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Subject: Possible Inspirations for the Classic Unit Sculpts rss

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Midnight Reaper
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Quote:
Edited, to add pictures and expanded thoughts on the subject -Midnight_Reaper
It's a well known fact among Axis & Allies aficionados that the game pieces in the Milton Bradley version of Axis & Allies (A&A Classic edition) were not supposed to represent any particular type of unit from World War II. However, you tell an artist to sculpt a "tank" or a "battleship" or a "bomber" and they will go looking for pictures of tanks and battleships and bombers to have something to base their work off of.

And in that vein, here is my list of of possible inspirations for the unit sculpts in Classic A&A. I have based this off of internet searches of plans and pictures for units used in World War II and comparing them to the pieces that I own. I wasn't able to identify them all but I took my best shot at doing so. All comments and questions welcomed.


Unit Types---Inspiration
Anti-Aircraft Artillery---generic cannon pointed skyward
This sculpt looks to me like a Walther P38 pistol's barrel and slide put on a pivot and pointed skyward. What it would have been in another world, I have no idea.

An A&A Anti-Aircraft Gun, painted black

Walther P38 handgun. The barrel and slide would be the top part of the weapon.
(Source: www.adamsguns.com)

Battleship---USA North Carolina class
The North Carolinas don't have the cachet of the Iowas but I think they really resemble the battleship sculpts from Classic.

A picture of several A&A units. The Battleship is the one furthest to the right, with the flat-top between it and the coast.

A picture of an A&A German battleship, painted.

USS North Carolina, underway in April 1942
(Source: US Naval History and Heritage Command, www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-navy-shi...)

This is a line drawing of the USS North Carolina.
(Source: US Navy NavSource Online, www.navsource.org/archives/01/55a.htm)

Bomber---USA B-17 Flying Fortress
This is a straight forward identification. This sculpt was my inspiration for figuring out what inspired the rest of the units.

A picture of several A&A units. The Bomber is the plane with four round engines, mostly painted green - the plane mostly painted silver with one round engine is a Fighter.

This is a line drawing of the B-17 and the features of various sub-models.
(Source: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-17_Flying_Fortress)

Carrier---USA Essex class
This identification seemed straight forward to me. I didn't see anything else that looked like the carrier sculpt from Classic as well as the Essex class.

A picture of several A&A units. The Aircraft Carrier is the one off to the right, between the Battleship and the coast.

USS Essex at Hampton Roads, February 1943.
(Source: US Navy NavSource Onlinewww.navsource.org/archives/02/09.htm)

Fighter---USA Douglas SBD Dauntless / A-24 Banshee? (wings too low) or USA Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf? (canopy too long)
This is a case of "looks like a fighter plane". The two types identified are the closest of the ones I looked at, but neither one looks exactly right. Mind you, neither proposed plane was used as a fighter during the war. Perhaps this was the inspiration for the Junkers Ju-87 Stuka "fighter" in the Revised version of the game?

A picture of several A&A units. The Fighters are the planes closest to the bottom of the picture.

This is a line drawing of the SBD Dauntless. Notice how the wings on the A&A Fighter sculpt are mounted higher on the fuselage than the wings on the Dauntless.
(Source: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_SBD_Dauntless)

This is a line drawing of a Consolidated Sea Wolf. Notice how the canopy (the top, glassy part) is shorter on the A&A Fighter sculpt than on the Sea Wolf. Put the Dauntless' canopy on a Sea Wolf body and you might have an A&A Fighter sculpt.
(Source: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidated_TBY_Sea_Wolf)

Industrial Complex---generic factory
These are really generic sculpts of slant-roofed factories with smokestacks.

A picture of several A&A units. The Industrial Complex is the dirty white/very light grey piece in the back of the picture with the attached, upright cylinders that are painted red and black.

No real life image to compare to, sorry.

Infantry---national fighting man
Admittedly, a cop-out. I have more interest in the source of the other units. I will note that these sculpts are the most successful of this group of sculpts. All of the others sculpts have been replaced but this set remains the same across the world of A&A. It likely helps that these sculpts were different for each nation and so didn't have to be nationalized in later versions like the other units.

A picture of the five different A&A Infantry sculpts, from left to right one of each for the USSR, Germany, the UK, Japan, and the US.

Other looks at the infantry sculpts can be found in the pictures for the Battleship (US Infantry in top picture), Bomber (two painted Japanese Infantry), and Fighter (German on the left, UK on the right).

Again, no real life images to compare to, sorry.

Submarine---USA Gato class (conning tower too far forward and deck gun in wrong direction)
Like the fighter plane sculpt, the submarine sculpt doesn't really seem to match anything but it looks similar to the US Navy's Gato class submarines, barring the caveats above.

