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Friday, September 19, 2014

Product Review: German Volkssturm (GE823)

Friends! Gamers! WWPDers....lend me your ears....eyes...yes, your eyes cause this is a web article and borrowing yours would work. Enough of that tom foolery. I am here to further discuss the German Volkssturm (GE823) by Battlefront for Flames of War. Mitch Reed did a great article for WWPD a few weeks back. And I agree with assessment...this is a GREAT set of figures. I don't want to retread the same ground, so this article is actually a 2 part series. This article will discuss the figures themselves as well as what I did to paint them. The second article will be by WWPD Steve and discuss the tactical use of Xyzax's Blood....I mean the Volkssturm Platoon.

These figures are actually the ones I did for Steve as a commission and were bought while we were at Historicon last July.

Mitch did a great job on the history of these units. I am going to do go into just a little bit more on the really cool accuracy elements:

The set includes the MG 08-15 from the First World War:

The LMG was pretty much spot on and was super to have the option included in the set.

The Germans made several types of small arms that were specifically used by the Volkssturm.  These were cheap to build so they could make a lot of them quickly.  The first was the Volksgewehr VG-1.

VG-1 VG-1s with folding bayonets
There are several figures with this rifle as well in the set. I, sadly, mispainted these (sorry Steve) and thought they were a miscast...but Battlefront nailed the rifle and the folding bayonet which I covered up with brown paint....note to more research.

Another rifle they nailed was the Volkssturmgewehr VG1-5

NAILED IT!  This was my favorite of the People's was only a semi-automatic but pretty cool.

What else could there be?  A submachine gun of course! And what was cheaper than the British STEN!  Here there was a mix.  There were some German copies of the STEN produced, but they had a large number of captured STENs that they issued to the Volkssturm as well.

Another item unique to the Volkssturm were the Panzerfaust bicycles. These were used to move Panzerfaust armed soldiers around quickly...and no...they weren't fired attached to the bike or used for a rocket boost.

Battlefront hit this set out of the park accuracy wise as well.

Painting and modeling wise they scored a solid hit as well. The clothes/uniform mix is very much in line with the period photos. My favorite thing was that they even sculpted the armbands onto EVERY figure!!!!!  When I saw the Volkssturm as an option in Bridge at Remagen I was pretty nervous about how to do these armbands.  Having them sculpted into the figure made painting them a lot easier...Thanks Battlefront!

Painting them was pretty straightforward... after the uniform was finished and hi-lighted, you lay down a base of red between the sculpted lines. After the red has dried, and its important to have it dry, lay down a line of white in the middle, leaving a little red on the edges. If the red is not dry first you will get a little wet blending action and not very soldier like pink color. The last step is to lay down a line of black in the middle of the white. The key here is make sure your paint is thinned...and that it flows off of the brush. This allows you to make a longer line before you have to lift the brush. If the paint is too thick, you have to lift the brush more frequently and the line looks clumpy and choppy.

So, on the figures. I based in the Steve's style so that they would blend in with his other units.

HQ Section:

CiC on has an eyepatch!!!!

Trooper on the far right has a VG-1 that I mispainted  :-(

1st Squad:

2nd Squad:

Notice the bolts on the helmet of the STEN gunner on the left?  Very WWI-ish

3rd Squad:

4th Squad:

The Volkssturm have a much broader palette than the typical German infantry unit. You have standard Feldgrau for the most part.  But then you have a mix of other military uniforms...Hitler Youth (Black and Tan), Luftwaffe (Blue) and older uniforms (Grey). Then you have all the civilian clothes...Browns, Tans, Greens, etc....

So here is what I used for the non-Feldgrau:

Browns:  941 Burnt Umber (Base), 983 FlatEarth, 921 English Uniform, 873 US Field Drab, 826 German Camo Medium Brown, 882 Middlestone, 821 German Camo Beige, 880 Khaki Grey, 988 Khaki

Greens:  979 German Camo Dark Green (Base), 823 Luftwaffe Camo Green, 890 Reflective Green, 894 Camo Olive Green, 888 Olive Green

Blues:  995 German Grey (Base), 964 Field Blue, Army Painter Ultramarine Blue, 816 Luftwaffe Uniform

Blacks/Greys:  950 Black (Base), 995 German Grey, 862 Black Grey, 836 London Grey, 870 Medium Sea Grey

The biggest issue was what to paint what color. For the more military figures I went with mostly Feldgrau with a few Hitler Youthers. The civilians at first were the most challenging, but when I realized that they clothes they wore were at the heart civilian clothes and that people bought them at first with a sense of fashion. With that I found it much easier....tops would "go with" the bottoms and hats would complement. The hat band might be the color of the shirt/jacket or pants and the hat itself, a lighter shade of them as well. Shoes were typically Black, Black Grey or Brown.

The biggest helpful tip I found was was to have a plan for each figure/team BEFORE I started painting. I sat down and looked at each team wrote down  the base color for the pants, shirt, jacket and hat for each figure on the team making sure to minimize duplication. Then I went to the next team making sure they didn't repeat matches from the other teams. I did this for the entire platoon and then followed the list...easy peasey.

With these down for Steve, I have a hunger to get my own Volkssturm done up and out on the table. I plan on doing mine up of a mix of Battlefront's Plastic Bases: Urban Rubble (XX106) and Plastic Bases: Rural (XX107).

As always, a special thanks The Foundry for allowing me to use their tables and terrain to take these pictures.

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

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