Wednesday, 9 January 2013

German Stosstruppen and French Casualties

Just a quick update of my first tranche of figures for Curt’s AnalogueHobbies 2013 Painting Challenge for anyone who missed them when Curt posted them on his excellent blog.


There’s a 1918-vintage polygot selection of German Stosstruppen with MP18 Bergmann sub-machine guns, a German sniper, a couple of German Mauser Tankgewehr M1918 13.2mm anti-tank rifles and part of a “ditched” crew of an A7V tank, all in 25/28mm. These are effectively some of the “odds and ends” I’ve had around which I just wanted to get done before the main event. Think of them as a canapé with light champagne before the French arrive proper!



I played around with a couple of things here. The green-stuff German camouflage cloak on the spotter for the double-based anti-tank rifle is improvised, but not completely unrealistic I hope. I used something similar on some German snipers in 2012, and I thought it fairly likely that the Mauser Tankgewehr M1918 would have selected their targets with similar sniper-like stalking skills – at least as far as their huge weapon would have allowed them.



The camouflage cape on the sniper matches the terrain colours of our gaming boards and the improvised painted-on camouflage on German helmets in 1918.

The German tank crew figures are from Old Glory. This is the only manufacturer (to my knowledge) making 25/28mm German tank crews with their distinctive overalls. As sculpts go they fit size and dimensions-wise perfectly with Great War Miniatures figures. They’re quite reasonable sculpts and the images on the Old Glory site don’t really do the figures justice. They paint up very easily, and the officer has some super facial details. As many of the A7V tank crews transferred from other units, I’ve painted him in the uniform of a JägerSturmBataillon officer in some rather jazzy regimentals.



Et les Francais? Ah, well, I wanted to test Horizon Bleu on a couple of casualty figures first – mixing Vallejo Neutral Gray with Vallejo Mirage Blue seems to give a reasonable result, adding black and white to shade and highlight. So there are a couple of fallen Poilu on the bases as well, each scratch-built from a generic casualty figure.


Let me know what you think to my attempts at Horizon Bleu! I have already tinkered around with what you see here to add a little more highlighting. 

More, later in the week.....

39 comments:

  1. I like the blue! It works well, great work on the figures!

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  2. Great looking camo on those German snipers. The Horizon Bleu is a very tricky colour to make looking convincing but that appear pretty spot on. Thanks for sharing the paint info.

    regards,
    Matt

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    1. Thanks Matt. The German camo is a bit impressionistic (or maybe that should be expressionistic!), but I had a lot less problems with that than the Horizon Bleu!

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  3. Greate work on those minis Sidney !

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael. I really appreciate the comment!

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  4. Great work overall, the French looks good... although... a good omen for your games to start with a casualty figure?? :-(

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    1. Benito, thank you! I never thought about the symbolism of having two dead Poilu as the opening painting subjects! You have now got me worried! Rest assured the next Poilu here will be very much alive!

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  5. Sidney, your figures look stunning, as always. I'm not sure about your Horizon Bleu. It looks too grey. One of the things that stunned me about horizon bleu when I saw some in museums was just how blue it was. I had always thought it was a bluey-grey like you have here, but it is a darker shade of blue than sky blue. Different items of equipment did vary in shade, but I can't imagine a whole uniform being grey. Sorry to be critical in my first comment on your blog which I have been enjoying for ages...

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    1. Natholeon, thank you very much for the comment, and welcome to the world of blog commenting! I really do appreciate your thoughts - I wanted people to do exactly what you've just done, which is to offer their honest opinion. Thank you so much for doing that. Please don't think you're being critical in a negative way - I know you're not.

      Like you, I've seen Horizon Bleu in museums, and I know exactly what you mean about the material being really quite blue. At the same time, from the few reconditioned and re-tinted colour photographs which I have seen, the material does sometimes looks to be more bluey-grey. I'm aware there's a little bit of a compromise in going for a bluey-grey and claiming that's a "campaign look". But that feels to be a bit of a cheat, as none of the other Great War figures I have painted have a "campaign look" about them.

      After thinking about it, what I might do is paint up a variety of test subjects. and post these on the blog for people to have a look at. Fingers crossed that I get near to a final version in the next tranche!

      And thanks, again, for commenting.

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  6. Hello Sidney!

    Brilliant work, up to your usual high standard, especially with the basing and with the camo on the German helmets. The greenstuff sniper cape looks convincing.
    I'm not qualified to comment on the French blue, except to say that what might be very blue in a museum might be much dimmed due to exposure to weather, mud, etc. But I don't know.
    As for the Poilu figure, I noticed that there were several wine bottles beside him. I will continue to hope that he is simply passed out from trop de vin, and not in fact dead. Looking forward to see more French.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. Thanks Mike! I know exactly what you mean about colours being dimmed once you get them into the field - that was the effect I was trying to get towards. As for the wine bottles, it is entirely plausible that he has collapsed under the vast quantity of Haut-Medoc he has consumed on the advance along the Voie Sacrée. I added the bottles as a bit of an afterthought to represent pinard, but I am fairly sure the rough red wine for the Poilu would have been carried in something more sensible than glass bottles!

