Tuesday, 20 August 2019

SOTR German Von X Siblings & Blitzhund

I have kept what I consider the best sculpted figures from my German Weird World War 2 army to the last. These are the three fearsome Von X siblings, Gretel, Ilsa and Hans, along with a Blitzhund. Note that the stats and biographies for these four do not appear in the Secrets of the Third Reich rulebook but in its supplement, Doomsday.
Gretel Von X and her twin sister, Ilsa Von X are the daughters of Hugo Von X. Records of their mother have been purged. They were nine years old when the war began. Hugo was even in those early years of the war, possessed of feverish visions of the V-4 retro-virus. Believing he had stumbled onto the fountain of youth, Hugo injected both of his twins with an experimental serum derived from a compound that the Russians developed to create the Siberian Supermen. Gretel was the lucky one. She retained her intellect and beauty and became inhumanly strong, fast and tough. Ilsa became faster and stronger but her skin was marred by the chemical and her face became a mask of horror. Both girls adore their father and stand at his side in support of his goals. They trained in the arts of war throughout their late teen years, becoming brilliant tacticians, leaders and deadly foes. They would lay down their lives for their father, the SWD, and the Reich. Ilsa controls the defence of Gibraltar with her hordes of Sturmzombies, face hidden by a gas mask. Gretel is the operations officer for the Gibraltar compound and Hugo's right hand. Gretel is armed with a Sub-Machine Gun and a riding crop, whilst Ilsa is armed with two SMGs, which she may fire simultaneously.
Hans Von X is the eldest of the Von X children. Hugo's early experiments on him went horribly wrong and a monster was created. Hans is at peace wandering the channel floor of the Straits of Gibraltar, losing himself in the contemplative loneliness of the briny deep. He is melancholic and childishly sweet, but is prone to fits of blood rage and insensibility. He is at the vanguard of the bomber-zombies as they make their attack runs on allied shipping and he keeps a collection of frogmen skulls he has harpooned at Gibraltar's undersea gates. He is armed with a harpoon gun, which has a range of 12" and the penetration of a light anti-tank gun.

From the elite ranks of the Jagerhunds, top specimens are culled for another of Hugo's mad experiments. They are injected with the V-4 derivative and become killing machines without equal. Blitzhunds must be muzzled and chained and fed great hunks of bloody raw meat when not in action. When released into battle, they are able to sniff out the enemy like a trained hunting dog. In the claustrophobic corridors of Gibraltar, an armoured Blitzhund is last thing the enemy wants to see... and it usually is!

As I said above, these are some of the best sculpted figures I have ever seen. The Blitzhund in particular, is so dynamically posed, full of movement and animation. Gretel and Ilsa are also well animated, especially Ilsa. Hans, whilst more statically posed, is still a great sculpt. These are my four favourite figures from my SOTR German army. I'm not sure how well I could fit them in Konflict 47 but they'd be perfectly at home in Reichbusters.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

SOTR German Zombie Horde 02

In this post I'm highlighting the rest of my zombie horde for my Secrets of the Third Reich German army. All of  these zombies are standard infantry that help to bulk out my zombie horde.
Just to reiterate, they have the following special rules, Horror, Tough, Utterly Fearless and Zombie.
I always enjoy painting zombies and painting these were a real labour of love.
I do like the fact that West Wind made all of these figures as individuals.
With the 12 zombies I showed in my last post I have a big horde of 30 figures with no duplication whatsoever.
In SOTR, there is no limit to how big your zombie horde can be, which, as a big fan of zombies, pleases me no end.
 The bigger your horde is, the more dangerous they become, which is a standard trope of zombies.
Note the zombie at the far left is armed with a dagger, making him unique in this horde. Whether he can use it effectively is debatable.
Because I only have a German infantry army from SOTR, it is most unlikely that I'll be playing any scenarios with this rules set. However, I will be using them with the similar Weird World War 2 rules set, Konflict 47 by Warlord Games. I plan on pitching my German army against the American and British armies. It is a project that I'm very keen to get my teeth into.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

