A&A Unit Identification Charts


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    After looking at some WWII aircraft recognition posters this summer, I decided to put together some similar unit identification charts for the Axis & Allies sculpts, using actual photographs of the plastic pieces.  I shot the photos in close-up, using a high-contrast lighting arrangement, then converted the pictures to greyscale black-and-white to produce colourless silhouettes.  The pictures are shot pretty much from an identical distance, so the sculpts should all be more or less correctly scaled relative to each other (though the aircraft pictures did come out a little larger than the other units because I was shooting them with a different camera setup).

    I haven’t tried printing the picture files directly, but as an experiment I copied-and-pasted one of them into a Word document, in landscape page layout, with the four margins reset to 0.5 inches; the page came out fine when I printed it.  I used black-and-white printing for this test, but the next thing I’ll do is print out the full set of 23 charts in colour to display the roundel colours.

    I’d like to share these charts with my fellow A&A enthusiasts, so I’ll be posting them in this thread, two at a time, over the course of the next couple of days.  For the sake of variety I’ll be jumping back and forth between land, air and sea units; the filenames, however, give a more systematic arrangement under those three broad categories.

    Please note that the charts only assign one primary country roundel to each sculpt, even when a sculpt is used in multiple plastic colours by multiple countries in various A&A games.  The main purpose of the charts is to differentiate between the various unit types and to identify specific models and classes within each type, regardless of which A&A game features them.

    The first two charts for today are the WWI and WWII infantry charts.

    WW1-Land-Infantry.jpg
    WW2-Land-Infantry.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the submarine and transport ship charts.

    WW2-Sea-Submarines.jpg
    WW2-Sea-Transport Ships.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next chart is the one which covers both the mechanized infantry vehicles from Global 1940 and the general transport trucks from Battle of the Bulge.

    WW2-Land-Mechanized Infantry & Trucks.jpg


  • Customizer

    CWO Marc,

    ––To paraphrase a well known saying,…"Great A&A minds think alike". (Although I certainly DON’T think of myself as great by any stretch of the imagination.)

    ––I had the same thoughts as you concerning “Unit Identification” of A&A units. With all of the new OOB and
    2nd Edition units plus the new HBG and eventually FMG units that I will have in my A&A set-up,….and my desire that any player be able to quickly and correctly identify all units, including my 89 year-old Dad,…I came up with much the same thought as you have. Although my Unit ID Charts will have color pics from a 3/4 high view, showing not only the shape/size of the unit,…but it’s National Insignia as well. IMHO this will come in handy especially for the “Neutral” and
    “New Country’s” units.

    ----In order to differentiate all of the aircraft types from one another,….I organized a “Alpha-Designator” to signify the type of each aircraft which will be applied it to their fuselages with decals (see pic, below, for a “D”, Dive Bomber).

    The designators are:
    E….Early Fighter
    F…Fighter
    L…Long-range Fighter
    J…Jet Fighter
    D…Bomber, Dive
    M…Bomber, Medium
    H…Bomber, Heavy
    R…Recon
    T…Transport

    ----Also, for “gameplay” issues I have decided to standardise my 105 Artillery and Sea Transport units to the SAME SCULPTS. These “common” sculpts will be clearly marked with the Flag/Roundel of their owning country. IMHO this is such a small concession and will much simplify a lot of unit confusion possibilities at only the small cost of all nations sharing a much detailed but “common” Artillery piece or Sea Transport. These are the Artillery units that Wil Tan has been modifying/detailing (see below, Blue unit on right). All Heavy Artillery or other Ship units will obviously be country-specific.
    ––As it will be quite some time before ALL of my detailed and/or painted units will be completed, I will probably will go ahead and make “interim” Unit ID Charts" and update them as new units are completed.

    ----I really like your idea of using a monochromatic profile of all of the units like was done for units in World War 2 and think your talent in doing so is to be commended. They look real “Cool”.  😄

    “Tall Paul”

    OOBArtillery3_zps43b53945.jpg
    DSCF7939_zps1f6c8e35.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the Allied and Axis fighter charts.

