Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just In; Wargames Factory Greek Heavy Hoplites 28mm

      Hot off the presses and into Michigan Toy Soldier (and thus into MY hands) is the new box of Greek Heavy Armored Hoplites from Wargames Factory.  With a better than average box art I almost noticed when I walked into the shop. It contains parts for 30 figures with loads of extra bits.There are enough square plastic bases included to mount all the figures so they would be useable for WAB of Hail Caesar.  Let us examine the contents of the box;

O.K.,   I guess we will start with the box art

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First look at the Zvezda Panzer IV 1/100 15mm

     I wandered into my local hobby shop, Michigan Toy Soldier Company, the other day and found that the Zvezda Panzer IV uasf D had arrived. I of course needed to buy one for review and promptly secured it. This is another early war kit that can also be used in the Polish and French campaigns as well as the Western Desert through the Fall of Tunisia. As is to be expected it is a snap-together kit and is precisely cast in a medium gray plastic with no flash and few mold-lines. To enlarge click on the picture.

decent box-art

Monday, September 19, 2011

Building the Zvezda GAZ truck 1/100 15mm

   Here I am coming to the end of the "snap-tight-only" experiment with the GAZ truck from Zvezda. As is usual with these products the molding is crisp, sharp and well-defined. This is mostly the same as the Katyusha kit, the only difference being the box-bed instead of the launcher platform.

the cab parts ready for assembly

Friday, September 16, 2011

Building the Zvezda Opel Blitz 1/100 15mm

     Continuing in my decision to build the Zvezda Snap-Tight kits by "snap" alone I turned my attention to the Opel Blitz kit. I must say that this model really is very good, the parts fit is superb and the delicacy of the casting work is amazing.

box art

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Building the Plastic Soldier Company M-4A2 Sherman

      This is largely the same kit as the M-4A1 reviewed in these pages a few days ago, I will refer the reader to the earlier article to examine the suspension assemblies matters, This kit comes with the welded hull as opposed to the cast hull of the M-4A1. Two models can be built with this kit; the M-4A1 with the 75mm cannon (with either the narrow or wide gun mantle), and the later, up-gunned version with the 76mm cannon. As you have come to expect this is an excellent kit with crisp details and superb fit (with the one below mentioned exception). It is molded in a (far less alarming) light olive plastic and shows little or no flash and only the faintest trace of mold lines. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

box art

the hull assembly ready for the suspension units

the assembled hull

IDF vs. PLO, Lebanon, July 1982

   Last week, we decided to step into Lebanon again with our second session of “Rock the Casbah”. This time we traded in the scenic fruit orchards of the countryside for the concrete jungle of Lebanon’s urban areas. Dan and John would be running the Zionist pigs, while Brad and I would be running the plucky freedom fighters.

   With long delays on the main roads due to ambush, a platoon of Merkava tanks had attempted to reach their forward position by taking a slight off-road shortcut. Unfortunately, the unit ended up completely out of position on the wrong flank, leaving a noticeable hole in the Israeli advance. To rectify this command sent out a mechanized platoon who, despite multiple ambushes, had arrived near their objective: A crossroad which would allow fast transit for the Merkava unit to speed through. The PLO, as per usual, knew only that the Israelis were advancing on their positions and that they must hold against the Israeli assault no matter the cost.
   Due to the nature of urban settings, the PLO would be particularly difficult to spot: as long as they were in a building, hidden units would not be placed as a blind on a table. This meant that the Israelis could not simply advance forwards and ferret out PLO cells by proximity: instead, methodical spotting and clearing of areas would be necessary. There were also rumors of a media crew in the area, and that they should watch their actions lest they get caught on tape.

Setup, as viewed from the front of the table.
Setup, focusing on the back end of the table.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Building the Zvezda KV-1 1/100 15mm

      Simplicity has its own beauty. This kit is both, simple and beautiful. It depicts the very early version of the KV-1 tank, a monster that baffled the German Panzers and, if it had been used properly, could have posed serious problems for Operation Barbarossa. As it was they were fittered away in penny-packets and had small impact.

     Zvezda has again chosen to opt for the very early war version and modeled the tank with the early short 76mm gun. That makes this kit your go-to model if you are building a Winter War or early-war force. As usual the model is crisply cast and is nearly devoid of flash, Below we see the parts freed from the sprue. Honestly, it took longer to cut the parts out and clean up the flow-channels than it took to build the kit.
All of the parts are designed in sugh a way that there is only one way that they will fit together, making assembly errors nearly impossible. I was intrigued, and slightly concerned, when I saw how the turret had been sectioned up to allow it to snap together but my fears were groundless as the parts fit flawlessly. I had decided to give the "snap-together" thing a try and used no glue during the assembly of this model, look at the photos and decide for yourself if the gaps are too large.

the parts, all six of them

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Building the Plastic Soldier Company M-4A1 Sherman Tank in 15mm 1/100

