Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Had the pleasure of painting a single 28mm figure from

the Stoessi`s Heroes range the other day and I have to say

what a fantastic high quality figure you get for your money.

The character in the pictures is Canadian Highlander Sergeant

Harold, a scout and sniper.

 

If you want an extra special figure to add to your Bolt Action

army then this is the place to come.

 

What’s more there are some excellent step by step articles

on the web site showing how to paint your figures and a

brief background to each individual character which is

a really nice touch.

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I have been after this book for a while and
finally managed to win an ebay auction at a
reasonable price(£30). Its sounds expensive but
its out of print and highly sort after by the modelling
community.

For your money you get 288 pages of mouth watering, glossy
pages. The first 34 pages are broken up into describing in
simple detail the techniques used in the book and it is all
supported with easy guide pictures and steps.

The remainder of the book is divided into eight sections, each
section covering a build of a different vehicle, showing the
painting and weathering.

I have read a lot of guides and books covering afv painting and
weathering techniques but this is simply the best so far. This book
describes everything in steps and pictures where other books skip stages
or keep back vital information like it is one great secret. Plus you
don’t need to be an expert as its written and explained so well anybody
can learn from it.

My only complaint is that there is so much stuff in this book I
don’t know where to start lol.

This is a must buy for any afv modeller and there are 3 other books
available as well but sadly also out of print. The remaining books
cover allied armour as well.
Hopefully these books will be re-printed in the near future and
everybody can get their hands on a copy.

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I think a bit of background is needed to start

this post off and to explain why I happened to have

six Tigers tanks just lying about !

I recently attended a wargames event with two friends

and we were admiring a beautiful WWII board set up for

FOW which happened to have an SS Division fielded on the

board. Admiring the SS Tigers my friend pointed out he needed

to buy some more Battle Front Tigers for his army and the lad

running the table pointed out they were not Battle Front Tigers

and belonged to a different manufacturer ! We argued against this

,until the lad let us kindly handle the tanks which resulted in

humble pie on our behalf. This got us all thinking because at a

distance of two feet none of us could tell the difference.

So knowing I had two different types of 15mm Tigers at home and

my mate had a third manufacturer we decided to do a bit of research

and buy the remaining 3 on the market.

The plan was simple. Compare the 6 main manufacturers of 15mm Tiger

tanks(sorry if your product is not included) and then devise a cunning

plan to test our eagle eyed wargamers to see if they can spot the difference.

The Review

The six manufacturers in question were:

  • Battlefront.
  • Skytrex.
  • Forged in Battle.
  • Peter Pig.
  • Zvezda.
  • Plastic Soldier Company.

Ok a word of warning on my review. It is based on the kits I had

available to me at the time and there are other kits produced by

the same manufacturers which come in varying periods of WWII and

materials.

Here are the six kits below :

Click on any picture to enlarge.

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So from left to right a quick summary.

First up was the Plastic Soldier Company

This tank came from a box of four tanks priced at £19.50 plus 10% postage.

Its plastic and comes with options to build either early, mid or late which is

a really nice touch. You also get two crew members and stowage options. The

only one query/criticism was the width of the tracks ? They seemed a little

narrow to me ? Plenty of hatches.

Second was Forged in Battle

This is a resin cast that costs £7.50 plus £4 postage. First impression was

that the tank looked a little to narrow. Its also comes based which I am

not a big fan of. Its made of 3 main parts so assembly is quick and you get

one crew member.

Third was Peter Pig

You get a totally metal product coming in at £7 plus £3 postage. It has 6 parts

in total and not a bit of flash on the parts so well done. The tracks have

a clever insert so you are able to attach them in the exact position. You also

get two hatches and a crew member.

Fourth is Skytrex(Command Decision)

Price was £7.70 plus £5 postage. All metal parts and very solid. Criticisms would
be a lot of flash on the rear of the tank and no crew.

Fifth is Battlefornt

Mixed parts of resin and metal and costing £8.99 and £2.75 postage. Best thing

about this was out of all the tanks is gave the best opportunity to customise in

my view. Down side was that some of the parts are very small and extremely fiddly

to attach. Lots of hatches and crew. This is the early version of the Tiger.

Last and not least is Zvezda

Totally plastic and quick to assemble. Cost wise, £6.95 including postage. You

get no crew.

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So what’s my verdict ?

Well if I go onto the various forums for 15mm Wargaming and ask

peoples opinion on what Tiger to buy each manufacturer or supporter

of that product sings the praises of their model saying how great it

is compared to the others on the market, but the proof is in the pudding.

And in this case the pudding is going to be the finished model, the thing

you will see at two feet away on a board.

