Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Oddzial Osmy 15mm Embedded News Team

Since it would appear that no self-respecting army would nowadays go about its business without embedded news teams, there is no reason their miniature brethren should go about theirs unburdened by hapless journos.

There are three options for 15mm news crews: Peter Pig's TV/Media Crew (found in the extras of the AK-47 range) which is perfect for the 1960s or 70s, QRF's News media team which portrays more recent correspondents and Oddzial Osmy's Reporters which are in fact part of Marcin's sci-fi range. I chose the latter since they have nothing particularly futuristic about them and are the only ones wearing body armour and therefore perfect for contemporary settings.

The six-figures pack contains three different scuplts with a bare-headed reporter speaking into a microphone, a cameraman and a female photographer.

The sculpts are excellent and the hard-alloy figures are very well cast and need little cleaning up as you can see from the raw figures to the right. The pack is a little expensive at £3 but this is OK if you don't intend build a horde of television crews.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Salvaging the Skytrex BTR-60

I took advantage of Skytrex's last Easter sale to buy some Soviet AFVs, including a few BTR-60s. These are the same models as the ones sold by Old Glory but I preferred to order from Skytrex because their moulds tend to be in better shape and they worked out slightly cheaper during the sales.

I was a little dismayed to find out that Skytrex had switched the BTR's production to resin without mentioning it on the site (this has now been changed) and that it came on a plinth! The models themselves are very nice, crisp and clean and the resin is top quality. But, in my opinion, they are totally marred by the very obvious lump of resin behind the wheels.

When I contacted Skytrex, I was told that the switch had been made to reduce costs since the previous one-piece metal casting were hand poured and time-consuming.They also offered a refund of any returned items but I passed on that. I did give filing down by hand a try, which was a miserable failure as there is simply too much resin to remove so I just put the models aside. I recently decided to try to salvage them and out came the trusty Dremel. Removing the offending resin wasn't particularly hard but neither was it particularly enjoyable or fast.

There is indeed a very large amount of resin to grind away! This is best done when neither the Health and Safety Department nor SWMBO are around because it is a messy process that will leave your work area looking like a Pablo Escobar picnic...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

SIKU Tiger UHT to French Tigre HAP conversion

While there are plenty of 1/144 Apaches and Hinds, there is a notable lack of small scale Eurocopter Tiger helicopter gunship models. Operated by France, Germany, Spain and Australia in four different versions (HAP, HAD, UHT and ARH), it is about time Revell, F-Toys or someone decided to produce one. Addendum: I've just realised that Minifigs in fact has a French Tiger gunship hiding in its 12mm  modern German range, still I like mine and it is cheaper...

In the meantime, there is all of one option: a SIKU box-scale toy (product n.0872) which works out at something like 1/185 scale. The main redeeming feature of this toy is its very low price (around 2-3 euros) although it certainly stands up to comparison with some of the wargaming models out there.

The SIKU die-cast is a slightly strange combination of the German UHT anti-tank version and the chin gun found only on the other three versions. These inaccuracies aside, the overall shape is good and the quality is rather higher than what you would expect from a toy whose target audience is probably 6-year olds.

Despite the horrendous rotors and wheels and an oversize nose gun, it can be made into a half-decent representation with very little work. Going from the out-of-the box toy on the right to the one above is in fact pretty straightforward as long as you have a small metal file and good side cutting pliers.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

QRF 15mm Modern British infantry review

As I wanted to field a modern British infantry platoon for Force on Force, I looked at the then-available ranges, namely Old Glory’s and QRF’s before selecting the latter.

The Old Glory range seemed adequate (although some of the poses are hit or miss as usual with OG) but the packaging made me pass them over. Not only is the actual pack content unclear but ordering something like 150 figures and using 1/3rd to field a platoon didn’t seem like a really good idea even though OG’s per figure prices are quite competitive. Flytrap Factory has since released a pack of “Royal British Marines” which look good but are limited to small arms at the moment.

On to QRF’s figures! These are sold in packs of 8 figures covering the whole gamut of smallarms and support weapons which has the advantage of minimizing the number of leftovers. While the photos on QRF’s website do give an good idea of the content of each pack, they are not very detailed. The close up photos at the bottom of this post should give you a clearer idea of what they look like.