Last year Keith Armstrong of ArmiesArmy ran a Kickstarter campaign to produce a range of Cold War British and Soviet Airborne figures.
This coincided fortuitously with the release of the Afghantsy supplement for Team Yankee, and appealed to me particularly as the range was to be modelled in winter kit so there would be no need for me to paint the somewhat complex Airborne camouflage uniform, my painting skills not being anything to write home about
I backed the Kickstarter at a level which would give me a fair amount of infantry but also 4 of the BMD IFVs (more of which later), but I also added in some extra infantry and heavy weapon purchases.
The figures are highly detailed and come with a minimum of flash, as mentioned earlier they are modelled wearing the winter parka and so are also suitably chunky as befits combatants wearing winter gear. The rifle and RPG armed troops come modelled in either the standard M40 helmet or a fur ushanka. The command figures are also depicted in helmest and ushankas but also add in a “political” officer in a peaked cap and some officer figures wearing the beret. In the heavy weapons selections MG and AGS17 Grenade Launcher figures are exclusively in the M40 whilst SA14 and ATGM crew are exclusively in berets.
There is a generous mix of poses for the rifle squads, there are 2 poses for the PKM squad automatic weapon (advancing in helmet and kneeling in an ushanka) and 5 poses for the AKM riflemen (kneeling firing, standing and advancing in helmet; standing firing and standing in ushanka )
There are single poses for the heavy weapons squads, which consist of tripod mounted PKM in sustained fire mode (helmet), SA14 Grail crewman (beret), the ATGM model is of a 9M14 Malyutka ground launcher (NATO reporting name Sagger) and separate crewmember (beret), which means the figures are slightly out of line with the Team Yankee lists which indicate a 9K111 Fagot launcher.
the figures take paint really well, I am by no means a great painter, and they got the normal block paint and then wash technique that all my figures get, yet they have turned out as probably the best painted figures I’ve produced. For me the “chunkiness” adds considerably to the outcome
Included in the package that I kickstarted were 4 models of the BMD1 the Soviet Airborne APC which is like a mini-BMP1
When I used to play moderns in 2mm and could really let my megalomania run riot I had a whole airborne brigade with a battalion of BMDs and ASu-85s (I live in hope that they’ll make a TY appearance)
The BMD1 which was introduced in 1969 and first seen by the West in 1970. BMD stands for Boyevaya Mashina Desanta (Боевая Машина Десанта, literally “Combat Vehicle of the Airborne”).[ It is both air-portable and air droppable (with the crew on board, check out YouTube for footage of this). The BMD-1 has an unconventional layout for an IFV. From the front to the back of the vehicle, the compartments are located in the following formation: steering, fighting, troop and engine. This is because the BMD-1 is based on Ob’yekt 914, which in turn is based on the PT-76 amphibious light tank. This meant that transported troops had to mount and dismount the vehicle via the roof hatches, which made them an easy target on the battlefield when these actions were performed. The BMD1 carries the same 73mm gun as the BMP1 and also mounts the 9M14 Malyutka missile (with two reloads), this is the missile with the Nato reporting name Sagger, and again is the same as carried by the BMP1. The BMD1 had 3 7.63mm MGs, one co-axially mounted with the main gun and two in bow mounts
The ArmyArmies model is all metal and consist of a chassis, 2 track pieces, 2 small hatches for the forward compartments, a turret piece, with a Malyutka missile piece and turret hatch piece. It fits together well, although I struggled to get a perfect fit with the chassis hatches and some careful filing or trimming will be necessary. There is no crew figure supplied so but I’m guessing if you’ve got Soviet tanks anywhere in your collection you will have a spare crew figure
Overall it’s a nice kit, and it paints up well, although not yet an “official” Team Yankee vehicle I proxy mine as a 4 vehicle BMP1 recce unit for my Afgantsy, the gun and missile ratings are the same and the armour values are not enough of a difference to be too upset about. Maybe as the ruleset evolves we’ll see the vehicle making an official appearance, and maybe even the BMD2, which not unsurprisingly is like a mini BMP2.
I really like the quality of this product from ArmiesArmy, and I know that Keith has just finished a new crowd funding project for Canadians and Norwegians – they are really worth a look, for me the infantry are better in quality than Battlefront, with my painting technique they turned out nicer. My plan now is to buy some more figures to use as Warsaw Pact infantry in winter kit, rather than but anymore Battlefront figutres (other than a couple of heavy weapons packs). Keith does now sell the figures in Team Yankee packs, though if there is one thing I would change it would be to sell them as individual figures, but that’s just my personal choice. 9 out of 10 for me, well worth a look.