Monthly Archives: December 2010

6mm Viet Cong from Main Force

After Mike Everest has been going on about Vietnam and how cool would it be to play it, I started looking on the internet for suitable, yet relatively cheap models in 6mm.  After some research I stumbled upon Main Force line being sold in UK by Magister Militum and decided to give it a go.

For 8.80 pounds you get: 6 command stands (one soldier kneeling, other laying on the ground with field glasses), 1 SA7 soldier,  4 RPG teams , 6 LMG teams, 2 HMG teams, 1 heavy mortar and decent amount of riflemen (with stands of three, two and singe figure to customize your bases a bit).

Apart from HMG, SA7 and mortar team they are all in laying position and figures are placed on metal bases. Quality of models is good, there was only very little flash and they are also quite sturdy. HMG team is actually multi-part which was bit surprising in that scale, but 2 parts fit in together very well. Figures are bit on a chunky side, probably more 8mm than 6mm but thanks to their position this is not really visible at all, providing you don’t mix them with figures from a different manufacturer on the same base.

I can’t really say I have any serious complaints about that range apart from uniformity of the poses- little bit of variety wouldn’t go amiss and RPG teams could be made bit better to stand out from normal rifle teams  but still I am definitely not dissapointed with my purchase.

All in all for £8.80 you get decent VC force that can be used straight away with Cold War Commander rules  and gives you about 1500 points with few upgrades from the rulebook.

S.

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Miniature Wargames January 2011 review

Today I received my copy of Miniature Wargames for January 2011. I originally ordered it only because it had a first interview with Rick Priestley since he left GW and also there was an offer of free postage, so curiosity won 🙂

It’s been some time since I had MW in my hands and I have to say it still looks and reads good. I like pretty relaxed style, layout is quite nice as well.

Interview (of sorts , as it was more of a report from  chat with him rather than a proper interview) is interesting, sheding some light on his divorce with GW (and incidentally just proving again that this company has less and less to do with any creativity at all) and also telling us about his future plans and projects (new Ancient system anyone?).

What have we go apart from the interview? Some columns, figure and book reviews, funny WWII scenario for 28mm, thourough analysis of new edition of DBMM (nothing EVER will convince me to waste my time on that game anyway ha ha..), interesting article about Siege of Harfleur from Henry V’s campaign in France (and how to play it of course!), Napoleonic scenario foe Gebora 1811(very, very impressed with scenery and figures presented on photos there!), scenario for Pancho Villa vs. Pershing’s forces in Mexico, excellent article about drybrushing (being extract fro ma Kevin Dallimore’s book). All that plus lots of adds on 80 pages for 3.95 pounds including postage from http://www.miniwargames.com

Whilst I usually don’t buy wargaming magazines anymore, this one didn’t dissapoint me and I consider it money well spent.

S.

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Mekboy Junka

Ever since I have seen that piece of kit in one of Imperial Armour books, I wanted to build one. It’s not particularly powerful in game (albeit much better choice than looted wagon in my opinion), but I loved idea of dedicated transport for Big Mek, sort of his personal limousine;) and therefore I decided to build one. It’s not yet completely finished, I still have to paint some things on it and definitely finish my scratchbuild deffrolla, but its getting close. What do you think? Do you like it?

S.

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Kustom ork Battlewagon finished!

Finally, after all finishing touches, adding few extras and changing few little things my Battlewagon is ready to go. Hopefully it will bring me many victories in future battles 😉

S.

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10mm Old Glory Byzantine Kataphraktoi and Skutatoi review

Greetings!

More or less this time a year ago Santa decided I was a good kid and brought me a box full of nice miniatures for 10 mm Byzantines from Old Glory. Great! First army for Warmaster Ancients! I got 4 packs in total, one of each: “Cavalry Command. Armoured Horses” BZZ 100, “Armoured cavalry, bow and lance, half armoured horses” BZZ 102, “Heavy Infantry Command” BZZ 109, “Front rank Skutatoi” BZZ 110. In my opinion it is a good start for a Justinian/Heraclian Byzantine Army I am interested in collecting.

Infantry

I have 100 Skutatoi and 50 Infantry Command miniatures to work with. They come in stripes of 5 as shown in the pictures below:

At the beginning I really liked the close formation of the infantry but then it showed that if you glue just five of them on one stand then there are funny gaps between the soldiers if the unit is in line formation. The command is broader too so in column formation it does not look good either. What is more, the miniatures do not come equipped with spears. In such tight formation it is quite difficult to fix them, at least in my opinion. Anyway, I faced two options, either separate some of the stripes to form 8 miniatures in line on one stand (16 in two ranks, the way it is shown on the picture from Old Glory UK) or separate each miniature and position them in roughly even distance from each other. I chose the latter because of two reasons. First, it meant I could form 4 full units using all Skutatoi models I have and 4 command strips (6 left for later use). Second, attaching spears would be easier. It is quite boring work to do and some of the shields might get damaged a little in the process but majority of the miniatures separate nicely as long as you separate the base. The effect I got is shown below:

I used plastic wires for spears and they are easy to bend, hence the spears are not that straight as they should be. The good thing though is they do not break as they are very flexible. I will see how they will survive any transport experience though. In general, however, I am happy with the effect I achieved, the unit looks nice and there are no silly gaps in formation.