SOTR German Zombie Horde 01

Vergeltungswaffe 4 or V-Gas is the fourth in a series of Vengeance weapons Germany unleashed to stem the tide of its defeat. It worked exceptionally well. V-Gas kills the living painfully then re-animates their corpses by reacting with the remains of the central nervous system. It also has the effect of raising the recently deceased. Older corpses are not affected ass their nervous systems become too decayed to support the virus.
The Ministry of Special Weapons Development (SWD) has devised a means to weaponise the victims of V-Gas. After all, they are the perfect soldiers. They require nothing: no food, no water, no ammunition, they never run from battle, and the supply of them is virtually unlimited.
I start with the Zombie Officers and at the far right is my only named Zombie. He is SS Standardartenfuhrer (Colonel) Orjan Herzog, the chief villain of the1990 film, Dead Snow. The figure is an exact likeness of him. Second from left is a General who is also a Pinger, as denoted by the aerial sticking out of his back. This always a controller to  make the Pinger go in whatever direction the controller desires. The other zombies in the horde will instinctively follow him instead of shuffling about aimlessly.
Of the other two officers, one has been chewing on a bone and is pointing with it. The other one is standing with his lower right arm blown off.
These next four zombie figures are very unusual in that they are Zombie Bombs. The SWD often strapped explosives to zombies and would detonate them by means of naval mine triggers or radio signals.
Up to four Zombie Bombs may be included in any Zombie Horde. Note they are all carrying different types of explosive but in game turns they all count the same which is they cause a Medium AT/HE blast.
These four figures are the first of my Zombie Infantry Horde. I'll be showing a lot more of them in my next post. In SOTR they have the following special rules, Horror, Tough, Utterly Fearless and Zombie.
These zombie figures are all part of the West Wind Productions Secrets of the Third Reich range but they would fit in equally well in Warlord Game's Konflict 47 range, which I certainly plan on doing. In Konflict 47 the Zombie horde is known as Totenkorps - Death Troops.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

SOTR German Mech Grenadier Squads 02

In this post I'm reviewing my third and fourth Mech Grenadier squads, both made up of ten men, just like my first and second squads. This gives me one large platoon of four squads or two smaller platoons of two squads. Both are viable options but I favour splitting them into two platoons.
These five figures are the specialists of the third squad. From left to right are the NCO armed with an Assault Rifle, two soldiers armed with SMGs, a Panzerfaust wielding soldier and a soldier armed with an LMG.
These soldiers are all wearing dunkelgrau (dark grey) helmets apart from the NCO who wears a peaked cap.
The rest of the squad is made up of five riflemen, one of whom will be designated as the loader for the soldier with the LMG.
There is some duplication amongst the riflemen in the four squads, but I have tried to mitigate that by giving them different heads. Note that all of these figures come with separate heads.
Moving on, we have the fourth squad. These differ from my other three squads in that they all wear field caps, even the NCO.
As always, I have an NCO armed with an Assault Rifle, two SMG armed privates and a private with a Panzerfaust. This squad does not have an LMG team, so the fourth figure in line is an ordinary rifleman.
 The rest of the squad is made up of five more riflemen.
I really enjoyed painting these figures and I'm particularly pleased with the camo pattern. This concludes the human elements of my SOTR German infantry company. In my next two posts I'll be showcasing my German Zombies. There are so many of them I had to split them into two posts.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

SOTR German Specialists

I present a mixed bag of figures here consisting of three two-man teams - Medics, Forward Observers and a Panzerschreck team.
At the far left are my two Medics. Medics do not exist in the Secrets of the Third Reich army lists but they do in Bolt Action and Konflict 47, which is why I have included them. Medics are classed as an HQ choice and can consist of one or two figures.
In the centre are my Forward Air or Artillery Observers. These can call down an air strike or an artillery bombardment once per game. Once again they do not appear in the SOTR army lists but they are an HQ option for Bolt Action or Konflict 47. They can also consist of one or two figures. The observer is equipped with a radio set to call in the air strike or artillery bombardment.
Finally is the two man Panzerschreck team, which is a valid choice in all three games. They are made up of the firer and the loader. A Panzerschreck is the German equivalent of an American Bazooka or a British PIAT and is a powerful threat to armoured vehicles. Unlike the one-shot Panzerfaust, the Panzerschreck may be fired every turn.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

