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Evolution of Axis & Allies pieces.


  • Customizer

    Hello All.  I thought I would post this topic for anyone that might be interested.  Axis and Allies is obviously a favorite game for many of us and I became interested in how the pieces have changed over the years and from one version of the game to the next.  Since I have been able to keep most of the different pieces over time, I thought I would share them with everybody.
    First, about 1984, there was the original Milton Bradley version (aka Classic).  It was pretty basic by today’s standards.  All of the pieces were the same generic models in different colors and only the infantry pieces were unique to each country.  When Avalon Hill took over A&A in the mid-late 90s, they introduced country specific units to the game and also added destroyers and artillery to the lineup.  They first came out with A&A Europe, A&A Pacific, A&A D-Day and later a new Revised World game.
    Then, in 2008, came the 50th Anniversary game.  It was the biggest A&A game yet with the largest game board.  This game also introduced Italy as a 3rd Axis, gave new rules for China as a seperate power and introduced the Cruiser in the naval lineup.  While many of the game components were top notch, the plastic unit molds were a big dissappointment with lots of flash, rather sloppy detail and some units didn’t get completely molded (eg, German artillery pieces).  Another good thing with this version is Britain got their own tank unit.
    During 2009, they came out with two more smaller-level games, Battle of the Bulge and Guadalcanal.  BOTB introduced truck units for the Americans and Germans.  Then in August of 2009, they came out with A&A 1942, a very scaled-down version of Revised.  However, they greatly improved the plastic molds and produces larger battleship pieces with much better detail.  Russia got some country specific navy pieces.  Italy and China were not included in this game however.
    Then, in December 2009, came the much anticipated Pacific 1940.  This was a very large game and a significant upgrade from the previous A&A Pacific.  Many new rules for air and naval bases were added, ANZAC was introduced as a new Allied power and TAC Bombers and Mechanized/Mobile Infantry were added to the lineup.
    Finally, in August 2010, Europe 1940 came out.  This game introduced France for the first time and has the USA and USSR as neutrals.  What’s more, this game is designed to go with Pacific 1940 for a HUGE new Global game.  This is where we stand today.
    In the following posts, I will go through each country to show how the pieces have changed.


  • Customizer

    First, we will start with the United States.  The pieces from the Classic game were a very dark olive green.  In Avalon Hill’s games, they have basically stuck to olive green.  There has been some variation in the shading of the pieces, but I’m not sure if that was on purpose or just different grades of plastic used in the moulds.
    In A&A Pacific, they came out with a US Marine infantry piece that was a forest green.  They also came out with a Navy F-6 Hellcat fighter piece for putting on carriers.
    In some copies of Classic, they had a mis-mold and came out with American infantry in German Grey.
    In some copies of Guadalcanal, they had a mis-mold and came out with American cruisers in Japanese orange.
    Finally, you get to the current pieces.  I call it a bright olive green as earlier versions were a little duller.  
    All US pieces are specific to US.  Some of the allies actually share US type units.
    Artillery = 105 mm howitzer
    Mech Inf = M5 half-track
    Tank = Sherman
    Fighter = P-38 Lightning/F-6 Hellcat
    Tac Bomber= Dauntless SBD
    Bomber = B-17
    Carrier = Wasp
    Battleship = Iowa
    Cruiser = Portland
    Destroyer = Johnston
    Submarine = Ray
    Transport = Liberty Ship

    American Land-sm.JPG
    American Air-sm.JPG
    American Sea-sm.JPG


  • Customizer

    Next, we have Britain.  In Classic, the pieces were a medium/light beige color.  The Brits have undergone a number of changes for some reason.  I guess Avalon Hill just couldn’t decide on a proper color for them.
    In early versions of A&A Europe, the British were a light pale green, sometimes referred to as “sea foam”.  I don’t have any of these pieces to show and in fact have never even seen them myself.
    In later versions of A&A Europe, they came out in a salmon color.
    In A&A D-Day, the British were almost white, sometimes called “blonde”.  (No naval vessels in this game)
    In A&A Pacific, the British were a dark tan color.
    In A&A Revised, the British were a cream or pinkish-tan color.
    Finally, with the Anniversary game, AH seems to have settled on their current color of light tan.  The Brits also stopped using Shermans and got their own tank, the Matilda.  Also, the fighter piece changed from somewhat upswept wings to a flat wing, easier to place on carriers.
    Most of the British pieces are unique to Britain but they do share a few US pieces:
    Artillery= 105mm howitzer (US)
    Mech Inf = M5 half-track (US)
    Tank = Matilda
    Fighter = Spitfire
    Tac Bomber = Mosquito
    Bomber = Halifax
    Carrier = Illustrious
    Battleship = Royal Oak
    Cruiser = Kent
    Destroyer = Johnston (US)
    Submarine = Ray (US)
    Transport = Liberty Ship (US)