In this picture of several A&A units, you can see all but a small portion of the rear of a USA Submarine sculpt as the piece to the bottom left, in the Gulf of Mexico.

USS Gato, underway in November 1944. Note how the A&A Submarine sculpt has the deck gun behind the conning tower, whereas the USS Gato has its deck gun in front of the conning tower.
(Source: US Navy NavSource Online, www.navsource.org/archives/08/08212a.htm)

Tank---German Panzer III
Again, another straight forward identification. This is also the only sculpt (of the ones I can identify) that was apparently based on a unit type from outside the US military.

After further review, I still think that this is a Panzer III, but I am not as sure as I was before. I am certainly open to hearing other inspirations for the A&A Tank sculpt. I don't think that it's a American Sherman, or a Soviet T-34, or anything Japan produced; but something British or something else German might be the ticket.

A picture of several A&A units. The Tanks are the grey piece to the bottom of its territory (Libya) and the similar-looking group of four tan pieces to the top of their territory (Egypt).

A Panzer III, at the German Tank Museum in 2005.
(Source: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_III)

Transport---generic ship with derricks (possible tramp steamer)
Similar to the fighter plane and the submarine sculpts, I couldn't find anything that was exactly like the transport sculpt. So, I'll call this a tramp steamer (see link above). As there were many different classes of steamship built before 1939 and still in use during the war, this could have been based on anything.

Transport---Liberty ship or Victory ship
After further review, I am changing my mind and saying that this is an "inspired by" piece that sort of resembles a Liberty ship or a Victory ship. If you look closely, you can see that the A&A Transport ships seems to have turned the top of one of these ships around and then set it back down on the hull. The sculpt has one full derrick in front of the superstructure in the middle and one full and one half derrick in the rear of the ship, after the superstructure. With the Liberty or the Victory, you have one full and one half derrick in front of the superstructure in the middle and only one full derrick in the rear of the ship, after the superstructure.

A picture of several A&A units. The Transport is the painted piece that you can clearly see in sea zone "72", painted green and tan with two black spots. The other, partially-visible unit to the right, in that sea zone, is likely the back-half of a painted Battleship.

The Liberty ship John W. Brown, underway in October 1942.
(Source: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_ship)

The Victory ship Red Oak Victory, tied to a pier in July 2013.
(Source: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_ship)

Below are two pictures that have different viewing angles for the pieces discussed above. I thought another view would help those unfamiliar with the subject better understand what I am taking about.

In the following supplemental picture, you can have a look from a different angle at: AA Guns (smaller white pieces in the Germany blow-up box, in Karelia and in Moscow, all three to the upper right), a Bomber (UK Bomber on the UK, to the upper left), Industrial Complexes (larger white pieces in the Germany blow-up box, in Karelia and in Moscow, Karelia and Moscow, all three to the upper right), Infantry (German, UK, and USSR Infantry in their territories, excepting German Infantry in Karelia), and Transports (German Transport in the far lower right, off the coast of Syria and Turkey and UK Transport in the far left of the picture, off the west coast of the United Kingdom).

In this supplemental and extremely busy picture, which includes pieces that don't even come with the base game of A&A, you can find a couple Submarines as well as a Battleship and a decent look at an Industrial Complex. So, to show: Towards the very bottom left of the picture is a sea zone with the words "Rio de Oro". The Submarine in that sea zone is the grey piece on the right. Just above the Rio de Oro sea zone is another sea zone with the word "Atlantic", which is part of North Atlantic. The Submarine is the grey piece to the left. To the right of the Atlantic sea zone is another sea zone, which is in the Mediterranean Sea and is squeezed by Spain and Algeria. In that sea zone, there is a Battleship, it is to the left and to the top of the other piece. If you look to the top right, in the Moscow territory, you can clearly see a white Industrial Complex.

To see all of the different units in their natural colors, explore the thumbnails below to see all 6 of the different plastic sprues that came in the box that Milton Bradley shipped out.

Plastic Sprue with German A&A Units

Plastic Sprue with Japanese A&A Units

Plastic Sprue with UK A&A Units

Plastic Sprue with USA A&A Units

Plastic Sprue with USSR A&A Units

Plastic Sprue with AA Guns (on the bottom) and Industrial Complexes (on the top)

The infantry pieces came in little plastic bags, one bag per country.


In summary, there are 14 sculpts of different units in the Classic version of Axis & Allies. Five (5) are for different Infantry sculpts for each nation, the other nine (9) are for sculpts shared across the different factions. Of these 14, I have pinned inspiration identities on 4 sculpts, given thoughts on inspiration of 3 other sculpts, and thrown my hands up in despair on the 7 (5 Infantry sculpts, 2 others) remaining sculpts.

What do you, gentle reader, think of this (revised) work of mine?

