Sunday 21 April 2024

Second World War German Fallschirmjager in 20mm

German Fallschirmjager units served throughout the war and in several theatres, so for that reason alone they've warranted adding to my Second World War collection. When we played the Road to Bremen campaign a few years ago I proxied my Waffen SS platoon for them and ever since then I've been meaning to start a Fallschirmjager project.  

Given they saw action in so many places it's not as if you're painting up an obscure unit that would rarely see action on the tabletop. They seem like a very worthwhile addition. I think the key decision that needs to be made is whether you paint them in tropical uniforms for the western desert, Sicily and Italy, or if you go for northern Europe. Technically I know within that you then need to decide if you are going for early war smocks or late war camouflage smocks, but I don't think I'll allow myself to go too far down that rabbit hole. 

I was always going to paint mine for the European theatre and Eastern Front given they are the theatres covered by my Allied collection. As most of that collection is for the later part of the war it made sense to paint the Fallschirmjager for campaigns in Normandy, Holland and defending Germany as the war drew to an end.

As always my first choice for 20mm miniatures is AB Figures. The only issue I had was that the AB Fallschirmjager squad sets had only a single MG42 team in each. So, rather than repeat the AB poses I decided to make up the additional LMG teams I would need by ordering figures from the range at Simon's Soldiers. 

I bought the obligatory Osprey book to help with painting and picked up the AK paint set for splinter camouflage.

Of course this meant I had to actually paint the splinter camouflage. Once I had based and primed all the figures the prospect seemed so daunting that I put the figures aside and allowed myself to be easily distracted by other projects. Yet who was I kidding? I couldn't put off forever the day when I'd have to tackle the camouflage. Ironically in the end it was all very straightforward. 

Often I batch paint, doing perhaps 10-12 figures at a time. Somehow completing painting projects in batches gives me a much better sense of making progress as I see finished results quicker. However I was on such a roll with these that I did the entire platoon in a single batch. No particular reason why, just one of those things and I went with the flow.

As usual my squad leaders are based on the same 20mm round bases as the riflemen. The addition of a few rocks helps distinguish them from the other figures. The platoon leaders and more senior officers are on rectangular bases.

I particularly like the figure below. He is the only one in the AB set without a camouflage smock, so a pleasant change from splinter camouflage. I like the pose, the figure exudes the sort of arrogance one might expect from an officer in an elite unit.

In most cases the squads are made up of two LMG teams, much like a panzer grenadier squad, hence the need for the additional MG42 teams. In the picture below I've mixed in an a team from Simon's Soldiers (the team on the left) while the remainder are AB Figures.

All the figures below are from AB:

Generally those from Simon's Soldiers blend in reasonably well, but it isn't the case with all the figures. The AB Fallschirmjager are one of their older sets and over time I've noticed their figures have increased in size. These are closer to true 20mm and on the smaller side while the Simon's Soldiers are on the larger side. While I have no issue with different sized figures representing different sized men some things should remain constant - like helmets and weapons. In some cases, like the two figures below, this isn't the case and the difference is particularly noticeable.

It's not always quite as stark. Take the two LMG teams below. Simon's Soldiers are on the left and AB Figures on the right. There are some differences but it's not a major problem.

As long as figures from the same manufacturer are grouped together in a team then attention isn't drawn to those differences. Below are some of the teams from Simon's Soldiers. While the sculpting style is quite different from AB they look fine grouped together.

Below is probably my least favourite of the Simon's Soldiers machine gunners. His hands seem particularly oversized and more like a small bunch of bananas.

These have given me the core platoon and as always there are other units to add to make up the various support units. AB produce a nice set with anti-tank weapons including a panzerschreck and panzerfausts.

A mounted MG42 with a crew from Simon's Soldiers adds a weapons team that can serve in either a medium or heavy machine gun roll.

For the pictures for the AARs on the blog it's not become obligatory for me to add suitable casualty figures when I can, so needless to say I have these from AB. 

The project is still missing a few pieces of hardware - a Pak40 and an leIG18 infantry gun among them. As always in this hobby, there is no such thing as a completed project.


  1. Gorgeous as ever, especially the combat badge (?) on the officer in the tunic! Have you tried head swaps? As you say, the helmet size is the difference that jars most, also oversized hands can be cut down with a craft knife and filed into something in scale - you can either score in the new fingers or just paint them in. You already have a Pak40 and a leIG18, do you mean FJ crews or them or are they going to get their own bespoke guns? Was there a different FJ camo scheme for guns?

    1. Thanks. Not sure what to do about those figures, I suspect over time I'll pick up a few more AB to replace them. Ahem, yes, you have noticed I already have a Pak 40, in fact I have two - one for the Heer and one for the SS. An indulgence, I know, but as I like to have two or more figures attached to the base I like giving them their own gun. I have a few of the Zvezda guns coming my way, they do the job and are inexpensive.

  2. Superb paint jobs in the true scale.

  3. Really nice - much better than my equivalents.
    It is annoying that AB don't have enough LMG teams in their squads. I used Adler to make up the numbes. I suggested to Eureka UK they sell teams individually and they said they'd feed it back, but I don't think things have changed.

    1. Thanks. I've seen images of the Adler Fallschirmjager but last I heard there were some problems that were delaying their availability (and I note they are not yet on their website to order). I will certainly look at them when they're available. Fortunately Eureka here in Australia can be a little bit more flexible with breaking up the sets and selling individual figures, much depends on how busy they are but I will ask the question as they have done it for me in the past.

    2. That got me worried and I checked ... the extra Fallschirmjaeger LMGs were Kelly's Heroes, not Adler. Adler provided the extra LMGs for the AB Panzergrenadier platoon. That's the effect of old age on memory! The KH are OK by my standards but might not meet yours.

  4. Very fine and inspiring work there Mark. I recall reading somewhere that Tony's earlier figures were scaled to 1/76 whereas the newer ones are 1/72 to fit in more with current scale trend of 1/72 models.

    1. Ah, that makes sense. I have certainly noticed the difference in size of more recent ranges.

  5. Yu really do take your painted figs to the next level - lovely.

  6. Wonderful painting and basing.

  7. Lovely additions to your collection…
    Very nice work on the splinter camouflage…
    I have a memory of someone producing figures using some of the more obscure weapons used by the Fallschirmjager… 20mm cannon taken from aircraft and mounted for field use and the like…
    One of the things that makes them such interesting units…

    All the best. Aly

    1. Thanks Aly. Adler are about to release a range of Fallschirmjager so I'll have a look what they come up because I like the look of their sculpts and I think they match AB better.

  8. Those look really good. Nice splinter pattern which is always a pain to paint.
    The size diff is kinda noticeable, but probably more so when looking for it. Probably work just fine on table with terrain and gameplay. 😀