    British Land-sm.JPG
    British Air-sm.JPG
    British Sea-sm.JPG


  • Customizer

    Now we have the USSR.  In Classic, Soviet pieces were all dark brown.  The Russians have underwent a few changes in Avalon Hill’s versions.
    In early versions of A&A Europe, the Soviets were a burgandy color.  These pieces, as well as the earlier versions of the British, are hard to find now and some may consider them collector’s items.  Afraid I don’t have an artillery piece in this color.
    In A&A Pacific, they used dark brown (early) and bright red (late) Russian infantry pieces to represent Chinese infantry.
    When Revised came out, the Soviets were moulded in more of a maroon color, which is the current color for Soviet pieces.
    Earlier versions of the PE-8 bomber had upswept wings but the current version has flat wings.
    Up to the Anniversary game, the Russian Navy simply used maroon colored British ship classes.  When 1942 came out, the Russians got their own Battleships, Cruisers and Destroyers.  As for Subs and transports, they still have British models which are actually US models.  They still share the British aircraft carrier too.  Most of their land and air units are uniquely Russian.
    Artillery = 105mm howitzer (US)
    Mech Inf = ZIS 42 half-track
    Tank = T-34
    Fighter = MiG 3
    Tac Bomber = IL-2 Sturmovick
    Bomber = Petlyakov PE-8
    Carrier = Illustrious (UK)
    Battleship = Gangut
    Cruiser = Kirov
    Destroyer = Gnevnyi
    Submarine = Ray (US/UK)
    Transport = Liberty Ship (US/UK)

    Russian Land-sm.JPG
    Russian Air-sm.JPG
    Russian Sea-sm.JPG


  • Customizer

    Next, we have Japan.  In Classic, the pieces were all a bright, pale yellow. 
    In early versions of Pacific, Japanese units were bright red.  In later versions, they were a light pumpkin color.
    In Revised and since, they have pretty much stuck with the pumpkin color, also referred to as burnt orange.  It seems to me that the current versions are perhaps slightly darker pumpkin, but the difference is very slight from earlier versions.  Also, I think the current Japanese units are somewhat more shiny than earlier versions, which seemed to have a duller finish.
    One major change was the artillery piece.  When first introduced, it came with the towing bars/support struts closed together as if for towing the artillery.  A&A 1942 came out with a new artillery piece with the towing bars/support struts spread out, like it was ready to fire.  I think this is much better.  Plus it stands up better than the old ones.  Also, while the 1942 game was the first one with the larger battleship sculpts for most nations, Japan’s Yamato class battleship was not significantly changed.  I’m guessing that it was large enough already.  It was the largest battleship piece in previous versions.
    One mistake that came out in the Guadalcanal game was mis-moulded cruiser pieces.  Some copies had Takao Class cruiser moulded in American Olive Green.
    All Japanese pieces are unique to Japan except for the Mech Infantry, which is a copy of the German half-track.
    Artillery = Type 92 howitzer
    Mech Inf = SdKfz 251 Half-track (Germany)
    Tank = Type 95 Ha-Go
    Fighter = A6M2 Zero
    Tac Bomber = D3A1 Val
    Bomber = G4M2E Betty
    Carrier = Shinano
    Battleship = Yamato
    Cruiser = Takao
    Destroyer = Fubuki
    Submarine = I-class
    Transport = Hakusan Maru

    Japanese Land-sm.JPG
    Japanese Air-sm.JPG
    Japanese Sea-sm.JPG


  • Customizer

    Next, we have Germany.  In Classic, the pieces were all moulded in a medium grey color.  There was a small mistake in some copies where German infantry units got molded in American green and visa versa.
    In Avalon Hill’s versions, the Germans have gone through several shades of dark grey to black, which is their current color.  The shading difference may be hard to see in my pictures.
    In D-Day and some early versions of A&A Europe, they were actually a dark grey with a bluish tint to them.  In later versions of Europe and Revised, they were a darker grey with no bluish tint.  I think it was the Anniversary game that first came out with black German pieces.  However, I think some copies of 1942 had a very dark grey, at least with the infantry pieces.  I believe with BOTB and Europe 1940, they have finally settled on all black pieces.
    German Panther tanks underwent a rather drastic change.  Up through the Revised edition, they were rather skinny and long.  The Anniversary edition changed them to a slightly shorter and wider tank, although it is still the Panther.  Personally, I think the newer version looks more like the actual German Panther from WW2.
    Also, the German cruiser pieces have underwent a minor change.  First introduced in the Anniversary game, the Hipper class cruisers came out with the aft end cut off.  In 1942 and later versions, German cruiser pieces were the whole ship with the aft section in tact.  Not sure why AH put in the chopped off versions in the first place.  Just another of many disappointments with the pieces in the Anniversary edition.
    All German pieces are uniquely German.
    Artillery = 88mm
    Mech Inf = SdKfz 251 half-track
    Tank = Pzkpw V (Panther)
    Fighter = BF-109
    Tac Bomber = JU-87 Stuka
    Bomber = JU=88
    Carrier = Graf Zepplin
    Battleship = Bismarck
    Cruiser = Hipper
    Destroyer = Zerstorer 1934
    Submarine = Type VII U-boat
    Transport = Hilfskruezer

