Incessant rain in St Albans has meant that my Perry 8th Army are still naked as the day they were born; not even an undercoat applied. So, rather than waster time I cracked straight on with Jerry in the shape of the Afrika Korps figures.
As the reader may have spotted during my piece on the 8th Army, I went through something of a transformation in the way I viewed making these plastic figures, and that certainly affected the way I approached this project. Whilst I did keep thinking “I should really log the time taken to do this”, in truth I failed totally to do that. Why? Well, because when I began making the Brits I was treating it as a time and motion exercise and weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of plastic when compared to metal figures. This time, I just had fun making the figures. Who cares about time spent when you’re having fun?!
Yes, I had recognised the real advantage of plastic, and that is the variety which can be achieved with this medium. So once again I set out to create a unique platoon with quite a few “conversions” to make it different. Now, as stated before, I am NOT a military modeller, so don’t be looking for kit bashing of the extreme form, but I had discovered that I can put half of one arm with half of another with relative ease and that was sufficient to make some really varied toys. For example, the German Pioneer team I made with British arms, so they have their sleeves rolled up for a bit of hard graft. The 50mm mortar team and the PzB39 AT rifle team were, like the Brits, made both prone firing and standing moving. The sniper was again made using the end of a Bren barrel for a scope.
What I did learn was that I am using the wrong glue. Apparently some plastic kits work well with one glue, others with another. In the end anything that fell off I just whacked back in place with some superglue. Job done.
Things I liked in particular. Well, the ability to provide each MG team with two ammo carriers was great. In metal one seems to get the obligatory single ammo carrier, which is nowhere near enough for the greedy MG34. I liked the fact that as these are modelled as early Afrika Korps I can have plenty of them in the solar topee as opposed to other headwear. The fact that I can kit bash any amount of support options from the Chain of Command lists is an absolute God-send. Indeed you’d think that the figures were tailor made for Chain of Command with their contents being structured i an historical manner, reflecting the rules perfectly. And then there is VARIETY. Nuff said on that.
What didn’t I like. I still worry about the robustness, but I might be dead next week, and I have always lived for today anyway so why worry about what might happen. My ACW plastics, also from the Perrys, have been robust enough and saw some heavy duty service around the shows, so I am obliged to give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.
Heft. My old chum Henry at Miniature Wargames Battlegames has had much to say about the criticism of plastics when it comes to weight. He makes the excellent point that what on earth does weight have to do with wargames figures, and my own experience has been that when playing with plastics or metals it is the game that matters, not what the figures are made of. My only nod in this direction has been to base the individual soldiers on pennies, tuppenny bits for the leaders, so that they are bottom heavy. The Perrys’ actually provide some very nice plastic bases which are roughly penny size, but I went with coins.
Size. They don’t I am told, fit with other ranges. Well, that is not an issue for me as I am doing all of my desert forces with this range, so that isn’t an issue. I do not need my Afrika Korps and 8th Army to fit alongside other makes as this theatre is discrete and separate from what was happening in Europe, so this is not an issue for me. I am also of a mind that men are different shapes and sizes anyway, so if figures differ slightly in size then so what? Again, as soon as the game begins you should be immersed in the story which unfolds.
All in all I can report that I am very pleased with these so far. My opinion of them has changed as a result of this process, to the point where I would certainly recommend them for Chain of Command. Don’t think about saving pennies, just think about how your force will be unique and you can get a whole load of supports perfect for the rules with very little effort. I have plenty of spare parts now, so as I get additional support weapons I can make the crew from these. All I need to do now is paint them and get playing!
In fact Lard Island is already awash with Picts, Scotti and Irish raiding and nicking everything in sight. Fortunately they are only 28mm tall and we’re not having to nail down the furniture! Furniture? Yes, apparently so. I was reading an excellent book on the warfare of these warlike peoples and it quoted Gildas as