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"Has Battlefront Screwed 15mm WW2? Will Warlord Save it?" Topic

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Frothers Did It And Ran Away10 Sep 2022 6:18 a.m. PST

So, I dabbled a bit in 15mm WW2 back on the cusp of FoW 2nd/3rd, loved the scale, wasn't keen on the rules. I recently finished painting up the current Hit The Beach set. I think 4th in an improvement in terms of stremalining the rules, but I think BF have dropped the ball big time with their decision to consolidate their miniatures offerings.

I can see why they did it – less inventory to produce and keep in stock. One of the great things about BF back in the day was the sheer amount of stuff they made in metal – pretty much any unit variant you wanted to do, you could. Just about any tank variant you wanted, they made. There were plenty of interesting conversion articles on their website too. Hobby shops seemed chock full of FoW and I don't think it's a coincidence that the games heyday was 3rd. Personalising your army is a big draw for gamers, because we're nerds.

Now it's like FoW is the BBC/Mainstream Media version of WW2 – you can have basic British, basic Americans, basic Germans and basic Russians. Want to do Commandos? Just use standard British infantry say the rulebooks. The new Stalingrad box has late war grenadier figures in it, because that's what BF make. Want StuG IV's? Use StuG III's says the website. Mediterranean infantry? Commonwealth troops like Indians? Nope, not any more. The old detailed and unit specific army lists are gone, now you play Command Cards so your generic troops "count as". Mid War is all the rage on their website, there's a new North Africa compliation book. But you can't buy DAK or 8th Army figures from BF now, or Panzer IIIs, so, um….

The thermoplastic figures blow compared the old metals.

It's no surprise to me that FoW has taken a hit in popularity. I know there's Command Decision and Peter Pig figures you can use but they're not as comprehensive as BF once was, and buying them isn't as user friendly as BF's marketing model. FoW's reduced popularity seems to have dragged 15mm into the doldrums a bit.

By contrast 28mm WW2 has come on leaps and bounds, thanks to Bolt Action. All the stuff you once could get from BF in 15mm you can pretty much get in 28mm now. Warlord have done a fantastic job in supporting Bolt Action, and allowing players options for customisation and personalising their armies, like FoW turned it's back on.

But…Warlord now own Skytrex who sell Command Decision WW2 and Cold War. Why? Skytrex have done moulding and casting for Warlord but there's nothing in their own miniature/modelling offerings that fits with what Warlord do now. What if Warlord used their new ownership of the CD figures to produce a game to underpin sales. A company based game, using FoW friendly basing, a big brother to Bolt Action. Can you imagine the shot in the arm that would give 15mm WW2 gaming? Can you imagine the brown trousers at BF?

advocate10 Sep 2022 6:53 a.m. PST

Psc plastics and any number of metal figure (I'll mention my favourite, Peter Pig) mean that WW2 on 15mm is well supported. Believe it or not, there are even other rules.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Sep 2022 7:29 a.m. PST

When I got in to WW2 I went with FoW figures because it was easy to buy. Infantry came in platoon packs. Which meant I could pick up a unit as an impulse buy. I'm not a huge WW2 history fan (at the micro level) so that was a huge boon.

But at this point I have very large WW2 armies for UK, USA, Russia and Germany. Plus you can now pick up painted stuff dirt cheap as it seems lots of people are getting out of it.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2022 7:33 a.m. PST

@advocate, that's heresy. There can only be one set of rules per period/scale, which must be updated at five-year intervals. Frothers there is flirting with heresy by suggesting they be played with other figures than the official miniatures of the people who published the rules.

Where would we be if we all played the rules we liked with any compatible miniatures we cared to purchase? Anarchy, I tell you! Sheer anarchy!!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2022 7:43 a.m. PST

Battlefront/FOW gave WWII gaming a huge shot in the arm. I don't care for the rules, and I know people who have sold off their entire FOW collection because of the business model. If popularity is waning or production costs are forcing them to limit options, they've gotta do what they've gotta do. If you are not stuck in the tournament mentality, you can happily play WWII without ever having to buy a single Battlefront product.

