Goonhammer Historicals: Wargames Atlantic’s BEF Infantry

The British Expeditionary Force was the first step into the Second World War for Great Britain. After almost a decade of trying to strip down their military, they were forced to rearm with new conflict on the horizon. After declaring for war alongside France in 1939, the BEF was armed and shipped across the channel back into the fields on which they had fought just 20 years ago. But they wouldn’t stay long, barely more than half a year would pass before they found themselves on the beach of Dunkirk. After a hurried and uncoordinated retreat to the British Isles, leaving behind many to become POWs, they would be dissolved and reintegrated into the British army.

As the war raged across Europe, everyone had to do their part; those unfit for military service would volunteer for the Home Guard, an armed militia. Being equipped similar to the BEF, they would mainly deal with air raids, never encountering actual combat on the ground.

Credit: Wargames Atlantic

Despite only existing for such a short period of time, the BEF have become an integral part of Blitzkrieg scenarios in WW2 themed tabletop games. And so Wargames Atlantic have decided to make the BEF their next release for their WW2 range. Cheeky, clever buggers as they are, this kit also doubles as Home Guard.

Thanks to Wargames Atlantic for providing this kit for review. This article contains a clearly labelled affiliate link.

The contents

The box comes with five sprues, which allow you to build 30 miniatures. It comes with eight rifles per sprue and a load of special weapons such as four LMGs (a BAR, a Lewis and two Brens), one SMG and a Light Mortar. You also get a choice of heads, five of which are your classic soup bowls, three are Highlander caps, three field caps, two officer peaked caps and three soup helmets in covers. It should be mentioned for anyone who’s new to Wargames Atlantic kits, their boxes do not come with bases. They do offer a lovely little set of 60 bases with amazing function, but keep it in mind.

Credit: MommaNegan

Given that usually soldiers wouldn’t walk into battle wearing bedrolls, back packs and all that stuff, it’s nice to see that you get quite a lot of options for how you want to customize your soldiers. Except for some Bayonet holsters and additional pouches, you get to choose if your guys wear the gasmask bag, the pistol holster, backpacks, bedrolls, shovels, etc.

A highlander about to ruin someone’s day. Credit: MommaNegan

While not strictly historically accurate, I did choose to give my guys gasmask bags, backpacks and bedrolls where possible. Which leads to my next point, while you have the option to add gasmask bags, not every pair of arms will allow you to do so and multiple ones are kept so close to the chest, that there isn’t enough space. So learn from my mistakes and do some dry fitting with the arms to see where you can fit bags and where not.

Compatibility?

Credit: MommaNegan

Given, that this kit only covers basic infantry and a light mortar, there’s a question of how compatible these miniatures are with other manufacturers who also produce specialized kits. I did happen to have miniatures from both Warlord Games and Empress Miniatures on hand to see how well you could augment an army with either of these company’s’ miniatures. Unlike their previous WW2 kits, Wargames Atlantic seems to have gone for more of a hero scale on these miniatures. That definitely opens the doors to include Warlord Games miniatures as they are notoriously hero scale. However I was surprised to see Empress Miniatures, who I feel are more true scale, also look pretty alright and not too off next to the WA miniatures. At least in my opinion you would be perfectly fine to add some Warlord Games Artillery pieces or an Empress Miniatures Vickers MMG team.

The Final Verdict

The lads are ready to defeat the German menace! Credit: MommaNegan

I love these. There’s no better way to say this, these are amazing. I obviously have my little issues here and there, but those are either not issues with the miniatures themselves or kinda difficult anyways. I already mentioned the issue with gasmask bags and certain arms not working well together. That is very much a me issue as I do love the look of those bags. I assume most people will be fine not having them and the overall design prioritizes the customisability of the gear. There is also something to be said about the neck joints; From what I have seen it’s par for the course with WA to have neck joints that favor a forward looking position. It’s not as egregious as in kits like the WW1 Germans, but still noticeable. I am not sure why this design persists, but I am not the biggest fan of it. My other issue is more an issue with WA’s policy(?) of not including bases in their boxes. They did recently release a pack of 60 bases with amazing functions; They can be turned around to accommodate miniatures with putty bases and those without and has a 1mmx3mm magnet hole already in it. These are great and I used them on these miniatures. Obviously I don’t know how it would work out logistically or financially, but I would love to see these bases be included in future kits.

Credit: MommaNegan

Other things I find noteworthy about this kit is the inclusion of the light mortar piece. Not a particular common piece in plastic infantry kits (save the Afrika Korps and 8th Army from Warlord Games) but certainly not unwelcome. It just feels a little oversized maybe, at least compared to Warlord Games’s kit. Lastly there’s the use of heroic scale for this kit. Correct me if I am wrong but most of the existing WW2 kits don’t make use of it. I am curious to see if this will persist for future WA kits as I personally really like that scale. I definitely have to mention the face sculpts as a highlight for me, they are obviously a little goofy, but I did try doing them more realistic and feel like they have such potential. So if you want to paint some Blitzkrieg Brits and don’t like pewter miniatures or want to expand your army, then this kit is absolutely for you!

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Questions, comments, suggestions? Got BEF to show off? contact@goonhammer.com or leave a comment below.