Thursday, 11 January 2018

From GregB: Cold War Bundeswehr Armour in 15mm

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

It's time 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.  I love tanks, and I love gaming the "Cold-War-Gone-Hot", and 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" in our gaming group.  The rules certainly have  warts, and playing this particular period in 15mm has issues, but man, is it FUN! I am always foisting tank battles on to my friends from different periods and in different scales (Curt can attest to this) and "Cold-War-Gone-Hot" are some of my absolute favourite, favourite themes for games. "Team Yankee" delivers, 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 as my great friend Dallas here in Winnipeg had rapidly painted up a nice force of West German armour not long after the models arrived in 2016, and you don't actually need many NATO tanks for a large game. I settled for painting up the infantry only - these were 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 the Challenge, but instead focused on other interests (mostly 30k) as I didn't really "need" the models in the group for "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?) but the mechanics of the gun are all gone, replaced 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 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. Check out the firing sequence in this video...yikes!  I would think of somewhere else to fly too...

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!  They 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...

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
That's 14 vehicles in 15mm, so should add another 84 points to my tally.  Let's see how long this little Cold-War-Tank-Painting jag will last...

Now these chaps will show those pesky Prussians who's boss and may turn the tide of the war against the enemies muskets! They'll definitely be the..... wait....... what?  Ahem.  I see.  Almost slipped that past me.....

These are absolutely lovely with your usual attention to detail and crisp style.  I didn't know the modern thing (yes, the 80's still counts as "modern" - at least it does to me!) was to paint the camo on each vehicle in EXACTLY the same pattern.  When I read that I spent a far bit of time staring at how you'd managed to get exactly the same frickin' pattern on each vehicle - I was entranced!  That must have driven you absolutely potty doing that.... my usual approach to camo is just blobbing it on and hoping for the best.  What a delightful array of different vehicles providing all sorts of battlefield roles - The Leopards are soooo dangerous looking too, and I thought the Panther had a menacing silhouette...

Anyway, for doing such excellent (bonkers) work on the camo, I'm wielding the power vested in me by the internet to round your points up to 90 for such dedication - NATO salutes you!


  1. Brilliant work Dude! You continue to amaze with your quality heaped with quantity. Great job on copying the camo pattern - that must have been both mind numbing and potentially rage-inducing. I agree, the Leopard 2 is the bees knees. I love that menacing, slab-sided silhouette. A very German design aesthetic.

  2. Great entry a mind numbing amount of came there and so nicely done real nice Greg

  3. Lovely work on your west german armour, great camo finish!
    Best Iain

  4. The Leapord is also a faovrite of mine. Great work all around I a especialy like the Fakpanzer.

  5. That's a very fine looking force you have there Greg!


  6. Nice work Greg, great job on the cam freehand. I will look forward to hearing about your airbrush issues!

  7. Amazing work Greg. The camo looks great!

    I wouldn't be too hard on the "only base coated with airbrush" part, as really doing that kind of camo with an airbrush can be really finicky as you need stencils to get it all the same and at that scale its a pain. That said, anytime you need airbrush help, I am available.

  8. Stunning brushwork Greg! I can only agree with Byron on the usefulness of a airbrush for that kind of sharp edged camo. WW2 German camo at any time but anything that needs to look remotely similar each time is better done by brush, at least as long as we‘re talking wargaming models here.

  9. Probably the best Cold War Germans I have ever seen Greg - Wunderbar!

  10. Great work Greg! Super clean camo and basing, awesome!æ

  11. Great work Greg! The camo turned out really well

  12. Wow, that many camo vehicles to paint would give me the heebie-jeebies! Well done!

  13. Great work on these AFVs Greg! Love the camo. I'll do shields and lace work without blinking an eye, but camo is a definite no oh zone for me.

  14. These are stunning! I'd be tempted to do TY in 15mm, if I didn't already have it at 6mm... and 3mm...

  15. Always liked the Leopard ever since coming across it in a set of Top Trumps. You’ve done the Leopard and his buddies proud here Greg. Very nice camo.

  16. Great looking tracks Greg! Love the camo.

  17. Grand work on these, Greg! I still work around vehicles with that same camouflage scheme. It does look dashing on the humvees! That is an impressive amount of firepower and as you pointed out, a lot of it is obsolete!
    I'm so thankful that my target signature does not warrant that kind of firepower. I only have to spot the enemy heavy hitters and call it up! ;)

  18. Identical camo pattern in each vehicle - surely that isn’t a thing? How strange.

    Really nice force of IFVs Greg, veryfine work