Saturday, January 31, 2015

Avanti Savoia! My Italians in all their Glory...

So, some might ask... "Dude, why Italians??"  

Yeah, they have a bad rep on the street, or erhm, perhaps "in the sand"?  Between race/ethnic bias, WWII propaganda, the political collapse of the nation in '43, and mixed performance as a nation despite solid - and consistent - performance from certain units, the Italians are mocked quite a bit.

Good example... long after I chose to play Italians as my first Flames of War army, I did a tournament at a big venue not too far away.  There were 20-30 players there.  I played three rounds, once against an experienced US Army player, once against a newbie Soviet, and once against a pretty experienced soviet player who was fielding an infantry company backed up by KV1's.  What interested me about the KV1 player was that he basically felt entitled to win since he was playing against Italians - he cheerfully informed me of this at the start of the game.  You'd think that since my stuff was well painted, he'd at least give me _some_ respect, eh?  But no, filled with Allied propaganda, he dismissed any chance I had at winning.

Well, things didn't turn out that way.  At one point I dropped about 48 MG dice on his infantry in a town, and the law of averages coming into play I tore up a Sov infantry platoon [company] while his other infantry platoons [company] wandered into the sights of a zillion other dice, albeit with is KV1 help.  My rickety light tanks zipped around the mangled Soviets holding the town to take the objective, while my Bersaglieri light infantry kept his KV1 busy.long enough for them to contest that objective.  Meanwhile, my armor drove about 15 feet for the win.

So why play Italians?  Well, it's a points game, and given equal points and competent playing, any force should win, right?  Plus I'm half Italian, and I enjoy the odd mix of lame light armor and dodgy infantry, altho the elite forces play just fine, of course.  The best being the Paracadutisti, but paras aren't my thing, so I've fielded armor with light infantry, mostly.  I dunno, aside from the fun of painting them up and researching them, it is fun to be the underdog.  After all, if you lose with Italians...isn't that what people expect?  And if you win, you get some quiet laughs!

Anyway, here's some pics of my Italians, may have to do a few posts:
 Company Staff: Captain on left in peaked cap, hero [with medal on base, surrounded by dead and dying], 2iC then a spotter.  Behind are a Fiat staff car and a "borrowed" German light truck, the Horch Kfz 15 [resin with cast base].  The Hero and vehicles are Battlefront while the rest of the figures are Old Glory Command Decision:

 Blurry Hero in the front, with the Capitano in the back.

2iC and spotter with Horch in the back.

First platoon I painted.  The figures are all OGCD and are painted up as the Motorized Infantry Division "Trieste", with national badges on the sun helmets and green collar badges.  I chose this unit b/c they were both well equipped and well trained, considered the equal of the Bersaglieri light infantry.  I felt this gave me the flexibility to field them as either a Fucilieri company or Bersaglieri company.  Then again, I probably over think these things! 

Closeup of two squads.  The sangars are made of kitty litter.  The sand is real playbox sand.

You can just see the badge on the sun helmets, and some are wearing black garrison caps. I used the Osprey Italian books to paint the figs, found them easy to work with and reasonably accurate.  The British ones are a bit of a nightmare, but these were all fine.

Other two squads.  The extra base is in there by mistake - it's from the next platoon down. Have to correct this disorganization later!

I found these figs a pleasure to paint and work with, and the end results superior to the Battlefront ones.  There are new ones from Eureka of Australia, but they're pricey so I'd probably just use them to fill in the occasional gaps.  You can buy them in small batches.  My other favorite is the Peter Pig range.  The figs are very solid and have a number of good poses, as well as being clean sculpts.  Highly recommended.

But if you want a large amount of cheap and decent figs, you really can't beat the Old Glory Command Decision line with the Old Glory Army discount [40% off].  It puts a bag at 19 cents a figure, making up for any figures you don't like.  Of course, with buy bags of 50, you end up with lots of extra LMGs for example, but I've found they make great vehicle crews with AA LMG.

Anyway, some more pics:
Second platoon I painted - these guys are from a Blackshirt Battalion, or CCNN.  They were full of enthusiasm but not with a lot of weapons and training!  So no LMGs for these dudes.

Closeup of the platoon commander and the short squad.  

The last couple of squads close up.  Note that some of the figures are wearing scarves to protect themselves from the gritty sand.  Apparently this was a must-have item in the desert. What did they look like?  I don't know, but as many were local copying turban patterns would be a good start, any with color.  As it is 15mm, it should be a bright pattern or it won't be noticed at all.  And if it won't be noticed at all, why bother to paint it?

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