Friday, May 24, 2013

Handsome Hans And The Nasty Nazis

Christmas last Madame Padre gave me a bunch of two-fisted figures from Bob Murch's Pulp Figures range for my Weird War Two project. I liked the somewhat cartoonish quality of Bob's Nazis and I thought they would be the perfect minions for my occult Nazi leaders and monsters, and useful cannon fodder for battles with "S Commando". Here's my first test figure from this lot, "Handsome Hans".

There are a few things about my paint job for this guy that I would be grateful, dear reader, for your feedback. First, because I fear I don't fully understand the art of painting black clothes, I gave him a base of black but then dry brushed him using a colour called "Midnight" (basically an indigo) from a craft paint line called Folkart. I rather think the net result looks too blue, rather like a Union blue from the ACW period rather than SS black. Do you think the uniform is too blue?

Secondly, you will note that Bob has sculpted a swastika armband on the figure's arm, and that I have painted it red but have not added the white circle with the swastika in the centre. The reasons for this are twofold. The first reason is that I fear a swastika is too fiddly to paint well. Second, and more important, I'm not sure I really want to paint one. I am mindful of some forums, such as Lead Adventurers, that don't allow Nazi symbology since they hosted in Germany and abide by German law, not that I post a lot of my work on that forum but I might want to. More to the point, and this goes back to an earlier post I did on Weird War Two and ethics, I think it's plain that my bad guys are intended to be minions of the Third Reich without having to paint a symbol I find repugnant.

I've been giving some more thought as to the kind of alternate reality I wanted to create with Weird War Two. At first I think I envisioned it as "Hammer Studios Meets Allo! Allo!". The charm of the Hammer films, which terrified my dreams when I was a young teenager was that they were campy, low-budget, set "somewhere in Europe somewhere in the past" and didn't take themselves overly seriously.

Allo! Allo! never took itself seriously. If you could accept Nazis as harmless clowns, you got the joke. If you couldn't accept that premise, you probably didn't watch it.

I'm just not sure that I want my Weird War Nazis to be that silly. Recently Madame Padre and I recently discovered the 1970s era ITV series, "Enemy At the Door", about the German occupation of the Channel Islands. In this show the Nazis are definitely not clowns. In fact, they can be downright scary, in part because the decent German types, like the Commandant, are decent men trapped in an evil system. If you have a moment, watch the contrast in this episode between the Commandant, Major Richter (played by Alfred Burke) and the SS Haupsturmfuhrer Rienicke (Simon Cadell), who would pull Cafe Rene apart in a few days.

So for now I'm thinking no swastikas, but scary Nazis - just, hopefully, not too blue Nazis. Thoughts?


  1. Nicely painted Padre. If you're not happy with the blue, perhaps you could go over the uniform with a thin black ink wash to knock it back a bit?

    I can understand your feelings about not wanting to do a Nazi swastika. However, the armband does need something more. Maybe a white circle with a smaller black circle inside? Alternatively (from my knowledge of Germanic and Scandinavian rune "magic") you could reverse the symbol to negate or invert its "power".

    Enemy at the Door? I'd completely forgotten about that series. Possibly because I preferred the BBC's Secret Army - the Gestapo guy in that was much more sinister.

  2. I love 'allo, 'allo it was great. but I agree with Tamsin the need a little something as too me red armbands stands for Socialists and the left. Maybe instead of a swastika you could have a Teutonic Cross like the Iron Cross

  3. I paint black clothing by basing it very dark grey, highlighting in a lighter grey and washing i black wash with perhaps pure black added in deep recessess. About swastikas, I shall have a good think on the subject.

  4. Some great advice above, particularly with regards to the wash. I would be tempted to pick out the sharps creases with a lighter grey to enhance the effect even further. As for the armband, I fully understand the argument for avoiding the swastika, but I would be tempted to add the white circle.

  5. I'm with TamsinP- watch Secret Army it 's an excellent show:

    Even though it was filmed on a budget the quality of the scripts shows through.



  6. Very nice paint job! When I highlight black, I use a colour like "charcoal" to do small highlights on black, like the edges of pockets and the top of folds.

    By the way, aren't Bob Murch's figures fun?

  7. Well Mike, you opened the door when you decided to build a force of demonically lead Nazis for your heroes to fight. A swastika would be historically correct and respect the past.

    You could just leave the swastika incomplete; do a black X, without the finishing bends. It would give the impression at least.

    There are also the crossed hammers from Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

    1. It's a fair cop. I did open that door rather wide. I had thought about the Pink Floyd crossed hammers. I may go with your X idea or with Tamsin's rune idea.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Thank you all for the painting advice, I shall revisit Handsome Hans and start work on his cronies when I get home next week.

  10. I understand your qualms and personally I wouldn't worry too much about not painting a swastika. If you were painting a purely historical army then that would be a different matter, but as its for a 'fantasy' weird war two setting anything goes. How about something like the Hydra symbol from the Captain America film or something even simpler like a stylized skull? Easy to paint, non-offensive, but clearly an evil symbol.

    Have to agree with Tamsin on the uniform. I think the blue highlights look OK but you could tone it back a little with a black wash.

    And finally... I loved the Ello Ello series when it first came out and my family are getting back into it now as its often repeated.

  11. I agree that there are some things I don't wish to include in a recreational game so fully support shunning the swastika. The X suggestion seems in keeping with the theme.

    My favorite show on underground/secret service was "Wish Me Luck"

    Congrats on the house. One door closes, another opens.



Blog Archive