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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: The Warlord and JTFM M3 Scout Cars: Side By Side

By Bryan

Hello Bolt action fans!

    Today I'll be talking scout cars, M3 White scout cars. These were armoured cars produced by the factories of the United States which ended up being used by many of the allied nations. They are fast and festooned with machine guns, so are great fun in Bolt Action as well. There are currently two companies which make the M3 White scout car in 1:56 scale; Warlord Games and JTFM (Die Waffenkammer). My latest army features 3 of these vehicles so I'll take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the two different company's versions of the M3 in a side by side review of the miniatures.

    This is actually the beginning of my next army project, The Free French in the Italian campaign, or FEC (French Expeditionary Corp) 1943-44. This was an army of liberation, that was born in the French colonial army of North Africa. These former garrisons of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia were re-equipped by the Americans and formed into a large army of nearly 300,000 troops. They received the older vehicles from the early American campaigns such as the M3 scout car, the M3A3 Stuart and M10 tank destroyers. The French used their former cavalry regiments to crew the fast moving recon units riding in the M3 scout cars, called the Spahis. This is what I am converting my crew figures to represent, a squadron of Moroccan Spahis.

    Now, to the miniatures themselves. Let me just say upfront that both kits both have great, really clean casting. There was almost no cleaning up to do on both, the Warlord Games and the JTFM resin parts. There are several differences between the two kits. The JTFM version is all resin parts, the Warlord Games kit features some metal pieces, namely the guns, crew and wheels. I actually prefer the guns being metal as they are more durable.

    The second difference is the size. The JTFM version is slightly larger, both height and length. It's not massively different, so you can mix the two different kits in the same army, as I am doing. If you are choosing one over the other, the size is a matter of taste, I suppose. If your infantry sculpts are on the larger size (like Artizan Designs for example) then maybe the JFTM kit will fit in better with the rest of the army. The Warlord Games kit is definitely not small though, and looks great next to my Artizan Designs Goumier infantry (you can see it in the top photo in the article).

    Perhaps the biggest difference is in the detail sculpted into the hull piece. The Warlord Games kit features some really cool stowage items sculpted onto the hull in one piece. Also there is more detail in the rear crew compartment, lot's of seats, plus a few extras on the rear of the vehicle. The JTFM kit is overall a bit simpler and without the cool stowage. This suits the JTFM kit though as it features crew figures who are standing and firing the guns, so they need the clear space in the rear cab to be placed easily. Lastly, although I love the stowage sculpted onto the Warlord Games version, I can see if you wanted 2-3 in your army they would look a little repetitive with the exact same stowage. This isn't much of a problem though as you could easily add more, or cut some off to create variation.

    Both kits include crew figures, which is great for an open topped vehicle. The JTFM one has 3 crew, one driver and two gunners. The Warlord Games crew is overall more passive, all are seated, but has 4 crew. I swapped one crew member in the pic above for one from Warlord Games French Tank crew, to help with my army concept. Also note that both crew sets are in American uniform! I have swapped all the heads to make mine into Free French versions.

    Here you can see the JTFM kit in a bit more detail. I have added my own stowage as well as a few bedrolls supplied with the kit. Notice also that the side armour plates in the drivers compartment are in the open position, which is different to the Warlord Games one, so again, it adds variation, which is nice.

    The stowage on this M3 was inspired by the photo below. I used gauze bandage soaked in watered down PVA glue to make several rolls of camo netting. The French heads come from Woodbine Design Co's WW1 french head sets, West Wind's German heads in side caps and some crew are Warlord Games French tank and gun crew.

    When it comes time to painting there is one last difference. Because of the mold release agent used by the JTFM resin casting process, you need to apply a specialized primer product to it or the paint will flake off later. I use the Tamiya primer for plastics and metal (shown right). The advantage the Warlord Games kit has is this is not necessary and so you can prime the model with your normal acrylic sprays.

    After priming the vehicles I applied a base colour of US armour spray by the 'Plastic Soldier Company'. After applying base colours, I used both the Warlord Games French Decal set, and some hand painted symbols.

    Protecting the base colours and decals with a layer of gloss varnish, I then used AK Interactive enamel products to give me some depth and weathering. First I applied the 'Dark brown wash for Green vehicles', removing it from raised areas with white spirit and a cotton tip. Second I used my normal acrylic paints to highlight up all the stowage. And lastly I applied a thin coat of the AK interactive 'Dust Effects' around the tires and lower hull.

    Here you can see the finished product of the Warlord Games M3 scout car, after a matte varnish using Testors Dullcote.

    In summary I love both kits. There are differences and I have tried to highlight these throughout the article. It's really down to your personal tastes as to which of the two kits you prefer, as both have advantages depending on what you like. Both, however, are great kits and I am glad I have them in my squadron.

Any questions on these kits? Ask away on the forum:

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