Monday, July 14, 2014

Egyptian T-55 Tanks for "Fate Of A Nation"

Egyptian T-55 platoon in 15mm - models from Battlefront

The "Fate Of A Nation" roll-out on the painting table continues.  Here is a group of T-55s from Battlefront.  The models are 1/100 scale/15mm size.

The Battlefront T-55 model is nice, or at least a think it could be (stay tuned for more on this).  It is a little larger than the T-55 available from Khurasan, and a little smaller than the one available from Peter Pig. I prefer the size of the Battlefront model to that of Khurasan or Peter Pig, but I have to say that Khurasan's model wins out on good size, value AND really nicely cast accessories (like hatches, MGs, options on the fuel tanks etc - see Dallas' post here for some pics - they are beauties).

Decals from Battlefront
BUT, I have to say this about the Battlefront model - I generally like Battlefront a lot, but the quality of their accessories is really starting to slide.  On these tanks the hull and turret are resin.  The quality of the Battlefront resin is something I am starting to wonder about - on the BTR-152s, the hulls were breaking in the blister pack.  On these tanks, I had cracks on the decking over the treads - still visible on one of the painted models if you look.  These were cracked straight out of the packaging. This pisses me off - for what you pay Battlefront, you shouldn't have to piss around fixing that, or worrying about it.

If you look over the road wheels on the left side of the picture (the right side of the tank) you will see a chunk of deck missing - this is damaged while in the packaging, and trend I have noticed with much "Fate Of A Nation" front stuff from Battlefront - a serious piss-off considering how much you pay
On the Battlefront T-55 the cupola MG, the hatches, the fuel tanks and tracks are all cast in metal.  And the casting quality on these components is completely in the shitter. It's just crap.  At least the road wheels look OK on the treads, but overall tons of flash. The treads have appalling mold lines.  The cupola MG and fuel tanks are really, really weak. The fuel tanks have terrible seams and mold lines, and are cast in once piece  And don't tell me it is "isolated", as I picked up quite a few of these tanks and they are all showing the same problems.

Usual combo of Zandri Dust, pin washing, sponge chipping and weathering powder

These still paint up OK and one might wonder if, because of that, these little nitpicks on quality really matter? Well, they certainly matter to me. For what you pay Battlefront, there is frankly no excuse for crap quality and it is very, very disappointing.  Khurasan's tank accessories, by comparison, are almost flawless - and if a one-man band like Khurasan can have decent metal bits cast, then an org the size of Battlefront can frigging figure it out too.  It is very disappointing to see Battlefront get so many things right (the sizing, the magnets, the decals etc.) and then screw up on the quality of the parts.

An easy target from an IDF gunner

Battlefront does retain one important advantage over Khurasan - it is generally open for business, whereas Khurasan is increasingly either out of stock, or closed to catch up on orders, or both.  This is why I ended up ordering Battlefront T-55s in the first place.  It was a dumb move. Don't make the same mistake I made - avoid Battlefront, and dodge the Khurasan supply situation. Order from Peter Pig, which I should have done, and will do in the future...the Peter Pig tanks are a little heftier, but worth it for the combination of high quality and actual availability.  It makes up for the headache you get trying to figure out their web site.

You can also try Old Glory - I haven't seen them myself, but their 15mm T-55s are supposed to be excellent.  If you can figure out whether it is Old Glory 15s, Old Glory 25s, or Skytrex, or Quality Castings, or whatever the !#$#!@ it is, then good luck to you...

Detail on the cupola hatches and cupola MG is really, really poor - bottom of the barrel in my opinion. The casting of the fuel drums as a single piece is also another weak point, and you will go blind filing off the mold lines to make them presentable...
In "Fate Of A Nation", the Egyptian tank unit selections are essentially companies, and can be rolled out in company-like strength of nine or ten tanks.  We have tested "Fate Of A Nation" and based on that I can sense three T-55s would barely last one turn, and probably not even get a chance to return fire before the IDF gunners wiped them off the table.  So these three will need company.  In all, I am aiming for a total of nine tanks in the unit. 

I like to paint lenses...adds character to the model.  In actual combat operations, I think they are often covered, but that's no fun!
But will I get there soon? When it comes to focusing on a gaming project, I generally have the attention span of a two-year-old.  I have actually managed to be fairly focused on this "Fate Of A Nation" stuff for like a couple of months, which to me feels like ten years.  In this recent run I have managed to finish infantry, APCs and air support for the IDF, and infantry & APCs, more infantry & APCs, some AAA tanks and some heavy tanks for the Egyptians.  I am so close to finishing a basic force for the Egyptians - I just need to finish another six T-55s (and maybe a few other bits) and I'm seems so close, but I am kind of exhausted on the Egyptian tank front for now...stay tuned for another diversion as we prepare for another visit from our good friend Curt from out west!


Stan M. said...

Looks great Greg.

Barks said...

They look really nice. Sorry to hear about your poor quality control experience; I got five of the Battlefront Vietnam T-55s, and their quality was pretty good. Sticking the fenders on was annoying, though. The Vietnam ones don't come with the rear fuel drums, however. Also, I got mine at a significant discount in their recent Vietnam sale.

ByronM said...

Looks awesome as usual Greg. Sorry to hear about the issues with the Battlefront. Try sending them an email and a link to the post though, they are generally very good about replacing parts or supply new parts. Even though you assembled and painted these, they may just send you a new set to replace them. It's worth trying, especially for the cost!

It's kind of like Forgeworld, for what you pay there should never be an issue. But when there is, they make it right pretty quickly.

Moiterei_1984 said...

That's some absolutely amazing painting you did on these tanks. The casting issues are a shame though. Thanks for the warning.

DaveV said...

I have been following the progress of your Egyptian forces with great interest.Your finished models look great (despite the issues you've had).