Saturday, 30 January 2016

From GregB - "Bannon's Boys", 15mm M1s and Friends for "Team Yankee" (54 Points)

"Bannon's Boys" - 15mm Moderns from Battlefront
Switching a few gears, in this submission we head over to another favourite period of mine (I seem to have a lot of those) - 15mm "Cold War Gone Hot".  Of course, the big news in this space has been the release of "Team Yankee" by Battlefront.  While I can't say much about the novel which inspired the rules, (I had to settle for the comics, and they weren't great, although I wish I still had them), and "Flames of War" style rules have a lot of warts, I am pleased to see a serious entity like Battlefront enter the space, because it means some consistent access at last to a consistent line of figures of decent quality. 

"Army" box from Battlefront
M1 Abrams sprues...I, for one, do not bow down to our new plastic overlords

Battlefront's first releases for this range were "Army Boxes" (another term I hate, because an "Army" is thousands of soldiers, etc. and we're talking about less than ten vehicles, but I digress) for the US and Soviet sides.  The US box is called "Bannon's Boys", named after the US Commander of "Team Yankee" from the novel.  This submission has the whole box painted - six M1 Abrams tanks, two AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships, and a resin terrain marker, an M577, a command variant of the ubiquitous M113 armoured personnel carrier.

Seriously...f*** plastic, I tell ya....this was the mounting for one of the flight stands
With the exception of the M577, the models are all plastic, multi-part kits.  So many gamers seem to be thrilled by this, but I have never seen a plastic model in 15mm that would not have been better in metal, or even resin, and these were no exception.  Battlefront has improved the quality of its plastic (although that's faint praise), but the assembly, while straightforward, is a real, fiddly pain in the @ss.

After all the cursing is M1 Abrams, ready for action

Each sprue of M1 tanks has two of each MG you will need (I stupidly interpreted this as an option to mount two .50 cal MGs on the cupola, seen on my first test model here - oops!).  But they actually do this "in case one of them breaks".  Um...isn't that telling you something about your plastic?

AH-1 Cobra - assembly of the rocket pods and TOW missiles is super fun - NOT
Assembly of the Cobra helicopters was even trickier.  Again, in many ways - wow! Having useful helicopter models is cool - and hey, if these were metal, mounting them would be a serious pain - but multi-part rocket pods and TOW missile racks for a 15mm model? Who is out there going "yay, can't wait to glue my fingers to these! F*** that!!!  Just make one piece castings for God's sake!

Tank commander in the cupola, good way to mark out a command tank
I have a photo up above there in the post of what happened to one of the plastic flight stands during assembly.  That was the mount for one of the had to be glued to the stand in pieces! That was a lot of fun!

Col. Reynold's Command Post - this is a one-piece deal done in resin
They give you magnets for the helicopters - very thoughtful - but again, sooooo tricky...I just went without them.  The rotors will last as long as they last, and they sit well on the flights stands, even the broken one, without the magnets. But you hobby aces out there will be able to detach your rotors for storage - a neat idea overall.

This was a neat piece, nice for the table

So, anyway, voluminous amounts of cursing aside, it all got built, and primed, and under the paint brush over the past two weeks. I tried to copy the "MERDC" paint used by the US forces in the time period the "Team Yankee" novel is set...the results are OK.  I don't like to bother with airbrushes, so I just used the plain old brush, and it turned out alright, good enough to stand against the Soviet hordes! 

Propaganda photos - the M1s have knocked out some T-80s and are rolling out...
The decals on the ground vehicles are hard to see...would have been nicer if the numerals and chevrons were white, but I'm not sure they actually were...I don't know the US forces of this era well (hence my screw up with the .50 cal over the loader's cupola).  They also did not include enough decals for both helicopters, so one of them is missing the hilarious "danger" sign pointing to the rear rotor - a more danger-mind crew, perhaps?

Looking forward to a game with these fellows
I already have a smattering of Russians in 15mm, so I wanted to paint some US troops first in the hopes of getting the rules out for a test drive sometime soon with our group.  Since I have run out of Americans (the infantry and other models are still riding on whatever snail-managed hot air balloon Battlefront uses to ship products to retailers), the Russians will be up next. 

