Monday, February 29, 2016

11th Painting Challenge Entry, Part 1 - Potecknov's Bears

Soviet armoured column rumbles through a town..

My eleventh entry to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge was a big one - a "points bomb" in the nomenclature of the Challenge.  It's a big slug of 15mm Soviet stuff for "Team Yankee". This stuff was a lot of fun to submit, but I want to break it down into a couple of different postings over here on our blog.  So here is part one of that submission - the elements of the "Potecknov's Bears" box from Battlefront - 10 T-72A tanks and two Mi-24 gunships.

"Army" box from Battlefront - lots of toys in this one
All of these models are multi-part plastic kits.  I've blathered before about my little-love-mostly-hate relationship with plastic models in this scale.  These models were par for that course.  Overall the T-72s are very nice looking kits, but the cupola MG was prone to snapping while on the sprue (they give you two on each sprue, in fact, to try and protect against this).  The connection points for the unditching beams - a ubiquitous feature of Soviet MBTs - barely touch the actual unditching beams, leading to nearly all of them being re-mounted. The smoke launchers tend to break while coming off the sprues, and are so fiddly they will not survive any real effort to remove the plastic flash.

T-72A platoon
Painted with a mix of Vallejo and GW paints

Lots of tank commander figures included for you

Mine plows! Nice touch...
But let's look at the positives too - nice models at the end of the day!  Very, very nice in fact! You get options on whether the cupola is open or closed.  There are a whole bunch of tank commander figures.  And there is a set of mine plows on each sprue, a nice feature you can use to your heart's content. And you get two really neat helicopter gunships! If you are psyched about gaming the Cold War in 15mm, this box will really get you fired up!

Mi-24s ready to attack!

Fiddly, but fun to have

The Mi-24s, like the tanks, are also a little tricky to assemble.  But you can't fault Battlefront for lack of ambition with these suckers - you even have the option to model them with the landing gear down! And you get magnets to assist with mounting on the base as well as mounting the main rotors. The small parts are sure tricky, but compared to other 15mm options out there for Mi-24s - and I'm not really aware of any beyond QRF - this takes the cake, and whatever my challenges with the models it is a very nice treat to have these pieces of iconic Cold War kit ready to stalk the table.

Clear discs would look nicer than static rotors, but still, overall, these are nice kits, nicer than any available competitor

Areas for improvement with the helos? Well, as with the other kits, they could improve the plastics.  Again, the risk of the parts snapping on the sprue is high.  In fact, one small piece meant for the rotors was broken on the sprue while in the box for both of the helos.  Fortunately, it is not visually that significant, so no big deal, but again, !#$!$## plastic!!!  And while I on the subject of the rotors...I find the static rotors don't look very compelling when the model is sitting there on the flying base.  An acrylic disc would look better, and probably be easier to model.  Maybe something I can look into in the future.

T-72s advance in propaganda photos

I modelled the Hinds with the gear down, so they can land on the table to drop off troops

On the whole, I find the effort to create multi-part plastic models of 15mm tanks a significant effort to re-invent the wheel.  When it comes to tanks, I much prefer the simpler mixed-media kits which are still very nice (for example, the tanks available from Khurasan) that probably would have arrived a lot sooner to store shelves.

T-72s roll out
But I'm not in the business, they are, and I think Battlefront must know their business!  On the whole, Battlefront's launch of "Team Yankee" has sent a nice jolt through 15mm moderns, and I can't complain about that.  I'm pleased to have these fellows finished, and I look forward to adding more - probably another company of tanks and another pair of Hinds.  Hopefully the guys will be up for a Cold War tank battle soon...

Up next - some Soviet motor rifles!


Dallas said...

Excellent work, Greg! The table looks amazing as well!

Michael Awdry said...

I thought this was an awesome entry - cracking work Sir.

Samuli S said...

Great work Greg! A suitably menacing looking Russky force!

DHC Wargames said...

These look awesome.

I find Team Yankee very intriguing, but right now I can still be strong since I do not want to do terrain in another scale!