Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekly Review: QRF M2A1 Bradley

Hey guys

sorry for the lull lately, a new semester and new teaching commitments have been heavy and I've also being trying to smash out a chapter of my thesis, so there has been little time for mans.

This week we will take a peek at the M2A1 Bradley by QRF.

QRF is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality levels.  From what I understand via their CEO, Geoff, they used to produce recognition models for the British armed forces back in the day. Some of their gear is really quite dated, while others are works of sheer brilliance. Their modern Russian range, in particular, has a number of real gems in it. Geoff also happens to be an incredibly nice fella.

Background

The M2A1 Bradley is definitely one of QRF's best. This incarnation of the Brad is one you could expect to encounter in the late 80s and early 90s, so anyone trying to play out a Reaganite CWGH scenario take note.

The Brad is an Infantry fighting vehicle capable of busing a fireteam and change. It packs a mighty wallop, with a two-tubed TOW launcher combined with a 25mm chain gun capable of punching through the armor of a T-55.  Though troubled during its development cycle, today's incarnation of the Bradley is arguably one of the best IFVs on the market.

Kit Overview

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The kit consists of nine parts: The hull, turret, TOW launcher in open and stowed positions, manlet and gun, side skirts and suspension/tracks. As with all QRF land vehicle kits, it is cast in full white metal.

Customization is limited, butI don't think there's a great deal needed for this kit and the key element - that being the TOW launcher - is covered.

Quality 


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The sculpt on the M2A1 is quite stunning and really captures the feel of the vehicle. Mould lines were minimal and the kit is easy to assemble. Be sure to be careful with the barrel; as with all QRF offerings, it is proper scale, so bends very easily!

Conclusion

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If you're in need of a Brad or ten to intervene in Everon or Fulda, QRF has you covered. This is one vehicle they have really nailed and I can't recommend it enough!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kitbashing a 15mm T-90

As some of you may be aware, I've previously done up a few T-90As in past on this site, combining the turret from Khurasan with the hull from Zvezda. But what of the earlier T-90? Thus far, no one has made this guy in 15mm scale, and from what I have read, if you want to accurately wargame around the second Chechen war then this is the particular incarnation in service at the time.

I attempted to solve the problem by once again making the Khurasan and Zvezda kits, only this time I retained the Zvezda turret and only used components from Khurasan, such as the wind detector and the laser blinders. 100 percent accurate? Maybe not, but I think its a pretty close fit, particularly in this scale.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

more 28mm madness

Continuing what began with the MATV, I also did up a BMP-2 in Syrian colors in the same scale. The size allowed me to do some more interesting effects with the weathering, including a copius application of mud.


Not forgetting the intention of this monster, I also did a tester of a member of the Syrian Republican Guard


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Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finished Empress 28mm MATV

Well here she is - a guide will follow soon.

It was a bit of a trek to the final product. I had initially gone for a cleaner look, but got really bored with all that blank surface, so instead went for a real battered, weatherbeaten look.


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The windows were a trick I came up with using the airbrush. Essentially the same technique as panel modulation, only using grays to simulate glass.

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Lots of mud and dirt to simulate a Levantine environment...


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Oorah...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lets build: the Empress MATV

Paul over at Empress has asked if I could provide a detailed 'how to' build for their big MRAP kit, so I thought I might run through the process for you guys.

As previously mentioned, the kit itself is made up of sixteen resin parts and sixteen metal parts, with either the M2 or the MK19 for the turret weapon. Please be aware that I am not fully informed as to the names of the various components, but I will try my best to call them by their correct names.

Also note that I do not glue the major sections together at this point, as this would make painting the beast a while lot more difficult.

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Cleanup should be minimal. My example required only around 15 minutes of cutting and sanding to get all the parts ready for assembly.

Main Hull

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This is a relatively straight forward section. The top has four flood lights that when finished should all be facing to the left when positioned behind the hull itself. A small camera can be mounted between the two front cabin windows. The left hand side of the bonnet mounts an antenna base, whilst the right takes a paddle-shaped object that I assume has something to do with IEDs?

Rear tray

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This section has three resin sections that fit together in an obvious fashion to be glued latter to the rear fenders (leave apart for painting). You will notice three holes along the top of the combined superstructure: the right accomidates an anti-IED antenna, the middle a wheel and the left an unknown bent widget. You can also mount the spare tire on here, however I have left this off for painting.

