Monthly Archives: January 2011

6mm Skytrex Mi 6 Hook

This had to happen. I was debating with myself for a long time whether to write this review or not. Some people say that its better just to say nothing instead of writing a bad review.  I still decided to do it though, as one of the aism of this website is to provide people with ACCURATE information about different wargaming products out there.

So here we go- Mi 6 transport helicopter made by Skytrex. Correct me if I am wrong but I think it is the only company so far producing this model in 6mm scale. “Hook” is a flying monstrosity, in Cold War Commander its able to transport 8 units of infantry or even towed guns, enabling you to do really devastating air assaults. I decided to go for it and bought myself 3 of them (I always liked to think big 🙂 ordering them through Lee, who was also making some order with them.  Price was £ 4 each so I thought it was already bit expensive, but decided to bite the bullet anyway. When I finally received the models though, I was simply shocked. In my 16 years long “career” as a wargamer I have to admit that I don’t think I have ever seen such a poor excuse for a model.

First of all- It looks like simly big lump of mode, roughly in shape of the helicopter with  wheels that need to be attached as well.  Mould lines are massive, there is a lot of flash and most importantly the model simply completely lacks any detail and definition and I really mean it. Apart from few points in place of its round windows there is no more detail than that. To add insult to an injury helicopter doesnt come with rotors!!! I am not sure why is that, but I wouldn’t buy it even just for that reason.

Probably only useful thing that can be done with that model is to have it somewhere near when you are playing with very annoying opponent. Its one of the rare example of 6mm miniature that when flung at somebodys head has a very good chance of knocking them out.

It is probably the only time I demanded money back for something I have bought, luckily Skytrex customer service seems to be very good and I received a full refund.  I am sorry to say but you really want to stay away from that particular model.

S.

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Scotia Grendel Soviet trucks and vans

Yes, you guessed right- time for yet another review:)

Scotia Grendel is one of the companies that produces quite extensive range of vehicles for all modern armies. As a Soviet player I was not dissapointed with the choice offered. I got Gaz 66 airlifted truck, one with communication mode and also open topped one plus UAZ 452 light van truck  and Gaz 69 jeeps. Excellent choice for command groups for Cold War commander, each piece costing 50-60 p and you don’t have to buy 5 of each like with GHQ or Skytrex. Not much flash, no serious problem with mould lines and models are pretty accurate.

My only problem was with open topped Gaz 69 jeep. I have one from Herocis &Ros for comparison and unfortunately Scotia Grendel ones doesn’t come up well in comparison. There is lack of detail inside the jeep, no seats present making it look really weird, almost like crate on wheels rather than jeep. Apart from that one though all the others are very nice and I was happy with them.Definitely recommended.

S.

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6mm Simply 6 buildings

About a week ago I received some scenery from Simply 6. Bad news is that owner of the company decided to close the business due to personal reasons which is a shame as there were some really nice and affordable pieces of 6mm (and 3mm as well if thats your thing) scenery on sale there.

I got two small sets of white reisin ruins (£ 2.45 for 2 of bigger ones and 2.35 for 2 of smaller ones), ruined industrial building for  £ 2.50 and two town houses (one damaged and one normal ) for £ 2.50 a piece.

They are very neat building I have to say- good detail and definition on all of them, no visibkle flash or mould lines to get rid of and for that price I think its very good value for your money.

You can still get this stuff at Angel Barracks http://angelbarracks.co.uk/ while the stock lasts so I suggest hurrying up and getting some, before those nice bits of scenery dissapear completely.

s.

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Review – AC28 GHQ AC28 NATO Weapon Assortment

Background
I purchased some Heroics & Ros aircraft recently and was disappointed to find that, unlike the helicopters, they do not come with external sources. Given all aircraft do in CWC is drop large quantities of ordnance for the purposes of landscaping, this was something of an omission.

Thankfully I recalled seeing a weapons pack on Magister Militum for GHQ NATO fixed wing aircraft stores and this is the subject of today’s review.

I think it’s worth going over the pack contents because neither GHQ or Militum have a good photo or description and it may help inform your decision whether to purchase the pack.

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Now, I know an unhealthy amount about aircraft weaponry so identifying this stuff is childsplay for me. However, not everyone had a misspent youth with Jane’s “All the World’s Aircraft” as their spank material so I’ve circled the sprues and linked to wiki where possible.