     This time around we are looking at the M-4A1 76mm wet stowage Sherman tank. Once I had recovered from the alarming color of the plastic I set to work. I always start a model by putting the suspension together as this is often the most time-consuming bit (less so on these smaller scale kits than on1/72 and 1/48 scale kits) and I like to get the fiddly stuff done first. Two things that I noticed were these; PSC doesn't number the parts (it would be easy to do lads, these molds are cut by CNC driven robots who wouldn't mind adding numbers on the sprues) and the level of thinking that goes into crafting the design is let down by the rudimentary effort at instructions. Having dealt with the side-specific track assemblies on the PZ-IV and the T-34 I was on the look-out for similar issues with this kit. The first bit to pay attention to is the front drive sprockets, as in the PZ-IV kit they are made to only fit one way (so that the teeth are positioned correctly in relation to the tracks).

     The tracks are also side-specific and directionally specific as well. The tracks are molded with the guide teeth on the outer edge on the portion that rides over the idler wheel at the rear of the suspension unit and no teeth at all where it passes over the drice sprocket. This means that you not only have to be sure to get the top-run of track the right way round but you also need to be sure it is on the correct side of the tank. This is helped in a small way by the fact that there is a definite direction to US tracks (which is molded in good detail on this model), In the long run be sure to test-fit everything before gluing to ensure that you have it right-way-round. Click on the pioture for a closer veiw,

Saturday, September 10, 2011


     I have a bit of a fascination with all things Steam/Pulp, the old John Carter of Mars stuff and the like. Just a while ago I was wasting time (that should have been spent painting) surfing the web when I stumbled across this litle gem from Lead Bones;

  Pretty, indeed!

 They carry a line of 15mm and 28mm Sci-fi and Pulp that looks very interesting, and the prices seem very reasonable. Take a look.

     If you go to Recreational Conflict you will find even more weird and wonderful models like this:


and stranger still (in the 1970's Cops range from Killer B) it looks as if they have modelled "Carl" from Aquateen Hunger Force:


     They have a good selection of other manufacturers and ranges, some of which I have not heard of previously.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Valuable resource for wargamers

     I have recently come to realize that there are a few wargamers out there who have not yet heard of Warflag. This is a free site that has thousands of flags, banners, standards from throughout the ages all free and ready to download. They are simply beautiful. Here is an example of thier work.

    If you like what you see (and I am willing to wager that you will) hit the support button in the upper right of the frame. This is a valuable resource and I would hate to see it fail for lack of finances.

Zvezda Gaz truck kit review 1/100 15mm

     I got this little beauty from Michigan Toy Soldier a little while ago. This truck is the  same kit a the Katyusha model but has a box-bed in the back instead of the rocket-launcher array. The detail work is very good, the kit is molded in dark green hard plastic. Everything that I said about the Katyusha model applies to this kit, the precise delicate molding and easy assembly will certainly make this a popular model.

the chassis, side A

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Perry Mahdist Ansars 28mm colonial figures

     Every once in a long while you run across a model figure that goes beyond competent, exceeds skillful and transcends accurate. This is what I thought when I first saw the Ral Partha Swiss thirty years ago, it stopped dead in my tracks, I said to myself, "This is real art, not just toy soldiers, this is art!".  

     I had the same feeling when I looked at the latest figures from Perry Brothers Plastic. I sat dumbfounded at the delicate detail, the natural positioning, the complete mastery of the sculpting process that went into these figures. These figures have raised plastic soldiers to an art form.

     But don't take my word for it, look at the models below. In the box you get two sprues of command figures. three sprues of Ansars,  a set of bases and a neat little pamphlet that provides enough information to do a good job painting the models and throws in a set of flags as well.

click on the pictures for a larger view
box front

Friday, September 2, 2011

Zvezda KV-1 kit review 1/100 15mm

     Continuing their list of early war vehicles Zvezda has released another excellent kit in the shape of a KV-I. This was the first truly successful Soviet heavy tank and it served throughout the war. This kit seems to capture the bulk and mass of this early monster. Cast on two sprues (which gives hope that Zvezda will also cast a KV-II) in superb detail this is another happy addition to Zvezda's growing line of 1/100 scale models.
Click on the pictures for a larger view

the box art on the new models is excellent

Zvezda Opel Blitz kit review 15mm 1/100

          Well it had been a week or two since Zvezda wowed me with a new model and then there is this. I found it sitting innocently on the peg at Michigan Toy Soldier and simply had to have it. This is the iconic German truck of WW II the Opel Blitz. It is delicately cast in hard grey plastic, some of the parts are so fine that they look as if they belong in a Swiss watch. The Blitz served on every front throughout the war and this model captures the look very well, it also open the door to an endless number of specialty vehicles that the Germans based on the Blitz chassis. But enough of that, here is the model.

Click on the pictures for a closer view.

the box front