Friday, May 2, 2014

First Flames of War: A First for Me

I rarely paint anything but 40k, but after a year of having the "Open Fire" boxed set for Flames of War sitting in my closet I decided to break it out and paint some models up. All that military modeling research in order to paint better 40k tanks primed the way. It feels weird to be painting US, British, and German forces, since unlike 40k, in FoW we are dealing with real events. On the other hand, this is just painting.

What you see in the photos is the German side of the starter box. The American and British will be painted last. I sort of viewed these models as color modulation practice for my larger 40k models. If I can do it a 100mm scale, then I can do it at 28mm. The major challenge here was working with the terrible plastic these are molded in. The more I worked with it the more I hated it. Even weirder, it looks like battlefront sculpted these tanks by hand. The tracks are weirdly rounded and soft, and many details just blur together. I am not sure if all FoW plastic kits are molded in this soft detail, but brittle stuff, but if they are, then I will not purchase any more.

On the other hand, I found a shop selling Plastic Soldier Company 100mm kits, and was really pleased with the amount of detail. I purchased the Panther box set, and enjoyed building them, despite having no idea what variant I ultimately produced. There seems to be a profusion of kits that mix Panther A, D, and G variants, so I went with the G because it looked better. I think the A, and D versions are swapped, but it also looks like the G versions front ball turret thing should be on the A as well.

I've reached the point where I need to paint up some infantry, but I honestly have no idea how to achieve this. The models are so small I can barely see them. My plan so far is to airbrush white from the top to shade them, and then dust them with semi-transparent german field grey. Additionally, do people base them first and then paint them? It looks incredibly difficult to paint them once based, but basing second has its own problems.

Now on the big questions.

  • Do I have to add brown and green camo to the tanks, or did the Germans have some units left yellow? I tried several practice runs with my airbrush, and none of them came out ok. I'd like to move on to the paint chipping, and streaking phase, but I can't until the base coats are done.
  • I've purchased the starter box,  the PSC x5 panther box, and the PSC x5 halftrack SdKfz 251D box. Is there a way to make a list that uses these? The army list included in the box was not very helpful, and after reading PDF after PDF, I really don't know where to start, or what would be acceptable for the FoW community. I think this is a major barrier to entry for a new player, and problem for Battlefront. I am not interested in becoming a military historian of WW2, but with the amount of books and documents it feels like I have to. 


  1. Go to For a buck per book you get access to an army builder. I've been using it for late-war finns and late-war russians.

  2. For some camo info:

  3. They look really good. The colour modulation is excellent. Camouflage is optional but most Late War vehicles would have had some form of camouflage. Within a company the camouflage would not necessarily have been uniform. So you could always do these as just Dunkelgelb and add camo to some other vehicles later.

    As for army lists, there are a lot that you could use with what you have. For a quick list with what you have, a grenadier HQ, 2 platoons of Grenadiers (all with upgraded Pnzerfaust), 3 Stugs, 3 Pak40s, and 4 Panthers from the Forces book. This is 1605 points. It is not ideal but you could play with it. is another free army builder.

    To build a company you need to pick which type of company. You usually need two of the same type of platoon and two command figures for the platoon (ex. 2 platoons of grenadiers and a 1iC and 2iC like in Open Fire). For tanks this is usually 2 or more platoons of 3-5 tanks and 2 command tanks.

    To improve on what you have, some reconnaissance would be a good buy. 2 Pumas can be used in most late war lists. If you added another 6 251/1s you could be a gepanzerte panzergrenadier company (mechanised infantry). Panzer IV Hs are a good buy for late war.

    I've got lots of FOW stuff on my blog if you are interested in checking it out:

    1. Cameron, I love your blog! I've been reading it for quite a while now. It was the inspiration for my IG tanks. Then I woke up an realized I had the FoW starter set. I have 5 of the skdfz, do I need another 6? So the starting list is the gepanzere panzer grenadier list. That gives me a place to look

    2. For a panzergrenadier company you would need 10 251/1s in total. Panzergrenadiers can be a bit tricky to play. If you added a few more tanks you could have a good tank list to learn with while you paint the infantry. Infantry is slow to paint.

      When I paint infantry I generally attach a few of the models to the base and then paint the rest separately.

  4. The yellow Deunkelgelb was the factory standard paint from 1942 from memory. The anks were shipped to the field with cans of paint for the other colours, which the crew, or someone from the unit, painted on the camo stripes. So, yes tanks would have been just yellow, especially if they are factory fresh; but, most would have had camouflage.