Soldat10 Sep 2022 7:52 a.m. PST

Not really a fan of FOW but have lots of 15mm WW2 Germans. I'm going to check out O Group.

Capt John Miller10 Sep 2022 8:50 a.m. PST

Rules other than FOW?

Heretics! You forgot Battlegroup sold by PSC!

Ok, now I feel better. 😁

Michael May10 Sep 2022 8:52 a.m. PST

Only slightly off topic, but I'm disappointed that they've lost interest in their Great War line. I was really excited when they announced it, but now that line of figures is only available on Ebay and the bidding can get intense.
Also, in my opinion, they could have put a little more effort into developing some more diverse sculpts. I got a blister of their German WWI HMGs; it had 4 hmgs, 4 firers and four loaders. The rest of the figures were generic poses from their Stoss Platoon and Infantrie Platoon packs. They could have used an officer with binoculars and some ammo bearers. Ammuntion bearers were critical to machine gun teams, just look at the pictures taken in those days.
My two pennies…

VonBlucher10 Sep 2022 9:10 a.m. PST

I walked away from FOW years ago. Loved the figures and vehicles. I liked the hard plastic they came out with, like in the open fire and hit the beach sets. But their new soft plastic is horrible, they all look like orcs, and are larger in size to the hard plastic and even old metal figures. There are other rule sets out there, I moved onto Battlegroup and at least 1000 former FOW players also.
I do miss the variety, they produced. Thy finding a bergepanther by them, I definitely feel like that they shot themselves in the foot, especially with the soft plastic figures.

Garand10 Sep 2022 10:07 a.m. PST

IMHO while BF had a lot of variety in metal, I personally felt they were poorly sculpted, & used poor quality metal in the castings. I am a model builder for my other hobby (1/35 armor models), so as a consequence I want & demand good detail, which BF didn't have. Their plastics are better, but for the metals I would look for just about anyone else's product.

So I personally say, play the rules if you like, but get your gear elsewhere.


Legionarius10 Sep 2022 10:11 a.m. PST

Long live anarchy! Buy whatever figures you like from whatever manufactures you like and use or modify any rules you like. That's what makes gaming with miniatures such an individual project. Huzzah!

stephen m10 Sep 2022 12:32 p.m. PST

Played FOW once and found it a POS. All the problems of old school and all the crap from newer systems without any pros. I think using Chain of Command would be a good use for the 15mm stuff (minis, terrain, etc.).

Frothers Did It And Ran Away10 Sep 2022 1:23 p.m. PST

I know there's other games that FoW, what I was getting at was that FoW in its heyday ramped up the popularity of 15mm WW2, but now BF have shot themselves in the foot, FoW's less popular which inevitably affects 15mm as a whole. But Warlord, who've given 28mm WW2 a similar huge boost with Bolt Action are now in a position where they could own WW2 gaming by using the Skytex 15mm range to introduce a company level game and giving it the same sort of support FoW once had from BF. All thjose disaffected FoW players would come running.

Interestingly, I just saw on YouTube a Q&A from Warlord's recent open day where John Stallard and Paul Sawyer respond to a question about "epic scale Bolt Action" with a definite yes. So maybe they are thinking about exactly this….

HMS Exeter10 Sep 2022 3:41 p.m. PST

I have occasionally desired Flames of War items for use in never completed WWII projects.

Many moons ago I wanted to get an Italian 65/17 gun for use in North Africa. I bought one pack at a con. When I looked at it closely later I was stunned at how many fiddly bits were in the blister. That ended that.

Later, I wanted to get some Greek infantry for use on Crete. I bought one pack at a con. When they told me the price I like to drop a kidney. I bought them, even though j thought I had been doing fine using Peter Pig Italians and Russians.

Quoth the gamer, nevermore.

TMPWargamerabbit10 Sep 2022 4:19 p.m. PST

FOW Version 4.0 came out and Flames hasn't been the same since. So many players locally stopped playing… almost 40% never rolled dice again due to endless re-purchasing the codices now required. When more players figured out their units couldn't be completed (lack of models, unit packs, out of stock never refilled issues, required cards to play and use special units etc.) more left the game. That is why locally the FOW game has died off to a small Version 4 rump, except my Version 3.0/3.2 long time group regularly plays several time each month. Version 4 has nothing compared to the old FOW version 3 in background material, units, models, and armies…. just a shallow image of the game and required cards. My group stayed with Version 3 and improved the system to now our 3.2 version path taken. Never considered Version 4 after a peek at the rules…. Infantry out running tanks… that said a lot and that wasn't the worst of the changeover version rules.
Into my 16th year of playing FOW now… Version 1 to 2 then finally 3.

