ride for the Luftwaffe liaison officer (who usually rides a half track) and it worked out fine.

And here is a bunch of PzKw II. The ones in the top picture have early turrets (commanders hatch) while the ones in the lower two photos have the late turret (commanders copula). In retrospect I should have asked the people at Blitzkrieg if they would sell me three hulls with two different turrets each, since it was lots of work painting six similar hulls, but one always has these ideas when it is too late.

And to round things off with the PzKw II family, here is a Flammpanzer II Flamingo. This model is also from Blitzkrieg.

And then there is the transport for the Grenadiere. Personally I prefer halftracks, but those are more expensive points wise and unavailable for Poland, so I needed some tricks. In this case a bunch of Opel Blitz from Tamiya. The drivers (mostly invisible on these photos) are by Victory Force, the soldiers themselves by Warlord.

And then there are the halftracks. The commuters halftracks is an old Bandai model (by now repainted for the second time). It is a SdKfz 251 B. Not sure if such a mix with the SdKfz 251 C models for the rest of the platoon is realistic, but I am thinking that maybe the unit got a small batch of earlier models first that were allocated to the commanders, while the rest of the troops got theirs later. The C models are by Blitzkrieg. The Grenadiere are by Warlord and the machinegunners are from Rubicon, but with Warlord heads to hide their slimmer shape.

To give the troops some supplies there is another Opel Blitz by Tamiya. The guard is by Warlord Games. The supplies are a mix of Tamiya and Bandai. Not sure if there are too few supplies. Maybe I need to add to it.

And last, a tripod mounted MG-34. The machine gun and gunner are by Victory Force, while the spotter and loader are Warlord Games.

 

Panzerkampfwagen I Platoon and more

Panzerkampfwagen I Platoon and more

So to keep up the dark grey theme… here are some more.

They nice thing about the early war period is, that you can get virtually every vehicle in my preferred scale, 1:48th. There are a few exceptions and the PzKw I and it’s variants are one of them. Those are only available from small companies with small production runs and cost a lot. At first I had planned to use some 1:56th scale model after all, but when Martin got himself a 3D printer another option became available.

PzKw I platoon

PzKw I platoon

While one can see the layers and the detail could be higher on some parts, they still do a job, and to be honest… just looking at the cost of the material, these five tanks cost me less (probably half as much) than one of those from a small company would have cost me.

PzKw I platoon

PzKw I platoon

Martin was not sure if I wanted a command version with or without the antenna assembly, so he printed both and one hot pressed into service as an armoured ambulance.

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

Over all I was surprised by the 3D prints. I would have thought that the layers would have been more visible after the wash and filter. I know they stand out on these photos, but when not enlarged as much as they are on our screens you hardly notice.

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

 

Kradschützenplatoon (part 1)

When I was school, there was a real good 4 part documentary about the war on the eastern front on German television. One picture that stuck to my mind was a short clip of a  Kradschützenzug riding cross-country. So when I saw that Battlegroup gave the option have one for the Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa era, I was something I had to do.

In the end, it almost drove me mad. Just cleaning mold lines from all the minis and motorbikes / sidecars took the better part of a week. Do not get me wrong, none of these are bad minis, it is just that they all have so many parts that need to be cleaned up.

Kradschützen Platoon

Kradschützen Platoon

And in addition to the platoon not even being finished yet (I will need to do the command unit, an AT-rifle and HMG team each plus some rear seat riders for two of the current LMG teams). So lots of work here.

The minis are a mix of Warlord Games (the LMG teams and the mortar team) and Wargames Foundry. Scale wise they mix quite well and given the fact, that the Warlord bikes are all BMW R75s and the Foundry ones are all Zündapp KS 750s, minor differences in scale will not stand out.

Not much more to say really, so I will leave you with the pictures.

Kradschützentrupp 1Kradschützentrupp 2

Kradschützentrupp

Kradschützentrupp

Kradschützen mortar team

Kradschützen mortar team

Kradschützen messenger

Kradschützen messenger

Kradschützen medic

Kradschützen medic

 

 

Run out the guns

Run out the guns

For some time I have been a fan of artillery in our Battlegroup games. This was only enhanced last year when I tried out something new during a game set during Kursk when my heavy soviet artillery annihilated the German tanks virtually on its own. Unfortunately heavy artillery is hard to find for 28mm minis so my best option was the Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (SiG 33) from Warlord which will have to stand in for other heavy guns.

SiG33 battery

SiG33 battery

The models are essentially out of the box, but I replaced some of the crew (at least those not holding the shells and charges, with those from the Warlord 105mm guns to add some extra variety to the bases.

