There’s a slight change of plan this weekend. I was going to write a post about the last of the Bundeswehr units, however having catapulted one of the Fuchs across the workshop into several pieces (just pure clumsiness on my part I hasten to add, not a fit of pique!) I’ve switched things around whilst I make the necessary repairs. As luck would have it the British have rocked up earlier than I expected so I have to hand the magnificent all-plastic Chieftan from Battlefront. Similar to the West Germans and US there are five tank sprues in the starter box along with two helicopters (more on the Lynx later), enough to field a legal Chieftan armoured squadron of one HQ and two troop. If you’ve read any of the launch weekend articles on either Beasts of War, Battlefront or the pre-release previews on WWPD.net then you’ll be aware the Chieftan comes with two armour package options; with or without ‘Stillbrew’. I opted to go with one of each in A and B troop and although I suspect this goes against doctrine slightly in that the British forces in Team Yankee are more focussed on resilience than mobility I liked the idea of taking a single “Cross here!” test with the leader on 2+ to mitigate the penalty from the heavier armour. Not effective from a meta perspective as taking stillbrew is probably a no-brainer but I wanted to give the Brits some character.
So what are the kits like? Compared with the Leopard 2 they are a bit more involved to assemble and less accomodating to leaving the tracks off until after painting, as the side armoured skirts have minimal contact points with the hull relying on additional support spars in the track sections to create a good fit. In the case of the Chieftan I recommend doing a full assembly with tracks in place before painting, makes painting the road wheels and tracks a little tricker but will result in a better assembly overall. The rest of the kit goes together easily and like my other Team Yankee forces I added magnets to the turrets for that extra snappy bling.
Painting wise I considered the Berlin Brigade dazzle scheme but discarded it as I wanted to get them done quickly for the tabletop rather than for display. Instead I used a reverse of the palette I painted the Bundeswehr in starting with a full basecoat of Tamiya (XF-85) Rubber Black, this would actually form the basis of the black camo stripes on the Chieftans. I gave this coat a full 24 hours to fully cure and adhere to the primer before masking sections of it off using Panzer Putty to create the pattern. This was probably the most time-consuming part of the scheme but I did want a hard edge to the camo and everything after that is quite efficient. Once the pattern was marked out I airbrushed the entire hull and turret in Tamiya NATO Green (XF-67), removing the putty once dried to reveal the camo pattern underneath. The rest of the details were painted as follows:
- Road wheels and front rubberised track guards- Panzer Aces Dark Rubber (306)
- Tracks – Panzer Aces Track Primer (304)
- Thermal sleeve – GW XV-88 followed by Model Colour Khaki Grey (880)
- Overall drybrush highlight – Vallejo Green Grey 886
- GPMG – 50/50 black + gunmetal
Other than curing time for the primer and basecoat a full squadron can easily be fully painted in an evening which is one of the reasons I like Team Yankee so much as getting most of the miniatures from box to tabletop doesn’t involve a huge investment in time.
On to the weathering. A coat of Klear was first applied to protect all the work done to date, then I applied all of the decals before sealing them in with a second coat of Klear. Once this had cured I applied a pin oil wash to profile all of the armour panels and details just as I did with the Soviets and Bundeswehr. This time however I applied two washes, one black for the primary panel lines in the armoured skirts and a second pin wash of Burnt Umber for the finer details to give a warmer filter. I also applied some limited chipping with a sponge to add volume to the tanks. Finally, once all done I sealed the oil effects in with a light coat of satin varnish before airbrushing a thinned coat of leather brown for the layer of dried mud and dirt along the lower skirts and tracks.
Still got the commanders to do but will addd them later when the ‘repaired’ Fuchs are back on the painting table. The final units to complete before bringing my Team Yankee painting to a close is the aforementioned Fuchs and of course the awesome TOW Lynx. Thos however will have to be for another night. Until then, have a great weekend.