Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Team Yankee, Now With Added Canadians!

The Soviet column is deployed on the right side of the photo - while the the thin line of Canadians is arrayed in the left area

Policy-types in Canada often find themselves worrying - how do we ensure more "Canadian Content" in cultural areas such as music, film and art? Well, we can't help with ANY of those things.  But we can put some "Canadian Content" in one new and (to us) important cultural area - tabletop gaming with Battlefront's "Team Yankee"!

Soviet assault in action! T-72 company to the front, with motor rifle troops following up

Using an assortment of figures and models painted very recently, as well as the initial efforts that Conscript Mike F made in 2013, we assembled a Canadian Force in 15mm for a game of "Team Yankee" last week.  The scenario was fairly basic, as these things go - a Soviet spearhead had broken through the NATO lines, and the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was deployed to stop them!

And naturally they selected a McPizza King location along an important highway as THE best spot in which to halt the marauding Warsaw Pact forces...

Mike F took command of the Canadian forces - three troops of Leopard C1s from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, a mechanized platoon from the Royal Canadian Regiment, off-table support from the 155mm howitzers of the RCHA, and a pair of US Cobra Helicopters with TOW missiles.  Mike had to put half of his units in reserve, and had the option to put one of them in ambush.  He put two troops of C1s and the infantry on the table, the rest in reserve, with his third troop of Leopard C1s in ambush.

Opposing him was "Comrade Ewen" - Dallas was in command of a Soviet tank battalion, featuring a company of T-72s, a smaller company of T-64s, and a motor rifle company mounted in BMP-2s, backed with some ZSU-23-4s for support.

The goal was to capture one of the objectives in the NATO half of the table within 8 turns...who would prevail?
Soviet T-64 MBTs make their debut on the table - what could go wrong?
In our previous "Team Yankee" games, a common dynamic on the table has seen the NATO tanks mowing down the larger numbers of Soviet MBTs.  But with the Leopard 1, it is not so easy...the armour of the Leopard 1 is much more modest, while the hitting power of the Leopard 1 seems to be limited - or, it is when using the West German stats for the Leopard 1, which we did...

Canadian Leopard C1s await the enemy...

A troop from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, ready for action

Dallas rolled forward confidently, but had to deal with some minefields that the NATO forces had deployed.  This had the effect of forcing Dallas to split his column a little bit, with the T-64s heading to the built-up-area, and the rest heading to the other side of the highway.

Canadian infantry defend the critical McPizza King - essential for control of this part of West Germany...

Another view of the mechanized infantry in defence of McPizza King
Mike made the most of the fact that his troops got to start dug-in and "gone-to-ground", so when the Canadians opened up, it was difficult for Dallas to respond with accurate fire.  Mike also called down copious amounts of 155mm artillery from RCHA batteries that were off-table.  It was a storm of fire for Dallas' Warsaw Pact command to wade through...

Another view of the Soviet advance - lots of green steel! The capitalist fools will tremble...
And yet...where in other "Team Yankee" games, the hits scored by NATO tanks are almost always fatal to the T-72s, with these 105mm shells on the Leopard 1 it was not so scary, and the Soviet tanks endured numerous hits without effect.  The 155mm artillery also had a very limited impact, and Dallas drove ahead aggressively.

The Canadian tankers score many hits, but few kills...

"Wow, that's a lot of tanks, eh?"
Worse for Mike, when Dallas' tanks managed to score a hit, it was almost always a fatal one, as the 125mm shells of the Warsaw Pact main guns ripped through the 1970s-era armour on the Canadian Leopard C1s...after a few turns, it was getting really tough for the Royal Canadian Dragoons...

Yikes! Tough losses as a troop of the RCD is wiped out by Soviet fire...

More burning Leopard C1s....getting rough for the Canadians...
Mike resorted to a very aggressive infantry counter attack to prevent Dallas from capturing an objective - even as he kept missing his roll for the Cobra helicopters to arrive!

Lots of tanks brewing up - but that big T-72 company is STILL in good spirits...
A decisive moment came when Mike sprang his ambush - a troop of Leopard C1s appeared behind Dallas' main spearhead, and they blasted the T-64s to pieces with a series of shots to the rear armour. OUCH. 
The Leopard C1 troop in "ambush" hit the Warsaw Pact troops pretty hard...
Dallas was able to direct some fire at the ambushing Leopards, and his BMPs directed some murderous fire on the attacking infantry and M113s from the RCR.  But it wasn't quite enough, and more T-72s started to brew up...

