Range Impressions: Eureka ANP

It’s hard to wargame Afghanistan without involving any of the locals. There are many situations where missions should include elements of the local government, either being instructed by the coalition or providing assistance to make an operation seem less outsider focused. Among the variety of Afghan Security Forces, the Afghan National Police have been a consistent sight in reporting from that part of the world, wearing their (predominately) blue uniforms and kepi hats while manning checkpoints or guarding strategic locations.

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Eureka has released two pack of figures designed for the ANP. Each set comprises of six figures, containing 4 riflemen, a PKM gunner and a RPG grenadier. The two packs includes some slightly different poses but the main difference comes down to their equipment. Pack 1 features the ANP in caps while Pack 2 has them wearing PASGAT helmets and kneepads. All of the figures are wearing BDUs and a tactical vest, although the style of this vest varies from character to character.

Riflemen

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As you’d expect, the bulk of any ANP force is it’s riflemen. This range has 8 figures in a variety of poses (from low ready to steadily advancing). A neat feature, and vital for an ANP force, is the fact that several of the guys are not armed with standard AKs; instead, they are using the AMD-65 complete with the distinctive fore-grip.

Support

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The ANP is policing in a warzone and as such, the squads include some special weapons. The machine gunners in the pack are armed with the PKM and posed holding it at the hip. Each gunner has a slightly different pose a cool addition to the range and not just being the same figure with a headswap.

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It’s hard to overstate the usefulness of the RPG and so it’s handy to see the ANP also get an RPG gunner in each pack. Both gunners are only equipped with the RPG-7 launcher (so no backup weapons when you need to reload) but they do at least carry backpacks with plenty of rounds. I like the nice touch that the capped gunner has turned his hat around so it doesn’t cause an issue while aiming down the sights.

Usage

I mean, do I really need to spell it out for these guys? If you’re looking for Afghan National Police figures, these are the guys to go with. However, if you’re not fighting in Afghanistan, these guys would also work for many police forces throughout the MENA area. If you paint them in a camo scheme, they could also work for regular army forces. Thanks to the weapons in the range, you can actually put together a pretty well equipped squad while the PASGAT is common enough in that region of the world.

On the tabletop, these figures give you plenty of situations to use them in. ANP forces have acted in multiple different operations, from both a security role (guarding locations) to more offensive postures when fighting various criminal groups. In many cases, they would also be working along with ISAF personal. Germany in particular has played a large part in training the ANP so there will be situations where a ANP checkpoint may have a OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team) alongside them. The Dispatches books for Skirmish Sangin includes some more details on the ANP, with book 1 including the ORBAT and book 2 a scenario featuring a checkpoint attack.

One comment I’d make is that, if I was to go back and repaint them I’d probably mix up the tone of the uniform. As well as the blue, uniforms can also be more grey or green. Adding a bit of variation would certainly give the force a different look.

Conclusions

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The Afghan National Police has played a sizeable role in the fighting in Afghanistan and, if you were wanting to put them on your table, these figures are certainly a great option. Some people have expressed thought’s about the sizing and sculpting style of Eureka figures but I think these guys look really good. From tabletop height I think they fit just with other manufacturers (helped in part by the real life size difference between the Afghans and Western forces) and the team at Eureka have done a great job with these guys.

Wishlist

I think this range is complete and honestly I’m not asking for more. Twelve figures with a mix of poses and weapons is very good. The only possible addition might be some figures designed to be added to the back of pickup trucks for patrolling, either passengers or gunners.

More generally, this has reminded how we are currently lacking some good figures for Afghan National Army soldiers. Although we have plenty of MENA figures armed with AKs, no one has released any figures armed with American equipment and the slightly slap-dash look many images of the ANA include.

Impressions: Eureka Modern British

One of the first projects that got me into wargaming was building up a platoon of Brits ready for operations. These inital guys were from Empress and, I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty definitive range if you’re wanting to play battles from 2010 onwards. However, the War on Terror saw some pretty major changes in the British Army’s equipment so what works for 2010 are not suitable for players wanting to run battles in 2006 or earlier. Which is why, when the Eureka Modern British were first shown off, I was very interested in picking up the range to add to my collection.

The new range is currently 20 figures, consisting of three standard fireteams (2x L85s, L85 + UGL and LMG) and a selection of heavy weapons and specialists. The figures are all kitted up for the starting period of the War on Terror, with Mk 6 helmets, Osprey vests and not a rail in sight. The figures are sculpted by Kosta Heristanidis and packed full of his style (not heroic but with some of the guns slightly oversized for easy readability) with plenty of detail. There are some really nice little bits on detail on the figures, such as knee pads around the ankle. They also scale pretty well with other Eureka figures (such as the ANP I use in every comparison) and other ranges. Expect a more in-depth size/kit comparison once I repaint my Empress guys.

