|Let's do this!|
One of the biggest draws of the new-ish Vietnam briefing book, Tour of Duty, for Flames of War is the helicopters.
I mean, who doesn't want to field flying death machines in force? So, when our benevolent overlords at Battlefront sent along a Loach and two Cobra kits recently of course I wanted to paint them up.
Plus, I just got my first airbrush rig, so this gives me the perfect opportunity to whip it out and start brushing.
Armed forces regularly use "hunter killer" set ups in various different ways, where the "hunter" acts as a spotting team and the "killer" does... well he does the killing. From Bradly AFV's and Abrams tanks to snipers and spotters, the team works together to get rounds down range in the most effective way possible.
Due to the nature of the fighting in Vietnam, quick reaction close air support was a necessity. Thus was born the "Pink Team," consisting of one OH-6 Cayuse or "Loach" (from an observation or "White" team) acting as spotter while the venerable Hueycobra or a UH-1B Hog (from an attack or "Red" team) did the killing.
In game, these two boys make a super effective combo. The Loach has the ability to "mark targets" on a skill check. Once the test is passed the marked team is no longer concealed or gone to ground, superior to the normal recce ability of simply removing gone to ground.
Unlike normal recon teams, the little bird can also still fire it's hull mounted weapon. Also, like all recce teams, it limits the placement of ambushes. Finally, if unarmed, it can act as a spotter for your arty even if it moved. It's an exceptionally good unit, and when paired with the huge amount of fire power that can be dealt by the the Cobra or Hog, you've got a devastating Commie killing combo.
The other boy in the pair, the Hueycobra comes equipped either with a chin turret sporting a high ROF low FP mini gun and a medium ROF and medium FP grenade launcher and a 42 tube rocket launching package, which can act as a 4 gun artillery bombardment each turn, in other words your classic HueyCobra. Or, a 20mm minigun, smaller tubes (which can bombard but have to go home to rearm) and the same chin turret package, known as the Gatling Cobra.
Keeping all that in mind, here are the stats from the epic EasyArmy.com:
|Gatling Cobra and Hueycobra|
|Front o'Box. You get two choppers!|
|Has anyone ever used the IR Code at the bottom there? I know I haven't. Probably takes you to their website or something. :)|
|Unlike previous helo's in the series, this little guy is all plastic.|
|And everything you need to build it comes on one compact sprue.|
|The package also includes your flight stand,|
|Crew and magnets, which are an absolute necessity for storing and transporting the choppers.|
|One cobra per box, and you get the gubbins to do the Gatling or Huey variant. I went for the Gatling variant on both, because I like dakka.|
|An "older" kit, that could probably have used a plastic redesign. But it's perfectly serviceable. Note the plastic blade sprue at the top of the pic, I'm pretty sure it's the same one you get with the Huey's.|
|All built up.|
OK, Let's Paint:
|Yay! Time for the airbrushing. Here's my set up.|
|Primed a color strikingly similar to the resin.|
|And the Loachs. Note the depth of detail on the doors and windows. A huge plus to me.|
|Also primed a color strikingly similar to the plastic.|
|Based coated in brown violence... errr violet.|
|Afterwards of course you're going to have to go back over the Brown Violet bits to clean it up.|
|And viola! Like magic, they're all cleaned up and painted.|
|I don't blame battlefront for this one, but the back horizontal stabilizer of this boy broke off. I blame my meaty meaty fingers. These small plastic kits should be handled with care, which pretty much means I shouldn't handle them... ever.|
|You can see here that one of the United States Army decals is missing. These things were so thin that they just straight up disintegrated.|
|Ready to rumble.|
|Red team go! Red team Go!|
|Here's another close up of the engine assemblage.|
|And one of the place where the tail rotor used to be.|
Overall: The Loach and Cobra kits are gorgeous but require some finesse and a bit of luck to build. They'll be a great addition to your Vietnam collection and are well worth the cost, which come two to a box.
Build, 3/5 Pink Teams: If it weren't for the relatively fragile plastic parts on both kits this would have been solid 4 or 4.5. The finicky nature of those bits though drags it down a touch. The addition of disintegrating decals on the Loach dragged it down even further.
Detail, 5/5 Pink Teams: The upside of plastic is excellent detail. Even the resin Hueycobra had very few casting flaws and is significantly better than any aircraft I've had to paint before. Add in the gun options and the overall cool factor and these two models are simply superb.
Value, 4/5 Pink Teams: You'll need fewer of both of these than you will of standard Huey's to build out your Air Cav list or to add in to another Vietnam list. Well worth the cost.
Overall, 4/5 Pink teams: If it weren't for that build... But even with those hiccups it's an exceptional set of models that any Vietnam enthusiast should look to acquire.
Throck "T-Rock" Morton is a reclusive cactus farmer from the snowy wilds of Alberta. There, he plans world domination and fails at it regularly.
Models provided by Battlefront