Juergen Horn’s Winter German army, previously featured in Wargames Illustrated, is a fantastic demonstration of getting the most out of our Bolt Action plastic kits.
Juergen: “Hi, when Wargames Illustrated asked me whether they could do an Army Spotlight about my Stalingrad Army Project I was of course delighted. And I was also a bit scared because this Army is still WIP.
Before we proceed, a word of warning seems appropriate. I am a painter first and foremost, not a historian and a very bad player. So when I plan an Army, I at least try to avoid any big historical mistakes but only give very little thought on how good a unit will perform on the battlefield. Instead, I prefer only to paint what I like and keep to a general Theme. To get the right feeling for an Army I always (re)read some books on the topic or listen to some Audiobooks while painting. And of course, there are quite a few movies about the battle of Stalingrad one should watch. Personally I was mostly influenced by the old german movie “Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben” (Dogs, do you want to live forever?). That’s why I decided for this Army the theme was to paint a platoon from an Infantry Division. The poor footsloggers who always get overlooked by players for the Panzer Units with fancy names.
Also, I wanted to use only the Models from the German Infantry (Winter) Box from Warlord Games for the whole Army. Converting and combining different kits into a new Miniature is something I enjoy greatly.
For example, I converted the Panzerbüchsen-Team (Anti Tank rifle) using the Arms and weapons from the Soviet Infantry sprue. The germans used plenty of Soviet equipment to overcome their supply difficulties.
The MMG Team and the mortar team also used arms from the Soviet infantry, the design of the Coat is so similar there is hardly any difference. I had so much fun converting these Models, that I also started to build a crew for an Acht-Acht, here you can see a vital step of my painting process. I used a black wash over the whole model after I applied all the base colours. This gives a more “colder” finish to the final result than a brown wash, which I find more fitting for the winter theme.
After finishing the minimum requirements for a Bolt Action Army (Officer and two squads) I came across a history podcast dealing specifically with the Wehrmacht in a city fight, and how their tactics developed. Two points struck out for me, the use of 2 cm AA guns to suppress snipers and the formation of storming parties armed with lots of SMGs and Flamethrowers. That’s two things I want to include in my army as well. I have already converted and painted a Flamethrower Team, that will be expanded into a third Infantry Squad festooned with captured Russian SMGs and Schmeissers. And 3 Guys pushing a limbered 2 cm around like in “saving private Ryan”, only in greatcoats, are way too cool to miss out. Yes, I know that I cannot have 2 artillery guns in one platoon, but remember what I said earlier. I want to paint it so I am going to paint it anyway.
As you can see I am easily distracted and have way too many ideas to finish this army quickly. For example, in order to build the mortar, I bought a Sd.KFz 251/8 because I knew that I could build a normal Sd.Kfz 251/1 and a dismounted mortar from that kit. But it´s the D variant, that was not used in Stalingrad, so I had to build a little diorama with it.
And while building it I also painted some late war germans to go with the Stalingrad boys. This would enable me to use the Army for other Battles (Hürtgenwald, Ardennes, Charkow) later in the war as well. Luckily the German Infantry (Winter) Box has the options for this as well.
Erratic as this approach may seem, it protects me for painter’s block. When I do not feel like painting Infantry, I paint a Tank or vice versa. This way I always get something done.
So, a start has been made, and the next steps are planned:
- Paint the Mortar.
- Build and paint the storming party (I will use the rules for pioneers for this).
- Finish the Acht Acht.
That would give me 800 points worth of Models, so room enough for a nice little Sturmgeschütz… Maybe I will get a second chance to show the finished Army.”