Warlord’s resident Australian and prolific painter of armies, Pete Hely, has once again flexed his hobby muscles and churned out another Bolt Action mega-project – he doesn’t do things by halves! This time he’s turned his attention to the early days of World War Two. This collection is representative of a battlegroup of the Infantry Regiment “Großdeutschland“, specifically during the Battle of Stonne (May 14th to 25th 1940) during the wider Battle of France. The village of Stonne was hotly contested, changing hands no less than 17 times over the course of the 11-day battle, making it an interesting focal point around which to build an army.

As with all his projects, Pete conducts a lot of research to make sure his results marry with history. In this case, Pete has taken a lot of inspiration from The Blitzkrieg Legend penned by Karl-Heinz Frieser, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the modern German Army. “They say that history is written by the victors, but this book sets out to dispel the myths of Blitzkrieg,” says Pete. “Much research has been done, particularly in the last ten years or so, which suggests that Blitzkrieg tactics weren’t all as effective as has previously been made out by the Allies. The German Army of WWII was certainly progressive and considered ‘modern’ for the time but the model and tactics were very quickly eclipsed by the Allies. Nevertheless, the period provides fantastic modelling and gaming opportunities for Bolt Action.”

Roll out! Early-war German armour certainly has some distinctive silhouettes.
A converted 15 cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B.

Pete is particularly fond of his armour (a fact we previously demonstrated with his Panzer Lehr Collection), and really goes to town on getting these vehicles right, even if the models don’t quite exist yet. Cue to conversion work. Pete’s 15 cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B (or unofficially known as a Sturmpanzer I Bison) is an amalgamation of the resin Panzer I and the metal sIG 33, plasticard, and a lot of patience. “That one was the most difficult to get right, but the end result was worth a few scratched fingers”. The Bison is accompanied by a pair of Sd.Kfz 10 DeMag half-tracks, to carry ammunition, as there wasn’t room for it on the self-propelled gun.

Triple threat! A Panzer II, StuG III  and Panzerjäger I crest the hill in search of fresh targets.

Pete likes to give his models dioramic flourishes, whether it’s the stowage on the half-tracks or the detritus and ammo packs strewn around the bases of weapons teams and artillery pieces, each model can tell its own story “The more you look the more you see,” says Pete.

Discarded weapons and spent casings adorn the bases of these weapons teams, giving them bags more character. “Always keep your bits box on hand when you’re dealing with large bases!”

With Pete’s customary precision, it’s the small individual details that really lend the army as a whole its flair. Simple techniques like snipping off heads and glueing them back on at different angles can be quite effective, but a few individual miniatures have unique modifications:

A group of Kradschützen surge ahead. Note the delicately-placed cigarette on the soldier second to the left.
The devil makes work for idle hands – this passenger casually plays with a grenade whilst en route to the frontline.

Aside from the Bison, Pete’s favourite individual model from this army is the ‘Battle Bus’. Rather than build his Opel Blitz with the supplied seated contingent of troops, he’s chosen to model its passengers at firing positions. This gives it a unique flair and lends the Opel a great sense of speed and urgency.

The ‘Battle Bus’ – putting the Grenadiers in the thick of the action.

As ever, Pete’s advice for tackling such an army is to not overwhelm yourself. Work in batches of ten for infantry, both in construction and painting, don’t be afraid to switch up colour scheme for freshness and invest some time here and there into some little conversions. “They needn’t be big, flamboyant conversions – just look to inject some character and make the model truly yours where you can.”

Pete’s Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland in all its glory.
  1. Very nice paint job. Although Großdeutschland was only an Infantry Regiment until 1943. Still a great job.

  2. As much as I love seeing peoples own armies these articles are always very poor for pics, some more up close and pics of all the units would be nice.

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