Bundesheer At War: Part III

The Bundesheer At War: Part III
with Ian Birdwell

Read Part 1 here...
Read Part 2 here...

With a list in hand and full knowledge on how to get it moving and grooving for games it’s now possible to turn towards how we’re going to convert and paint our Austrian forces. Thankfully, across the ranges of Battlefront miniatures we’re able to produce a pretty high fidelity representation of what the forces would look like in our modified Team Yankee timeline. In terms of structure, this article will progress in three primary parts, the initial shopping list for putting together the list we built in part 2, the conversion work needed for putting together the force, and painting the army. 

Shopping List
Before we’re able to convert our forces for the Bundesheer, we’ll need to go shopping for the relevant items to make the force happen. Below I’ve got the pick list for the force constructed in the last installment of the Bundesheer at War.

  • 1x 52mm Mortar team
  • 4 AH-1 Viper
  • 3 FN MAG Team with M72 LAW anti-tank
  • 4 Galil assault rifle team with M72 LAW anti-tank
  • 4 Jeep TOW
  • 3 M109 (155mm)
  • 4 M113
  • 4 M163 VADS
  • 1 M47 Dragon missile team
  • 11 Magach 6
  • 3 Recce Jeep
  • 4 Redeye team
  • 3 RPG-7 anti-tank team

So our shopping list should look something close to that, only with their Austrian counterparts for the needed proxies. Below is a list of the rough items needed for the shopping list, it is important to note as well that this list will include the fictional units we justified earlier in the series and not all of the teams listed were used by the real-life Bundesheer.

Team

Needed Purchase

Fact or Fiction? 

AH-1 Viper

US Cobra or Viper Platoon

To be painted/built as American Cobras

TOW Jeep

Israeli TOW Jeeps

Fictional

M109

Any M109 Box

Fact 

M163 VADS

M42 Dusters

Fact

Magach 6

Any M60 Box

Fact

Recce jeep

Israeli Jeeps or US Jeeps

Fact (Though the willis was out of service long before the 1980s and the Puch G is more correct, this can be solved with heavily adding camouflage netting if so desired). 

Redeye Team

Dutch Stinger team

Fictional, the Bundesheer purchased their Man-portable SAMs after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Infantry Platoon

Canadian and Dutch infantry platoons.

Fact! Ish…the Dragon certainly isn’t.

When I put together the Austrian project I purchased 2 Dutch and 2 Canadian infantry platoons, which ended up netting me 3 full infantry platoons and a formation commander. These gentlemen will represent Stg58 armed troops in the Bundesheer rather than the Stg77 armed troops. I have a plan to make Stg77 armed troops but haven’t had the opportunity yet to implement it. 

So with all of these purchases made and in line, we can get to the fun part of converting up our new Austrian forces!

Conversions
In terms of conversions, a good chunk of the Austrian force should be good to go out of the box. For a full list of items ready for assembly out of the box, see below:

  • M42 Duster-US Vietnam heads
  • TOW Jeep- Use the Iranian Crews!!
  • M109, either short barrel or long
  • AH-1 Viper-I built mine following the US guide in order to represent US elements supporting Austrian forces. M60
Bundesheer At War: Part III Bundesheer At War: Part III Bundesheer At War: Part III

The fact that no significant conversion to the above models is needed speaks to the standardization of Austrian forces during this time and makes it significantly easier to spend a longer time working on other aspects of the force. Up next for conversions and nearly falling into the “you don’t need to convert” pile is the M60. In terms of conversion potential the Austrian M60 is incredibly close to the existing model produced by Battlefront, and this is made even more interesting by the transformation occurring with Austrian M60s in the 1980s. Austria purchased a good amount of M60A1s from the United States to upgrade their M47 fleet, and then in the early 1980s purchased M60A3s to further update their MBTs. All Austrian M60s by the end of the 1980s were upgraded to M60A3OE standard, the unique Austrian build for the M60A3 which included a host of unique modifications. In terms of visual difference, the biggest changes are the difference in placement and type of smoke launchers and the unique Austrian spotlight over the main gun. Fortunately though, it can be assumed that all of the above mentioned M60 variations in Austrian service could be serving alongside one another in Team Yankee as the vehicles slated for upgrades are pressed into service. For my own M60s, I built the vehicles as the M60A1 designation without any alteration to the smoke launchers to save time in assembly. My plan at the moment is to cover these tanks in a healthy amount of foliage to make them blend in and hide those specific crimes. That being said, the best way to convert them would be to shave off the American smoke launchers, and add a rectangular box over top the main gun to best represent the Austrian searchlight placed there.

Infantry Platoon
Building the infantry platoon was a fairly reasonable endeavor. As I stated previously, I purchased 2 Dutch and Canadian infantry platoons, and was able to get enough miniatures in those packages to build out three platoons. Simply build it out as an Israeli platoon as indicated below in the image. To differentiate between the MG teams and the regular rifle teams I placed only three miniatures on the MG teams to make visual identification easier on the tabletop. Additionally, as I was running out of riflemen to do a medium base for the platoon command I instead put the platoon commander on a small base. It makes it super easy to identify him at a glance. As far as conversion options are a concern here, it is certainly doable to carefully carve away the GPMGs on some of the miniatures and replace them with MG42s or MG74s from other kits. In the interest of time and a lack of a significant amount of MG42s I decided against this, and instead opted to leave the miniatures as is. Now, it is possible to make Stg77 armed figures and that’s a current project I’m experimenting with, but the speed of getting things on the table necessitated the Stg58 option being pursued instead.