The command post is a great little item
Battlefront is planning to do West Germans and UK forces for this setting as well.  Both sides are way more interesting to me (Chieftains! Leopards!), so I hope those models appear soon, but with Battlefront, it could be six months at least before we see anything - so for now, we will prepare for the US and Soviet Union to fill the table with flaming tank wreckage!

Cobras cover the US advance

So, nine 15mm vehicles should give me 54 points for my little side race with Byron and Curt. It's good to see a jolt of new modern 15mm stuff rolling out into the market, and I'm looking forward to getting these fellows on to the table.  As newly painted miniatures, I'm confident they will dominate the tabletop. Hopefully we'll have some WARPAC Soviets ready for submission next week, and a game in a couple of weeks!

Holy smokes, is this ever cool Greg! Your wholly justified plastic peccadilloes aside, you've done a marvelous job on these models. The camo looks very convincing and the Cobras are just ace. I particularly like that command vehicle with it's attached 'pup-tent'. I also really like seeing the models set up in amongst your terrain - it looks spectacular.
I have to stifle a bit of a rant about Battlefront's sycophantic focus on certain nationalities and themes as I'm sure it would brush many people the wrong way.  I will simply say I agree with you in your hopes to see more nationalities (and, heaven forbid, infantry) come online for this range soon. :)
A very well-earned 54 points for you Greg. Now I need to scramble to get some more stuff together for our Modern duel...


  1. I don't know what was more entertaining about this Greg, your wonderful brushwork or the semi-crazed rant about how much you hate the models. :-)

  2. Ooooh pretty! I love the camo scheme.

  3. Greg, you've made my day! Wonderfully painted miniatures accompanied by a highly entertaining rant. What more could one want?

  4. These are just my cup of tea. And despite the issues with the models the end result does not show .

  5. Gorgeous models, and the scenery used for the pictures makes them stand out.

  6. your patience and determination are rewarded, you done a great mounting and paintwork on this models, congratulations Greg!
    the camos are top!
    the windshields and the red spots are stunning!

    GillesW "we waited the reds in the end of the 80', they never came;-)"

  7. Thanks for the "review" of the models. The results of your hard work are stunning. Chieftains to come later? Now that sounds tempting - one of my favourite tanks.

  8. Just fabulous Greg. You did a splendid job with these and the cammo is great!

  9. Fantastic painting work, fantastic!!!

  10. Very nice Greg... Great to see the action shots... Now I really want to see those Chieftans,,

  11. Greg are there any non favourite periods you have? Great looking models and wonderful action shots.

  12. Amazing looking models, and great layout for your pictures Greg. As usual, amazing painting as well!

    Unlike you, I really enjoy plastic over metal or resin, due to the ease of working with it. I get your points though for 15mm and smaller it gets to fragile for the small pieces. I also do not think that it makes economical sense for a lot of things like this, the cost of making injection molds is so high, and that's why these cost so damn much. At that cost they should be metal and resin. I understand the cost of doing plastic, and these being low sales volume means they need to charge lots per item to justify the molds.... BUT....Plastic should be cheap! Maybe that's just the Ukrainian in me coming out though.

  13. Looks as though this was not the happiest of projects for you, Greg - but you seem to have overcome these obstacles and produced a cracking entry!

  14. Lovely job - the camo is ace. I was interested in this lot, but your views on the plastic is really making me think. I'm like you in that I like the resin/metal stuff battlefront did and all my FoW stuff is in that medium so I shall have to think hard about going with this lot. Wonder if all of the countries will be plastic or will the "minor" nations be resin?

    1. Jamie - I don't know their plan - generally they seem to be obsessed with making things in plastic now; I hope the others are resin, but even for all my ranting/frustration, these models are much nicer than any commonly available competitor - I say give them a shot!

  15. Fantastic work, and brilliant camo! I love the command post - really great!

  16. Very nice work, Greg! The camouflage is great and I totally get the frustration with the wee plastic kits too. ;)
    Two MA deuces!... As I told Byron on his post earlier, MTOW is just a paper that troops feel free to disregard, at least until annual inspection! ;)

  17. Very nice work there mate! The camo really does look spot on!