As so often happens in our hobby, I have wheeled and dealed my way into yet another Cold War army. This time, it is the patriotic poster boys themselves, the United States Army.
This was an interesting deal indeed, as it travelled between several people before eventually ending up in my hands. I was never intending to play Americans, but having an army pretty much fall in your lap is hard to say no to.
My plan is for this army to be a ‘demo’ army, one I can wheel out at the Clubhouse for games if a person doesn’t own a Team Yankee army and wants to try it out. Of course, I’m getting awfully attached to these wee plastic men, so I reserve the right to be selfish and keep the Freedom all to myself.
However, this army was a hodgepodge, mixed from many sources and missing a few of the unit cards. I decided early on that the M60’s (the not-Abrams tanks on the left) would instead be used…for yet another different army. But more on that later. The rest of the force was viable, and I decided to add some of the newer releases, along with the newer book, to my collection.
First up, I added some more modern airborne punch with two Apache gunships. While the jury is out on just how ‘good’ these helicopters are in Team Yankee, the kit itself is beautiful and a great example of how far Battlefront has come in their kit design.
Secondly, two of the Abrams tanks in the army I got were done up as the later M1A1 variant. While, oddly enough, the kit included this option since its release many moons ago, it was never reflected in-game until the American book release this year. As such, I didn’t have the cards.
I also wanted more of them, so I purchased(on sale, might I add!) an additional platoon of Abrams. These will be assembled as 1 M1A1HC, and 4 M1A1 tanks, allowing me in total to field two platoons of three and command of these heavy-weight US bruisers. Expensive points wise, but with T-80’s on the prowl I’ll need the protection…and firepower.
While the rest of the Abrams remain on sprue, I have managed to assemble the command tank. With just the auxiliary power unit being the only difference(on the kit, the real tank differs quite a bit!), I wanted to add some spice to the model.
I was inspired by a model Battlefront did, featuring an ACAV turret from an M113 APC on an M1 Abrams. While in no way historically accurate, or even doable(I have no idea if the cupola would even match up correctly), it had the advantage of looking really cool.
So, I cued the music, and got to work.
While I took some pretty large creative liberties with this tank, I hope it looks good! I personally quite like the effect it gives off, and the calibre of the machine guns remains the same so no conflict with the unit card. Perhaps the Captain here is leading his company into a West German town, and traded for the turret. A tank like this deserves a little story to go with it.
Christmas promises some Bradley’s to go with my Abrams, so I can mount my grunts into some more protected transports. While the M113’s aren’t bad, I did want something similar to my British Warrior IFVs.
As for the rest of the army….Since I lacked unit cards for the M109 artillery pieces and the M60 tanks, I had to think for a bit. The M109’s I can easily grab the new plastic M109 kit to add some additional firepower to the battery, and grab a slew of extra cards as well, the M60’s were another matter. I didn’t see myself using them as Americans, Marines or regular Army. And they weren’t kitted out as Magachs for the Israeli variant either. And I know two people with Israeli armies anyways.
But one other nation in Yankee also use M60’s, and that is Iran. With the Team Yankee sale on at Meeplemart in Toronto, I purchased the Iranian unit cards, and two boxes of Ayatollah’s Revolutionaries. While I’ll need to steal a Chieftain command tank from my pile of unbuilt Brits, combined with ten M60 tanks I have, at least at my local level, a viable force.
I’ll be chipping away at my pile of unbuilt Yankee goodness over the next few days during my surgery recovery, so expect a few more blog posts over the holidays. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and Merry Christmas!
Confession time…I hate painting camouflage. Absolutely hate it. I love the idea of it, but the actual time and painting skill required can be extremely daunting, and I never really attempted it. Until last week.
The British Army of the Rhine I’m working on historically had a quite simple scheme of black and green, and I figured I could rattle-can the process, and get it done really quickly. I followed this idea from Battlefront themselves, https://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=5329, and figured I could use Blue-Tack to accomplish the same task.
This. Did. Not. End. Well.
The issue I ran into is that not all Blue-Tack is the same. The brand I used was an off brand, a terrible gloopy Plasticine mess that stuck to the model and stubbornly refused to come off. Realistically, this wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own, as I used a sub-standard product. To be clear; Don’t use no-name brand Blue-Tack for this. Actually, having found another solution, I recommend not using Blue-Tack for this at all.
Now, I had to get the paint and Blue-Tack mess off. Plastic models aren’t as bad as resin to strip paint of off, but it is still significantly harder then metal. There is a lot of debate as to what the best solution is. I can only offer my personal solution, and make no claims that it is the “best”. I must warn you that I have no idea how this works on resin, so be warned!
What you want is this!
