09 August 2008

Flames of War M10 3" GMC Tank-Destroyer Platoon Product Review

I made a purchase from Hobbytown's Flames of War display. I picked up a Tank Destroyer Platoon box set, which doesn't at all fit into the Eastern Front games I plan on building forces for. I just can't resist the allure of American WWII vehicles. Some people can't get enough German kit but I'm a sucker for U.S. gear. So I'll probably wind up trying to build opposing forces for Germany and America; I'm trying to decide whether they'll be mechanized infantry or footsloggers. I can pick up various attachments (such as an M10 Tank-Destroyer Platoon) for them to keep things interesting. One thing I like about Battlefront's packaging scheme is the ready-made units. You can buy one box or blister and have all the vehicles, soldiers, and guns you need to fill out the unit. You can also buy individual vehicles and infantry groups. One thing that attracted me to the set I chose was that I got three AFVs, a couple of jeeps, and a couple fire teams worth of infantry as well as crew for each of the vehicles.

The vehicle sculpts seem a little fuzzy and there are some big globs that I'll have to carve off, mostly on the bottom where the tracks and wheels glue on. There is plenty of stowage sculpted on, as well as a sprue of accessories like sandbag armor for the front slopes of the M10s. One gripe I have is the way the metal accessories are attached to their sprues with huge tags running the length. On the jeep windshields, for example, the sprue attaches to one full side of the windshield, meaning I'll have to clip it carefully and file the whole thing down. The same goes for the machine guns and stowage. The M20 armored car has a ring mount for the machine gun that is going to be bear to mount as it doesn't match up with the attachment points. I imagine my fingers and that part will spend a little time glued together before it's all done with. I don't see any problems with the crew and infantry figures although the jeep crew figures are attached to a sprue with the same large tags as the machine guns and windshields.

I like the variety of the sculpts. The jeeps are both a little bit different. The stowage in the back is slightly different and one of them has the windshield folded down with some gear tied across it. Looking closely at this jeep just now I noticed that a section of the windshield broke off at some point and wound up stuck to the hood. I don't know what Battlefront's policy on replacing miscast figures is; I guess this is a chance to find out. The extra stowage sprue for the Tank Destroyers is nice. Aside from the ring mount on the armored car the parts appear to fit well.

Overall I'm satisfied with the product. Hopefully I can get the jeep replaced or fix it myself. It should be fun to put the kits together with their stowage and accessories. I like the full-unit-in-a-box packaging, especially when you can get a unit with a nice mix of vehicles and infantry. I haven't worked with resin figures before, so I'm not sure what to use for glue. I'm sure I can search on TMP and figure it out rather quickly. The resin seems to give them a little more heft than plastic, but not as much as metal. I also don't have any paint for the figures, a situation I'll have to remedy at some point.

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