    German Land-sm.JPG
    German Air-sm.JPG
    German Sea-sm.JPG


  • Customizer

    Next, we have Italy.  As most of you know, Italy wasn’t introduced until the Anniversary edition came out.  They were not in the Classic game so obviously I have no Classic pieces to compare.
    Italian pieces from the Anniversary game were somewhat of a disappointment for most gamers.  Aside from the bad moulds, the only unique Italian units were the Infantry and the Tank.  All other units were German with the Artillery and Bomber pieces actually Japanese models.
    With Europe 1940, Avalon Hill stepped up their game with the Italian pieces ( as well as ALL pieces) with much better moulds.  They replaced the Japanese units with German, which is at least historically feasable since the Italians did use some German equipment during the war.  Now, except for the Infantry, the Italians have ALL German units.  They even replaced the Italian tank with brown German Panthers.  I found that very disappointing because the Carro Armato really was an Italian tank.  While these pieces are nice, I’m really looking forward to the new FMG Italian pieces.
    Here is Italy’s lineup:
    Artillery = <old>Type 92 howitzer (Japan), <new>88mm (Germany)
    Mech Inf = SdKfz 251 half-track (Germany)
    Tank = <old>Carro Armato, <new>Panther (Germany)
    Fighter = BF-109 (Germany)
    Tac Bomber = JU-87 Stuka (Germany)
    Bomber = <old>G4M2E Betty (Japan), <new>JU-88 (Germany)
    Carrier = Graf Zepplin (Germany)
    Battleship = Bismarck (Germany)
    Cruiser = Hipper (Germany)
    Destroyer = Zerstorer 1934 (Germany)
    Submarine = Type VII (Germany)
    Transport = Hilfkruezer (Germany)

    Italian Land-sm.JPG
    Italian Air-sm.JPG
    Italian Sea-sm.JPG</new></old></new></old></new></old>



  • Thank you for the pics, it helps figuring out which pieces go together when you have several of the games and it is very interesting to see the evolution.

    The only absences seem to be the German & US trucks from Bulge, the German Blockhouses from D-Day and the US&Japanese AA Guns from Guadalcanal.

    There was also a mention a while ago by someone getting on AA50 an UK Matilda tank cast in Italian colours.


  • Customizer

    Finally, we have ANZAC, France and China.  Also referred to as the “minor countries”.
    ANZAC (short for Australia/New Zealand Army Corps) was first introduced in Pacific 1940.  They basically use ALL British units, including infantry, in a steel grey color.  In the right light, you can also tell that there is sort of a brown tint to them too.  I like the color although it may make problems for people wanting to use FMG’s grey German units in the future.  ANZAC is too new so they have not underwent any changes as of yet.
    France was introduced in Europe 1940.  They do have a unique infantry unit but all of their other units are Soviet models moulded in French blue.  Very pretty.  As with ANZAC, the French have not yet underwent any changes.
    China was first introduced in the A&A Pacific game with unique rules.  They didn’t receive money like the other countries, but rather received infantry units for defense depending on how many territories they had.  In that Pacific game, Chinese infantry were represented by dark brown or bright red Russian infantry pieces.  The dark brown were used in sets with red Japanese and the bright red were used in sets with orange Japanese.  The Anniversary game first introduced a unique Chinese infantry unit in a lime green color.  The rules for China were altered somewhat, but they still received no income.  It wasn’t until Pacific 1940 came out that China could actually receive IPCs and purchase units, albeit on a limited basis.  
    Since China was somewhat backward and primitive at this time, they don’t have the array of different units that all the other nations have, only infantry.  China does get 1 fighter unit and can purchase artillery if the Burma road is open, but those are represented by using US units.
    Since ANZAC uses all British units and France uses all Soviet units, I’m not going to list all the different unit types here.  You can just go back and check the British and Soviet posts.
    I hope you all enjoy the pics.