SOTR German Medium MG & Medium Mortar Teams

To give my infantry squads some support I bought a Medium Machine Gun team and a Medium Mortar team. These can be included in a Mech Grenadier Platoon.
The Medium MG is mounted on a tripod for better stability when fired. The crew consists of the tripod carrier, the loader and the gunner.
Some gamers like to mount their MG and mortar teams on a single large base. I'm not a fan of that option and prefer to have my figures mounted on individual bases. This makes it easier to remove casualties.
The Medium Mortar team consists of three men, two carry the base plate of the mortar and the ammo and the loader who carries the rest of the mortar.
I took the option to add a spotter, and he is at the far left of the two photos. He is mounted on a normal 25mm diameter slottabase. The two assistants are mounted on 20mm diameter slottabases.
These are very useful support units and well worth taking.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Vampifans Views 121 - Monthly Musings 91

This has been a big month for me, which I'll tell you about shortly. To the left is an unusual portrait of Vampirella by Jim Silke. It is unusual due to the fact that Vampi is wearing normal casual clothing over her iconic costume. Sometimes in the comic books, Vampirella has to appear incognito. More often than not she just wears a trench coat over her costume. I must admit that I do like this costume.

Currently on my painting table are the Galactic Corps Cops and Security Guards from my Core Space set, plus a bunch of WW2 Bolt Action German and American infantry, which brings me round to my newest project - WW2 gaming.

Ever since last November I have had a hankering for getting back into WW2 wargaming. When I first started wargaming way back in the 1970's I started out by playing WW2 games with my big collection of figures and vehicles from 20mm scale Airfix, Matchbox and Japanese companies like Fujimi and Hasegawa. I nearly always played the Germans and my brother played the Allies. We mainly concentrated on the D-Day Landings and the breakout from France. That period still remains my favourite.

So what happened in November? That was when I backed the Reichbusters Kickstarter boardgame with miniatures by Mythic Games. Delivery is expected this November. The miniatures are just gorgeous and from the play-through videos I've seen on YouTube, it looks like a whole load of fun as a small unit of four assorted elite larger than life Allies infiltrate a German mansion and secret base to cause all sorts of havoc. Interestingly enough, the mansion is named Wewelsberg Castle, where the SWD operate from in Secrets of the Third Reich. Coincidence? I don't think so! As more and more stretch goals were released, the more I realised I very much wanted to get back into WW2 and WWW2 gaming. I already had the SOTR rules and a fully painted German infantry army so that should have been my obvious choice. But the fact that West Wind has ignored this game for many years made me question whether it was a viable long-term option. So I spent a while looking for other options but in truth, it wasn't a hard decision.

