El Alamein Unboxing

 



Today Lee looks at the El Alamein starter set

IDice Saloon recently got a pair of El Alamein boxes for the purposes of running demo games and they were kind enough to let me take a look at one of them.

The Contents

Inside the box we find the following:

First we get the dead tree stuff – Unit cards, terrain templates to stand in for 3D stuff, a mini rule book and a quick start rule book – plus dice!

 

The quick start guide has some cut-back rules and some scenarios to get a new player used to the basics of the game using the five tanks included.  that brings us nicely to the models!

All the models come on pre-coloured sprues a la the “Tanks” kits.  German tanks are in a beige colour whilst the Brits are a pale yellow.  The new plastics are very good, looking at then bits on the sprue.  There are plenty of options and we get extra stowage and the like which is always important for desert war tanks!  I plan to pick up some Crusaders in the long run off the back of seeing these.

Panzer IV

We get one of these.  The model comes with short barrel and L43 7.5cm guns, as well as an L48 7.5cm for use as a G model later in mid war (presumably finally upping the AT to 11).

We only get one turret but swappable barrels shouldn’t require much work

Panzer III

We get one of these.

The kit comes with options for J (short 5cm), J late (long 5cm) L (extra armour) and N (short 7.5cm)

Again, only one turret but we can at least swap between J, J late and N easily enough with barrel changes.  the extra armour for an L may be trickier though.

Crusader

We get two of these.

The Crusader kit comes with 2pdr, 3″ Howitzer and 6pdr options, the latter necessitating a different turret top and mantle.  Sadly there is only one turret base so you can’t easily do swappable turrets for the two main variants.  We do get an optional auxiliary MG turret which is handy for early war!

Grant

We get one of these.

The Grant kit comes with all the bits needed for a Grant or a Lee (with the original US turret) in UK service, plus the long 75mm hull gun used by the US and USSR so the kit is future-proofed for the rest of Mid War.

The Damage

The box retails for £25, pre-discount. Considering that gets you five tanks, a rule book and dice, that’s easy to break down as a £5 a tank plus a free book and dice.

Going Forward

So, we have played a few tank on tank battles but we want to start playing ‘proper’ games of Flames with our nice new mini-rule book.

The easiest way to expand is to take one of the new start boxes as a core.

Ze Germans

For the German side, we can combine the “El Alamein” and “Rommel’s Afrika Korps” to get a total of:
1 + 5 PzIII

1 + 3 PzIV

0+2 88.

We can make a legal formation from that with no formation so that’s a good start.  A quick look at ‘Afrika Corps’ suggests the following:

2 x PzIII HQ (10 -16pts depending on type)

4 x PzIII (20-32pts depending on type)

4 x PzIV (24-40pts depending on type)

Formation Support:

2 x 88mm (12pts)

So, we have a 66-100pt army for £80.

The British

Things get a little trickier.  We can combine “Monty’s Desert Rats” with “El Alamein” to give us:

2+3 Crusader

1+5 Grants

0+2 17/25 pdr

That’s a good number of tanks but the inflexible British platoon sizes makes getting a formation with no waste nigh on impossible.  We don’t have enough Crusaders for a legal Light Armoured Squadron so we need to look to the Grant based Heavy Armoured Squadron.

HQ of 3 Grants (18pts)

Crusader troop of 1 Crusader II, 2 Crusader III (7pts)

Grant troop of 3 Grants (18pts)

Formation Support

17/25pdr battery (2 guns – 8pts)

Leaving us with 51pts and 2 Crusaders  spare for our £80.  We really need to get a box of Crusaders (giving us ten total but adding an extra £30 for a total of £110) at which point we can switch to a Light Armoured formation as our basis and go with:

HQ of 2 Crusader II and 2 CS (7pts)

Crusader troop of 1 Crusader II, 2 Crusader III (7pts)

Crusader troop of 1 Crusader II, 2 Crusader III (7pts)

Grant troop of 3 Grants (18pts)

Formation Support

Grant troop of 3 Grants (18pts)

17/25pdr battery (2 guns – 8pts)

Total 65pts

 

Conclusion

El Alamein is an interesting starter set for anyone fresh to the game.  You get a decent bunch of good quality plastic models for a £5 a tank and an essentially free rule book and dice, plus some decent introductory rules to get you up to speed.  In that respect it does the job as a foundation for the game.

However, for those already well familiar with Flames of War then the eclectic collection of tanks does little to help and you may be better spent skipping this box and just doubling up on a pair of starter army boxes.

Category: BattlefrontBritishFlames of WarList DiscussionMid WarReviewsV4

One comment

  1. Please be aware that the pins for the turrets fit extremely tight in their respective hulls. I found the instructions somewhat vague for assembly. Also note that the PzIII turret hits the hull air vents on the back deck which makes the turret raise up in the back when the gun is pointing forward and hits them when it is positioned anywhere except at right angle to the hull centerline.

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Article by: Lee

Wargaming since Rogue Trader in 1990; I made the move to Flames in 2006 and have been with it ever since! I play at the Brighton Warlords most weeks.