Monday, October 21, 2013

15mm WWII Late War Germans in Winter Gear

Being a complete muppet, I collect WWII in a variety of scales (five at last count <cringe>). There's really is no rhyme or reason to it. Like some caffeine-addled 4-year old with a credit card, if I come across a great model or an interesting figure I often pick it up without any sensible concern to its compatibly, theme, etc. It's really quite pathetic.

Anyway, Greg and I have been wanting to put together something for winter-themed WWII skirmish games for years, but I didn't want to commit to a larger scale for what would basically be a niche 'period'. While I usually prefer 20/28mm scale for infantry-based games, the cost in vehicles and terrain can quickly skyrocket out of control. So with this in mind I suggested that we go with 15mm as I think it's a good compromise between figure detail, table scale and cost.  I also liked the idea as it gave me reason to dig out some of my old Battlefront stuff that I've been sitting on for years. I'm not a huge fan of the FoW rules so this was a great excuse for me to repurpose their figures for something that I might actually get some use out of.

One thing I knew when deciding to go with 15mm is that while the vehicles and terrain are relatively easy to identify, many players find the infantry too small to clearly make out what they are carrying for weapons and equipment. With this in mind I drew upon what I've been doing with my greyscale WWI project, where I've been mounting the officers and NCOs on relatively easy-to-spot hexagonal bases (an idea I shamelessly nicked from the very talented Sidney Roundwood). So, for 15mm I decided to expand on this concept using a variety of base-shapes to denote various equipment and roles.

Hexagonal bases for Senior NCOs / Officers,

Square bases for Junior NCOs,

Round bases for Riflemen (I have about 36 of these fellows),

...and Oblong bases for Weapons Teams and Specialists,

I'm also using an octagonal base (not shown) for unique weapons that could be carried within a standard rifle unit. For example, late-war German Volkssturm could quite conceivably have a mix of rifles, assault rifles and SMGs within a squad. This dog's breakfast of equipment can cause a bit of a muddle when trying to figure out various weapon capabilities in the middle of a game. So I figure the assault rifles, SMGs, etc. would be mounted on octagonal bases for quick identification. I'm also using a larger round base for heavy weapons and spotters.

So with these different shapes of bases I'm hoping that our players will have an easier time identifying what's on the tabletop.

I also 'wintered-up' an early model Marder III to give the infantry platoon a little more punch against the mass of armour that they'll be facing. 

Marders abandoned outside Stalingrad, 1943.
I've always liked the topheavy silhouette of the Marder - it looks so ungainly yet still very lethal. Greg and I were chatting about the Marder's armour stats that we find in many rules systems and determined that any successful hit would require another roll to see if it struck the upper superstructure of the Marder. 

We reason that since the Marder's upper structure was nothing more than a glorified gun shield any strikes there should have a much better chance of penetrating than those hitting the better-armoured hull. This, we think, would better model the Marder: a formidable fighter but with a glass jaw.

Well, there you have it. A sample of my winter themed German force. I'm going to ask Greg to post up some of his Soviets in a few days, so you can see what he's come up with for this little side project of ours.