Sunday, January 31, 2016

BF Team Yankee 15mm US Mech Platoon


Well, I'm officially sick of myself...  After photographing these troops I went to put them away and discovered I'm out of storage space.  Which is a clear indicator that I've gone way too far with my 15mm 'side' project.  A quick rundown:
-African government troops with a PMC team
-African insurgents with a 1st World Special Forces team
-French Foreign Legion (temperate camo)
-UN troops in blue helmets (Rebel Minis' Chinese)
-US 90s infantry (temperate camo) (these guys)
-Modern Aussies (temperate camo)
-Modern Chechens
-Modern Russians (Eureka Minis, temperate camo)
-Modern Russians (Peter Pig, temperate camo)
-Modern US infantry (in multicam)
-Modern Brit infantry (desert)
-Modern desert insurgents
-Modern desert Fedayeen/ISIS
-Modern Western SOF (temperate)
-Modern Western SOF (desert)
-Modern US desert (QRF, haven't posted these yet)
-Modern Third World desert
-Vietnam US Marines
-Vietnam US SEALs
-Vietnam Viet Cong
-WWII Brits (NW Europe)
-WWII Germans (BF)
-WWII Germans (Command Decision)
-WWII US (NW Europe, Command Decision)
-WWII USMC (Peter Pig, just received)
-WWII Japanese (Peter Pig, on the way)
**I haven't posted any of the WWII stuff, some of which I've had for about seven years.
I'm probably forgetting some.  In any case, so much for a side project.

Anyway, I wanted a US force in temperate (Woodland) for the 90s; I really wanted some of the 'old' QRF Modern US infantry, but I've had a hard time securing some, so I went with Battlefront's new US Mechanized Infantry for Team Yankee.  Good, crisp sculpts with no flash; I have some issues with some of the poses, but in aggregate they look great and I'm happy to have them.  Having said that, if any of you out in internet land have between 20 and 30 old QRF US infantry lying around, I'd love to get my hands on them.  I'll trade you these guys (not trying to get rid of them, it's just that I only need one US 90s era platoon in woodland camo), or I'll pay cash, then have to offload these on Kyote ;)

The whole group, 27 troops.  There are two officer looking figures, two RTOs, four Dragon gunners, four M-203 grenadiers, three SAW gunners, and the rest are riflemen with M-16A2s (four also carry M-72 LAWs).  You see I did them up with some brown dirt and grass on the bases, and they're all in 80s/90s-era US Woodland cammies with PASGT helmets, flak jackets, and H-harnesses (which always cracked me up, they're actually a Y-harness, but for some reason we called them H-harnesses).

Again.  On to the sculpts.

First up is one of my favorite poses, two guys moving forward with M-47 Dragons on their back.  Sort of an iconic Cold War image for me.

Once again my pics suck, and I apologize.  The 'new painting spot' I found with good light apparently only has good light in the late afternoon, and I wasn't willing/able to wait..

A look at the other side and back.  Yes, I can't help but put yellow stripes on anti-tank weapons, just to add some color.

Next up is two Dragon gunners with the weapons deployed.

Rear and other side.  Hard to see, but the flak jackets, H-harnesses, and gear are pretty well modeled, all raised so they're easy to paint up.  There's just one little complaint, which you can see on the right-hand guy: every man is carrying this boxy thing on his utility belt at dead center, between the two canteens.  My problem is, I don't know what it is.  We always put either our buttpack there, or (if you weren't wearing a buttpack) your first aid kit.  The problem is, this thing doesn't appear to be either one, or anything else I recognize.  It actually looks like the first aid kit, but it's way too big for that; the size reminds me of the buttpack, but it's the wrong shape for that.  Anyway, a really small gripe, and I can certainly live with it.

Next up is the kneeling grenadier pose.  On the left hand guy you can clearly see the gas mask (ahem, "field protective mask") carrier.

And from this angle you can clearly see they're both wearing the special grenadier vests, which is a pretty damn cool detail.  I don't know if you can tell or not, but I painted some of the guys in jungle boots (green mesh sides) and some in combat boots (all black leathers).

The other grenadier pose.  I really like the modelling of the 203.

