Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flashpoint Miniatures 15mm Vietnam-era US Marines


Well, I've finished up another group of 15mm troops, and it's a big one!  I ordered some of Flashpoint Miniatures' Vietnam-era USMC (all the way from Down Under!) several months ago, but just now got around to getting them painted up.  I ordered the USMC M-16-equipped Rifle Platoon (which has a smattering of M-14s, too) and the USMC M-14 Platoon Headquarters pack, along with their Mechanical MULE.  So, it's big: I think there's about 80 guys between the three packs (the MULE has a driver), which is way bigger than any of my other 15mm forces.  As an aside, this has started a bit of an arms race: I have some NVA from Peter Pig, but nowhere near enough, so I just ordered some more from Brookhurst Hobbies (though it's gonna be awhile as they're out of stock!  Just my luck).

So, with so many troops to get painted up, I decided to take the easy route.  You could also read this as the 'lazy route,' but I think they turned out pretty well.  I initially planned on doing the uniforms one color, the flak jackets another, and the gear a third, while throwing some camo on the helmet covers.  Well, I cut some corners and just painted the whole damn troop olive drab, then threw a wash on it, which really brought out the detail well.  Then it was simply a matter of hitting weapons and flesh (which I did, once again, using three different skin tones).  Let's get to it; I've broken it down into HQ and Weapons Platoon attachments, the grenadiers, the M-14 troops, and the M-16 troops.

The whole mess: 79 guys, a dog, two casualties, and vehicle, and three separate weapons.

Now what to do with them?  I'm actually thinking about using them and NVA in my South Leon campaign (part of Cuba Libre), fighting on the border.  Again, such is the beauty of Imagi-Nations; you get to do whatever kind of fighting tickles your fancy, with whatever troops you want, and still fit it into your overall campaign!

To the Marines!

Starting off with the boss, two officer figures.  I figure that he can be a Company or Battalion Commander any time during the war, and can be a Platoon Commander early in the war (later in the war PCs began carrying rifles).

I am almost positive this pose is based off a 'real' picture from the Vietnam War

Reverse.  Tell me that wash didn't work like a charm and pull out all the details.  I love it!

A radioman, with PRC-77.  He doesn't have a long rifle, and no pistol holster, so I tried to paint one on (the reddish brown on the right hips, the old leather holsters).  Guy on the right has a pack o'Smokes in his helmet band (various guys have cigarettes, rifle magazines, bug juice, and bandages).


Another radioman, talkin' on the R/T and holding an M-14.


One pose of the corpsman, reaching into his Unit 1, .45 on his right hip.


The other Doc pose.


Love these: two Leathernecks moving buddies out of the line of fire using the 'fireman's carry,' belt of ammo for the M-60 across his chest.

Reverse.  I would have put some blood on these guys (and the separate casualty figures, too), but I forgot...

The MULE, schlepping supplies to and fro, and a working dog (forgot to paint his harness).

Reverse.  Cool little vehicle, and the supplies are removable.  I have a 106mm recoiless rifle to go in it, but I put it on another base (you'll see it later).

The first of the heavy weapons, the trusty old 60mm mortar with three-man crew.

In action.  Yes, my heavy weapons look a little goofy because of the way I base them, but this allows me to switch them between different units/forces, and even use them as stand alone scenario pieces (such as weapons caches).

The recoiless rifle, also with three-man crew.

In action.

The Ma Deuce (.50 caliber heavy machine gun), with two-man crew.

In action.

A two-man Scout Sniper team.  Good looking, but I'm not much a fan of prone.  I also have a quibble with the sniper rifle, which looks to me like an M-21 (an accurized version of the M-14), which was mainly used by the Army, while the Corps mainly used the Remington 700 (no external magazine or front site post).  Also, neither of them had pistol holsters, so I painted them on.

But damn if they don't look good in action, so I can deal with them!  I love the fact the shooter has his weapon over his pack.

Two casualty figures.  The guy on the left has an M-14, an M-16 on the right.

More heavy weapons: here's the first of two M-20 3.5-inch rocket launcher teams.


The other rocket team.


Two Marines with minesweepers, M-14s shouldered.  I came really close to cutting off one of the minesweepers and throwing the dog on the base with the guy.


Two pigs, M-60A1 machine guns from Weapons Platoon.  Cool poses, but I had to paint on pistol holsters, and the ammo 'travel boxes' are not a-historical, but were not commonly used.  The muzzles were a bit long and so I trimmed them down.


Two grunts with M-72 LAWs, has his M-16 lying (barely visible) at his feet.

Reverse.  A really cool pose, in my humble opinion.

