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Monday, June 17, 2013

Product Review: Vietnamese Huts (BB169)

PAVN and Free World Forces Clash over a “Strategic Hamlet”
 I have been playing Flames of War “Vietnam” ever since the publication of “The Battle of Ia Drang” in Wargames Illustrated 266. Though I purchased both the initial PAVN Bn and US Airmobile Co sets and have gamed with them for years, I never got around to adding Vietnam terrain to game with.  I simply used my European based terrain and made do. So I was excited to see Battlefront producing some terrain for its Vietnam range. But, I was also a bit apprehensive about getting the Vietnamese Huts (BB169) because they looked so similar to the earlier Rural Farm Buildings (BB139) which Steven reviewed on WWPD.
These Rural Farm Buildings (BB139) had issues with chipping along the edges of the roof. This defect was not a huge issue due to them representing thatched roofs, which would have some irregularity. Nonetheless it was also a quality control and design issue that gave me some pause for ordering what appeared to be very similar products for Vietnam.
To counter my apprehension, I had over a year’s worth of the other great “Battlefield in Box” products, including the European House subscription, that I had greatly enjoyed so I went ahead and took the plunge hoping that Battlefront had learned from the previous issues with Rural Farm Buildings (BB139). I am very glad I did.
Battlefront had indeed learned, and the roof chipping issues have been completely eliminated in the Vietnamese Huts (BB169) building models. They each have a very solid roof with a sturdy internal lip. They were also much better packed than the BB139 buildings and both of my sets of BB169 arrived with zero damage.
Vietnamese Hut Roof interior…a very solid piece!
Each Vietnamese Huts (BB169) box comes with two huts each in different colors, unlike BB139 where both buildings were exactly the same. This is important as the “Tour of Duty” rules breakdown buildings into two types; “French” which are more sturdy European types and “Local” which are more flimsy. The latter of theses provide concealment in game terms, but not bulletproof cover. Having two versions of huts in each box helps players to use these to represent both types.
Hut One
Hut Two
Hut Interior

The hut models are nicely detailed with realistic looking bamboo window and door covers. The interiors have a textured and painted dirt floor look to them.  Handy for digging in if the hut does not provide bulletproof cover! The roofs are textured and painted to look like thatched roofs. The external walls also have a very nice texturing and color.
Placed along the Battlefield in a Box Paddy Fields (BB170) and some pressed into service Desert Palms (BB538), these Vietnamese Huts (BB169) have really helped to improve my Vietnam terrain collection.

My only complaint and it’s a small one, is that the doors and windows locations are not well modeled on the interior walls. They are barely perceptible. 
I will have to go back and highlight these with some simple painting and I’d advise other users of these buildings to do the same. So with that I rate these huts a 9 out of 10 on the “hooches” meter!
Tom Burgess 
Tom has been playing wargames since the late 70’s, and Flames of War since 2007. He maintains a gaming website for the BattleVault Gamers of Kentuckiana and posts and moderates as Iron-Tom on WWPD.

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