Insurgency, Modernized: A Quick Review of Black Powder, Red Earth’s OPFOR figures!

Oh what could this be? A distraction, most likely!

While on a bit of a break from working on my Horus Heresy Iron Warriors(there is a lot of them, and its taking a lot of time and effort to get through…), I happened, almost entirely by accident, to find some of the best looking Modern miniatures I’ve seen yet!

Oh, but a very nice distraction it is!

I was somewhat aware of Black Powder Red Earth prior to this. My friend was considering buying their graphic novel series, and had purchased the metal Spectre Miniatures set based on the IP. But in the intervening period, my friend had cooled somewhat on it, and since I myself wasn’t a massive fan of PMC style stuff in general, I wasn’t following them. Turns out, however, that they had brought out a Tabletop board/miniatures game, in what looks to be purely house to house affairs. It looks really good, but I’m already well served on the Moderns front by Spectre Operations, a ruleset I’ve taken quite a liking to. Luckily, the miniatures are available outside of the set, and….since I get paid commission on certain sales I make at my current job(and had a good couple weeks!), I could actually justify buying them on a lark.

The preview pictures on the website are gorgeous, and that alongside some pictures on both their own Facebook page and Spectre’s fanpage, lots of good images “in the wild” existed, which definitely made me feel confident in buying them.

That being said, fair warning. They are pricey. I definitely had a moment of utter sticker shock at my final bill. The actual miniatures are priced quite fairly, as your certainly paying a similar price for an equivalent amount of metal figures from Spectre, if not less, and while cheaper options exist, for bleeding edge modern figures you tend to pay a premium. As well, they are actually made in the USA, and for those American readers of mine, that is probably a significant point in their favour.

However, and this is no fault of their own(and I did actually get a small refund on postage, once I assumed actual cost was decided), shipping the figures to Canada is extremely dear. It is, however, very fast! I recieved them in a matter of days, not even a week, which for postage out of the US is incredible. I’ve not been a fan of ordering from American stores, as often it is more expensive then both Canadian and UK based alternatives and both of those are faster to my specific location. But in this case, I’d feel comfortable ordering again, and plan to. Just need to budget that in!

A small box, but packed well and with lots of good stuff inside!

The box art is nice, but….that isn’t why we are here! Lets see the models!

The figures arrived “intact”, although some were off their frame. Nothing major was broken however!

In a nice touch, all the different units were bagged separately. All the parts that would fall off the frame during shipping therefore stayed with the unit they were meant for. There was little guesswork. An AK was missing its magazine, and there was no sign of it in the bag, the first little quibble. Another miniature was missing an AK magazine sticking out of a fast-draw pouch, but that part was there, and was easily fixed.

I actually really like the resin. It’s almost rubbery, and is flexible. This is, as far as I can tell, a traditionally molded resin pour set. While I almost guarantee these were 3d printed masters, there are no layer lines(that I can see), which not even Games Workshop catches sometimes. I was very impressed. It’s a good resin to work with.

I did wash the figures to be sure that the mould release was gone. And I did that in my kitchen, to keep the new kittens company!

After about 3 hours, I had them all assembled. While 25mm round raised bases were supplied, I eschewed these in favour of lower profile Warlord Games flat bases. This was a decision made to make the scale difference between these figures(which are slightly bigger then most 28mm Moderns, close to Spectre scale) and the rest of my collection. I tended to base my Spectre Operations stuff on flat bases, and my Zona Alfa collection on raised, but that convention is played with fast and loose these days.

And the band of miscreants are assembled!

A joy to assemble! I’ll go over the issues I encountered later, but firstly, lets take a look at the different units and models!

Leading the bunch, this veteran Eastern Bloc(explicitly Chinese/North Korean in the lore I could find for the setting) mercenary leads this group. A fantastic model!
Crisply defined deep detail, this model will take a wash and drybrush exceptionally well. The pouches are well realized here.
Nothing is skimped on, and the back of the model is just as good as the front.

The first figure, labeled a “Hongbin Enabler”, is some sort of advisor type figure for the board game. I believe they are a Chinese/North Korean PMC, from what lore I could dig up. Advancing the interests of the Chinese Politburo in a conveniently…deniable fashion, I would imagine!

A really nice figure, with a great looking rifle, lots of detail, and a strong leader-type stance!

