My friend Ty introduced me to Bad Squiddo games a while back, when he ordered a few of their Home Front range figures for his Anglican League/Albertine militia. Bad Squiddo specializes in realistic female models, for a variety of different periods. Of course, to me, the most appealing was her British WW2 Home Front range.
There is a lot to like in there, from ATS ladies, Red Cross Nurses, Medics, etc. But what really caught my eye was her 40mm Bofors team.
I’ve always wanted a Bofors gun for Bolt Action, but I’ve put enough of Warlord Games metal anti-tank gun kits to last a lifetime. They rarely provide good instructions, and the metal is soft and easily bent, especially on thinner components. So I kiboshed the idea for the time being…until I found the Bad Squiddo one.
This one is resin, and looks built well enough to game with. Made with Chain of Command in mind, its got a larger crew, and has loads of extra detail. Of course, if it was just that then I may still not have bothered, since in all three games I could potentially use it for, aircraft just aren’t common. It packs a punch against infantry and tanks too, but there is enough other options that it wasn’t needed.
But the inclusion of women gunnery crews was a very interesting touch. In WW2, women in Britain could reload the guns and do some of the grunt work, but were unfortunately not allowed to actually man the gun itself(the Soviets could care less, and actually had very famous women anti-aircraft crews!). And Bad Squiddo does give you the option to be historically accurate, with male gunners if you want. A nice nod to the real history. But also included were two female gunners, if your setting allows for such a thing.
It would be amiss of me to not mention the importance of the women manning these crews. From 1941 onwards, many unmarried women ended up in one of the Auxiliary services. These units included the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and many besides. The one that features here is the Auxiliary Territorial Service, which recruited many as Anti-Aircraft crews to help make up the shortfall of men. These “Ack Ack Girls” were the best of the best, with rigorous training and physical standards to ensure they could do the job. When the V1 flying bombs threatened England, during a 3 month period 369 ATS women crewmen were lost. It was exceptionally dangerous work. But the symbol of resistance, of everyone digging in and doing their part, had a great effect on British morale. Royal proclamation may have kept them from manning the guns themselves, as there was a belief that women should not kill(which, considering the SOE was a thing, seems a bit silly in hindsight.). But they still did absolutely vital work.
In all three games I could potentially use this in, the idea of women crewing these guns wholesale, including shooting them, works. For Bolt Action, any games set during Sea Lion could foreseeably see the proclamation not hold water. For Very British Civil War, needing crews could see literally almost every faction allowing women to man and fire the guns, except maybe the mostly outwardly bigoted factions. And finally, Konflikt 47 may not have rules for the Bofors specifically(but the rules are easily pinched from Bolt Action), but features background and lore that points to the UK and the Commonwealth suffering acute manpower shortages, one that could even see the women crewing these guns deploying into the frontline. If women can crew Walkers for the Canadian Army, then the UK allowing women to crew AA guns isn’t a big stretch.
But enough of that, lets see the model!
I’m really happy with this kit! I kept a lot of the components separate and not glued, to make painting a lot easier. I will be basing the gun, probably on a CD as I just can’t find a good base. I will also magnetize the gun so it can move on the mount without being too fragile. I will probably commit to the female gunners and glue those on, but I will keep the crew otherwise on their own bases to make casualty removal easier.
The gun itself will probably get a coat of Russian Green paint while the crew will probably get English Uniform, well, uniforms! With detail this defined I can’t see this being a hard paintjob.
But that is all I have for today! I will see you good people in the next one! Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and have a great day!