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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Patrol Boats (VUSBX12) Review

By Tom Burgess,

Flames of War Vietnam not only lets you play in some really cool and very different types of  Flames of War games, it also seems the to make the best of some of Hollywood's Vietnam movies. Indeed, the initial inspiration for the original "Ia Drang" supplement and first special order Vietnam miniatures sets was the movie "We Were Soldiers." Now we can also go up river "Apocalypse Now" style with Battlefront's release of it Patrol Boats boxed set (VUSBX12).
At the cost of $30 USD, this boxed set gives you a pair of U.S. Navy Patrol Boat Riverine or PBR.

The hulls and superstructure of the PBR were a single, well cast, pieces of resin.  They are about 3.5" long.

The white metal bits needed only minimal clean up. No magnets are included for the bow twin .50 turret. But these fit very snugly on my two boats and hold just fine without magnets. But since the recesses are in place to hold magnets, I feel these should have been included.

Assembly was very easy. I airbrushed the base coat and followed the painting suggestions from the "Kelley's Heroes" boxed set for these.

Like the boats in my "Kelley's Heroes" review, I added  US flags downloaded from and glued them to a pin that I inserted into a hole I drilled into the pilot house roof tarp. Looking at the real photo posted above, I think I'll go back and add a pair of antennae to each PBR as well.

You'll note I painted the sailors helmets in Sea Grey. I found a few pictures of PBR crews with grey helmets mush like their brethren on the bigger ocean going Navy ships and opted to go with that color. If I actually served on a PBR I think the first thing I'd do would be to paint my helmet green if it was issued to me grey. But here I liked the idea of help the crew of my boats to stand out as Sailors rather than grunts. One of my favorite lines from "Apocalypse Now" was Chief telling Lance, "Get that Army shit off, you're a sailor!"

In "Brown Water Navy" the PBRs operate pretty much like recon jeeps, with 3+ saves. Historically they did not operate very often in direct support of the Riverine Assault Forces, but their nimbleness and recon ability make them great scouts to get out ahead of the slower ATC's and Monitors to find the enemy and prevent ambushes.

 "Scouts Out!" Navy style!

At about the same cost as a couple of Battlefront tank models, this boxed set of a pair of PBR's is an easy addition for any Flames of War Vietnam gamer.  These PBRs also will not need quite as much river to operate in and you use them on much more minor water features on your table top.

These are great models and I recommend them as a great addition to the "Kelley's Heroes" set or just to have on their own for some "Apocalypse Now" scenarios.  With these PBRs and the US Navy SEALs coming out from Battlefront, I think it would be very cool to develop some "Vietnam Raiders" mini-missions like we saw in introduced "Burning Empires!" Maybe I'll do just that!
Miniatures provided by Battlefront
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 WWPD as Iron-Tom.

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