Widespread carnage on the table...always the sign of a good game, in our opinion!

So many knocked-out MBTs...
The final straw was the very late arrival of the US Cobra gunships.  Thanks to the "hunter killer" rule, the Soviet ZSUs were not able to score any hits on them, and the TOW missiles finished the T-72 company, breaking the Soviet assault.

US Cobra gunships add to the carnage with a bit of kill-stealing in the final turns
So, in the end it was a hard-fought victory for the Canadians - but they paid a heavy price, losing nearly an entire squadron of Leopard C1s and most of a mechanized infantry platoon.  A hard-fought game all around!  And you know the Soviets would have had another regiment rolling up the highway right behind these guys...

I can't wait to get the Canadians on the table again sometime, but I think we might try to fiddle with the stats a bit, especially for the Leopard C1s.  I think the 105mm gun should be at least as scary as the one on the M1 Abrams, as in this imaginary (thankfully) war, I expect the Canadian Leopards would be dishing out more abuse than the basic stats of the West German Leopard 1s would have them doing.

It was also interesting to get the T-64s on to the table...the edge they have of the T-72s is small, but still noticeable - the improved armour, and the option of the missile rounds make for an even more effective tank.  If and when they start to appear in larger numbers on our gaming tables, it should be interesting!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Painting Challenge Submission Seven - Leopard C1s for "Team Yankee"

Canadian Leopard C1s in 1/100 scale for "Team Yankee"

My pent-up interest in Cold War armour has been well and truly unleashed in this edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I haven't painted this many 15mm tanks in several years, and it has been a lot of fun so far. I love tanks! After a couple of weeks of working up my West German Bundeswehr forces, we turn today to another NATO member - my home team, the Canadians!

In this I follow the trail blazed by Conscript Mike F.  A search through dusty old posts at the side of this blog will reveal his exhaustive efforts to put together a force of 1980s-era Canadian Forces in 15mm.  He started with Leopard 1s, and then did head swaps for infantry! Now THAT is commitment :)  Mike completed this project back in 2013, but it is still awesome, and as Battlefront's "Team Yankee" game arrived, these efforts were often in the back of my mind - I really wanted to get some Canadians into a game of "Team Yankee".

During most of the Cold War, and particularly the mid-80s period envisioned by the game "Team Yankee",  Canada's contribution to the forward-deployed land defences of West Germany was the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. They were based in the Central Front zone and were intended to act as a reserve for the US VII Corps or German II Corps. While the 4th CMBG was mostly a mechanized formation, with stoutinfantry of the Royal Canadian Regiment and the "Vandoos" trooping around in M113 APCs, the cutting edge were the Leopard C1s of the Royal Canadian Dragoons.

The Canadian contingent was not a large force overall compared to the other NATO elements in 1980s Western Europe, but it was well-trained and would have given a solid performance if called on, I have no doubt.  As I have mentioned in other Cold-War-Gone-Hot postings, thank goodness (at so many levels) that this is all fictional, as several friends, including a few Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, served in and around these formations...

Leopard C1 troop - 1/100 models from "Armies Army"
In NATO reserve, the Canadians could expect to be waiting for a Soviet breakthrough, and be sent to block it. NATO commanders would count on them them to stop and hold these Warsaw Pact elements for 24, 48 hours or longer, while other NATO formations rallied and counter-attacked.  The Leopard C1s of the Royal Canadian Dragoons would have been key to these operational expectations. So for me any "Team Yankee" games with Canadians would start with getting models to represent the Leopard C1s.

Armies Army models - showing the lovely casting of the low-light TV system over the mantlet, and the FN MAG on the cupola
The Leopard 1 was a widely exported tank, and trying to make sense of all the countless small variations that seem to emerge on the different versions used by different nations (Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Brazil, and more) gives one a headache. And while I'm not much of a rivet-counter (or so I like to believe, at least), I still get bugged by little details, small things here and there that still stand out on even small model.  Get them right, and bang, it all "looks" right!  Get them wrong and it's...well, it's OK...but it just bugs me...

