Monday, November 30, 2009

Flag Man

Airfix World War One British Infantry in 1/72nd scale soft plastic. The flag signalling guy.

Revell WWII German Navy Standing at Parade Rest 1/72nd scale soft plastic guy.

Matchbox 1/76th scale soft plastic British Commandos, Bayonetting the Enemy Guy.

Put them together and you have a 1/72nd scale WWII German Signalling Guy.

Sailors often wore watch caps to keep their head warm. They use signal flags to communicate between ships to avoid using the radio and giving their position away to the enemy. I am planning on making two of these guys and two more with the original cap.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The uniforms are being tested in the desert of the American Southwest.

The red suit may be used for the medical troops.

Some have suggested that each man in a team or squad will use a different color. This will allow the squad leader to identify each man from a distance.

From a great height the green fatigues blend in and are difficult to see. The yellow and red are still visible.

From even farther away, only the yellow is still really visible. This may be helpful in rescue operations. The race to the moon to attain military superiority is a national priority.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Astro Rangers

To prepare for warfare on the moon, one of the first jobs will be to determine the best kinds of uniforms to wear.

Some have suggested that the typical green of the Army uniform is just fine for Lunar wear.

Others have suggested a more flashy and up to date attire may be better.

Perhaps a brilliant yellow would reflect the harsh rays of the sun, to allow the soldier to be cooler.

Yellow would also allow team members to see one another better when working outside in the drab Lunar work day. It will help those who may wander off in the barren wilderness that is the moon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Project Horizon

The US Army Project Horizon is a TOP SECRET project to develop a moon base.

Using the latest Space Age technology the US Army and a Unified Command will construct a moon base that will defend the moon against the enemies of freedom.

The US Army Astro-Ranger Force is working hard to be ready when the call comes for Space Soldiers.

They are training hard to be able to defend American interests on the lunar surface.

New weapons will need to be developed and old weapons will need to be used in new ways to defend the lunar surface from attack by Communist aggressors.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Soaking the Paint Off

Caesar Miniatures made a line of figures for the recent Beijing Olympics. I got a bunch of them but don't really care that much about the Beijing Olympics. I have been trying to remove the paint so I can re-paint them. For decades we have been waiting for a paint that will stick well to soft plastic figures. This paint sure is it.

First, in deference to my friend Tom, I tried Simple Green. Soaking overnight, they were just as painted as they were before. Despite vigorous brushing with a toothbrush, the paint just barely removed. So, I tried my favorite, EZ Off oven cleaner. It did no better. Then I tried paint remover. After about fifteen minutes, I took out the sample figure and the paint was coming off, but the figure was melting too. Okay, I want the paint off, but melting the paint and the figure is not a realistic solution.
Finally, I tried brake fluid. It soaked for a couple hours and with a bit of toothbrush work, there was some paint removed. Then I added a few more figures and let them soak for 24 hours. The figures were in perfect shape and a bit more of the paint loosened up. Now they have been soaking for 72 hours and I will try again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Odds and Bits

YKREOL - La Figurine en Plastique au 1/72.

The former Odemars, now YKREOL, is releasing more new figures. They will be more late war Germans. My friend Yves has dropped a few samples in the mail to me and I am waiting for them to arrive here in Southern California from France.

My friend Randy at Fidelis Models has gotten in a huge supply of Arsenal-M models. They make high quality resin kits, mostly of WWII German vehicles. The nice thing about Arsenal-M is the detail and the fact the kits they make are not made by anyone else. The recent 170mm gun that I built is from them. I got four of them from Randy and two of the 210mm guns. While the kits are not cheap, they are excellent models. They can be hard to build, but they are worth the work. I have almost all their WWII German armor. There are still a few more on my wishlist too.

In reading Plastic Solder Review, I notice that my friend Dave has stated that in 2009 there have been more soft plastic figures released than in any other single year. Wow, that's great news. Keep that going by going out and buying some soft plastic figures. The lead time of plastic figures is one to five years and I know several companies have told me that they are not planning any new sets right now that are not already in the pipeline due to slow sales. If you like plastic army men, this is the time to support those companies you like by going out and buying some!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AT Teams Comparison

Italeri Anti-Tank Team, Revell USMC, and Italeri PaK 40 crewman. All 1/72nd scale plastic figures.

Matchbox WWII German in 1/76th scale, Italeri German Motorcycle, Italeri AT Teams American and Russian, and Revell American Infantryman with new hat.

Recent WWII Germans from Italeri with a 40 year old Roco Stug III.

Italeri AT Teams with Mir HO T-34 tank.

Same from the front. I use HO vehicles with 1/72nd scale vehicles. It makes the men appear more heroic if they are a little larger.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Italeri, Size Is Not Everything

Italeri has been doing a poor job of quality control recently when it comes to making their figures a consistent size and bulk. AT Teams, PAK 40 set and Motorcycle set.

Three figures from the AT Teams set and a binocular user from the German Motorcycle set. Note how thin he is, must be on half rations.

Note how large the American soldier is compared to the Axis Superman.

