Thursday, 22 February 2018

From GregB - Cold War Support Elements in 15mm (36 Points)

NATO support vehicles hold the Warsaw Pact back from strategically vital parts kitchen...models from Battlefront and Armies Army
After five consecutive weeks featuring submissions of 15mm Cold-War-Gone-Hot subjects, I really thought I was going to switch themes.  Honestly! I even started painting something else, in 28mm to boot, that was totally different.  So different, in fact, that horses were involved! Really! But then I started thinking to myself "well, what about one or two support elements to, you know, 'round out' the work I have already completed..." and such are the debris-strewn pathways of my hobby mind that I put down that other stuff and went back to the 15mm stuff - just can't seem to quit the Cold War!

Subjects from two NATO nations today - some support elements for my 15mm 1980s Canadians, and some tank-hunting helicopters for my 1980s West Germans.

Since it has been a few weeks since we last visited the Bundeswehr, let's start with the helicopters. These are BO-105s, multi-part 1/100 scale plastic kits from Battlefront, part of their extremely comprehensive lineup of figures for the 1980s West Germans in their "Team Yankee" game.

BO-105 tank hunting helicopters for the Bundeswehr
Where the Germans have some fine form when it comes to battle tanks, these BO-105s don't, shall we say, give off quite the same "menacing" vibe as, say, the utterly terrifying Soviet "Hinds".
Instead, the BO-105 has a kind of practical, workmanlike "well, anything is dangerous once you attach anti-tank missiles to it" sort of aura.

TOW anti-tank missiles are the killer armament of these helicopters...they are out to hunt tanks
With the Warsaw Pact and its 3 billion tanks facing you down, you do need to have as many economical anti-tank options as possible to back up your ultra-sexy Leopards! The BO-105 is a fine tank-hunting platform, capable of moving quickly, hugging available ground cover and obstructions to "pop up" and pick off enemy armoured targets with guided anti-tank missiles.

While plastic has its issues, bravo to Battlefront for bringing these models out..they'll be fun on the table!
I hate plastic kits, and these models certainly had their frustrations - in particular, the plastic rotor shafts are very weak, and true to form, one of them broke during assembly, requiring heroic amounts of glue to save.  But overall, I have to give Battlefront very high marks for the effort of getting the helicopter models from the different nations into "Team Yankee".  While some metal kits in the scale have been around for quite a while - and lets face it, metal is the only true, proper material for honourable wargaming figures - metal aircraft kits, especially helicopters, in 1/100 scale are not easy things to assemble or base properly.  By making these different helicopter kits, Battlefront has made the helicopters much easier to have (my ineptitude with plastic notwithstanding), and in turn added an excellent flavour for this setting. In our "Team Yankee" games the helicopters seldom survive, but their approach is always dramatic and tense :) I'm sure my tabletop NATO forces will appreciate the air support!

OK - moving back to the Canadians, here are a couple of support elements to "round out" my initial battlegroup from the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.

M113 "Lynx" Recon vehicles for the Canadian Forces
There are two "Lynx" recon vehicles - a variant of the M113 APC that is a little sportier-looking than the average M113.  The Canadian Forces used the Lynx for various scouting, security and other purposes.  These models are from Armies Army - Keith, being a great guy, tossed them in as freebies after I ordered a squadron of Leopard C1s - "they will look great with your tank column" he said, and he was right!  While I thoroughly dislike the M113 in general, the Lynx at least has a sporty little look to it, and the turret-style bracket mount for the .50 cal is pretty neat too.

.50cal MGs in the turret-style mounting, and a little .30cal on the back for some extra fire support in the event of a sticky situation while out scouting...

Big "thank you" to Keith for tossing these in with my Leopard C1 squadron...they will round out my forces nicely!
As I mentioned in a previous posting, wargamers can seldom relate to recon assets the way real commanders in the field would.  These vehicles would be out ahead of the Leopard C1s, reporting back and providing vital intelligence as the battle was joined.  With an actual battle underway, as experienced on our tabletop, these poor Lynx vehicles won't last any longer than the Soviet BRDMs or other equivalents, but at least my Canadians will have some recon support, and the additional power of a couple of .50 cals to back up the infantry platoon.

