Platoon Leader

Finishing up the last of my earlier infantry pieces is this Grenadier platoon squad. After this squad was completed I had a long run of not completing infantry. Throughout the process of painting my infantry I was finding that I was getting better and creating nicer finishes. This was due to practice, learning techniques, handling the brush and paint better as well as more time spent on researching reference material. It was also at this stage that I started working on a production line set up in order to speed up my completion rate. All of these factors led me to repainting the twenty or so remaining Grenadier infantry in this platoon multiple times. On no less than three occasions I went back over the paint work on the infantry. When it came time to the fourth repaint I decided that I wanted to have a fresh start and so I bought a new blister of Panzer Grenadiers. The remaining Grenadiers I dropped into paint stripper. I have since learnt to accept the standard that I am in the present and stop erasing my painting history; that I should love it, warts and all.

Currently I still have one squad’s worth of Grenadiers that have been painted in my old style that are yet to be based. I will look to design a base for this sometime in the near future. However, in general, what this means is that after this post you will see a new style of painted infantry. It still will feel like my work, yet there is definitely a different look to it. Stay tuned!

The Concept:

Continuing with the rural theme these officers are striding through a field. I have chosen to model a Panzerknacker Command team so I have added some interest with a load of surplus teller mines. After viewing and analysing reference material, I sculpted the mines out of green stuff. While doing so I found some pictures of the mines being transported in their original crates, of which I had to model. This I modelled using an icypole/icecream stick. Due to the size restriction this was the only significant feature that I could incorporate into this base, however I am pleased with the overall appearance.

What worked:-

The simpler base, I feel, worked well in this situation. These sculpts are very detailed and engaging, the simplified setup allows more focus to be drawn to them. The flowers add a real nice touch of colour. I always have to make sure that I am not adding too many of them on my bases because I like them a great deal. They are a great opportunity to bring in colours that aren’t present on uniforms which adds a nice complexity. I also like the positioning with the soldier encouraging his comrades to follow the officer’s lead.

I really like the iron cross that I sculpted out of green stuff. That took me an extremely long time and it was my first decent foray into free hand sculpting. It taught me to jump in a give it a go and I think the result isn’t half bad.

What didn’t:-

Well, where to start? It is always hard to look at your earlier work without feeling that it is sub-par, however I will try to be objective and balanced.

Firstly after looking at more reference material I notice more and more errors in colour selection. I have done a lot of strapping and pouches in a canvas type colour when it should be more leather in colour. The mess tins are not canvas bags, which is what I thought that they were. Originally I had no idea what the rolled up zeltbahn was and so the colour is completely wrong. Also I have missed the water canteen and instead made it a bag. There is one factor in my defence, I had painted my German soldiers based on the painting reference guide on the back of the original Flames of War German Paint set. I will have to take a picture to provide some proof.

I have since learned that the uniform marking for NCO should not be on the sleeve unless he is wearing a camo smock, in which case it would appear on the smock. So my Feldwebel has taken the liberty of displaying is rank on his sleeve, such arrogance 😉

Conclusion:-

A lot of my dislikes are based around a lack of knowledge and time spent in research. These are things that can be rectified and should only disturb the rivet counters in the extreme (myself being among them). I do like this piece overall as it is a large step in my evolutionary painting path. I went out and tried some new things and pushed the barriers of what I could achieve.

I hope that you enjoy this squad, if you would like to provide feedback, good or bad, I would be most appreciative.

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