Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the miniature challenges of cold wargaming in 15mm

One of the most frustrating things of striking out into an area that isn't really covered by an official system is getting the appropriate miniatures for it. In the case of late Cold War I probably shouldn't complain: there are numerous manufacturers out there whom fill most of this period quite well, but the problem at the end of the day is quality, scaling and depth of ranges provided.

Scale

As many of you are undoubtably aware scale in any particular medium can vary greatly. Even GW and Forgeworld suffer from this, with the proportions and height of a typical 28mm Cadian guardsmen being noticably different to their Death Korp contemporaries.

In 15mm moderns there are much the same issues. While companies like Skytrex/Old Glory and Peter Pig produce at roughly the same scales, others like Quality Castings seem positively miniscule in comparison. This was showcased to me most clearly when comparing the Skytrex T-72 with the QC offering.

While the Skytrex model was chunky, well detailed and just 'felt right' the QC model had tracks that were 3 times too thin, lacked any sort of lower hull (it quite literally looked as if it was standing on tip-toes from the front on) and seemed as if it was more on the scale of 1/120 rather than the 1/100 that 15mm supposedly represents.

To many wargamers this type of issue is of no consequence, having pieces set on the table to represent their character suffices, but to the modelfags amongst us it is something that grates upon your sensibilities.

Quality

As somone who was raised on GW I will willingly admit my standards are probably too high in this department. My childhood swung between the space marines of second edition and various Dragon and Tamiya kits, all with their wonderful hyperdetailing.

Such as it was I entered the world of indie miniature producers with a skewed view on what to expect, and that stays with me to this day. While there are many good producers of 15mm moderns out there, there are also some abysmally shoddy ones. Perhaps the worst type is the mixed ranges, whereby some are up to standard, while others in the range are visually repugnant.

Here it is QRF that most worries me. While some of their range appears quite pleasing (I have recently, although with some consternation, ordered a batch of their Bradleys, models that appear quite superior to their only competitor over at Quality castings. While I hope that they turn out as they seem, my historical experience with QRF have shown them to have extremely mixed quality. I am certainly aware that they recieve large amounts of praise around the net, but until this moment I seem to be missing something.


Depth Of Range

Perhaps my biggest gripe lies here. While companies like PP and OG make great products, their gear is often extremely limited. While OG makes three great staples of the Soviet armory - the T-55, T-72 and BMP-1, that is essentially where it ends. Whats more distressing is the news I picked up that there were actual moulds made for an OG BMP-2 and T-80, but because the range never recieved the desired attention nothing was done about standardizing them.
These ranges also have a severe lack of modern US equipment, and one is forced to buy toys like the Johnny Lightning M1a1 to get a decent looking version of it.

If the OG or PP boys could get their shit together and release and release some T-80Us and M1a1s in their stylistic chunkiness they would have at least one eager customer :)

1 comment:

  1. This post really hit home for me. I have been trying to track down good miniatures to use for a 15mm cold war game for sometime. Reading this, and checking out some of the manufacturers that you mention has given me hope!

    Can you recommend any good books for research for US and Soviet armies around the late 60's early 70's?

    Keep up the great work!

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