Other side, again you can see the grenadier vest, and here you can see (on the left-hand guy) the rifle sling, which I thought was pretty cool as most manufacturers leave this off or put it on the wrong spot.

The first riflemen pose, man firing a LAW with his M-16 slung cross body muzzle down.

Reverse, with the gas mask carrier really visible on left, as well as the flak jacket's raised shoulder flaps (so you could run your H-harness under it).

Rifleman pushing forward with a LAW strapped to his back.  Another really good pose in my opinion.

Reverse.  The poor light and shadows makes it hard, if not impossible, to tell that I wen with my new 'normal' of painting up flesh in three different tones.

Ah, pics of what is my least favorite pose, and really just because of a personal quibble.  I like the animation of the pose, my problem is simply with the troop's carriage of the weapon.  It's probably just me, but in ten years in the Marine Corps I can't ever recall being outside a vehicle, moving around, with my weapon inverted like that.  I would absolutely love the pose if the weapon had even a slight angle to it (about 30 would make sense, 45 degrees would be even better, in my humble opinion).  In my experience you are quite frequently moving to and fro with your muzzle pointed to the deck, but you don't do it with your weapon perpendicular to the ground...

So of course this is the only pose that has four men (vice the normal two) allotted.  It looks good from tabletop distance, you don't even notice, but up close it just looks funny to me.

Other side.

The next rifleman pose, firing offhand.  I've got a little trouble with this pose as well.  For all you shooters (I spent a couple years on the 2nd Marine Division shooting team) out there, take a good look at the pose in this pic and the one below it, and tell me what it reminds you of.

To me it looks like the shooting team, long-range offhand, the one you used with the 'blackstick' (M-116, as opposed to the 'longstick,' M-14).  First, understand that on the range you use much different shooting positions than you use in combat.  Second, you're wearing like three sweatshirts under a shooting jacket that you're cinched into so tight you can barely breathe.  Third, you're firing with a very non-maneuverable (which some might say doesn't work very well in combat) 'loop-sling,' to help aid with stability in firing position, particularly the offhand, which is typically everyone's toughest position.  In any case, with the M-16 it was harder to get jacked in for the offhand, so as another measure to help keep you tight you would walk up to the target, fact almost 180 degrees away from it, spread your legs a little wider than shoulder distance, then twist your torso back around towards the target.  Start with your rifle at high 12 o'clock, dropping it as you exhale, and squeeze...

Anyway, that's what this pose reminds me of.  Not a very good idea when people are shooting at you...


Another rifleman, kneeling, looks to be meant to pair up with the firing Dragon gunner.


A look at the boss, talking on the radio with his rifle slung cross body.  Also, kudos for the pistol on his right hip, though he looks to need to add a little weight ;)


The RTO, and this pose aggravates me just a little, too.  First, he looks to be leaning up against a wall that isn't there.  Second, it took me forever to figure out what's in his left hand (you'll see better in the next pic)...

It's the handset; but I thought the LT was talking on the handset (certainly the boss isn't carrying a radio)?  Lastly, he's carrying what appears to be the world's smallest PRC-77, and he doesn't have it in a pack or on an ALICE frame, it's just sort of stuck there somehow.

It is, once again, a very small issue, but honestly I've been spoiled by the detail in 15mm in general, and by Battlefront in particular.

First pose of the SAW gunners, kneeling.  Since I'm appearing grumpy already, the legs and the SAW look a little short to me.  But again, not even noticeable at skirmish-gaming distance, much less normal tabletop distance.

Opposite, a good look at the gear.  I always like troops with backpacks on, but I'm not bothered by these guys' lack of packs as, especially with the ALICE packs (as opposed to the smaller patrol packs available with the Vector and MOLLE gear) you dropped them at the first sign of trouble.

And the last guy, another SAW gunner.  It's hilarious that this is my favorite pose (sorry for the crappy, shadowy picture) and I only get one of them!  But he looks really great to me, great movement, balance, and proportions.


So, that's the BF Team Yankee US Mech Platoon.  I really hope I didn't come off as too grumpy, they're really good troops and I'm happy to have them.  I think the issues are 1) I'm used to truly exceptional stuff from Battlefront, and 2) I've got a certain amount of 'this is how it should look' and desire for them to be perfect as these guys are from a time I was actually in the military, wearing and carrying that stuff.

