Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A small WW2 Diversion...

Artizan Designs 8th Army

I've always been slightly dubious about gaming World War 2 (or indeed any "modern" conflict) and still feel slightly queasy about people who build, for example, large SS units for the tabletop. However, as I have said before, both my father and uncle fought (actually fought) in World War 2 and this, added to the two WW2 novels I have just read, got me searching around in the lead pile for the pack of Artizan 8th Army figures I bought in a sale at one of the shows a year or two ago.

Thinking that the Norway campaign (which my uncle fought in) might make for some good skirmishes (having just read James Holland's The Odin Mission) I also ordered the Crusader Rate of Fire Rules as a pdf, although, sadly they seem to involve counters; which I detest on a wargames board. Maybe I will use the Great War rules instead as the Norway campaign had very little armour (none on the British side) so we are really just talking about infantry and artillery. I also ordered a squad of early British infantry from BEF Miniatures which arrived very quickly.

BEF's excellent early war British Squad. Seven rifleman (including an NCO) and a Bren gunner.
Mike Owen sculpted both the 8th Army and the BEF early British but they are somewhat different in style. With the BEF figures he went for more proportional rifles which makes them look much nicer than the over-sized guns and (especially) bayonets on the 8th Army figures. However, it's a small range so I will have to look for things like machine guns elsewhere. Crusader Miniatures do early British although they don't have the characteristic chest-carried gas mask cases which the BEF ones do.
For the Germans, Crusader do early WW2 figures (including MG 34 teams) and Artizan do figures in greatcoats (although the Norwegian campaign was in April and May it was still quite snowy). The figures I am really interested in, however, are the Brigade Games German mountain troops, which will be an unusual alternative.
The Artizan figures are easy to paint but I did have some trouble finding suitable paints in the Humbrol range. As a reference I have Brayley and Ingram's excellent Khaki Drill and Jungle Green which poses people in genuine WW2 uniforms. The nature of photographic reproduction being what it is, however, meant that in different pictures the uniforms the troops wore in North Africa looked completely different. I suspect mine are a bit too dark but it was either that or much too pale. I am happier with the colour of the webbing which definetely had a green tint to it. Here I mixed some Humbrol 72 (khaki drill) with Humbrol 120 (pale green) for the right shade. I have now based the rest of the 8th Army pack and have already started the Norway British (I've now painted their skin and the uniform base colour since I took this picture). Finding the correct colour for them was much easier, Humbrol 26, but theire is a surprising difference from my current tin and the one I am used on my WW1 British.

Although I am not going to get that many figures done for May I have quite a lot nearly finished so in the next week or so I hope to complete my Great Northern War Russian Command, my Elizabethan gun and crew, a couple of Norman Knights, some more Zulus and Zulu War British and my Wars of the Roses cannon.


  1. Very nice. I've stayed clear of WW2 partly for the same reason and also because of the lack of colour - everything's tan, drab, khaki etc. I also don't understand whty many people seem fixted by modelling the SS and the Eastern Front when there are so many other more interesting alternatives. If I ever turn my attention to WW2 it will be to the Greek or N. African campaigns or the far east.

  2. Hey Legatus. You can get some nice 8th Army figures from Battle Honors.


    My link to my blog has a mix of the Australian and Brit figures, and DAK. The pictures right down the bottom of the page are the best ones to check out. The BH range has everything you will need.


  3. Rats (desert rats?!) just for a minute there I thought you were going to go hell for leather into WWII North Africa... it's not too late of course to change your mind, think of the benefits - you can re-use your Sudan scenery... :o)

    Giles (and yourself) are correct of course about SS and suchlike - I've always been attracted to the more esoteric theatres/units of the war rather than D-Day or Eastern Front or SS or Tiger tanks - I started with Blitzkrieg era France skirmishes, but soon went back to North Africa - early period for preference - the "war without an enemy".

    If I was to choose another theatre though, Crete would be a strong contender...