Bolt Action for its WW2 rules and the Konflict 47 Weird World War 2 rules (both produced by Warlord Games with similar rules) provided me with all I was looking for. That, plus the fact that both games are incredibly well supported as well as being a popular choice amongst many gamers made them "must have" purchases. My first purchases were the Bolt Action hardback book and three army book supplements for the American, British and German armies.
I also bought the Band of Brothers starter boxed set, which was described on the On Table Top
website as the standard by which all starter sets should be judged. You can see all that this set contains in the photo to the left. The forces are 24 American Airborne infantry verses 12 German Panzer Grenadiers and a Hanomag SdKfz. 251/10 with PAK 36 Anti-tank gun. It also contains a ruined farmhouse, Pin markers, HE Template and order counters, 5 order dice for each army, 12 regular d6 dice, an A5 soft-backed version of the basic rules and a handy quick reference sheet. I bought my starter set from Amazon UK for £55, a considerable saving over the £70 price on the Warlord Games website. I've actually found it pays to check out other sources such as eBay, Wayland Games or Element Games to find cheaper priced Warlord Games products. However, not all Bolt Action products can be found cheaper on other sites but it still pays to shop around.
Seeing as most of my games will take place in the late war period in Europe (1944-45) I plan on collecting the following forces. For the Americans, the Airborne troops and the regular infantry troops; for the British I'll be collecting the regular infantry troops, the Airborne troops and possibly some Commandos; for the Germans I plan on fielding Panzer Grenadier troops and Waffen SS troops. That's a lot of figures I need, but this will be a long term project and I'll be adding to my forces slowly. I'm mainly interested in small force (platoon level) infantry battles with a limited amount of vehicles (no more than one tank, self-propelled gun, tank destroyer or armoured car per platoon) which is exactly what the Bolt Action rules cater for. Once I master the Bolt Action rules I'll move onto the Konflict 47 rules for my Weird World War 2 fix. Again, that will be a long term project.
I've already painted an American Airborne HQ section and a German Panzer Grenadier HQ section. Currently on my painting table are a 10 man veteran Panzer Grenadier squad plus the American Kelly's Heroes squad. I had planned on getting the Kelly's Heroes set (called the Oddball's Heroes by Warlord Games) but they were low down on my wish list. However, someone on eBay was selling them for £7.00 and I won the auction. Considering the RRP for them was £20.00 this was a fantastic bargain. Now I'm going to have to get Oddball's Sherman tank. Both the Oddball's Heroes and the elite Panzer Grenadier squad plus the American and German HQ squads are made of metal. The figures in the Band of Brothers plus the Hanomag and ruined farmhouse are made of plastic. However, they do mix together very well.
This is a project that excites me greatly, not least because of the memories it evokes from the 1970's. Of course I am a much better painter and modeller now then I was back then. I'm looking forward to playing my first few games as I slowly build up my forces. Figure reviews and batreps will follow soon.

Friday, 26 July 2019

SOTR German Mech Grenadier Squads 01

This will be the first of two posts showcasing my four Mech Grenadier Squads for Secrets of the Third Reich. Squads 1 and 2, shown here form the core of my 1st Platoon and Squads 3 and 4, which I'll show in a later post, form the core of my 2nd Platoon. I could have included all four squads in a single platoon but I decided to split them into two units.
Mech Grenadier Squads are made up of 10 men. 3 men may swap their Rifles for an Assault Rifle or an SMG. 2 men can form an LMG team  and 1 man may choose a Panzerfaust.
I have given the NCO an Assault Rifle. 2 men have swapped their Rifles with SMGs. I have also added an LMG team comprising the Gunner and his Loader.
 4 men are armed with Rifles and 1 man has taken a Panzerfaust.
This being the 1st squad of the 1st platoon I would class them in Bolt Action or Konflict 47 as veterans. They stand apart from my other squads by wearing camouflage helmets.
 For my 2nd squad I have once again given my NCO an Assault Rifle and 2 men have SMGs.
 1 man has taken a Panzerfaust. They have not taken an LMG team.
That leaves 6 men armed with Rifles - 5 shown above and the last one shown second from right in the previous two photos.
These wear dunkelgrau (dark grey) helmets.
All of these figures come with separate heads. To help identification, I have given my NCOs peaked caps.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

