Let’s Do the Time Warp Again
There’s a theory that says we know for a fact that in the future time travel will never be invented, as we would have already come across time travellers from the future if it had. I’m about to prove that theory wrong, for I have already written an article about the new Bagration Soviet boxset . That article contained my thoughts about how to utilise the new boxset and some army lists to go with it. But my boxset only arrived in the post a few days ago, and here I am writing an unboxing article about it. Which proves I have invented time travel. That, or I happened to get hold of the PDF earlier than the box…
Its Just a Jump to the Left….. of the political spectrum
The box contains the very best of Soviet heavy hardware in Flames of War. Just rifling through the contents will make you want to start humming the Soviet national anthem, throw off the shackles of oppression, and help liberate your fellow man. Or possibly it might make you reach for the polycement, side clippers and craft knife. It’s one of the other.
What’s in the box?
Short answer: a pile of sprues and a few other Gubins
• 4x IS-2/IS-85
• 4x ISU-122/ISU-152
• 4x SU-76
• 3x BA-64
• 4x 76mm Guns or 57mm Guns
• A Hero Rifle Company
• Mini rulebook
• Start here guide
• Plus assorted Decals, crew figures and stat cards
Anyway on with the overview….
IS-2 or IS-85
The IS kit comprises of 2 sprues, one with the hull body, tracks and accessories, and the other with the hull top and turret parts. The sprue can be used to make either an IS-2 or an IS-85, with the only difference between the 2 being the barrel and the mantlet.
The only issue I had with building the kit was identifying which hull top to use. The sprue includes two different hull tops with only minor differences between them. It wasn’t clear to me from the instructions in the box which hull top to use, but a quick check of the more detailed online building instructions clarified things. You get plenty of optional stowage and external fuel tanks to add to the model if you desire, along with 2 AA machine guns, which is handy as they can be a bit tricky to get off the sprue, making breakages commonplace.
My main gripe with this kit is that you only get one turret. Some of the new Battlefront kits like the Valentine come with 2 turrets so you can swap between models, but since there is no way to swap the mantle, with this kit you have to choose whether you want to build an IS-85 or an IS-2.
ISU-122 or ISU-152
The ISU kit is also made from 2 sprues; the same hull body and tracks sprue as the IS kit, and a separate hull top sprue. You have options to make either an ISU-122 or an ISU-152. The only difference is the gun barrel.
The build for this is very straight forward and I didn’t have any issues, which is good, seeing as I wouldn’t mind another 4 at least. Whilst I just glued the gun barrels in, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to magnetise them, so you have the option of fielding either type of SP gun. You get the same stowage options as are found on the IS sprue.
A new plastic kit made for this release, everything is on 1 sprue and there are no options or additional parts. The kit goes together easily with some pieces just clicking into place. When building it you may want to leave the back panel off to make painting the crew compartment a little easier. As you can see from the pictures, the tracks are moulded onto the side panels., I personally don’t have a problem with this, but I know some people like to paint the tracks separately.
Each model comes with two thermoplastic crew men to put in the crew compartment, but I can’t find any way to actually get both of them in. One fits quite nicely to the right of the breech, but the only way to get the other one in is to wedge him between the left of the breech and the ammo rack. I intend to just put one crewman in each vehicle. Since you get 4 crewmen holding shells and 4 empty handed I’ll be using one of them without a shell as the unit leader then giving shell-holders to the other 3.
This is another brand new kit that’s only just come out. It’s 1 small sprue that makes a BA-64 armoured car, armed with either an MG or Anti-tank rifle. At only 8 pieces this is the simplest kit in the box and is very straight forward to build. The only options on the sprue are if you want to arm the model with the MG or AT, rifle but you do get a choice of 4 different thermoplastic crew members to sit in each one. The only problem I had with this kit is that the turret peg is a really tight fit in the corresponding hole in the hull. This and the size and shape of the turret means that its nearly impossible to rotate the turret. But seeing as the armour values of the front and side armour are the same, I suppose it doesn’t really matter.
There are enough sprues in the box to make 3 BA-64s, but I really wish they had included 4. That way you would be able to field an observer and still have enough for a minimum unit. But with just 3 you have to choose between fielding the armoured car unit or fielding an observer and having two armoured cars spare.
57mm or 76mm Guns
This kits comprises of a sprue for the gun and a sepearte sprue for the gun crew. You get 6 poses for thegun crew and you only need 5 per gun, so you can have some variety for each gun. The gun sprue itself gives you the option to make ether a 76mm or 57mm gun. Each gun is made from only 4 pieces, but out of everything in the box it’s the model that caused me the most problems. Even looking at the detailed building instructions online, I just couldn’t work out exaatly where to put the gun shield. In the end I just put plenty of glue in what looked like vaguely the right area, put the gun shield on and hoped for the best. No one will notice from three feet away, but they have gone on a little wonky. The gun sprue come with plenty of extra bits, such as ammo cases and a map table to decorate the base with, which if nothing else made my 8 year old very happy.
Hero Shock Rifle Company
The final kit in the box is the Hero Shock Rifle Company, which is made form 2 identical sprues. This provides enough to build a nine stand Hero Shock Rifle Company with a Komissar and 2 add HMGs. There are plenty of different poses on each sprue, meaning no 2 of your infantry teams needs to look the same. All the models are 1 piece sculpts, except for the HMGS which come in 2 pieces. Once you have built the Company, you will still have a few infantry figures left over. You can use these as alternative crew models for your artillery. I have just noticed whilst uploading the picture that one of the men (circled in red) has a broken rifle, so its a good job they come with plenty of spares.
In the box you will also find an A5 mini rulebook which contains all the rules for the game. I think I have about 5 of these mini rule books now for all the different starter sets I have. There is also a Start Here guide which gives you a brief overview of the force that’s included in the box and simple diagrams of how to build the models. It also has a few ideas for expanding the force and what the next steps should be. The one thing that annoyed me about this is that the Start Here guide has a picture of a T-34 on the front, even though there no T-34s in the box. I know that’s because it matches the cover the Bagration book, but the perfectionist in me still thought it was a bit odd.
You get stats cards for all the models in the box, and there is even one for if you want to use one BA-64 as an observer.
Lastly, you have two sheets of decals, one with soviet symbols and numbers of it, the other with what I am assuming are Russian patriotic slogans. My wife picked out that one of them says Lenin, but military insignia and phrases not being considered important to GCSE exam setters she didn’t know about the rest, and I was even more clueless.
Back to the Future
So that covers my guide to what’s in the box. If you want to know my thoughts about how to actually field an army using the force, you can go read the article that future Andy wrote about it. Hopefully next time he will send me the winning lottery numbers instead.