So I challenge you to identify the 6 Tiger tanks that appeared in
my earlier post. What I`m trying to prove is that once on the board nobody
cares who made the model because its all about the finished look and
playing the game, no matter what the bumf in the brochure tells you.

Follow the LINK

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Its not 2016 yet I hear you say ! Well, who cares I have

downed tools for this year and decided to look back at

what I managed to get completed.

Here is the quick list:

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

12 Normandy terrain boards.
11 Backdrops.
10 Curved walls.
9 Normandy houses.
8 Model trees.
7 Horsehair hedges.
6 Stained glass windows.
5 Tutorials.
4 Ruined houses.
3 Infinity Order Sgts.
2 Normandy Tigers.
1 and a Bergepanzer in a pair tree.

Ok enough of the gags just check the pictures

out and see for yourself.

Just click on a picture to enlarge.

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Normandy Tiger

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Highlights of the year personally for me was getting those

Normandy terrain boards finally finished and really getting

my skills up to scratch on painting buildings. If I had to

choose just one thing from the whole year as my all time

favourite, it would be the Infinity Ice Diorama

picture which was so much fun to do.

Happy Christmas to everybody and may your New Year have

less models to paint than what I have planned.

Oh finally aims for next year ? Well I aim to do a lot

more dioramas and I must get that Infinity terrain finished.

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I decided to treat myself to an inexpensive backdrop

holder from Amazon at the bargain price of £19.99. The

reason I was tempted was because I have been using Amoretti

biscuits tins and clothes pegs to hold up my backdrops when

taking photographs. It worked but looked a bit Heath Robinson if

you get my drift ?

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Anyway you roughly get 65cm of adjustable pole to hang your back

drop on. The backdrop is attached at the top by two large clips and

there is an adjustable height stand up to 40cm,which was perfect for

my backdrops. You are able to assemble the whole thing in about a minute

and it can face any direction. There is also a nice stand on the bottom

which conveniently fits under the wargaming board.

Expansion wise you could easily sit another stand next to it. Another

idea would be to buy a second stand and place it a couple of metres away

and insert a smaller metal tube to link the two ?

All in all a very nice piece of kit and I would give it a 9 out of 10

score.

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Another Normandy book I hear you say, well this time

its something different. Yes the subject has been heavily written

about but this book carves out a niche of its own in that takes

a different angle and ignores the general fighting and describes in detail

the way the army actually works.

Ben Kite the author has gone into incredible detail to describe the

ins and outs of army life and how each section of the

armed forces organised itself on a daily basis and interacted with other

branches to achieve and overall impressive fighting force.

The chapters of the book include:

The Infantry
Naval Support
Engineers
Artillery
Air Power & air support
Intelligence & Reconnaissance
Command & Control
Medical Services
Life In Normandy
Armour
Our Greatest Generation

To round it off and give you an idea of this books appeal, I

would rate this as the most important book on my shelves on

the subject of Normandy. The detail describing each chapter

is very impressive with narratives from soldiers explaining

how it effected them in their daily life in Normandy.

I think this quote from Major Joe Lawler Brown sums this book

up ,” A very fine book, ably thought out and extremely well researched.

It reads well and holds attention and interest…It will certainly

rank amongst the best books on the conduct of the WW2 and I wish I

could have had a copy in 1943 when I was first commissioned”.

…………………………………………………….

Lets hope Ben Kite writes a similar book from the German

perspective because I will be the first to buy it.

.Farm house 4

Click on any picture to enlarge

I have already mentioned Tiger Terrain in the 15mm WW2 Terrain review, but

I wanted to go in greater detail and show you what beautiful

buildings they produce and what can be done with them.

The building under the microscope is the ,”damaged farmhouse”

which will set you back £15.30. It comes unpainted and in 4

parts. You can also buy the farmhouse undamaged.

The parts consist of the base with walls of the building, two chimney stacks

and a floor that nicely slots in. There are also some tiny parts

like shutters and windows which allow you to customise the

farmhouse to your choice(a nice little touch).

The resin moulds required no fine sanding and I was unable

to find any flash which was a pleasant surprise. All the parts

fitted together smoothly and I was able to get painting straight

away. Due to the high amount of detail on these models its really

easy to get an excellent finished product and it particularly suited

my method of painting Normandy buildings.

I added a few tiny extra bits of detail to please myself but overall

a fantastic bit of scenery which I think other manufacturers will

find hard to beat.

As you can see there is also loads of room to hide your men inside.

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Give yourself a pat on the back Tiger Terrain.

15mm WW2 Wargaming Terrain Review

I have been building a lot of terrain as of late and decided to
write a review of what’s available on the market ,specifically
if your wargaming anything to do with Normandy but its still
relevant for most other WW2 wargaming at the 15mm size, particularly
Western Europe.
My review is based on many things including, how detailed the terrain is,
how large the terrain range is, how easy the terrain is to construct, the
uniqueness of the terrain and how customer friendly the company are.