    ANZAC all-sm.JPG
    French all-sm.JPG
    Chinese-sm.JPG


  • Customizer

    @Hobbes:

    Thank you for the pics, it helps figuring out which pieces go together when you have several of the games and it is very interesting to see the evolution.

    The only absences seem to be the German & US trucks from Bulge, the German Blockhouses from D-Day and the US&Japanese AA Guns from Guadalcanal.

    There was also a mention a while ago by someone getting on AA50 an UK Matilda tank cast in Italian colours.

    Dang it!  Yes, I did forget those special pieces from the smaller games.  Oh well, at least I got all the major stuff.  So someone got Matilda tanks in Italy colors?  He wasn’t confusing it with the Carro Armato tanks that came in the Anniversary game?  That would be a neat little collector’s piece.



  • @knp7765:

    @Hobbes:

    Thank you for the pics, it helps figuring out which pieces go together when you have several of the games and it is very interesting to see the evolution.

    The only absences seem to be the German & US trucks from Bulge, the German Blockhouses from D-Day and the US&Japanese AA Guns from Guadalcanal.

    There was also a mention a while ago by someone getting on AA50 an UK Matilda tank cast in Italian colours.

    Dang it!  Yes, I did forget those special pieces from the smaller games.  Oh well, at least I got all the major stuff.  So someone got Matilda tanks in Italy colors?  He wasn’t confusing it with the Carro Armato tanks that came in the Anniversary game?  That would be a neat little collector’s piece.

    reloader-1 was the guy who had it. He has posted a pic: http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=19566.0


  • '10

    Thanks for this study.  It is a useful reference guide.


  • Customizer

    You are welcome.  I wasn’t sure how much interest there would be when I first started this post but then I figured “Heck with it” and went anyway.  Sorry I missed the little special items like trucks from BOTB, blockhouses from D-Day and colored AA Guns from Guadalcanal.  It also occured to me that I could have done a set on the common pieces like ICs, AA guns, air bases and naval bases.  ICs and AA Guns have underwent changes from white in Classic, to grey, to cardboard.  I am curious to see what FMG comes up with in the “commons” set.  I know that is a ways off yet, roughly a year or so assuming all the major nation sets do well as planned.
    I am curious to see if the French and ANZAC pieces undergo any changes in color or unit types in WOTC’s future releases.  After Pacific 1940 and Europe 1940, I can’t imagine what else might come out later to either compliment or replace them.  Although, I’m sure some people said that when AA50 came out too.  Maybe some people even thought Revised was the ultimate A&A game at the time and just couldn’t be topped.  Maybe they will come out with a 1939 game.  I know that IL has maps and such for a game like that.  Here’s an idea, Axis & Allies January 1945 – Bring the Axis back from the brink of defeat.  Okay, kind of goofing on that one.



  • Great reference knp!  Two things that might improve it:

    1. I think I would find it helpful if you labelled the pictures’s captions so that we can tell which rows came from which games/ game variants/ era’s

    2. I could maybe loan you a set of the sea-foam green Brits and a burgundy Russian art piece to round out your sample if you think it would be helpful.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    You left out the blockhouses from D-Day and Marines.

    Also British forces in some AAR were lime green and also a weird yellow color.


  • Customizer

    @Imperious:

    You left out the blockhouses from D-Day and Marines.

    Also British forces in some AAR were lime green and also a weird yellow color.

    Actually, I did have the Marines infantry pieces from Pacific, but I did forget to include the blockhouses from D-Day.  I also forgot the trucks from BOTB and the colored AA guns from Guadalcanal.

    I have heard about the lime green Brits but not the yellow color.


  • Customizer

    @DrLarsen:

    Great reference knp!  Two things that might improve it:

    1. I think I would find it helpful if you labelled the pictures’s captions so that we can tell which rows came from which games/ game variants/ era’s

    2. I could maybe loan you a set of the sea-foam green Brits and a burgundy Russian art piece to round out your sample if you think it would be helpful.

    Dr Larsen, that would be great if you could loan me the sea-foam Brits and a burgandy Russian artillery.  I would just need them long enough to snap a couple of pictures then ship them right back to you.  I could put up some new pictures with better information like you suggested and include the pieces I missed (trucks, blockhouses, colored AA guns).  Here is my e-mail:  knp7765@sbcglobal.net  Send me an e-mail and I will give you my mailing address.



  • @Imperious:

    You left out the blockhouses from D-Day and Marines.

    Also British forces in some AAR were lime green and also a weird yellow color.

    IL, since you usually buy truckloads of the A&A games have you seen any more one of a kind pieces like the Italian Matilda or that UK yellow colour?



  • I have all of the above (yellow Brits, lime Brits, cream Brits, tan Brits, etc) - I will post pictures when I have time.


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