Thursday, May 20, 2010

Which T-72?

Perhaps I am alone in my fastidiousness, but ever since my tearing away from the dogmatic reigns of Games Workshop's "one manufacturer" policy my searches for the perfect miniatures on the market has often caused me long consideration.

Today our topic will focus on that staple of the Soviet Cold War armory, the T-72 main battle tank. While several manufacturers offer their own interpretations of this tank, after sampling 5 seperate models I am willing to throw my chips in with QRF in terms of quality, heft, and range. But I'm getting ahead of myself here, the purpose of this post is to outline the three big producers - Quality Castings, Skytrex/Old Glory, and QRF - and the pros and cons of their versions of the T-72

Quality castings

The first thing that strikes you about the QC offering is how puny it is. While I appreciate that QC's scale is generally smaller than most 15mm producers, this is not simply confined to actual scale - the tracks and hull are out of proportion, with a high belly and stilt like tracks, this little creature lacks character on the battlefield and really gives off the impression that the sculptor wanted to emphasize the cheap crappy quality of Soviet hardward. It also comes with the typical trademark of 'un'Quality Castings, with all three that I picked up having some sort of deformity. Apart from the AA Dushka, there are no accessories to choose from, and the whole kit is very very bland.

Heres one painted in tripple tone Soviet/Russian Fed camo

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Pros: not alot really, detail is good when not miscast I guess? Minimal mould lines

Cons: Tiny, no accesories, miscasts galore


Skytrex/Old Glory

For a long time I felt this was the best offering out there in the T-72. The Skytrex model was well cast, hefty and had very little in terms of mould lines. The model was overflowing with accesories - fuel tanks, movable hatches and crew members - you cant ask for much more in Soviet tanks. Sadly however, it was only the most basic early model of the T-72, as is a problem with much of the Skytrex range, it gets up to about 1975 and then suddenly ceases. The model also has a weird shaped turret that is simply wrong for the T-72. This didn't bother me at all until somone pointed it out, then it slowly began to nag away at me and drive me insane much like the beating heart. The barrel is also out of proportion with the vehicle and comes off very weedy. I was happy enough with them, and being a smartass thought that the special offered by warweb on Old Glory (same models) would save me a fair bit of cash, boy was I wrong. As it turns out the Old Glory USA moulds are very much burnt out, and a great deal of that crisp detail was subsequently lost in these frayed old relics. If you want this model, buy direct from skytrex trust me.

Here are a couple I modified to be latter model T-72s with ERA

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Pros: Stunning detail on the Skytrex models, accessories, nice heft, clean casts

Cons: some poor proportions/dimensions, only early models avaliable(no smoke launchers!)

QRF

Geoff (head of QRF) and I have had our disagreements in the past, we mainly came to heads over the MI-6 kit which I wasn't a big fan of, but the QRF offerings in the T-72 are in a completely different league. Not only do they offer a wide range of the model, including the early, late, reactive armor and export monkey models, but each comes with a bevy of accessories. Sadly alot of this isn't conveyed on the QRF website, with alot of the pictures being very poor quality, and failing to convey the sheer awesomeness of these models, this issue really needs to be addressed, as these are easily as well cast as Skytrex's offering, minus the bad proportions. Some models even lack pictures completely, and the only reason I actually even was aware that there was a model avaliable with reactive armor was somone in packing sending me the wrong model (I am certainly not complaining here ;)). If there was one non-picture related gripe it would have to be at the mould lines, which are numerous, but at the end of the day, these models are fantastic and worth the clean up. If you're in the market to expanding your Warpac forces, QRF is the route to go for the T-72.

As I haven't gotten around to painting one, here is a T-72 with ERA

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Pros: Great range, accessories, attention to detail

Cons: poor pictures on website, flash

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