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Friday, October 4, 2013

Battlefront's Japanese Hohei HMG Platoon Blister (JP704)

Man!  Have I been on a Japanese roll!  Keeping with that theme, it's time to look at the Hohei HMG Platoon (JP704) for Flames of War.

So far I have been very pleased with the line.  Does the HMG platoon continue the pattern?

Accuracy:  The HMG here is the Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun.

From Wikipedia:
The Type 92 was essentially a scaled-up version of the Type 3 Heavy Machine Gun, with its calibre increased to 7.7 mm, and like the Type 3 was air cooled, ammo strip fed, and based on the Hotchkiss M1914.[3] It could use both a rimless and semi-rimmed 7.7x58mm Shiki round.[1] A 7.7 round could be used if needed or if other ammunition supplies dwindled.[2] Rounds fired from the gun traveled at about 2,400 ft/s, and the rate of fire was about 450 rpm. It was sometimes used as a light anti-aircraft gun during the Pacific War. It was nicknamed "woodpecker" by Western Allied soldiers because of the characteristic sound it made when fired, and the "chicken neck" by Chinese soldiers due to its appearance.[1] The Type 92 had a maximum range of 4,500 meters, but a practical range of 800 meters.

So looking at these the HMGs, the don't look bad at all.  The tripods look spot on.  The HMGs are close but do have a few errors.  BF did capture the blockiness of the Type 92.  The barrel as it comes out of the cooling fins/receiver area is thicker than the actual one.  The feed area on the left side looks different on the model as well;  not as rounded at the top.  Minor and hard to see unless you are very close.  It does give the blocky impression up to as close as 6 inches.

The figures are as good as the Hohei Infantry which I reviewed earlier.

Accuracy Rating:  8.5/10.  The figures are a rock solid 9/10, but the HMGs are 8/10.

Quality:  Very well done. Just one or two mold lines that needed to be cleaned up.  There was a little bit of flash on the end of the MG barrels, but that was easily clipped and filed.

Quality Rating: 9/10

Versatility:  Not a whole lot to differentiate teams.  The Gunner and Ammo Bearer are the same for each HMG team.  The only thing different is the 3rd figure.  You have a prone and a kneeling shooter (see my Hohei Platoon article for more on the prone figure).  You also have 2 kneeling figures, one of which is one of my favorite sculps of the Japanese line:

Rocket man!!!!!  I love the goggles
What makes this even worse is that the gunner and ammo bearer are rather "boring" sculpts as well.  Most of the HMG platoons fall into this category though.  Some, however, do have an alternate pose for the gunner or ammo bearer, or even the whole team:

GE814 SS HMG Platoon has 2 different poses, like this, which gives a higher score. Sadly, not the case with this boxset
Versatility Rating: 7/10.  

Paintability:  I used the same painting plan as I did for the Hohei Platoon.  These sculps are very sharp and clean.  It could be the new molds, but I am seeing something a little more here.  BF is returning to the old ways. Gone are the zombies that plagued the Early War releases from a few years ago.

Paintability Rating:  10/10.  That pattern continues.  Clean, crisp detail makes these very easy to paint.

Overall Rating:  8.6/10.  Having 2 loader sculpts would have brought the versatility up to a 9/10 and and overall score of 9.1/10.  Most HMG platoons only have different sculps for the section leader so this is right in line with that practice, but my favorite HMG platoons are those that have extra poses and different sculpts. This could have been one of those.  As it stands, it is just one platoon I need to have for my Hohei force. It is a well executed box set, don't get me wrong.  I felt it could have been a stand out with one more extra figure pose (loader or gunner).

As always, a special thanks The Foundry in Huntsville, Alabama for allowing me to use their tables and terrain to take these pictures.  

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

Models provided by Battlefront Miniatures.

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