A – A sprue full of AIM-9 Sidewinders. The Sidewinder, like HP Sauce, goes on everything so is probably the most useful store in the pack. GHQ have supplied it in a few forms. Dual Rail (no pylon) is handy for Falkland era Harriers and CW/Gulf I era Warthogs. Single Rails with and without pylon can be used for almost everything (single rail could also be used for AGM-122 Sideram ARM on Huey Cobra). There are also two F-15 Eagle Wing Pylons with stub rails which are probably the least versatile.

B – The top of the sprue has two small drop tanks (possibly for F-16). The left has three GBU-10 2000lb Paveway II Laser Guided Bombs. The right has three Multiple Ejector Racks, each carrying six Mk-82 500lb GP bombs.

The tanks could be used for most aircraft without too much modification (clip fins off, etc). The GBU-10 are useful for CW and Gulf War I and II and will go onto most US aircraft and a few non-US ones. The MER/Mk-82 are very useful for Vietnam and Gulf War I US aircraft (A-6 and A-10 especially!).

C – Five AIM-7 Sparrow AA missile. Handy for Vietnam F-4 (which almost always had four underfuselage) and any game with air-air rules. As I was planning on only using them for CWC which is strictly mud moving I chopped these up for rocket pods.

D – Eight GBU-12 Paveway II 500lb Laser Guided Bombs on pylons. Useful for most US aircraft in any conflict since Vietnam. Some non-US aircraft use it too.

E – Topmost store is a large drop tank typically used on F-15 centreline. Remaining six stores are Triple Ejector racks (TER) carry three Mk-82 bombs each. Like the MER, these are useful for Vietnam and Gulf War I. A-10 and F-16 would usually carry these during Desert Storm. F-4, A-4 and A-7 would carry them during Vietnam.

F – The top three missiles are more Sidewinders. The left of the sprue has three more TER/Mk-82 combos. The right of the sprue has three AGM-65 Maverick triple launchers. This is a fairly odd inclusion as the Maverick was rarely carried on this launcher. A-10 used them infrequently during Desert Storm. F-16 are cleared to use them it wouldn’t be out of place on one in a Cold War game (lets face it, drag is the least of problems in that scenario!).

G – The Amnesty International sprue has more Cluster Bombs than is probably healthy (certainly for massed armor formations or schools). The left of the sprue has three MER loaded with six SUU dispensers apiece. The right has three TER carrying three apiece.

Still with me? Okay, that’s the Safetystick school of US ordnance over and done with for the moment. Hopefully it will help!

Price
£7 gets you all of the above. It’s a little pricey but there is probably about as much lead in the blister as a Chieftain pack so its not unfair, but probably ensures that this buy is strictly for those who really need their aircraft to look like they’re not just buzzing the local airshow. There is no equivalent that I’ve found so this is pretty much the only way of loading up.

Scale
Everything looks to scale relative to each other.

Mould Quality
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Detail of GBU-10. I’ve clipped the pylon off one of them and have yet to clean either to give an idea of mould quality.

Good. Mould lines were mostly easy to deal with and unobtrusive. A little flash, especially on the fins but easily cleaned. Detail, such as it is, is fairly crisp as to be expected of GHQ.

Form
The fact that I was able to identify all of the stores with little trouble probably suggests ‘good enough’!

Detail
There isn’t a huge amount of detail here, probably due to the relatively small size of the stores. The GBU-10 impressed me by having the seeker head modeled. The join between tail and warhead on the bombs was generally missing so would have to be painted on. At this scale I can’t say I was surprised and what is present is sufficient but the Chieftain’s crazy level of detail had maybe left me expecting access panels and levers to be present!

Conclusions
So, good detail, good form and plenty of options. All’s well?

No, not really.

Firstly, there are some woeful omissions here. The main one is the lack of single air to ground stores. The Mk-82, Cluster Bombs and Mavericks only come on multiple launchers which is ‘okay’ for Vietnam and the opening stages of Gulf War I but not really representative of later periods (where they could be painted as ‘smart’ versions i.e. Mk-82 = JDAM. SUU=WCMD) or even the practical realities of pylon and envelope limits in high intensity warfare (An F-16 carrying four TER is dead in the water if pounced by a couple of Russkie MiGs).
There are also no rocket pods, which is strange given how often they are used throughout late 20th century warfare. I made my own by cutting up the Sparrows (a bit small in diameter but the 1/285 scale on a 1/300 aircraft helps).

