Thursday, February 18, 2016

Paintup Review: Bannon's Boys for Team Yankee (M1A1s, AH-1s, M577)

This week we take a look at an entire army set - the Bannon's Boys startup box. Rather than break these up into individual reviews, I thought I'd give my views on the entire set. The box consists of Five M1/M1IPs/M1A1s, two Cobras and a M577 objective marker, as well as a set of unit cards, an ordnance template and a set of crew.


Background:

The set is the basis for a late Cold War army during the Reaganite period of the mid-to-late 80s. Here we saw many of the modern mainstays of the US military fleet begin to enter service, such as the M1, the Bradley and the Apache. There was a great deal of generational crossover at this point, with many ubiquitous vehicles of the mid Cold War, such as the AH-1 and the M113, still being in widespread use with line units. This box allows for the construction of just such a transitional force, with the M1s open to multiple configurations and the AH-1 in its up-gunned S configuration still sporting the single engine configuration.

As with the BMPs, the kits provided in the army box are almost all plastic in make, apart from the objective marker which is a single piece resin and the crew (I assume that like the Soviets, these will later be cast in plastic, I suspect this is currently a stopgap.)



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The M1 kit comes distributed across two sprues with 38 pieces total. Of these you will probably be using about three quarters of the parts to construct a single unit. The main reasons for this is that the sprues allow for the construction of either the M1/M1IP or the M1A1, which have a number of small, if notable differences. The M1/M1IP sports a smaller turret bustle with no rear basket, a smaller 105mm gun, three blowout panels on the turret and different rear panels covering the rear suspension.

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Generally speaking the design to accommodate the two different iterations is quite clever. The blowout panels, for example, are reversible, with the M1/M1IP on one side and the M1A1 on the other. Given I picked the latter configuration, one gripe I need to voice is the fiddlyness of assembling the bustle, as the components don't fit together very easily. The best solution I found was to perform  some minor surgery on the model to facilitate them to interlock effectively.

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The kits also come with a nice amount of stowage, allowing you to populate the stowage bins. These include supply boxes, jerry cans and spare roar wheels as well as five resin crew. Obviously, with the later, you can construct the tanks with the commander's hatch open or closed.The lads at BF have also included extra MGs, which apparently are meant to provide backups, should they snap during the de-spruing. I like that kind of initiative on the designer's part!


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The Cobra kits are supplied in 40 parts, as well as with a multi-part base and enough magnets to magnetize both the top rotors and the stand. I would advise that in building modelers leave the weapon pods separate, as this can make painting them down the line quite tricky!
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One of the things that impressed me most about the helo kits was the modular rotor blades. In all my years of wargaming, one of the things that has made me hesitant to use helicopters on the tabletop has been the super fragile blades that will often either sheer off, or cause the whole model to fall over should someone accidentally brush against them. With magnetization combed with a large base, the problem is largely mitigated.

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The sprue also allows for multiple configurations of the hard points, with a 30mm chain gun and extra FFAR pods. So far these aren't represented in the rules, but I highly suspect they will come in at a later point. After the MI-24, the Cobra is my favorite attack helo; much sleeker than the Apache and the addition of the chaingun makes it look super deadly.

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Finally we have the M577 command post. This is a single piece cast - not a lot else to say here given that its a single brick. A fun little vehicle with a lot of painting potential.



Quality:

As with the BMPs, both the style and casting of the plastics are superb. The M1s really benefit from the 'slightly heroic' upscalings, a feature that certainly improves what can often be a fairly boring tank to look at (trust me, I've built my fair share....).

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The ability to leave off the rear side panels is a nice touch, as this is often removed in the field.

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Once again, mold lines are minimal and barely noticeable. small details, such as grills and handles, are exaggerated, so as to ensure they are paintable.

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The cast quality of the M577 was generally solid, with 0 air bubbles. Unfortunately, the base appeared to have a bit of raised component under neath, which was a bit of a pain to fix.

Conclusion:

This whole set is a great way to dip ones toe into Team Yankee and get a sense of the miniatures and setup of the game. The quality over quantity nature of US forces means that investing in the Bannon's Boys set won't overburden the novice gamer with an unmanageable amount of toy soldiers to paint. a Platoon of M1s with helo support forms a nice core for subsequent expansion and at 90 bucks with all the excess gaming paraphernalia, the price is pretty reasonable. I'll definitely be going for some mech infantry and artillery next to expand out the force. Looking forward to getting back into painting Woodland BDUs!

Painting:

As mentioned last week, the aim was always to pursue a late 80s NATO woodland scheme over the MERDC scheme envisaged in the original Team Yankee book. The reasons for this are many, but the original cause is my fond memories of Operation Flashpoint, a game that really ignited my interest in this period.


Part of the issue I find with painting NATO woodland is that its darkness often eats a lot of the weathering I usually employ on my models. This can leave the kits fairly flat and boring looking and until now I was never really able to figur eout a way to remedy this.


For this set I employed the NATO rainmark streaks by AK Interactive. I applied them on heavy and then slowly broke down the outlined with a brush wetted with white spirit. The effect is subtle, but it adds more life to the big flat panels of US vehicles.


To tie the colors together a bit more I employed a soft brown/orange filter, ensuring to apply it in an extremely diluted manner just prior to streaking.


Base colors employed were a modulated coat of NATO green by AK interactive, followed by NATO black and NATO brown by Tamiya.


In prior attempts to chip multi-colored vehicles I always applied a tone of chipping based on the underlying color. This mean that previous efforts I would have employed a mix of green, grey and brown chips to the vehicle. This time, however, I simply stuck with the underlying color of green, using Vallejo green grey over the whole vehicle. I think this is probably the right way to go, as it ties the scheme together more effectively.


For pigment on the tracks I employed a very heavy helping of AK dark earth, followed by a low PSI (~10) spray of fixer.


For the Cobras I went a different route, using the MIG US WW2 armor modulation set to give them a nice olive finish.


After the standard gloss oil wash, I then went back and panel lined the whole vehicle with some Vallejo German cam black brown, this really brought the panels forward.


I think I may further lighten the center of the canopies, just to give them more of a glassy, reflective feel.

So there we have it: Bannon's Boys. Definitely a fun ride and this major foray into Cold War has whetted my appetite and left more aching for more. Next up I'll be diving into some more Soviets, with a look and crack at the T-72s! Stay tuned.

7 comments:

  1. I think your decision to do the tanks using an underlying color of green was the way to go here, hell it's how the real ones are done! Very nice work as always!

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  2. Superb work, have to agree with you that the Cobra has nice lines than the Apache- is the rear rotor magnetised as well?

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  3. Wow, great painting!
    Is it just the different light, or did the M113 receive another brown tone with more touch of red / mahagony? I think it looks better than on the M1s - but it could just be the placement of colors that gives this impression.

    Very inspiring work!

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    1. Nah same Tamiya NATO brown from the same batch, just the color balance in the photos

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  4. Holy sh!t - top shelf painting as usual! I found the Cobras fiddly as hell to assemble, but I do not have the requisite patience :-)
    Great work all around - where do you find the decals with the unit symbols? Or is that freehand magic?

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    1. Thanks!

      I have a huge pile of decals left over from decades of modeling that I tend to draw from. The Chevrons are part and parcel with Bannon's boys, as you know. The others are a mix of Ginfritter, Vene Vidi Vici and a few others I honestly can't recall :p

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