Thursday, 26 May 2011

Over the garden wall

Just a quickie tonight (if you'll excuse the phrase). I managed to pick up a couple of cheap boxes of Italieri's Stone Walls care of ebay. I know walls are the kind of thing I could easily scratchbuild, but given my notoriously slow progress on most projects I figured this was a cheap way to save time!

They come as two sprues to a box, with each sprue containing enough pieces to make just over 2 feet of walls, including gates and a variety of end pieces, and have a nice, simple interlocking design. So between the two boxes that's enough for about four and a half feet of stone walls on the table. The plastic is nice and solid and the detail looks nice and crisp, so they should paint up well using the same techniques I used for the same company's farmhouse.

Here's a pic of the sprue:

Once painted, they should be ideal for farm boundaries, orchards or just the sides of roads.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Hail Caesar!

Is it wrong that I still get excited when a parcel arrives for me? Well, right or wrong I was quite cheery when I got home to find my Caesar WWII British Infantry had arrived. Even though I've not finished my US platoon (nearly there!), I couldn't help but do a quick test on the Brits (flying the old flag for blighty!).

So what are they like? In common with the US Infantry, the detail is nice and sharp and generally clean. There's more flash than the US models, but the plastic is fairly tough so it cleans up pretty easily. The level of detail makes them a joy to paint though. The uniforms and webbing are nicely detailed, although the weapons are less defined (the US infantry have a similar issue), which is odd; it does have one advantage though, as the ratio of stens to rifles is high, but could be remedied with a bit of judicious trimming of magazines!

On the subject of the mix of equipment and weapons, as I mentioned, it's a bit heavy on the stens (12) compared to Lee Enfields (18), and there are 4 flamethrowers, which seems a bit much. But on the plus side there is a nice prone PIAT gunner and a great officer. I would have liked to see a Vickers HMG and more poses with the Bren though.

Size wise they're slightly tall, but fit well with the US models, and aren't so far out from other ranges that I wouldn't consider mixing and matching. Here's a comparison with one of the models from Caesar's US Infantry Set I and the matchbox British Infantry (which are 1:76 to be fair).

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Big House, Little House

Here's a family photo of my recent buildings for the WWII project, particularly for Greg of 'Greg's Wargaming Blog' (check it out, he makes some fantastic scenery!) to give a scale comparison.

Left to right are a townhouse and cafe in Resin from Airfix, plastic Italieri Farmhouse, and Resin Airfix ruined workshop. As you can see, the Italieri Farmhouse is substantially larger than the airfix buildings, but next to each other they don't look out of scale, you only have to look at any street to see how buildings vary in size. As a standalone building I'd have no problem putting it on the same table with the others.

Here's a close up with a Caesar US Infantryman for scale. The style is slightly more mediterranean than Normandy, but not too out of place. The model comes in a solid (and surprisingly heavy) plastic. Assembly is pretty easy, and once constructed, with the internal floor in place, feels pretty robust. The roof isn't perfect, the pieces don't fit that precisely and the ridge tiles are a little off, but they paint up nicely. There's also a chimney, but no flat spot to place it, so it's either perch it precariously on the tiles or leave it off. But all in all a really nice gaming piece. Italieri also do a couple of other buildings in a similar style that would probably be worth investigating, particularly if you fancy gaming the Italian campaign!

And so, on to Airfix. These buildings are cast in a nice, crisp resin. The detail is sharp and nicely moulded, in most cases with separate brass windows (they also come with clear plastic for window panes, but I figured that, as ruins, any glass would be long gone!) and they paint up really well. Again, here's our friendly GI for scale.

One thing that is noticeable here though is relative scale. For some odd reason, Airfix have produced these buildings in 1/76 scale (and 'small' 1/76 at that!), whereas all of their figures and vehicles are in 1/72... It's only really noticeable when you place models next to the doors so, again, not really a problem for me. Of course if your models are already at the upper end of the 1/72/20mm range, it might be too much. I wouldn't want to put them with the models from Valiant for example.

I think they would benefit from some rubble on the bases as well, which would also help disguise the low height of the doors. Another future project or me then...

One final comment though is price. They're not cheap, so you'd have to judge for yourself whether they're worth it for you.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Build 'em up and knock 'em down

I've got tanks, I've got troops, now all I need is something for them to fight over. I've already painted a couple of resin ruins from airfix, but over the last couple of months I've been adding a bit more. First up, a ruined small industrial building, available from Airfix in resin. To be honest their stuff is a bit pricy, but it's nicely cast and paints up well. I think it needs a scenic base with some rubble on myself, which shouldn't be too tricky.

Next up is a famrhouse from Italieri. This is a plastic kit and involved some assembly. The style is slightly more southern Europe/Italy really, but shouldn't look too out of place. It's substantially bigger than the Resin Airfix buildings, but that fit its character.

Both buildings have been painted to try and represent the the grey/gold stone common to northern France (and much of southern England too!). The basecoat is actually an emulsion tester pot (Dulux 'Potters Wheel' to be precise), followed by a drybrush of GW Kemhri Brown, a wash of Devlan Mud, followed by light drybrushes of GW's Tau Ochre and Dheneb Stone.

Finally, I've had a go at scratchbuilding using some offcuts of foamboard and textured plasticard, and some doors and windows left over from days playing with trains. It's still awaiting paint, and I rushed it a bit, which has left some gaps, but I'm fairly pleased.

Monday, 9 May 2011

WWII Progress

The great WWII project continues. I've finally found painting time to finish up a platoon of german infantry. Ok, so with the marching boots and Kar 98s they're probably more suited to early war than Normandy, but I said I wasn't going to get caught up in button counting (yes I did). The models are a mix of Airfix and Revell. The Revell models are a bit taller than the airfix (and not actually that crisply detailed if I'm honest), but once painted up and on the table the difference is barely noticeable. More prominent is where I moved part way through from Tamiya field grey (which is horribly gritty and dries too quickly) to vallejo paints, but again its not a that noticeable and just suggests different issues of uniforms.

And here they are with some armoured support care of some Dragon pre-paints I picked up on sale.

I've also been adding to my US forces with some more infantry, care of Caesar's US Infantry Set I , purchased thanks to a recommendation from fellow blogger 'Thanos' (visit his blog here, I promise you won't regret it, his project to recreate a Normany village is an epic piece of work!). I have to say these are nice figures if you're into 1/72 plastics. The plastic is quite hard, so there's less problems with flaking (the Revell germans are terrible for this I'm afraid), although I have still got a few wonky gun barrels to contend with. The detail is great and the casting nice and sharp. They paint up well with a combination of acrylics and washes (I am not going to start doing eyes at this scale!).

Here are some examples.

They mix pretty well with my existing matchbox infantry (although the matchbox are a bit chunkier, the heights are OK). Although they make for an interesting comparison with what Valiant think is 1/72 scale...

Left to right, Valiant, Caesar and Matchbox

Just for a bit of a change, I also painted up some old Matchbox British Infantry. Wish I could find some more of these chaps, I used to have loads, now I can barely find enough to make an understrength rifle section (I suspect some are still bravely holding their positions in my Mum's rockery from many moons ago!)