Hongbin Mercenaries! With beefy looking AK’s(not entirely sure if they are AK’s, as they look awfully RPK to me!), these guys mean business, and are geared to the nines.
Just like the Enabler, the back of the models is just as good as the front. The scarves are a nice touch.

The Hongbin Mercenaries look just as good as their leader. With great looking, heavy Ak’s or RPKs, these guys look just as geared as any Western force. I’d have no problem rating them Professional or Elite based on the scenario for Spectre, and look like they could give my other forces serious trouble!

The Muhtasib, well equipped but definitely not Hongbin! Equipped with Russian pattern Gorka suits and modern Ak’s, these guys may not be on the level of the Hongbin but are definitely better equipped then any opfor figure I own currently until now!
The Gorka suit features a lot of strapping, and that detail is carried over onto the models really well. The detail isn’t overly exaggerated but yet looks so crisply defined that it should be a joy to paint!

The “Muhtasib”, which means according to Wikipedia a historical rank given in certain Islamic societies that differs in importance based on that culture. In the Middle East it seemed to be pretty innocuous, a supervisor of markets mostly, to South Asia where the Mughal’s used the title to refer to what can only be described as “morality police”. An interesting thing to call a unit in a tabletop game, certainly!

That historical fact out of the way, the Muhtasib figures are really nice in their Gorka Suits, Smersh webbing, and Night Vision goggles. Modern Kalashnikovs complete the look. These are by far, Hongbin aside, my best equipped “OPFOR” unit I have, with the full range of gear!

The Shurta round out the bunch. There are 3 poses, shown here, but repeated 4 times, to make a large group of 12! With “simple” gear, these guys make excellent troops.
The Gorka webbing straps look just as good here. One strap is missing off the back of the middle figure, and this mistake was on every figure of that pose I got!
Bunched up, these guys look excellent! A menacing mob, of surprisingly well equipped bad guys.

The last unit type covered is the Shurta, Arabic for police! I don’t get the same police vibe from these guys as the cops I’ve seen! These models are surprisingly well-equipped, and have radios, modern rifles, Gorka suits and Smersh webbing! I could, and plan to, run them as Trained, with some experience, and the backing of some major power to equip them and finance them!

Despite the limited sculpts for them, they seem to have a lot of character!

While the figures across the board look great, air bubbles were the great enemy. While flash was minimal and easily cleaned, all of one pose of Shurta were missing back straps on one side of their Smersh webbing. And 3 Ak’s, also on the Shurta, were really bad hit by them. Otherwise, any air bubbles present were in easily hidden locations, and and will be easily fixed by Tamiya modelling putty or green stuff.

The “Air Bubble Trio”, although the one guy straight up missing his magazine? That I can’t explain.

To leave on a good note, the models have fantastically detailed rifles across the board! Here is a pic of a Hongbin one, as an example! This is far better then most metal offerings!

Metal can’t beat this, at least not the ones I’ve seen!

I’m really pleased by this set, and I feel justified in my purchase. I do have the Contractor PMC set from Black Powder Red Earth on the way, and I’ll show those off once they arrive!

I’m borrowing my friends set of Spectre terrain to run a quick demo at the Clubhouse or at my house, and these figures give me more options then I ever had before. My mostly Taliban and Iraqi style insurgent force has gotten a serious shot in the arm, and can now “punch up” far more effectively. Should make for some very interesting games!

But that is all I have for today. Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and check your corners!

9 thoughts on “Insurgency, Modernized: A Quick Review of Black Powder, Red Earth’s OPFOR figures!

      1. I’ve a lot of 20mm already and the terrain to go with it… it is the terrain that I’m not keen on replicating for getting in to 28mm. Still with my WH40K stuff and the crossover potential with Zona Alfa I’ll probably cave in and get some…..

        Cheers,

        Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Black Site Studios does great pre-painted mdf terrain in 28mm, and my buddy got a huge set of Middle Eastern buildings, which works really well for us.

        The price to ship to the UK must be astronomical though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Will see what sarrisa over here has that will be suitable… am sure they’ll have something good. Posting MDF abroad must be really expensive. I love the Brutal Cities stuff from down under but the postage must be ridiculous plus import fees.

        Cheers,

        Pete.

        Like

    1. Only issue is the air bubbles on some, otherwise these are probably the nicest moderns I’ve ever worked with! It’s great to be able to tell what weapon each is armed with and with what attachments, especially useful for Spectre!

      Liked by 1 person

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