As for painting these guys, it was really simple. There is plenty of detail for the final wash to pickup. My DDPM recipe is really simple (Iraqi sand base, Beige Brown applied in sweeps) so painting this block of 20 didn’t take anywhere near as long as certain OTHER camo schemes. It’s probably not the most accurate way of painting it (I won’t be winning any awards) but it does help to evoke the camo pattern. The only right pain when finishing them off was painting up the helmet netting. Although annoying, I think the final effect makes it worthwhile.

The first fireteam has the chaps posed in an advancing state, while moving under fire.

The second team has engaged and are in firing poses. LMG and an AR are firing from the shoulder while the UGL gunner has learnt forward to engage. The last figure is in a crouched position.

Finally the last team will be useful for anyone wanting to deploy their team before the action starts. Weapons are held in the low ready state while three of the team have their heads on a swivel (the fourth seems to be checking something in his pouch)

To give your team some extra bite, there are several other weapon available. First up is some guys wielding the good old Gimpy. These figures are sold individually with two variants. Figure 1 is looking ally having taken off his shirt to beat the desert heat. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some of the inspiration for this guy in the “British Army in Afghanistan” book I used as reference when painting. Figure 2 on the other hand is wearing long sleeves but seems to be a big fella (the sort you’d nickname Tiny) while firing the GPMG from the hip.I also like how both of these guys have pistols on their vests.

Another option is to give your team sniper support. This pack has two figures in it and a tripod for the sniper to rest his rifle on (not pictured). The sniper is armed with an Accuracy International rifle while his spotter is using his scope to assist. These guys would work great if mounted on a weapon team style base but also work well on individual bases.

The last pack available are four extra specialists. Two of the team are designed to counter any IED threat (one with Vallon sweeper and the other carry an IED jammer) while the other two give you figures for your platoon HQ. One of them is your radio man, while the other holds a 51mm platoon mortar in his hand.


So what do I think of the models? I really like them. The Eureka style is one I quite like and getting some Brits in it is great. There is something iconic about the look these figures are wearing and give me a good chance to paint something other than multicam. My only comment would be that producing three fireteams rather than four limits you to only one squad + fireteam of unique poses (assuming you don’t swap some guys out for the sweeper or a GPMG). However, I’m quite happy with the final result – expect to see these guys on the field standing in for the Republic of Aden’s Defence Force.

If you’re wanting a set of these for yourself, they are currently only available via email from Eureka but will be coming out on general release (meaning it should be available in the UK through Fighting 15’s) around Salute this year. Nic at Eureka also mentioned that the range will also be available with the guys wearing berets. I actually have a pack of the heads which were included and I really like the look of them… so I might have to pick up some more to round out the squads.

Lead Mountain Update 12

Well this week was a painting success. 15 models finished and a few more well on there way. On the other hand, I think we also saw the last set of purchases before this challenge ends.

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So lets take a look at the finished models! First up we have the USMC Force Recon set from Eureka Models. These guys are pretty cool, slightly older style gear than my previous models. The .50cal is going to be fun to use and also was a cool model to base. Tempted to buy some more and a ghille suits to them to give the UKSF some longer range punch. The only issue is that these models are about a head smaller than Empress or Spectre but match up to Radio Dishdash. If anyone asks, they are from South East Asia

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Next, we have Empress PLA Special Forces. I wanted to do something different than the camo everyone else had and so went with urban/night time clothing of navy blue clothing with black vest. I did the blue by darkening down some Kantor blue, applying two coats of it and then drybrushing the undarkened colour. Overall, fun models to paint and should be cool to have as an alternative to the Western black ops troops

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Finally, I got round to painting the first of the VIPs figures I have. This is one of my weak points – no webbing to hide their clothing and often no gun or head gear. However, I’m relatively happy with my first attempt. Doing a suit meant careful work to fill in the shirt and then adding the tie colours. Face details follow then a liberal grey drybrush to give the black some depth and make it look painted. These guys, along with the VIPs I have on the way, are just waiting to be piling out of SUVs and fighting off ambushers.

New Deniable Ops figures - Picture from Spectre Miniatures.
New Deniable Ops figures – Picture from Spectre Miniatures.

