July has finally arrived, and with it the start of our Bolt Action: Third Edition coverage! We saw the cover of the rulebook itself on Monday, but that was merely a taste of the awesome artwork that awaits! Naturally, there’s a new starter set to accompany the new edition, packed full of awesome goodies – Battle of the Bulge!

Bolt Action Battle of the Bulge box cover art by Peter Dennis

How cool is that? The cover art for the new Battle of the Bulge starter set is of course the work of the legendary Peter Dennis, whose instantly recognisable artwork can be found in virtually every aspect of Bolt Action, and we’ve been incredibly privileged to be able to sit down with him and ask a couple of questions about his process. Peter also very kindly gave us access to a series of ‘work in progress’ shots, showing the progress of the piece from initial sketches, right the way through to the finished article – check them out below, and let’s see what the man himself has to say!

MV – The biggest question is, of course, how did you decide what this painting would be once you’d received the brief from our Studio? Were there specific elements you knew from the very beginning you wanted to include (for example, the GI with his pistol drawn), or did they ‘evolve’ as the initial sketches took shape?

PD – When I began this painting I had already done quite a bit of artwork of winterised troops on both sides recently, so my head was already in the snow! The episode of Band of Brothers in the snowy woods of the Ardennes was a major inspiration, but with all the big box art, we need a close-quarters encounter so the box contents can be displayed.  I therefore decided to put the US infantry in and around a makeshift log firing position, and somehow the German paratroopers have sneaked up to grenade-throwing range before launching their charge. We’re deep into classic comic-book territory here!

I mentioned to John Stallard (Warlord Games CEO -ed.) that I felt like I was including an absurd amount of point-blank firing. He replied that there could never be too much!

MV – Were there any particular elements you found particularly satisfying or challenging to get looking ‘just right’ on this project, and on a related note, was your initial sketch your first draft, or were there multiple themes you sketched before deciding on the one you used?

PD – I sketched the poses in a very loose way, and wore my old German greatcoat to get some references – like most illustrators, I am my own model!  I wanted to have a figure firing a Colt pistol into the oncoming pack and when I posed it, the ‘leaning back’ stance seemed natural and dynamic. The other poses were soon captured.

I had visualised the grey, misty character of the woods, but bringing them to life in the painting was probably the trickiest part of the job. I set about sprinkling explosions here and there in the Warlord style. No artwork is ever really finished, but eventually abandoned when the artist can’t think of anything else to do with it, and sure enough, the artwork you see on the box represents that moment!

Well, there it is, from the artist himself! It’s always really cool to get to look ‘behind the scenes’ at what goes into the awesome artwork on the front of Bolt Action boxes, and serves as inspiration for what the contents inside can become.

Speaking of contents… As you’ve probably already guessed, within the new starter set you’ll find all-new plastics for US Army infantry and German Fallschirmjäger paratroopers, both bundled up in winter clothing against the cold!

Plastic US Infantry (Winter)
Plastic Fallschirmjäger (Winter)

Pre-orders for Bolt Action: Third Edition, including the brand-new Battle of the Bulge Starter Set, go live on the Warlord Games Webstore,
Friday 5th July 2024.

  1. Stunning! Great article and what a treat for the new Bolt Action 3 starter set – two new sets of figures. So many options with the Fallschirmjäger – Eastern Front. Can’t wait to get this in my hands!

  2. Can’t wait to see what else comes in the box, was just going to get the book but those gi’s sure look pretty

  3. Great! Finally some Winter Parkas to convert some Winter Wehrmacht and the like! And those Winter GIs sure look great as is, same as the Fallschirmjäger but will come in handy for conversion work! 😛 COOL STUFF!

  4. Being an avid collector of Bolt Action. I own several large armies (4 British, 3 German, 2 Finnish, 4 American) and literally ALL books of the first and second edition.
    I await the third edition with some anticipation and hope that some issues have been dealt with (like the cost of MMG teams and some of the rules for snipers).

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