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  7. Hi Sidney

    Thanks for a stunning blog. I stumbled over it before Christmas and I used all my spare time in the holidays to read and study it. You have provided a blog that makes the trench war accessible - at least to me. Your work has inspired me to start WW1 wargaming again after a long period of fatigue.

    Here are some of my minis:
    http://societyofgentlemengamers.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5894

    http://societyofgentlemengamers.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5956

    I did start up again on my early war stuff after reading you blog and will continue this year with late war stuff due to your work and communication - thanks again.

    Reese

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    1. Reese, thank you, that's very kind indeed - and Welcome to the blog! Your Jaegers and BEF are most splendid - some fantastic painting there and I am sure they'll grace any early war table. I'm glad you've started up with the Great War again - it's a really interesting period, full of surprises and with lots of potential. Great to have you along!

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    2. Thanks for your reply. I am very interested in the role of the cavalry and hope to do some late war modelling and gaming with BEF cavalry / Imperial Stormtroopers. Not sure if this really happend ...

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  8. Sidney, A great selection of figures. I particularly like your bold, high contrast approach to basing which makes a feature of the entire piece, figure and scenic setting. Superb. Some lovely touches with the wine bottles! Like Reese, you have inspired me into the trenches. The Falklands will reach its climactic end by April. I will be gaming cold war as a participant in a campaign being run by Cardiff wargamers, but I will certainly be joining the Roundwood Pals (Service) Battalions some time this year! Aye, Rusty

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    1. Rusty, you're very welcome, and thank you very much for the kind comments. You're more than welcome into the Roundwood Pals (Service) Battalion! It's great to have you, and everyone else along, as I'm sure it's going to be a great year for wargaming all aspects of the Great War, with new figure ranges planned and people getting more interested as the Centenary approaches.

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  9. Beautiful work as ever, the horizon blue on the "blesse" looks the same shade as my repro kit which has been in mud, sun and all weathers

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    1. Kieran - thank you! That's the sort of very helpful, practical info that I was looking for! Fantastic stuff, and thanks again.

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  10. With the bottles of wine on the French Casualty base, I take it that imbibing 4 bottles are what dropped this fella. Very beautiful work Sidney!

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    1. Terry, it is possible that he has over indulged! Hors de combat, either way, sadly!

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  11. Just remember that colour doesn't scale. You could have a swatch of Horizon blue and match it exactly, for definitions of exactly that might be a bit flexible, but as soon as you put it on a model that is 1/60th the size, it will look too dark. So cut yourself some slack, sit back and imbibe from the warmth of all the positive comments.

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    1. Ashley, that is a really important and very valid point, which I've (temporarily) lost sight of. Thanks for bringing me back on track. I need to remember that people are going to be looking at the figures from at least 2 or 3 feet away, and they really need to "pop" on the terrain. Time to get the next tranche finished and to lay them on the terrain so you can see how they look. Thanks again!

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  12. Sidney, I found an article on a French uniform specialist site www.151ril.com/content/gear/uniform/13 which includes an article derived from official records giving the history of Horizon Blue. Have a look, but in brief "Horizon Blue" never was one shade. The French Army needed 17 million metres of cloth nearly 10 million metres had to be sourced overseas. It was supplied by GB, Spain and the USA each of which supplied grey-blue cloth as close as could be produced to the French requirement. The official French "drap tricolore" (later recorded as blea clair which history records as Horizon Blue), was woven from threads of three colours, 35% unbleached white, 15% indigo and 50% light blue. Even French produced cloth varied widely in shade and often faded due to the natuire of dyes used. I suggest you read the article whereupon you will realise that you were all correct. Stands to reason that there would be inconsistency when trying to clothe multi-million man mobilised conscript armies! Cheers, Rusty

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    1. Rusty, that's a great find! Thanks so much! I'm going to have a read tonight when I get home. Another point I noticed when I looked quickly through the site was that there were a fairly wide variety of greatcoats worn by the French soldiers in the Great War, and again the quality of the cloth affected the final colour. A great find - thanks so much for pointing me in their direction!

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  13. A great work, splendid colors!
    Phil.

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    1. Phil, thanks very much. Really pleased you like them.

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    1. Test received, Sir! I left a comment on your blog. Thanks so much for stopping by, Conrad. You're very welcome indeed!

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  15. Stunning camo patterns. Best, Dean

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    1. Thanks Dean. They're a bit improvised, but hopefully not too far from realistic possibilities!

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  16. Beautiful as usual and expected!! Always love the contrast of those fallen red bricks on the bases. Love it!!

    Frank
    http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. Thanks Furt! Much appreciated and thanks for dropping by!

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  17. Just catching up on the web thingy, more inspiration there Sid. So much so that I have three figures that have been sitting around primed up on the painting table. Really pleased with the Stormtrooper book you reccommended, just starting to read it after looking at all the pics and captions.

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    1. Really glad you liked it Phil. It's expensive, but the material in there is excellent.

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