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"Advice for a first-timer's WW1 project" Topic

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iaretehbanres04 Feb 2017 2:06 p.m. PST

First of all, I'm aware that many people have come here asking for beginners' advice and that I'm not the first. Following the boards, you seem like friendly chaps, though, so if you have the patience, I was hoping to get some guidance for my first WW1 project. It comforts me that a beginners' guide are of the forums has recently been added.

In short, I'm looking for a skirmish-type first world war project – Ideally section-level and up to platoon-plus-level (but definitely not company). I've already failed previous projects by biting off more than I can chew!

So, I'd really appreciate any guidance on:

1. A skirmish ruleset
2. An era
3. Models and painting guides

When it comes to choosing a specific period and ruleset, I'm a bit torn. From what I gather, the choices are early war or late war. As I'm after a skirmish-style game, I'm attracted to each for different reasons. The last of Victorian-era tactics with mainly rifle companies supported by separate machine gun platoons with cavalry as a battalion asset means that fighting in open country or over key strategic points could be exciting. Then again, organic MG sections of lewis gunners for every company, specialist bombers, trench raiders and the beginning of modern fire and manoeuvre techniques is tempting. I quite like the idea of a section supporting a tank's advance but then, if that's what I'm really after, I should probably be looking at WW2…

From the research I've done, it appears that there's a wider variety of early-war models than late war. Is this the case?

Strangely, I'm not after huge maps of intricate trench systems but either the opening shots of the war fought over hills, buildings and bridges or the post-trench allied push towards the end of the war. The odd trench could be fun but I wouldn't want it to be the only terrain.

Also, any good painting guides would be great. Mark from the outstanding Over Open Sights blog very kindly sent me his. Any more information would be a bonus.

Apologies for asking so many questions – I'm just very excited to start my first project in the fascinating era!

Many thanks,


JimDuncanUK04 Feb 2017 2:18 p.m. PST

Ask your questions on the TFL Forum.

I'm sure you will get lots of good advice there.




D A THB04 Feb 2017 2:56 p.m. PST

I have started buying Late War figures for the more open type Warfare during the Allied push. Fighting through bombed out buildings with tanks bogging down etc appeals to me. The Osprey Amiens 1918 book has been useful.

I'd really like to do Early War as well for the colourful uniforms, but that will have to be in my next life.

wrgmr104 Feb 2017 3:11 p.m. PST

Funny as I was reading the post, before I scrolled down, my first though was Too Fat Lardies.

Figures, well if it's skirmish you may as well go with 25/28mm.

My opinion is that Renegade make the best early WW1 figures.

Later war are Great War Miniatures.

Here is a link to an earlier TMP thread.
TMP link

Remember that the British started using helmets in 1916, so any time before that they used soft hats.
Similarly the Germans had the Pickelhaube with a cover early on then went to the traditional German helmet.

Late war there are lots of choices, I have Old Glory figures which are quite inexpensive compared to others.





Old Glory tank.



Painting guide:


TMP painting guide

TMP link


Also Lead Adverture Forum has lots of information.


Weasel04 Feb 2017 3:19 p.m. PST

I'll be happy to shill my rules to you if you are interested but I am actually going to suggest picking up a pack or two figures and painting them up, without too much worry about rules yet.

Get a feel for what you like the look of and then work from there.

As far as figures goes, the rough rule is early war in hats, mid/late war in helmets, but you'll want to research exact years.

Ceterman04 Feb 2017 3:50 p.m. PST

As for Minis, I love the Great War Miniatures for Late War. IMHO, the best out there. We don't play Early War, but again, if we did, I'd have to GWM again. As for rules we use Too Fat Lardies TTMATB also. Though lately, we have had some very good games of Bolt Action modified for the Great War. Here are the GAJO modifications we used (well, most of them! We didn't use the -2 for MG08's when moving & 1 or 2 others, plus we used some BA v2 rules also. Like giving MG's more dice, it's really up to you)
PDF link
If you Google, "Bolt Action rules modifications for WW1", you will find much more!
Also, shameless plug, I sell some great Trench Boards! Take a look here:
You really only need 1 or 2, tops, for a small game ;)
Welcome to the period & Good Luck, Trench Warfare is a great period for small, skirmish games!

Wackmole904 Feb 2017 4:34 p.m. PST

i'd second the bolt action ww1 rules and great war figures.

Painting guides check oout the many ospreys on the war and even Battlefront has some for 15mm you can uses for 25mm.

