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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bolt Action - OXI - Greek Army Project Part 2: Converting Greek Artillery Crew and Officers

With limited option available to anyone wanting to collect a Greek army, you may be require to get creative to fill out your collection and meet your army's needs.  I ended up lacking officers, characters, and gun crews for my artillery.  I wasn't able to find figures that liked or, in the case of artillery crew, wasn't able to buy crew separate from their guns to make the purchase worth it.  So instead I made my own figures from bits I had laying around from old kits and models I had in the house.

M33 Helmet

Since I am using Italian figures from Black Tree Design to represent my Greeks, I needed to be able to match the rest of army with them.  The Italian M33 Helmet is very different from most other nations, but I found that if I trimmed the rim off the plastic Soviet helmets from the Warlord Soviet Infantry set it matched up pretty close.  First I removed the original figure's head and cleaned out an area for the new head to rest.  After gluing the new head to the shoulders of the recently decapitated lead figure, I went back with a hobby knife and slowly removed the rim of the Soviet helmet.  You could try to trim the rim before gluing the head to the body, but I was worried I would cut myself with my knife and kept dropping heads on the ground.

Russian artillery crewman being convert to Greek crewman.  On the right a plastic Soviet head from Warlord Games.  On the left the same head with the helmet trimmed back to look like an Italian M33 helmet. 
The second thing you need to look for is figures with appropriate uniforms to act as substitutes for Greeks.  Greeks wore uniforms similar to the Italians and British uniforms.   Also I have seen a lot of pictures of Greeks wearing both high boots and leg wrappings.  I think you could use some Russian figures as well.  The Greeks also wore long coast, so any figure in long coat should also work. After finding the figures you plan on using remove their heads and replace them with new Greek heads.  Alternatively you could buy metal Italian heads from Warlord and use those if you don't have a bunch of plastic heads laying around.

BTD British figures with Warlord Games plastic Russian head swap.
(left) BTD British with head swap. (right) BTD Italians
Close up of BTD Brit with head swap (left) and BTD Italian (right)
 If you don't want to covert figures, or don't have plastic Russian heads laying around, I think you could get away with using Polish figures with helmets as well.  The Polish Wz31 helmet looks like a mix between the Italian style helmet, no rim, and Russian helmet, rim.  If the brow rim on the Polish model sticks out too much you should be able to easily trim it off, even if its metal.  I am so confident in this I plan on ordering Polish figures in great coast from Black Tree Design to add to my infantry collection.

Polish Wz31 helmet
Using my back stock of plastic Russian heads I was also able to make a few more officers, crew for two artillery pieces, crew for two mortars, a few extra infantry men, and a bugler.   Instead of giving the bugler a helmet I gave him a field cap and mounted his helmet on his belt.  The bugle I used is from Perry Miniature ACW cavalry and is left over from my Soviet Cavalry project.  I added the bugler because I found this picture while gathering resources and it was too cool not to duplicate.

from left to right; 2 x BTD British officer with head swap, BTD British officer with head swap and arm swap, Greek Orthodox Priest from Sgt. Major Miniatures.

BTD British medium and light mortars with head swaps.
BTD British and Russian artillery crew with head swaps.
Greek heavy artillery using a howtizer from Mad Bob Emmerson and BTD Russian crew with head swaps.  Note the collar taps are black for artillery, not red for infantry.
Greek medium artillery using a howtizer from Bob Emmerson and BTD British crew with head swaps

As you can see the head swaps worked incredibly well and have allowed me to add several additional units and character to my Greek army that I might otherwise not been able to get due to limitation of model ranges. The only down side to these head swaps is that it is contingent on you having left over Russian heads. If you don't play Russians or didn’t save the extra heads I would recommend getting extra Italian heads from Warlord. This is not the most cost effective ways of converting figures, at $1 a head, but if you only need a to convert a handful of figures it is an option. To be honest if I didn’t have a British light and medium mortar laying around I would have just bought the Italian ones from Warlord.  But since I had an extra British mortar team I made the conversion to save money, same goes for the extra infantry figures. Next time we will look at what I am using for my Greek AFVs so stay tuned.

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