The announcement that Jason was teasing earlier in the week is here. Some of you might be quite interested in this announcement while I suspect some of you were hoping for something that might have a few more wings attached. In any case, two new vehicles, the GAZ-MM 72-K and Sd.Kfz. 10/5 Flak 38 are coming to the IL-2: Great Battles Series as ‘Collector Vehicles.’ Let’s have a look at what we know right now.
Mobile anti-aircraft artillery
Most of the time we’re cursing the flak batteries for shooting at us but always with the knowledge that they are operated by AI. Now, you may want to give that a second thought as 1CGS is adding two new “Collector Vehicles” that are quite obviously connected with Tank Crew’s impending release but that also are purchasable on their own and might play a role elsewhere in the series.
The Sd.Kfz. 10/5 Flak 38 and GAZ-MM 72-K are two vehicles that mount mobile flak guns on them. The Sd.Kfz. 10/5 Flak 38 is a half track that, naturally, mounts a Flak 38 gun. The gun itself is a 20mm cannon firing 220 rounds per minute. This vehicle was used throughout the war in nearly every major theatre of operation so it naturally fits in everywhere.
The GAZ-MM 72-K is the Russian counterpart and it is once again ubiquitous across the eastern front. The GAZ itself was the truck that the Soviet’s armies ran on and in this instance mounts a 25mm 72-K gun.
Both vehicles are being developed by third party developer Digital Forms who did all of the tanks for Tank Crew. The GAZ is already underway and we have the first developer images of the work in progress model.
How are they going to be used?
First off, these are ‘Collector Vehicles’ sold separately of Tank Crew so its conceivable that if you had no interest in Tank Crew but wanted mobile AAA vehicles that you could purchase these and make use of them in other scenarios. That’s where I think these might find an interesting niche.
IL-2: Great Battles is increasingly moving towards a more combined arms aspect of battle. Although the series is still very much focused on the air war, Tank Crew and now these AAA guns are opening up other opportunities and these guns actually do act as a kind of bridge. While tanks are concerned with the ground war and are largely targets for enemy aircraft, these offer a ground vehicle that has a dedicated role of interacting with what’s going on in the skies.
Some servers, where ‘vulching’ (shooting player aircraft that are on the ground) is permitted, might also ensure that a detachment of mobile AAA vehicles is available for humans to hop into and help defend from aerial attack. I’m thinkin of the Finnish Virtual Pilots Dynamic War server specifically but others may decide to follow suit.
Pricing and availablility
The two ‘Collector Vehicles’ are on sale now on the IL-2 webstore with a pre-order sale price of $19.99 USD for each. After launch they will go up to $24.99 USD. The announcement suggests that release will be end of the year for the GAZ while the Sd.Kfz. flak vehicle will be available by Q2 2021.
I wanted to get the pricing done first before I launch into the reaction because I think the price will be part of the equation here.
First, any time something is teased there’s always the possibility of there being a bit of an overhype. I try and avoid as much of that here on Stormbirds but I, of course, get excited too and I do want to let everyone know what’s going on when I do. I did say that this could be teasing something big or small and even mentioned that we hadn’t heard about these mobile AAA trucks in some time and so this may be the announcement.
I think, however, that a great many people were hoping for something else and that teasing anything at all was giving hope for something else. The C-47, the B-25, a sequel to Flying Circus, or just about anything else with wings. Naturally, being a flight sim first, aviation products are of primary interest.
Second, pricing is going to feel a bit high for some as these new vehicles slot into the pricing reserved currently for the Ju52/3m. The likely reason is both the need to build both the interior and exterior station as well as the systems that operate how these guns work. So multi-station vehicles in the IL-2 store are priced higher than the Collector Planes with a single cockpit. That makes sense to me and thus I think the reaction to the price is more around how interested some are in using these.
At a lower price its an easy low cost purchase for something that some may not use very much. For others the higher price is less of an impediment.
As much as this sounds all a little gloomy, I’ve also seen some genuine interest and excitement around these new vehicles as well. Even from a few who weren’t interested in the tank warfare but were interested in engaging with the air battle from the ground. That does offer something unique and interesting!
At the end of the day you have to decide if these are of interest to you as is the case with any product from any flight/combat sim product. If they are of interest but at a lower price point, wait for a sale. They will happen and 1CGS aggressively prices things during sales. If you have to have them at launch then the $19.99 USD is what it is.
As with all things IL-2: Great Battles, I’ll be keeping close tabs on these and other developments. I do still wonder if we’ll see some sort of other announcement before the end of the year or early into 2021 plus there’s lots of new stuff coming for Battle of Normandy. Stay tuned!