This, by far, in my experience the easiest and least fuss method. Simply pour the 90% isopropyl alcohol straight into a plastic container (Tupperware style), and let the plastic miniatures sit in it for a few minutes to a couple of hours. It should, depending on how thick the primer and paint was, come off fairly quickly. It may stain the model, but this doesn’t happen very often and also is of fairly little consequence as the new paint should cover it entirely.
So with Blue-Tack turning out to be a bust, a bit of further reading turned up Silly Putty as a masking solution. I applied it much the same as I did the Blue-Tack, and resprayed the models, emptying my last can of Firefly Green in the process(Luckily, some advice from several people on the Team Yankee Facebook page has led to a suitable replacement.) Not only did it not stick to the model like the Blue-Tack, it is alsoreusable! This is a massive improvement, and leads to the models you see as the end result that you can see here.
In all honesty, I didn’t document this process as thoroughly as I should have, since I was not exactly in the right mood for it. Lots of swearing, and overall malaise kind of took over. Lesson learned though, and it provides a decent start to begin painting in earnest. I do think I need more green and less black in the scheme, and the rest of my army will take that into account. On the bright side, one of the two boxes of Charlies Chieftains I found online has arrived, and the other hopefully will arrive soon, giving me Lynx helicopters and a solid core of Chieftain tanks, a cheaper alternative for when I don’t want to take the Challengers. The Lynxes I’m torn on if they should be assembled with TOWs or as transports; I’m leaning toward the latter to give me options to drop troops with nasty Milans in places they shouldn’t be.
This may not have been my most fun experience, and a less cheery blog post then I normally put out. But if my experience can help someone else, it’ll have been worth it! Beyond the scope of the Team Yankee project, I have also been tasked by my gaming Clubhouse to help build a website for them, and hopefully soon the fruits of those labours can be shared with all of you!
But until next time, Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be!
Hello there! I did say I would reveal my next Team Yankee project on April 25th, and as you may have guessed from the Free Nations book, and the date, its the Anzacs!
Yeah, that was my reaction too, upon finding out that the Kiwis and Aussies were in the game! It was a pleasant surprise, as I quite like the countries in question, and actually have a small connection to Australia myself. But what are they even doing in West Germany in 1985?
Well, there are two reasons. The first is the one the book gives us; The Australians and New Zealanders were invited by the British to a military exercise taking place in June 1985, and upon finishing it, were committed by their parent governments to stay, in case of hostilities with the Warsaw Pact. This isn’t entirely without precedent; Exercise Lionheart in 1984 in our real timeline had exchange officers from both nations embedded in it. A full brigade of troops is fanciful, but amusing, and one must remember it IS a game at the end of the day.
The second reason is much, much simpler. Battlefront Games is from New Zealand. They wanted their own country in it. That is entirely fair! Can’t say I’d do much different, in their place.
As for why I’m playing them, it came down to again, two reasons. Firstly, my friend and I always like to have two armies for a system, and he wanted to play Canada. As we are both Canadians, I will admit to being a little sad. But I got Australia instead, and man, am I happy about that!
Secondly, my own family history is amusingly on point here. We come from Anglo-Pakistani stock, and when it came time for my, well, large family to leave the home country, we chose two destinations. It is incredibly amusing, and the source of many jokes, that we chose almost literally the two farthest places in the world to settle apart from each other! Half went to Australia, the other Canada. We remain close, and as a kid I used to relish the visits of my odd speaking cousins.
As a child, I researched their military history almost as much as my own adopted country. The Battle of Gallipoli hold a place in my heart as much as Vimy Ridge. And who could forget Kapyong, where the Royal Australian Regiment and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry both won a Presidential Unit Citation from the United States for holding a vital pass? A classic tale of Commonwealth brotherhood. The Royal New Zealand Artillery was there too, and they shouldn’t be forgotten either!
As you can probably tell, I was pretty excited to get started on this project. I’m still stuck on priming miniatures, as much of this was purchased while it was still too cold to prime, and that issue still continues. For now, I’ll just show off what I have.
All in all, my Anzac force is coming along. I still have two boxes of Leopard 1’s to build, giving me a total of eighteen in total! I still am waiting in the mail for another Mechanized Platoon, and I still need to order an insane amount of m113’s, a task made harder by the fact that Australia used the T50 turret, so I can’t just cannibalize other nations M113s. The Scorpions in my British list will probably be transferred to this list, to represent the New Zealand contribution to the war effort. They will be replaced in the British list by Foxes. I also require a Tracked Rapier troop; this gives my Anzac’s the serious anti-air option they require to be competitive, while also expanding the options available to the British list.
