tisdag 30 januari 2018

20mm Plastic German Infantry for September 1939 - and thoughts about Battlegroup

The whole platoon assembled! Included is also a three men "Forward HQ" (the "alte häse" lacks a staff car though)
I've been working on my 20 mm (1:72/1:76 scale) figures during the end of last year. They were originally made for the Chain of Command ruleset (and I still intend to use them for that as well). However, lately I've been playing some Battlegroup, and while I'll mostly use my 15mm minis (FoW-figs) for that game I do like to play skirmish in 20mm, and BG is good for those 2-hour games.

Battlegroup is a great ruleset, a bit like a more detailed Flames of War - with much better army lists. I actually don't despise the rules in Fow V4 (in many ways they are a improvement over V3), but I do miss the historical feel of the earlier version (which I played for more than 7 years). This is mainly due to the simplified army lists and a community which more and more focuses on tournament play. This may work great for some, but I don't like seeing Italian desert troops squaring of against a Polish armoured train for example. I'd rather play a SF-game then (which I occasionally do). Somehow this is reflected in the rules and in the way the game is promoted. Back in the days, one could find "obscure" stuff like the Slovak fast division in a free PDF on the website. Now it's all just tanks, tanks, and tanks. And all that fender-to-fender driving! Playing wargames for me is a visual experience, and sadly most FoW-games look like one big tank park to me. But I won't judge anyone liking that, and I will also keep on playing my friendly games since FoW is a good way to play with larger formations without getting bogged down timewise.

Battlegroup, however, tries to give one the right historical "feeling" while not getting overly detailed. A small skirmish can be over with in a matter of 2 hours, even with me talking all the time.
One negative thing is that some of the rules could have been better explained - one is assumed to figure things out by one self. While it is nice to be trusted and given the opportunity to alter the rules to ones perception of historical reality, things like what is a team and what's not are confusing at times. The learning curve is at times a bit to steep because of that, even though the rules themselves are quite easy to get a grip on. But this is not unique for any wargame.
MG-team from FtF and Pegasus (the kneeling rifleman).
Back to the figures - these Germans are normal schutzen, nothing out of the ordinary here. They are made for the Polish campaign, September 1939, with jackboots, stone-grey trousers and feldgrau M36 jackets. All are armed with Kar-98's, with three MG-34's for support. The platoons back then were larger than the ones later on in the war, numbering whole 13 men per squad - and yes, it took ages to paint.
Left to right: Figures from First to Fight, Elheim (x2) and Pegasus

The figures are hard and soft plastic mainly (I was on a budget when I started this some two years ago) and are from several companies: First To Fight ("German Infantry 1939", "German Infantry Support Weapons" and "German Command") and Pegasus ("German Army Infantry 1939"). These are the only companies that make Germans that are actually for September 1939 - most manufacturers make miniatures with the "Y-straps" even for the early part of the ear while almost all photos from this period show no such straps (even in France). Since I intend to only use those in Poland, I want them to be more accurate for my chosen period.

MG-team from Pegasus

MG-team from First To Fight
 The FtF ones have some fun poses (not all though), but are somewhat lacking in some details (like the strap for gas mask container). The soft plastic is a bit off putting as well. Overall, their Polish infantry (seen in a earlier post on this blog, back when I started the project) is much better.
Pegasus miniatures

The Pegasus figures are a bit small, being 1/76 rather that 1/72 but since real men have different heights its not that much of a problem to me, especially since I've tried to keep them in separate squads. The plastic is quite hard, and requires some assembly. The poses are realistic, with many of the soldiers trying to keep a low profile. What I can't understand is the amount of guys armed with MP-38's, a weapon that was seldom used during the Polish campaign. Still, I've used one of those because "the rule of cool"... he's in the platoon HQ, of course. Someone got lucky!

The Elheim metal figures.
I also had three metal figures, from Elheim miniatures. Great sculpting as always, although some of the shovels seem a bit to small. Where it not for the Y-straps, I've would have bought even more of them. They do mix pretty well with the figures from FtF (though bit on the "heavy" side), but I wouldn't place them too close to the Pegasus ones.

Kneeling riflemen from (left to right): FtF, Elheim, Pegasus
Comparison of riflemen: FtF (left) and Pegasus (right)

Oh, and I do apologize for the photos - they are taken with my cellphone since taking out the camera is quite a process these days. I wanted to post some photos pretty quickly, rather than waiting another year before making an update ;)

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