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Review of Blacktree Design Grille Ausf M 
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Sergeant
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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:47 am
Posts: 222
The Grille Ausf M is one of the best bargains for the Germans in BA. For 160pts (regular) you get a very big gun (heavy howitzer) with great AP and decent AT, plus enough armour keep pesky infantry at bay. Sure it’s open top – but just don’t try to use it as an assault gun. So when Blacktree Design had a recent sale I grabbed one of their Grille minis.

First thing you notice is that it is all metal and very heavy (you don’t want to drop it on your foot). The casting is pretty good, the only significant flash was on the tracks, which was easily removed. The detail on the hull is decent enough, although there is no detail in the armoured cupola. There are some nice touches, such as spare track pieces to add to the hull, but this very clearly a gaming mini, not a model.

Moving onto assembly I found there was no instructions, but this is not usual for wargaming minis – so using the picture on the Blacktree site as a guide I started gluing. After three attempts, followed by complete pull-a-parts, I was ready to throw the mini through the wall. My a-ha moment came when I Googled images of the Grille and realised that Blacktree had assemble their own mini incorrectly!?!

Once I had these new pics assembly went pretty smoothly (although I have a large piece left over, with no idea where it might go). The one really fiddly bit is bending the metal pieces to make the armoured cupola – it’s hard to get them just right. The end result it pretty decent – my version is not going to win any awards, but those with a modelling bent - willing to spend the time and effort to get the bends right and fill the gaps - will be able to get a very good result.

When assembled it is one the large side – like most Blacktree’s minis is on the heroic side of 28mm – around the 1/50 or 1/48 scale. For me this fits fine with my Blacktree minis (and personally I also think it looks fine with my WL minis), but scale may be an issue for some. The mini also comes with two crew – which I appreciate because I hate the look of crewless guns/vehicles, however these figures seem slightly larger in scale and the poses are a bit odd for gun crew. It also took a fair bit of work to make them fit in the cupola.

Price-wise the Grille is slightly more expensive than you would pay for a similar sized WL vehicle, but Blacktree has regular sales which mean you should be able pick one up below normal cost (although if you don’t live in Australia like me the economies might come out differently!). The level of detail is not as good as the likes of Warlord or Company B, but it is more than good enough for wargaming. On the whole I am happy with my Grille and would recommend getting one when on sale (although since no one else does the Grille my recommendation one way or another is probably somewhat nugatory).

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Peter

You can find more images on flkr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/huascar18/ ... 217938121/


Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:04 am
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Captain
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Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 838
Location: North Andover, MA
Very cool man. I hope it brings your opponents much deserved pain in future games.

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Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:51 am
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Captain
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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:32 pm
Posts: 3573
Heavy howitzer on tracks - my kinda vehicle! And you're totally right on the points being a bargain. Great paint job, man. Color me jealous.


Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:19 pm
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Corporal
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 7:00 pm
Posts: 101
I have a T70 and a M8 Greyhound from Black Tree... I had a heck of a time putting them together, and I thought they came out kinda crappy. Your Grille looks great, though! I'd consider basing all metal tanks, it might make them more durable.


Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:13 pm
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First Sergeant
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Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:34 am
Posts: 2713
Great review, also thanks for the pic with the FJs from BT and WL, thats the first time I've seen a direct pic with them together in that easy of a format to get a size comparison. Put my fears about scaling to rest.

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Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:18 pm
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Technical Sergeant

Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:04 pm
Posts: 1169
Location: Hudson, Flordia
I have a Panzer M, two Kubelwagons and a Truck from BT, the wagons and truck are fine. The panzer M was a total pain to put together.

I did email BT and asked if they had instructions. They do have them for several vehicles and can email you a PDF if you ask them. So, just a FYI, ask and see if they have a PDF they can send you. Mine was very helpful.


Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:27 am
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