IABSM: German Aufklarung unit

A bit of a break from Polish army lists today: some painting instead.

I've been wanting to add a reconnaissance element to my late war Germans for some time, but have been distracted by all the Arab/Israeli kit sitting on my painting table. Now that that's gone, it was recon all the way!

First up was the infantry recon element: a platoon from the Aufklarungkompanie described in both Battle for Liberation and Vpered Na Berlin. This consisted of eight half-tracks: one SdKfz 250/1 as command, one 250/10 with PaK 36, and then six more 250/1 carrying the three squads of infantry.

Command Element

With eight half-tracks to buy and paint, I decided to go the Plastic Soldier Company way: half the cost (at least) of buying them in metal, and the extra two half-tracks could go towards my next unit: recon for the panzers.

Building them was pretty easy. The only tricky bit was fitting the two crewmen into the cockpit. One stands, firing the MG, the other sits on the bench, presumably complaining that its his turn with the gun now! The problem is that it's a very tight fit to get both stander and sitter in place and, if you're not careful, you end up with Herr Stander's bottom firmly pressed into Herr Sitter's face!

The half-tracks paint up nicely. I undercoated in a dark yellow, then used one of the sponge things you get in a Battlefront blister to create a camouflage pattern with a light green and then a dark brown. In order to keep things consistent (und orderly, ja!), I made sure the camouflage blobs for each colour were in the same places on each half-track.

1½ squads-worth of half-tracks!

The crew were painted in German uniform rather than camouflage. I could have gone splinter pattern, but I felt that the contrast between the half-tracks and their crew worked better than if I'd camouflaged both. BTW, I only painted the bits of the crew that can be seen...and had to go back and paint the drivers' helmets as I forgot to do them as I did the others.

A wash with Agrax Earthshade (what did we do before Agrax Earthshade) and a bit of highlighting and the paint jobs were done.

Decals were then applied...and I've just realised that the numbering that I've used doesn't make any sense in that I have treated the main body of the unit as two squads of three half-tracks rather than three squads of two half-tracks. Doh! I have also had a problem with the backing film showing, despite using a decal softener as I applied them. It's a pain, but I shall have to learn to live with it.

The other 1½ squads-worth!

Anyhoo, a coat of matt varnish softened the colours so they looked less clown-like, and we're now all ready for some recon action. 

Nice figures: PSC = highly recommended.