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Author Topic: Evolution of Axis & Allies pieces -- Take 2  (Read 7420 times)
knp7765
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2011, 07:49:46 am »
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Thanks for the kind words guys.  I'm glad you all like this topic.
When I tried this the last time I got a lot of responses.  Unfortunately, I also found that I was missing several key pieces so it was not nearly complete.  So, after a few months of collecting little lots of pieces on eBay and such, and making some notes, I came up with a much more complete sampling of the piece changes over the years.
One thing I found is how much the German tank piece changed from game to game, and sometimes just in different productions of the same game.  They were all the Panther tank, but some looked different from others.  The first ones I got in Revised and Europe were very dark grey, nearly black but not quite, and were kind of long and skinny.  The ones I got in my D-Day game were the same shape and size, but they were more of a very dark blue than grey.  I got some others from sellers on eBay that were also from copies of Revised;  one bunch were the same shape and size but were more of a medium grey,  the other bunch were darker, but were a little shorter and wider yet still looked like the same tank -- in other words, NOT like the current Panther tanks from BOTB and beyond.

On a personal note, I wish now that WOTC would have stuck with that medium grey color.  It is very close to the color of FMG's German Combat Dice and will probably match their German Combat Units when they are released.  I thought about trying to get more on eBay or over at HBG, but then I would be stuck with Stuka "fighters" and wouldn't be able to get cruisers, tacs or mechs in that color.  So, until FMG's Germans come out, I guess I will stick with the black.
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dangermouse650
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« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2011, 04:33:54 am »
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Cool history, i got the pacific set with the red japanese, thought it was standard until i got another set for more pieces. I also got the guadacanal with the mixed up cruisers.
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knp7765
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« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2011, 08:35:31 am »
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Yeah, I was kind of late in getting these games.  I only had Classic until I happened across something related to A&A while surfing the Internet.  I did some more digging and found that Avalon Hill had taken over and the games were all new.  This was in 2006.  I got a copy of Revised, Europe, Pacific and D-Day.
My copy of Pacific must have been a later version because the Japanese were orange and it had the correct piece number on the box (335).  The older versions that had the red Japanese had a piece count of 345.  Funny thing is, the picture on the bottom of the box showed red Japanese pieces even though the actual pieces in the box were orange.
The copy of D-Day that I got had those really light colored British and the bluish grey Germans.  It was missing 1 British infantry and 1 German tank.  When I e-mailed WOTC for replacements, I got a beige British infantry and a dark grey, almost black German tank.  This was just as well because I have since replaced the original pieces with newer ones.  Now the British are tan and have Matilda tanks and the Germans are black, which does kind of clash with the pillbox pieces but I can't help that.
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knp7765
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2011, 07:07:45 am »
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Hey everybody, here is a new step in the evolution of Axis & Allies game pieces.  Introducing the new Field Marshal Games Italian Combat Units.  While these aren't actually Axis & Allies pieces per se, in other words not produced by WOTC, they were basically made to replace the current Italian units in the game (all the brown GERMAN units).  So, I think this can definitely count as another step in the evolution of pieces.
Italy, first introduced in the 50th Anniversary Edition of Axis & Allies, was represented with uniquely Italian Infantry and Tanks.  The fighter and all naval vessels were German models and the artillery & bomber were actually Japanese models.  On top of this, the plastic pieces were very poorly molded and many pieces had some major flaws (for ALL countries, not just Italy).
Europe 1940 did correct the molding problem with much nicer looking units.  However, with the exception of the Infantry piece, they still didn't have any uniquely Italian equipment.  WOTC replaced the Italian tank from Anniversary with the German Panther tank molded in brown color.  So now Italy has ALL German equipment, including the bomber and artillery.  At least they did fix that mistake.  During the war, Italy did use some German equipment, but I'm pretty sure they never used Japanese artillery or flew G4M "Betty" bombers.
Finally, Field Marshal Games decided to fix this problem once and for all.  They gave Italy all their own unique equipment;  Italian tanks, artillery and vehicles.  All Italian aircraft and naval vessels.  They matched the color with their Combat Dice which comes out just a little darker than WOTC's Italian pieces.  What's more, FMG did extensive research into each different unit and crafted pieces with incredible detail, much more so than WOTC.  They are truly fabulous and I think will look very nice on our gameboards.
I have attached pics showing the different units;  land units, air units and sea units.  Enjoy!
