4 Great (and Cheap) Death Korps of Krieg Alternatives
There is, perhaps, no Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) regiment that is more notorious--both in the lore and among the fans--as the Death Korps of Krieg. They are one of the most visually striking factions, wearing their long, weathered coats, their spiked helmets and their gas masks. They are, if we're just going to come out and say it, German infantry fighting in World War One. This comes complete with trenches and barbed wire and everything you'd expect to find in World War One. Even their artillery is strongly reminiscent of The Great War.
The lore tells of Krieg, a world that was rebellious from the Imperium, and fought a long and bitter war, ending with the nuclear annihilation of the surface, followed by 500 years of trench fighting on the surface before the Krieg were finally bent into submission. the change of heart was big. Not only did they rejoin the Imperium, but to make up for their rebellion they became a civilization hellbent on redeeming their people's collective souls. They are one of the most stalwart and hardened regiments of the Imperial Guard, refusing to retreat or surrender, fighting with their mono-knife bayonets if they have to. Even the dreaded commissars attached to the Death Korps of Krieg know that they're not needed, except to make sure the Death Korps get along peaceably with the other Imperial Guard regiments they're fighting beside.
In other words, the Death Korps of Krieg is really cool.
But for some reason, which is unknown to me and is just one of those many mysteries that Games Workshop has locked in their Vault of Secrets, the Death Korps isn't available in plastic. They have to be purchased from Forge World, and you know what that means: they're INCREDIBLY expensive: $72 USD per 10-man squad.
Imperial Guard armies are already expensive because they depend on having large forces of expendable troops, so it's not uncommon to see ten 10-man squads on the table. With Cadians, Catachans, or Steel Legion--the only three Imperial Guard factions available in plastic--that comes out to a hefty $350 USD, and that's just the troops. It doesn't even count the tanks and the heavy weapons and the HQ and the Ogryns.
But with Death Korps of Krieg prices? At $72 USD a box, that would make just the troops section of the army $720. That's pricey. And it's the reason that there have been so many Death Korps of Krieg alternatives popping up from third-party retailers.
(People may complain that you can't use third-party models at Games Workshop tournaments, but at many of those tournaments you can't use Forge World models, either, so I don't really see what the problem is with proxying in alternative models.)
Here are some great alternative Death Korps of Krieg models.
Death Korps of Krieg Alternatives
Victoria Miniatures Hexenheim Storm Troopers
The first comes from Victoria Miniatures, which is one of my favorite third-party retailers, especially for Guard. Their "Regiments of the Galaxy's Finest" has perfect proxies for virtually all known Imperial Guard regiments, some of which are even better models than the Games Workshop equivalent (including Praetorian Guard, Tallarn Desert Raiders, Mordians, and Vahallan Ice Warriors). This would be my first choice if you want an entire unit all together, no kitbashing or head swapping.
As you can see, they capture the look and feel of the Death Korps of Krieg really well with their Hexenheim Storm Troopers: great-looking long coat, gas mask, spiked helmet, mono-knife on the belt. The only down side of these is that they're fairly expensive at $49.99 USD per 10 man squad. That's definitely better than $72 for Forge World, but it's still expensive for an entire army of Guard.
(But honestly, if you're interested in lesser-known Imperial Guard factions, you can't go wrong with Victoria Miniatures. They even have Ogryns.)
Mad Robot Miniatures Kurgan Winter Guard
The second option comes from Mad Robot Miniatures, with their Kurgan force. These aren't a perfect one-to-one swap, but if you take their Kurgan unit, which is dressed less for nuclear winter and more for regular winter, and swap their heads with the Kurgan head alternatives--the Kurgan Helmets with Gasmasks--you can get a pretty good approximation of Death Korps. They're not as perfect, but they're still cheaper than Forge World. ($39.99 USD for a ten-man squad and $4.49 for five gas mask heads.)
Anvil Industries Stalhelm with Gasmask
The third option, if you've got bodies that you like, is to just do a head swap to get that elusive gas mask. If that's all you're looking for, then you can't go wrong with Anvil Industries. With seven heads for £3.50, they're a cheap option (assuming you can find bodies).
Wargames Atlantic Les Grognards and Great War Germans
But for the fourth option, let's talk about the cheapest Death Korps of Krieg alternative. It requires a little kitbashing, but it's honestly not hard, there's a step-by-step guide, and they look great when they're done. And the best part? 30 men for $65 USD, making it by far the least expensive option to discuss.
The idea here is to take two kits from Wargames Atlantic, the Death Fields Les Grognards kit and the Great War Germany 1916-1918 kit. The first kit provides the perfect long coat and the second kit is, I believe, the only plastic World War One Germans available anywhere.
Pete the Wargamer's Conversion
Just looking at those kits probably gives you a good idea of where you would go when kitbashing these two together. But if you want instructions, the YouTube channel Pete the Wargamer made a tutorial on how he assembled them.
Personally, I can attest to the quality of both Wargames Atlantic kits, as I own both (but didn't kitbash them together). I am continually impressed with Wargames Atlantic's stuff, and especially the holes they fill in the Warhammer line (I've mentioned before that they're where I got my Squat alternatives, too.)
So, what do you think of Death Korps of Krieg alternatives? What have you used to make your own Imperial Guard regiment?