Undercarriage

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Here we see the V-shaped protection in full effect. The rear takes the hitch settup which is consists of two parts. Please note that the base structure should have the two loops facing downwards. The bullbar is attached to the front, while either side has holes for a set of metal step bars. Note that the exhaust stepbar is attached on the right hand side with the pipe facing rearwards. As before, leave the wheels separate for later painting.

Gunner's nest

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The MK19 assembly is simple, with a left hand side feed attached under the overhang of the top cover assembly.


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Overall, the nest consists of five different parts. I would recommend leaving all of them unglued (apart from the MK19) for painting purposes.

If you followed the instructions correctly, your finished product should look something like this and be prone to falling apart from slight breezes due to a lack of gluing between the major sections! Fear not, for in our next installment we shall delve into painting this monster!


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Saturday, July 12, 2014

More airborne

Nearing the finish with the US airborne platoon


Only ten or more to go. Its amazing how much time you can spend painting monotone uniforms in 15mm

Gave them some commandeered wheels too

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Plus a sprinkling of AT firepower (the ruskies got something too!)



Annnd heres a little something in the future pipeline.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekly Review: Empress Miniatures 28mm M-ATV

Background

This week we take a look at the Empress M-ATV in 28mm. I've already discussed the general background of this specific vehicle in my previous review of the 15mm Rebel Miniatures version. However, whereas I was quite disappointed by Rebel's offering, the Empress of the version has really blown me out of the water.

Kit Overview

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The kit is divided into 16 major resin parts: chassis, suspension, gunner's nest, cover and shield, bullbar, four rear tray components, a magazine for the weapon system and five tyres.

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Metal components are supplied for the fiddly bits. I will not try to list these, as I am a complete ignoramus when it comes to understanding all the various functions. Suffice to say there are fifteen of them all up and I managed to forget to put one in the photograph!

The turret is fully positionable and the range of additions gives the savvy modeler the ability to model the M-ATV in various configurations. Naturally, I will be sticking them all on, because I like my vehicles to look like they are extras in Road Warrior.

Quality 

The cast quality is as close to perfect as you are going to get. There were 0 (read it, ZERO) bubbles on my specimen and the mould lines on the resin sections were easily fixed within the space of about 15 minutes. Similarly, the metal components were all near-perfect in their casting. Flash was effectively non-existent and what mould lines were visible were easily dealt with using a single swipe of a scalpel.

The sculpt on the vehicle itself is breathtaking and I was truly in awe of the detailing. Compared to the Red Star BMP-2 I reviewed previously, the M-ATV appears more like a scale model than a wargaming piece. Fear not, however, it still retains the durability needed to plonk it down on the table.


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Conclusion

Empress has made it real difficult for me to not want to dip my toe further into 28mms with this one. The kit just oozes 'badass' and I am seriously hope they choose to pursue the ZBD-97 mentioned in their kickstarter. For anyone wanting to do a ultramodern US army or USMC force, do yourself a favor and go pick up a couple of these bad boys.

Stay tuned, I plan on doing a 'lets build' and 'lets paint' on this monster to show off some of the techniques you guys have been asking about!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nazicats

Rounding up my German motorpool, I've added a few more clunky WW2-era monstrosities.

This late war panther by PSC caused me no end of grief. I stripped it twice before settling on the current scheme. I just couldn't get it to look 'right', but I feel like I nailed it, finally.


I decided I might like access to some cheap HE killiness, so I did a STuH-42 up in a similar scheme


And finally, I grabbed BF's panzer II Luchs, possibly the dinkiest tank to ever dink.





Such dinky~

Soviet Stylin'

Some random Soviet vehicles for ya'll today.

Here we have a Skytrex BMP-1. Still the best incarnation of this vehicle on the market in 15mm in my opinion. They appear to be keeping this cast in all metal, which is great news!

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I've had an old Arsenal M T-64B kit laying around for ages now. For a lark I decided to convert it to the BV model with all that lovely reactive armor. As with all AM kits, really nice, but also huge!

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And last, but not least, a Zvezda BTR-80. Previously, I had converted a bunch of these to the 80A standard, but decided to just go vanilla for a change. Once again, rain marks prove their neatness! Can't wait for the upcoming Shilka kit.

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Next time, moar German bigcats