Leopard C1 in 1/100 scale from Plastic Soldier Company - the FN MAG on the cupola is from Peter Pig; the decals on this tank are 1/87 - and the Canadian flag on the front plate is my own useful identifier for tabletop purposes...I don't think they actually had a big marking on the front of the tanks like that...
In the case of the Leopard C1s, two such "little details" nagged at me.  One was the targeting system mounting on the main gun mantlet - a container for a low-light TV and other gadgetry designed to help the gunners engage targets in darkness. On the Bundeswehr Leopard 1s this is a box-shaped gadget, but on the Canadian C1s it is a sort-of rounded cage. Why? Well, the Canadians had a different camera/targeting system. The other "little detail" is the cupola MG.  On the Bundeswehr tanks this is an MG3 (a.k.a. MG42), but the Canadian Forces had a 7.62mm MG, I think it was the FN MAG, mounted up there.  Even in a very small scale like 1/100, the MG3 has such an iconic silhouette that the vehicle looks German.

Should either of these things really matter on a 1/100 scale model of a tank? Well, no...but...yes! What is wrong with me?  I'm such a DORK.

Another view of the PSC models...the targeting camera is not as detail as it is on the Armies Army model, but still great and well done to PSC for thinking of those sorts of "little things"...
The popularity of the period and scale sparked by the entry of a large player like Battlefront has inspired the creativity of some of the smaller figure companies to step up and offer more models. Plastic Soldier Company issued a box of plastic Leopard 1s that could be built as the "C1" variant used by the Canadian Forces. "Armies Army", another fringe-ish producer of cool 15mm figures did even more, producing, in late 2017, a full range of Canadian infantry, Leopard C1s, M113s, M150s (APCs with a TOW launcher) and even the Lynx recon tracks. WOW. So of course I ordered a bunch of everything...so here we go...naturally the Leopards were first under the brush...

There are nine tanks in the photos here - three are from the Plastic Soldier Company, and the balance are from Armies Army.  The Plastic Soldier Company models are a treat to assemble, and they have options for the little targeting camera on the mantlet to suit the Canadian variant, which is just great for a nutter like me! Only downside if the cupola MG is still the German MG3, and that is the only option on the sprue.  I worked around that by swapping in some FN MAGs from a pack of Peter Pig 1/100 IDF Centurion Shots that I haven't painted yet (long-abandoned Lebanon project - don't ask).

The Armies Army vehicles are a mix of resin and metal parts. I love that the Armies Army variant comes with all of the proper accessories - the FN MAG for the cupola, a well-sculpted thermal jacket on the main gun barrel, etc.  PLUS he sells you tons of stowage, something I will add more on later. But they are slightly trickier to assemble - you don't get the razor-sharp precision you do with the plastic kits from PSC. With the treads in particular there were a few challenges...but in all, the Armies Army effort is just so cool because it is so utterly complete - EVERYTHING you could want - well aligned to the mind of a wargaming nutter like me!

AND, major bonus, you can get DECALS! Yes, the little things that really finish off the models! The downside is that, other than the maple leaf on the turret, the decals are hard to see, as they are small and the black stencils don't show well on the green.  Or, they might show in the photos if I ever purchase a light box - but, if you ever see me buying one of those, you'll know I have finally painted every single figure and model I ever want to paint and have moved on to less important things...but anyway...

Ready to roll out against the Warsaw Pact, eh?
It's just as good that most of the symbols don't show up too much...the Canadian forces used a series of call signs, numbers, letters and symbols on their vehicles that would leave ancient Byzantine commanders asking "Are you sure? Seems a touch complicated..." Mostly I just wanted to be sure the Maple Leaf showed up on the tabletop - and it does!  One of the tanks you see here does have larger decals than the others - these are from a 1/87 scale decal sheet, while the rest are from Armies Army 1/100 decals.  I reason the one with the larger decals is just an extreme patriot of some sort, and I'll use it as a Squadron commander or something.

Keen to try any of these models yourself? I would say "go nuts" with either provider, but to further confuse things (so appropriate for a post about Leopard 1s and Canadians), Plastic Soldier Company appears to have acquired Armies Army...all involved are excellent folks to deal with, and it looks like PSC will sell the Armies Army range.  Should be good news long term, and you can take your pick of Leopard 1 models!

