Plastic Fantastic the next generation


Change is vital, improvement the logical form of change.

James Cash Penny

A couple of years ago we saw a new type of plastic infantry from Battlefront which has become generally know as ‘Soft Plastic’.  This lead to a great increase in variety of plastic units available, however there have been ongoing comments and concerns about the ‘look’ and quality of the models.  In particular many people felt that the faces and hands were overly exaggerated and some of the detail lacking or a bit undefined.

To be fair some of the sculpts have been better than others.  The Team Yankee Soviets and US Paras being examples of the better ones.  However, others have, unfortunately, not been as good.  BF have realised this, and to their credit, adjusted course.  They announced last year that ‘soft’ plastic would end and as of the new British Paras, switch to a new type of plastic known as Thermoplastic.

Some of the studio examples – I’m not sure mine will look as good!

Now, some people were expecting a return to the traditional big sprue hard plastic, like the Hit the Beach set or the LW British Rifles.  However, this is different; I would say it sits somewhere in between hard and soft plastic.

Coming to a demo table near…oh.  Oh no.

Until it was cancelled, due to Covid-19 (you may have heard of it), I was going to be helping BF demo the game at Salute 2020 in London and paras would be one of the forces.  Thus I have managed to get my hands on some of them and take some pictures.

A bit hard to photograph if you want to show up the detail but hopefully this works.  What you see is a sample of the main Para Company box, a mortar sprue, and some gun crew.

The first thing you will notice is that it uses the same style of sprue as ‘soft’ plastic with 5-6 figues per sprue.  I actually like this, it makes painting very easy and I now actually paint on sprue.  It helps me get the brush everywhere easily and saves me time.

Thermoplastic is a bit trickier to clean up.  It doesn’t work well being filed or scraped, so you need to rely on a knife to remove the mould lines.  I find some sprues have hardly any and on some they are more pronounced but no more so than metal infantry models.

I am pretty impressed with the detail, I find it very sharp and I can see it really standing out well when painted (especially with contrast paints).  Also there are no more giant hands!  Lets just say things are more normally proportioned.  While not as hard as the old hard plastic models they are less bendy than soft plastic without being brittle.  Having just painted a hard plastic Soviet Company the barrels of some of the Soviet poses were really easy to break.

Another key thing to note; Use superglue not plastic glue/poly cement!

Overall, I am fairly impressed with these new models.  You have to get over your expectations of getting the old hard plastic, but also not get caught thinking they are the same as the soft plastic offerings; they sit somewhere in between. 
I will reserve final judgement until they are painted but having them in front of me I see no reason they won’t come out really well. 

Keep an eye on our facebook page for more progress shots!  

A test sprue, all painted, more or less, in citadel contrast

Category: BattlefrontBritishD-DayFlames of WarItalian CampaignLate WarMarket GardenMid WarPaintingReviewsV4

4 comments

  1. Great review! Much appreciated. I for one was disappointed about the decision to halt the “flexible” plastic lines. Though I may have been in the minority, I really appreciated the lightness and durability of them.

    So I’m happy to see that BF did not give up and kept trying other options. I think I will be totally happy to use these figures based off this review. I recently sold my old metal Soviet infantry. I hope to replace them with figures this material when Bagration rolls in this summer.

  2. Those new paras look great. I’ve had a box of the old metal British paras for years. May finally get round to painting them, now the supports all look so good!

    1. Skeleton horde for jacket. Snakebite leather for rifle and trousers. Guilliman flesh for skin and militarism green for helmet

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Article by: Mark Goddard