Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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...

3 comments:

tim said...

You know, when Team Yankee came out, I looked at it and said, "nope, not getting into that". Despite the Cold War being one of my favourite gaming periods, I already have Cold War figures in at least two (king or three) scales... (28mm, 20mm, and a handful of micro models...).

You are not making this easy for me! Damn, these look great!

Dallas said...

Wow dude, super impressive!!

Stanley Martens said...

Looking great Greg...very nicely done on the camo and your grunts looks awesome. Cheers.