Friday, September 5, 2014

Regiments of Renown Month: Fallschirmjager for Bolt Action

Notice how the dudes don't have the regular 'lip' on their Kraut helmets? That is because they figured they'd get caught in the exit from the plane on stuff, so they produced helmets without them.
I began collecting models for Bolt Action way back in May I haven't stopped since, getting rid of old / unpainted / extra stuff in the basement to make room and funds for it. The game is pretty fun, somewhat realistic, different, and provides an outlet for my historical interests.

I've currently painted about ~1500 points of German Wermacht infantry, plus a few tanks. They're awesome and plastic and I love using them, but I've set my eyes on other armies to begin collecting and painting. I've collected some US airborne (82nd), some US marines for the Pacific (with tank support), some Japanese infantry and tanks for the Pacific, and now fallschirmjager - German paratroopers.

From what I understand, the 'cobalt blue' helmets are not correct - they were just 'German gray' or a light black color.

Fallschirmjager, from the history I've read (mostly Osprey books and 'net articles), were intended to operate like American airborne troops at the start of the war, by dropping in behind enemy lines or at strategic points without support. After Crete in 1941 they apparently didn't do any major combat drops again, instead being Luftwaffe (German Air Force) elite infantry troops on the ground.

Fallschirmjager fought on the Eastern Front, Africa Front, Italy Front, Western Front, and finally in Germany itself. Why do they appeal to me? Well, the thought of doing another German force, but more elite, was pretty cool. They wore different uniforms, used different equipment, and used different tactics. Another outfit to study doesn't hurt, either.

This is how they would have arrived if they dropped in
The Osprey books have been key. I think they know their audience pretty well - they provide a ton of photos and color plates for wargamers. I've decided I'm going to paint my jump dudes up in a 'retreat from Italy' uniform set. So they'll have some uniforms from Italy / Temperate areas and then also some uniforms for the Western front.

The Italy or Temperate uniforms were more of a 'mustard' color, with yellow helmets and pants. The Europe or Eastern front uniforms changed over time, but mostly included the German fieldgrey for wool and camo for jump smocks or regular smocks. The uniform is another aspect that appeals to me; instead of painting dudes all in fieldgrey, I get to try out my hand at camo. This isn't simple camo, where you just streak on some black and green, rather you paint on camo areas that are angled, and then for some they added 'rain streaks' that break up the camo. It is pretty intense and I hope I do a good job. I'm pretty excited about it.

The chevrons on their arms are pretty interesting. I found some water transfers I'll try out. 
Not only did they have different colors and camo, they also wore different equipment and insignia. The dudes I've already painted are my pretty basic tabletop quality; I'd like to go above and beyond that for these guys. From what I've read, campaigning jagers had their insignia removed or fall off; the eagles on their chest and helmets came off too or was painted over. We often don't think about how much all this equipment was used but they wore it every day, 24/7.

Italy uniform
Like I said above, I'll be doing a mix of uniform types - so some dudes will have the temperate camo with yellow pants, some will have dark grey or fieldgrey pants etc. This mix and match style should show that they have requisitioned new uniforms but not received them and are wearing the stuff they last received.

You can see the jump straps in this picture above. Many of the models I have are modeled with those on there so I'll paint them on. They look super uncomfortable to me :P

A view of their gear they carried. I love finding out the correct colors for each individual piece and doing my best to replicate it.

I'll be using a guide created by Mick Farnworth for Artizan Miniatures. He does some pretty amazing guides for all forces that are applicable for Bolt Action. He's included a way to paint all the different types of camo AND the different Vallejo paints you should use for each piece and part on the model. This grognard is happy as hell.

He provided ways to paint each camo type. I'm going to focus on Splinter camo and Swamp 43. You can see the 'streaks' on the Swamp 43 types. For those I've bought a few micropens to try out to see if it is easier to replicate that way. If not I'll use a really tiny brush.

I purchased Bolt Action pin markers from Historique for this collection. They're really well priced and will take the army to 11.

Some resources I'm using for this project are:
Mick Farnworth Guides
Osprey Warrior Fallschirmjager
British Paratrooper vs Fallschirmjager (the new COMBAT series is amazing)
Jump Into Hell
Modelling Fallschirmjager
German Paratroopers Photo Book

As always please provide feedback below. I'm a history buff but WW2 has not yet been my area of expertise so please let me know if you see any inaccuracies or areas you can help. Thanks!

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