Well it looks like Games Workshop's bad customer service is having an affect - I finally convinced myself to pick up some Flames of War. I've gone with British paratroopers, which are models I already own in 28mm, so I know their history and equipment well. As a cheapskate I needed to choose an army that was light on the wallet, so Fearless Veteran has its appeal.
So as this is my first Flames of War purchase, lets start with my impressions of the packaging. The logo and colours are distinctive and the overall look is very slick. I like the way that essential information is clearly displayed on the the packaging, usually with icons. We can quickly see that the models are British, this is a Company of 106 figures, and is for the Late War period. There is a suitably dramatic picture of the paratroopers assaulting a bridge as they did in Arnhem.
The back of the box shows the entire contents of the box, assembled and painted to a good standard. The models are grouped into platoons and the command squad, and displayed next to appropriate wargaming scenery. It lists the different teams supplied in the box and shows full-size pictures of most of these - which proved very useful for me when assembling the teams.
Inside the box is a sturdy plastic insert, divided up into six compartments, that contains the models and bases. Each compartment is topped with a foam square to reduce movement I guess. The first thing I did upon opening the box was sort out all the figures by their weaponry, to see how many of each weapon I had as well as how many of each pose. Some poses were present 5 or 6 times, though most were around the 3-4 mark. There is plenty of variety in the poses though most are dynamic. There are only one pose using the sights of his rifle for example. I had exactly 106 models as advertised, and all the weapons that should be there.
Unfortunately some models are holding their sten guns by the ammo clip. This was not done as it would quickly dislodge the clip. I also noticed this in the main box picture. Tsk tsk Battlefront!
The models have little flash, and what was there was easy to remove with just a hobby knife. Nothing that ruined any detail. The main work was scraping the bases so that they were flat and thus would glue easily. The models do have the big heads that Battlefront are known for, but not as bad as internet posts had led me to expect. They are about 5 heads tall, which is around the minimum I would be happy with, but its fine.
The box is designed to field 3 platoons of paratroopers, plus a company command. Each platoon consists of 6 stands of infantry (4 models/base) plus a command, PIAT, and mortar team. The company command consists of two command bases, plus three PIAT teams.
I think that this box must have been designed for an earlier version of the rules. In the briefing I have there is no ability to attach mortars to a platoon - in fact each infantry team can fire smoke as if it was a mortar stand. So these mortar teams initially appear superfluous, although you could of course intermix them with the normal infantry in order to represent their mortar firing ability. However I am going to field them as a separate mortar platoon. I'll go into that more in my next post. The box is missing the 3 sniper stands that can be taken by the HQ. Perhaps Battlefront should update the box by swapping the mortars out for snipers, although I am happier with the mortars as snipers don't seem to be very popular in the internet lists I have seen.
So in summary, I am happy with my purchase and looking forward to painting these models up. Battlefront have definitely produced a quality product with plenty of detail in a convenient package. Although the contents do appear a little out of sync with the current edition, this is minor and does not prevent you from fielding the company optimally.
Stand by to hear more from me as I explore the Flames of War hobby further. Next post will focus on the British Parachute company - the lists I will be fielding and what models I need to purchase to do so.