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knp7765
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2011, 01:34:40 pm »
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Here are some comparisons with A&A board game pieces and their A&A Naval Miniatures counterparts.  I've got all 6 sets of the Naval Miniatures but in some cases, I wasn't able to find the correct class of ship that is the same as the board game class so I used a ship that came closest in appearance.  Also, I didn't bother with submarines or transports because there wasn't enough of them in the Naval Miniatures sets.  First we go with Allies:
USA - Carrier == Wasp Class
          Battleship == Iowa Class
          Cruiser == Portland class (A&A Minis didn't have a Portland so I went with Pensacola class.  Looks close)
          Destroyer == Fletcher class (the book calls it a Johnston class, but I looked it up on Wikipedia and the USS Johnston was a Fletcher class ship)
UK -   Carrier == Illustrious Class
          Battleship == Revenge Class (the book calls it a Royal Oak class, but the HMS Royal Oak was one of the Revenge Class)
         Cruiser == County class
         Destroyer == Fletcher Class (actually a US ship.  UK doesn't have their own destroyer yet.  FMG will fix that.)
USSR - Carrier == Illustrious Class (actually a UK ship.  USSR doesn't have their own A/C yet.  FMG will fix that.)
           Battleship == Gangut Class
           Cruiser == Kirov Class
           Destroyer == Gnevnyi Class
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knp7765
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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2011, 01:43:18 pm »
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Here are more board game pieces with their miniatures counterparts.  Again, in a few cases none of the miniature sets had the right ship class so I used something that looked close to me.  With Italy, I used FMG's new pieces rather than OOB.  Here are the Axis:
Germany - Carrier == Graf Zeppelin Class
                 Battleship == Bismarck Class
                 Cruiser == Admiral Hipper Class
                 Destroyer == Zerstorer Class ( I used what was called a 1936A type destroyer.  This one was hard to match but I think I got it about right)
Italy -       Carrier == Aquila Class
                Battleship == Littorio Class
                Cruiser == Zara Class
                Destroyer == Soldati Class
Japan -    Carrier == Shinano Class (didn't have a Shinano so I subbed the Akagi)
               Battleship == Yamato Class
               Cruiser == Takao Class
               Destroyer == Fubuki Class (didn't have a Fubuki so I subbed the Kagero class which looked very similar to me)
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Viracocha
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2011, 04:37:42 pm »
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Interesting... thanks for posting Knp
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militaryman077
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2011, 04:57:25 am »
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KNP, great job on the evolution of the pieces. But you never mentioned that the original pieces for the infantry were a tab smaller than the ones released in the 1987 and later versions.  The smaller infantry also had flat base and "made in china" on the bottom. The taller infantry have "made in china" in addition to the abbreviation of the country e.g. "RU" for Russia, "AM" for America, etc.
The present infantry piece's bottom of its base is sort of indented in the middle and surrounded by a raised outer portion. I would post pics. of both types but I don't know how to post pics or don't have that capablity yet. If there is someone who can post pics maybe he can take a pic of both of the bottom of the pieces in question and post them, in addition to showing the relative piece size difference.


P.S. I think this is the reason the FMG italian infantry is a tab smaller than the present axis and allies pieces.  It seems they must have used the original axis and allies pieces as a guide instead of the present infantry piece, size wise.  Hopefully it was fixed with the German and U.S. scupts but it does need to be addressed.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 05:25:17 am by militaryman077 » Logged
knp7765
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« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2012, 12:32:53 am »
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Hello Everyone.
With all the recent releases of new A&A games from WOTC, and the new sculpts in them, I decided it was time for an update. This time I am going to list the pieces game by game.
First, we start with the Original Milton Bradley version of Axis & Allies, widely known as "Classic" here on the forum. The release date that I have for this game was 1986 but I have heard some say it came out as early as 1981. A second edition came out in 1991 which mainly had changes to the rules with a few minor changes to some of the pieces, mostly the infantry.
As most people know already, in Classic you had Infantry, Armor, Fighters, Bombers, Aircraft Carriers, Battleships, Submarines and Transports. The sculpts for all the non-infantry equipment were the same for all 5 countries just in different colors: Brown for Russia, Grey for Germany, Tan for UK, Yellow for Japan and Dark Green for USA.
The Infantry were the only sculpts that were unique to each country. They were also molded with a somewhat softer plastic than the rest of the units and in some cases appeared just slightly darker than the rest of the units, but were still very close to the same color.
