Stalingrad, Through the Pain Barrier
Well, as those of you who read my last post on the Stalingrad project will know, I am not deeply and meaningfully in love with the Warlord Game plastic Pioneer boxed set, aka German Early War Infantry with a few metal bits chucked in boxed set. My plan to fill out my Pioneers platoon with their plastic ranks was dropped and, on recommendation from a number of happy campers, I ordered some Black Tree Design Germans instead. More on them shortly.
Anyway, as I alluded to last time, the big issue for me about the Warlord stuff was not that the product was particularly poor, although it could have been better, but that I really do not like plastic figures. I ceased being a military modeller at the age of 12 for a very sensible reason; I hate sticking bits of plastic together. I am far too impatient to wait for Part A to dry before I attempt to add Part B and that simply results in a big mess of glue and plastic.
That said, I mentioned that what I had liked about the Perry plastic Africa Corps and 8th Army was the ability to kit bash figures into any of the support options I wanted for Chain of Command. So, with that in mind I set about turning the mix of metals and Warlord plastics into support teams. Let’s have a dekko at where I got to.
The chaps above are a three man flamethrower team. As you can see, two are Warlord plastics and one is Black Tree Designs. The latter has a metal Warlord Pioneer pack added to is back. Of the three the Black Tree figure is by far the weakest, having the strangely sculpted mouth which makes him look like Galen out of Planet of the Apes (and I mean the dated 1970s TV series, not any high budget film version).
Next is the wire cutter team. The figures on the left is Warlord plastic with the metal arms in the Pioneer pack. The two other figures are Black Tree, the chap in the centre is carrying some nice wire cutters over his shoulder and what is supposedly some kind of charge in his right hand. The charge (or whatever it is) isn’t like any bit of Pioneer kit I have come across, but nobody is going to moan about that in the heat of the game. Fortunately The Curse of Planet of the Apes has not affected these chaps who seem quite nicely proportioned.
The demolition team. The chap in the centre is Warlord, straight from the box. The odd ladder-like thing he is holding is the Gestrecktelaudung charge which served as a form of bangalore torpedo. The two other chaps are Black Tree, the fellow on the left carrying two of the strange shaped “things” I mentioned above. Whatever they are, the are now demolition charges. The bloke on the right has a Soviet SMG and I added a Warlord metal Pioneer backpack.
A mine clearance team. All three are Warlord with a mix of metal and plastic. They will do the job.
A three man assault team with Gebalteladung composite charges. I am in two minds about how to field these. With a couple of SMG trench-brooms they could be a very effective team for clearing out stubborn positions, or I could form them into tank killer teams. What the Pioneer pack really needs is the Haft-Hohlladung magnetic tank killer charge, so ubiquitous on the Eastern Front, but it does not have this. I am going to try to see if I can find a 1:48 scale model of one and make up some specific tank killers.
The centre Black Tree figure was holding a rifle in his left hand, so I snipped that off along with his hand and added a plastic Warlord hand. There were no Grenades in the boxed set other than one on each sprue in a hand. The right hand, unfortunately, So, I cut the hand off and added it to this chap. I wanted this bloke to have the ‘Waterwings’ grenade bags, sandbags for carrying grenades which were so much part of the stormtrooper scene in the Great War, and we will see them later in green stuff. The bloke on the right with another Soviet SMG is Black Tree, um…not sure what to say about him other than he stands like a drunken man with severe hemorrhoids.
I thought I might as well show you these. Black Tree on the left, kneeling digging. It’s not a bad figure at all and will make up numbers somewhere. The Goliath is Warlord and looks like it’s been sculpted out of dog poo by a six year old.
With them stuck together, I used green stuff to fill gaps and add some further detail. So, what are my thoughts?
- The Warlord boxed set was absolutely perfect for creating my own support options. With a coat of paint think these will really look good on the table. So, ultimately I am very pleased I bought the boxed set, but it was a right bloody pain to get to where I am now. However, no pain, no gain and I simply could not have sourced these teams in metal.
- Black Tree Design. I actually think that they will paint up better than they currently look. I do hope so as they currently do not appeal to me. Some figures I quite like, but in the round they are such a mixed bag that I would hesitate to buy any more until I have seen what I can do with the brush.
By way of a postscript, having done the above I opened the first pack of the support options I purchased in metal, all from Warlord. Here we have an FOO and a medic, both of which are sculpted in the Warlord heroic style. I have to say that I am not a fan of figures looking like cartoon characters, but how the figure looks in the end is usually as much about the paint style as the sculpt. I found the joy of going back to metal after the sheer Hell of plastic to be a great relief. These chaps had separate heads and that’s it. That is quite enough; thank God for metal figures.