SOTR German Lieutenants & Snipers

I now get into my rank and file troops of my Secrets of the Third Reich 28mm scale German army. In this post I'm reviewing my 1st and 2nd Lieutenants and my two Sniper teams.
At the far left is my 1st Lieutenant and his two retainers. The 1st Lieutenant is only armed with a Pistol, whilst his retainers are armed with Assault Rifles. A Lieutenant may be accompanied by up to two retainers. These are Mech Grenadier Lieutenants  and they take command of a minimum of two Mech Grenadier Squads plus a variety of support teams
At the far right is my 2nd Lieutenant and his retainer. The 2nd Lieutenant is armed with a Pistol and an SMG whilst his retainer is armed with a Rifle.
Next up are my two Sniper teams, made up of a Sniper and a Spotter. The Snipers are armed with standard issue rifle which are fitted with telescopic sights. Use of the telescopic sights increase the range of the rifles and allows the Sniper to chose which target to potentially kill.
The Spotter at the left is armed with a Rifle and the other Spotter is only armed with a Pistol.
Note that in SOTR, the infantry of all nations wear gasmasks due to the prevalence of V-Gas, which kills the living painfully then reanimates them as a flesh-eating zombie.

Friday, 19 July 2019

SOTR - German HQ Command

I am going to start a new series of posts showcasing my Secrets of the Third Reich German Infantry. The SOTR rules by West Wind Productions are quite good although I have never played them. I never got round to collecting a second army. So my figures have just languished in a storage box for years until now. I have just started to get into Warlord Game's WW2 game, Bolt Action and plan to also get into their Weird World War 2 game, Konflict 47 sometime in the future. Obviously my SOTR German army will fit in perfectly with Konflict 47 and if I omit the supernatural elements it will also fit in with a Bolt Action force.
I start my review with a look at my HQ Command figures.
First up is my army commander, Colonel Erhard Schilling. He is a very old Ral Partha figure that I bought many, many years ago. He is the only figure in this army not produced by West Wind.
Next to him is his bodyguard and adjutant, Big Bruno Metzger the Butcher. He is sold by West Wind as Big Thug, which is quite appropriate for him.
The black uniform of the figure at the far right indicates he is a member of the Special Weapons Development (SWD) team. SWD devised a means to establish battlefield control over zombies. A radio transmitter can be wired to a former officer or "pinger" who is in a sense "radio controlled" by an SWD operative. Other zombies in the horde within 6" recognise his former status and will follow him where he leads. Accordingly, the zombie horde could move in any direction rather than shambling towards the nearest living enemy.
At the far left is Live Wire. Frau Elli Anselm led an SWD expedition to Antarctica in 1942. What she found there is unknown to any but the highest ranks of the SWD. What is known is that the U-boat sent to rendezvous with her party found her standing alone and naked on an ice shelf with bale fire flickering in her eyes, totally unharmed despite the -40 degree Celsius temperature and the biting wind... or so the awe-stricken sailors believed. None made it back to Germany "alive" so it was no matter. Cattle mutilations and strange lights above the skies of Europe became a common occurrence upon her return. She was called Elli the doppelgänger by some. Others called her Live Wire because of the punishing whips that spouted from her voluptuous form and flayed her enemies. She challenges the Junker elite and even those mighty vampires fear her unearthly infection. What she has become is unspeakable. Elli Anselm is a herald of the Nihl, an alien race and is no longer human.

Frau Tear is widely known to be the most savage of the Junker elite and is thought to be the matriarch of the new breed of German vampires. That she is prolific in her spawning is unquestionable. Her throng of thralls attend her and the inner circle of the SWD elite at Wewelsberg Castle where unspeakable acts occur. Hermann Goering, known for his taste in ostentatious display and debaucherous feasts is often in Frau Tear's company. When she hunts, she does so with an entourage of thralls. Often this is in the form of a foray into enemy held territory to seek hapless victims from the ranks of the enemy. Other times, it is more directly related to matters of importance. The Junker vampires are a sporting bunch who relish the chase and recklessly hunt their prey in the hottest of combat zones for the sheer thrill of it. Tear is no exception. When she feasts, she cries tears of blood. Some speculate that the tears are an outward manifestation of a small spark of humanity that is still buried inside of the monster that she has become.
The vampire with the dagger is Radomir and the vampire at the far right is Davoric, two of Frau tear's thralls.
All of these figures are beautifully sculpted, with my favourites being Frau Tear (obviously!) and Live Wire.