Furthermore, Battlefront itself has hinted at providing figures for Canadians later this year, part of a rules expansion to be called "Free Nations" or something similar...but if you are like me, and you don't like waiting, go visit PSC right now!

Anyway, these tanks joined Mike's established collection to receive a baptism of fire on the gaming table last night...and as newly-painted models...well, you know how that goes...stay tuned for a separate blog post about that...

Big thanks to Mike F for the inspiration, assistance with decals and sources of information on the 4th CMBG. Also want to give a shout-out to Stanley Martens and his similar efforts (check them out here) - very inspiring stuff Stanley, and your posts were very, very helpful! I have a few more models to finish to round out the Squadron, and from there it will be on to some Canadian infantry...stay tuned!

Monday, January 22, 2018

AHPC Submission Six - More Bundeswehr Armour (plus "Flight")

More Bundeswehr armour in 15mm to reinforce the NATO lines!
My 15mm Cold War armour efforts continue to have a lot of momentum. Once I started to tackle my unpainted collection of Bundeswehr armour in 1/100 scale from Battlefront, I felt more and more that I didn't want to stop until I got through almost all of the lot I had accumulated over the prior 18 months. And so, here is yet more Bundeswehr armour in 15mm.  The models are nearly all from Battlefront, with one exception, which you will see more on below.

As before, these are painted in my best approximation of the West German three-colour camouflage scheme.  Templates were used to apply the paint to these vehicles in depots, and so I tried my best to have the camouflage pattern on each vehicle to be generally similar. Let's take a look at some of the different AFVs in this batch.

Luchs wheeled armoured recon vehicles - 1/100 models from Battlefront

Up first are the Spähpanzer Luchs, 8-wheeled armoured reconvehicles.  As you can imagine, they are engineered for speed, moving rapidly about to keep an eye on the various movements of their Warsaw Pact opponents.

Certainly looks like a sporty ride...
In the event of a tussle with the enemy they carry a turret-mounted 20mm cannon, sufficient to deal with opposing recon elements they might encounter.  The vehicles are lightly armoured, however (as you might expect) and so will not last long against any direct fire from enemy tanks or missiles.

Well-executed mixed resin and metal kits from Battlefront

Many rules try to give players reasons to use recon-themed elements like this in their games, and "Team Yankee" is no exception, but I find the games we really like to play are ones where a battle develops, and given that the players have a birds' eye view of the forces on the table, it is very hard to make recon elements as important to wargamers as they are to actual commanders in the real battlefield. In a real conflict, vehicles like the Luchs would be providing essential information to panzer and panzer grenadier
commanders - info they would be very vulnerable without.  

On a wargame table, you hope light vehicles like these knock out something useful before they are hit by a 125mm tank round fired in anger by Soviet players who were unable to successfully target anything larger on the NATO side...

Despite these issues, I like how cool these models look, and it's fun to try and put together different kinds of forces to give some variety to the gaming scenarios we can set up.

A zug of Leopard 1 tanks - models from Battlefront
Up next we have some West German MBTs – these Leopard 1s.  By the time of the (thankfully) fictional battles envisioned by the game “Team Yankee”, the Leopard 1s had moved out of main frontline service, replaced by the heavier Leopard 2s. The Leopard 1s moved in heavy-support role for the scouting elements of the panzer and panzer grenadier formations instead (and I expect still equipped some reserve panzer battalions). 

Love the look of these German tanks! The Leopard 1 is another classic Cold War vehicle
The kits from Battlefront are a treat to work with - phew!
The Leopard 1 tanks are fast (you know, for tanks), and with a well-designed 105mm main gun, they can certainly dish out severe punishment to Warsaw Pact armour.  Plus, they just LOOK so cool – the main battle tank answer to a fine-looking German sports car! But their armour cannot be counted on to absorb the 125mm return fire of the Soviet side. The commanders and crews of these vehicles need to keep moving and be very careful when and how they engage the enemy.

So often NATO players are content to see their small number of scary tanks blast away, but they will need to be a little more clever when using vehicles like the Leopard 1.

