Saturday, June 10, 2017

LW BOTB Hetzers!

     One problem in creating a less than elite force in Version 3 is that the various options really don't fill up the point spread very fast.  Or even well.  So, if you rally want to create a force based on the 18th Volksgrenadier Division in the Battle of the Bulge, you area going to have some challenges.  As a RT force, getting up to 1500 points is not easy.  One way to do this is to take every single high priced support unit you can, making up for the fact that even taking every infantry force and add on in the Combat Platoons is a mere 610 points.  I am trying to make this an artillery heavy force, as the worse your infantry is, the more artillery you need, and the volksgrenadiers need as much indirect fire as they can get.  A tank-hunter platoon is another way to add on points, as even a RT Hetzer platoon is 235 points.  I picked these up in a sale at a hobby shop and was not immediately taken in by them.  The Hetzer is not my favorite LW German armored vehicle.  It is small, underpowered, under armored, and not very exciting compared to other LW staples such as Tigers and Panthers, and my workhorse Panzer Mk IVs.  None the less, they do seem to be the tank hunter of record for the VGs in the Bulge, so I pulled out the box and had a crack at them.  I also got to use my air brush for the first time, and attempt the German camouflage that is so enticing.  Everyone says that there is a steep learning curve on airbrush use.  I have not approached the asymptote yet . . .   Otherwise, they turned out well enough, and should be able to help root out the frozen defenders of St. Vith or Bastogne when called to the next game.

A Volksgrenadier Sturm platoon and a Hetzer Tank-Hunter platoon move up to attack the American defenders.  

The Hetzer camouflage is supposed to be green back drop areas with brown inner core circles.  I did the opposite.  Oops!  Don't tell the unteroffizier!

I really don't expect any RT platoons to last very long.
The jabos view before they bomb them to pieces.

The Hetzers are small and pretty easy to paint.  Not too much junk on the hulls.

The platoon commanders exchange ideas on how to eliminate the FV Paratroopers from the objective.  Neither appear optimistic.  

Perhaps discretion IS the better part of valor.  The Hetzer rear view.

Not a great AFV, or even a good one.  A cheap one to be sure.  

On to the Meuse River!
     I am now working on a 10.5 cm artillery battery for the Bulge.  I have prepped and primed the crew but I am still (!) waiting on the special order guns.  I think someone had to refine the metal . . .   After that the 2nd LW BOTB VG Sturm platoon awaits!  This should give me close to 1200 points and with a little help from the Fuhrer Escort Brigade, will be enough.  Stay tuned.


I love military acronyms!  Just writing LW BOTB 88 mm ATG is a joy, much more so than actually having to type "Late War Battle of the Bulge 88 mm Anti-Tank Gun."  Since I send pictures to a few willing acolytes who are always ready to pump up my self esteem with accolades, I have had more than a few opportunities to write this.  LW BOTB!  It brings joy to my heart.

In other news, I finally finished the LW BOTB 88 mm ATG (there, I wrote it again!) after more than a few months.  I wanted to do it to look like the piece that is banging away at the FV in Easy Company at Foy in the "Band of Brothers" miniseries.  I couldn't get a good view of the markings/color/camouflage despite numerous viewings on YouTube.  So, I went through the collection of books I have only to be disappointed.  Not to be deterred, I searched on the internet and eventually came up with this picture:

A REAL LW BOTB 88mm ATG.  The camouflage looks unique.  The gunners look cold and hungry.  

The camouflage is a bit unique, but good enough.  I used the standard Battlefront GE550 blister for the gun and used most of the crew, though I added/altered a couple of the crew and used a few of the LW Winter artillery crew to round off the stand.  Version 4 came out in the middle of this, but I based the gun using Version 3 criteria.  I placed a rare earth magnet in the stand so I can rotate the gun (a little) until the figures get in the way.  The base of the gun sank a little lower in the flock than usual, but I will just say the snow was a little deep in that position.  

An eight man crew for an 88 mm flak piece.  

I used arid grass and snow flock for the base.  I think it looks better than just deep snow.

The gun crew looks a little scruffier than the elite Panzergrenadiers.  Unfortunately you can't get 88s as support forces in V3 for a Volksgrenadier force.  Nuts!

The haystacks are from a Miniature Building Authority sale that took place as I was painting the gun.  

I can rotate and elevate the gun (a little).  Since I envision it more as an antitank gun than an antiaircraft gun, this is OK.  
OK, so now that the LW BOTB 88 mm ATG is done, I can showcase the hetzers.