Now, don't get me wrong, because I absolutely L-O-V-E these troops, but here's my big complaint.  The rifle platoon pack came with six M-79 grenadiers, then the HQ pack came with another.  So, my big problem is that there are seven of them, but only one pose...  And I think it's cool when manufacturers throw in left-handers, but it seems a bit odd there are seven grenadiers and they're ALL left-handed ;)  My last gripe is that they don't have pistol holsters, so I tried to paint them on.

I absolutely love the M-14, and we're finally here: the first M-14 rifleman pose.  Ain't that just a thing of beauty?


Next set, three kneeling M-14 riflemen.


Ahh, the gungy ones, from left to right: The Sergeant-Major, The Gunny, and Corporal Lara.  Corporal Lara was a Marine I knew in '96; he was about to get out, grew his hair long (for a Marine grunt), and I don't think I ever saw him with a cover on.  Kinda silly, but this figure made me think of him ;)


The next M-14 rifleman.  This pose reminds me of Tom Cruise in Born on the 4th of July.


Next rifleman, another favorite of mine.


Two Gyrenes slouching away.  I could be mistaken, but if I'm not this pose is based off a photograph of a Marine coming off a CH-46 in Vietnam.  He's got an M-14, but you'll see this again as there's a similar pose with M-16.

Reverse, showing the pack and rifle.  This is actually the only pose (plus the M-16 variant) where any of the Marines are carrying packs; I would have liked to have seen more, but no big deal.  All the Marine Vietnam vets I met told me the first thing they did in contact was drop everything but a bandoleer of ammo, some grenades (in their cargo pockets), and their weapon.

And the last  M-14 guys, two separate poses, one firing off hand and one in an alternate kneeling position (which also looks to be based off a real Vietnam photo; I love when sculptors do that.  How can you get any more realistic than that?).  I wish I had a couple more of these, but recall that I ordered the HQ pack and the M-16 Platoon pack, not the M-14 Platoon pack, which I'm sure has more of these poses.

I don't mind, I just hope I didn't miss out on any M-14 poses; there are some M-16 poses below that I wish had counterpart M-14 poses, and vice versa.


The first pose of the M-16 riflemen.


The next M-16 pose, a nice, compact off-hand position.


The next set of grunts, each holding an M-26 fragmentation grenade in his right hand.


Two Marines moving forward with their rifles at the ready, good animation.  The smokes always look cool, but I think the guy on the right looks cool with the 20-round magazine tucked into the helmet band.

Looking at the reverse you can see a belt of 7.62mm ammo for the Pig.

Another off-hand pose, either moving up while looking over his sights, or trying to peek over something.  Either way, cool ;)


Here's the M-16 version of the M-14 pose we saw earlier.

Again.  Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if the guy had an M-14 or an M-16 in the picture I was discussing earlier

Now we get to some NCO-ey looking guys.  You know, small unit leaders barking orders.  My only regret, and again I'm sure it's my fault for only ordering the M-16 Rifle Platoon Pack, but none of my NCOs have M-14s, only M-16s.  In any case, they're pretty cool looking, eh?


Another NCO pose, with M-60 belt.

Reverse.  Really like the look.

And the last three NCOs, all distinct poses with M-16 rifles.  I suppose the guy with no headgear isn't necessarily an NCO, but why not? ;)  For that matter, some of the NCOs could simply be a point-man signalling.


EDIT: I forgot, I meant to give some size comparison pics.  Forgive me as the pictures suck, but here's the Flashpoint guys with some Peter Pig and Battlefront.

The Flashpoint guys are 1, 3, and 5, Peter Pig LRRPs from their Vietnam Range are 2 and 4.  The PP guys are just a tad shorter and slighter of build, but they fit pretty well.

The Flashpoint guys are 1, 3, and 5, Battlefront SEAs from their Vietnam Range are 2 and 4.  These two are pretty much exact matches in height and build, though Flashpoint may be just a shade larger.

So, I know I was a bit picky, hopefully it didn't come off as overly grumpy.  But I am a bit particular with my beloved Marines ;)  And all in all this is a fantastic set of figures, I can't wait to get them on the table.  Just need to receive my enemy forces and get them painted and based...

These troops are fantastic and I highly recommend them; my only real complaints were the sole M-79 grenadier pose and the fact a lot of the guys that should have pistols didn't have holsters (though they could be painted on easily in most cases), so nothing you can't really live with.  I would go out and buy the M-14 Platoon Pack, but 15mm was supposed to only be a side project!

Hope you like them, comments welcome, as always.  Today I almost finished some 10mm Nappies for Command & Colors, but I still need flags for them.  I should have another batrep ready over on the Cuba Libre blog by tomorrow evening, and playing up more fights.