Sunday, June 28, 2020

Yet Another Scale

Last year, I bought into Plastic Soldier Company's pre-order for their Battlegroup Northag ruleset. This is a Cold War Gone Hot game set in the early 1980s, with mainly British and Soviet armour and infantry models to start with. I like the focus on the British, since it gets away from the typical US vs Soviet match up, and it showcases some interesting British equipment like the Chieftain tank and the FV432 APC.
The miniatures for this release are 10mm scale, or 1/144 according to PSC. It's a scale that I hadn't worked with before, but it seems to be a happy medium between the better size but lacking detail of 6mm and the good detail but over-sized models of 15mm. Also, these models are produced using PSC's "Ultracast" system, which seems to be a type of injection molded soft plastic, but with soft, resin-style molds.
Last week, I finally received my pre-order package, for which I'm glad. With all the pandemic stuff going on and hitting the UK especially hard, I was pleasantly surprised that PSC managed this without too long of a delay. So let's take a look at what I have.

I ordered the basic starter set, which consists of the British and Soviet starter armies. In addition, I ordered a Soviet T-80 company and some extra packs of recon vehicles and other odds and ends. The army sets come in cardboard boxes, and the extras are in plastic bags.

The mainstay of the Soviet army starter set is a T-64 company. I really appreciate PSC's dedication to actual history here. Too many games always use the T-72 for the Soviet Army in the Cold War, but the T-64/T-80 series was the main battle tank of the front-line breakthrough units, with the T-72 used as a cheaper tank for second-line and follow-up forces.

This is a close-up of the hull. The details are fine, but the soft plastic nature of the models really comes through, with shallower detail than you would find in metal.

This is a close-up of the turret and track sections. Again, decent detail, but I can't help but think metal would be better. Note that the barrels are also bent, another typical "feature" of soft plastic and resin. I think some hot water will fix that easily though.

The Soviet starter army also comes with a motor rifle company, equipped with BTR-60s. The BTRs are in three sections, the hull, the tires, and the machine gun turret. There are also two BRDM recon vehicle included.

A close-up of the details. Again, nice and serviceable, but nothing extraordinary. Rather like the BTR itself actually. :)

The infantry models are a bit of a mixed bag. Stylistically, you can easily see how the sculpting is similar to PSC's infantry in other scales. However, there's actually a lot of mold lines on these already small models, which will be a problem for cleanup and painting.

The British starter army consists of a Chieftain platoon and a mechanized infantry platoon. The Chieftains, like the Soviet tanks, are broken down into the turret, hull, and track sections. The detail level is similar to the Soviet tanks, with the same bendy barrel issue. PSC has included the Stillbrew turret option, which was an upgrade to the Chieftain to provide it with more armour. You can build either version of the Chieftain tank.
Also, the pack includes two light tanks, which you can build as either a Scimitar (30mm gun) or a Scorpion (76mm gun).

The mechanized infantry platoon contains four FV432 APCs and some British infantry. Both of these have the same characteristics as the Soviet counterparts, for better or worse.

The additional T-80 company is very similar to the T-64 unit. The models are slightly different to reflect the external differences between the two tanks.

The hulls of the T-80s.

The turrets of the T-80s. Again, all the same issues apply as for the T-64s.

I like the subject matter, and I'm really interested in getting into these rules. However, I'm really not blown away by the models. It'll be a while before I get to painting these, due to other projects in the queue, but when I do get to them, I'll have to do some extra work to clean them up and fix them.

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