Today on Mark will be looking at the recently released British Motor Pltn for MW. This is also first release with the new ‘flexible plastic’.
My Flexible friend.
Before I look specifically at the Motor Platoon, I think it’s worth talking about a bit of an elephant in the FOW room at the moment.
There has been a lot of chatter online reference the new flexible plastic that BF have adopted for their infantry models. First off (and I’ve said this a few times lately), let’s take a breath and actually look at the models and the reasoning before we make a judgement. I share the concerns that this could be a repeat of the infamous Games Workshop Finecast/Failcast disaster, however there are some differences. Firstly the material isn’t the same, secondly the prices of the plastics have dropped (GW went up), and thirdly it allows BF to make more new infantry casts faster than the traditional hard plastic process. To see more about why they have changed, and BFs take on the pros and cons here.
I have to say I am a big fan of hard plastic models and the recent 15mm examples from Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company have really shown what great detail and design can be achieved. For me this medium was just getting into its groove so the switch to something else is somewhat of a concern.
You will see on the specific British infantry review below that there are some issues with the models (spoiler alert) however the sky isn’t falling thus far. While I don’t think the quality is as high as the hard plastics it is early days and I’ll be looking closely at how BF take onboard lessons from this release to improve the process.
So onto the Motor Platoon..
The British Motor Platoon comes with enough models to field a full platoon from the Desert Rats book. This consists of 3 x medium BREN gun bases, a command stand (small base but counts as a BREN gun stand), AT rifle and 2″ light mortar. There’s also the two formation HQ stands that you need. At 6 stands its one of the smaller platoons out there and this is reflected in the RRP of £6.00. Actually its incredibly cheap when compared to the £11.50 for the old metal version (which had 1 extra medium stand).
The new method of manufacturer for the flexible plastic means that the models don’t come on a traditional sprue as in the image below. This makes the models easy to remove from the single point attached the base plug, although it isn’t that great on the prone model where you have to clip next to the feet.
The platoon comes in a larger redesigned blister with all the command cards.
Here is where things get a little more complex. The flexible plastic certainly produces a different type of model. Firstly some of the models were bent on the weak parts (eg, BREN gun barrel and a soldier leaning like he was drunk). Being flexible plastic I could bend these back so no drama but I have noticed that they have bent back slightly.
At first it looked like there was minimal mould lines to clear up and I thought “great” and cracked on. However it was during painting I noticed quite a few running down the helmet and regretted not filing them before I started.
Detail wise its rather hard to explain these models. In some places it’s excellent and well defined. For example the front pouches on the model are crisp, and even paining the strap of the Officer’s binoculars was easy as it was raised and easy to follow with the brush. However, the detail isn’t consistent. The faces are the weakest aspect with some being very bland and featureless indeed. Also some of the detail seems very shallow and after a spray undercoat and base coat it was obscured. For example I found it difficult to see where the boots ended to the socks and skin. Also some of the rifle detail was hard to follow once base coated. For me this was odd as I haven’t had the issue with hard plastic, resin or metal before in 15mm.
Overall the models are easy to assemble and have a reasonable level of detail. They wont look out of place with your existing collection.
Painting wise, I didn’t do anything different to what I would with plastic, metal and resin. The models took the paint okay, there was certainly no cracking which I know people were concerned about.
The models are very light and will bend if something hard hits them. This can then be corrected with hot water. I must admit I haven’t stress tested them to their limit as that is tempting fate!
Here are some pictures of my finished platoon. I am not massively happy with my painting at the moment, like I say I struggled to pick out some of the smaller detail on the rifles after undercoating seemed to obscure them. Whats important to me is that they look the part when placed on the battlefield. You have to hold them up to your face to notice the lack of facial features.
The Motor Platoon is exceedingly good value at £6.oo and its credit to BF that they have passed on the reduction on production costs to the customer; this is rare to see in the hobby.
While the models are completely passable on the table, for me this first offering of the new flexible plastic is a step back in quality compared to the latest metals, resins and hard plastics. That being said, I am sure that there is no changes in the quality of the sculpting, BF has the same great team so all I can think is that its BF getting used to the new material and manufacturing method. As they gain experience I would fully expect the quality to go back up, just like we saw with their initial plastic releases.
So in closing at £6.00 you can’t really go wrong, but I will watch with interest to see if the next set of releases raise the standard back up and address the poor detailed areas such as the faces.