    WW2-Air-Fighters-Allies.jpg
    WW2-Air-Fighters-Axis.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Tall:

    ––I had the same thoughts as you concerning “Unit Identification” of A&A units. With all of the new OOB and 2nd Edition units plus the new HBG and eventually FMG units that I will have in my A&A set-up,….and my desire that any player be able to quickly and correctly identify all units, including my 89 year-old Dad,…I came up with much the same thought as you have. Although my Unit ID Charts will have color pics from a 3/4 high view, showing not only the shape/size of the unit,…but it’s National Insignia as well. IMHO this will come in handy especially for the “Neutral” and
    “New Country’s” units. Â

    Thanks for the feedback Tall Paul and for the information on your own unit identification project.  The concept of taking three-quarter photos of the units will indeed be of particular value to new players, since it inherently provides more visual information than plan-view or elevation-view silhouettes.  And it’s great that your charts will include HBG pieces too, since that’s already a very large and diverse pool of units and since it continues to grow with the passage of time!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the cruiser and destroyer charts.

    WW2-Sea-Cruisers.jpg
    WW2-Sea-Destroyers.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The last two charts for today are the artillery and anti-aircraft artillery charts.

    WW2-Land-Artillery.jpg
    WW2-Land-AntiAircraft Artillery.jpg


  • Customizer

    This is a great idea!!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @sgtwiltan:

    This is a great idea!!

    Thanks!  I like the unit identification charts in the A&A rulebooks, but there are some things about them I find less than optimal, so I created my own unit charts (mainly from the perspective of sculpt organization rather than game play).  The pictures in the rulebook unit charts are a bit small and not all rulebooks have them – for instance, the 1914 rulebook has no such chart, it doesn’t have proper unit profile silhouettes for the submarines and transports, and (if I remember correctly) the rulebook even refers to the battleship as a cruiser on one of the maps.  The 1940 (2nd ed) rulebook chart uses identical silhouettes for the British and ANZAC cruisers, even though the sculpts are different.  Some of the names given in the rulebook charts are problematic: for example, some designations are vague (“Baltic Timber Ship” rather than “Volgoles type”), some use the name of a non-lead ship as the ship class name (“Ray” rather than “Gato”), and some are arguably wrong (“Hilfskreuzer” – which is incorrectly spelled with a “ue” in the rulebook and which refers to an auxiliary cruiser rather than a transport ship – instead of “Dithmarschen type”). There have also been unit name inconsistencies from one rulebook to the next, as in the case of the Yak fighter which some rulebooks identify as a MiG.  And of course, for obvious reasons, the rulebook charts for a given game exclude sculpts from other games – for instance, the trucks from BotB aren’t found in the 1940 rulebook charts, which is perfectly understandable.  So I tried to address these issues as much as possible in the customized charts I made.

    Continuing from where I left off yesterday, the first two charts for today are the Allied and Axis tactical bomber charts.

    WW2-Air-Tactical Bombers-Allies.jpg
    WW2-Air-Tactical Bombers-Axis.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the Allied and Axis battleship and battlecruiser charts.

    WW2-Sea-Battleships & Battlecruisers-Allies.jpg
    WW2-Sea-Battleships & Battlecruisers-Axis.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    It is a great idea and excellent work Marc.  I did mean to say, but wanted to look properly on the PC, only I have not had time recently.
    Will do at the weekend.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @wittmann:

    It is a great idea and excellent work Marc.  I did mean to say, but wanted to look properly on the PC, only I have not had time recently. Will do at the weekend.

    Thanks – I enjoyed putting these charts together.  I wish I had a 35mmm SLR digital camera that I could have used for this project because it would have given me better control over the high-contrast exposure and the close-up focus.  The little camera I have isn’t designed for this kind of photography, so I’m actually surprised that most of the shots came out pretty decently (though some of them took me as many as a dozen tries to make them work).


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the Allied and Axis tank charts.

    WW2-Land-Tanks-Allies.jpg
    WW2-Land-Tanks-Axis.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the Allied and Axis strategic bomber charts.

    WW2-Air-Strategic Bombers-Allies.jpg
    WW2-Air-Strategic Bombers-Axis.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The next two charts are the Allied and Axis aircraft carrier charts.

    WW2-Sea- Aircraft Carriers-Allies.jpg
    WW2-Sea- Aircraft Carriers-Axis.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    And last of all are the WWI and WWII generic-design equipment charts.

    WW1-Generic.jpg
    WW2-Generic.jpg



  • That was really cool to check out. It did make me realize how different the two Panthers are. I’m assuming the 2 different Italian tanks come from anniversary and E-40.2?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Yavid:

    That was really cool to check out. It did make me realize how different the two Panthers are. I’m assuming the 2 different Italian tanks come from anniversary and E-40.2?

    Thanks – glad you liked the charts.  Yes, the M14/41 is the super-rare one from Anniversary and the M15/42 is the one from Europe 1940 (2nd edition).