Secondly, despite being listed under NATO fixed wing on the site, the pack is exceptionally US orientated. This is okay for most forces that tend to use US kit but French and British players may wonder where the love is. I converted the GBU-10 into a reasonable facsimile of the stubbier UK 1000lb LGB
user posted image. AIM-9 are also fairly universal.

Non-US aircraft like Jaguar and Harrier GR Mk.3 also tend to not use TER and MER making the multi-store carriers largely useless. I ended up giving most of mine to Mike to populate his H&R A-6 Intruders

So, final assessment. The quality of the contents is good, verging on great. This is a good pack to buy if you want to fit out some H&R/Skytrex US aircraft for high intensity warfare (Vietnam, Cold War, Gulf I). However, it’s not the pack for doing Falkland era Brits or Gulf era French as there will be a lot of wastage given the US focus of the contents.

Lee Parnell

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Review – GHQ FV4201 Chieftain MkV

Background
The Chieftain was the principle Main Battle Tank of the British Army of the 1970’s, replacing the venerable Centurion in all but specialized roles. When introduced in the 1960’s the Chieftain’s thick armour and fearsome 120mm rifled main gun made it the premium MBT of NATO until the Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams tanks were introduced in the early-mid eighties. The Chieftain was, however, plagued by an unreliable and fuel hungry British Leylands engine.
In some ways more importantly, the Chieftain was the tank I grew up around as my Dad was a tankee in the RTR. I have early childhood memories of riding around on top of one of these behemoths and they were always going to form a large chunk of my British force for CWC.

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Price
GHQ tanks, including the Chieftain, come five to a blister for £6.75 (or £1.35 per tank). This compares to 50p per tank for H&R or £2.50 for five tanks 9so, also 50p/tank) for Skytrex. The GHQ range is never going to appeal to the budget gamer but is usually a good first choice for the miniature painter.

Scale
GHQ have adopted a 1/285 scale rather than the more typical scale of 1/300 so the Chieftains are probably going to look a little big compared to Chieftains from other ranges. Having put them next to Skytrex Scorpion recce tanks, the Chieftain’s naturally large size disguises the scale difference to a large extent. The trusty metal ruler measures the hull as being 27mm long which equates to 7.6m, a mere 0.1m off. Working backwards, a 1/300 Chieftain would be 25.6mm long so maybe the scale difference wouldn’t be noticeable!

Mould Quality
Mould quality was a little disappointing given the price of the model and my only complaint. The actual detail was very crisp, but the model has two fairly intrusive mould lines. The one of the turret can be cleaned up fairly easily for the most part but can be difficult to clear around the searchlight box. The one on the hull runs along the middle bazooka plates and is a complete bitch to deal with due to the detail on the plate preventing a good run with a file. In the end I had to admit defeat and try and camouflage it with weathering. As you can see, the right hand side still shows up pretty badly.
The line does cross the rear and front but it easier to clean in these places (although I missed the rear one initially because it looks like it should be there till you note it cuts through the barrel rest).
It’s not a deal breaker, but it does detract from the overall piece and a more considerate placement of the mould halves on the hull would have been appreciated.

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The right Bazooka plate’s bloody mould line. Some flash at front but easily cleared.

Form
Well, it certainly looks like a Chieftain! The model has the oddly shaped mantle-less turret and the well sloped glacis plate that one would expect on the tank. The road wheels are well defined and all present and correct. The model is easily identifiable as a Chieftain MBT. One small point is that, although the model is sold as a MkV, the shape of the NBC pack on the turret rear is consistent with the earlier models of the Mk.3 (small box with connecting tube). Bizarrely Tamiya’s 1:35 kit repeats this error which makes me wonder if the GHQ model wasn’t based off the larger kit! It only really matters to anoraks like me at the end of the day though.

Detail
GHQ have earned themselves a reputation as making accurate and detailed models and the Chieftain certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The model has enough fine detail that I lost an evening’s painting to my Dad giving me a detailed description of what each bit is. Vision blocks are fully present as well as detail such as commander’s search light, commander and gunner sights, coaxial gun and external tools. Engine grills are fully textured and the wading lip that runs along the tank is present. GHQ have even added some minor detail such as AGU exhausts, tow lines and spare road wheels. As a minor sticking point, it would have been nice to have the commander GMPG and Loaders AA MG modeled but these are minor omissions and the model is still a treat to paint because of the attention to detail.

