This might not make a huge amount of sense to you all right now, but please hang in there. It should become clear eventually!
For the figure project I’ve used a mixture of Great War Miniatures (GWM) late war German infantry with a few late war Germans from Renegade Miniatures figures thrown in for good measure. I find that these mix pretty well on the table top. We’ve found that there’s so much going on in the terrain that small, incremental sculpting differences between the GWM and Renegade figures don’t stand out in and are pretty hard to spot in practice.
I spent more time worrying about the equipment on the figures I was using. I tried to ensure that the section of troops to be used to occupy the intact bunker was in light kit. By contrast, for the troops defending the ruined bunker (for a later scenario) I turned to gas masked German troops in heavier kit. This looked about right to my eyes, possibly reflecting the arrival of troops advancing from a rear trench line to support the hard pressed forward troops.
I based the figures with a variety of materials. For the intact position troops, I simply based with sand and cardboard – the latter representing wood planking and duckboards. For the destroyed position troops, I made up some section of shattered reinforced concrete using off-cuts of Styrofoam and twisted wire grille of the same type as I ‘ve used to represent the reinforcing wire used in the bunker’s construction. This should (finger crossed) enable the destroyed position troops to fit in well with their destroyed environment.
I also added a German Company or Battalion Command section comprising five figures. The basing for this 60mm diameter base is a bit of a compromise to enable me to use it with the intact or the destroyed position.
Next, I got a little disheartened with the whole project – yes, it does sometimes happen - and decided to rekindle my flagging mojo. I looked through the drawer of German troops and dug out some very decent Renegade figures of German flammenwerfer teams. Flammenwerfers appear to have been used mainly as a central resource in German Divisions on the Western Front and would not be used in penny packets. Rather, the use of flammenwerfer would have been at the apex of a Gegenangriff, or counter-stroke, planned carefully in advance and often using multiple devices. The junior officers in charge of the flamethrower teams were permitted to exercise considerable discretion over how the weapons would be used and the overall tactical plan for the flammenwerfer deployment.
I put three of the Renegade teams together, swapping their heads for gas masked versions. I also, I’m a little embarrassed now to say, “steampunked-up” the larger flammenwerfer with the addition of a new scratchbuilt pipe. I have no excuse for this at all, except that I thought it was fun to do and that I thought the end result would look appropriately industrial when the team is deployed on the table. I’m sure there’s worse, more unhistorical things I could have done, but anyway – that’s my confession for the day!
I finished the flammenwerfer teams’ bases with some more of the shattered concrete and twisted wire grille combination to make them fit with the troops from the destroyed bunker position.
I undercoated the figures in matt black despite my earlier undercoating experiments in grey primer for my Dark Age Saxons. While I liked working with the grey undercoat, I feel that to change undercoating at this stage with the Great War figures is a bit later in the day. So, I painted on a Humbrol black enamel undercoat on the figures, ready for the painting process.
I did, however, undercoat a series of German casualty bases in the Halfords Grey Primer as an experiment. Here they are, with an almost completed casualty figure (the blood looks a little lurid to me, and I need to tone it down). It’ll be interesting to see how the casualty bases turn out alongside the black undercoated figures.
Next up, the final work on the bunker and terrain board before painting begins in earnest. Hopefully I'll have a little more time over the weekend, if not sooner, to show some more results. Until then, mes braves ...