Review: Flashpoint Miniatures Mid-East US Army

Flashpoint Miniatures US Moderns Flashpoint Miniatures are a New Zealand company that’s recently started selling 15mm scale Vietnam era figures and 17mm Middle Eastern Moderns at the very reasonable price of $20nz for a bag of 9-10 figures. Improved packaging does mean they’re shortly going up to $25nz though so get in there before Monday the 11th of September if you’re interested!

I’m always keen to support a local gaming company so late August I pre-ordered a squad of the US Infantry and a bag of rag-tag Insurgents which arrived last week. I’ll review the US Infantry squad here simply because they look better in the bare metal.

Flashpoint Miniatures US Infantry My figures came in the old packaging and here’s a shot of them straight out of their baggie. The US squad consists of a squad leader with M16A1, two team leaders with M16A1s, two automatic riflemen with SAWs, two riflemen with M16A1s and stowed LAW (those are the kneeling gentlemen top right, the LAW is across their back) and two riflemen with M16A1 and underslung M203 grenade launchers. You also get a metal ring base for each figure.

The figures are well sculpted, with obvious equipment and detailing in the form of pockets, pouches, knee pads and packs. Their faces and hands also look good which is no mean feat at this scale. As I’m a big fan of ‘what you see is what you get’ it’s nice to see how easily you can distinguish which weapon each man is carrying.

There’s a fair amount of flash to be cleaned up, mainly between the legs and a little on the guns, but that’s not unexpected at this scale. The mold lines are generally well placed with only one pair of figures having a distinct line across their face which will require some careful knife work to tidy up.

They’re cast in what feels like a lead/pewter alloy as they have that greyish tinge to them and cut and file easily with none of the brittleness associated with ‘lead free’ pewters. The casting is good although there was one issue with the squad leader figure. His raised arm seems to be partially detached from his body (look closely at underarm of the bottom left figure in the photo). Although it’s hard to say if that’s a casting problem or the figure has been knocked about by the NZ Post service. At any rate the arm is still firmly attached, so it’s simply a matter of applying a little green stuff before priming.

The base rings are an interesting idea. There’s one style of ring and the figures rest on top of each ring, rather than inside it. See the first photo (from FPM’s site) for an example. You could make them fit inside each ring but it would take a fair amount of filing and patching. They add a little extra detail to the figure base in the form of rocks and give each figure an extra 1-2mm of height. I imagine they look quite good once painted so I’ll probably end up using them, although I do wonder if a solid coin would have worked better than a ring.

Flashpoint Miniatures vs Crescent Root Studios Terrain As 17mm is an unusual scale I was interested to see how these new Moderns would work with my growing collection of 15mm North African Flames of War terrain. Here they are scattered amoungst my painted Crescent Root Studios buildings.

Fortunately they fit in fairly well. Certainly they’d have trouble getting through the doors but other than that they don’t look out of scale to me. In particular the roof height of the buildings still seems reasonable for them which is a relief because it means I can simply reuse all my existing FOW terrain.

Flashpoint Miniatures vs Battlefront Speaking of Flames of War, here’s a final shot of an unpainted 17mm Flashpoint Miniatures US Modern next to a painted base of 15mm Battlefront British WWII command figures. I’ve placed the FPM figure on a Battlefront base just to make the comparison fair. Looking at them like this you can see why FPM went with the 17mm scale, because those extra 2-3mm of height allow you to sculpt a higher level of detail onto each figure.

In conclusion I’m more than happy with my Flashpoint Miniatures moderns, keep them coming I say! I’ll definitely be picking up more figures from Flashpoint as their new releases come out. I’m also curious to see how their in-house modern skirmish rules play once they’re available. Failing that can any visitors suggest a good, cheap modern skirmish rule set?

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