Wednesday, December 31, 2008

H056 WWII Partisan in Europe

Caesar set Partisan in Europe contains figures for both the former Yugoslavia and French Resistance. The two female figures above are some very nice models in the set. The woman with the basket could be used for at least fifty years before or after WWII and the one with what appears to be a Sten gun with silencer could have the side magazine trimmed down so it looks like she has a rifle.

These heavily armed men are great figures, no flash, no goofy poses, just great figures.

The details on the prone machine gunner are great. Look at the bipod, carry handle and magazine, just terrific. Unusual for Caesar four of the figures in this set don't require bases.

This guy is my favorite in the set, trench coat, hat, revolver. Excellent. With a repaint he can be FBI, Gestapo, gangster, partisan any number of figures. Several of the other figures in this set, perhaps with head swaps will work for cops and robbers too.

A nun and a man carrying a child. Very good figures, you get three nuns since they generally travel in packs.

This is a small set, but the figures are well worth the expense. I have two of these set and I intend to get at least two more and perhaps more than that. They will serve as French Resistance, Volksstrum and FBI and Gestapo in my miniature armies.

Fez Fashionz

Side view of the man carrying his rifle. An amazing figure pose, not one usually seen in plastic without separate parts.

The Caesar Miniatures German Mountain Troops have troops in regular German mountain troops uniform and in the Fez. The figure on the left is really great, he carries his Kar 98 like a real soldier.

These two guys are highly detailed. The SMG figure had a bent weapon when I took him out of the package but a one second repair of pushing it straight with my finger and it was fixed. No glue, no heating, no tools, just push it into place.

The set comes with two different grenade throwing figures. Grenades are very useful in the mountains. Note the SMG on the guy in the fez, it will just bend back into place with one finger.

Caesar figure with a tan colored Odemars Bosnian Infantry figure. The Odemars figures are a tiny bit larger, but within the margin of error. I plan on mixing the two sets.

Marching troops in each set. Much of war is just a walk in the sun. Marching from one point to another.

The Odemars set also has a horse mounted officer and several other poses not shown here. Both are good sets, the Odemars are also sold in several different colors.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Caesar and Liberation Miniatures

Liberation Miniatures metal figures firing a tripod mounted grenade launcher from the collection of COL Jim. The man in the back is a Caesar Miniatures figure for size comparison.

More Liberation Miniatures troops with Caesar Miniatures. The Liberation Miniatures are about one or two mm shorter and a bit thicker than the Caesar Miniatures. This is pretty typical for plastic vs metal figures. I don't know that I would necessarily mix them in the same squad but they are good enough for me to put them in the same platoon.

I would use the Liberation Miniatures to fill in the gaps left by the Caesar figures. Heavy weapons like this one would not necessarily be next to the massed infantry so the difference would not be so noticeable. Also painting and basing them in a similar manner would help a lot too.

As you can see from the close of view of this ATGM the Liberation Miniatures are pretty good figures and the weapons are quite nice.

Tripod mounted machine gun and infantry from Liberation Miniatures. COL Jim mounted his metal figures on sheet plastic bases and gave them a primer base coat. The tripods are one part with the space between the legs filled in with the terrain. Looks even better when actually painted up and is very durable. These are very good as wargame soldiers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Caesar Modern US Army Stuff

Caesar US Army 1/72nd scale plastic figures from the rear. Note all the heavy gear these guys carry.

More Caesar figures, I like the intensity of the poses as if the enemy is just off the edge of the page.

Two views of the prone soldier. Nice bipod on the SAW.

A front view of the previous Stinger guy and the AT4 guy. Great figures. The Stinger may be one of the best figures ever!
I managed to locate a couple of Liberation Miniatures figures from my friend COL Jim and will post some photos of them this week with Caesar Minis for comparison.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Caesar Modern US Army

The new Caesar Miniatures 1/72nd scale plastic US Army modern infantry are great! They are the perfect complement to their previous set of US Army infantry. They have more heavy weapons and they have the new equipment. This anti-aircraft missile launcher soldier is fantastic in his sculpting, accuracy and detail. The officer figures is great too.

