12 July 2012

Battlefront EW Polish motorcycle platoon review

My longtime goal had always been to expand my Polish Early War army with the motorized cavalry and the cavalry arms of the Polish 1939 army.

A small step on the way to a motorized army is the Motorcycle platoon. Game wise they are a tad expensive, but contribute with some valuable "reconnaissance" rules while mounted up. Battlefront had a box of these earlier (not sure about now) and I bought the last 2 boxes from a store here in Sweden before the range disappeared into the re-packaging void that hit the Polish EW range earlier this spring/summer.

A box gives you the minimum bare bones of the motorcycle platoon, which is 5 motorcycles with sidecars. That is 1 command and 2 rifle/MG teams dismounted. The pictures shows the contents of two boxes (1 motorcycle and sidecar will be used for my Motorized cavalry 2iC).

The models are nice looking once assembled, and will most likely be pretty awesome when they get some paint on them. However it was quite frustrating and extremely time consuming to glue these together. While not the worst miniatures I have worked with, they were also far from the best. The metal quality is a bit too soft for my taste and there was a lot of powdery surface/mould lines/flash covering everything. The tricky part was to assemble the driver since he is cast in 2 parts. The body and the arms+steering wheel.

Both the body (at the joints where the arms should be glued) and the joints at the arms themselves had to be trimmed so that the arms could be glued on in a way that made the arms look normal. You also had to bend the steering wheel so that the arms could connect to the joints and also have the driver in a driving position so that the bent arms/steering wheel still reached the parts connecting it to the front wheel. I think it took me something like 20 minutes to assemble each motorcycle and miniatures driving it - including the time it took to clean them up.

There is another thing, and that is the sidecar not being on the level of the motorcycle itself. I suspect this is because you should paint the sidecar separately and then glue it on the motorcycle towards the end - when the sand of the base allows the sidecar to rest on the same height as the motorcycle hence not creating a wobbly look. I was so frustrated that I just trimmed the wheels on the motorcycles and glued the sidecar straight to them. I left the second passenger sitting behind the driver loose for painting purposes btw.

I look forward to try them out in a game, but I think I would rather buy a company of mounted cavalry and paint them instead of buying another pack of motorcycles because of the assembly.

It's also a bit sad that the motorcycle crew are dressed in regular Polish army uniforms, which would only make them to be part of the Warsaw motorized brigade rather than the iconic 10th motorized cavalry brigade.


  1. I had similar issues with my italian motorcycles.

    Did the Warsaw brigade wear regular infantry uniforms. I have been trying to find some evidence either way.

  2. The story about the Motorized companies in Poland are very interesting. The idea was to transform the cavalry branch into motorized formations. But the cavalry was stubborn and refused to trade their (glorious) horses and the dash and flair that accompanies the cavalry tradition. The cavalry also stubbornly held on to the Adrian helmet which they liked more than the Polish regular army helmets.

    However the two motorized brigades formed were the 10th motorized cavalry brigade and the Warsaw armored motorized brigade. Ironically as they were seen as "experimental" neither of them received the good 7TP tanks for support but had to make due with outdated Vickers tanks. The 10th motorized managed to use their tanks more efficiently (from what I have found they had both MG and AT gun types of that vehicle, while Warsaw brigade only had MG versions of the Vickers).

    The Warsaw brigade supposedly didn't look any different from regular army units - this may have to do with them being a garrison force from the beginning. The 10th motorized cavalry brigade however looks like no other Polish units as they had both German WW1 helmets and leather trenchcoats. The reasoning for the dress code was to distinguish them from the infantry and cavalry branch as this was a completely new unit in the Polish army. Still from what I have read the leather trenchcoat was not universal and reserves were issued regular Polish army infantry branch uniforms.

    If the sources are correct the uniforms also had black shoulder stripes.

  3. I also had the same trouble with the French and German motorcyle figs. Someone needs to buy BattleFront a book on motorcyle troops because they are relatively clueless as to uniforms. The French figs wear the standard infantry uniform when in fact they should have the motorized M.35 helmet and one-piece jumpsuit. I found on the French I could sand off the comb, trim the side rims and squash the front rim into the padded strip to make a pretty good M.35. The Germans are infantry figs where as they should be wearing rubberized jumpers. Your Poles should have had the leather jackets coomon to many cyclists.


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