Free Nations – New plastics spotted

Lee brings us some intel from this year’s Salute show.

Sadly I couldn’t make it to London’s Salute show this year, but the Brighton contingent turned out in numbers as ever and so I asked them to get me some photos of any new models that may be on show.  Nathan and Simon, my usual Team Yankee opponents, both delivered!

Battlefront had a glass cabinet with new models on display, not only where the new Churchill tank plastics on show, but also the Free Nation plastics, plus a…friend.

Firstly, the new Gazelle  plastic kit was on show.  Whilst both players spoke favourably of it, neither actually succeeded in getting a clear photo of it!  Thankfully BF have at least showed the box art off for the French box-set so which does show it, so we’ll have to content our selves with that.

Right, lets take a look at the actual models.  I would say that, given the grey look, these are the resin prototypes rather than actual sprues, though apparently at least one of the new kits was there in sprue form.  From left to right we have:

  • AMX AuF1 155mm SP Howitzer
  • Leopard 1A1
  • AMX-30B2

The recent preview article on the Team Yankee page has stated that the new AMX kit builds both the AMX-30 and AMX AuF1.  This makes sense as the AuF1 just mounted the GIAT 155 autoloader turret on the AMX-30 chassis so its a consolidation of variants onto one sprue.

The Leopard 1 being shown as 1A1 version was an interesting move.  We know it builds the welded turret version from the box art shown, but the cast turret is a good differentiation against the existing Plastic Soldier Company which only builds the former.   Those who saw the book stated that the Dutch cast turret examples had the applique armour shown suggesting that these are separate parts that can be added to the base turret.  This all alludes to a very versatile kit though presumably BF were no more able to squeeze a Gepard in than PSC were!

Finally, you’ll note there was a fourth grey shape – a T-62!  The Team Yankee site had a preview of the Fate of a Nation book’s content page which mentioned a T-62 battalion for both the Egyptians and Syrians.  Presumably BF don’t want a repeat of the T-55/Leopard and are coming out fighting versus the competition with a plastic kit straight off.  Given a T-62 is just (horrendous simplification coming up!) a stretched T-55 with a 115mm gun, it will presumably be fielded in mass like its older brother so a plastic kit is a boon for the Arab players.  It may yet come into play in Team Yankee with Soviet third line troops and the Bulgarians and there’s always scope for BF to expand Fate of a Nation/Team Yankee to look at Iran-Iraq or the Gulf War where the tank was prominent.

Lets close out the article with a close up shot from Simon of the AMX AuF1.  Straight away we can see that the current great run of BF plastic kits continues with the kit capturing a lot of detail.

Finally, Breakthrough Assault will be commencing Free Nation coverage on April 25th, starting with an overview of the book and then some detailed analysis of each of the nations contained.  Stay tuned!

13 thoughts on “Free Nations – New plastics spotted

  1. The one in the picture is a Leopard 1A5. The Leo1A1 (and A2) has a cast turret without the added armour. The Leo1A5 were in facts just updated armored-up versions on the A1.
    So, if the Dutch one in the book has the armour, it is the A5, like the one in the picture above.
    I anyway do hope that BF was smart enough to create a kit with separated extra armour (also with separated bazooka skirts), in order to represent also the A1 (and A2) used by Belgium, Italy and Norway

    1. As the Salute example was shown with no extra armour I went A1. But you are correct that the Dutch versions with armour will be A5.

      Hopefully we will see a sprue soon and get a full list of variants. But nice to see the kit doing essentially three types all ready.

  2. They were plastic that was the paint finish on them. It’s interesting that when I tried to get some pics earlyish in the day they moved the Leo and T62 out of shot for some reason, looks like they gave up doing that.
    The gazelles looked decent, hopefully they’ll be able to be made with the pylons so can used as British, the response I got about it was a bit vague.

  3. As a french guy, I am so eager to play my boys ! “Et par Saint Georges , Vive la Cavalerie!”

    1. Indeed! I think everyone who saw the book spoke highly of the French lists with the VAB mounted infantry and AMX-10RC Cavalry Squadron being recurring themes. Richard will be covering why in our coverage.

      1. So cool! can’t wait for your coverage !
        I hope great stats for the AMX-10RC which was a wonderful tool for the french army. Fast (85km/h on road), small (2.56m high), reliable, well armed (105mm L/48), liftable by air (only 17t), it make an impression in Irak 1991, performed well in harsh terrain in Yougoslavia and Afghanistan and more recently (2012) push back islamic rebel militia in Mali just before its replacement 35 years after its first production ! And it was so much more adapted for urban combat (agile and with enough firepower to breach through concrete walls) than heavier MBTs…

  4. The Leopard shown is not the A5-variant (no thermal-imaging/rangefinder port on the turret roof – a late 80s modification).
    But it is the cast turret with add-on armor that were later refurbished to A5s.
    The struture on the left side of the gun mantlet is an earlier thermal imaging device (PzB200) that was used to refit older marks at limited scale before the more widely conducted A5-standard.
    If Battlefront really manages to include the add-on armor on the cast turret as separate pieces it would be great as it would allow to create Leopards from the 70s (or some NATO countries that didn’T aquire the up-armoring).
    But judging by the generel aim of a low part count (compared to PSC) they will only include one cast and one welded turret (like their T55AM2).
    But perhaps I’m wrong – as BF already announced two boxes of Leopards perhaps the German one is the welded version (as replacement for the resin-box) and the general NATO one is the cast one. (or vice-versa).
    Though it has to be noted that the later welded turrets made only roughly a quarter of all Leopards manufactured – the majority was produced with the cast turret…

  5. Note, the North Koreans made a Copy of the T-62, which was their Standard Tank in 1985.

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