Grey for Now Games’ newly released 0200 Hours is a stealthy wargame of fast paced action, recreating commando raids from WW2 movies, comics, and actual history with a sneak-em-up styling and tension cranking mechanics. While your intrepid commandos are crawling under wire, staying out of the harsh arc-glare of the questing searchlight beam and making silent kills, the other side are wandering, patrolling, having a quick smoke and walking their dogs and generally being oblivious – until a poorly positioned commando, a chance find of a body or a loud shot brings their attention and then all hell breaks loose.
Many thanks to Grey for Now Games for providing us with a set of these sprues for review.
This set forms the German half of the 0200 hours starter set, and the plastic base of the first expansion, Guards of Facility 9. They are most definitely different from your standard WW2 plastic offer, and all the better for it. Commando models are pretty much everywhere in WW2 wargaming, but those sentry models are far rarer. Your typical plastic kit will be the front line war criminal troops of the Heer or the ultra war criminal bastards of the SS, may their memory be damned, but a cinematic game like 0200 hours has heroes and mooks – and you’re going to need mooks!
The set, produced by Wargames Atlantic, represents the kinds of units you’d find as sentries on the Atlantic Wall, defending “Fortress Europe” from the Allies. These could be Military Police (Feldgendarmerie), Coastal Defence divisions, Fortress garrisons, captured Soviet soldiers either serving as volunteers or near-slave conscripts (the Osttrupen divisions) and the other undersupplied, undermanned and neglected elements of the Atlantic wall troops. Whatever they are, we’re looking for men who are out for a patrol, maybe having a smoke, staring off into the darkness, waving torches and generally not particularly paying attention. You want guys who look like they could be surprised, frozen in plastic the second before they realise something isn’t quite right – and they haven’t heard from the picket sentries for a while now….
Sprue and Plastic
The core sprue is a single frame giving you 5 “standard” bodies, one officer greatcoat body and two very good boys (Alsatians). They’re nicely scaled with realistic proportions – smaller hands and weapons than competing kits. The kit is cast in rounded, slightly shiny plastic, crammed with extras and options, making an acceptable trade of lower detail on the one hand for more options and lower cost on the other. When working with this plastic I would advise giving larger, rounded pieces like the greatcoat body a light pass with a file, just to make sure your primer really sticks. Like with any multipart set, your feelings about them may vary, but I personally like the trade off – I want lots of bits and a lower level of detail generally allows for quicker and simpler painting.
What you get is extensive, letting you represent casual, at ease and patrolling miniatures easily, filling in gaps in other ranges in kit and armament and – best of all – giving you lots of heads you wouldn’t otherwise see in plastics. Aside from the typical side caps and helmets, you’ve got versions with glasses, bare heads, a shouty officer and everything there you need to give your guys identifiable character in the world of 0200 hours. In terms of weapons you have Lugers and Mausers, MP40s, Gewehr 41s and Carbines, everything you need to equip any single character model in the 0200 Hours rules, but also enough to give you a huge variety of early and mid war German weapons, in a fine scale and a good quality of sculpt and cast.
Let’s talk about the real reason anyone is here. Yes, you get two dogs in the set and very fine dogs they are too. They’re nicely scaled, well sculpted and in two poses i’ll describe as “good dog” and “who’s a good dog”. If you want plastic Alsatians (German Shepherds for those across the pond) at a great scale for historical 28mm, here they are. They’re great. They’re lovely, delicate dogs, they aren’t in silly attack poses, they’re just great dogs who’ve ended up falling in with the wrong people and it isn’t their fault, because it’s the people who’re doing the warcrimes. The dogs are just great.
Assembly is quick and painless, with each figure coming in 4-5 pieces. Cleanup was fairly minimal, though occasionally oddly placed plastic channels on the sprue mean that some fiddly pieces require very, very careful clipping, sanding and cleaning. I broke a few dog leads and barrels trying to file off an oddly placed sprue gate.
Once they’re off and cleaned up, the models go together well with a good degree of flexibility. Attachment points are flat, giving you a range of movement options in one dimension. As most arms are singles – a torch arm, a slung rifle, a crafty cigarette, it’s just a matter of mixing and matching to get the poses and equipment you’re looking for. I personally love models without locator lugs and other such bits on torsos and arms, I just want flat joints I can work with to get any pose I’m looking for.
There are a few pieces that are fiddly and need more focus than choosing a pose and going for it. The feldgendarmerie gorgets that mark out the military police don’t quite sit where you think they should, and I’m not super satisfied with where mine ended up. The other is the dog leads. The leads are to scale with the models, so they’re slender and brittle, something that works much better in CAD design than translated to plastic. If you get them off the sprue and on the mini, fantastic, but I used greenstuff for one and a strip of plasticard for the other. I can imagine getting very frustrated with them if you’re trying to keep them whole. As it was, they broke, I shrugged, and made replacements.
Now I’ll be honest. I don’t like painting Nazis. I don’t see the appeal, but I gave it a good go for this article. You can’t really go wrong with mixing greys, greens and even some blues and browns in there – German uniform colours were incredibly varied even in the classic “feldgrau”. If you’d like to follow a more historically accurate guide, they are out there, but if you’d like a quick and dirty way to paint them, here you go!
I start with a deep green for the jacket and highlight it up with less saturated greens – mix your base green with a grey and work up from there. I used a mix of Army Painter Uniform Grey and Citadel Contrast Militarum Green, increasing the amount of grey for highlights and finally replacing the contrast with a Skarsnik green/Uniform Grey mix for extreme highlights. Black boots, grey trousers, leather belts and off-white/bone gaiters complete the historical look. Below there’s a more desaturated grey and dark grey trooper, and one with more Militarum Green in the mix to show the greener end of the feldgrau spectrum.
Overall, the models are perfect for what they’re supposed to be. You’re not going to be spending hundreds of hours over these guys, because they’re the guards, they exist to frustrate either player by going the right (or wrong) way, stumbling over a body and reacting with a big ! over their heads before a knife in the dark takes them out. They have the character you want and expect in a set like this, bespectacled smokers with a sneer, clueless youth straight out of school, officers with a little more of their schiesse together, older conscripts put out on sentry duty in a quiet sector. Overall, they’re a great set and absolutely perfect for 0200 Hours.
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