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Posted on Dec 16, 2008 in Boardgames

Axis & Allies Miniatures – Eastern Front 1941-1945

By Paul Glasser

Axis & Allies Miniatures Game: Eastern Front. Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. $14.95 per pack.

The T-34 Model 1942 is another incremental improvement over the original T-34, with additional frontal armor.

Players’ opinions are fiercely divided on the new Axis and Allies Miniatures: Eastern Front set, on sale December 16. A number of new players are excited about the release of a large number of diverse units, including French, Hungarians, Finnish, Italians and Romanians. However, long-time fans are upset about the large number of reprinted units and the lack of any aircraft.

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The 64-unit set includes a number of long-awaited units, such as combat engineers and flame-throwers. Other popular units include a French Hotchkiss machine-gun team and Finish infantry. But the set also includes the fourth copy of the M3 Lee medium tank, the third copy of the VC Firefly and the third copy of the M5 Stuart light tank. One of the biggest complaints is the continued lack of Soviet air support—the only unit available is the late-war IL-10 ground attack fighter.

Some interesting new units include the Churchhill Mk IV, which lacks firepower but makes up for it with good armor and a low point-cost. Sporting a 6-pound main gun, the Mk IV will be hard-pressed to penetrate the frontal armor on a Pz IV at anything beyond short range. However, a British commander could field several of these tough tanks in a 100-point army and simply march them up to the objective.

The Hummel self-propelled artillery unit gives German commanders the ability to shell Allied infantry from long-range, using its 150mm howitzer. Its “Bombard” special ability prevents units attacked by the Hummel from making cover roles. The Hummel can also attack multiple targets in the same hex using the “Blast” ability. With average antitank firepower, the Hummel could also be employed directly against enemy tanks in an emergency. Its high cost and thin armor make it a tempting target for ground-attack fighters like the rocket-equipped P-51 Mustang or the Tempest, though.

The Allied equivalent of the Hummel is the M12 GMC—a 155mm howitzer mounted on the chassis of the M3 Lee tank. The M12 has the same attack values as the Hummel and many of the same devastating abilities. However, its slightly cheaper and is especially vulnerable to strafing attacks. The open crew compartment means enemy fighters can wreak havoc unless the M12 is protected by anti-aircraft units.

The Ram Kangaroo APC is more expensive than other personnel carriers but has much better armor. The Kangaroo is a turretless version of a Canadian Ram tank that offers Allied infantry a highly-mobile and well-armored fighting platform.

The KV-85 is a slightly improved version of the KV heavy tank with a minor increase in antitank firepower. The T-34 Model 1942 is another incremental improvement over the original T-34, with additional frontal armor.

Another copy of the M5 Stuart light tank has been introduced. This version includes the “Robust” ability which allows the Stuart to move while disrupted. It also has improved anti-infantry firepower but no longer has the ability to make an extra infantry attack.

A new set of map packs are sold separately and include three large, double-sided maps with urban terrain.

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ACG Intel

Axis & Allies Miniatures: Eastern Front 1941-1945

Wizards of the Coast

Avalon Hill

10 Comments

  1. I for one do not like the new Eastern Front set. As pointed out, many of the units are simply reprints in a larger scale for those who only want to field the larger 2.0 scale units. Also, there are no planes, which means, among other things, that my Soviets are still without any sort of anti-air unit, having no fighter and no flak. I am glad that they added the Finns, though, and that they finally gave the French an MG team, the Germans a flamethrower and pioneers, and the Italians an L6/40 and Vet. Carro Armato.

    Regarding the actual minis and stat cards themselves, the days of unit artwork are over—there are now only silhouettes of each unit on the back of each card, some of which do not even match the pose of the unit with regard to infantry. Many of the tanks’ gun barrels are horribly bent, being made out of cheap and flimsy plastic. Many of the painting jobs/paint schemes are awful–either downright ugly or just boring. The Soviet-Polish Infantrymen look like they’re Sumo wrestlers and appear to be about 75 lbs. overweight; and the Finnish MG team crewmen look like their faces are covered in white-out. The SS-Panzergrenadiers look like a mutant combination of the Japanese SNLF Paras, the U.S. M-1 Garand, and Davey Crocket, carrying what looks like a muzzleloader and wearing baggy paratrooper pants.

