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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Painting the Beute Mark IV, and Great War List Making

By Mitch Reed

While luck has eluded me on the playing table, it did find me for the second week of the"Spot the A7V" Contest that Battlefront held via Twitter.

Since I already have both army box sets I decided to go for the Mark IV box, in order to paint one of the tanks as a captured Mark IV and the other one in standard British colors.  I got the box quickly, 2 days after Battlefront contacted me for my choice and shipping address. A big thanks to Battlefront for having the contest and shipping the item so quickly.

During the battle of Cambrai in November 1917 the British massed about 460 Mark IV tanks in their attack which initially pushed the German lines back.  As the attack stalled the Germans counterattacked and came into possession of numerous Mark IV tanks that were either knocked out or abandoned due to mechanical breakdowns. 

From these captured tanks the Germans pressed 40 into service the as the Beutepanzerwagen (Beute meaning "booty" in German), forming 4 companies of these captured tanks in December 1917.  The Germans increased the crew to 12 (British used 8) and replaced many of the 6-pdr guns on the Male version of the tank with German guns in order to better supply it with ammunition. 

As with any paint project I hit my library and the internet doing research in how to paint the captured tank.  The first thing I noticed is how all of the examples I found was that the Germans made sure they adhered to the number one rule when using captured equipment; make sure your own side does not shoot at you (very bad). One of the other interesting points my search turned up is that very few pictures exist of the captured tanks, and most of the examples look like the tank pictured above. This could be that most of the color drawings are based on the few period pictures that were taken or that the companies that operated these tanks used a standard camouflage scheme. 

Based on my research it looks like the tank was painted in a blue-grey base color and had splotches of brown and yellow/tan in order to camouflage the tank.  So my goal was to try to make my tank look like the one above.

Assembled & ready for the primer.  I like that the tank comes with the option to make the tank either a Male (2 x 6-pdrs) or a Female (4 x MG) with the use of magnets. 

I went with an all black primer

                                                                                                                                                             Due to the fact that I have painted about 400 1/2400 and 1/3000 scale ships in the 1905-1945 period it seemed as if I had every shade of grey available. I tried both Blue Pale Grey and Grey Blue            and decided  to go with the Grey Blue.                                                                                                    

 Base coat and tracks done

For the camo I went with German Cam Med Brown and Medium Grey

Then a dry brushing with some Buff

Next step was to add some shading then the decals

Cleaned up the paint, added some mud, then I gave it a matte coat. Once done I posed it next to my A7V, boy the Germans have some very colorful tanks.

Tanks on the Board

My interest in getting into the new Great War line was due to my appreciation for the period and how the focus would be on infantry fights instead of tank battles. From the limited times I have played with my Great War forces I always took the tanks, mostly because my opponent and I wanted to see how the tanks work in the game.  If this period takes off I would be inclined to use my Germans more than the British.  I like the HQ weapons options with AT Rifles, Flamethrowers, and Mortars.  I also like the Stoss platoon, which can be a fun addition to any list.  If I have the points, I would rather go with the 2-gun artillery detachment before I took tanks.  From the games I have played thus far I have found the British QOF 18-pdr gun a game changer, and I would like to have that option for my German list. 

If I have the points, I would probably take a tank, but at 285 points, the German A7V becomes an expensive addition.  That is why painting a Beute Mark IV and adding it as an option seemed like a good choice.  At 230 points for the Female version (+30 for the Male), it becomes a cheaper option for a list that may be limited by a point total. The German player still pays 30 points more for the Confident Trained Female Mark IV than the British, but the same (260 Points) for the Male version. 

If I end up playing with my British list I do have another tank option, the Whippet.  Coming in at 170 points per Confident Veteran tank may seem like a bargain, however they only are armed with 2 MGs and do not benefit from the Landship special rules which keeps your tanks around a bit longer.  Unfortunately for the German player they are only available to the British player since Germany never made great use of captured Whippets.   
So what role do the tanks play in the game?  So far tanks seem to be able to cover your infantry as they move into attack, which is what they did historically.  They also can get off a lot of MG shots which can possibly pin your opponent.  This may be a good reason to take a tank on your list since this how you will probably get a chance to pin an enemy platoon before an assault.  With your only template weapon being an expensive two or three gun battery, you will have to rely on massed firepower to get a pin. 

So while I am not 100% sold on adding a tank platoon to my Great War lists, I do look forward in playing this new period more and seeing what elements make a fun and competitive list. 

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