One noteable difference is the Japanese infantry. In a few copies of the game, the Japanese infantry were a light yellow color almost identical to the color of the other Japanese units. Later they changed the color for the infantry and came out with a darker yellow color. The newer color seems to be somewhere in between the light yellow and the current burnt orange color of current Japanese pieces.
Also, there were a few copies of the game that came out with an error in molding. The American Infantry were molded in grey and the German Infantry were molded in olive green. I don't know how many of these copies were out there, but I have gotten these mis-molded infantry a couple of times on eBay.
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knp7765
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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2012, 01:24:05 am »
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AXIS & ALLIES EUROPE -- Released 1999
Sometime in the mid to late 90s, Avalon Hill took over the Axis & Allies franchise from Milton Bradley. They reworked the game and came out with new versions with nation-specific sculpts for all the non-infantry pieces. This was extremely cool to me when I first saw them in 2006 (yes, I was a late-comer).
The first release for Avalon Hill was a European Theater version of A&A with the nations of United States, United Kingdom and Russia squaring off against Germany.
They also added two new units to the Axis & Allies lineup: the Destroyer and the Artillery.
Germany got all uniquely German sculpts, although their fighter piece was actually a small Stuka dive bomber. Since we did not have Tac Bombers yet, I guess they figured the Stuka was such an iconic German plane that they decided to use it to represent the fighter piece.
As for the Allies, while they got a number of unique sculpts, they also shared many. All the USA's sculpts were uniquely American. Britain and Russia ended up sharing the artillery, transport, submarine and destroyer pieces with the US. Britain also had the M-4 Sherman for their tank, while Russia got their own T-34.
In addition, all Russian naval units were copies of British ships in Russian color.
Early editions of Europe came out with Russians in a Burgandy color, which is basically a dark red. Later versions came out with Russians in more of a Maroon color, basically dark brown with a red tint.
British pieces were a strange Salmon color, sort of a sickly pink/tan.
US pieces were a light olive green.
German pieces were mainly dark grey in color, although there seems to have been a number of variations in shading throughout the printing of this game.
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knp7765
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« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2012, 01:40:32 am »
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AXIS & ALLIES PACIFIC -- Released 2001
The next game put out by Avalon Hill/WOTC was a Pacific Theater version of the game with the United States and United Kingdom facing off against Japan. This game also had China represented to a small amount, basically represented by Russian Infantry sculpts in red or dark brown, depending on the version of the game that you got.
Early versions of this game came out with Japanese units sculpted in bright red color. These versions also had an incorrect piece count on the box cover (345). Later versions of this game came out with Japanese pieces sculpted in a dark or "burnt" orange color which has lasted to the current style. The piece count on the box of this version was also corrected (335).
The Chinese Infantry that came with the early versions were dark brown. When they changed to orange Japanese, the Chinese Infantry became bright red.
UK pieces in both versions of this game were molded in a dark tan color. I think this was done to make them represent Australian and Indian forces of the greater British Empire. Some have suggested this would be a good color to go with for Australian units or Indian units that might be put out by FMG or HBG in the future.
US pieces were put out in a light olive green, which seems to be the overall standard for US pieces in just about all A&A games.
The US did get 2 extra units not provided to UK or Japan: an F6F Hellcat fighter sculpt meant to be used for carrier based fighters while the P-38s were to be used for land based fighters. Otherwise, they operated like any other fighter for game purposes.
Also, the US had a Marine Infantry sculpt in a brighter green color from the olive color of the rest of the US pieces. Some have called it Forest Green. US Marine Infantry cost 4 IPCs and could attack @2 in Amphibious Assaults.
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knp7765
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« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2012, 02:02:15 am »
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AXIS & ALLIES REVISED -- Released March 2004
Finally, Avalon Hill came out with what is basically a replacement for Classic. A world-level game involving all five major powers of WW2: United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Germany and Japan.
The map was somewhat different from Classic and some of the rules were different as well. In addition to the new units, destroyers and artillery, many of the other rules were somewhat refined, probably making the game somewhat more complex than the original.
As for the pieces, there seems to have been a number of different versions of this game. The most drastic differences occurred with the German and British pieces.
In some early editions, German pieces were molded in a medium grey color and British pieces were molded in a light green color, sometimes referred to as sea-foam green and celery green.