A 15mm Leopard 1 from the Plastic Soldier Company - an excellent kit! Note, however, the crew are still from Battlefront, just to maintain consistency with the other West German vehicles

One of these models – to be used as a command vehicle - is from the new 15mm Leopard 1 box offered by the fine folks at Plastic Soldier Company.  There was a hiccup with the initial release of these models as the first wave of kits did not include a hatch for the driver (oops!). But they sorted all of that out in short order, and I can readily recommend you purchase them if this tank is something that interests you!

The other three are mixed resin and metal kits from Battlefront.  I’m pleased to say the quality here was very good.

While the Leopard 1 was no longer on the Bundeswehr frontlines, it was still a very common tank among NATO allies, where it continued to serve in a frontline role, including Canada! This is something I hope to have more about in later Challenge submissions…

Two more modern-day "big cats" - Leopard 2s on the prowl for Warsaw Pact targets

A commander popped out of the hatch to help make it easier to find the command tank on the table
And finally here are two more of the Leopard 2s…Battlefront sells these in packs of five models, so I thought I would finish these to join the other three I had painted for last week. As before, these are very, very fine plastic models from Battlefront…my only quibble is the very vulnerable connection for the cupola MG…hopefully they will last for a while…

Ready for gaming action in "Team Yankee"!
So that submission was another 10 vehicles in 15mm, which should hopefully net me
another 60 points toward my goal. 

I also completed a submission to the "flight" bonus round - recurring bi-weekly features of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  While my submission was not even close to being as cool as Byron's (which won the most votes - rightfully bloody so!), it's still helpful in terms of chipping away at the unpainted lead! It was a quad 20mm AA gun and crew from Battlefront.
Quad 20mm gun and crew in 15mm - models by Battlefront
Useful against the Red Air Force, or, increasingly as things got desperate in the East, against the Red Army as well...

This little crew will have some fun in WW2 games at some point soon, when the WW2 bug bites again...

That's it for now from the AHPC.  Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Byron's 7th Post and Flight theme week entry

7th Entry

For a 7th post last week I painted up more Greeks and 30k Mechanicum.  First up this week are 4 more Castellax Battle-Automata, these ones armed with the much more basic mauler bolt cannon.
The gun is essentially an upgraded heavy bolter, so not great, but not bad either.

Also painted last week was another unit of 16 Greek hoplites.  Once again these are the very poor Warlord (Immortal) figures, but I have been forcing myself to work through the pile of these before going onto the better Victrix and Foundry figures that have been arriving from various orders, as I don't think I could force myself to come back to these things after working on better figures.
This batch I painted up in white and blue in various patterns and am picturing them as an Athenian unit.  I realize that most units would be more mixed with colours and styles historically, but am choosing to simplify at least a few units so that they look like units and are easy to keep straight on the battle field.  I know, not very historical, but I play more for the look and tactics than any real historical recreation reason, I don't have a burning need or desire to be 100% accurate.

Theme Round - Flight 

For the first theme round this year I picked something that I have wanted to paint since I got it almost a year ago, but kept delaying as I was not sure I could do it justice until I had some more practice with my super fine Harder & Steenbeck airbrush.


Well, I've had some practice the last few months with the airbrush so, may I present my take on the Dropfleet Commander UCM Beijing Battleship.  Now, it's not the normal version, this is the kickstarter exclusive all resin 2-up version.  Meaning it is not playable in game, and is bloody huge, measuring a whopping 11"+ long, 5" across, and 4"+ tall!

Once the base colours were setup, I went in with a 0.15mm H&S airbrush and worked each upper hull panel up to a lighter grey in the center, careful to leave the edge of each panel dark.  This took a while as I put the lighter colour on as a glaze of probably 1 part paint 4 parts glaze medium and then thinned down and applied with very low pressure. Once all the panels were highlighted, I masked off the ones to be white and gave them a few coats of flat white.

With the airbrush work all done, I went to the bottom of the hull and used a brush to glaze highlights onto each little bump and part.  I didn't want a chalky drybrush look so had to do it this way which was time consuming but simple.  I then clear coated the model for handling and the next step.