Note the knee pads on the figure on the right. These guys look like they are right off the news.

Plenty of grenade launchers in this set. Flash free and not assembly. They don't even have a real sprue they just have a little nub of sprue to cut off. The fit size and style wise with their previous US Army set, but these have the newer helmet.

I like the kneeling guy with the vertical foregrip and he has no base!

I highly recommend this set of Caesar Miniatures. I will have photos of the rest of them tomorrow as well as some shots of their gear. These are heavily laden troops.

Friday, December 26, 2008

More Mountain Troops

Kneeling firing the MG42. In the mountains there may not be too many places to lay prone and fire your MG so this is a good pose.

These troops are highly detailed and have nice packs. I like the way this guy is holding his rifle and is a bit bent over like he is really looking for the enemy.

A very dramatic pose for this SMG figure. He is really leaning into the weapon which is important to keep on target and prevent the weapon from rising.

What did you do in the war, Daddy? Well, we went skiing...

Late war German units were issued many telescopic scopes to make up for a loss in weapons training. The idea was to enable even poorly trained troops to hit the target.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

German Mountain Troops from Caesar

Much of Europe is mountains and they often have snow on them. Being able to fight in those conditions requires special training and special gear. In WWII the Germans had divisions with just those qualifications.

These are some fotos of the new Caesar Miniatures set German Mountain Troops. The set contains both regular German Mountain Troops and troops wearing the fez. Some Muslim troops served in German SS Mountain Troop units and this set includes a few of those troops.

These are the regular uniforms found from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arctic Circle. Germans landed small parties along the coast of Russia and Norway and Greenland to predict the weather and they wore uniforms much like these troops.

As usual this Caesar set is flash free, the figures are highly animated and the poses are great! The set includes this officer figure with binoculars, a light machine gunner who is firing from a kneeling pose and two grenade throwers. The old Airfix set is totally outclassed by these troops, although the specialized mountain climbing, bike riding, and mule skinning guys from that set will still be useful.
I will post more photos from this set and others from Caesar over the next couple days.

These are the poses that are not wearing the fez but the field cap. Generally good action figures with lots of shooting. A nice little Christmas set from Caesar Miniatures!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Inter-War US Army

As part of my Inter-War Period US Army troops I have a movie camera and sound man. B&B Miniatures make them in metal. I got a set and painted them up as US Army troops. The US Army Signal Corps took official photos of military operations since at least WWI. My wargame rules give an increase in morale to troops who are getting their picture taken. My wargame collection involves the US Army from 1637 until the near future. The Army traces their heritage back to the first muster of militia in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I try and have soldiers for all of that period, particularly for the 20th Century.

On the left is a Roco mess trailer that has been converted to a wooden spoked wagon wheel version so it can be horse drawn. The right side is a water tank. I took a model anhydrous ammonia wagon made for farm sets and cut it down, changed the wheels and added seats for the driver. Two mules pull the wagon today, but usually I use four mules.

Motorcycles from Nitto with head swaps to make US Army troops with the M1917 helmet for use up to 1942. These were used by military police, cavalry and messengers.

A varied group of US Army troops for early WWII including IT Figures, and several other companies. While there are few sets specifically for use in the 1920s to 1942 for the US Army a little searching and a bit of work will turn up some good stuff. You only need to supplement the WWI US Army troops with a few post war weapons, like the Thompson SMG because nearly all the WWI weapons stayed in service post war, apart from the Chauchaut.
I do a few head swaps and pick up some 8th Army to get the Thompson, and shorts, and then a few sets for Wake Island to get a bit of more variety. The US Army did adopt the M1 rifle in 1936 and were pretty much changed over in the Regular Army by 1940. Reserves and National Guard could still be found with Enfields and Springfields as well as a few other weapons. Even lever action rifles were used briefly.
The US Army was involved in a few small actions, even domestically the National Guard put down some major riots and labor disputes that were near civil war proportions at times. There were also many brush fire wars that involved the USMC. Good small unit actions that can escalate into pretty good wargames.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

US Army CA

In the early 1900s the US Army maintained a series of large coastal defense artillery. Eventually, these guns grew to be as large as 16" in diameter. AHM makes a US Army railgun that makes a good start for the 16" gun.

