Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekly Review: Rebel Miniatures 15mm MATV

In an attempt to make this blog a bit more useful for the community and a bit less about my own personal stuff, I'm going to attempt to give an in-depth weekly review of a product that pertains to the 20th/21st century in the spirit of greater transparency and to help guide those thinking of investing. These reviews will be random, product wise, but hopefully they will be useful to you guys!

This week we look at Rebel Miniatures' MATV Commanche

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-51356505839231_2272_127146613

Background

Although not a precise rendition of the modern Oshkosh MATV used by US and allied forces, the Rebel Miniatures model nevertheless offers us the closest rendition of this big bastard of a truck in 15mm. The MATV and similar MRAP-type vehicles were gradually phased in over the past decade in our various forays in the Middle East and Central Asia to deal with the rigors of counterinsurgency warfare. The Humvee it sought to replace had performed to a substandard level in withstanding the day-to-day perils found in the widespread use of IEDs. Designed specifically to withstand such devices, the MATV has since become somewhat ubiquitous in the contemporary arsenals of the US Army and the USMC. Anyone seeking to create an ultramodern force will naturally seek to acquire a few of these badboys.

Kit Overview

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The kit is split into eight major components: the chassis, suspension, four wheels, an optional armored cupola and a weapons sprue containing an oversized M2, grenade launcher, minigun and M240. The design has integrated a few extra 'sci fi' styling, most noticeably in the tires and the belly armor, but overall matches fairly closely with the original MATV design. There is a reasonable amount of customization available in this kit. Weapons can be mounted as remote-controlled, or as part of a cupola. Doors are all molded shut and unfortunately the gunner's hatch can't be opened to mount a crewman.

Quality 


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 The sculpt itself is extremely high quality and the kit is bursting with character, much praise needs to be given to the original artists. The casting of the metal components is precise and flash, while present, is easily dealt with. Unfortunately the two examples I purchased had some pretty heavy miscasts on the hull that were not easy to sort out. The resin itself is not high quality and has a grainy texture that I am not too keen to attempt to paint.


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Initially after contacting Rebel about this I got a response that they would talk to their molders, but have had no further response from them. I think this is a pretty serious issue of quality control, especially when comparing to companies like Skytrex who pour with resin flawlessly.

Conclusion




This is a relatively solid rendition of the MATV, with little other competition on the market outside of the hideously-expensive 1/87 offering by Arsenal M and a junk matchbox toy. Sadly, the version I received was let down by poor quality control in its most significant section. This either needs to be fixed by using a higher quality resin, or by switching this piece over to metal. I think a slight price increase would really be worth the added quality.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Miscellaneous Wednesdays

A few odds and sods today, nothing consistently thematic.

First up, did a Stuart for my US forces. This guy kind of sucks in CoC, as my game last Sunday demonstrated. Nevertheless, dinky tanks are cool as fuck.

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Next up, I did a sci fi APC for some potential USCMC fellas I'm thinking of delving in to. For this I simply used a BTR-T with a few choice modifications. I feel this vehicle is obscure and high tech looking enough that it fits aesthetically with that type of 80s sci fi future.

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And finally, my modern Russian force got some squad leaders and mortar support.

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Thats all for now. Next on the agenda is retooling the two TUSK Abrams I did for Khurasan to fix the ERA placement :P

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Speedbump for the Soviets



I've always had a thing for the late 60s/early 70s US forces in Europe. They were at the low point of relative tech and morale, thanks to Vietnam, while the Soviets were really pumping out some cutting edge platforms and had yet to experience the dolorous effects of Afghanistan. If ever there was a point in the Cold War where the US neared underdog status, then it was here (although anyone looking at the comparative GDPs of the US and the USSR will quickly see this was a fairly monocausal conclusion)
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There is a certain aesthetically charm from the equipment of this era; big, clunky and looking vulnerable as hell. The M113s resemble Duplo blocks, better suited for a child's playset than a nuclear battlefield. Similarly, the M48s look like morbidly obese cousins to their fair slimmer and more effective Soviet counterparts, bloated in every respect except where it counts. Out of all of them, the M60 only really looks the sensible part, but even then, its performance was only average.

Main color was achieved through the AK interactive US armor WW2 modulation set using a combination of Iwata and Badger airbrushes. Weathering was then achieved through a combination of MIG and AK interactive oil washes and streak pre mixes.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Kraut motorpool

did up a bunch of 15mm German armor for late war for our games of Chain of Command. Mostly PSC, apart from the Battlefront Marder

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le tigr

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PZ IV

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Earlier model PZ III pressed into service ;)

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Halftrack still needing its gunner

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Marder III

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Cheers !