|Some of the Latvian Legion: the officers and NCOs|
At the moment, my German forces consist of some fairly generic mid-late war, Warlord Games Waffen-SS (painted to represent the Latvian Legion). In time, I'll be getting some more Waffen-SS and use the Handschar Heads from Warlord to make some anti-partisan troops as well. These will end up getting used for most of the general skirmishing - but I'll also need some generic sentries and officers as well. The very nature of partisan and insurgency warfare means that the Army of Freedom will be choosing most of the missions - ambushing and combating the occupiers on their own terms, then melting away into the darkness. For this reason, some static troops and HQ scenery will be needed - and this poses a singular problem. I need some 'relaxing' Germans ... if they exist.
Not just relaxing, but officers standing around talking, sentries with Dobermans, a guard catching a sly 'Lucky Strike' in the shade of an inexplicably red-and-white sentry box ... all for the sneaky Brits to sneak up on. And my salvation came in the form of West Wind Production's Berlin or Bust range. Aside from including a good range of the usual combat poses, there are a few nice sets that fit my purpose: the German Checkpoint Set, the German Sentries and the German Staff (I also took the opportunity to get some nice casualty markers too). My mini review is just on the WW2 stuff (they have tonnes of other ranges on the site), and will focus on the Germany 1944 stuff.
The models usually come in packs of 8, priced at £8.50 each. This is about average and above my £1 / model target, but not an unusual price when buying quality 28mm figures - and these are very nice. Vehicle models are perhaps slightly cheaper than other ranges (Tiger Is costing £21, and Panzer IVs are £18, but I haven't seen their quality). 7/10 - good value, and large pack sizes make for good bulk purchases.
The WW2 range is fairly extensive, including some rarer ranges like British Indians, French Resistance, Italians and Japanese as well as the usual suspects. In these ranges there's a very good selection of command, support and combat troops, usually in the pack-of-8 format. Unfortunately, there are not many 'squad packs' - if you want 9 riflemen and a sub-machine gunner, you'll have to get the rifle set twice (giving you 16), and then the command set of eight officers and NCOs. But apart from the difficult packaging up of the range, all the weapons and uniforms are there, including character sets, sentries and officers as I mentioned earlier - and the pack-of-8 format makes them ideal for bulking out an army with specific bits - for example, the Greatcoated infantry would be ideal for starting an Ostfront army. All of the basic vehicles are also covered like the Tiger I, various models of Panzer IV and some flak weapons too. 9/10 - although the lack of squad/platoon deals is a bit annoying, the variety of hats, smocks, weapons, poses and such like make these ideal for specialist projects.
Nothing to complain about here - all arrived on time and a flat cost of £4 for fairly close delivery to central UK. I couldn't check on overseas delivery without changing my account details so I didn't manage to get that. 7/10 - no complaints, fair value and quick turnaround.
Sculpt Quality and Detail
Some very nice models in this range, and I was very pleased when I opened them up. There was an average level of flash which came off easily, and the detailed bits like epaulettes and buttons were all there. The faces and hands didn't quite look realistic - very 'pudgy' and slightly small in some cases, but to be fair this might be me not being used to the range. The head sizes don't quite allow for swaps with other 28mm ranges. 8/10 - nice quality and excellent detail, although you'd struggle to get them to fit seamlessly with other ranges.
Overall: 8/10 - there really is a great variety; that's what drew me to them in the first place. Nice sculpts for a decent price. If you're after something fairly specific German-wise you probably won't be disappointed.
And that's the good news, folks! To keep you hungry, here's a preview of a few of those West Wind figures going across the desk at the moment (eagle-eyed readers will have seen a few others in the background of the WiP Sentinel pictures!). Thanks for reading!
|One of the NCOs from the sentry set, ready for some|
partisans to sneak up on him ...
|Another sentry, with a sucessful head swap|
with Warlord's Handschar Heads - these
head swaps can be a bit hit-and-miss
|Some of the figures from the Casualty pack|