Forged In Battle Product Line Overview | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Sunday, 26 September 2010



  88s in front of a sparse wood.

Every once in a while we at Wargames @ Nordalia HQ get blindsided by a product line that has been around for a bit and we just didn't know about it. Forged In Battle was one of those product lines. The first time we noticed anything about them, the line was pretty extensive. Of course we had to run out and get some to find out how much they rock... Or don't.

We spent quite a bit of time thinking about how broad a look we wanted to give you all at the line - do we order a few of each country, a single pack of infantry, a little of each... We settled on a wide view of the German part of the line, giving you our impression of tanks, vehicles, and infantry. While restricting ourselves to a single country might disappoint you if you're looking for a particular country, we did have to worry about the overall costs - including shipping - of what already turned out to be a large selection. We also had to limit the time it took to paint this stuff up while other items sit on our painting table screaming for review (we held off the 28mm JTFM Panzergrenadier review for this one, for example). So you get the nazis. We had a place for all of this stuff in our armies, but they're painted for the army we're going to deploy them in, so bear with us if you don't like our painting choices.


So we ordered a set of three Opel Blitz's, a set of 88s with tows, an infantry platoon, Panzer III, Hetzer, mortar squad, and HMG squad. That gives us a selection of infantry, trucks, tanks, and guns. First impressions are important, these came packaged nicely and in decent sized sets - more on that below. We'll take a look at them individually to give you a handle on just what you'll be getting, and we'll show you some comparisons to other vendor's models along the way. The over-arching comments are both positive and negative from our perspective. The figures are nicely done overall, and the vehicles are very well done overall. The figures have some issues around the face - some beeing too short top-to-bottom, but once painted this isn't too large a problem. The only thing that we found completely out of place in all that we looked at was the rifles, which we'll discuss in the infantry section.

 

Infantry pack

G-INF01 German Infantry Platoon

This pack came with 40 figures, including a command figure, a light mortar, and three MG42s with a 2 man crew on a bipod. The infantry is all metal, one figure per base, with a variety of poses. In fact, outside of the LMG teams, there were roughly three figures per pose.


Overall, these are great little figures, with standard equipment that you would expect on each figure - the infantry has a lightened combat load with bread bag, cook kit, water bottle, entrenching tool with bayonet - a few skip the entrenching tool and have the frog attached directly to the belt - and shelter quarter. Leaders have less equipment, some figures have more. At least one pose has two water bottles attached, one over the breadbag and one under the opposing arm. The figures have weapon-appropriate ammo pouches, and leaders have map cases with pistol holsters.

And that's where we get to the one serious negative we had with this collection. Infantry weapons are short and fat. Not a little short and fat, a lot. We'll offer you the KAR 98K by way of example...


Seriously now, I've got a KAR 98K in my collection, and scaled down to 1:100, it would look nothing like this. These weaons are the fattest, shortest we've seen, even when you count Peter Pig's purposefully oversized weapons. And then you get the other half of the equation. Painted and based, they look just fine. And that's one of the reviewers' dilemmas in miniatures. If it looks just peachy on the table, should you point out how bad they look up-close. As you can see from the above picture, this case was bad enough that we chose to let you know.

Everything else about them we think is pretty darned good, and they fit well with most of the other 1:100 vendors out there...


Forgive us this one, all of the figures pictured are works in progress, that's why we had them available and unbased.

MG-42 Teams

HMG Platoon
G-INF02 German HMG Platoon


The HMG teams are MG-42 teams with tripods. Each team comes with a gunner and a loader that is the same pose for each weapon, with a commander figure that varies a little bit (laying and kneeling are the ones we received). The figures are correctly equipped, with the assistant having a spare barrel holder, the gunner having the repair kit, and all three being armed with pistols.


They're nice enough figures, and overall they look good. Since the pack is designed to have four very similar bases, there isn't much more to say, so we'll leave you with the close-up.


The barrel is a little big, but looks good enough on the table, and certainly isn't as bad as the Kar 98Ks are, so we think it's not so big a deal.

8 cm Granatwerfer

Mortar Teams
G-INF-03 German 8cm Granatwerfer 34 Mortar Teams


This pack is also four stands of three men with the weapon, and again they are armed correctly. There is a loader, firer, and leader in each team. In our case, the leaders were all the same, but I suspect that they share leaders with the HMG teams, so you could get a mix.




They're certainly nice enough, and I've got a use for them, that is for certain.

Pricing: All of these infantry figures (platoon + HMG Platoon + Mortar Platoon) together can be had as a unit, that's how we bought them:

18.50 GBP (MSRP) on sale at the time of this writing for 15.00 GBP as a German Multi-Buy.

Opel Blitz's

G-42 Opel Blitz Trucks


These models come three in a pack, made of resin, with the base attached. That should be no big deal for most of you, but will cause some people consternation. Check out our review of Opel Blitz's if these don't fit your needs.

