Thursday, October 24, 2013

Miniatures in 25mm / 28mm Scale to Represent the Schutztruppe in Southwest Africa in 1904

There are a number of manufacturers offering German Colonial troops in 25mm or 28mm scale.  Not all off them are appropriate for war gaming the Herero war of 1904, however, and not all of them are still in production.  This post deals only with options for the Schutztruppe (seebataillon, naval landing parties and native auxiliaries will be addressed in subsequent posts).

First the bad news:  Back at the turn of the millennium, the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company (HLBSC) introduced an excellent German colonial range that included infantry in slouch hats and mounted troops.  These have not been produced for a number of years, however, and after contacting the manufacturer I received the sad news that the molds for these figures are worn and no longer useable.  This is very unfortunate, because there are virtually no other sources available in these scales for accurately portrayed mounted Schutztruppen.  If you find any of these for sale, grab them.

Falcon Miniatures (also produced in Britain as Matchlock Miniatures) also have a German Colonial Southwest Africa Line in 25mm scale.  I have been only been able to find two somewhat different listings of the Matchlock line and no good images of the Matchlock or Falcon Figures, though have been able to order through them successfully.  I am worried by both the inclusion of Askaris, including lancers, which were not used in Southwest Africa, and by some of the slouch hats that I can just make out in the picture gallery on the Falcon site that seem to show Germans in hats turned up across the forehead. Falcon has not returned my email request for more information.  They do have mounted troops, however, and I would very much like to examine them further.

Brigade Games Great War in Africa Line has a number of figures representing German Colonial Troops, and some of these are in Slouch Hats.  Unfortunately, they are wearing puttees instead of cavalry boots.  I did pick up the Command Set and will use two of the four figures (the ones that have slouch hats), but passed on the four infantry in slouch hats because of their leg wrappings.  Brigade Games is a great source, however, for German naval forces.

Falcon and Tiger Miniatures offer German Schutztruppen mounted on both camels and horses.
Unfortunately, the Southwest Africa cavalry troop mounted on Camels was established after the Herero revolt.  I purchased two figure sets from Tiger (troopers in slouch hats on camels and troopers in pith
Tiger Miniatures GC 03 German Schutztruppen Advancing at High Port
helmets on horses) and switched their mounts.  They are very nice figures and I am only sorry that the sun helmeted troopers will have to sit this one out. 

Recreational Conflict is the American distributor for Tiger Miniatures and a joy to order from.  In addition to the mounted figures referenced above, I have two sets of 28 mm German colonial infantry in slouch hats (5 pieces in each advancing at high port or at trail) and a 5 piece artillery crew with a mountain gun.  I did not order the Command set because three of the figures are in sun helmets which were not issued to the Schutztruppe in Southwest Africa.

Pulp Miniatures PGS 17 German Colonial Maxim Guns
The bulk of my Schutztruppe figures are from Tiger, Pulp Miniatures and Askari.  The Pulp Figures are robust 28mm scale and dynamically sculpted.  They are not quite as scrupulously authentic with regard to uniform details and accouterments as are the 25mm Askari offerings, but they are still excellent.  I picked up the 4 figure, 28mm heavy and light machine gun teams from Pulp Figures, which as far as I know are the only Schutztruppe ones available, and they are outstanding.   I also have both the 5 piece German Colonial Rifles set and the 5 piece German Colonial officers and NCOs set, and I also picked up the five piece PGS 04 German Seebattailon Troops 2 which are in peaked feld caps and which I indent to paint in Schutztruppe colors.  There are many period images showing German Schutztruppe wearing these caps as alternatives to Slouch Hats, while the Seebatallion companies that did serve in Southwest Africa were in khaki colored sun helmets.

Askari Miniatures in 28mm are a new line and have the most accurate depictions of Schutztruppe that
Askari Miniatures GE-3 German Schutztrupe Field Artillery Crew
are suitable for the Herero conflict.  I have their entire line and intend to purchase whatever new offerings are subsequently produced.  These now include a 4 piece command set, 10 figures in five poses of Schutztruppe infantry, and 4 piece sets of gunners for both field and mountain artillery.  I have the 77 mm Krupp field gun and 75mm Krupp mountain gun that Askari produces for these figures, as well as a limber with a four mule team. 

The uniforms worn by these figures are various interpretations of the 1896 "Feldrock" khaki tunic.  It would be great to see other figures made wearing the Kord Waffenrock and Litewka as well, given how common these were in Southwest African service, and field caps.  Here's hoping some of these find their way to market soon, along with more cavalry and poses of infantry lying prone and maybe a heliograph section.  Nonetheless, there are ample choices to a respectable dismounted infantry and artillery force, further supplemented by seesoldaten, naval landing parties, boers and native auxiliaries which we shall cover in the an upcoming post.

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