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Rear Hull features AGU and Engine exhausts plus first aid kit and telephone box. Annoyingly I missed the mould line on the one I photo’d here, forever capturing my ineptitude!

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The Turret has some really nice detail. Commander Cupola is very accurate. Engine decks are textured and pick up a wash/drybrush technique very well.

Conclusions
Did the model live up to expectations? Yes.
After the rather tepid Skytrex Scorpions the GHQ Chieftain was a real joy to paint and easy to go to town on. The mould line is a real annoyance but the only complaint I can level at what is otherwise a superb model.
The cost of the GHQ model is always going to turn some people away, and I’d still probably prefer cheap and cheerful for non-tank stuff like APC or SPG (H&R impressed me with their Abbot), but it’s certainly true that you get what you pay for and likely won’t find a finer MBT model.

Information on how I painted the tanks can be found at my blog: http://safetymarkings.blogspot.com/2011/01…-chieftain.html
Lee Parnell

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Scotia Grendel 6mm Soviet infantry and artillery crew

Recently I decided to check yet another company producing 6mm stuff. I wanted to add some variety to my Soviet force, so I decided to buy Scotia Grendels advancing infantry from their Soviet range. Price is  £2.50 for a pack of 50 guys. Not bad price wise. Also decided to get myself some gun crew, which costs 65 p for 10 figures.  Everything arrived pretty quickly and well packed.

Biggest problem for me with those models is their scale- they are more like 8mm, so they are bit too big to mix with my other Russians. I made one stand cutting of their incredibly thick bases off and they are ok. Incidentally they seem to be exactly right scale to use for Epic 40k so if you are looking for some proxies for Imperial Guard or Traitor Guard then Scotia Grendel Range might actually be your answer!

Its pretty strange to have such a mixed quality in the same pack as well. Among 50 guys there are pretty much 3 different figures plus few LMG teams in prone position. Solider with a radio set is actually very nice and sturdy as well. Same can’t be said about those in running position- most of them already snapped at the ankle and seem to be very flimsy, sculpt not being the best either. Worse one of the three is soldier in standing position. Its hard to say what happned to his gun but his right hand seems strangely deformed and thicker. LMG team is actually pretty nice, so this infantry set seems pretty fifty-fifty.

Gun crew is definitely much better with 5 different poses (and only one looking weird and unnatural), but same issue of too big size. Scotia infantry models look too big near vehicles as well (and that includes Scotia Grendel vehicles). I suppose if you like the scultpts then you should probably have all your infantry from that company, as mixing it with other manufacturers just would look too good (apart from perhaps Main Force which is also on the big side).

Scotia Grendel produces however very interesting range of modern vehicles and I will be reviewing their Russian trucks and jeeps shortly.

S.

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6mm Mi-24 Hind E and Mi 8 Hip from Heroics& Ros

I got these quite some time ago, together with my other Soviet stuff. Since I am playing Soviet VDV airborne (no Mike, NO! don’t even start singing!) I obviously need helicopters. Well, perhaps I don’t really need them but decided to get some anyway- I am definitely not the one that could resist fielding 3 Hinds in my army 🙂

Both Mi 24 Hind E and Mi8 Hip costs £1.50- very good price and I would say it is an excellent value for your money.

Helicopters are scuplted really nicely. No issue with massive mould lines here and what little lines it had was really easy to remove without damaging any details of the helicopter . Detail on both models is pretty good and there is only a little bit of flash on rotors. They are all supplied with all possible weapon options- rocket pods, ATGWs etc. I was very impressed with that amount of extra bits for models costing £ 1.50.  With Mi8 that basically means that you can have it as a transport helicopter or add rockets on the side and have it as an attack helicopter. In game we play, Cold War Commander, Mi 8 as an attack helicopter is a secondary choice, but it costs much less points than Mi 24 so sometimes its a only viable option.  In general H&R seems to be doing really good job with their helicopters, offering cheap and surprisingly good quality models. Comparing it to GHQ asking 7 pounds for their Mi 24… need I say more? 🙂

S.

 

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