Hello everyone, and welcome to a slight divergence from my usual content.
We’ve been lucky enough to receive at Breakthrough Assault HQ some of the Normandy Miniatures US M8/M20 kits so I thought that it would be good to look at these now that the US forces have hit the beach in Late War.
Each box contains five sprues which can be made up as the either the M8 Greyhound or M20 Armoured Utility Car; for the purposes of Flames of War this is great – let me tell you why…
If you, like I, have a Mid War M10 Company you can use almost the entirety of that formation in Late War but you need to make some key changes.
- The Command M3 Stuarts and Security Section White Scout Cars become M20s.
- The Recce platoon becomes M8s + 60mm mortar jeep + .30cal jeep
Therefore a single box of the Normandy Miniatures kits will allow you to upgrade your command and either a recce or security troop and still leave you a sprue to make a lovely thematic objective with a spare large base. Alternatively, Excellent and efficient.
So, on to the models themselves.
Each sprue is made of a plastic that reminds me of Zvezda models, it’s not as hard as the Battlefront plastic and is slightly springy. The sprues themselves are functional but if you want to add a wealth of stowage and extras then you will need to dip into your bits box.
The included instructions are well laid out and easy to follow – to be honest, once you have one model together you probably won’t need to revisit them again. I chose to always include the optional side-skirts on my models as it adds some texture to the sides and the inclusion of the M20 optional tarp for the front is a lovely addition.
The basic hull and wheels goes together very simply and once you get going you will fly through the assembly up to this point. Above this the M20 hull – the M8 simply has a plate that slots over the internal cavity which is smart and straightforward.
The completion of the hatches and lights is a little fiddly but, again, once you have assembled one you get a feel for how they are intended to slot together and there are really only six pieces so it’s not very complicated at all (I’m just not great at assembling things… I get impatient!)
The tarp really is a wonderful inclusion and really adds some character to the M20.
I think of the two variants the M20 is definitely my favourite. Both are extremely straightforward to get together but I think that the finished M20 looks nicer. Above are the two models side-by-side.
The only downside I found to these kits is that the crew really doesn’t scale with the chunkier models of Battlefront. Unfortunately as almost everything else in my US army has these crew I chose to swap out the three crew models with spare Battlefront crew I had – I don’t think that this is an issue if you only had non-Battlefront models. For me, the sizing is just too far off to mix them in but the crew provided are perfectly serviceable and it is nice that there is more than one option provided as standard.
As for painting, the kits provide enough detail to get you a nice finish – above I’ve placed them next to the Battlefront M4 Shermans that I’ve painted in the same way, and as mentioned before just dropped in some spare Battlefront crew.
I’m very pleased with these kits – both from an assembly and a finished look – and if people are looking for ways to top up their Late War forces with more M8/M20s I would heartily recommend people give them a look.
Until next time