Sunday, 13 November 2011

German Support Weapons and Stosstruppen

You might be wondering what happened to the German support weapons and Stosstruppen I’d started in August after getting back from holiday. These chaps languished in black undercoat for a long time from the first flush of priming and basing in the summer while I finished off a couple of terrain boards.

However, I finally got around to finishing them in mid-October and was waiting for a good time to blog the final results.

So, the above photographs show (left to right) a Maxim MG08 heavy machine gun, a Mauser 13.1mm anti-tank rifle of late Great War vintage, a 7.58cm Leichter Minenwerfer n/A, a heavy flammenwerfer and a granatenwerfer m16. I was hoping that these support weapons would provide German forces with some different support options and concentrations of firepower in our wargames and mini-campaigns, particularly when faced with a significant number of allied tanks in late 1917 and 1918.

The figures are all from Great War Miniatures, and painted up very nicely. I’d painted each of the models before, so this was a little bit like déjà-vu coming back to the same castings and trying to add something different.

I decided that the easiest way to do this was to try and add some small touches. So, on the minenwerfer I super-glued a thin piece of wire from the gunner’s hand to the minenwerfer. Simple, I thought it added a bit of realism.

On the granatenwerfer I added a splintered chunk of reinforced concrete fortificiation, suggesting that the two-man granatenwerfer team had located to a disused concrete bunker on the Siegfried Stellung. I'd already done one granatenwerfer team with a similar chunk of concrete on the base, so this continued the theme. I also took this approach because I'd read that the granatenwerfer m16s tended to be deployed in a cluster, from four weapons to as many as sixteen, the distinctive sound of the grenades in flight being called "pigeons" by the French.

For the flammenwerfer team, I tried to create the effect of trench duckboards with some “grey-stuff” epoxy putty.

For both the maxim MG08 and the Mauser 13.1mm anti-tank rifle, I just added some ground detail to build up the bases.

Each of the support weapons was based entirely before painting. The big advantage of this approach is that when you have finished painting the figures themselves, you have really finished the whole model. There’s no figures hanging around awaiting basing (something I always dread and hate). The downside with gluing everything in place is that some part of the model can be very hard to paint because … well, because everything’s glued in place! I admit I did get frustrated painting the MG08 heavy machine gun because of this, but in the end it was adequately compensated (at least to my mind) up by finishing the model and not needing to base anything at the end.

One additional point in favour of the “glue everything in place first” approach is that while you do end up with a very small part of the being painted in shade colouring (such as, for example, where you can’t physically get your brush into a small nook, fold or crack), this is more than made up by you not noticing this when the models are on a wargames table 3 feet away.

Finally, I finished off a dozen Stosstruppen I’d been meaning to do for a while. Nothing remarkable about these. The figures are Great War Miniatures. The helmet designs are from the late war period (basically 1918). While the colours are a little bit speculative, they do look good and there is evidence for something similar on the Landships website.


  1. Lovely..just lovely...the basing ..everything..!!

  2. Agree with Paul: basing is wonderful; well not only the basing, the painting and also the nice little details. Basing is actually one of the most important pieces for the minis to go from looking "just right" to looking "great indeed". I think my next project is going to be to work on the bases of my around 150 WWI (British and German) minis

  3. Wow!!!!! I'm afraid to say it makes me sick, just how beautiful these figures are, you are far too talented Sir!!!!! Can you lend me some of it?

  4. Outstanding work, they all look great and I'm loving the little details.
    Keep up the great work.

    All the best


  5. Really nice figures. Outstanding painting and basing.

  6. Superb all around. You even make me reconsider GW miniatures again after I ditched them as unsuitable for painting. But then again, I would never get them this good anyway...Cheers, Michael

  7. Wonderful, wonderful work. So much thought and skill given to the entire unit. Really inspirational stuff.

  8. Simply wonderful!Excellent job in capturing the atmosphere on each base.


  9. Beautiful painting. Really really like them.

  10. Thanks everyone for the comments. I really appreciate them.

    @Paul and Benito - the basing is important. Best of all, though, it's both fairly easy to do and cheap. I think everything on these bases was collectively purchased for less than £5 (except the "grey stuff" epoxy putty) and has been used for all of the Great War models I've done this year.

