As I outlined in another post German infantry tactics link German squads were led by an NCO, with a squad assistant, usually a corporal, with a machine gunner, sometimes an assistant machine gunner, and 5 additional riflemen.
My group consists of 2 squads of 9 men, an Oberleutnant,
and a Feldwebel as his assistant.
My goal was a platoon, which would have one more squad, but, hey, one thing at a time. Let's call it an "understrength platoon." I originally had two 3-stripers each leading a squad, but I felt that to be a little top-heavy, so I changed the squad leaders to a Unteroffizier
and an Unterfeldwebel.
Assistant squad leaders are an Obergefreiter
and a Gefreiter.
(The Oberleutnant is probably a little to high of a rank for a platoon leader at this juncture of the war, but who cares?)
As I thought my way through the project, I made changes of headsculpts, smocks, and weapons. I can't give a good accounting for it, but some combinations of headsculpts/uniforms/helmets just don't look right, and some do.
The basic weaponry setup I went for was pretty formulaic:
• NCOs have MP40s.
• Riflemen carry, well, rifles, mostly G43s, with 3 FG42s for good measure;
• I gave the Oberleutnant a Sten gun.
• One KAR98 with a scope. This is the only non-auto or semiautomatic weapon in the group.
• Pistols were distributed as I saw fit.
A list of what I did to them:
• Body modifications for posability. On the figures that I had modified earlier, I went even farther than in the tutorial I posted some time ago. The main differences are that I cut off the skirt of plastic around the bottom of the "rib cage;" completely removed the pectoral muscles; and on many of them, I cut off the top of the hips. The difference in posability from the removal of the rib cage skirt is the most striking.
• Addition of collar tabs and CVI aluminum eagles. Time consuming, but not hard, if you have the right glues.
• Addition of Luftwaffe eagles to the BGT and BBI smocks.
• Addition of leather zipper pull-tabs to the ones that didn't have them, being both all the BGT ones and some of the DML ones.
• Repaints on most of the rifles: G43s, times 11; FG42, times one. (I only did the repaint on the second-model one as there is no wood on the first-model FG42.) KAR98, times one.
• I made a sling for the Sten gun out of a piece of webbing that was lying in the parts box.
• Replaced all remaining elastic: binocular straps with strips of leather I cut out of an old wallet with a metal straightedge and a razor blade; and the KAR98 sling, with a BGT one. (I have been in the hobby long enough now that I think I can be called a veteran. I still have some rifles and binoculars with elastic.)
Doesn't sound like too much work, but with a total of 20 guys it adds up.
Previously, I had done oodles of work to them:
• preliminary body mods,
• addition of BGT smocks,
• addition of baggy trousers, as the initial ones with Krieger and Pieter Altman etc. were too narrow.
• I added a few BGT belts for good measure. (These are incredible, as they are perfect reproductions of the 1:1 German enlisted man belts. [I have a 1:1 for comparison.]) And I made one myself.
• NLM boots all around
• BGT and NLM holsters
Compromises and inadequacies: Obviously nothing is ever perfect.
• I love the flexibility of the BBI hands, and have completely replaced the DML hands with them. But, they are too big; I hate the visibility of the wrist joints; and I wish they were available in gloves, and especially for this project the Fallschirmjäger gauntleted gloves. That would be so cool! And if they're doing anything other than holding a weapon, they look funky.
• I don't know how to do HS repaints.
• I don't know how to do weathering.
• The DML FJ helmets are too big. I would like a big box of the BBI ones from a few years ago. That said, some of the DML noggins are such huge melons that the BBI helmet wouldn't fit. For example, the Deke d'Amato figure, which I have made into an Unteroffizier squad leader, is a tight fit even for the DML helmet. Also the BGT helmet covers are sized for the DML helmets.
• None of them have the appropriate shoulder boards. Either they have the old molded shoulder boards, or they don't have any at all. As I don't intend to display them without the smocks, I'm in no hurry to update that part. It wouldn't be hard, though.
• The Oberleutnant doesn't yet have the correct collar tabs or officer's breast eagle. The collar tabs are the same yellow as the enlisted men, but with a silver edge and aluminum gulls plus an aluminum eagle. I'll have to wait for Patrick to get back from Iraq! Randy is planning to make me an officer's breast eagle, which we believe will be the first time that has been made in 1/6 scale.
• Central Florida will never look like the Ardennes Forest in December 1944. EVER.
Now ask me: am I sick of Fallschirmjägers?
Well, a little. But expect to see these guys in action in the near future!