Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dust Tactics: Sturmkröte & Königskröte heavy axis walkers

A few days ago I had my first Dust tactics game with two of my mates and we had a lot of fun playing several scenarios from the 2nd edition core box. I decided to scratchbuild several of the walkers from Dust tactics using bits and left over AT-43 Red Block walkers.

Today I am showing you some WIP pics of my Sturmkröte & Königskröte  heavy axis walkers , which we will use as count as Könisluther and Sturmkönig axis walkers. These walkers are inspired by Kow Yokoyamas Maschinenkrieger work which I am huge fan of and thus I tried to generate round and ball shaped areas, using simple parts like clear plastic spheres, drops and eggs. The basic walker bodies are now done and all seams will be filled with milly putt in the next step. Then the body and legs will be  given a rough coating to mimic the effect of cast metall, simelar to my Imperial Guard Karl heavy mortar. Then the walkers will be assembled and I need to build the guns. So stay tuned! :)

Fluff:   Following the introduction of the new Königsluther and Sturmkönig heavy walkers by the Germans in late 1948, the first front line battle reports of the new units combat capabilities became available in December 1948.  
Both walkers shared the same basic quadroped design, but in comparison to the newly encountered allied Fireball & Punisher walkers, the rather edgy outline of the German walkers proved inferior to the rounded armoured body of the allied walkers in close up fire urban fights. Also the block and weld-technique of the angular shaped german armour plates was very time consuming and thus the monthly production output was rather very limited. 
Thus in January 1949 the German Oberkommando ordered a group of team of German researchers to develop a version of both walkers that was much quicker to produce using cast hull and body parts, but maintained the basic weaponry of the Königsluther and Sturmkönig heavy walkers. 
Already in late February 1949 the first prototpyes were shown to the German Oberkommando and were called Rundpanzer I and II, due to the rounded cast iron armour. However as General Max von Steiner remarked during his inspection those cast round bodies of the new Rundpanzers looked like ugly fat toads (toad = Kröte), hence that nick name stuck with the new designs ever since that day. Thus the Sturmkröte & Königskröte heavy axis walkers were born. 
Mass production began in March 1949 and the first walkers were transferred to the front lines in April 1949 to participate in the spring offensive Operation Schneewitchen (snowwhite) on the western front. 
Quickly the Sturmkröte & Königskröte were able to prove their combat powers, both walkers benefitting from better all-around protection especially in close urban environment battles and also better camoflage due to the round shapes which blended much better with the soft hills of the Ardennes, making detection for allied spotters very difficult.

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