The first 7 reviews are of terrain manufacturers  that I have bought,
modified, played and lived with. They are rated after the review out
of a total of 5 points.
Following that are a list of other terrain makers I have yet to
experience but deserve a mention. They are not rated.

1. Najewitz Modellbau.

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Najewitz has a 15mm range that covers Normandy, Italy and Historic. The
Italian range is not available yet but apparently available soon and the Historic
range is limited. Saying that, it’s the Normandy range that is the real jewel in the
crown. There is a Pegasus bridge(for all those who want to play with Horsa gliders),
a fantastic walled farmstead and various sets of houses to make up your Normandy
town or village. The resin buildings come as kits and are unpainted but are
extremely well made and high in detail. An example price would be 45 euros for the
farmstead(which includes a house, a barn, a hay loft, a small shed and a complete surrounding
wall and mini gatehouse for the farm). This sounds pricey but your getting some seriously
good kit. So far I have only found one other manufacturer
of 15mm terrain that produces buildings of this high quality.

Rating : 4.5 out of 5.

2. Loic Neveu.

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Yes it’s a French website, but hold your horses. Do not be put off by the French language
and look past the words and have a good look at all that beautiful terrain. Loic Neveu
is an ex French paratrooper who runs the site which is called Decors. All you have to do is send
him and e-mail for a quote and he will work out the costs and get back to you in English, easy !
Onto the models themselves. The 15mm terrain range is huge and is probably the biggest out there
that I know of, strangely not many people are aware of this. WW2 terrain covered includes Normandy,
France ,Germany ,North Africa and Russia.
The quality of the terrain is fantastic and comes with huge amount of detail. Its all unpainted but there
is a great selection from a tiny sandbag gun pit up to the gigantic Normandy church. There is even a range
of civilian cars. One thing I really like is the ability to buy nearly everything in the range as either perfect
or battle damaged.

Rating : 4.9 out of 5.

3. Flames Of War /Battlefront/

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Everybody has a piece from the Battlefield In a Box range and to be honest the stuff is quite good. It
comes fully painted and is instantly ready for battle. Its reasonably priced and looks good on the table.
Now the down sides. As mentioned everybody has a piece, so your terrain is not going to stand out
and will look like all those tournament games at your local wargaming show(couple of buildings thrown
on a green bit of felt with a strange floating road). The range is also quite limited and I found difficulty
in getting hold of various bits of stock.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5.

4. Keer and King

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Keer and King have a large range of terrain including French, Dutch, North African,Russian,
and Oriental. Included in this range is a large amount of fortifications and bases. The simple
French building pictured above will cost you £16 plus postage. I have one gripe with the product
and that is its feels and looks a bit block like to me. It is also not as highly detailed as the Goldfinger
and Najewitz terrain.

Rating: 4.1 out of 5.

5. Hovels.

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Hovels seem to have been around of ages and I think of them as the back bone of model terrain.
If you need a bit of terrain and cannot find it else where,Hovels will have it. Hovels have a huge
15mm range but only a small section is dedicated to WW2. One thing to point out though is that a large
amount of the 15mm ranges carry across to WW2 and will easily sit on a WW2 battle board. A drinking well
from the Napoleonic range or the great barn(see picture above) are timeless and will simply fit in,
which is a great credit to Hovels. Hovels terrain is very well priced and you can buy the
product ready painted if you choose. The Great Barn pictured above will cost you £13 unpainted.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5.

6.  Tiger Terrain

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Tiger Terrain as of yet only have a small selection(just covering Normandy) of stuff
but its high quality and the range is growing. I particularly like the Norman church and
the outhouse toilets are excellent. The walled gardens are also a great idea. All models
come unpainted and are resin. The house above on the left would cost you £9 without
the walled garden.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5.

7.  Timecast

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When the Normandy and Northern France models first came out I thought they were
a bit of a revelation. For me they were the first guys to build terrain specifically aimed
at wargaming Normandy in 15mm. If you want ready made buildings that are painted
then this is most likely the way to go. Now the draw backs. The terrain only comes
ready painted and for me that’s a pain as I like to personalise kit. It also to my eyes and
standing next to other WW2 15mm terrain looks slightly smallish in scale. One other tiny
fault is that I have found that over time the windows(which are stuck on inserts) drop
out. £17.40 will buy the church above.

Rating: 4.2 out of 5.

 

And now for the rest which are not rated just links and a brief description.

 

8. Crescent Root.

So far as I am aware the only 15mm terrain Crescent Root make is Middle eastern style.
Its made from textured coated MDF and from the pictures it looks stunning.
Lets hope they get into 15mm Normandy terrain shortly as their terrain in 20mm and 28mm
is also fantastic looking.

