Andy Singleton shows us an amazingly themed army with plenty of conversion goodness!
I’ve long wanted to do a late war German Heer force based around a Volksgrenadier division that is well equipped, and just about to be consumed by the last days of fighting during World War 2. With this aim in mind, I started collecting this force around a year ago, using the plastic Grenadiers and metal Veteran Grenadier set. This was before the new metal Volksgrenadier set was released, however I’ve since acquired these and they have worked their way into my winter SS force…
With the release of the new Battle of the Bulge campaign book, I’ve been pouring through pictures of the campaign getting some modelling inspiration in readiness for the new book. Following a challenge from the dastardly Nick Simmerson to a Battle of the Bulge game, I set to readying my Volksgrenadier for the new campaign. Currently my force has a fairly generic theme, though I’ve kept them fairly ready for foul weather with many of the figures wearing Zeltbahn ponchos, and a few with greatcoats.
My lieutenant is made using the body of a plastic winter Russian, and a few other members of the force have arms drawn from various parts of my bits box.
My favourite is the MG team firing over the shoulder of his number 2, this was made very simply by using arms from the grenadier set, and just positioning them in slightly unusual ways and pairings.
The Sniper team is also straight out of the Volksgrenadier box, and whilst looking at the bodies I thought it would fun to make a team that is sneaking into position and looking around cautiously rather than in the traditional firing type poses.
The current centrepiece of the army is the Nebelwerfer. I like my guns to always be small dioramas, and this was no exception. I wanted to give this some real presence especially, so for the scenic base, I used a 20mm thick polystyrene cut to match the size of the base so it can stand out on top, before then chopping a wedge out and lining this with sand bags to create a dug out with some Renedra plastic sand bags.
I coated the polystyrene with several fairly-thick coatings of PVA glue for a few days to protect it from primer, and then coated it in more PVA and sand. This gave me a tough enough base to fit the too Nebelwerfer before priming.
For the stone work and collapsed walls on the MG42 and Mortar bases I simply glued some cork chunks to the base, very quick (cheap!) and simple scenery!
Core of the force is a trio of Volksgrenadier squads, each 8 men strong, two of which have an LMG, whilst the third has a pair of Panzerfausts, and roughly emulates a well-equipped assault platoon in late 1944.
For armour support, I’ve added the ubiquitous StuG III, though I may well switch that for a Hetzer, additionally, as well as a squad of Begliet infantry, I could say they are there for a tactical role, but mainly I just think they are cool, and that beats any other reason…
With the army at this stage, it was now time for me to start thinking about how to tailor it to the bulge. Whenever I start collecting an army, one of the key stages is to think what is iconic or at least representative of that force in the particular campaign.
For a German force in the Battle of the Bulge, Volksgrenadier, Waffen SS grenadiers, and commandos in US uniforms, and Ersatz Panthers are the things that spring immediately to mind, fortunately, having a large collection means I have most of these to hand, but with my army already being around 1000 points, some things would have to go so I can fit in the others. Currently I’m leaning to definitely adding an Ersatz Panther and dropping the StuG and Begliet infantry, but I’d like to use the Charlemagne SS figures too, as these are some of my favourites that warlord has produced (We’ll have to pretend the PPSH41 isn’t there, Shhh…).
In part two I’ll talk about the decisions I finally settled on, and share some pictures of how I tied a force of disparate models together with some temporary basing tweaks, and let you know how they fared in our game.
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Germany’s last stand!