The next of our ArmiesArmy reviews is the FV432 APC, bought to us by Lee.
One of the items in the ArmiesArmy review pack was the FV432 APC and this put me in the interesting position of reviewing the same vehicle from two different manufacturers. Whilst the Battlefront example was a multi-part, multi-version plastic kit, the ArmiesArmy offering is a more traditional (albeit CAD sculpted, 3D printed master rather than hand sculpted patter building!) resin and metal offering so already the two are different enough to make a review worthwhile. Lets take a look.
We covered the FV432 in the battlefront review but let’s take a look at the PEAK turret which I only briefly touched on.
PEAK Engineering were tasked to design an armoured turret for the Vixen liaison/light scout car (A Fox without the top heavy two man 30mm Rarden turret basically) to enclose the cupola GPMG and thus provide more protection than an exposed pintle MG. The turret was also selected for FV432 for similar reasons and, in the process of designing this for FV432, the gun was moved from the front cupola to the rear hatch, a new cover plate replacing the circular hatch and incorporating the turret and an escape hatch.
Not the most fearsome of turrets but no doubt welcome to the gunner!
The end result was a cramped affair that placed the gunner amongst the self-propelled cargo at the rear of the APC. It did protect the gunner but was far from making the FV432 a fighting vehicle.
Looking from the rear door forwards – the hole closest is the escape hatch followed by the turret access.
Whilst the Vixen got cancelled, the PEAK turret appears to have been a relatively common fit for FV432 but exact information on usage is hard to trace. “Many FV432 have been converted” is as good a data as has been found (thanks Tim!) and some discussion on the forums indicates that some platoons had all PEAK turrets whilst others had a 50:50 mix or none at all – often at a CO’s discretion. That certainly gives some leeway for a player selected mix – making an easy way of marking a command vehicle (one per platoon) or differentiating a platoon (one platoon has them, one does not).
The model consists of a resin hull with white metal parts. Of instant attention was the option of having the driver unbuttoned – not just the cupola; a very welcome addition! Also, as already alluded to, the FV432 also comes with an FV432 PEAK turret and circular hatch cover plate option. The smoke dispensers are also separate and quite small so make sure you keep an eye on them!
It should be noted that an 81mm version is available but is a separate model. As of yet, no Swingfire version is present is present in the range. Both are out of the scope of this article.
Assembly is simple enough. The tracks locate into the hull via a rudimentary shaping of the hull cut-out which I was dubious about but seemed to set the tracks correctly so I guess it works! Oddly the tracks didn’t seem quite long enough. Aligned correctly at the back, they seemed to be recessed from the forward hull. A quick look at the example on the ArmiesArmy page suggests I had set the position correctly and they should have been long enough so I’m not sure what has happened here.
Not the most thrilling angle for any model…
After that, I selected the PEAK turret cover, buttoned commander hatch but left the driver hatch unbuttoned to show off that it can be done – all three hatches/covers glued into place easily enough. I then glued the PEAK turret on before finally using some tweezers to secure the smoke launchers (which are not universal so do a dry fit first to check you have them the right way around). Having the smoke launchers separate makes them fiddly (definitely needs a pair of tweezers) but does make for a good, defined smoke launcher. I didn’t find it any bother to fit them, personally.
All in all, assembly took less than ten minutes, with no instructions required. I applied a coat of Nuln Oil black wash to help show the detail in the following photos.
The PEAK turret looks the part although the real life examples have slightly more prominent vision blocks and the smoke launchers and hatch are a little under-defined.
Detail on the front and top of the hull was noticeably “soft” with the wash struggling to pick out the fine detail on the engine hatch.
From the side, the rear mud guard is all but in the correct position but the front mud guard is well short if the hull. Not sure if there is some some sort of shrinkage issue at foot.
Other than that, the exhaust is well realised and the track/running gear looks crisp and correct.
Rear – not much to note. In real life its common to see a pair of extinguishers on the rear door but they are not present on the model.
The NBC pack (the older Mk.1 style I think) is well realised.
The metal parts are very crisp the the inside and outside detail of the drivers hatch well captured. The top plate has all the correct features but some parts of the details are crisper than others with the fuel filler caps and engine cover hinges being a little soft.
Of course, the question is how it compares to the Battlefront example, especially in proportions, to the real life examples. The Armies Army example looks “right” but is it?
The Armies Army model is slightly wider (by less than a mm) than the plastic offering, but significantly taller (2.25cm from base of the tracks to the top plate of the hull, compared to a little under 1.8cm for BF) and longer (5.6cm front of front mudguard to rear of rear fuel tank, compared to 5.3cm for BF). It should be noted that these measurements, according to this source, should be 5.3m (5.3cm in 1:100) long by 1.9m (1.9cm in 1:100) high. Despite the visual appearance that the BF model is too short, it does seem to be closer to the “real life” measurements. Ultimately this will come down to personal preference on the part of the buyer (plus the usual price/time to assemble trade offs, etc).
Needless to say you couldn’t mix the two in the same army with any great success! This may also impact purchases like Swingfire and Abbott (both on the same chassis) that may stand out.
In the Game
We covered the FV432 in the Battlefront article so I won’t go into a full re-tread of its role in game here. Needless to say it gives the infantry some mobility and protection but is generally left lurking back from the front line as much as possible, providing over watch with its MG at an absolute most!
The PEAK turret is not present in Team Yankee as a formal addition. But as using the MG does not impact the top armour (unlike in V3 Flames) you could argue that the PEAK turret could be present anyway. Certainly I can’t see why anyone would object to its presence.
Firstly, the ArmiesArmy FV432 can be bought separately for £6.50 an APC, as a platoon of 4 for £25 (or £6.25 an APC) or as part of an Infantry Platoon (4 APC and Infantry for £36) or Company (£135 with three Platoons and a Company HQ). Plenty of price options!
The resin and metal model is always going to struggle to stack up versus the BF plastic model, but the target here is those who find the plastic kit unattractive for reasons of weight, build time or its slightly squat proportions. As such, the real competition is Skytrex (which is also £6.50) and QRF (£5.50). Skytrex are currently in the process of remastering and so we may cover that in the future whilst QRF’s example has apparently been photographed by a Keystone satellite… On the face of the photos available, the ArmiesArmy example is superior to the other two examples.
The Armies Army FV432 is a good, solid rendition of the old workhorse in resin and metal and is almost certainly the best non-plastic offering to date and there is an argument for “best” flat out.
The inclusion of such features as an unbuttoned driver position and a PEAK turret and cover plate are both welcome additions that help add character to a force that many players will find useful.
Against the model, the resin detail is a little soft on the front and top plate and the tracks seemed oddly short. Its overall dimensions are a bit bigger than official if that’s the kind of thing that bothers you.
All in all, I’d recommend having a look at the ArmiesArmy FV432 before committing yourself to one supplier too quickly. It has pros and cons to consider but its certainly worth the time thinking about them.