    All in all, I must say that I am very disappointed, and am hoping that Wizards of the Coast will do a much better job with the Early War expansion set to come out sometime next year—they have already confirmed that there will be at least one plane in that, a French fighter!! Personally, I am not going to buy any Eastern Front boosters, but am rather going to pick up the few units that I want/need out of this awful expansion singly, either off of gaming websites that sell single AAM, or off of Ebay.

    Thanks for the review though!

    Regards,
    Alex
    CC

  2. Yeah i was excited about this expansion… unti I bought a booster. All in all I have to be fair, the tanks looks great but the infantry look rushed. I haven’t been in the game long so the reprints dont bother me that much. I really want to see what those maps look like too. I guess the price is different from place to place cause I only paid 12.99 plus tax for my booster.

  3. Yes, $12.99 is more or less the average price—IMHO it’s too much for what you get in the new boosters (only 5 minis–1 rare, 1 uncommon, 3 commons).

  4. Judging by the last two releases I bought, I guess Wizards has sacked their art department. The latest “War at Sea” set had ugly ship pictures obviously done with computer cross-hatching over a photo of the model vessel, while “Axis & Allies Eastern Front” didn’t even try, and just had a game logo on the card instead of a drawing of the unit. Maybe I’m childish, but I love pictures of things, including soldiers and weapons. Ugly images (or none at all!) are very disappointing. I’m amazed that there are people who buy these pieces by the case (instead of a booster or two each payday) and can tell that one item is a repaint of another miniature. The game is fun, that’s for sure, but I don’t know if I could get that deeply into it. I kind of dread bringing my Tupperware container with all my stuff in it to play against a guy who has ten of every piece and has recreated an entire Panzer division down to the last detail including forward observers and scout motorcycles. Well, to each their own. As with any other game, enjoying this one hinges on finding an opponent who shares your approach to it (and to games and life in general) …

  5. Hey, does anyone have pictures of the Eastern Front maps? I can’t seem to find any and I’m very curious what they look like. Thanks.

  6. The infantry for the most part are not nearly as good as previous sets and most of them are reprints, which is not bad for new players. The vehicles in my opinion are great pieces. Many of the reprinted vehicles are either brand new sculpts or improved sculpts, some being rescales from the original sets. The brand new pieces such as the Hummel, M-12 and KV-85 are great looking pieces and welcome additions as well as the expansion of some of the minor nations. The maps look great and have improved greatly since the originals. The lack of aircraft was a real downer as a Soviet plain was expected.

    Though I won’t be buying nearly as much of this set I do like most of it and look forward to Early War later this year.

    Also the SS-Panzergrenadier and the German mortar sculpts were wrong and the company is supposed to be replacing the pieces for us. You will need to visit the Axis and Allies site for future information on this.

  7. I am looking forward to buying this new booster pack but from all the comments i read imight change my mind :(. i a new player so as said before reprints dont bug me. but i am upset that the new booster packs only come with 5 minis for $12.00, not cool.
    why would Avalon Hill just do that? >: (

    btw= the new boosters come with 1 rare 2 uncommon and 2 common :)

  8. srry lots of mistakes

  9. As a long time player, I was pretty happy to see the release of
    Eastern front miniatures, but was definitely put down by the
    high price. I may just consider e-bay anymore. However, I will
    still get a pack or two just for the rares, but nothing else really. Personally, I still have not even completed any entire set yet, and
    have been playing for at least 3 years! I still prefer the classic boosters like the base set, and set two, mainly because you get more for your buck. I hope they make a booster for stuff like the okinawa fights and Iwo jima, but stay at the 9 packs, not those stupid 5 packs. >(

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