-M_R

P.S. Performed a major edit in order to add pictures and because I have new analysis for one of the sculpt inspirations. James, AKA Kukailimoku, asked for pictures to go with the text, I obliged him with a comment but the more I thought about it, the more I agreed that the post needed pictures to really show what I meant. And now, the post is fully illustrated. whistle -M_R
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Robert Wesley
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While 'moi' has 'sculpted' & innovated DOZENS of related items along these kind. Their TANK "roadwheels" were akin to 'Christie'/Soviet styles, or even for a 'Tiger' with further 'sculpting', as I'd done. Using their basic Hull, I've even gotten some 'Nashorn'/'Hummel' types fashioned, as well with taking just their turret onto another Tank-Hull to render a M26 "Pershing". I'm working on taking a later "Panther" and have it become a "Jagdpanther".
cool
 
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James Cox
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Interesting thread. I no longer own a copy of the game. I left it at a buddy's house during one of our marathon group sessions and after we both PCS'd in different directions (he ETS'd) and I lost touch, it was gone for good. (pre-internet days, back when you really could lose touch with someone).

So I don't have the pieces to look at while reading your thread. Could you post pics of the pieces?
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Midnight Reaper
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Kukailimoku wrote:
Interesting thread. I no longer own a copy of the game. I left it at a buddy's house during one of our marathon group sessions and after we both PCS'd in different directions (he ETS'd) and I lost touch, it was gone for good. (pre-internet days, back when you really could lose touch with someone).

So I don't have the pieces to look at while reading your thread. Could you post pics of the pieces?
You don't want much, do you?

Here's the best I can find on short notice. Click on the pictures below to go to their respective BGG page, and you can enlarge all but one of the pictures for a better look at what's inside.

1 A recently uploaded picture of all of the German units still on their sprue. As all of the units (excepting Infantry) were the same for all countries, this still works to see most combat units from a single angle:


2 An uploaded picture of the Industrial Complexes and the Anti-Aircraft guns, still on their sprue:


3 An uploaded picture of all five of the different Infantry units in the game, standing behind the Control Markers for their respective countries:


4 An uploaded picture of the Combat Chart for the game, with silhouettes of the different combat units.


I hope this helps. I can try to dig deeper if you would like... cool

-M_R

P.S. Minor format edit.
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Robert Wesley
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cool You can buy online the "actual historical vessels" of around 1:4800 or 1:3000 'scaled' versions, along with 1:600 'aircraft'. Bomber/Multi-Engine Planes in 1:700 are quite adequate for use to introduce "Medium Bomber" or "Tank Buster-(HS129)" from 'modification' into these.
 
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Midnight Reaper
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Kukailimoku, just for you, some more illustration of what I was talking about before. Just a small edit to the original posting... whistle

-M_R
 
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Danger Mike
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I believe the tanks in A&A Classic are based on the M-41 Walker Bulldog, a US post-war design.

 
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Midnight Reaper
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The Lone Gamer wrote:
I believe the tanks in A&A Classic are based on the M-41 Walker Bulldog, a US post-war design.
While the M-41 is stylish, the barrel is too long (the Milton Bradley tank's barrel is no longer than the body), when counting all of the "big wheels" on the side of the tank the A&A tanks has 6 on a side and the M-41 has 7 (2 up in the air and 5 on the ground) on a side, and it is missing the square "searchlight" feature on the mantle of the gun. These short-comings mean that the M-41 is most likely not the source of inspiration for the Milton Bradley era Axis & Allies tank.

Although, I see your M-41, and raise you a joint American/British job, the T14, which was produced in limited numbers during the war:


(Source: www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/USA/t14-heavy-tank)

To be honest, I still think that the A&A MB tanks are based on a short-barreled Panzer III.

In the end, it is probably most accurate to say that the game piece designers at Milton Bradley likely sculpted seomething that "looks like a tank", without concern for historic accuracy. I've scoured the internet, looking at pictures of World War II tanks of all size, from all of the combatants. Nothing really matches the design that Milton Bradley made. So, like the Fighter, the Tank is most likely an "inspired by" piece.

-M_R

P.S. Added another thought as to why the A&A Tank is not an M-41.
 
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Midnight Reaper
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I've been thinking about the Fighter and Tank sculpt inspirations again, which lead to a couple forum threads over in Wargames forum. I have taken their ideas and distilled them into a pair of polls. If you haven't seen them, feel free to look them over and vote now:

Fighter poll

Tank poll

-M_R
 
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Steve
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FWIW,
I think that the length of the barrel on the tank is not relevant.

These are plastic pieces that needed to survive use.
If the barrel was much longer then it would break off more.
Not one of mine has broken off after all these years.
The barrel is also too fat, for the same reason.

To me the tank looks most like a Tiger-I with a Tiger-II turret.


 
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