Achtung Minen10 Sep 2022 7:21 p.m. PST

I love the old Battlefront/FOW metal figures and resin/metal tanks. You couldn't pay me to own their new plastics. It was a dark day when they dumped their metal models.

Martin Rapier11 Sep 2022 12:09 a.m. PST

I haven't bought a BF figure or vehicle for years as they are ludicrously overpriced. Just PSC, Zvezda, Peter Pig, QRF and various 3D prints.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2022 3:50 a.m. PST

People keep acting as though a particular company and/or a particular set of rules makes a huge difference in the popularity of various scales and periods. I'm sure some of the companies would love to believe this too, but I don't think it's true very often, or for very long.

Mr Elmo11 Sep 2022 5:22 a.m. PST

you can now pick up painted stuff dirt cheap

But never any infantry it seems. People seem to want armies of BIGSEXYTANKS.

I think 4th edition really killed Flames of War. It's hard to recreate the GW business model with Historicals. Battlefront should have ported their mechanics to 15mm Sci Fi with….Grav tanks!

Valmy9211 Sep 2022 6:53 a.m. PST

One thing that has taken a big hit is brick and mortar retail for 15mm. Lots of stores carried FOW and you could walk in and buy a unit pack off the rack. In the stores I have experience with, they haven't filled the holes in Battlefront's range with other manufacturers. For example, to get anything for the desert but a FOW starter box, you have to go online, figure out your own mix of figures, and especially with command decision, have vastly more than you need of any support choices. No more impulse buys here.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Sep 2022 7:59 a.m. PST


QRF are expanding their extensive WW1 line all the time….

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2022 2:51 p.m. PST

Big Sexy Tanks. Yes, of course Mr. Elmo. I bet manufacturers sell more Tiger II models each year than they sell all armored cars put together. Fifty years ago, that might have been surprising. Probably not even then to the old hands.

Valmy, welcome to the modern attention span. WWII 15mm's 15 minutes of fame are now up. There was a time before that when you could walk in and by 15mm DBA armies--all options--right off the rack. Right now, it's some smallish GW 40K game. ("Kill Zone" maybe?) Wait a few years, and it will be something else. You might as well complain that strobe lights keep flickering.

McWong7311 Sep 2022 2:56 p.m. PST

Mr Elmo for the win. I feel they were providing solutions in v4 for problems that didn't exist, at least within the game. They added layers of extra cardboard where arguably it wasn't needed.

I do feel they upped their game with the plastic ranges though, matter of taste mind you.

Thresher0111 Sep 2022 4:12 p.m. PST

Is this official, or just a rumor.

Are they really cutting back on their range of offerings?

If so, this IS very bad news indeed.

I have seen some/much of their stuff go OOP in the past and have always been annoyed when that happens. Very disappointing when you want to field certain units, vehicles, or troops.

I admit to NOT being up to date on the latest Battlefront and FOW news.

Hopefully others will step up to help fill the various niches.

I too am saddened by their dropping of their resin and metals lines, as well as their original infantry figure sculpts from 20+ (30?) years or so ago, which were excellent.

I never understood why they just didn't make new molds when the old ones wore out to keep them in production, and instead chose to have newer, inferior figs produced which many people disliked.

Martian Root Canal12 Sep 2022 10:12 a.m. PST

Command Decision, Battlefront:WWII, etc. – there are plenty of rules alternatives to FOW. There are also alternatives to Battlefront in 15mm, as many have mentioned. Additionally, there are many STL files for 3D printing available for free or very low cost. I don't think it will take Warlord to save the world.

Col Piron12 Sep 2022 2:36 p.m. PST

I think its down to people buying BF's stuff , for other WW2 games that's keeping them in business . huh?

