Saturday, 20 July 2013

Elhiem BAOR: Debussed

It's not often these days that I get home to find a new set of miniatures on the mat that make me want to place a second order straight away. But Elhiem's new BAOR figures have done just that. 

Principally because they have bags of 1970's and early 1980's character and very few duffers in the packs. As you can see, I couldn't wait to empty all the packs out onto the table to mix and match the Toms into various combinations of bricks and command elements.

The strongest figures? Definitely BAOR08 SLR Skirmishing. All good solid poses, in fighting order. That kneeling NCO is going to get a bit hackneyed in a platoon unless you swop one for an NCO from BAOR01 Brit Army Section on patrol. Be nice to have an extra command pack with an alternative platoon leader and two extra corporals. This would help change the character of each section. The tin Elniem use is a bit tough, but I'll try to convert one of the NCOs into a classic 'rally on me' pose.

BAOR05, GPMG team firing using wall as cover is very nice. Though I'm less enthusiastic that you pay the same as a four figure pack for three figs and a sliver of wall. Especially as the third figure is kneeling quite passively, thinking about his insides after that last tin of Chicken Supreme. Shame, as he let's down an otherwise good set. He's better removed and placed in an O Group with the platoon commander or alternatively utilised as a No. 2 for the Charlie G or 51mm mortar from BAOR6.  One small feature I do like about BAOR5 is that the GPMG bipod is cast directly onto the wall section. You just line up the GPMG and drop it in place. 

BAOR06, the launchers pack offers a 51mm mortar No.1, a kneeling Blowpipe No.1, standing rifleman firing LAW (brave man) and a terrific Charlie G No.1. All very nice figures.

The platoon command pack BAOR10 is the weakest of the bunch in my opinion. The kneeling Rupert and Sparks are OK, Great for O Groups. Put Sparks with the kneeling NCO from BAOR08 and you have a nice little "Contact.. Wait Out!" set. The medic with Sterling is so so, as is the kneeling rifleman with IWS sight. I'll give him a Glengarry head and move him to bolster my small Internal Security collection.

OK, after getting them in my hands and playing around with them, what's my verdict? Sorry, no Emperors New Clothes here. Overall I'm favourably impressed but it's tempered with some reservations. Positives are..... bags of character and mix well with Britannia BAOR and others, so if you have an unfinished platoon or need additional support weapons, here's your chance. The support weapons are a big positive and that Sustained Fire GPMG is the best on the market. Downsides? Well, I won't be buying more Elhiem GPMG teams, three figs for same price as four is having a laugh, especially as the third figure is just a filler. The platoon command doesn't inspire me either as is. Though it does make a nice diorama if you add other kneeling riflemen and NCO figures to create an O Group, as stated above. Instead I'll buy an additional Patrolling pack, utilisng the NCO pointing as platoon leader and converting the Charlie G No.1 toting a Sterling into his signaller.

A further possible downside is that if you are collecting BAOR Mech Inf to the full TOE given in most rules it's going to cost you, as the section's Charlie G is in the 'Launcher' pack. You'll need three of those! Luckily for you Winter of '79 bods, UK establishment and light role battalions only require one Charlie G per platoon! I recommend getting Platoon 20's infantry heavy weapons pack instead if you are playing BAOR orientated games. The figs are slightly smaller, doubt it will be noticable when painted, but for £2.50 you get a lying GPMG team, a nice Charlie G and a spare standing GPMG No.1. Save over £4.00 per Mechanised Infantry section!

So there we have it. A great addition for Winter of '79 gamers. Everything you need for regular or TA formations and easy enough to buy when you have cash to spare and just want to order a couple of packs to have something to look forward to when you get in from work. 

On the back of the Elhiem BAOR releases, Maff and I held our own O Group and decided that it was time to bring order to the chaos of our collection which has grown organically over the past couple of years. We are confident that these new figures will provide the basis on which to achieve that.


P.S.The kneeling figures have tread sculpted on their DMS boot soles. Nice touch!


  1. Interesting review. I haven't received mine yet (presumably they take a little longer to cross the Irish sea), but they are cracking figures from what I can see.

    There's a Charlie G in the patrolling pack, I believe.

  2. Just my opinion. The Patrol pack BAOR01 is an existing pack and not part of this BAOR release from Elhiem. It is however cracking, well thought out and includes both GPMG and Charlie G No.1's with Charlie G slung on back.

    If you want just one pack of regular army figures to play Winter of 79, that is it!


  3. Just got my own lot through yesterday aswell, and having spent the last evening working my way through 'em to sort them out into appropriate groupings, I'd agree with your comments regarding some of the poses, especially the kneeling chap in the Lt Role GPMG pack- certainly seems more appropriate as a pltn sgt patiently explaining that the map goes the other way up, or as a No.2 for one of the other crew served weapons; likewise I'd agree that some of the command pack might work better as FOOs..but however, as long as matt at Elhiem continues to turn out sculpts of this quality, he'll continue to get my money!

    Cheers for a great blog!

  4. Always keen to get the input :) I'll give some feedback re the criticisms so you can see the reasons behind them. Ref the Charlie G, when I made teh first BAOR1 set I was told not top bother with the CG at all as it was never carried and left with the vehicle. Seems what was on paper is not what was used in the field, so i have tried to represent that as I speak to a lot of ex BAOR guys who are keen for a range that is accurate for them. So, when I made the launchers set I just did one of everything. As always once done, people then start saying 'we need more of x' Thats not a problem, I will make a few more at some point if people want them :) The metal is hard because it is pure pewter, hence the prices higher than most other peoples lead based alloys. It has the advantage of been fairly flexible compared to lead as well. The HQ set is not a HQ HQ it is more a platoon command as that is what people asked for with the IWS and Trilux to represent NCO's (as I was told they were the only men issued them.) to use as section NCO's. I have tried to not always have NCO's as pointy men, but it seems thats what people want so I shall no doubt make a set of pointy BAOR at some point (as I am making a set of Sov Warpac in these poses after a number of requests). The GPMG firing behind a wall I did for myself and released it because people wanted it, the only set that was to be released was the SF GPMG. The SLR figure is meant to be watching the rear of the fire team. I could of reused the bino spotter figure instead but I already used him in two sets so made a new figure who was doing something different from the other kneeling SLR men, you can swap him out if its a problem and as you say put him in the command or spotting team. The price of the wall just covers the mold space, metal and the time taken to cast it, same with the sustained fire GPMG which is a high fail cast so takes multiple spins.

  5. Please don't see this as me having a go, its not meant to be, I am always keen to see what people want and I am also keen for people to understand why choices are made :)

    1. Thanks for visiting the blog Matt and leaving your reasoning behind the production choices you made. Very informative. I have nothing but respect for that.