As was pointed out on TMP, if you want them to be realistic and you're not using them as active tows, you will have to remove the reflector panel on the top of the cab. Otherwise, they're certainly pretty enough. I'm going to use them as tows, so I'm okay with them just the way they are.


How do they look with the other vendor's vehicles? Well let's have a peek.


They'll fit in with most other vendor's models just fine, falling close to the BattleFront models in size.

Panzer III J/L

P-33 Single


For those who are new here, we did a Panzer IIIJ review for our first ever multi-product review back in 2006. We pulled out some suitable tanks to compare this one to. But first, you get a quick glance at the unassembled tank as it came out of the box.


Notice that the base is part of the all-resin body, and that the turret is all metal. It comes with barrels for both J and L, the spaced armor for the turret, the turret hatch, and machineguns.

It assembles easily enough, and starts to look a lot like other resin models out there...


It's definitely proportional, and the resin has more detail than any other resin we've worked on. That could be a function of the newness of the moulds, only time and your feedback will tell.


We assembled ours as a IIIJ, simply for conformity with the ones we reviewed in 2006, so we didn't have a zillion disclaimers on the comparison pictures. When painted up, they certainly look like a Panzer III.


Of course, looking like a Panzer III and comparing well with other vendors is not one-and the same, so here's the comparison shots

From the front:

And from the side:

The base makes the tank sit a bit higher than the piggy, but overall you could mix these in with your Pigs or BattleFront tanks and they'll play well. We are putting this one into the army that the comparison tanks came out of, and intend it to work like a charm.

Hetzer

P-18 Single


It would be great if we had some Hetzers to compare this bad-boy too, but we don't. I was painting up a Tamiya 1:35th Hetzer for my son at the same time, but that won't do much good for the scale comparison.

This was, in my opinion, the furthest stretch of any of the vehicles. It feels... Rounded, and the Hetzer definitely wasn't. Looking at it next to the 1:35th it isn't really rounded, it just appears to be at casual observation. The remote machinegun is pretty lame, in my opinion, not crisp at all, but comparing it to the 1:35th and my 1:48th models, we have the issue of scaling. Making that gun and shield look crisp is harder than just making a standalone gun look crisp. You don't have to install it, though I can't find reference pictures without them except for stripped models.

Here's what you get out of the box...

It is pretty simple, two barrels and the RC machinegun. I believe the second barrel is the flamethrower barrel to make this a flammpanzer 38(t), which is pretty cool if you want to equip your troops with this rare beast. I built this one with the longer barrel that fits as a 75mm.


You'll note the paint skew in the base, that's all my fault, and it's less visible but present on the Opels too. I'm set to go fix it, and apologize for the inconvenience.

On all of these models, I like the detail in the resin, and I like the way the tracks sit. Not really a fan of built-in bases, but that's a question of taste.


Overall, I can't speak authoritatively about how it will fit into your armies, but it paints up nice enough, and the "rounding" appearance isn't so bad after a paint job.

88mm AT Gun Battery

G-80


Perhaps the nicest of the figures in this set, the 88s are impressive. They come with gun, trailer, eight crew, and tow, two per package. The only bummer about what comes in the package is that a second gun wasn't included so you could make towed and deployed models out of the set. Here's a look at the box contents:


They assemble up nice enough, with the below showing one assembled gun and trailer:


It's an impressive little set of models, though the faces on these particular figures are crunched down quite a bit, almost like they are wearing their helmets low or their collars high. They paint up well enough, and honestly, when placed on a base with a gun you see the gun a lot more than the faces.

Of course, your first question is going to be compatibility. I only have BF 88s at the moment, traded off my others (think they were CD), I do have a Skytrex/CD tow for it that I'm using with a Pak 40, but here you go...





 

Note in all views that there is a significant difference in length between the FiB and FoW tows. 


Summary

Honestly, these are very pretty models overall, assuming that the Kar 98Ks don't turn you off. Of course there are things that might turn you off to this figure or that. The only problem with this set of miniatures is price. If you're in the UK you will find them comparably priced to FoW miniatures, which puts them toward the high end. If you are in the US, the cost is high after shipping and currency conversion is included. They're very nice, it might be worth it to you, but it might not. I'm glad to have these, and they'll definitely see combat in my armies, but I am uncertain if I will order more, even with the quality.

It's rare that we here at Wargames @ Nordalia.com make this kind of suggestion, but for the price, pick up one tank and try it out. We think you'll like it, we just don't know if you'll like it enough to pay the price.

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