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Monday, March 14, 2016

Bolt Action - Review: French Armoured Car by Mad Bob miniatures

By Bryan

If you are a French player, you have most likely already seen the exciting Kickstarter by Mad Bob Miniatures, which runs until the end of March. I recently painted up one of Mad Bob's French armoured cars from his existing range, so I thought I would offer an insight into what to expect from one of these kits.

Mad Bob's range covers many obscure vehicles not currently made by anyone else in 1:56 scale. This particular kit is for the Laffly 50AM armoured car. Designed in the 1920's, this venerable (read outdated) armoured car continued serving in the French army into the 1930's and the early part of the Second World War.

By 1940 all the Laffly 50's were stationed in France's colonies and not the homeland itself. They ended up seeing action as part of the Vichy French forces garrisoning North Africa, the Levant and even Indochina. They ended their battlefield career in the 1943 Tunisian campaign with some of them serving in the now Free French forces.

Okay, onto the kit itself. Above you can see the parts unassembled. The main hull is one piece, with 4 seperate wheels, turret and then smaller items like weapons and hatches. This is actually untypical for a Mad Bob mini, as there are more than 4 parts! Mad Bob kits are designed with the minimum amount of parts required in mind. I do like the extra parts here though, especially the separate hatches as it allowed me to add a crew miniature.

Mad Bob kits are designed with the wargamer in mind rather than a scale modeller. The example above is great, you can see how the wheel is designed to glue in only one way, no chance of getting it wrong, and the design makes this extremely sturdy for a wheeled vehicle. No delicate axle to wheel join here.

Here is the armoured car fully assembled. The resin quality is great, strong but not brittle. The masters for these kits are 3D printed and then a mould is made to cast the kits in resin. I found no pattern of the 3D printing process at all on this miniature.

There was no cleaning up required other than clipping the hatches and bumper off a tag of resin. It was a very clean kit and only took me 20 minutes or so to clean and assemble. The turret fits snuggly and there was no need for carving into it with a knife. The advantage of 3D printing the master means all the parts fit together perfect.

I decided to base my vehicle using some plastic card and then texturing with poly-filla from a hardware store and some gravel. The crew miniature is from Warlord Games French tank crew set, and the scale works perfectly well.

Here is a rather unfortunate example of the Laffly 50AM, knocked out by some Australians in the Operation Exporter campaign in Syria 1941.

A Free French version parading in Tunisia for the Allied victory. My army features a few more of Bob's French armoured vehicles, some of which are in this previous article.

I've chosen to paint mine in a camo scheme and markings of an armoured car squadron in Vichy army in Syria. The details on the vehicle, like the rivets, are nice and pronounced. Which means washes and drybrushing works really well on Mad Bob vehicles.

The squadron symbol and roundel transfers are also from the Warlord Games French sets.

I am very happy with this Mad Bob French armoured car, it's a robust design with no weak or fiddly parts. It assembled easily and there was no warped resign parts.

It may not conquer all on the Bolt Action battlefields, but it is a wonderful miniature. What's great about the Mad Bob range is it's full of cool vehicles no-one else makes. Plus, because they are made by an actual player of Bolt Action, they are all really useful ones for the game!

I did have to source my own crew miniature, but that is easily done. I give this resin kit 4.5 out of 5 baguettes. If you are looking for more French fighting vehicles for your Bolt Action force, be sure to check out Mad Bob's current kickstarter, they are great quality kits. 

If you have any questions on this kit or other Mad Bob miniatures just ask me on the forum, I have quite a few!

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