Tag Archives: German Infantry

0.12 Ah, the holidays


It’s been a slow week for wargame preparation due to holidays and exams. Still, I managed to paint another eight American GIs, bringing me up to  a full squad. I really should have concentrated on trees and rock walls, as that’s all I lack to have a complete set of soldiers and terrain for the introductory NUTS! scenario, but I’ve been strangely reluctant to finish up. I wonder if I’m afraid that actually playing the game won’t measure up to the fun of painting and researching.

A dozen citizen-soldiers...

Ansel Von Adams
I’ve also been trying to get down to the nitty-gritty of miniatures photography. Or as much as I can without owning a macro lense. I’m using an 18″x24″ sheet of cheap watercolor paper as a backdrop. Light is provided by an overhead bar-shaped incandescent with fluorescent light as a general room ‘fill’ light. Normally I hate any light from fluorescents for pretty much anything, but the incandescent lamp seems to balance things out nicely. Correcting for white balance is also a tremendous help to getting good color.

A key step to getting more than one rank of miniatures in focus is to use a large (in number) aperture size. Large aperture numbers mean a smaller aperture, which is counter-intuitive as can be. Such is life. Unfortunately, small apertures let in less light. Even with a high ISO setting (ISO is an analogue to old film speeds), these photographs are extremely blurry. And these are the best of a dozen shots. This means I need to purchase a tripod. Joy.

18x24 Watercolor paper, white balance adjusted

For completion’s sake, here are the opposing forces: a full squad of Wermacht soldiers. Yes, I painted the shoulder-boards. No, there’s no way I’m going to attempt to paint collar insignia. The NCOs are up front. I realize no sane soldier would wear a soft cap into combat, but for skirmish gaming it’s awful handy to be able to quickly recognize a figure. Plus, it looks cool.

The opposition...would it kill Valiant to put in some action poses?

0.07 The Guys with the Cool Uniforms and Bad Attitudes

And here are my Valiant Classic German Infantry all painted up and based. After experimenting on my four American infantrymen, I pulled out all the stops and did a full squad of the Germans.

My methodology was very similar to that used on the Americans.

Full squad of 10-1

I used a Farnworth color guide to pick my paints. As you can see, German uniforms are quite dark. I did considerably more highlighting on the Germans than I did on the US troops.

A couple of NCOs and a rifleman

My only beef with the Valiant Germans (other than their overly heroic heights and girths) is that none of the poses in the box are action shots. Not that the poses are bad. Quite the opposite-they’re very naturalistic. I just wish there had been a couple of riflemen firing their weapons, and maybe someone taking a knee or lying prone.

None of these Germans are firing their weapons

The Valiant German kit, even more than the American, has lots of extra weapons, heads, arms, and legs. The guys that are wearing soft caps are head conversions. I take inordinate pleasure in decapitating them and then putting new heads on. I think it appeals to my inner Dr. Frankenstein.

0.03 Mustering the Troops

Disclaimer: I did not start this blog at the same time I started my quest for wargameage. There is a temporal gap of around 1 month between the two events. You’re going to see some photos later that break through the 4th dimension and mix the near-current with the old. You are forewarned.

On with the posting…

Deciding on a Period

This was the easiest part of the hobby, so far. I picked WWII because the period has sustained my interest throughout my life, in books, film, and even computer games. It’s also the period I know best (well, I know dark ages/medieval pretty well, too, but I get plenty of that flavor from playing RPGs).

I think all the equipment and fluid movement of tanks and small units of infantry makes for really interesting tactical problems, as well.

Deciding on a Scale

I did a lot of research and soul-agonizing decision waffling over the question of what scale to use. I’ll boil down my reasoning and provide you, worthy reader, the salient points.


    + The small-scale allows for more realistic ranges for modern era.
    + Not as much detailed painting required at this scale.
    + Widely available (for example, Flames of War) miniatures.
    + I Ain’t Been Shot Mum seems to be aimed at this scale.
    – Difficult to paint if you do want to get a good level of detail.
    – Infantry mostly look like crap at this scale.
    – I might be tempted to play Flames of War.

28mm ——————–

    + Exquisite infantry miniatures by Artizan, Bolt Action, and Crusader.
    + Lots of opportunities for nice detail
    + Good availability of infantry models
    + Would work well for skirmish games, which is my primary interest.
    – The infantry miniatures are quite expensive.
    – Not much armor available at this scale.
    – What little armor is available is oh-my-God expensive.
    – Big! A 4’x6′ table just isn’t going to cover much territory.

20mm ——————–

    + 1/72 and 1/76 armor will work at this scale. Widely available!
    + 20mm plastic infantry have been produced for decades
    + Much less expensive than metal figures.
    + The metal miniatures (AB figures, mostly) in this scale are great.
    + Works well for skirmish gaming.
    + Could perhaps be stretched to do larger actions at 1:1.
    + Modern plastics are quite well sculpted.
    – Plastic?
    – 20mm isn’t quite large enough for distinctive facial features
    – 1/72 armor kits can be difficult to build (small parts)
    – Variety in sculpts limited within a particular manufacturer’s lineup

I eventually went with 20mm, because it best suited my primary goals: inexpensive and looks good. I’m not particularly advocating for the scale, though. The others certainly have their charms and might very well fit your needs.

Picking Troops

First, bookmark this. Done? Good.

I made my decision on what infantry to go with by looking at various threads on TMP and wandering through the immense forest of wargaming blogs (hello fellow trees). I wish I could say I made a rational choice, but I was in a hurry and was seduced by oh-so-sexy internet photographs, which, like all beautiful ephemeral things, led me astray.


These boxes of Valiant infantry were my first two purchases. They’re beautiful models, with great variety of poses, historically accurate kit, plenty of conversion opportunities with included heads and arms, and even some heavy weapons. They were easy to clean up, responded well to superglue, and a joy to paint. A completely painless experience.

—————HOWEVER (dum, dum, dum)————–

This is no optical illusion!

These US infantrymen are next to a couple of M4A2 Shermans from an Italeri Fast Build kit (which I’ll post about eventually). They look like Shriners that just got out of their little cars while on parade. Ok, it’s not that bad, but it vexes me, nonetheless.

I’ll primarily be gaming infantry actions, so my valiant Valiant’s aren’t often going to be in danger of trampling a tank. I can and will live with it, but I’m going to get even more annoyed when I have to pick up some troop types not included in these boxes. Guys with flamethrowers, for example.

In any case, the moral of this story is that before ordering infantry miniatures, you should definitely look at and use the handy-dandy miniature size comparison section on that wonderful website that you bookmarked just a moment ago.