Beyond the Beaches

For the longest time I have been contemplating which scale to collect World War 2 forces in. A while back I bought the Battlegroup rule set thanks to its good reviews and the nice presentation. Its miniature photography is really the best in capturing the eye level view of a soldier in the field that we are hoping to recreate with our wargames (well, I am anyway).

The choice then came down to either 15mm or 20mm scale, and I opted for the larger of the two. Since I am more interested in infantry engagements over tank battles, individually based soldiers appealed most to me. I wasn’t going to go with 28mm since I wanted more room for manoeuvre and more realistic weapons ranges on my usual 6’x4′ gaming table, in addition to cheaper armies that would be easier to store.

I kicked off my collection with a platoon from a German infantry division fighting in Normandy 1944. It is based on the army list in Battlegroup: Overlord – Beyond the Beaches.

German infantry platoon Normandy 1944

I am only going for reasonable representation with regards to colour schemes. In terms of accurate base uniform colours, the opinions online are already divided. I opted for Vallejo’s German WW2 Field Grey. All other colours are chosen from the range of paints I had in my collection for all-round use.

The figures are kits from the Plastic Soldier Company. They are easy to assemble hard plastics. Details are a bit soft and there were some mould lines to scrape off but I am happy enough with the quality to keep using the range. All figures come with integrated bases, so after gluing them to 1p and 2p pieces (40mm Renedra plastic bases for the MGs) I used Polyfilla to blend them in. This provided a good ground texture at the same time.

I simply applied a layer of base colours over a white undercoat and then brushed on Army Painter Dark Tone. My usual grass mix works in this scale and setting I find. After giving them a dusting of Testors Dull Coat they are at an agreeable gaming standard for me.

The only ‘conversion’ I did was replacing the antenna on the radio operator (which broke off anyway) with a plastic broom bristle.

German infantry platoon command Normandy 1944

German infantry squad Normandy 1944

German infantry squad Normandy 1944

The platoon contains three bipod mounted MG34 teams. I painted up two in deployed mode and one advancing for now, to give me some variety. For gaming later on I will probably want all three deployed. First off, I am going to work on various support units though.

German MG34 team Normandy 1944

German MG34 team Normandy 1944

16 thoughts on “Beyond the Beaches”

  1. I’m so pleased you went for 20mm, since my life has been devoted to that scale! Nice work on the Germans, they’ve come out very well indeed. And I’m with you on colour choice – any new Germans I need to add to my very old collection get painted in Vallejo WW2 German field grey! Looking forward to following your progress with WW2! :-)

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    1. Thanks, glad you approve of them! I would have started this army a while ago but all model shops around selling 1/72 kits closed down. Internet shopping is just not the same as impulse buying. Once the German infantry is done, I’ll get a US Army platoon going. Amongst all other projects of course…

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    1. No, let’s go with Churchill, that’s way more appropriate! Like many wargamers my age I no doubt carry the mental scars of having assembled the Arifix Churchill kit! I’ve you’ve never built the Airfix Churchill kit – DON’T!!

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    2. The only 1/72 tank I remember building in my youth was a Sturmpanzer IV “Brummbär”. I did built a couple more planes and also ships in all sorts of scales. I’m glad I discovered wargaming, scale modelling isn’t for me.

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  2. Great work. The field grey looks right to me. I am currently working on some 28mm WWII. I think 20mm is probably better but I already bought most of the miniatures a few years ago! I am thinking of also doing some 6mm though for company size engagements and armour-heavy battles. Looking forward to seeing more of your project anyway 👍

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    1. Thanks! I was tempted by all the 28mm eye candy for years, but once I bought Battlegroup my decision to go with a smaller scale was set. Also planning to pick up Chain of Command which 20mm should still be suitable for. I like 6mm scale, but for now I have plenty of Epic 40k forces to paint…

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    2. CoC is scale neutral. But the photos in the book are all the author’s collection and are 28mm. I heard an interview on a podcast with Richard Clarke, the author, where he said if he was doing it again he would choose 20mm for his own collection. I think it says in the book 15mm would actually be “correct” scale for distances and so on. I am trying to get my buddies into it and they are happy to—as long as I supply all the terrain and models!

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  3. So those are 1/72 – 20mm? Nice work. If I had a do-over for WW2, I’d most likely go with 20mm or 15mm as well. I have fond memories of old Avalon Hill bookshelf games and the smaller scale fits with the kind of battles I remember.

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    1. Thanks! I played some strategic level hex and counter games back in the day, plus Close Combat and Combat Mission (just picking that up again actually), which feel like the equivalent of a game of Battlegroup. I’m about to finish my infantry support units, so the overall cost and effort to bring a force to the table in 20mm is also an advantage with many other projects in the works too.

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