Army Boxes 3: GHQ Afrika Korps | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Monday, 27 August 2007

Army Boxes 3: GHQ Afrika Korps box


The GHQ Afrika Korps Army box

Rommel's Afrika Korps is one of the most romantic and enduring icons of the Second World War, evoking images of old-world warriors riding steel horses across the desert sands to do battle with a worthy adversary. The Afrika Korps box set from GHQ sets out to capture that feeling and offer a few of each element that typified the German side of the Afrika Korps. We brought the box set into our painting area and started slopping in hopes of helping you decide if it's a worthwhile purchase.

Overview

First up, the contents: GHQ fills these boxes with more than just miniatures. A set of simple armor-only rules is included, for example. Now, this makes sense with some GHQ Army Boxes, but in the case of the Afrika Korps, it's a bit silly because half the army is infantry. Next extra is a Bunker Box. These are great for unbased vehicles but aren't real useful for anything based, and they're certainly useless for infantry, mounted or not. That's okay though�the Bunker Box will be great for yet another bitz box. They work well for that because they're big enough to hold a lot, yet small enough to stack on a shelf. My one wish for this and all of the GHQ box sets is that the company would put a sample MicroArmour scenario that utilizes two box sets into the box. That way, all GHQ would have to do is put up recommendations, and new players could order two box sets and the MicroArmour rules and Plowie! They're playing.

Of course, just to see how they work together, we have pitted two GHQ boxes against each other. They seem well-balanced overall, but new players wouldn't know that. Making sets accessible to those looking to start from nothing is big in our book.


Full contents of the Army Box.


The Bunker Box cover.


The inside of the Bunker Box and the bags of miniatures.

But enough nit-picking the extras. You buy an army box for the army, right? Well, this army comes as advertised, with a good solid base. Exact box contents are listed at the end of the article, but we'll be showing you pictures throughout.


The figures prior to painting.


The GHQ Afrika Korps army, assembled and based.

Scout Units

Scout units (also used for HQ units, but we lumped them into one easy category) represent the eyes and ears of the army. For the GHQ Afrika Korps, there are a couple of great standard scout vehicles�some kubelwagens, some motorcycle squads and some Sdkfz 222 armored cars. This was where box content and box label started to diverge. GHQ threw in one more Sdkfz than was listed. In our experience, this is common with GHQ; you will likely get more of at least one item than the box says will be included. Our U.S. Armored Company came with five jeeps, yet the box listed only one, for example.


The GHQ Afrika Korps Armored cars.

The detail on the Sdkfz 222s represents GHQ's usual high-quality craftsmanship. The kubelwagens look good from a short distance, but as you can imagine, a 1:300 driver embedded in a car loses some detail.


The kubelwagens.

The motorcycles are the worst of the three vehicles, but we want to be abundantly clear here: This is GHQ we're talking about. Quality and detail are both generally above the competition in 1:300, and frankly, GHQ sculptors put out more detail than some of the 1:100 vendors we use. So when we note that the detail of the motorcycle units is the worst of the three, it should go without saying that at tabletop distance they look just fine. Painting them is painful, but with magnifying goggles they can be made to look pretty darned good by your average mortal. This is not true of every figure in the box, however � read on.


The motorcycle teams.

Infantry

GHQ infantry is more detailed than you would expect at 1:300. These things are tiny. In fact, we've lost larger single pieces than a single infantry unit (a 15mm light mortar for the Peter Pig Army Boxes review, for one). But after an artist put such detail into each tiny soldier, how could we just slop on a little paint and move along? We couldn't. Thus, we broke out our �ber-cool painting magnifiers and the tiniest brushes we could find. The instructions say, "Buy an airbrush, good ones have astounding control." We say, "Bunk." These things are too tiny to set even our high-end Badger airbrush loose on.


A sampling of the infantry.

Infantry Support

The infantry support units include some very nice two-piece HMG teams and some really not nice heavy-mortar teams. Of all the items included in this box set, these mortar teams are the worst. They're the only ones that we would happily do without. But enough of our complaining, here's the picture for you
The mortars � or as much as you can see of them, anyway.

The problem is that you can hardly tell, even with white primer and a black wash to bring out detail, where one crew member ends and another begins. We painted them up to be passable, but it's really globs of paint on a blob of metal, nothing more. You can tell the form of the mortar at the end, or we'd have had to resort to process of elimination to even determine what figures these were supposed to be.

Frankly, this is two figures out of a boxful. We figure the extra Sdkfz 222 is more than a fair exchange.

Armor

GHQ is at its finest with armor. In fact, we would argue it's one of the best, and to prove our point we'll throw in some comparative pictures of GHQ minis next to some SDD micro armor that we have lying around. As always, we were quite pleased with the armor that comes in this box: three Panzer IVs, three Panzer IIIs and four Panzer IIs. A good mix for the Afrika Korps, and it helps that they're pretty figures.


Pz IIIs with a single Pz IV in the back row.


Pz IIIs from this box set (in the front) and from SDD (in the rear). Note the difference in detail and quality.


The Panzer II Fs from the box set.

Artillery/Antitank

This army's artillery support is limited to a single 88mm stationary gun. This is fine for the way that the Afrika Korps was actually run�most 88mm weapons were deployed protecting supply convoys, with only a few available on the front. Other AT support was available, but it's not too unusual that there isn't any. The nature of desert warfare was such that immobile weapons and troops were often lost, and frankly, would you rather have two PaK 36es or a single 88? Give us the 88 every time, at least no one ever called it the "door knocker."


The 88mm Gun from the Afrika Korps.

Conclusion

This army plays well in MicroArmour, and is a good solid start on a complete army for that game. The cost is reasonable, and the pieces are varied. The couple of minis that are lacking do not detract from the whole, and while we would like to see considerably different "extras" packaged with the army, you buy an army box for the figures, so the extras just aren't all that important. Other GHQ army boxes we own have fit well with the extras that are included in all of the company's army boxes, so this is largely a function of an army that is 50% infantry.

Contents

We received the following in our box set. On the left is what the box claims to deliver, on the right is what was actually delivered.
- 50 Infantry figures- 50 Infantry figures
- 2 Sdkfz 222s- 3 Sdkfz 222s
- 1 88mm AA/AT Gun- 1 88mm AA/AT Gun
- 3 Panzer II Fs- 3 Panzer II Fs
- 3 Panzer III Fs- 3 Panzer III Fs
- 3 Panzer IV Fs- 3 Panzer IV Fs
- 2 Mortar Teams- 2 Mortar Teams
- 2 Motorcycle w/sidecar- 2 Motorcycle w/sidecar

Interestingly, the list on the cover of the box (as depicted above) differs from the list on the sticker label on the side of the box. According to the cover of the box there should be two 2cm AA guns in the box, but the label does not include them. We're okay with that, but be warned that if you see a picture of the box, the list on the cover is not accurate - you need to see the label on the side of the box.

Purchasing Information
Manufacturer: GHQ Models
Model: G157 German WWII Combat Command: Afrika Korps
Price: $39.95 USD
Sourcing:
GHQ Direct
WarWeb

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