    The situation with the Panthers is actually even more complicated than what the charts show.  When I was going through my sculpt collection to figure out which sculpts I’d use for the photos, I identified (as I recall) about six different variants of the Panther – three for the old model and three for the new model.  The differences mainly involve the gun: long or short, thick or thin, with or without a muzzle brake, elevated or level.  Some other sculpts (like the Sherman) likewise show small variations of this type, and others show even more dramatic differences – like the Hipper-class cruiser, which comes in transom-stern and cruiser-stern versions.  For a while I was tempted to include all these variations in my charts, but it quickly became apparent that this would make the charts too big and too complicated.  So I decided to be very selective about including different versions of sculpts that are supposed to represent the same thing.  I did it for the German 88 because over the years it switched its game function from field artillery (which was incorrent) to an AAA weapon, with the change being marked by a radical increase in the size of the sculpt.  Ditto for the Stuka, which went from the incorrect role of fighter to the correct one of tac bomber (and likewise grew in size).  The Panther has always functioned as a tank piece (correctly so), and it didn’t change size very much when the new version came out, but the look is very distinctly different owing to such details as the side-skirts, so I felt that it warranted being divided into two versions.



  • yeah I remember when the original Europe came out. I had alot of questions like why the stuka it’s not a fighter. why the 88mm it’s not artillery and it looks to much like the AA gun. And why the P-38 it looks so much different than other countries fighters I remember it screwing up new players. I’m glad they got most of that straightened out. As far as the Panther goes over the years I’ve learned they always look alittle different and it’s one of the first things I look at when a new game comes out. What did they do to the Panther this time.


  • Customizer

    These are outstanding! +1!!!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @toblerone77:

    These are outstanding! +1!!!

    Many thanks.  After the charts were finished, I printed them out in colour on standard-sized paper, inserted the pages into three-hole clear plastic protector sleeves, then put the sleeves into a three-ring binder for use as a reference tool.  I printed each chart horizontally, to make maxiumum use of the space on each sheet, so the binder opens up/down rather than left/right.  To cut the number of required sleeves in half, each sleeve holds two sheets; the sheets are back-to-back and inverted, so that each two-page spread shows a pair of horizontal charts, one above the other.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Here’s the page order that I used in my binder, along with a couple of extra pages which I created for the binder after seeing that they’d be useful.  The two-page pairings (except for the front and back pages, which are on their own) are:

    1: Cover sheet (use whatever title and/or graphics you wish)

    2a: Infantry (WWI)
    2b: Infantry (WWII)

    3a: Equipment type list (see attachment below)
    3b: Mechanized Infantry Vehicles / General Transport Trucks

    4a: Tanks: Allies
    4b: Tanks: Axis

    5a: Artillery
    5b: Anti-Aircraft Artillery

    6a: Fighters: Allies
    6b: Fighters: Axis

    7a: Tactical Bombers: Allies
    7b: Tactical Bombers: Axis

    8a: Strategic Bombers: Allies
    8b: Strategic Bombers: Axis

    9a: Aircraft Carriers: Allies
    9b: Aircraft Carriers: Axis

    10a: Battleships and Battlecruisers: Allies
    10b: Battleships and Battlecruisers: Axis

    11a: Cruisers
    11b: Destroyers

    12a: Submarines
    12b: Transport Ships

    13a: Generic-Design Units: World War I
    13b: Generic-Design Units: World War II

    14: Player Nations and Unit Colours (see attachment below)

    Equipment List.jpg
    Player Nations and Unit Colours WWI & WWII.jpg


  • Sponsor 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Any updates on the Charts?  Using HBG new units for example?  Or how did you create the charts, did you take pictures of the units behind white paper?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @R:

    Any updates on the Charts?  Using HBG new units for example?  Or how did you create the charts, did you take pictures of the units behind white paper?

    The charts are only for official OOB A&A sculpts, which are the primary focus of my collection.

    I took the photos by placing each sculpt on a little platform, behind which (as I recall) was a white sheet of paper that was lit from behind by a lamp in an aluminium photographic reflector dish.  The dish was close to the paper, and was the only source of illumination in the room (which was in darkness; I took the shots at night).  This was to produce the maximum possible contrast.  The camera was positioned directly in front of the sculpt, on a tripod.

    After the photo shoot, I picked the shots that had worked best for each sculpt.  (Most sculpts were shot only once, but some gave me trouble and needed multiple shots.)  I used Microsoft Paint to cut from each large image file the small section containing the sculpt and pasted it into its own Paint file, where I then adjusted the borders to eliminate as much extraneous surrounding space as possible.  I then used PrintKey’s Grayed Colours feature to convert the pictures to black-and-white.


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