With that done I used thinned down black oil paint to create a pin wash.  I did it this way for two reasons.  Firstly, a thinned oil paint wash wicks through the cracks and details 100x better than any wash I have ever used.  Secondly, Greg showed me a great product that is essentially a hardened q-tip used by Japanese mecha modelers, that you dip into thinner after the wash is done and then wipe it over the model.  It cleans up anything that comes out of the details instantly and completely (assuming you clear coated first).  This has made doing models like this far less stressful than using a normal wash.  I don't know that Greg has ever actually used the product himself, but I LOVE it and have used them MANY times to great effect.

After the wash I clear coated again so that the oil paint was sealed away and then went to more detail work.  I added some sparse metal work areas (mainly pipes and pistons) and then painted a few hundred (at least is seems like it) blue lights all over the model.  These were done with a simplified gem pattern of only 4 colours (dark blue, med blue, light blue, white) due to being so damn small.  Of course that hardly shows in the images, so it was not really worth the effort, but oh well.


So there you go, a huge spaceship that is not even usable in a game, all done just for fun.  That said, I bloody LOVE the scale and wished they had done more than just the UCM and a PHR ship in this scale.  Surely it isn't just me that thinks that it would be amazing to do a fleet battle on a gym floor with ships like this!

Oh, and just for comparison, the small ship in the last picture is a normal DFC ship that is 4" long on a 50mm base.

All the work was well worth it on this model, as I ended up winning the Theme week with the most votes!  A pretty damn good way to start the theme challenges off!

Fifth Painting Challenge Submission - Bundeswehr Armour in 15mm

Bundeswehr vehicles in 15mm from Battlefront, ready for "Team Yankee"

In the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge it was time to switch painting gears! After several submissions focused on my Franco-Prussian War project, the animal spirits which drive my brushwork were keen for something different, a familiar subject which I had not touched for some time.  I dug into my pile of shame (the large amount of figures and models which are assembled and primed but have not seen a paint brush for a year, or more!) and came across these vehicles.  As you will see in this blog, I love tanks, and I love gaming the "Cold-War-Gone-Hot", so here is an assortment of West German armour for the Bundeswehr in 15mm! The models are all 1/100 scale kits from Battlefront.

We play quite a bit of Battlefront's "Team Yankee".  The rules certainly have  warts, and playing this particular period in 15mm has issues, but man, is it FUN, with burning equipment all over the table by the end of the second turn.  Thank goodness these encounters are fictional!

I have large collection of Soviet models in this period and scale, and a much, much smaller NATO collection.  I wanted to do up NATO forces, but Dallas has already painted up a very nice collection of West German armour (see here, here, and here).  I also had a unique opportunity to score a few vehicles painted by the absolutely amazing Tacobat.  Furthermore you don't actually need many NATO tanks for a game of "Team Yankee".  So I settled for painting up the infantry only at the time, finished in late 2016, just prior to the start of AHPC VII.  I thought I would paint the armour to accompany them during the last edition of Curt's Challenge, but instead focused on other interests (mostly 30k) as we didn't really "need" the models in the group in order to "Team Yankee". My only nod to the Cold War in the last Challenge amounted to a single IFV painted in a theme round.

A further delay was a block in my mind that I would use an airbrush to paint these. Byron had helped me use an airbrush to prime them, and I told myself these would be the vehicles where I would finally overcome my airbrush issues and use it to paint them...but I still haven't cracked open my new airbrush.  I will someday but...that's another topic.  The point for this post is that these models have been sitting for over a year! Shame! Time to get them painted...and here you are:

Marder infantry carriers - three vehicles per panzer grenadier platoon
Leaving aside my airbrush issues, I stuck to my plain old paintbrush-brushes to apply my best approximation of the three-colour scheme used by the West Geman forces, and dove into painting up some tanks, my first ones in over a year! I dislike modern camouflage - the worst part is that use of templates would mean it should look broadly similar pattern-wise on each vehicle...tricky to do while painting freehand, but in the end, it turned out OK.

Very nice plastic kits from Battlefront - I hate plastic, and STILL like these very much!
This angle shows a bit more of the access for the grenadiers - ramp on the back and hatches on the top

Up first are the Marder infantry fighting vehicles, the troop carriers for my panzer grenadiers. Sleek and sci-fi-looking, the Marders are great (where the M113 is soooooo lame), and the plastic kits from Battlefront are a real treat - this from someone who absolutely despises plastic kits! That 20mm turret is super-menacing...there are enough Marders here to mount two platoons, plus a separate one for the company commander - so the core of my Bundeswehr panzer grenadier company is ready to roll.