There is also some AT-guns I did recently and those are a pair of 3,7cm PaK 36s. I was at first sceptical of the PaK 36 having played only mid to late war games over the past decade where the 3,7cm is not exactly the big start. But Martin wanted to give his French Army a game last year and I have to say I was more impressed by their performance than by the short barreled PzKw IVs. So while I had originally planned to do just one and use it as an AT-gun option for the infantry platoon, I now plan to use them both as a tank hunter unit of their own. Only need to finish their Krupp Protze tows.

One is the current Warlord offering, the other a vintage Bolt Action gun that was still sold by Bolt Action until about a year or two ago. With the later, you can clearly see that this is one of Paul Hicks earlier offerings, as the poses are more wooden and the faces less detailed than what he sculpts these days, but none the less, once based and on the table it looks just as nice as the new one.

And up last some fire support for the infantry platoon by means of a 8cm mortar. Again the minis are by Warlord. Not sure how good it will be in the game. Having to pay a n order to spot for just one mortar seems excessive, but maybe it plays out well.

8cm mortar team

8cm mortar team

 

German Infantry for Poland to Barbarossa

German Infantry for Poland to Barbarossa

Now this is part of a big project I have been working on since last fall. A complete German army for use with the Battlegroup rules for the period from the invasion of Poland (Fall Weiß) up until the first months of the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa). Given that this would also make them suitable for the invasions of Denmark and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France and Greece, this will make them extremely versatile. That being said, this will also make them a huge project, since except for a couple of PzKW 38(t) and PzKw IV I have nothing suitable for it. This will mean, that I need command units, an Infantry platoon (there were extremely large for the invasion of Poland) with both truck and half-track transport options, a Kradschützenzug (motorcycle platoon), PzKw I, PzKw II (in two different versions), at-guns, artillery, specialist vehicles and aircraft. With such a daunting project you have to start somewhere. For me this was actually the Kradschützen, but since only the soldiers are finished but not the motorcycles, my second step will be the first shown to you… the infantry platoon (still without their transports). For these photos I have arranged them according to the TO&E that was in effect during the invasion of Poland. For later operations, some of these subunits would have been bigger or smaller, but there is enough models for all possible TO&Es. I would only have to rearrange some minis.

All these minis are by Warlord Games. Most of them plastics (some of them slightly converted) and a few metal ones mixed in.

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa infantry command

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa infantry command

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa medic

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa medic

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa sniper team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa sniper team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

The LMG team above is my personal favorite from this platoon. Most likely, since I converted it to look like this. I always loved the looks of the LMG being fired over the assistants shoulder from a kneeling position. Since there was no such model available, I had to build one myself. What I found very funny is, that the assistant is actually a running pose, but it turned out, this was the easiest to convert into a kneeling position.

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

 

A handful of StuGs and a StuH

A handful of StuGs and a StuH

One of me favorite German vehicles of World War II has been the Sturmgeschütz. Lots of punch, good armor, low profile and usually cheap to get. So a battery of StuGs was a must. I already had a G model with Saukopfblende from Tamiya, so when I decided to do a full battery I only ordered two more. But when I started painting them, I decided, that I would rather like all models in the battery to be the same. So I already have a third that I have not painted yet.

The models are by Blitzkrieg Models. I weathered them like the Jagdpanther and PaK shown the previous days. I added some converted plastic Warlord Miniatures German infantry as crew.

StuH 42

StuH 42

And while I was on it, I also painted a Sturmhaubitze. This one is also from Blitzkrieg, with a Warlord commander and weathered the same way. But I chose a slightly different camo pattern for this one.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in Battlegroup, Rules, WWII, WWII: Germans

 

8,8cm PaK 43 auf Kreuzlafette

Playing late war games in a World War II setting, especially on the eastern front large-caliber Panzerabwehrkanonen (PaK / anti-tank gun) are a must to give you some edge over the heavily armoured tanks like the JS-2. The long-barreled PaK 43, both on a Spreiz- and Kreuzlafette are perfect for this.

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

Playing in 1:48th scale, the later is not too easy to get. But some years ago, I had the good luck to get my hands on the, now long OOP, Verlinden model. It is a very nice model, but even by modeling standards it is not an easy model to build. So I had to make some modifications to the connections between the gun and the shield to make it work out and stand the rigors of game play. But even that way, it will better be picked up by its base and not the model itself. Fortunately I have decided to base all my future AT-guns and indeed put all my old ones on bases for Battlegroup, so that will not be much of a problem.

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

Like the Jagdpanther, this was a testbed for the new weathering methods and I have to say… I feel it turned out exceptionally well on this model.

The crew itself is the 8,8cm FlaK crew by Warlord. It is a bit small even for their own 1:56th scale models, but I feel it still looks OK. While the gun was painted this winter, the crew was done about 15 years ago. I only redid the skin on the minis. I think that is where my technique changed the most during that time and I wanted them to blend in with my current models.

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)