Thursday, 18 January 2018

Team Yankee – 15mm T64

I had some time to spare last night so thought I’d knock together one of the three T64’s that came with the Hammerfall Starter Set.
The kit is moulded on a single sprue in dark green plastic. The parts look crisp, flash free and finely detailed.

There’s a basic exploded assembly diagram in the quick start guide which will suffice. But I’d guess there’s a more detailed version on their website (perhaps even a YouTube video)
.The drawing gives no indication what order to do things in (Perhaps I should have looked on line!) so I decided to work from the ground up, starting with the hull.

The track units are one piece and really well detailed. You cannot get them mixed up as their location blocks are off-set to suit each side.

You can add the rear plate at this stage as it is positively located, and fix the un-ditching beam while you’re at it.

The hull top fits nicely and is very well detailed. There are some optional fuel drums to add to the rear as well as the rubber side skirts – which can be left off if you wanted to. Not shown in my photos are the mine plough attachments which you could fit as a further option. Nice touch!

Having completed the hull, it’s time to move on to the turret assembly. There are optional commander’s cupolas – open/closed – and (like the M1 Abrams) a spare AAMG included on the sprue.

The rear of the turret is adorned with stowage box and snorkelling tubes. The front has smoke dischargers – these differ on the left and right, but you cannot go wrong as there is a recess that will only accept the correct part.

I opted to add one of the six tank commander half-figures that came with the set. They are all larger than the opening in the cupola (maybe they were designed for the T72 or BMP models?) but it’s an easy enough job to trim the figure’s waist until he is a snug fit.

Altogether a very nice model. Goes together well, is nicely detailed and captures the look of the rear vehicle. 
 Here's a couple of photos alongside the opposition.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Rommel - Scenario "Operation Perch"

 I'm currently putting together a scenario for Sam Mustafa's Rommel Rules.

The action I'm trying to cover is the fighting in the "Caumont Gap" leading up to the famous action at Villers Bocage, between the 7th Armoured  and Panzer Lehr Divisions in June 1944.
It's early days, but as a taster I thought I'd share the unit cards I've created for the battle.

Unit Cards Operation Perch

These are designed so they print out at 40x40mm you could then laminate them, cut them out and glue to either card or pre-cut mdf bases.

Any comments on these would be appreciated.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Zvezda 15mm M1 Abrams

This model comes on two sprues packed in Zvezda’s usual cardboard carton together with a small decal sheet, Art of Tactic data card and instruction sheet.
Now one thing I cannot get my head around is their pricing structure for these kits. The WW2 range all cost around £3.50 each these days, however there are some anomalies.
The Tiger I comes in at £6.50 (which makes it more expensive than the PSC offering) as does the T35. However the Maus is only £3.50??

The entire Modern range is priced at £6.50 and I’ve read on-line that this is because of a "more limited market"? But the models themselves are no more complex to produce than their WW2 brethren?

Anyway, we are where we are! As ever the moulding quality is good. The plastic material used takes glue well and there is the bonus of some very simple decals.
The model goes together well. It is of the IMPM1 with the 120mm gun.
There are the usual Zvezda wacky ways of attaching some of the parts (I guess this is to keep it snap-fit?). You can see what I mean from the pictures the means of attaching the tracks is a little over complicated to say the least.
However……and it’s a big however… the detail on the moulded parts is pretty basic……
I fact I’d go as far as to say it’s really quite poor.
The side plates have no engraving whatsoever….just one big plate! And the tracks are over simplified.

The turret is probably the worse bit. to start with the detail is pretty light, and there is no environment sensor, but I guess this would be easy to add. But the lack of smoke dischargers is inexcusable and the greatly over simplified stowage rack is shocking.
As there were no Commander or loader MGs included either, I used my spares from the Battlefront offering to jazz things up a bit.
Size wise it compares reasonably well with the Battlefront M1 although the main gun looks really puny...or maybe the Battlefront one is too big? I'm not certain..
Hull dimensions and turret dimensions are broadly similar.
I think once painted the same, they will mix OK on the table together. 

Sadly this is overall a really disappointing kit. When I think back how much I have enjoyed their other models (And I have built examples of the entire WW2 range) this one doesn't really hit the mark, and at nearly twice the normal price does not represent good value for money.

Team Yankee – Hammerfall Starter Set

I made a start of the plastic kits that came with my Hammerfall set this weekend.  The set comes with two M1 Abrams and three T64s. In addition there is a quick start guide with assembly instructions, an A5 version of the original Team Yankee rule book, some 2D cardboard terrain, dice and some tank commander half figures.
I started with the M1 kit which comes on two sprues in a horrible shade of green. 
You have the option to produce the original M1 with 105mm main gun or the IMPM1 with the 120mm Rheinmetal cannon and some other minor mods. I chose to build the later.
The hull and running gear goes together really well. There is nice detail on the tracks and the side plates are nicely engraved. There is a choice here of which guards go over the drive sprocket.
The turret halves go together easily and it is at this point you have a choice of stowage racks to fix to the sides.
The position of these was not entirely clear to me from the assembly instructions included, so I referred to the Battlefront website, where all became clear.
There was one US tank commander (in white metal) include with the set so I chose to model the cupola hatch open.
There are also nice renditions of the commander’s .5” HMG and loader’s GPMG to add to the turret. A nice touch here was to include two of each, in case you broke a barrel or something removing them from the sprue.
The turret was finished off with the environment sensor mast and a selection of stowage for the basket (jerry cans, boxes, spare wheel etc.)
Altogether a nice little model. Goes together well, good detail and captures the look of the real thing.