    @Ray - you don't need to be lent any talent at all, mate. You've got buckets of it!

    @Airhead - Thank you! Great to hear from you again - I'm still loving your own Blog!

    @Beccas, Michael, Christopher and Rodger - thank you very much. Hope you enjoy what's coming soon from me just as much!

    @MiniMike - cheers mate. Great War Miniatures are very nice models but there are two (potential) drawbacks, I have found. First, they do need a fair amount of cleaning-up to get rid of flash, mould-lines, metal drizzles and the like. Nothing too painful, but enough to be mildly annoying. They have got better, but they're still not as easy to clean-up as say, Musketeer. Second, they take longer to paint because of the very fine detail. I guess for some models that's a plus, but sometimes when you just want to get a lot done at once it can be a minus. On the whole, though, and looking at the Great War miniatures as a range, I'd still say they are (i) wonderful models; (ii) historically accurate; and (iii) a real bonus to the Great War wargamer. Oh, and Mike - yes you would get them just as good if not better, mate!

  11. Very nice figs and I love the bases! Oddly enough there is an identical authentic "Leichter Minenwerfer" parked outside of the old library here in Franklin, TN...even has the same color scheme! lol

  12. Inspirational work, thank you. I'm very much enjoying meandering through your blog. I think I may have to delve into some of those Great War castings - for no other reason than they look so characterful.

  13. Superb painting. I love the way your bases and uniforms use contrasting colours to give life to what has traditionally been considered a "dull" wargaming period. I have a ton of Foundry figs to paint up for this period. If I hadn't invested in them so heavily years ago, I'd definitely be tempted by GW.

  14. Thanks for the kind comments guys.

    @Curt - I am greatly enjoying your Blog also. I particularly liked the trench sections you did. I tried to drop you an email about them, but could not find a link to email on your site. If you get a moment, please drop me a line as I had a question about your wonderful muddy water effects!

    @Derk - thanks so much mate. Great to see you at Crisis!

    @Kevin - that's very kind, Sir! It's funny what you say about some people identifying the Great War being a "dull" period for wargaming. I used to think that way as well, and I have a lot of sympathy for that view. Drab uniforms, dull tactics, horrific slaughter and a bad taste in the mouth from gaming the period. Like a lot of things, the first impression isn't entirely correct . The uniforms, while drab, still come to life with careful painting. The tactical development between the various combatants is very interesting (particularly to my mind at the small unit level), and is covered in some excellent and readable history books. The industrialisation of killing which was seen in the War is indeed horrific, and my own (very personal view) is that wargaming the conflict needs to be approached with a lot of sensitivity and respect. It was and remains a pivotal, tragic and challenging time in the history of Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, in the community where I live and in my own family - and for those reasons, if for no other, it has a particular resonance when you attempt to recreate the actions from the War on the tabletop.

  15. Hmm, I'm afraid you may have me confused with another (assuredly more talented) fellow. I do indeed have a blog, but I don't think I have anything on trenches or muddy water (other than my comments on our own 'variable' prairie weather). Nonetheless, please come by for a visit - I'd be honoured as I really admire your work.


  16. Those are rather grand, the support weapon bases in particular are fantastic. I like wheels for the mortar, are these from your bits box or did you buy them specifically?

  17. I must say - I am really impressed by your blog - subject matter/info / guides and photographs - great inspiration. Could you confirm the make of the large circular 2/3 man bases - I'm seeking something similar for a new PacWar project I hope to start.

  18. @Simes - thanks for the kind comment. You're very welcome. Until recently, all the round bases I have been using have been from Litko Areosystems in the US. The bases have been perfect, and the service has been first class. At Crisis 2011 in Antwerp I met a really great guy from Falkirk Scotland ( who supplies the same bases in MDF (not wood like Litko) but far cheaper and without the risk of UK customs charges on importation. In furture I'll continue using both Litko and Warbases, and I'd be happy recommending both. I use the 3mm bases on all my figures as it makes the figures easier to pick up, which is a plus if you've a good paint-job on them and they're used in club or participation gaming.


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