Hey guys, welcome to North Africa! I'll be taking you through my latest platoon for Bolt Action. Rommel's much vaunted veterans, the Afrika Korp. What you see is the initial 1000pts or so, a kind of minimum standard size for games. I began painting this army in November with the intention of taking it to Australia's largest Bolt Action event, Cancon, in late January 2016. I've managed to avoid painting in the hotel room the night before the event so I am happy. This was mainly due to my method of painting the infantry.
Because I spent most of my free time painting the miniatures, I haven't had many games with them. In fact I had to send my army list in before I had played a single game with this army. So the units I have here are a collection that follows the 'rule of cool'. First up, leading the way as usual, you see here the Assault Pioneers. Most of my infantry miniatures are from the Artizan Designs Afrika Korp range. It's pretty extensive and you won't end up with many duplicates, which is a down side of metal miniatures. Artizan doesn't have specific Pioneer miniatures so I have taken guys armed how I wanted and added Pioneer equipment to mark them out. I have backpacks from the Warlord Games German Pioneer set, and landmines and anti tank grenades from the Assault Group's German accessories range. The flame thrower and mine sweeper are from Crusader miniatures. I have decided to run them mounted in an armoured halftrack. This is a 1:48 scale plastic model from Tamiya, which scales well with the larger-sized miniatures that Artizan makes.
I imagine this as a typical Afrika Schutzen platoon. These motorised infantry platoons were the heart of the Afrika Korp and worked closely with the Panzers. Rommel re-organised these units so every platoon had it's own anti-tank capability, most commonly a Pak 36 or 38 and an anti-tank rifle integrated into the infantry platoon itself.
This meant that the infantry units were self-sufficient in the swirling war of movement that was common in the desert. They could take care of themselves and leave the Panzers free to wreak havoc, not perform constant rescue missions for their 'little brothers' in the infantry. So you see here I have included a medium AT gun in the form of Warlord Games Pak 38.
Here is the platoons anti-tank rifle team. These are Crusader miniatures with one head swap from a Warlord Games German head with the field cap. These may not worry tanks but they are great for holding off enemy recce vehicles and transports.
Here are the Afrika Schutzen squads themselves. Historically each platoon formed into three squads, each with two MG34 teams within them. Again these are all Artizan Designs miniatures, you can see there is a huge variety in equipment and poses. They are easy to paint with the details being very pronounced in the sculpting. They take well to washes. Again, here is my step by step painting guide that explains how I painted this army.
In game terms there isn't a specific 'Afrika Korp' unit entry, so you need to make your choice on how you want them to be represented and find the closest unit to that. I want to run my guys as Veterans with access to two LMG's each, as they had. So I chose the 'Veteran Grenadiers' unit entry, it's a late war one but just don't take panzerfausts and assault rifles and you'll be fine.
The Afrika Schutzen (Africa Rifle) platoons were all fully motorised in various makes of trucks, many even captured from the Allies! Here you can see my first truck painted up. It's a Henschel truck from Minairons, a resin 1:56 scale kit. Very clean cast but very large in size! I have a Rubicon Opel Blitz to do next and then I want to include some form of captured British truck, the motley collection should give the right feel.
The platoon commander and his 2iC. To give the Commander a bit of personality I sculpted a beard with some greenstuff based off a photo I found with a really cool looking DAK officer sporting one. The third gentlemen you see in the command HQ section there, well he's rather mysterious...simply known as 'the man from Berlin', he is here to make sure the Fuhrer gains possession of some important ancient artifacts...I'll reveal more next week with a second article all about it.
Attached to the Afrika Schutzen platoon is an amoured group from the 21st Panzer DIV. I wanted to capture that fast moving feel of the DAK by including lots of mobile units in this army. So you'll see there is a Panzer III, a Sdkfz 222 light armoured car and a squad of motorcycle mounted infantry, the Kradschutzen.
I see these units all working together to race out and grab vital objectives or just cause havoc. This mobile group has some recce, anti-tank and infantry to claim objectives in missions that need it. We'll see how it works in reality though!
The Panzer III was the iconic tank of the DAK, so I had to include it. This one is again a 1:48 scale Tamiya plastic kit. I discovered a great company making resin stowage sets for these kits, called Black Dog. They really add something special to your vehicles for no real effort.
The Kradschutzen are from Warlord Games. They really are great miniatures and should be a fun unit to learn how to use, they certainly are like no other infantry in the game.
Being regulars, I have taken a squad of 8 to hopefully make them a bit more survivable if they find themselves exposed to enemy fire.
The guys in the sidecars can shoot while the unit is on the move, so I have included 2 SMGs and an LMG to give them some sting.
This is a behind the scenes pic from the photo shoot for this article. I wanted to show you guys how you can set up great photos with just your normal wargames terrain and your mobile phone and some tin foil! The key thing here is I took the photos outside using natural sun light, but it was diffused, not directly on the table. This avoids getting harsh shadows. If you are finding it's looking too dark, grab some tin foil and wrap it around a book or something stiff, use this to reflect light onto the front of your miniatures to lighten them up. You can see my sophisticated piece of photography equipment in the left of the pic. I have set up my wargames terrain for the backgrounds of the shots, and simply used a blue beach chair as the sky. Improvisation is another key element with photographing your miniatures. In the end the world will only see what is in the frame you crop. Lastly, these pictures were all taken using my mobile phones camera. No SLR here, just an iphone 5. So nothing stopping you guys, get out there and take some pictures of your army to share on the Facebook groups or on our forum.
I'll have another article on my Afrika Korp next week, discussing some rather special objective markers I have made for this army. Until then, if you have any questions or some of your own DAK to share, join me on the forum!