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"Representing Buttoned/Unbuttoned AFVs" Topic

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grommet3720 Mar 2014 11:09 a.m. PST

In reading the Force on Force rules, I noticed that the section on AFVs has a bit about buttoned and unbuttoned AFVs, and the changes made to various items like Reaction Tests, Defense, etc.

There must be quite a few ways to represent this change, from building two separate tanks (one buttoned up, the other not), to having magnetized tank commanders in open hatches, to having some sort of counter, to not using the buttoned/unbuttoned rules at all.

How noticeable is it at 15mm, how far do you take it, and is it worth the effort?

stroezie20 Mar 2014 11:31 a.m. PST

Put a button next to it?

Stealth100020 Mar 2014 11:38 a.m. PST

@ stoezie. Nice one I will nick that. :-)

Rod I Robertson20 Mar 2014 11:42 a.m. PST

We put a cardboard chit with "UB" printed on it on the back deck of the tank. No chit and the tank is assumed to be buttoned up.
Rod Robertson.

Lfseeney20 Mar 2014 11:44 a.m. PST

Most use a marker, or a button if you want.

The marker should be double sided.

Another way if you dislike markers,
Have a figure in the hatch looking out, remove fig when buttoned up.

The idea in game is that looking through slits and cameras inside, you miss things.
But small arms fire is useless if buttoned.

It is easy in game to forget, so I use a marker with Buttoned Up on one side, Opened Up on the other.

Dynaman878920 Mar 2014 12:10 p.m. PST

I've got spare tank commander figures, no need for magnets the removeable glue stuff works fine. (the silly putty like stuff)

redbanner414520 Mar 2014 12:30 p.m. PST

Like Dynaman I stick a tank commander on w/ blue tac when unbuttoned.

grommet3720 Mar 2014 3:41 p.m. PST

Dudes, thanks for the replies.

Any figure sources for 15mm sci fi tank commanders?

stroezie said:

Put a button next to it?

Oh. Right. 8)

UshCha20 Mar 2014 10:55 p.m. PST

The marker can be un-obtrusive. For 1/72 We used a small nut with a small ball bearing glued on top. Paint in the basic tank cammo amd it looks a bit like a tank commander and place on buttoned up tank hatch. More elegant than a button and does the jom. If the opposition overlooks this than its fog of war.

Martin Rapier21 Mar 2014 2:04 a.m. PST

I just use a marker, partly it depends on rules. I normally assume tanks will have the doctrinally correct TC position (head/shoulders out for some, buttoned for others) and the marker indicates exceptions. Some rules include these in combat results e.g. 'suppressed' tanks in CD are presumed to be buttoned which affects their firing and spotting.

Beneath A Lead Mountain21 Mar 2014 2:45 a.m. PST

Grommet37 I'd check out GZG if I were you. Good range of Sci-fi everything in 15mm.

John Treadaway21 Mar 2014 3:48 a.m. PST

GZG certainly do commanders in 15mm. I also just cut suitably posed figures in half. LIke this Denizen guy in a Brigade vehicle.


But it's only usually to mark a commander's vehicle. Buttoned up as a rule is not something I've dealt with (pun intended!).

I'd probably use a counter to mark the exception (I assume the exception would be the 'unbuttoned' state)

John T

John Treadaway21 Mar 2014 7:53 a.m. PST

True, Ditto TwoThree. I was thinking more of ultra modern and – more accurately – SF.

But good point. So, genre/preiod dependent for what the exception is.

John T

Lion in the Stars21 Mar 2014 9:12 a.m. PST

If I had the time/funding/motivation, I'd do magnetized hatches to swap.

I don't need to bother with that for my Russians (doctrinally ALWAYS buttoned up in combat, and I'd just put a couple signal flags out the top of my command tanks), but most of my other forces would be unbuttoned normally (particularly moderns).

Honestly, I should probably just model the tanks unbuttoned and use a blast marker to ID which tanks are buttoned up.