Bundesheer At War: Part III


Recce Jeeps
In terms of modeling, the recce jeeps represent the biggest commitment so far in parts and time. I had a few willis jeeps kicking about in my bits box and decided to use them to represent these forces. If you have american crews for those jeeps you’re basically where you need to be and wouldn’t need much converting (that is if you left them as .50 Cals). But I decided to do something a little different, opting instead to throw in an MG74 being fired for each vehicle. To do that I simply took a WW2 German MG42 gunner from any Battlefront Halftrack kit, slice off his legs and greenstuffed him into position. 

Bundesheer At War: Part III

I also exchanged the head on the figure with a beret-clad head to be a better fit to represent a Jagdkommando group of some kind. The end result would look more at home in the early 70’s or the early Cold War, yet it’s just so great to see a Jeep hanging out on the table-top with M60s and other equipment from the 1980’s.

Painting
With the conversions finished up, it’s possible to get down to painting the various major parts of the force. In terms of the historical nature of the paint schemes are very strong, with both the tricolor and olive schemes being used alongside one another in varying ratios. So feel free to paint everything in one scheme or another or in a mixture, personally I’ve done both schemes for my army’s vehicles. Additionally, with a recent gift of an airbrush from my wonderfully supportive and artistic girlfriend, I’ve decided to attempt some modulation instead of more traditional highlighting techniques. My version of modulation (hitherto referred to as baby modulation) can easily be replaced by traditional painting methods, the choice is yours!

Olive Vehicles
Olive colored vehicles have been a hallmark of Austrian vehicles during the whole of the Cold War, and the 1980’s were no different. In my own case, I’ve turned towards painting my support units in olive for speedy recognition on the tabletop for my own purposes which I briefly described in the last article. You’ll need the following paints to make my version of Austrian olive to bear:

Vallejo

  • US Sherman Drab or Brown Violet
  • White
  • Black (For tracks)
  • Infantry Colors for commanders
  • Desert Yellow
  • White Primer
  • Black Wash

 

Games Workshop

  • Militarum Green
  • Black Templar
  • Aggaros Dunes
  • Aethermatic Blue
  • Contrast Medium
  1. Prime the Model White.
  2. Basecoat the entire vehicle in US Sherman Drab.
  3. Section off the model towards upper surfaces with a 1:1 mixed ratio of US Sherman Drab and White.
  4. Wash entire model with your black wash, I use a homemade black wash which pools more in the recesses as opposed to glazing across the entire model.
  5. Mix a 1:1 ratio militarum green and contrast medium and apply across the whole model, avoid pooling whenever possible.
  6. Paint the gun barrels (usually the AA Machine gun) with black templar.
  7. Paint commanders and lenses white.
  8. Paint the commanders as infantry teams (covered below).
  9. Paint the Lenses aethermatic blue.
  10. Paint the headlights desert yellow.
  11. Apply a coast of aggaros dunes on the headlights.

NATO Tricolour
Towards the end of the Cold War, the Austrian army essentially switched to NATO tricolored camouflage. In this specific army I’ve elected to do the M60s in the tricolor, which is a little ahistorical rather than the more appropriate olive for M60A1s in Austrian service.

Vallejo

  • Charcoal Grey
  • Saddle Brown
  • Refractive Green
  • White
  • Cold Grey
  • Dead Flesh 
  • NATO Green Primer

 

Games Workshop

  • Militarum Green
  • Aethermatic Blue
  • Black Templar
  • Reikland Fleshshade
  • Aggaros Dunes
  • Athonian Camoshade 
  • Black Templar
  1. Prime Model White.
  2. Apply two coats of Militarum Green over all uniform and webbing parts.
  3. Apply one coat of Creed Camo over all uniform and webbing parts.
  4. Repaint hands and face white.
  5. Apply two coats of Reikland Fleshshade to hands/faces (to vary skintones to represent various ethnicities which would be in the Bundesheer, apply either aggaros dunes or Fyreslayer Flesh instead of the two coats of reikland fleshshade).
  6. Paint rifle charcoal grey.
  7. Paint boots/rifles black templar.
  8. Paint rifle slings english uniform.
  9. Paint rifle slings fyreslayer flesh.
  10. Paint helmets US Drab.
  11. Highlight helmet with 1:1 White/US Drab mix.
  12. Wash helmets Athonian Camoshade.
  13. Paint base German Camo Black Brown.

Infantry
Painting the infantry is a little bit more intuitive, relying more on glazes and contrast paints than traditional painting methods. This recipe is also used for all of the vehicle commanders and crew so be sure to keep that in mind.

 

 

Vallejo

  • Charcoal Grey
  • US Drab
  • White
  • English Uniform
  • White Primer
  • German Camo Black Brown
Games Workshop
  • Militarum Green
  • Creed Camo
  • Fyreslayer Flesh
  • Reikland Fleshshade
  • Aggaros Dunes
  • Athonian Camoshade
  • Black Templar
  1. Prime Model White
  2. Apply two coats of Militarum Green over all uniform and webbing parts
  3. Apply one coat of Creed Camo over all uniform and webbing parts
  4. Repaint hands and face white
  5. Apply two coats of Reikland Fleshshade to hands/faces (to vary skintones to represent various ethnicities which would be in the Bundesheer, apply either aggaros dunes or Fyreslayer Flesh instead of the two coats of reikland fleshshade)
  6. Paint rifle charcoal grey
  7. Paint boots/rifles black templar
  8. Paint rifle slings english uniform
  9. Paint rifle slings fyreslayer flesh
  10. Paint helmets US Drab
  11. Highlight helmet with 1:1 White/US Drab mix
  12. Wash helmets Athonian Camoshade
  13. Paint base German Camo Black Brown