Michael May12 Sep 2022 8:47 p.m. PST

Thanks Extra Crispy. Yes, I drop in to QRF often, they have some great minis!

Mr Elmo13 Sep 2022 4:02 a.m. PST

Command Decision, Battlefront:WWII, etc

Those are great games if you are a solo gamer.

Walk into a store and Flames of War and Bolt Action are the brands you will see. Maybe even being played!

Loose bits and bags of 10 infantry are not consumer friendly. Whatever the next hotness is, it will need unit boxes.

Martian Root Canal13 Sep 2022 12:35 p.m. PST

I play both with groups, Mr Elmo. And both sets of rules are miniatures agnostic, so I'm not sure what your point is. I use FOW, QRF, PSC, Zvezda, 3D printed with both sets. Honestly, I think it will take a 'non-40K' approach to save the 15mm market from boredom. Both FOW and Bolt Action suffer from that approach.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2022 1:17 p.m. PST

Mr Elmo, the only use I would have for the kind of hotness which lets someone else dictate how my forces are organized is that when it goes away, it leaves a debris field of cheap castings.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2022 3:23 p.m. PST

Warlord will never save 15mm WW2, because if they decide to do epic-scale they'll do it in their proprietary 13.43765mm scale, just to make you buy everything all over again.

Kuznetsov21 Sep 2022 9:45 a.m. PST

> One of the great things about BF back in the day was the sheer amount of stuff they made in metal pretty much any unit variant you wanted to do, you could. Just about any tank variant you wanted, they made.

Not to mention there is clearly a niche for these models since original Battlefront resin + metal goes for many many times the original MSRP on eBay.

TSD10112 Oct 2022 10:34 a.m. PST

I haven't bought a BF figure or vehicle for years as they are ludicrously overpriced.

This. I only ever bought when I could get a deep discount. The fact that they have starter sets with 20+ tanks for $60 USD shows how absolutely overpriced they were. They wouldn't be selling those sets if they weren't still making a profit.

That combined with all the 30% off sales they've been doing from their website shows me they might be in trouble after covid decimated manufacturing in Malaysia.

Col Piron13 Oct 2022 4:13 p.m. PST

That combined with all the 30% off sales they've been doing from their website shows me they might be in trouble after covid decimated manufacturing in Malaysia.

They do sales to get a quick injection of cash , not to help out gamers . huh?

TSD10115 Oct 2022 6:16 p.m. PST

They do sales to get a quick injection of cash , not to help out gamers

That is exactly what I am implying. They've also now heavily devalued their products, why buy a box of 5 sprues for a common tank for $50 USD when you can buy a box of 21 for $60 USD with these new sets?

VonBlucher04 Nov 2022 8:57 p.m. PST

They are still making more money selling it at a discount of 30% because my guess is the retailer markup is at least 40% at the suggested retail price. Also, most of the sale prices were against aging inventory at the warehouses.

Col Piron06 Nov 2022 2:25 a.m. PST

LGS get 10 15% off the price shown on the BF online store .

Most times when BF have 30% off sales it affectes the LGS as BF don't let them do it , so they lose sales .evil grin

dogtail09 Nov 2022 7:01 p.m. PST

Without battlefront 15mm WII wargaming would never become mainstream wargaming. I am thankfull for the ton of games I had with FoW.
But it is something from the past.

No matter how good the plastic tanks are nowadays, I have plenty of old metal ones. So it is clear why BF had to look for new customers, cause why should I buy another 20+ Panzer IV?
I am gonna buy some of the new stuff to complete my collection (SdKfz 251/22), and I would love to get some metal Panzer-Lehr infantry, but I am clearly not an interesting customer for BF anymore.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2022 7:04 a.m. PST

As 10/12mm appears to be an upcoming scale ,I am hoping Walord will venture into that. Victrix the only big player so far dont pay enough attention to it as their priority is with 28mm Naps and Ancients.

In my view it is ripe and ready for a big producer to move in.

Col Piron16 Nov 2022 5:44 p.m. PST

Without battlefront 15mm WII wargaming would never become mainstream wargaming.

Since they brought out their WW2 version of X-Wing , it has become anything but "mainstream" !!!!!!!!

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