As part of the new Mid-War releases for V4, the British infantry has seen a new release in the form of plastic. ABS plastic to be precise. This has been announced over Battlefront’s website and I must say I was quite excited by the use of this material. It has been a heart wrenching journey with metal (and plastic) infantry as there has always been a greater tendency for the rifles to break off. Often than not, the metal bits would bend during transport which would result in a breakage after a period of time. So once the new infantry arrived in store, I had immediately picked out one blister pack to not only have a closer look but also to have a go at applying how it takes to being painted.
As with the latest release of V4, any models purchased would come with the unit cards and this blister contains four cards – the Formation card, Movement Order card, Motor Company HQ and the Motor Platoon card.
What I do like is what’s in the folded paper backing that holds the cards. Unfold it and you will see an instruction on how to base your infantry and thus dispel any doubts about how commanders and unit leaders should be based. While no further details are given, pictures of the painted models would give you an idea of how the models could be painted as well.
Next up would be the quality of the models. You will find three sprues – one with the commander and platoon support weapons and the other two would hold the men (and NCOs) of the platoon. When I picked up the sprue, from afar it seems that the models maybe somewhat lacking in details but this is not quite the case. There are sufficient details on the collar, pockets and placket and if a wash was to be applied, it would definitely give the main body of the figure sufficient depth/shadow. The webbing and its pouches along with the backpacks are also clearly sculpted on as are the folds of the pants and the sleeves. The details of the weapons are also present and its good enough to even bring out parts, especially the cylinder, of the revolver found on the commander. Now, you would ask if BF’s decision to use ABS is justified – Integrity of the model wise I think it would be. While some models , especially on the weapons, may display instances of warping (easily solved with hot water) I think not having the models bend and break during transport would be a very strong plus point for me.
I’ve taken a picture of the older MW British Motor platoon in which you can make your own comparison. Personally, I find the details on both metal and plastic to be equally good. While there maybe some batches of metal infantry whose casting were terrible, that would be more due to the age of the mould. The metal figures would show good details on the shirt, pants, webbing and face. The usual complaints I would have would be that details of the webbing harness and that of the shirt would not always be easy to pick out when painting.
One odd little thing though – the radio man for the command stand. The radio has like a depression and I’ve no idea why it is so. I do not quite believe that radios of that age were made hollow. Anyways, it’s a minor detail and for those who are irritated by it, a simple filler would do the trick.
Now for the not so good parts – the faces on some of the infantry are quite shallow and would seem that unless precision painting is to be done, it might be difficult to make out the facial features. There are also the usual flash on the models but, given my past experience with this plastic, it may seem difficult to deal with. My attempts to shave the flash or to file it off ended up creating more unwanted excesses and in some cases, removed the detail off the model entirely! I blame the lack of proper tools (sharp Exacto would be a good thing to have) but I guess its largely due to my inexperience in dealing with this type of material.
Now time to assemble the platoon. One immediate, and most excellent, fact that would become obvious is that BF would actually provide you with more models that are needed on a singular platoon! You would have enough left to make either another command stand or an infantry stand sans the Bren gunner (no biggie IMO). The pack provides enough stands to make up the platoon but as a long time FOW gamer, spare stands are something that I have bags full of. Ok. I lied. I don’t have a bagful, just a ziplock worth. I assembled the models using Tamiya’s plastic glue. The result is a mixed one. Some models stuck well and some others did not which suggest to me that I would have been better off using super glue right off from the start.
Painting the Models
Now to put the models to the test. I’ve painted two command stands partially but had used slightly different methods for both.
The right stand was first primed before a coat of Iraqui Sand was applied. The left had a coat of Iraqui Sand applied as the base/primer. The results are of course apparent – notice the right most figure with some of the grey plastic showing?
Next a black wash was applied for the left and a Strong Tone (Army Painter) was applied to the right. Truth be told, I would prefer to use the Strong Tone as it does not drown out the base coat of the models.
Both models were layered with a coat of Iraqui and the helmets were painted with Desert Yellow. Webbings were painted using Stone Grey (a little light to see here) and the faces were painted with Dwarven Flesh.
At this point, I had run out of time as I was due for a flight out but let’s sum up my experience and the outcome thus far. Personally, priming the model may seem important at the start in letting the base coat stick, the subsequent wash however, would rectify this and allow for the first layer to be effectively applied. Black wash while good at giving depth, tend to darken the model too much and to me looks a little artificial. Some may like it thought. Speaking of which, I would recommend spraying it black and then layering it up. Easier. I have the tendency to, these days, paint using the colour of my initial layer followed by a wash then a “highlight” of the same base colour. The faces however, are as expected – disappointingly flat for most of them.
In all, despite some noticeable flaws, the models are worthwhile buying and they do complement your current forces as the new poses would give your overall army a more dynamic look. Not to mention the cards which would be very handy to have while playing (I hate referring to the book. Too cumbersome for me).