Friday, 25 November 2016

How do you fit 3 Leopards in a tiny box?

Howdy all...Happy Thanksgiving to my American comrades and internet folk.  Funny enough, when I think of Thanksgiving and/or Turkey day...depending on how you call it, I have a few automatic thoughts that pop into my head.

I remember one of the most appreciated meals I've had in my life...thanks to the hospitality of the folks at the American embassy in post-war Kigali allowing a few drop-ins to share their meal.  The steamed carrots were outstanding!

And...a favourite since I was a kid...I can never let a Thanksgiving go by without thinking of this scene from WKRP in Cincinnati:

So...with those thoughts in mind...Happy Thanksgiving folks.

And now, the rest of the post...since Battlefront announced that they were expanding Team Yankee to include West Germans I have been severely pumped to get my hands on some Leopard 1's for my 4CMBG Battle Group...I will have to take a look at the Panzertruppen expansion to see how BF handles 'companies' of Leopard 1's...but my ultimate objective is to have a full Troop of Leopards along with a battery of M109's and at least 2 platoons of infantry.

Anyway, since I've been pretty pumped, I thought I'd share my thoughts as I unboxed the Leopard 1 platoon box...answer that inane do you get 3 Leopards in such a tiny box...this is how...

The Box...worktable in the background...but the box looks good, nice view of the looking roads and fields in the behind them...very nice product placement.

The view...unit cards bundled together...there's a card for a Recce Company HQ element, platoon element, and a Panzer Division org card.  The Leopard 1's, unlike the Leo 2's are a resin model...not plastic...with a resin hull and turret, metal main gun barrel, hatch, and machinegun.

The bottom of the box, looking can see the resin cast tracks and side their Centurion models for Vietnam and Fate of a Nation, the bulk of the tank model is this case like all of their Team Yankee kit I've seen to date, even the vehicle commanders are non-metal sculpts.  I liked the poses for the Russian commanders so far and the West Germans do not disappoint...very nice looking commanders...they will suit nicely as Canucks.

The biggest thing to remember with this that while the 'big' releases for Team Yankee have been all-plastic (by big I mean those units that you need many multiples of, i.e. T72's, M1A1's, M113's, BMP's, Leopard 2's, Marder's, Chieftain's, etc.).  Why remember this? Well, the Leopard 1's put together okay...they can take some work to put together nicely...very reminiscent of pre-plastic Flames of War...the plastics released so far with Team Yankee have been very nice, and I have found them to be fairly straightforward and relatively easy to assemble...they take some time with all of the small parts, but they look sharp and all pieces fit very well together.

The Leopard 1 box is a resin beast in comparison and my main disappointment, contrary to my experience with the resin Centurion, is that the track/side skirt assembly requires a fair bit of sanding to make fit...this is necessary to make these pieces fit as flush as possible to the main hull without any gaps between the skirt and hull.

If there's a gap, you'll notice it...the tread pattern will poke out.  The pic above you can see two things, first the 'tread' pattern that you can see if there are any gaps...second, my main beef with this model.  When I unboxed this set, I had 2 boxes of Leopards.  The first box went together pretty good...took some sanding, but I was happy for the most part.

The second box was not as smooth...not only was sanding required...BUT there was no amount of sanding that I could do to make these tracks fit flush with the hull...if you look at the picture, you can see that the tread is warped/bowed.  This puppy ain't flushing at you can see, it takes a fair bit of sanding to make it happen.  Unfortunately, on top of the warped treads, there were also hollow weak points in the resin itself which resulted in a couple of sink holes in the you can see below for example. 

 Overall, I am happy with the models, they look good when built, I expect the painting process to mirror my experience for the past 10 years...and while I recognize that with any process there will be some issues (it's a given, it has happened before, it will again) I know that my email to the Battlefront customer service will mirror my previous experiences and these folks work hard to keep us gamers happy and get frustrated when we get frustrated.

So, how do I keep smiling...I think of the great customer service coming my way...and on this Turkey time of the season for my American friends...I remember my Kigali turkey dinner and am happy that a few years or so (ish) later...I can sit at home and have the luxury of having a first world problem.

Take care folks.

More to follow on this project as I get my Leo's done...and have my 4CMBG Battle Group take shape.


  1. I had heard that assembly could be tricky, and was wondering about the Leo 1s. Thanks for posting this.

    1. You're welcome. I'm hoping this is a rare issue with the boxes and can be rectified in future productions...

  2. Over the years I have learned to live with warped tracks but it is disappointing they didn't go with plastics.

    We will have to try with Force on Force once you have your Canadians ready to go.

    1. Uggh...I hear you, at least when the tracks were metal you could bend them to fit...I will make sure to document my Canucks progress, I'd love to get some FoF in.