I've been a busy little beaver; I still haven't played any games, but I finished these, QRF US desert infantry (up next), Peter Pig VC, and some Rebel Minis civilians and government agent types.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Eureka Miniatures 15mm Modern Chechens


And here's the last installment (so far, at least) of my Eureka Miniatures 15mm forces, the Chechens.  Like the Eureka Aussies and Russians, they will also see service in my campaign in Cronistria, as either Cronistrian Democratic Militia (good guys) or Cronistrian People's Army (bad guys), or both.

Once again the sculpts are clean and crisp with just a tiny bit of flash.  But in my haste that tiny bit of flash caused me a little trouble and I lost two AK barrels.  But they'll still work, and I just need to be more careful in the future.  As I mentioned previously, I'll definitely be placing future orders with Eureka Minis USA: I plan on someday doing an exact copy of this purchase (Aussies, Russians, and Chechens) then painting them up in winter colors, and I also just bought a bunch of Peter Pig WWII US Marines, and I'm going to place an order (in the next week or two) for some Eureka Japanese, which look great and should fit perfectly with the Peter Pig troops.

The whole force: a one-man leader pack, a two-man sniper pack, a two-man RPG pack, a four-man PKM pack, and two of the 6-man riflemen packs.  Done up on desert-sand looking bases with some grass; not sure exactly why I painted the dirt desert sand, but it will work.  I painted the force up in a mix of military and civilian clothing/gear; each guy is wearing either a Russian camo-uniform blouse or set of trousers, then a civilian shirt/jacket or pants, along with civilian headgear of some sort.

On a side note, I hate painting irregulars and special forces, anything where the gear and clothing is not uniform.  It's so much easier to just line them up and assembly line paint.  But I'm happy with how they turned out.  Let's get to the poses.

The first pose, a rifleman firing an AK offhand, one with Russian trousers (left) and one with Russian blouse (right).

Reverse, where you see both are wearing Russian load bearing equipment as well.  You can see how clean and crisp the sculpts are, very easy to paint up and look great.  Here you can also barely see the facial hair on these guys.

Two more riflemen, this time moving forward at the crouch.  At left you see one of the barrels I butchered, but it doesn't look too bad I think.  You can see the beards a bit better here; I probably should have used a darker color on them...


Another rifleman advancing with AK, and the other screwed up barrel.  Heck, in the closeup you can actually see I didn't get all the flash off the end of the right guy's barrel!  Damned close ups!


Two more riflemen moving forward at the ready carry (rifle up, searching and assessing targets over your sights).


Another pair of riflemen moving forward, AKs at the hip.


Last two riflemen, moving forward.


The first two machine gunners, both with PKMs, one advancing and one in a kneeling position.


Other two machine gunners, one assault firing and the other moving forward.  The one one the right looks similar to the previous advancing machine gunner pose, but is a different sculpt.


Two snipers, both with Dragunovs.  Not to quibble, but those barrels look just a tad long to me.


The two RPG gunners, really love these two poses, though the tube looks just a hair short (it seems like it should extend just a little more beyond the firing shoulder).

Reverse.  Yeah, I love putting yellow on stuff just to add some color.  I love the packs; I think this is the first time I've ever actually seen 10mm or 15mm troops with the RPG pack for extra rockets.

And lastly we come to the solitary leader, kneeling and talking on a 90s-era brick cellphone.  Or a handset radio ;)

Looking at him head-on, at his large and illustrious beard.

And the reverse.  Pretty cool character, I like him.

I like the whole force actually, and can't wait to get them on the table.  I need to fight some more 20mm battles in Cronistria, then the war will switch to 15mm.  As part of this, I'm also waiting for some awesome stuff I ordered for my birthday; it will ship this Saturday, should have it next week sometime.  This evening I got home from work a bit early so I put the finishing touches on some 'old' QRF US infantry in desert gear, and a Battlefront US Mech Plt in woodland camo.  I'll get them photographed and posted here as soon as possible.

Thanks for looking and, as always, comments are welcome!