This prompted me to remember I still had two Zvezda 1/100 M1 Abrams in their boxes, as yet unmade. Why not build them too so I could do a comparison?

Monday, 8 January 2018

Team Yankee New Plastic Soviets – Painted

My plan was to complete painting of these figures whilst they were still attached to the sprue to see if this was a feasible alternative to my usual mounting on lolly sticks.

So first job was to spray white primer. This had to be done in two stages (one face at a time) using my usual Wilko Matt white primer.
Once dry the basic uniform colour was applied. The colour I chose for this was Vallejo 70.880 Khaki Grey.

When this was dry an all-  over coat of Army Painter Light Tone wash was applied and left to dry. Then when dry an all-over dry-brush of Khaki Grey + White.
The figures were now ready for the details to be picked out.
  • ·         Belts and weapon butt stocks – Leather Brown
  • ·         Gasmask satchels and webbing straps – German Camo Beige
  • ·         Buckles – Boltgun Metal
  • ·         Boots – Black
  • ·         Face & Hands – Flesh
  • ·         Helmet – Russian Green
  • ·         Facings – Red
  • ·         Weapon – Black Grey
  • ·         Magazine – Orange Brown

Finally the flesh areas received a Vallejo Flesh wash, the webbing a Light Tone wash and the weapon metal areas an black wash.
The bases were painted using cheap craft paint – “Coffee Bean” – which appears to perfectly match the plastic Battlefront base colour.
Now all that’s left is to tone the bases and add some flock etc.

Verdict: Nice figures to paint. Crisp detail that’s easy to pick out and benefits from washes and dry-brushing to enhance it’s appearance. It would be hard not to make a good job of these to be honest.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Loser Shed

My daughter bought me, for Xmas, a lovely hand-made slate sign to adorn my Wargames Den.
 So it is now officially named!
They simply don't appreciate the hobby!!

Rommel 2mm

Found some time to finish off my Rommel Divisions over Xmas. All the Irregular models are now based and have their unit stats attached.

The allied army represents a 1944 Armoured Division (i.e. 7th Armoured) but I have brigades of both Cromwell and M4 Shermans so I can recreate other units if required.  Armoured Infantry bases have the addition of a M5 Half-Track whilst motorised infantry have nothing (I forgot to order trucks!)
 The German army is based on the Panzer Lehr Division of 1944. There is a choice of Tiger I or II bases as support and I have more infantry that should be the case, again to allow me to represent other units when required.
I’m now looking at how I might store these when not in use. I think the whole game lends itself to being highly portable, so will consider this when planning my options…..

Team Yankee - New Plastic Soviet Infantry

I received Battlefront’s Hammerfall starter set for Team Yankee as an Xmas present. This contains 5 AFVs, rules, dice, some cardboard 2D terrain and a quick start guide. Very good value if you ask me as it’s advertised as £22.50 from Firestorm Games.
   To increase the variety I decided to treat myself to the new plastic Soviet infantry that Battlefront has recently introduced. In addition I went for the support weapons set as well.
These figures (I believe) are based on the original sculpts for the white metal figures that came with the launch of TY and are moulded in a slightly flexible ABS material.
The figures all appear to be cleanly moulded (no flash) and as the material is flexible, it has allowed quite complex shapes to be recreated (unlike PSC figures that are sculpted to match the moulding process).
There was some evidence of bending to weapon tips, but this is easily rectified by immersing the entire sprue in near boiling water. The ABS internal memory kicks in and the parts return to their correct shape and immediate immersion in cold water retains the shape.
 The figures don’t take normal plastic adhesive, but seem to glue just fine with super glue. Those needing the minimum of assembly were the SPANDREL launcher figure and the AGS 17 Grenade launchers.
The infantry platoon set was just £5.40 from Firestorm, and whilst the blurb on the Battlefront site states that there are sufficient figures for 4 medium bases (4 figs each) and 4 small bases (2 figs each with RPGs) there were in fact four sprues containing 37 figures in my pack….what a bargain!
These include figures with AK74 + Underslung Grenade Launchers, Figures with RPK74 LMGs, an officer, Radio Operator and NCOs as well as infantry with AK74 and RPG18s, RPG7s etc.
All nicely detailed and well moulded.
In addition there are unit cards for the game. Theses cover all the possible APC combinations allowed, BMP1, BMP2 & BTR60. There are only sufficient bases included for the stated amount so if you want to use the extra figure you’ll have to raid your spares box.
The support weapons platoon includes 6 Spandrel teams (based three to a large base) and 3 AGS 17 Auto-grenade launcher teams (again based three to a large base). Once again there are unit cards and bases included for just £5.40.
The Spandrel launchers and AGS17 need minimal assembly, as discussed above.
These new style figures, moulded 9-10 per sprue, invite painting whilst still attached as most are connected to the sprue via the underside of their individual base. This will save time with mounting on lolly sticks!

I will post some more pictures as I start to paint the figures. First impressions are very good.