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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ragnarok roll out

Well a bit of time has passed so I thought you guys might like to see what became of the Ragnarok I was showing off last time. I decided to go with a winter scheme, but rather than white, do a very light grey. Mabye I'm just terrified of white, but the idea of trying to weather it seems extremely daunting, and after putting the effort into converting up this beasty I didnt want to see it end up in the trash pile.

I used a number of techniques for weathering. For the chipping I took a sponge, cut it up and rubber banded it onto an old brush before lightly stippling on violet olive all over the tank. Rusting was achieved with washes rather than pigments, as I found it to be subtler. track mud was MiG's Russian Earth applied liberally.


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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Boxing is dangerous and Ragnarok tanks



Of all the places I could injure myself in boxing, Murphy's law dictated I had to break the one protected area. Apparently I snapped my 5th metacarpal by throwing a right hook which caused my knuckle to move down between my 4th and 5th, which then had to be reset by a surgeon.

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After seeing the new plastic longcoats by wargames factory I really got inspired to retry some guard, so I bought a KV Gigant and 40ked it up

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What you think?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Are internet wargamers the worst kind of people?

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Recently I was struck by a post on The Miniatures Page which commemorated the fall of Diem Bien Phu in 1954, a battle the was a critical in the removal of French colonialism in Indo China. What hit me about the thread was the way in which people were pining over the fallen soldiers from the Foreign Legion, but completely disregarding the sacrifices made by the Viet Minh, which in many ways seem to be far more noble, fighting for the liberation of ones country rather than fighting for a colonial interest that doesn't even serve your nation of birth.

When I mentioned that perhaps we should be thinking about this from both sides I was immediately attacked from multiple directions by people accusing me of being a Communist sympathiser who was politicizing an a political thread.

How could something already be any more political when you are celebrating the sacrifice made by one group in a battle while completely ignoring the other side?

At one point I was asked if I had a "problem with colonialism in general?" I wonder what king of morale vacum somone must live in where they can even consider that something worth asking?

It got me wondering about the internet war gamer mentality in general. In my time spent on war games forums I have noticed a trend in the proportionality of racists, historical revisionists and a general lack of critical thinking on issues. What’s worse is often these types of individuals are accommodated by the moderators of many of these websites as long as they don't be too outspoken, but you see it bleed through in their posting style, model projects, and the types of perspectives they harbour.

Why is it the German Armored Company is such a popular choice for Warhammer 40k players? Plenty of other nations have fought armored conflicts, but after the Imperial Eagle, the Balkenkreuz seems to be the most prominent symbol slapped on the side of the Leman Russ these days.

Why is it that so many seem to think the ultra-fascist system of government purported in the various 40k codex’s (obviously satirically on the part of the writers) is taken so seriously, and often seen in a sympathetic light by many players.

The obvious answer, (and the one my inner id gravitates towards naturally) is the young nerdy male concept, whereby you have a large group of socially awkward males who are obviously attracted to militaristic concepts and have found each other via the wonders of modern technology. In such a context it should be hardly surprising that this type of ideology would arise and ferment, fascism has traditionally appealed to the young militaristically inclined and what is war gaming if not a hub for the arm chair generals and wannabes out there (of course there are many exceptions to this rule...). Those that are isolated from social norms could be expected to find solace in this type of alternative social perspective.

In the original case, however, I think it is more likely that the omission of the Viet Minh goes back to both the general character of the US, and the incapability of a large portion of the population to accept it was a bad guy, even if this extends to supporting policies the country took that were very clearly immoral, i.e. supporting the French Colonialists.

I would like to say that racism and revisionism was restricted to the internet, but my experience over the years with war gamers in the real world hasn't painted much more of a rosy picture. While we are all aware of the fat creepy child molester stereotype of war gamers, I think the image I have painted here runs a close second in terms of numeracy.

If you are a healthy well adjusted critically thinking war gamer, I apologise, this was not meant for you, but these people are out there, and in numbers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Realism Reboot

Well after much consideration I've decided to pawn a large amount of my currently painted guys and repaint in a more realistic style, heres the first contestant, Johnny Lightning's M1a1, easily the best 15mm model I've encountered thus far


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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shermans, Soviet Goonsquad, and Stewies

managed to snap a bunch more pictures today (ebay motivations)

BRDMs!

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Sherman 76ers

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Sherman Command

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Sherman Objective

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Stuarts

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Panzer IV command


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Kinda starting to think I need to do a desert board and according armies, starting to go a bit insane painting green :)