Last year I assembled and painted a Flames Of War Early War Light Panzer Company, in around 20 hours from start to finish (over a week). I was quite happy with how they looked and with how quickly they painted up. So happy, in fact, that I resolved to paint up some infantry to go with them in my "New Year's Hobby Resolutions" post.
Well, I'm finally ready to get to the infantry.
Part of the Blitzkrieg book that I really liked (and immediately understood, as opposed to the rules, which I'm still learning) was the cool picture of the Early War German soldier (reproduced above). For my Light Panzer Company I used this scheme to paint the crew on my Bunkerflaks. It looks good, and it got me thinking...
...and a few months later I was chatting with Warren from Beasts of War at Salute. He mentioned hearing from a few folks that Flames Of War was a bit daunting to get into because there were so many options, starting with Early, Mid, or Late War, then German, British, Italian, American, Soviet, Finnish, Hungarian (etc etc), then Tank, Armored Infantry, or Infantry (and dozens of specialist lists). Where is a potential FOW gamer to begin?
This also got me thinking...
...then Battlefront released their plastic rubble bases, and I knew it was time to stop thinking and to start acting.
We all know that the really cool thing about WW2 15mm armies are the huge amounts of very detailed tanks you can put on the tabletop. For many armies (particularly the Germans), their tank technology evolved rapidly during the short span of WW2 and many new tanks were put into service in an incredibly swift arms race. There's really nothing you can do about that. For each period there's a slew of new tanks to have fun with. So I figure I'll just talk about the infantry.
My plan for this project is to build a collection (rather than a particular army) of German infantry stands and support that contains as many elements as possible that can be used across all three (or only two at worst) of the periods. I'm going to use the rubble bases for my collection, which means that I'll be building forces for the European theater. For Early War they could be part of the invasion of Poland or France, for Mid War they'll be invading Russia, and for Late War, they'll be back peddling all the way to Berlin.
As you may have already surmised from reading about the other armies I've built over the past few years, I'm usually all about the story of the army. But as you've also seen, most of these stories I've made up myself. History is obviously a little different, but as Flames Of War allows for some ahistorical armies to be fielded, I'll be putting aside the larger story and concentrating on having fun painting up the infantry and creating lists that are feasible and cross as many periods and styles as possible.
To get me well on the way, I stopped by the office today and picked up the bulk of what I'll need.
• There's the Motorised Rifle Company that gives me two of my Rifle platoons that will form the core of my army (useable across all periods). It also contains a Mortar platoon that is also useful across all three periods, an MG34 platoon that is good for Early War, a bunch of support AFVs (most useable across two periods), and quite a few trucks (also useable across all three periods).
• I added an MG42 Platoon, which replaces the MG34 platoon in Mid and Late War lists.
• And an Infantry Gun Platoon, using the 7.5cm leIG18 gun that was used in all three periods.
• And a Platoon of the famed "88s", the 8.8cm Flak 36 Anti-aircraft guns, again used in all three periods.
• You can see a bunch of trucks, thanks to my friend Rob who hooked me up with some figs he didn't need anymore.
• And in that brown box are 12 SdKfz 251/1C halftracks. Panzergrenadiers used these halftracks during the Mid and Late War period, but they'll also work well for the SdKfz 251/1 halftracks that were used during the Early War (or so I've been told).
I'm going to learn an awful lot about building and painting 15mm infantry, and a lot about building armies for Flames Of War, and an awful lot more about how the German army was equipped and operated during WW2.
Wish me luck, and please, be gentle with me ; )