The captain's ride...I left the flaps/bazooka skirts off this one to help make ID on the table easier - also popped a commander out of the hatch, something I like to do to help command vehicles stand out

Up next are Jaguar AT missile carriers.  The Jaguar is the final evolution of the tank-destroyer (don't those silhouettes look a little familiar to us WW2 gamers?), the big gun and associated systems are all gone, replaced with some more amour and the techo-arcana of a 1980s guided anti-tank missile system.  These vehicles provide a relatively armoured and stable, mobile platform for specialized AT purposes in support the panzer grenadiers.

Armoured missiles carriers for the Bundeswehr - Jaguars

Firing spooky missiles in a somewhat-safer armoured environment...you can see some of the gaps on the models caused by crummy quality control from Battlefront...

These models show that Battlefront still has many production weaknesses - these were mixed metal and resin, and the fit was very, very poor - some pretty big seams in spots, but hopefully paint and distance obscure them.  You will also see I used the wrong front plate (there was a slight variant between Jaguar 1 or 2) - this is thanks to an error in the instructions Battlefront includes with the kits - that's on me, though, they are always f***ing that stuff up, I should have double-checked online before I got out the glue...oh well.

Essential protection for any West German forces...the iconic Gepard flakpanzer
Continuing along there are two Gepard flakpanzers.  These are iconic Cold War weapon platforms, and in "Team Yankee" they play a key role in keeping the deadly Soviet helicopters and aircraft away from the panzer grenadiers. Dallas had suggested one night that I check out the firing sequence in this video...yikes!  I would think of somewhere else to fly too...they are incredibly effective in the 'Team Yankee' game, pretty much guaranteeing a kill on any air attackers, barring some terrible luck on the dice.

Big seam on the track with this model, but overall the quality on these was much better than the Jaguars
These are mixed resin and metal kits from Battlefront, but fortunately the quality was much higher than on the Jaguars.  The only tricky part was getting the gun barrels to attach in a straight way so they align with the base of the cannons, which are cast in resin on the turret - I didn't totally manage it, but didn't totally screw it up either...this is a standard I pretty much consistently strive for when it comes to model assembly :)

Keep watching the skies!

And of course, as a wargamer, I am always wanting to use these against ground targets.  Not many motor rifle companies will stand a chance against these guns...

And last, but not least, a platoon of deadly Leopard 2 tanks.  The penultimate main battle tank design, the Leopard 2 is an incredible machine, an ideal combination of every aspect of the modern battle tank.  Great mobility, armour and incredible firepower, these things can rip out the guts of a Soviet armoured manoeuvre in just one volley!  And they do that pretty consistently in our "Team Yankee" games - when I play at the Soviet side, it's a feeling of tremendous triumph when you knock one of these things out...

These beasts will be the mobile, hard-hitting fist of the panzer grenadier company.

A zug of deadly Leopard 2 panzers....
These tanks are also plastic models from Battlefront, and while the quality is excellent, the MG mount on the cupola is hilariously weak and they will break off before long.  As a nod to this, you get two MGs on the sprue, but still...wish Battlefront had through that through a little more...but overall, still a really, really great kit.

Once more a commander in the cupola is used to mark out the platoon command tank on the table
Very nice kits, although the MGs on the cupolas are a bit stupidly fiddly...

Love the deadly silhouette of this vehicle...

All that firepower!! As I said, thank goodness this conflict is just fictional...

And I can't resist some propaganda photos! Here are the vehicles together with the infantry painted in 2016.

The full panzer grenadier company, ready for action!
Now that they have  ride to take to battle, they really are "panzer" grenadiers
Infantry AA missile teams go along with the Gepards
These vehicles  added another 84 points to my tally. In terms of our Fawcett Avenue gaming, it was not so useful, as there are now a lot more West Germans on hand than we'll ever need for a game, but from a collection point of view it has been a lot of fun and I've loved painting up groups of 15mm AFVs again. Let's see how long this little Cold-War-Tank-Painting jag will last...