A good while ago I complained about the inconsistency of the Midway counters. The ships are shown in plan but the aircraft are in profile. My solution to that was to finally make the aircraft in plan view as well, and then eventually in colour.
Looking at the Panzerblitz and Panzer Leader counters, the same thing bothered me. The counters are shown in black profile, but the map is in colour plan.
So I have finally decided to make the counters in colour and in plan view as well.
Helping me out was the discovery of a website called juniorgeneral.org. It has many profile-view drawings of military figures thru the ages that you can cut out and use as wargame or display figures. It also has a “top-down” section showing many of the same figures from above – or in plan view. The section that intrigued me was the top-down section for World War II. There I found some beautiful plan-view colour images of WWII tanks, guns and infantry of many nations.
The best ones – in my humble opinion – were those by Dirk Schoenberger. With a little experimenting I discovered that most of them would fit quite nicely on a 5/8” counter if I used copy and paste. That was definitely a bonus.
Why reinvent the wheel? I contacted Dirk Schoenberger and he graciously agreed to let me use his designs. After that, the main effort was to get them onto counters and get the appropriate values assigned to them.
I started on the German units for Panzerblitz, and came across a few problems. The numbers I initially used were good and readable, but too big. I also put darkish vehicles onto a medium grass background, and found that they didn’t stand out at all. I tried lightening the vehicles and that worked.
Then I looked at the Panzerblitz maps and realized they were not green, more a beige colour. So I went back to the original Schoenberger designs that were a dark vehicle on a sandy texture. The contrast on the counter was good and the background blended into the map better.
Thus after FOUR restarts I believe I have a good-looking and easily-readable counter set.
What I was initially able to do, but fell down on later, was keep the counters to a common scale. This was not too difficult because of one common factor. Most of the medium tanks were of the same width – 3 meters, or the width of a standard European railway flatcar. Even some that weren’t – such as the Panther and Tiger – had their main body the proper width, with extra detachable tracks and fenders so that these could be removed so that they could be fitted on a flatcar.
Where this fell down was with some of the larger tanks, or some that had grossly-overhanging long guns. The Jagdpanzer IV was the same size as the PzKw IV, yes, but with that looong 75mm gun projecting out front, there was no way it was going to fit on a counter as-is. The Panther and Tiger had to be reduced about 12%, but the Tiger II had to be reduced by over 25%.
Then there was the intriguing fact that the largest tanks also had the largest numbers. It wasn’t until I got to doing the large German tanks that I realized the value numbers I was using were TOO BIG!
The tanks were easy to scale. Most internet pages that dealt with them gave dimensions. Not so the artillery pieces. I couldn’t find any dimensions anywhere, so I pretty much had to go with what was there. Unless of course it had to be reduced in size to fit on the counter – such as the German 88 AA gun.
Now I am almost finished doing the Panzerblitz counters. I have just the Soviet infantry and mortars to do. After that I will be moving on to do the same thing to the Panzer Leader counters as well.
One thought is to do an extra set of Panzerblitz Soviet infantry with Panzer Leader values on them. Thus Panzerblitz could be played to the advanced Panzer Leader rules. Then you could even have such interesting concepts as the Western Allies fighting against the Soviets. Don’t you think it should have happened?
After that I am very interested in continuing on. There is a very intriguing selection of tanks by Schoenberger, almost every production tank of WWII, and some experimental or prototype models as well. With the appropriate values I think I could do just about every production vehicle of the Second World War.
Something to think about.