Cavalry

I have 30 “Armoured cavalry” and 9 “Cavalry Command” miniatures to work with. Since I need 12 miniatures to form a proper unit I will form 3 cavalry regiments easily. I could try to stretch it and try to form 4 but it means one unit will not have any command group and my units would not look that magnificent with less miniatures. We will see though. Both cavalry packs come with separate horse and riders miniatures. Command fit nicely into their saddles but regular cavalrymen seem to have not enough leg spread. I have yet to see if it can be fixed quickly or is it going to be a more gruesome work. The miniatures before assembly look like below:

One more thing I have noticed is that all cavalry miniatures I have are bow armed only. There were no miniatures of lance armed cavalry, despite the description. I thought it would be a mixed pack of both. Since there is no picture on the Old Glory website I cannot give you the answer if you can have a pack of lance armed cavalrymen. It would look great to have a front rank lance armed while the second rank firing their bows. It can still look very nice with the miniatures I have at the moment so I do not despair. I am just wondering if it is just accidental what kind of miniatures you can get.

Some additional comments

As far as historical accuracy goes I used Osprey books for comparison. In my opinion the miniatures look like 10th century Byzantine soldiers. However, they are still similar to 6th century Justinian cavalry and 7th century Heraclian infantry. Have a look at “Romano-Byzantine Armies 4th-9th Centuries” by David Nicolle and “Byzantine Armies 886-1118” by Ian Heath.

The quality of miniatures is good, I like the proportions but the lack of spears is quite a drawback. I am not sure if it is a good idea to cast infantry in stripes but then maybe I am not doing it exactly the way manufacturer imagined. I don’t quite understand why they have almost no pictures for the miniatures (it is also true in other ranges). It really makes the decision what to order quite difficult.

I would not mix these miniatures with figures from other manufacturers. The differences in proportions and the look are big enough to notice them even in 10 mm scale. It might work though in the case of entire units. I will check it as soon as I paint some Mongols from Magister Millitium and see if they can be used as some barbarian horse archers.

In terms of price it seems it is a little cheaper. For example, 100 infantry costs 12£ which gives 12p per miniature, while Magister Millitium sells 30 infantry for 5£ – almost 17p per miniature.  30 cavalry from Old Glory costs 12£ (40p per miniature), while MM sells 12 cavalrymen for 5£ (almost 42p per miniature). I don’t know about other manufacturers, as I have models from OG and MM at the moment.

I hope that helps.

Cheers!

P.

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Flight of the Intruder… A review of Heroics and Ros aircraft

So the whole of the Old Guard (our wargames group in Brighton) have been whipped up into a frenzy of Cold War excitement with S. purchasing a copy of Cold War Commander recently. We all started talking about prospective armies to be taken by us and a period. We settled finally on 78-81… and both S. and I (myself being obsessed with it) decided to get armies for the Vietnam War also. With our technical advisor Lee on hand we dived into the army lists and decided what to get. Going for an Airborne Force (aircav for ‘Nam) I looked at making an order with the rest of the guys from Heroics and Ros. I had never heard of H and R and took a bit of a gamble with ordering things for them. I ordered some infantry and some 6mm UH-1 Hueys, a couple of A-6 Intruders (more on those later), an AH-1 Hueycobra and a Sea Stallion. First thing I’d like to say that in the modern age is it really that hard to have pictures in your miniatures catalogue? This made me cautious to start with… however the immensely attractive price of the figures more than compensated for this, that and H and R’s snappy delivery time was excellent. Meeting S. in the back of a shady cafe in Brighton it felt very fitting of the cold war as I opened the package and checked the merchandise. I was immediately impressed. Multipart vehicles at 6mm can be swing and miss in their quality in the extreme; these however immediately put any fears of that on the shelf. I got them home and cracked out the superglue and clippers. I started with the UH-1s (those who read this need to understand that to me… the UH-1 is probably the coolest aircraft… ever) and was impressed with the quality. They had very little flash to deal with and the figures themselves were very satisfying to construct. They come with a single part fuselage and separate main rotor and skids, they stuck together quickly and weren’t too fiddly. After finishing the UH-1s I moved to the Hueycobra. This was a slightly different case, it was again high quality multipart, but a lot more fiddly to construct with very thin skids which bent the moment I looked at them. It did however come with a choice of loadout between either rocket pods (for ‘Nam) or TOW missiles for later periods. After some perseverance I managed to complete the AH-1 and it looked pretty sweet actually. The big thing I’d like to say about H and R helicopters is the separate rotors. Now these look excellent and it shows that for a low price that you can get good quality without cutting corners (another company we ordered from did not provide rotors for its helicopters… for a much higher price!)

