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Monday, April 20, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Games M18 Hellcat

Hey gang,

Old Man Morin here. Today, I am going to take a good close look at one of Warlord's newest resin American armoured fighting vehicle kits. The nimble and deadly M18 Hellcat tank destroyer.

In Bolt Action terms, the Hellcat is unique in that it is the only tank destroyer in the game to have the recce rule. Out of recce vehicles in fact, it has the largest gun in the game. Coming in at 190 points at Regular with Recce and a pintle mounted HMG. The Hellcat is vehicle that is hard to ignore on the tabletop. Warlord's new kit is so nice that with a little work, this little kitty can easily become the centrepiece of your American army.

To quote Wikipedia: "The M18 Hellcat (also known as the M18 Gun Motor Carriage) was an American tank destroyer of World War II, used in the Italian and European theatres. It was the fastest armored vehicle until the turbine powered M1 Abrams tank appeared decades later.[1] The speed was attained by keeping armor to a minimum, no more than one inch thick, and by powering the relatively small vehicle with a radial engine originally designed for aircraft usage. The Hellcat, along with the M10 Wolverine and M36 tank destroyer, provided American and Allied forces with a respectable mobile anti-tank capability against the newer German armored types. Despite being armed with an only partially effective 76 mm cannon,[2] it performed exceptionally well and even outperformed much more heavily armored vehicles with much larger weapons, such as the American 90mm M36 or the British Ordnance QF 17-pounder armed Sherman Firefly."

Straight out of the box the Hellcat is an impressive kit. The amount of additional metal parts that need to be added is impressively small given the amount of 3D depth the kit has. The open top is mostly cast in one piece but with the option of separate heads and a separate HMG, one can easily vary assembly (in case you have two or more in a force).

I like how the gun (inside the turret) has an addition piece that when assembled, gives the model a pleasing 3D look that you cannot get in a single piece kit. I also like that the kit comes with two separate barrels that you can choose between depending on a) which one you think looks cool and b) which era your force is based on. I chose the earlier variant to better match my Battle of the Bulge American army for example.

The light protection bars on the front of the tank are separate too but a quick look at the instruction diagram on the back of the box told me what went where. By casting these in metal separately, these rings were crisp and clear of flash unlike a few other American models I have had to trim recently. Those little rings, when cast in resin, are a massive pain to get right and are easy to break.

The main hull and tracks are one single piece for easy assembly. Likewise most of the turret's stowage is sculpted into place. The resin is VERY crisp, with sharp edges and straight components. There was no bubbling in any of the resin and the only bit of flash was under the tank. It took me literally less than a minute to clean the resin components of this kit.

The tracks are worth mentioning here too. There are often miscasts in tracks, it tends to be a trouble area for a lot of resin vehicles. That was not the case here at all. I was VERY impressed when I noticed this.

Here is a shot of the Hellcat next to a Sherman for size comparison purposes. Size wise, it is slightly lower slung than the good ol' Sherman tank but it is supposed to be, as tank destroyers were generally built to present smaller targets on the battlefield.

Warlord resin kits have been truly impressive of late (okay, for the last 15 months or so). This is no exception. The quality of this model, top to bottom is fantastic. I cannot literally think of a way that it could have been improved. For this reason, I would give it a perfect ten nuts out of ten nuts. I know I probably sound like a bit of a fanboy but this kit really is THAT good. If you play Americans in Bolt Action. You owe it to yourself to pick one of these bad boys up.

From another angle (I think the pictures speak for themselves).

As you can see, I have left the .50 Cal off the pintle mount for now. That is only because I am thinking about mounting it to the tank via magnets. I have not done this before and I am researching this before I go messing up an otherwise finished tank.

From another side.
For those wondering how I painted this kit, you can find my how to guide HERE.

Til next time....

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