As for new purchases, well, its that time where Spectre reveal a few more figures. This time, they have added a load to the Task Force Operators range, with a new dog team, a breacher (who I spotted at Salute earlier this year) and a figure with a pirate gun M79. I also picked up a few operators (both standard and marksmen) I hadn’t grabbed before. As a fan of Strike Back, I was also really excited to see the Deniable Operators turn up. With modded AKs and civilian gear, these guys will be used as everything from Russian contractors to undercover SF to well equipped survivors. To make sure the order got over the free postage, I also added two African Soldiers with special weapons. This brings the squad up to 7 figures, perfect for a colonial nation mimicking the French system or leaving space in the vehicle for a Western SF advisor. I also managed to get some Airfix 1/48 scale vehicles at a ridiculously low price but I’m not adding them yet – need to see if I have time to assemble AND paint them seeing as I have to source some crew for them. They might end up being a post challenge reward – a kit with a bit deeper instructions than a simple bit of super glue.

New Task Force Operators from Spectre - Picture from Spectre Minatures
New Task Force Operators from Spectre – Picture from Spectre Minatures

Looking ahead, this will be my last set of purchases for a while – Christmas coming up means everything slows down. But, I am going to have plenty of time to paint when I’m back in Leeds over Christmas break and so should just finish the challenge. Hopefully Santa bring some wargaming things. In addition, hopefully going to start back in on writing up AARs.

 

So how does the list stand?

Painted, varnished and based – 165:

  • 38 Empress – Modern British Infantry
  • 14 Spectre – UKSF (of various types)
  • 6 Spectre – Task Force Operators (painted as SAS) + 1 Spectre Dog
  • 10 Spectre – AK armed contractors
  • 5 Spectre – Western Contractors (being used as US Special Forces)
  • 11 Spectre – Task Force Operators (being used as US Army Rangers
  • 2 Spectre – Intelligence Agents
  • 5 Spectre – African Soldiers
  • 4 Empress – Armoured Troopers
  • 4 Empress – US SEAL Team 6
  • 8 Spectre – Task Force Operators (To be split between UKSF and Rangers)
  • 17 Radio DishDash –  Taliban
  • 4 Spectre Direct Action GRU
  • 14 Spectre – Insurgents
  • 4 Empress – US Frogmen
  • 1 Eureka – Taliban Sniper
  • 2 Spectre – Hostages
  • 1 Evil Bear Wargames – Hardsuits
  • 1 Eureka – Force Recon .50cal Sniper
  • 6 Eureka – US Force Recon
  • 4 Empress – PLA Special Forces
  • Spectre – 1 VIP and 3 Bodyguards

In the process of being painted, varnished and based – 22 :

  • 1 Empress – Dog for Counter-IED Team – Based, needs painting
  • 1 Spectre – Dog – Based, needs washing
  • 1 Empress – Warrior IFV – Repainted in Desert Tan
  • 1 Spectre – UKSF (ghille suit with M4)
  • 5 Spectre – Western Contractors (Converted with Shemaghs)
  • 7 Spectre – Task Force Contractors (To be split between UKSF and Rangers)
  • 5 Spectre Covert Action GRU
  • 1 Evil Bear Wargames – Panther – Base coated in Desert Tan

Basecoated with Basing Material– 39:

  • 1 Evil Bear Wargames – Hardsuits
  • 5 Hasslefree Miniatures – Modern Troopers
  • 8 Spectre – SMG Armed Contractors
  • 6 Spectre – Intelligence Agents
  • Spectre – Female Contractor (Salute 2015 model)
  • Spectre – 1 Agitator and 1 Bodyguard
  • 6 Spectre – African Locals
  • 2 Spectre – Deniable Assets
  • 8 Gripping Beast – Falklands War Brits

Basecoated – 1:

  • 1 Spectre – Contractor (being converted)

Not Arrived – 45:

  • 3 Spectre – VIPs
  • 4 Spectre – Close Protection Agents
  • 19 Spectre – MENA Militia
  • 1 Spectre – Offroad SUV
  • 2 Spectre – SUVs
  • 2 Spectre – African Forces Special Weapons
  • 6 Spectre -Deniable Operators
  • 2 Spectre – Task Force Operators
  • 2 Spectre – Task Force Operator Marksmen
  • 2 Spectre – Task Force Operator Breachers
  • 1 Spectre – Task Force Operator Dog Handler
  • 1 Spectre – Task Force Operator Grenadier (pirate gun)

Total Models: 272

Models finished (Based, painted and varnished): 165

Percentage of collection finished: 60.66% painted

Exempt (Not Arriving in time) – 28:

  • 8 Radio DishDash DELTA Force
  • 12 Radio DishDash US Army Rangers
  • 8 Radio DishDash Somali Gunmen