Michael Hatch08 Jul 2014 5:56 p.m. PST


Gimmicky as it sounds, I am trying green buttons….

Left is 1/72 and right 15mm.



As Tim was saying some nations routinely operate "heads up" and others not so much.

The British Cromwell I would expect to operate "heads up" but the T-34 with the two man crew not so.
But I'm trying to be consisant, so both use a button.

Regards, Michael in Cloverdale.

John Treadaway09 Jul 2014 4:16 a.m. PST

Michael, I love the way your buttons are in proportion with the different scales of vehicle… :)

John T

M C MonkeyDew09 Jul 2014 5:42 a.m. PST

I would just change the rules to make buttoned/unbuttoned automatic based on the range to the nearest enemy small arms, rather than micromanage the thing.

And I agree with John T. Fabulous use of different scale buttons : )

UshCha209 Jul 2014 12:26 p.m. PST

M C LeSingeDew, Lots of tank commanders took the risk of being unbuttoned at close quarters so doing it by range would be an invalid option. One of the reasons that MG took unbuttoning so seriously was the number of tank commanders knowingly risking small arms fire and being killed. The German army still has the adage observation over preservation.

M C MonkeyDew09 Jul 2014 12:39 p.m. PST

While all of that is true the company commander did not dictate who operated unbuttoned and who did not. I doubt platoon/troop commanders did. Why should the gamer have to?

The range one sets for buttoning would be based on the nearest small arms, not the effective range of the nearest small arms. It would be up to whoever is crafting the rule t5o decide what a reasonable button up range would be.

UshCha09 Jul 2014 10:06 p.m. PST

M C LeSingeDew,
I suspsct it is more complex than that. If you are moveing as is somtinms inevitable through a built up or close areas then you would go unbuttoned as otherwise you would nevet stand a chance of seeing a PIAT/Panzerfaust moving into place. Idealy you would have infantry cover but in may cases this is lost. Even now US mauals state the buttoning up reduces the performance of a tank significantly. Therfore in certain conditions the balance of risks is for the linividal or commnder to decide. Unfortunately it is impossible to write crediable rules where the sub-ordinate units behave intelegently, hence you have to intervene at all levels.

Michael Hatch09 Jul 2014 10:27 p.m. PST

John – Glad you liked that. I bought a huge tub of buttons in all shapes and colours. I just fished out all the one that were the proper colour and tossed them all into a single contain. Those were the first two I grabbed. I probably won't care which size goes were but some might.

Brain and Bob – In my rules, it is assumed that tank commanders who can operate heads up, will. If infantry fire on them and get a hit, the crew rolls morale. If they fail, they button up. If not, they carry on. AFV crews will automatically button up if in a artillery impact zone.
Buttoned up AFV (and AFV's with only two man turret crews) operate at a disadvantage when buttoned up in my game.

UshCha02 Oct 2018 7:27 p.m. PST

OK so my latest thread on this topic seems to have disapeared. However this is as good a place as any. Here is my latest attempt at denoting unbuttoned at 1/144.



The ball bearings are a bit big but they are what I had to hand. smaller ones are on order. They are held in place by a 2mm magnet buried in the hatch of the vehicle. You just drill 2mm and push it in, the paint holds it. Holds the bearing well even with a modest shake upside down.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP03 Oct 2018 8:06 p.m. PST

For my 15mm Girls und Panzer games, I've put a magnet underneath the commander's spot on every tank, whether or not the hatch is glued open or closed. Half-torso crew figures with a 2mm diameter x 1mm magnet in the bottom can be dropped onto the tank to show unbuttoned, removed for buttoned.

Lion in the Stars03 Oct 2018 8:51 p.m. PST

@MiniMo: Ok, your idea wins!

Less pain in the butt than replacing an entire commander's cupola, and looks better than just a black ball bearing.

I will have to adjust some tanks now. Good thing I am mostly an infantry player!

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