I made the gun a few years ago and then stocked the crew with various WWI and early WWII US Army troops. These are a mixture of troops from Airfix, Tumbling Dice, It Figures, and others.

These guns were used to protect the Canal Zone. Others were scattered around even here in Southern California.

Several of these troops are WWII British, painted OD green like the US Army guys they don't look too out of place. The US Army used the SMLE even wore the same helmet and hat as the British.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Models in the Pipeline

Months ago, Pegasus showed be samples of their new rocket ship. They were pre-production versions and Larry Pegasus told me they would be in shops very soon. The pre-production version was perfect, they needed to make a box and decals, then ship them to the distributors and off to stores. Now perhaps six months later they are still not in the shops. What happened?

The miniature model and figure business is very complex. In this instance the rocket pods were judged to be too pointy to be safe and they had to redesign the model, re-cut the mold before they could begin production. So we are again at the "They should be in the shops in a few months" stage. Retail price will be around $15.00 each for the rockets and they have a nice decal sheet for them too. The Pegasus US Army truck will be in the shops "soon" also.

Most companies that make plastic figures and models don't have employees making their products. They are not large enough to own factories with Pegasus or HaT employees working three shifts a day producing plastic soldiers and tanks. They contract every stage of the process. They hire someone to do research. They hire someone to do the initial sculpts. They hire someone to make the molds. They hire someone to draw the box art. They hire someone to make the boxes. They hire someone to produce the molds. They hire someone to package it all and someone else to ship it to distributors who purchase the product. Once the distributors/ importers have the product they sell it to retailers.
Most of the people they hire don't work directly for the model company. They work for some other company that contracts with the model company to do a job. The model company has no control over when the actual work gets done, because they are independent companies or independent contractors. So the sculptor may say he will sculpt those 20 poses in 20 weeks and then his muse does not hit him and he takes 40 weeks, or 120 weeks or never. And time is wasted. Or his sculpts miss an important pocket flap, drawstring, ammo pouch and they have to be done over. Or his sculpts won't come out of a mold. This is a critical element the sculpts have limitations due to the mold making process, the completed figures have to be able to be ejected from the mold. Some sculptors just don't get this and make great sculpts that could never be produced in plastic without being 9 part figures.

So when people ask the question, when will this product be available, the answer is no one really knows. The best anyone can do is give an estimate based on how long each step should take, given the products place in the line up. Companies can only do a few models at a time because of the expense of each step and the limited number of sculptors, mold makers, etc who can do this type of work. Most of this work is very precise and even a tiny error results in figures that are way too tall, or too short, or goofy poses, or historically incorrect.

The sculptors are artists who no little or nothing about history or the military. They don't know how a soldier holds a rifle, how a tribesman holds a spear. They are not wargamers and don't know that we want the new Germans to be compatible with the HaT set or the Revell set; they probably never even heard of those other companies. Then just to make it more difficult, most of the work is done in China or Eastern Europe and the folks there don't speak English. And Imex, HaT and Pegasus are American companies, based in the US. So imagine how hard it is to direct these processes from 6,000 miles away by phone and email with someone who does not speak your language as their primary language.
Some big companies like Italeri and Revell probably do have it easier because the people they use are more local, but even then we see a more uneven result because they are not run by hobbyists who care about the army men they way we do here a Bunker Talk.
Oh, and did I mention all these new Pegasus products will be out soon? They are all past the pre-production stage, so it should not be too much longer before they are in stores. Next year the T-34/76 will join the Pegasus T-34/85 on the shelves.