Selecting and painting the U.S. Army, Part 1
by David Mustill (Club Chairman)
After much discussion we recently decided to take the plunge into Battlefront's 1980's Cold-War-Gone-Hot miniatures game, "Team Yankee". Based on the novel by HW Coyle and armed with its own alternative history timeline, TY takes the best war machines of the 80's and pits them against each other in a fictional war for Europe. With an ever expanding range of models encompassing more and more Nations and theatres of war, there is a scenario for every occasion!
First choice was models. We debated using 10mm or smaller tanks for a truly epic game size, but the available selection just wasn't large enough to keep up with the rules set. So we decided to stick with the Battlefront standard 15mm, as there are plenty of kits to utilise, and the official TY kits come with handy game cards. Next was choosing sides. Handily my opponent expressed an interest in Soviet armour and manpower, leaving me with my first choice, the good ol' U.S. of A! Being a child of the 80's I remember seeing news reports and having computer games involving the M1A1 Abrams tank and the A10 "Warthog" ("Thunderbolt"?) warplane, and being in awe of these modern monsters! Getting to wield them once again in battles is what swung it for me. Now if BF want to come up with Blackbird and B2 Stealth Bomber models, I would be in my element!
We managed to get hold of the "Hammerfall" starter set which pits T-64's against M1A1's in a two-on-two tester scenario, and comes with the requisite kits. We never got round to playing this particular game, but the models were perfect to get building and painting with, and the Abrams' became my command HQ section. Not overly fussy, the kits go together easily and look the part when finished! I decided that my Section leaders should have the IPM1 variant upgrade for a little extra protection, and to paint them a basic U.S. army green for that fresh-off-the-production-line feel. So far so good. Before our first game I acquired some M113's and U.S. Marines second hand from a Vietnam range for re-purposing, but I wanted to go tank heavy and so picked up a box of 5 Abrams. I hit them with a camouflage paint job I found in a picture online, starting with the turrets facing the rear and the U.S. army green all over, followed by random sprawls of matt black and a Coat D'Arms "Hairy Brown" which seemed to do the trick. Drybrushed highlights and a coat of Army Painter "Military Shader" wash all over had my first two platoons ready for the battlefield!
After our first test game I decided to tweak my line-up slightly. One of the two-tank HQ team was demoted to a regular platoon member to give me two even platoons of three and a single command tank. It felt like the best way to go forward with the units as I could now top up as I go, making platoons up to the full complement of four, adding extra platoons, or re-installing the second HQ vehicle. Fortunately I had left off the identification markings decals so a small reshuffle ensued, with camo added to the extra tank, and both platoons and HQ unit designated ready for battle. First and Second Platoons ready for action!