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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bolt Action - German 'Aufklärungs' Army Project (Part 3)

Well it's been a busy month on this army project with the Panzer scouts very close to having the initial 1000pt army all painted up, just in time for Australia's largest ever Bolt Action event. In this installment I add the platoons HQ, the last Panzergrenadier squad, some support elements and even get started on the vehicles. For those who don't know this is part 3 in a series on my late war German platoon for Bolt Action. You can read Part 2 here.

Platoon HQ

I have gathered some great miniatures to represent my platoons Officer and his command group. The Officer and platoon sergeant are from Warlord Games Heer HQ (Winter). I love the officer figure, his fur coat and bearing really give him that arrogant Prussian officer look. I did convert the weapons on these towo miniatures to swap their MP40 SMG's for assault rifles. The third model is from the Artizan Designs late war German range.

Here are some photos from other angles, you can see I have used insignia and camouflage pattern trousers to add some characterful details. I have chosen a specific unit that my army represents; the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung Feldherrnhalle. The reconnaissance squadron of the Panzer Division named after the Field Marshal's Hall in Munich. This unit had a brown cuff title on the left sleeve with the divisions name, and was considered an elite unit of the Heer. I chose this unit because it fought most of it's war in Hungary, so I could then mix it with my large Hungarian collection.

4th Panzergrenadier squad

My initial army has 4 infantry squads of 5 Veteran Grenadiers. This is the 4th one now finished. It's carrying the common equipment of KR98 rifles and an MG42 light machine gun. The miniatures I chose are mostly from Warlord Games, specifically the 'Winter' range. The NCO is my favourite, he comes from this really characterful set called 'Raus' (out!). It's a hidden gem and I'll be using the rest of this set on my halftracks you'll see later.
Again, I have stuck to the one camouflage pattern (splitermuster) as this is a Heer unit, not the SS.

This LMG team is a great set, almost a mini diorama in the squad. It's not so good having the models bunched up like this with templates flying about in 2nd edition rules...but the one rule I care about most is the rule of cool! 

Sniper team

The last infantry unit for my initial army list is a sniper. I am working on this army for an upcoming event here in Australia which will feature an open format and 60 players! I really think snipers are essential in an Axis army list when you don't know what you'll face. There are always plenty of British artillery or American air observers out there waiting to ruin your day. My small force needs to operate close together in mutual support to succeed, so observers are one of the most effective enemy units I need to neutralize. I am hoping Hanz here will help me with that! Saying that...points are getting very tight and I may have to leave the sniper team out of the force for the least he is painted for future options and larger games.

I painted these latest units during the holiday period while visiting family in Munich, Germany. It was a pleasant surprise to see that my chosen basing scheme really matched the real world surroundings!

SDKFZ 250/1 halftracks

These halftrack transports are a huge part of what gives my platoon the 'recon scouts' feel. These smaller brothers of the iconic 251 halftracks were specifically made for the Aufklärungs troops. These are specifically the 'Neu' version made from 1943 onwards, a simplified design to ease production as resources dwindled.

I have used 1:48 scale vehicles for my German collection. I like the larger vehicles as I pretty much exclusively use infantry sculpts that are from the 'chunkier' metal ranges like Artizan Designs, so I feel they fit better with this scale. My Halftracks are from Blitzkrieg Miniatures 1:48 resin range.

The miniatures are clean casts, and minimal assembly with only 5 pieces in the kit (hull, front 2 wheels, MMG and gunshield). The Blitzkrieg Miniatures resin is great quality with no bubbles or broken bits...however be sure to prime them with an enamel primer (like JTFM models) or you will find that your paint can flake off if you use an acrylic spray primer.

I have added plenty of stowage, crew and passengers to my halftracks. I simply love this aspect of modelling vehicles as it helps each one tell a small story. For example I have some Panzergrenadiers leaping over the sides, these are from an obscure metal pack by Warlord Games called "Raus!" (meaning 'out!' in English), as well as the MG42's gunners, also from Warlord Games as separate metal miniatures. The stowage is a mix of plastic bits from Gemran infantry sets and some resin pieces from Czech company 'Black Dog'.

Panzer II Luchs

For a late war, reconnaissance platoons tank slot, what better vehicle than the Panzer II Luchs. Not many of these up-armoured Panzer II's were made, but the ones that were, all went to reconnaissance units of Panzer Divisions. So it's a great tank choice for my Aufklärungs platoon.

The miniature is a die-cast 1:48 model from Master Fighter (Gaso-line) in France. They are not cheap, but are great models. This one came with a very basic paint job, which I didn't mind, so I simply gave it the correct markings for my Feldherrnhalle Division and then proceeded to do a lot of weathering.
In game, the Luchs usually escorts my halftracks and acts as a target for my opponents AT by acting aggressively. It's light autocannon is also really cool with the new rules for HE and buildings in the 2nd edition rules. If I catch enemy infantry in the open, the additional dice for the Hitler's Buzzsaw special rule means it is kicking out 6 shots. This is also true of the halftracks, so three of them combined can lay down some serious supporting fire for the Panzergrenadiers after they deploy.

SDKFZ 234/3 armoured car

Last up is the platoons armoured car, another late war oddity - the SDKFZ 234/3 'stummel'. Based on the new 8-Rad chassis that the famous Puma uses, this is a turretless version packing a short barreled 75mm howitzer.

This will be the only real HE in the army, but being fast and maneuverable, I am hoping it can be brought to bear where it is needed most.

The miniature itself is from Warlord Games, and it's a really great kit. Very clean resin body cast with metal wheels, MMG and crew. The design of the wheels and axles is particularly good. You can see in the picture on the right that small plugs have been built into the resin body where the metal wheels attach. They hold the wheel in place very well so you won't super glue your fingers together trying to get the wheels to stay in place!

 Being a vehicle that was deployed in late 1944 I have chosen an appropriate camo scheme for it, the 'ambush' pattern.

Okay so that's all the new units for this month. I'll be taking this freshly painted new army to Cancon 2017 here in Australia alongside 59 other Bolt Action players. So next installment I will talk about the army list and how it went once the dice started rolling.

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