Look at the fat German on the left and the thin German on the right. Esci had their problems, but all their figures were a consistent size, style and bulk.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Italeri AT Set

An overhead view of the Italeri, 60mm mortar that is part of their Anti-tank Teams set, in 1/72nd scale plastic. US Army paratrooper with a 60mm mortar. They usually had a crew of five, I suppose the other four are on a break.

Italeri continues their poor research with this US Army paratrooper. He is sitting up, not unlike their US Army soldier from their US Army set. The old Esci set got it right, they usually fired these .30 caliber machine guns from a prone position so they could look down the barrel and use the sights. The machine gun can be fired from this position, when using tracer ammo like water from a water hose you can walk the rounds onto the target, but this is not the preferred method of employment. You can also fire them this way when using aiming stakes and a compass. Again, not a typical method but one that was used. The machine gun itself is excellent.

Rear view of the machine gunner, nice sculpt.

This guy could be the number two for either the machine gun or the mortar. He could be observing indirect fire from either of them. Or he could be looking for the ammo box and the ammo belt that are missing from the machine gunner. Since without them he cannot fire more than one shot.

This figure is very similar to the man in the Airfix US Army paratroopers set, only larger. He is an excellent sculpt and very well done.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Italeri Anti-tank Teams

Here is an interesting concept, put and anti-tank weapon in a set labeled as Anti-tank Teams. This 1/72nd scale figure is from Italeri and is a US Army paratrooper with a bazooka. He is moving along with the bazooka, rather in the more traditional firing position. I would rather have one shooting the bazooka, but that's just me. My first choice is firing from a kneeling pose, then prone pose, then standing pose and finally a moving pose. I got my fourth choice in this set.

He carries a folding stock carbine on his back, which is a nice choice. No number 2 man in the set, too bad. The bazooka is a crewed weapon, a gunner and a loader. It would have been nice to get both of the crew. Oh, well, another disappointment. The sculpting is fantastic, however, so at least that does not disappoint.

The bazooka was a very important weapon for the US Army paratroopers because they were expected to hold out against enemy forces without armor support, often for days. Since we get four US Army posed, I would have hoped for a bazooka team and then perhaps someone with AT grenades or a rifle grenade launcher with AT grenade. But they did not ask me.

Instead we get a 60mm mortar. A great figure and a great choice, there is no plastic 60mm mortar for US Army paratroopers in WWII sets, so an urgently needed weapon. I don't care for the method of the separate bipod that sort of hangs in the air or barely touches the table just in front of the base. I would rather have a terrained base like Airfix or Revell have done with crew served weapons, or a totally separate weapon like the .30 caliber machine gun in the recent Caesar US Army set 1. This is a crew served weapon, but like the bazooka the crew in this case is only one.

These weapons were often served by crews in the prone position, so a good choice. he also has a carbine hiding on his back for close in defense. The carbine was meant to replace the .45 caliber pistol as a weapon with a bit more range and larger ammo capacity. Glad to see this item in the set.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Italeri AT Set

An anti-tank set with an actual anti-tank guy. This WWII German is from the Italeri Anti-tank set. He is similar to the Italeri Soviet figure in a like pose. He also does not have the sight up on his panzerfaust. One wrong figure is a bad figure, two bad figures is poor research.

Too bad such an excellently sculpted figure is marred by such a foolish error.

This German figure also has a panzerfaust. He is holding it in an unlikely pose, the arming bar and the sight is not in the upright position as it would be to fire. The back end of the rocket launcher seems to be under his arm, which would burn him if he did fire in this pose. Another beautiful figure, badly researched.

This would be a great figure if he were holding an assault rifle or if he had the panzerfaust in the correct position.

An anti-tank set with a machine gunner. The Germans used vast numbers of different kinds of anti-tank weapons. Grenades, mines, at least three kinds of panzerfaust, magnetic mines, rockets, hollow point projectiles on grenade launchers, anti-tank rifles, wire guided missiles, all sorts of weapons, so why we are given a moving machine gunner I can't imagine. Machine guns can be used to cause tankers to button up and to help blind them by shooting the vision blocks, but they really are not anti-tanks weapons as such.

This is a great set, with some fantastic poses, but the research is poor and we should have gotten better from them. Now we will be seeing these poorly researched figures in the shops for the rest of my life. Molds of this kind last for 40 or 50 years, so they really should spend a few more weeks on research to get the pose and weapons correct.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Italeri AT

This is the back of the Soviet light machine gunner. This is one of the figures from the Italeri Anti-tank set.

A kneeling Soviet panzerfaust man. One flaw in the set is the sights are not up. When the sights are folded up it arms the weapon. You can't fire it with the sights down. Apart from that error, these are very nice figures.

A PPSH submachine gun on the back of this figure. It is good to have a second weapon on this figure. In my rule set I allow troops to fire any weapon that they have moulded on them.

Another exciting figure, this time a German firing his MP40 submachine gun. Just like in every war movie and TV show! Well done!

The back side of this figure shows the great moulding they did on him. Note the depth of the details. A great soldier figure.