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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bolt Action - Review: Warlord German Infantry Plastic Box

After an intial read-through of the new Bolt Action rulebook and a quick demo at Historicon, I knew Bolt Action was something I wanted to check out. It didn't take long to figure out one HQ section and two infantry squads were the compulsary selections for any legal list, and Warlord Games sells plastic infantry box sets that come with just that! What a coincidence! Dano and I had agreed to play Germans and Americans, respectively, when we first got into Flames of War, so this time we agreed to switch it up. I happily picked up a German infantry plastic box set from a booth at Historicon. This box will set you back $36.00 according to the company's website. Although I'll miss painting things Khaki, Field Drab, and Brown Violet, I'd secretly always had a little schwerpunkt envy. The transition to German was destined to happen!

Warlord Games' German infantry plastic box set. The box itself took a beating courtesy of TSA, but the contents were no worse for the wear - and regardless of the interrogators' best efforts, the men surrendered nothing!

I give Warlord Games credit for the box design and Osprey art. It's eye-catching, with the bright colors set on black borders, and the scenes depicted get me instantly jonesin' to take command of these Wehrmacht professionals. In case the art and design wasn't enough, there's also a paragraph of flavor text under the middle image:
"Thoroughly trained and well-equipped the German soldier of World War II was a tough opponent. Through the all-conquering years of aggression, to stalemate and finally defeat, the German soldat did his duty for his Fatherland, paying heavily for his political masters' will. Superb morale and excellent weapons gave them all too often the edge over their Allied enemies."
What kind of sucker is going to buy an Allied box set after an intro like that? "All-conquering" is exactly the phrase I want used when being sold toy soldiers. I choose to ignore the " stalemate and finally defeat," end of that quote. It was probably a misprint... 
This box set contains five infantry sprues, three weapon sprues, and more than enough bases for the twenty-five soldiers it allows you to make. An informational sheet is also included to explain the contents.

The box contents on display.

Each infantry sprue provides you with five torsos. There are more arms, legs, heads, and backpacks than you would ever need to use on these, so Warlord Games allows the modeller lots of opportunity for customization. I was surprised how distinct individual faces could be at this scale. Heads run the entire range of anything you would want to model. There's an "officer hat guy barking orders," a "guy wearing a cap because helmets mess up his hair", along with several grizzled looking German types. The variety provided on one sprue is really impressive, and more than enough to satisfy the modeller that's looking to make each soldier stand out. I can't say enough about these sculpts! The details are fantastic and beyond what I expected for something you can pick up for around thirty bucks.
I won't fully appreciate it until I get to the actual modelling, but I imagine that people with a distaste for modelling may find the assembly lengthy, or over-fiddly. However, anyone that's put together a squad of plastic Space Marines will be used to the modelling time and effort required.
For those of you interested, the bases are about 25mm wide by about 1.5mm thick and can be considered standard basing fare for a miniature wargame.

One of the five infantry sprues included in the Bolt Action German plastic infantry box set.

Also included in the box are three weapon sprues. In Bolt Action, the Germans seem to have the most customizable infantry squads. I'm not stating that as a pro or a con, yet; but it's worthy of mention because the weapon sprues come with a lot of gear! Each sprue has some Kar 98K rifles, a scoped Kar 98K, a Gewehr 43, an STG44 assault rifle, MP40s, ammo boxes and pouches, a Panzerfaust, pistols, an MG42 and an MG34, grenades - the sheer mix of weaponry is impressive! These guys will be a joy for the player that loves to specialize his list down to the individual members of each squad. Again, the details are amazing, and made moreso by the low price point of this box set!

One of the three weapon sprues included in the Bolt Action German plastic infantry box set.

Included with the sprues is a background and construction leaflet. This informational sheet isn't so much a set of assembly instructions as it is a guide to "what's what" inside the box. Each weapon is clearly pictured and labeled, so a player with no previous WWII knowledge could differentiate between an MG42 and an MG34. The infantry sprue is explained on this sheet as well, and it would seem crucial to familiarize yourself with it, as certain arms are compatible with certain weapons. Lesson of the day: Read the informational sheet before you start gluing your soldiers together! I never read instructions until I've come to an impasse. Luckily, this unboxing article and the necessary review of the instructions saved me some future frustration!
This sheet also has several helpful modelling tips and some beautiful examples of completed Germans, as well as "work in progress" models.

The front of the background and construction leaflet.

The reverse of the background and construction leaflet.

At this early, unboxing stage, I'm very pleased with the product. As we all know, models can never truly be evaluated until they're painted and on the tabletop, ready to game. I can say, however, that considering the standards I am used to, this German infantry plastic box set meets or exceeds expectations in every regard. When you factor in the comparatively low price point of $36.00, the value is amazing.
The entire package comes together here to make me really excited about Bolt Action. The box, the sprues, and the leaflet all combine to make a great all-around product you can get your hands on for around thirty bucks! I can't wait to get these guys modelled, painted, and on the table, poised to crush Dano's Americans!

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