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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Achtung! Plastics: Review

Sherman Sprue
As you no doubt know by now, Battlefront's new starter set "Achtung!" dropped recently and includes fully plastic kits for 3 British Shermans and 2 German Stugs.  Of course we're all excited about Battlefront's jump into plastics, so let's have a look!

What's in Achtung!?
First up, it's worth mentioning just what you get in the starter set.  The set includes one A4 complete mini rulebook, a 16 page full color guide to getting started in the hobby, 3 green "allied" dice, 2 grey "axis" dice and the afore mentioned Shermans and Stugs.  Also included are 6 magnets for your shermans' turrets.
image courtesy of Battlefront Miniatures
At a mere $40, Achtung is definitely a great starter set.  Though we don't know when (or if) plastics will be available individually (or what they're price point will be), this bodes well!  Though the set isn't really a complete game like some of the GW starter sets are- I've heard rumors that something like this may come about soon.

The focus of this review is going to be on the plastics themselves, since by now you've heard about the mini rulebooks and I doubt you want to hear our thoughts on dice!  I am going to focus on the Shermans as Dirty Jon swiped the StuGs almost immediately!

As you can see form the pictures of the sprues, they managed to pack quite a bit on there!  Aside from the main chassis and turret (with 2 hatch options and a very well sculpted commander) there's tons of options for stowage and a nice and chunky .50 cal.
The Hull is comprised of 4 pieces.  The track and hull sides, the deck, and the superstructure.

The pieces are very thick, giving the model a lot more heft than most plastics I've dealt with.  The only minor quibble I had is that the track/hull side pieces really needed to be dry-fit and carefully placed as the hull sides tended to be slightly off at an angle...

...which could easily leave a large gap between the deck and hull sides.  Manageable, but you need to catch it (see more below).

With only 4 big, chunky pieces, assembly is easy!

The hull comes together decently, but the pieces aren't really precise.  Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to get the deck and hull sides to line up perfectly- there were small gaps on all 3 of my models.  That's unfortunate since I really like the chunkiness of the plastic, but if it's at the cost of precision- I'm not so sure.



The turret assembly has a few more pieces: turret structure, 2 pieces for the mantlet/gun shield, gun, and 2 options for the hatch (open or closed).  Also included is the optional .50 cal which is nice and thick.

The turret and hull are made to perfectly fit the included rare earth magnets.  I really really like this addition.  It does, of course, force you to use the magnets or else the turret won't stay on, but I really don't see that as an issue- magnetized turrets rule!



Some people had complained that the plastics were too large.  Here it is next to a Sherman III (only Brit shermans I own).  Non issue, it seems.


Here's Dirty Jon's Stugs:

No commander included or option for open hatches, but the stowage options are very nice and the MG is very thick and sturdy.



StuG 700 has the 'ton of stuff' stowage option. It has tarps, a box and fuel cans all in one chunk -- I like it!

So I like this set a lot.  Easy to assemble, nice and chunky, few pieces that clean up easily.  The sherman needs a bit of work- the gaps between the sides of the hull and the deck are unsightly and difficult to fix.  It's a pretty large blemish on an otherwise solid model.  The magnets for the turrets are great, and the detail is crisp and clean.  Of course, we also don't know if these are going to be available separately, after all judging Battlefront's resin line on the offerings in Open Fire would be unfair.  They are starter models in a starter set.

So it's hard to give these a real rating until we know what the individual price point is- but for $40,  5 tanks and a mini rulebook is a pretty darn good deal, especially for beginners where precision modeling might matter a bit less.  Achtung! is certainly a great buy for new players, plus you can get 2 buddies together, each buy one, and now one of you has 6 shermans and one has 4 stugs and you each have a rulebook!

11 comments:

Otis Hatfield said...

The whole reason that I buy from Battlefront is that I get the Quality, Weight and Style of metal and resin. If they were to switch to an all plastic model I would be inclined to look at other companies' wears.

Vladdd309 said...

I saw the assembled models at a show at the weekend. They looked good, but it was obvious the seller had just slapped them together. Good to see a more detailed review. Still not sold though.

WEBGriffin said...

The Shermans are much mroe difficult to assemble due to the hull side issue as Steve shows above. Candidly - I have one half assembled and simply set it aside along with the others that I have. I am not sure I will be assembling them any time soon.

If I compare them to PSC, it is no contest - PSC all the way. The PSC may have more pieces, but they assemble without seams.

WarHighlander said...

Molding the hull sides as separate from the center and part of the tracks was a horrible idea. It would have been better if they had case them as just upper hulls and lower hulls PSC style.

Mikey D said...

I just got this set for a friend, and I've assembled all three of the Shermans. I concur, the Shermans have real alignment problems on one side which throws off the whole hull. The solution I've come up with by number 3 is to glue the 3 pieces of the hull (2 tracks and centerpiece) with the top all at the same time for best alignment. Then, I used a pretty beefy spring clamp to pinch down the whole assembly. Not thrilled, but the detail is great, and painting them is fun. The rulebook alone is worth the money IMHO. Add the great if not typoed starter book, and you can get into this game sooo easily.

Mikey D said...

p.s. I received no decals in the box :(

Steven MacLauchlan said...

Neither did we Mikey- Jon added them from his collection :)

Agreed on your points!

zsavk said...

How was the size comparison on the plastic to Resin StuGs?

Dirty Jon said...

@zsavk: They are a little 'beefier'. A tad wider, pretty close in length.

zsavk said...

Thanks Jon

Dirty Jon said...

Ugh. I totally whiffed on the flash suppressor on the StuG -- I failed to see the little round piece on the sprue for this, so I just cut the tab off the end of the barrel. Green stuff to the rescue!

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