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.
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!