9. Gamecraft Miniatures.

Gamecraft miniatures specialise in MDF kits. They do a town and country range,
a foam board range(with lots of Middle East stuff), European town and villages
resins kits and modular tile and road systems.

10. The Miniature Building Authority.

They cover a 15mm European range which comes in pre-painted resin.

11. Miniatureworldmaker.

Specialises in 15mm terrain that would suit any period. There is no WW2 specific section.

12. JR Minis.

Small range of 15mm WW2 terrain.

13. Gelaendestuecke.

Beautifully hand painted WW2 scenery from Germany.

14. Total Battle Miniatures.

The 15mm range covers Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the Middle East.
On top that they do some very nice road systems suitable for 15mm as well. You can choose
painted or unpainted.

15. Paper Terrain.

Exactly what it says on the tin, terrain made from paper. The main advantage is cost,
you get a lot for building for your money.

16. Antenocitis Workshop.

Only a small range and its nearly all fortifications.

17. Warbases.

15mm MDF covering WW2.

18. Rifrafminiatures.

Its resin and comes painted or unpainted.

19. Epsilon.

Ready to play terrain all painted just for you.

 

——————————————————————————————

Hope you enjoyed my basic review and please note that I am

aware that not everybody was included. If you would like some

other terrain makers added then just please ask. I am happy to

review anything if its WW2 related and especially Normandy

themed. If any information is incorrect or out of date please

contact me and I will attempt to rectify it.

 

Please note : The views and ratings  stated above are solely my own

and may not reflect the views of the manufacturers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

If you search the net for walls in 15mm,20mm,28mm etc you will find
literally hundreds of companies that make them and in a huge amount of
varieties. Even so there is a conspiracy out there that thow shalt not make
or sell a curved wall. A do not mean a tiny curved wall but a long sweeping
20 degree curve of a wall. If you look at any pictures of WW2 gaming every
house has a straight wall connected to it, every factory has a square
compound so a straight wall can encompass it.
Even the narrow and winding lanes of the ancient bocage countryside that
were shaped by wandering sheep and carts supposedly wandered in straight
lines to ensure straight walls.
Noooooooooooooo, it cannot be true.

Up until now due to the inability of designers to mould in a curve and a quiet
majority of complacent wargamers who have ignored this strange conspiracy,
we have lived in straight walled world.
That was until (drum roll) the company called http://www.modelscenery.com/ invented Reddiprene38.

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Basically a hard type of rubber that can be cut with a sharp knife easily
and then shaped using a hairdryer for less than 20 secs into any shape you desire.
It stays in the shape you mould it into. There is no mess and you have lots of time
to mould it and fix it into the desired position.
The church wall in the picture below was moulded by me and each 200mm section of
wall took me about 30 seconds to shape into place. Its stayed that shape ever since !
Whats more that entire length of wall surrounding the church cost £3.40 and is
suitable for 15mm up to 30mm depending on how you cut it.

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Its so good I would give this product my vote for best product made for the
modelling community this year, perhaps this decade ?
So now you need never be driven around the bend by straight walls and forever
spiral in control(not out).

Bovington Tank Museum

Posted: May 25, 2015 in Reviews, Wargaming, WW2
Tags: ,

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I decided to take the wife for a day out at the sea side

yesterday and it just so happened that the route

went right past a tank a museum so I had to have

a look. Yes your correct she didn’t believe that for

a second but it was worth a try.

Back to the subject in hand and what a fantastic tank

museum Bovington is. Its in deep dark Dorset and about 15mins

from the South coast so it was near the sea lol.

Now I have only posted up a select few pictures to give

you a taster but I must of taken 300 plus photos easy. Its

the boring photos that are the most important and interesting

to me the modeller. Tiny little things like different types of zimmerit and

the way it is applied ,how air intakes are aligned, the way wheels overlap

between tracks and tiny details that are left off 15mm models that I can add

myself.

Just looking at weld seams is interesting to somebody that

loves detail. You also you need to stand next to some tanks

to get a feel for the size and power of the thing(the Jagdtiger

would be a great example of a beast of a machine).

If you ever think of going its better than all the write ups.

Probably the best tank and AFV collection in the world plus they

have a fully working Tiger tank. Plus its only £13 to get it and

gives you a free entry for a year.

Other plus points are that they have an open day once a year called

“Tankfest” where the tanks are let out and strut their stuff and the

local wargaming club holds its wargaming events between the tanks.

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

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Sorry the pictures are all WW2, there are all periods

of tank covered at the museum.

One small word of warning, there

is a huge shop and its impossible not to buy something.