I’m quite pleased with the progress I’ve been making; the assembly line will continue tomorrow, churning out more tanks, and waiting for the weather to finally cooperate. Once this project is done, hopefully the shut-down will be over and I can get a game in, as believe it or not, I still haven’t tried out this out! If not, I will probably start on my Oil War forces, Syrians, mainly to fight my friends Israelis down the road. I also, on impulse, purchased two ADATS(an odd weapon platform adopted by the Canadian Army) Anti-Air platoons during Battlefronts daily deal, mostly because, c’mon I’m still Canadian at the end of the day. They’ll probably see use in my friends eventual army, but gives me an excuse to paint my own country’s armed forces.
Now, my friends gave me permission to post what they got done! So without further ado, lets have a peek!
And that’s all I got for today! Lots of painting in our collective future!
This was a fun post to write, and have one last aside to make. While it is certainly not a big deal for other parts of the world, I’d like to wish any Australians and New Zealanders visiting a good Anzac Day! It is a seriously important day for them, and while I may be half a world away, for at least a few hours, I’ll celebrate your achievements along with you. From Gallipoli to the Kokoda Trail, to Kapyong and Long Tan, may your soldiers be remembered as some of the finest in the world. Happy War-gaming Mates, wherever you might be! Stay Safe everyone!
It feels good to be back! It has been a long time since my last post, with my own personal situation and the global chaos that has been 2020 having caused a whole slew of issues, with my problems at least finally back in control! I apologize for the few of you who read my content, but for now at least I’m back.
With Covid-19 looming large, and a shutdown (albeit a soft one) in Canada, I found myself with not a lot to do. A quarantine project was needed, but having burned out of 40k(again), I couldn’t really muster any enthusiasm. Luckily, as it so often turns out to be, my friend asked me a quite innocent question that caused an avalanche.
“Hey, Andrew, you ever hear of a game called Team Yankee?”
I had, but not paid it much mind. 15mm was a scale I’d sworn off on doing, what with the tiny models and multiple infantry on one base thing. But 28mm was a topic my group had covered quite comprehensively, and my research showed me a game that was fun, if not entirely always realistic. The Cold War is also a fascinating topic, with lots of ground to cover, from Korea all the way to the hypothetical situation in West Germany with the Able Archer exercise causing a global thermonuclear war. Interesting, and also terrifying. As well, unlike many of my peers, my parents didn’t grow up with the terror of the Cold War looming as they had the quite real terror of the Indo-Pakistani wars instead, so it was a topic I needed to study myself. So it was a solid background for a tabletop game, trading my current existential terror of the pandemic for the historical existential terror of World War Three.
With my interest in the history, real or otherwise piqued, I turned to the game. Team Yankee is based off the venerable Flames of War system. I have heard many things about that game, not all of them good, admittedly. But Team Yankee from, at least from all the battle reports I had watched, looks incredibly fun. Simple to learn, with a degree of strategy above Bolt Action(which does platoon level infantry action really well, less so armored combat) or 40k, where many games I’ve played having been decided in the list-building step. The smaller scale also means that company level warfare was now playable on our 4×6 tables.
As for what countries each of us would play, my one friend picked the Soviet Union, while the other picked West Germany. Myself? I had a couple in mind, but the first one is the focus for today…
The British, or more specifically, the British Army of the Rhine, was my first choice. With a strong defensive focus, and a few nasty surprises, these chaps hit like a truck(or is that a lorry?) and can take it in turn. I wasn’t able to get the Challenger starter box, or either of the older Charlies Chieftains boxes, so my army was made up of what was available in Canada at the time. I didn’t know until later that this was one of the stronger nations to play, that was an accident, I swear!
We all agreed to build up to 100 points, and to have that 100 point army painted and complete before the next time we saw each other. Without any further distractions, onto the pictures!
As my friends complete their armies, I’ll ask them if they are okay with me showing off their progress. While it will be a while before I can play, it’ll be a fun project. I’ve already learned a considerable amount about the last years of the Cold War, and painting…when the weather finally cooperates to allow me to prime, will be a blast. Except for the infantry, in their fancy DPM uniforms. Almost makes me want to play the Warsaw Pact!
In any event, I didn’t stop here, as that would be an intelligent option. I also picked up another book, for cheap, on eBay. Reading it gave me an idea for another force…
As the weather is downright miserable in Canada(at least my little corner of it.), I’ll be cracking on with assembling this second army. A few clues to what it is. Firstly, it is in the Free Nations book. And secondly, I will be posting progress pictures on April 25th. If you got a guess lemme know! You won’t win anything, but it will be slightly amusing! I’ll see you guys then.
As always, Happy War-gaming, wherever in the world you might be! And, stay safe everyone. May not be 1985, but we still got a crisis to worry about. Take care!