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Genuine photos of the WWI fighting also tend to look very unremarkable. Tiny figures vanishing over the horizon or the odd plume of smoke in a barren landscape.
In comparison with WWII there are also fewer candid shots taken by the soldiers themselves at the front. On the positive side there are some photos that would be filtered out now for reasons of bad taste or political correctness showing the awful nature of the conflict.
I like the photo of the trench. If it is contrived it looks very convincing maybe the gas is morning mist.In the other picture the soldiers have the bungs in on their respirators as they would dangle on a small chain when in use like in my snowy pic. This is strange. It would be nice to know if there is a caption to go with this.
I like them with the hats. At the end of the day they're toy soldiers not a history project. There are few sets which please everyone, or are 100% correct in every way. Some sets are pleasing in spite of there innacuracies or crudeness of production. Airfix's first set of German infantry from 1964 has a lot of fans including myself but is just wrong wrong wrong.
I think the headgear gives them some character and charm they would otherwise lack. Without them they would be just generic troops in greatcoats. Thought: incude some bareheaded or a bare spare heads on the sprue for conversion then everybody's happy.
Uniformity is essential ,if you have spare heads they must to have helmet/hats on.This would be much useful for converting other figures to be gas troopers.eg you could take airfix maxim crew and put sr head on.
it would also be helpful for converying sr cavalrie rider.A spare horses head with gas mask only could resolve your problem for cavalrie horse save money make a "gasmask conversion kit ,etc. "
Silhouette of freindly figure is important at night or in obscure operations in fog mist of gas cloud. identity needs to be ascertained quick.everything is split decision.
professori made point of dots on the horizon .Wearing gas mask is slow mass advance as much as possible in line tactics of the day,advance to contact.if counter attack is big, problem evryone get mixed up and melee become tangled with result on best diciplined of troops.
when some own troops get ahead of others the situation arise of not just enemey in front becomes a dangerous one and cross fires ensue with mix ups happening can be fatal.different troops,different companies and different regiments all under different orders.
most important places were where flanks of different companies and regiments meet,with given differnt tasks but followed orders of movement from their own company hq.
so again advance line on a brigade front gets very tricky to keep the line going.If one regiment hits a wire entanglement .things get split up and weaknesses appear.troops in front troops in rear.this is where things get stretched and go wrong .
fiering starts bullets come through the flanks and some soldiers naturally return and draw friendly fire into direction thru backs of ftriendlies.,,,fog of war is deadly.night time fighting takes more control elements in planning due to restricted visuals.
it was not unusual for regiments to become stagger due to terrain.etc horrible battle conditions which can go badly wrong if not proprely organised and disciplined/dressed soldiers can see a strong force self disintegrate if they stray from the disciplines.
most of theh units enterring this type of gas assault you would have to give high faltality low life expectancy . general must have plenty reserves to replaace them later in teh line.tehse operations were a massive write off for the assault troops and high casualty rates.
troops rotate back through decontam,and sent to rear to reorg,recouperate and survivors collect their heavy baggage stores from their lines.
My only plea for some hatless/capless figures was with the helmet type respirator ie Zelinsky-Kummant and the British P Helmet.
Other masks of the face type would have benefited from wearing a hat or helmet as a lot of the hair and neck was left unprotected. Mustard gas ( Yellow Cross) was a blister agent( vesicant) and also killed the most British forces and caused a huge number of non fatal casualties(160,000+). The dangerous blisters were in the lungs or eyes but other blisters produced discomfort and lowered morale. Figures depicted suffering the effects of Mustard gas 1917/8 would be different to those being gassed by for example Chlorine or Phosgene or the tear gas (lachrymatory) types.
David, I'm sorry but I can't remember where the pics of the Russians came from. I've had them a long time. But here are a couple more to throw into the mix.
The bottom pic confirms what I was saying about the cavalry and the small box respirator a while ago. It seems a logical way to wear it and not cover over the bandolier. The horse respirator is interesting and the one on the right looks like it has a nose(feed) bag as well. It seems that horses' eyes were not susceptible to tear gas but they were to chlorine. I suppose the chlorine could be kept out with a cloth or similar over the eyes. Mustard gas did affect the horses' eyes badly and must have been a great problem.
