Here Come The Grenadiers

The big problem with 20mm First World War figures is the complete lack of rifle grenadiers. They are vital to any British organisation from 1916 onwards, but I have been unable to find any in plastic or metal, besides some in the HaT American set.  I bought this set to see what they would be like and if they could be usable, but the uniform is too strikingly different to the British uniform to work. I will make a platoon of Americans from the box in the future, so I haven't wasted my money.

Then I struck on an idea of converting some of the existing Emhar British figures into rifle grenadiers. One chap was handling what looked like an incredibly primitive Stokes Mortar, although if he insisted on firing like he is it would take his face off with the first round. In the American set I found a figure throwing a grenade who had a rifle strapped to his back which was almost complete. These two would be amalgamated into one single figure, with a few deft snips of the scalpel.

I removed the mortar from the Brit and carefully cut the rifle off the Yank. There was a little loss of detail on the rifle, but not enough to notice at this scale.

Then I cut a small section out of the rifle where the guy would be gripping the trigger and glued the two sections of rifle into position, thus:

The last bit was to cut a small section out of a Plastic Soldier Company Panzerschrek that I had from one of their German half-track sets and glue it onto the end of the rifle as a substitute rifle grenade cup.

Rinse and repeat four more times and I had four rifle grenadiers all ready and waiting to be painted! They are not amazing, by any means, but they are good enough for some quick conversions and allowed me to use four previously unusable figures!

They took a while to paint as the bloody varnish frosted on them. I tried respraying the stuff a few times to reactivate the varnish, but that only served to destroy the details on the figures where it clung thick. So, finally, I ended up repainting the highlights, with the result that these are not the best figures I could have hoped for, oh well.

Along with the rifle grenadiers, I also painted a sniper figure, from the HaT British Heavy Weapons box, a rather nice little figure that will come in handy, no doubt!

And I added a couple of Big Men to the force, along with a runner converted from one of the Emhar figures, who was... ahem, running. 

Now I have a section of riflemen to complete and my first platoon is finished, I will also be adding other bits to the force, like a Vickers machine gun and some Stokes Mortars, so keep checking back for updates as they come. In the meantime, check out the ongoing work at the Barnsley Pals training area on the Elmet Archaeology Blog!


  1. nice work.. Emhar American set have rifle grenadier just the uniform difference there , ive mix some Hat ww1 US & Canadians to make up some more battalions , they look ok..

    1. So it does! I have been trying to get hold of some Canadians by HaT, they look like nice figures.

  2. Excellent work, Alex! Splendid work converting these chaps for the British platoon. And just think.....imagine how much fun you'll have converting these chaps to kilted Highlanders if you ever go down that route ! (Only joking - but been there and got that unhappy t-shirt!)

    1. Thanks Sidney! Do you know, I was only thinking about Highlanders last night (after reading about kilts in Gary Sheffield's 'The Great War in 100 Objects'), but joyously there are several options for kilted British soldiers in 20mm. Some plastic and some in metal, so my sanity should remain intact...

  3. Nice post, beautiful minis and fantastic pictures, love the terrain!


Post a Comment