Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thinking About a New Flames of War Army, Part 3

Collecting the Army

So now that I have decided on an early war French Escadron de Fusiliers Portes army at 1625 points I can turn my attention to collecting the models needed for the army.  You can review the list for this army in the previous post.  One of my, previously unstated, goals for this project was a desire to build the army as an entire Battlefront army.  This is not for some fan-boy satisfaction but merely an attempt to make the army as consistent look as possible.  I knew that going all Battlefront miniatures was going to add a bit of additional cost to the army an I was ready for that.

Luckily, all the models that this army requires are still available from Battlefront.  As I was conducting my research into the models needed I was very surprised at the amount of early war French stuff that has already gone out of production.  I really could not understand this as the Blitzkrieg book is only a couple of years old.  I guess the early war period is a whole lot less popular that I thought.

Anyway, starting with the Company HQ the following models/packs are required.
  • FR701 Compagnie de Fusiliers-Voltigeurs - $12.50
  • FR400 Fusiliers Motorcycle Squad (2 models used as tranports for the HQ) - $12.50
  • FR420 S20TL Trucks - $12.50
  • FR160(x2) 25mm SA-34 Portee - $12.50 each
The HQ comes to $62.50 + tax!  Ouch!  With this I will have 2 extra 81mm mortars, 1 extra S20TL truck and 2 extra motorcycle teams.  Not to worry, however, as the extra truck and motorcycles will be used for later units.

Next up are the combat platoons.  First we have two Fusilier Portes platoons.
  • FR702 Fusiliers Platoon - $23.00
  • FR420(x2) S20TL - $12.50 each
This comes out to $48.00 per platoon and the army will have two of these.  I will have a few extra infantry from each platoon but not too much waste.  This is already getting expensive -  $158.50 for 415 points!

The third combat platoon is a Machine-gun platoon.
  • FR704 Machine-gun Platoon - $12.50
  • FR420(x2) S20TL Trucks - $12.50 each
So far this is the cheapest unit in the army at $37.50.  This gives me another extra truck.  Now I am up to 520 points for the small price of $196 + tax.  I am really starting to get scared.  This army is shaping up to be as expensive as a new 40K army.  So much for Flames of War being a cheaper hobby.

Now we move on to the weapons platoons.  The first is a another MG platoon.
  • FR704 Machine-gun Platoon - $12.50
  • FR420 S20TL Trucks - $12.50 
OK, now this is the cheapest unit at only $25.  Since I have some extra trucks at this point so I only need to buy one package which saves me $12.50.

The next weapons platoon is the Fusiliers Mortar Platoon.
  • FR705 Mortar Platoon - $12.50
  • FR420(x2) S20TL Trucks - $12.50 each
This completes the weapons platoons.  I am not even going to add this up as my heart can't take any more.  Now a balanced FOW army must contain some recce elements.  This happens to be an aspect of the game that I still not very good at but I know I need to have some in this army.
  • FR011 AMR-35 Recconaissance platoon - $29.00
Since everyone who plays Flames of War seems to be hooked on tank armies (well, not everyone but a lot of players) you must have lots of solid anti-tank options and the French have them.

The first anti-tank unit is the Cavalry 25mm Anti-Tank Platoon.
  • FR500(x2) SA-34 25mm gun (since this is a three gun pack I need two for a 4 gun platoon) - $26.00 each
  • FR410(x2) Laffy W15T trucks - $12.50 each
Wow!  Another $60+ unit! This may be the most expensive 70 points I have ever had in any army. This unit will use one of my extra motorcycle teams for the HQ transport. The two extra guns will be used for the dismounts for the HQ portes so they will not go to waste.  But this is still not enough AT.

Divisional 47mm Anti-Tank Platoon
  • FR510 47mm AT gun platoon - $21.00
  • FR410 Laffy W15T trucks - $12.50
This unit will use the last of the extra motorcycle teams for the HQ.  Now we move on to the artillery support for the army.  I really love the French artillery options but for this army I will keep things simple.

First All-Terrain Towed 75mm Artillery Battery
  • FRX07 Tirailleurs 75mm Artillery Battery - $45.00
  • FR400 Motorcycle Squad - $12.50
  • FR420(x2) S20TL Trucks - $12.50 each
The second battery is the same but does not require the motorcycles as I will use the extras.  I am going with the Tirailleurs because they already have the all-terrain guns in a box set.  If I was going to do the crew in the great coats I would have to purchase the Tirailleurs and I would have to purchase the French Artillery Group for $29.00 for each battery.  This is just way too much extra.

This brings up and interesting item.  The difference between the Fusiliers and the Tirailleurs is that one has the great coats and the others do not.  This means that you can freely mix the two in your army to give it a less uniform, more campaign worn look.  I may end up mixing these up as I go.

There you have it.  This is a big army with nearly 30 trucks.  These truck eat up nearly half of the $540 price tag of the army.  That is a lot of money for transports that rarely, if ever, get used.  I may end up skipping a lot of the trucks.  I have done a lot of research to see if this army can be built cheaper.  In some ways it can be but it would require cutting some corners.  The two main options for cheaper models, Peter Pig and Old Glory, both have significant gaps in their lines that would be hard to fill.  Neither makes the VB grenade launcher figures nor the artillery staff figures.  While these figures could be converted I am not sure (right now) that it would be worth the trouble.  Neither company makes the trucks which is the biggest part of the cost of the army.  French figures in 15mm are pretty hard to come by.

So, for now I will stick with my plan of building the army as all Battlefront miniatures.  I do not have an extra $500 laying around so I will have to do this in small steps, perhaps one unit at a time.  This will not be a bad way to go and will soften the impact of the price.  I have already started to collect the HQ units so I am on my way.


Dagreenskins said...

I feel your research concludes why so many players have tank armies. I was lucky to pick my army up on the cheap. The new starter box set is promising that maybe we will start seeing more plastic and hopefully better prices.

Robert said...

I agree. The cost is a huge factor in the types of armies you see. Not only are tank armies cheaper to build so are late war tank armies. You can get some of those down to less than a dozen models. I knew it wasn't going to be cheap or easy to build but I really want this army so I am going to move ahead with it.

Tim Kulinski said...

I wonder if BF realizes just how expensive Early war armies are and this may be a reason for the lack luster sales.

If you stop and think of it, Mid and Late war are covered by other companies (PSC, OG, P.Pig, etc) and I wonder if folks supplement their armies with other companies (I know I did!)

I also believe that the fact that BF takes products out of production so quickly hurts there sales. By the time folks start to look at Early war, BF has taken items out of production!

Tom O said...

The rarely used transports are the killer. I'd build the army minus them to start with and add them later on.

Scottswargaming said...

You raise a good point about the trucks... I wonder if PSC might eventually do some plastic sets; Opel Blitz, Kfz70s etc etc... they'd be useful throughout the war period armies...