The pic with the heavy howitzer showing the crew with gas masks maybe this was a precaution from leaks etc from their own shells. If they were in danger of counter battery fire you would have expected them to wear helmets as well.
Looking forward to the french and German sets. Finlly something that will get me gaming WW1.
Yes there are some great sets on the way from strelets and Hat for WW1 fans.
A bit of trivia that might throw light on the subject. The American character actor Walter Brennan was the victim of a mustard gas attack in World War I. You might remember Walter Brennan if you are a fan of old American Westerns. He acted from the 1930s up into his death in the 1970s and always played old man parts - usually the funny sidekick of the hero. (The old jailor in John Wayne's "Rio Bravo", the minister in "SGT York" among hundreds of others) He ALWAYS played the old man, even as a young man, because the mustard gas made him lose his teeth and hair and prematurely aged his skin to make him look years older than his actual age. He was always a grim reminder to me of how important it was to keep your mask on no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
I know in our gas drills (albeit much later than World War I - 1970s and 1980s) we were instructed to automatically replace our helmets on our heads before proceeding as the noggin still needed protecting from the various stuff flying in a combat zone.
When I was going through US Army basic training in the 1970s a favorite past time of our drill sergeants was to force us to do our physical training drills in our gas masks, often troops would pass out. Later on, some idiot officers would take their companies out for two mile runs in mask - maybe there was a point to it. But our masks were much better than those of World War I, I can only imagine how uncomfortable those guys were.
Wizard wheeze some of us had back in the early nineties to escape the same trewatment was to get a gas mask filter and remove the guts leaving an empty shell, a friend who was a chief tech at RAF St Athan showed us how. This was great and had us running around in ful IPE like super-men until one day the inevitable happened and the RAF Regiment took us into the gas chamber and I forgot to change the filter.........
Jackie Coogan, Uncle Fester from the Addams Family was the first Allied pilot to land a glider behind enemy lines in Burma while ferrying Orde Wingate's Chindits into action .
A great supporting actor.
I thought he was one of the strongest characters in Northwest Passage. BTW not his real teeth in this film but a prosthetic to replace his missing teeth.
Most accounts now say he lost most of his teeth in an accident in 1932. He died of emphysema which may have been connected to the Mustard gas. The aging, hair thinning etc could also have been a feature connected with his damaged lungs. Many Mustard gas victims later succumbed to TB and other lung diseases and of course these are not recorded as WWI deaths.
The WWI German bombardments used to use a mixture of HE, smoke and gas shells as the soldiers got used to the noise and appearance of a gas shell only barrage. Helmets were essential.
David, I'd never heard about the car accident, nice to know, always heard it was the gas but never could figure out how the gas might have knocked out his teeth (then again, my mother always warned me not to pick my nose when I was a kid because I'd get cancer. I never could figure out how picking my nose would cause cancer but it sure stopped me from picking my nose...).
Huw, I always liked Jackie Coogan. He was a child actor who played with Charlie Chaplin and was plaintive in a lawsuit against his parents whom he sued when he grew up and found his parents had squandered all the money he made as a child actor. It caused the State of California to pass a law protecting child actors named after him, "the Coogan Law."
A lot of that generation of actors were true war "heroes" in the best sense of the word.
The Mustard gas could have weakened his gums - horrible stuff. I don't believe anybody did or has done a study of the links between Mustard gas exposure(however slight) and influenza deaths.
He married Betty Grable 1937 which did not last long div. 1939. But as you know she was very much the number one pin-up in WWII (US but Anglos as well) so that must have led to some difficult moments. He was probably the only US soldier not to have her photo pinned up.
That would have been my guess. But ol' Walt was always a good incentive for me to take our NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare) Training seriously - no matter how much I hated the mask.
Now Jackie Coogan and Betty Grable is NOT a match I would have pictured. But you know what they say about love...