Sorry about the long delay between posts but things have been a tad hectic around these parts of late. I have been slowly building these lads over the last ten days or so, striving to ensure that each figure is as different and unique as possible. This is made more difficult due to the smaller selection of weapons available to the the British P.B.I. as compared to the Germans that I did a while ago.
I decided to depict the troops as they would be organized for trench raiding or attacking. By the later half of the war the British had given up on the traditional "riflemen are the army" approach and greatly diversified their training and equipment. The whole "walking slowly into machine-gun fire" approach was also recognized as simply mass-murder and tactics, while still evolving, had been vastly revised. While still not up to the German Stosstruppen level of integration the British had recognized that decision-making and on-call firepower needed to be available to the Squad leader, or at least platoon levels.
To this end they began organizing troops into attack files of a leader, a couple of soldiers equipped for trench clearing, followed by riflemen to hold positions and backed up by soldiers equipped with rifle-grenades and, last but far from least, a Lewis LMG team. The Wargames Atlantic set provides for all of these except for the rifle-grenadiers (a matter easily fixed with some simple modifications).
I tried to build each model as a distinct soldier (although the ones firing the rifles do tend to look a lot alike, there are only so many ways to do that task) and largely succeeded. I did steal some bits from other Wargames Atlantic sets, the odd arm or pistol-wielding hand, but almost all of the minis you see are right out of the box. I couldn't find any reference to tactical use of man-portable flamethrowers by the British so I was spared scratchbuilding one. The respirator-box gas masks gave me fits; getting the breathing tube to connect to the respirator box in a convincing way was the cause of much trimming, fitting and cussing.
On the whole this was enjoyable, I do very much like modifying plastic figures into individual soldiers instead of cookie-cutter patterns. Let's see if they are as much fun to paint!