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1940 Campaign Belgians: Belgian beginnings (part 1)

By David Frederick:
The Belgian army has been mobilised! Well, twenty of them that is. And this being the first army I have collected and built for Bolt Action that does not have its own plastic infantry sprue, my creative skills are being put to the test.
Warlord Games produce one standard metal squad of ten figures, but fortunately, they also make ‘bonnets de police’ as an alternative headdress for the brave Belgian infanteer. I plan to equip equal numbers of my soldiers in the standard-issue Belgian helmet of the era as well as the soft bonnets, enabling me to double my troop numbers without having any two models the same.
But whilst twenty infantry might just about be enough in a small game of 500 points or less, I’m going to have to think outside the box to increase troop numbers without creating duplicates when we start deploying larger forces. To achieve this, I have an idea…
As many readers will be aware, the French uniforms of the time were extremely similar to the Belgian ones, and most of the 28mm French metal models come in greatcoats (also worn by the Belgians), which presents some possibilities. I have decided to try my hand at applying some milliput on the French puttees to see if I can hide the lines and make them look like Belgian boots. I plan to trim back the Adrian helmet crest (which runs fully to the rear on French helmets, but not on Belgian ones) with the careful application of a sharp blade. So far so good with the latter - I’ll let you know how things go with the milliput!

And if all that goes pear-shaped, I have at least managed to acquire some of the new Wargames Atlantic French infantry, whose uniforms (in particular the double-breasted greatcoats) are a close enough match for those issued to second-line Belgian infantry when stocks were in short supply. These come with the option of gas mask covered faces, another interesting variation I’ll enjoy bringing to the tabletop, even if it does hide the occasional glorious moustache! Perhaps I can just about manage to get one or two sculpted and waxed ends to creep out from the edges…
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