M150s - APCs mounting TOW anti-tank missile launchers

The other two vehicles are M150s...these are M113 APC with a mount for a TOW guided-anti-tank missile launcher. High-end anti-tank hitting power is at a premium in any NATO force, but particularly so for the Canadians, who may have to tangle with Soviet tanks while the Leopard C1s of the Royal Canadian Dragoons are busy elsewhere.  These M150s provide the Canadian mechanized infantry elements with some theoretical heavy anti-tank power with quite a long potential engagement range.

Clever casting work by Armies Army to allow the convenient mounting of a TOW launcher and gunner on the M113s

Some oversize decals from a 1/87 sheet to give some good Canadian flavour, eh?
Much fiction related to war with the Warsaw Pact (and thank goodness it is fiction!) features weapons like the TOW sniping Soviet tanks with clockwork-like precision - although it should be noted that some accounts, like Kenneth Macksey's fantastic "First Clash", are much more sanguine about such things. I am personally skeptical of the projected effectiveness of weapons like the TOW under real battlefield conditions (it would be no small thing to steer a missile towards a tank in the middle of the smoke, falling artillery shells and other horrors and utter chaos of a Cold-War-Gone-Hot battlefield, I expect), but I do really like the models. They add some additional flavour to my Canadian battlegroup, and extra character (and help on the tabletop) for the infantry platoon.

I popped the commander out to show a command vehicle, but let's assume the firing pose is for propaganda purposes only - I hope they wouldn't fire the missile while the poor driver was popped out of the hatch, right in front of the barrel!
The M150s are also from Armies Army (now available from Plastic Soldier Company).  As I said before, Keith did an incredible job bringing a very complete collection to market - I love when sculptors do that! Go buy this stuff and support these guys!!

So six vehicles in 15mm, should be good for another 36 points this week. About this time last week, I predicted it would be "time to switch subjects and show something else next week blah blah", but as you can see above, such pledges on my part are clearly we'll just see you next week!

Song: Diamond Eyes
Artist: Shinedown
Album: The Sound of Madness

This is a sort of generic, driving hard-rock song from the late 2000s - great to listen to when painting tanks, AND when painting things that are made to blow up tanks!

Ah, what would a Thursday be without a visit to the cold war front lines?  These are absolutely smashing, totally agree with you on the choppers, they remind me more of Blue Thunder than Airwolf!

Great camo too, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm somewhat addicted to checking out the different vehicles to see if you've had to get the same camo scheme on each one of each variant - must be mind bending to paint!  I love those little TOW launchers too - relying on some poor chap to stand at the top of a vehicle with little to no suspension and ask him to guide a missile towards a scary looking tank in the distance whilst it's training it's gun on you..... how could that ever go wrong?!?!?

Great stuff, 36 points it is!


  1. Great work Greg, but what about those 28mm Cavalry you promised us? I'm liking all of the Cold War stuff that you're turning out. I agree that the Lynx has a much sportier look that the standard M113 - it needs a spoiler and a pair of fuzzy dice to complete the look. I also admire anyone who can get a decal on properly.

  2. Wonderful! Those choppers are just terrific Greg. Nevertheless, I give those rotors about two games before they're off. :)

  3. More super work , love the helicopters

  4. Absolutely cracking stuff Greg! The lynx really looks much sportier and menacing than its somewhat boxy brother.

  5. Both these choppers as well as the APV's are totally superb, the basing is brilliant too!

  6. This project is shaping up very nicely, Greg, well done!

  7. So much to love here....just so much, Greg.

    From the '"well, anything is dangerous once you attach anti-tank missiles to it" sort of aura' theme, to the concept of a 'sportier M113' (what, like....fluffy dice on the driver window, and alloy wheels?). I do particularly like the commander popping up in front of the TOW.... almost as much as I'd love anyone to point that out in a game as somehow being a negative!

    Lovely painting, a great fun write-up and a brilliant project. I'm even going to see if I can get a copy of Kenneth Macksey's book. How's that for buy-in?

    Well done, Sir!

  8. Very nice! I can’t abide metal helicopters, they are made of tears and pain.