Weasel04 Feb 2017 5:32 p.m. PST

Also, the best single-volume book you can get is probably still Haythornthwaites "World war one sourcebook".

phssthpok04 Feb 2017 8:16 p.m. PST

The old board game "Trenchfoot" might work, should be easily adapted to miniatures.

Clays Russians04 Feb 2017 10:26 p.m. PST

Minifig 15mil. Great little chaps they are, with bolt action rules on a 4foot square, trenches or open, you cannot ignore the trenches and consider the Great War with out spending time in them.

Legbiter05 Feb 2017 10:23 a.m. PST

If you haven't decided on scale and want to skirmish, may I suggest the Middle East/Arab Revolt? HaT do lovely Turks, and there are various Arabic warriors including an old Airfix set, and a modern "Lawrence of Arabia" set by RedBox, or possibly Mars or Strelets. Terrain, painting etc is going to be easier, and there are nice pre-made and painted WW1 aircraft.

Vigilant05 Feb 2017 11:28 a.m. PST

Scarab Miniatures do an excellent range of 28mm WW1 for various fronts, including Italians and Austrians for the mountain wars. I've used the Lardies Through Mud and Blood rules for several games, though they have tended to be more than just a few sections. Others that would work are the Combat Patrol rules. I user Kallistra's trench systems. Skirmish Campaigns do a great early war scenario book for Germans and French called Rommel's Road to Verdun. Small number of troops and easily playable on a 6 x 4 table. They also have conversion tables for a variety of different rule sets to fit the scenarios.

iaretehbanres05 Feb 2017 5:17 p.m. PST

Thanks for the advice so far – it's been really useful.

I've just bought some second-hand Renegade minis that I'll strip back and paint up – looks like it comes with at least one officer, a Lewis gun team and around 20 riflemen, so I can get started on a platoon-minus/section-plus setup.

I also ordered to the Too Fat Lardies rulebook – looking forward to getting stuck in.

I've decided to go for early war Western front – in the end, the use of cavalry swung it for me. I've been trying to move away from AWI and Napoleonics but there's something attractive about playing the fall of the age of the horse.

One reason for dipping my toe into C20th was the hope that it won't take as much time to paint a table-ready army as the colourful uniforms of previous conflicts. I suspect that this won't turn out to be the case. That said, any guides to quicker painting (quickshades, prays etc) would be appreciated, if it's not blasphemy.

Ceterman05 Feb 2017 6:40 p.m. PST

You want blasphemy? Well, here ya go!
I use Krylon Cammo Olive Spray for Germans & Khaki for Brits after I prime with black. I have no regrets! I then use different green/grays & Khakis, usually Craft Colors, for making highlight & shadow colors. I also use the dip… I am now returning to my seat of shame…

wrgmr106 Feb 2017 5:23 a.m. PST

The figures pictures above wee all painted with a base color then dry brushed with one highlight. Faces, uniforms etc. Then a dry brush of brown dirt. Worked for me.

iaretehbanres06 Feb 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

Well, I've just picked up a few things from Wargames Emporium – Vallejo Khaki and English Uniform, a green primer, small drybrush and some TGW advancing infantry to bring my sections up to full-strength.

Dangerous knowing I have a source to buy more minis within lunchtime walking distance of my office, though…

Vigilant06 Feb 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

Have fun. It is a fun period. If you can get to Hammerhead at Newark in March you will probably be able to pick up a lot more figures. Check out the Royal Armouries web site for this year's games event (usually in November) which will probably feature several WW1 games – I'm looking at putting on an Italian front game using Through Mud and Blood as part of Leeds Wargames Club's contribution to the day.

iaretehbanres06 Feb 2017 9:43 a.m. PST

Ah, thanks for the heads-up. I'm Sheffield-based so equidistant from Newark and Leeds!

iaretehbanres07 Feb 2017 4:01 p.m. PST

At the risk of dragging this thread out longer than it needs to, I've just finished my first fireteam and they're ready for basing (apologies for the amateur standard – I'm new to the hobby):


If you're interested, I based them with Humbrol's Dark Green spray and then used VMC English Uniform for the cloth and VMC Khaki for the webbing. I brushed with a Strong Tone quickshade (the horror!) and then drybrush-highlighted with the original Uniform colour and a white-lightened Khaki (which I'll keep in a separate pot for consistent use for the rest of this project.)

Thanks again for the help. It took me half the time to paint these than my AWI ones and I'm looking forward to painting the next fireteam to complete the section.

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