In later editions, the German pieces went to a very dark grey, moving closer to black, and the British pieces were molded in a light tan color that seemed to have a very slight touch of pink in it. Not like the salmon color of Europe, but just enough that they do not look like a pure tan color.
Also, the German tank piece seems to have underwent a number of changes. Some games had long, skinny Panthers while others had Panthers that were a little shorter and wider. The wider version does look better in my opinion.
Russian pieces came out in Maroon, Japanese pieces in Burnt Orange and US pieces in bright Olive Green. Actual sculpts did not change from Europe or Pacific.
(On a personal note, I like the medium grey color and wish WOTC would have stayed with that. I think it's better for representing German combat units.)
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knp7765
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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2012, 02:42:14 am »
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AXIS & ALLIES D-DAY -- Released June 2004
This time WOTC released a much smaller level game. It only covers the Normandy landing area and game mechanics are quite different from the world level and theater level games. First, it has a set number of rounds (10) in which the Allies must acheive their objectives to win the game. If the Germans can keep the Allies from doing so, it is considered a German victory. Also, you do not purchase units with IPCs. Rather you have a set number of reinforcements and once they are gone, that's all you get. However, the game is designed so neither side will run out of units before the end of round 10.
The pieces in this game came out in interesting colors. In some versions, the British were a very light, off-white color normally referred to as "Blonde". The Germans came out in what appears to be a very dark blue color. US pieces were still a bright olive green.
Later versions of the game had the British in more of a light beige color, similar to their current color, and German pieces back to dark grey, like later versions of Revised.
One special pieces included in this game was the German Blockhouse piece, used to represent the fortifications that Germany built along the coast to repel an Allied invasion.
This game included NO naval units at all, just Air and Land forces for US and UK and just Land forces for Germany. The reason Germans didn't get air units was to represent the overwhelming Allied air superiority in June 1944.
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knp7765
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« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2012, 02:56:47 am »
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AXIS & ALLIES BATTLE OF THE BULGE -- Released November 2006
This was another small level game with somewhat similar mechanics to D-Day. This game plays out the final German offensive against the Western Allies which took place in December, 1944, and was meant to drive a wedge between the American and British armies and eventually capture the crucial port town of Antwerp to deny it's use by the Allies and stretch their supply lines. Strong American resistance and running out of fuel halted the German advance and this operation ended up being a big waste of men and material for Germany.
In this game, like D-Day, you get a certain amount of reinforcements to work with. You also have to use Supply Tokens to move and attack. Germany has 8 rounds to gain 24 Victory points and win the game.
As for the pieces, WOTC seems to have finally settled on final colors for the different countries. While most of the units involved in this game are German and US, there is a small amount of British units as they had some part in this action.
German pieces are molded in black, UK pieces are molded in light tan and US pieces are molded in bright olive green. These colors are maintained up to 1942 second edition.
The German tank was changed in appearance. It's still a Panther, perhaps a later version with armor skirts. The German fighter was changed too. Now it is the Me-109.
Two extra units included in this game are trucks for US and Germany. The US truck is a GMC 2 1/2 ton and the German truck is an Opel "Blitz" 3 ton.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 03:30:14 am by knp7765 » Logged
knp7765
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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2012, 03:11:00 am »
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AXIS & ALLIES GUADALCANAL -- Released November 2007
This game is a small level game but is slightly larger than BOTB or D-Day. It covers the Solomon Islands chain and the tough struggle by the US to wrestle it away from Japan. The US and Japan are the only nations represented in this game.
The game board has 6 islands. Each side tries to clear the sea zones of enemy navy, take control of these islands and build air bases on the islands. This game also has supply tokens, but they are used mostly to build the air fields. You gain victory points for each island under your control, for operational airfields under your control and for sinking enemy capital ships. The first side to get to 15 victory points wins the game.
This game includes all the units found in Revised with the following exceptions:
Neither side has tanks. Only land units are Infantry and Artillery.
Both sides have nation colored Anti-Aircraft Guns (Green = US, Orange = Japan). AA Guns are treated somewhat differently in this game from previous games.
Cruisers were added to the naval lineup. This is the FIRST A&A game to include Cruisers. On a funny note, a number of copies were sold with mis-molded Cruiser pieces. They had US Portland class cruisers in burnt orange and Japanese Takao class cruisers in olive green. People who got these simply had to call or e-mail WOTC and they were shipped new cruisers in the correct colors.
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