I finally moved onto the Sea Stallion, this thing was vast. Even at 6mm you see the size of this thing. It’s a huge aircraft and consequently H and R have done a brilliant representation of this. Again, very high quality for a very low price (£2!). The stallion needed a little shaving here and there on the engines, but nothing even an inexperienced modeller couldn’t do. It came with separate landing gear which I did not affix as I was worried they would not hold the weight of the beast! They will look great on my next one coming into land. Again the separate rotor really makes it when you affix it as the final piece. The last figure to check out was the Intruder. Now… a quick word on these. I only wanted 2 of these, S.  however (in charge of the order) felt that ordering an entire carrier wing was a better idea… 10 Intruders later and we realised we made a mistake. Just a quick aside that H and R understood our plight and with a quick e-mail were more than happy to exchange them for us. The quality of the Intruders was a little lower that the Helicopters, still pleasing though for the low price (£1.50 I think.) The whole fuselage was a single piece cast with the refuel arm separate. The cast quality drops around the cockpit where the definition is lower. It is however still a very nice model though, and like I say, the price more than makes up for this.

Needless to say I will be making more orders from Heroics and Ros soon!

Mike Everest



 


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Review – Skytrex Scorpion CVR(T) M632


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Background
The Scorpion was one of a family of British Recce vehicles that exist under the umbrella of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) programme. The Scorpion was one of two ‘Light Reconnaissance Tanks’ within the CVR(T) and was used to equip the Armoured Reconnaissance regiments (such as the Blues and Royals).
I picked a pack of Scorpions up to use for the Recce troop of 3RTR and only later found out that the troop was equipped with the Scimitar (the other light tank). This does at least allow me to do something of a comparison once my Heroic and Ros Scimitars arrive!

Price
Skytrex sell the Scorpion at £2 for five tanks (or 40p per tank). This is equal to Heroics and Ros (although Skytrex only sell in multiples of five) and significantly cheaper than GHQ (£6.75 for five or £1.35 per tank). Skytrex do charge £3 for UK shipping which is pretty standard.

Scale
The Scorpion should be about the size of a standing man and, stood next to H&R infantry, this appears to be correct. Lengthwise a Scorpion should be 4.3m, or about 15mm in 1/300 and the Scorpion measures up correctly here too. Alongside a H&R Sultan (which uses the same chassis) the Skytrex Scorpion appears a lot shorter (comparing track length) so it’ll be interesting to see how the H&R Scimitar looks next to it.

Mould Quality
There was a pretty significant mould line that ran around the bottom half of the hull which was impossible to completely eradicate as it ran along the road wheels. The turret was similarly affected but easier to clean off.

Form
The form is where my complaints start to set in. The forward hull should slope down from the turret plate to give a chisel edge look to the tank (the wiki article has a decent three plan view which shows this). The Skytrex model has a very slight gradient to the front which makes it look almost parallel.
The turret of the Scorpion is pretty good with the exception of the cupolas which should be underflush with the vision blocks but instead stick up above them looking like PzIII-esque dustbin cupolas!
The main barrel looks to be about right length but seems to flare out blunderbuss like at the end which took a bit of effort to rectify.
Other major features such as the exhaust and number and spacing of road wheel are present and correct.

Detail
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The Scorpion is very short on detail, especially the main hull. The driver cupola is reflected by a simple circle and the engine covers have no mesh texture to them, being simple raised rectangles. The main exhaust is a simple cylinder with no reflection of its covers or mesh detail. The track and wheels are very simply depicted with the cover of the front idler being very poor (probably not helped by the fact that the cut out for the wheel got swamped by a mould line). The flotation screen which should run along the edge of the hull all the way round is missing (which would be accurate for a post 90’s version I guess, but not helpful for a 1970’s one).
There are no tools or the hatches reflected except for a mystery block under the exhaust which may be a pry bar or tensioning bar.
The turret is a bit better with vision blocks and smoke dischargers being present if unremarkable. The main gun search light ,hull box and rear turret box have no hatch detail on them.
Overall, there is little to reward the painter and painting the Scorpions was interesting only in so far as they were the first 6mm moderns I had ever painted!

Conclusions
Without seeing the H&R its hard to make comparisons. The hull form and lack of texture/detail (especially compared to the GHQ chieftains that arrived the same day) was a definite disappointment and the awkward position of the hull’s mould line a major annoyance (by no means unique to Skytrex though).
The model is pretty identifiable as a Scorpion, despite the flat form of the hull front and certainly useable on a table top if unimpressive as a painter’s model. If the GHQ price is hard to swallow it’s a viable alternative but it remains to be seen if the equally priced H&R isn’t a better product for the money.

by Lee Parnell

http://safetymarkings.blogspot.com/

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