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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paratroopers


Two of the Caesar Miniatures WWII German Paratroopers. I got a new camera and I may have learned how to use it. These photos are a bit better images and they do the figures more justice.


The Esci grenade thrower vs the Caesar one. Note the Esci guy is holding his grenade in the middle of the stick. You hold it on the end for more leverage when you throw. Poor research, poor figures.


The Caesar figures advance with a Roco Stug III.


Trees by Imex.



More Caesar Miniatures Paratroopers with the Roco Stug III.



Friday, October 30, 2009

Caesar German Paratroopers


This is the officer from the Caesar Miniatures WWII German Paratroopers set. It may be the single best soft plastic figure ever! The hand in front is very difficult to cast for other companies, but Caesar and their multipart mold system is able to do what others can't.



As you can see from this view, the arm is very much in front of the officer. A very action packed pose. German paratrooper officers often wore helmets in combat.


I use officers as a rally point for troops that fail morale. Their inclusion is important for keeping unit cohesion.


The panzerfaust was a single shot anti-tank recoilless rocket launcher. It was disposable, fire it and toss the tube away. Troops could learn how to shoot one very quickly and there were even pictographic instructions on them.



Unlike some other sets, this figure is actually firing the rocket correctly. The sights and arming device is folded up and the rear end of the tube is not facing him so that the rocket exhaust will not burn him. Another great figure.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grenades & Flamethrowers


The new Caesar Miniatures US Army WWII set 1 in soft plastic 1/72nd scale contains two very common weapons, frequently seen in the hands of miniature soldiers. The flamethrower and the hand grenade.



In my wargaming rules I give each of these weapons a range of 50 meters, that's five inches in real world scale. Since infantry can run ten inches, that is a pretty short distance. One of the main advantages of these weapons is the ability to attack a bunker. Get the figure right up next to the firing aperture; easier said than done. Then roll a 1 on a D6 for the hit location. If you score a hit, the bunker is burned out or has a grenade explode inside it.
The trick is to get close to the bunker without getting killed. One way is to throw smoke grenades at the bunker. That prevents the soldiers inside from seeing outside and delivering accurate fire on the attacker. The way around this for the defenders is to have landmines, barbed wire and interlocking fire from other bunkers to keep the attackers away.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paratrooper Wargame Rules

Thanks to Caesar Miniatures we finally got a decent set of WWII German Paratroopers. So now we need some wargame rules for them. Like these that I use.
Paratroopers

Paratroopers and equipment are divided as follows, squads, crew served weapons, crews, crew served weapon ammunition, radios, vehicles, commanders, and forward observers. Each of these elements drops separately, one at a time. The paratroopers pick a drop zone from which the parachutes are dropped, from three feet high.

The drop zone location may be adjusted when conditions are not ideal. Perfect conditions are: low altitude approach, with Pathfinders on the DZ, with no AAA fire and no wind. Paratroops with perfect conditions are dropped on the B chart. Any change in these conditions moves the location down once along the artillery chart for every additional factor present. If the factors go off the chart the troops may not be dropped or 100% casualties will result. Paratroops dropping in rough terrain, forests, urban, etc., must roll for casualties. There is a 30% chance of being killed. Troops dropping in shallow water, swamps, creeks etc. have a 50% chance of being killed. Troops dropping in deep water, streams, rivers, oceans, etc. have a 90% chance of being killed.

WIND SPEED
0 mph no change
10 mph up one
20 mm up two
30 mph up three
40 mph up four and no jump

Paratroop crew served weapons are not used until the crew, the ammunition, and weapon are in the same location.

PARATROOPER SEQUENCE
Defenders fire at paratroops
Paratroops casualties are removed
Surviving paratroops fire at defenders
Defenders casualties are removed
Defenders move up to five inches
Melees are resolved

Pathfinders land like aircrews but are armed with any weapon that is not crew served. It takes one Pathfinder to illuminate the drop zone for every platoon of paratroopers or vehicles. Pathfinders are only good for one platoon of troops because they expend their smoke grenades or flares to illuminate the drop zone. Pathfinders move down 10% for drop casualties.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caesar, Revell, Esci


Revell standing 1/72nd scale soft plastic Thompson gunner with the Caesar gunner. Both are very nice.


Standing rifleman from Caesar and Esci. Caesar is much better.



The full box of figures from Caesar, US Army set 1. Three squads of men and a small platoon hq.



Caesar and Revell marching figures, both are good and with one wearing a great coat and one without, they complement each other well.
Revell and Caesar fit together very well, the Esci, are okay but not as good a fit.



Monday, October 26, 2009

US Army by Caesar


The figures on each end are from the Caesar US Army set. The ones in the middle are from the recent Italeri US Army set. Bigger, but not horribly larger.


Caesar Miniatures and the smaller Matchbox 1/76th scale soldier. Matchbox is probably too small to mix, especially if you mix the Caesar with the Italeri.


Caesar Miniatures officer figure. Map case and pointing, he could be a good man with the heavy .30 caliber tripod mounted machine gun, or as an artillery forward observer.


The .30 caliber HMG is one piece and the firer is another. Gun and tripod as one part. Very nice. The gun can be fired this way, the sights are rather tall. They can also use tracer. Prone was also very common. The tripod was adjustable.



His had rests on the top of the gun a very typical pose. Three of these guns and men per set. With the Italeri .30 caliber light machine gun you have a choice now. Maybe the Italeri gun with the Caesar crewmen? Could work.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ykreol


My friend Yves sent me this series of photos of some of his new figures. The Vampire was and infra-red night vision scope on a rifle. It was used in small numbers near the end of the war and was very successful.


WWII German police used large numbers of dogs to help alert their human masters to the presence of people attempting to sneak in or out of a facility.


The old Odemars has mutated into the new Ykreol. They are making some of the old sets and working on many new sets. They have told me of two new sets and have sent me a few photos of them. Their sets are typically unusual subjects that are not covered by other companies sets.

Check out their website at:



These new sets are ultra late WWII German sets.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caesar WWII US Army Set I


The BAR man from the Caesar WWII US Army set holds his weapon at a high port arms position. He is wearing the large ammo pouches for the big BAR magazines.

The new Caesar Miniatures US Army troops are 1/72nd scale plastic, and flash free as usual. They don't have the traditional sprue, but the little tab Caesar figures always have. This is my favorite Thompson SMG firing pose, ever. He is the guy we see in every movie and TV show firing his trench broom into the enemy.


The set comes with one pose with an M1 carbine, three poses with the Thompson Sub Machine Gun, a man firing the .30 caliber heavy machine gun, a man with a flame thrower, one with a Springfield, and the rest have the M1 Garand Rifle.

This is the US Army set 1 and it does need a set two. This is a good set, but not a great set. It will remain to be seen with set 2 and any additional sets of US Army how close to great we get. We need a 60mm mortar, some crewmen for the crew served weapons, and I would like some US Army tank crewmen. Maybe a guy with a Thompson with the drum magazine in a tanker helmet, wearing the coveralls?


This simple pose is a great figure. I am happy to see Caesar including it in many of their sets. He can be walking along a road, standing guard, or any number of things soldiers do all the time.
I got three of these sets so far and many more will be added to my collection.















All in all a good start and I certainly wait for the next release.












Friday, October 23, 2009

More Paratrooper Information

The Caesar Miniatures are much better than the previous ESCI figures of 1/72nd scale WWII German Paratroopers. The ESCI set has two figure poses firing bolt action rifles from the left shoulder. There are probably more left handed bolt action rifle firers in one box of these figures than there were in the average paratrooper division. Bolt action rifles are not designed for left handed use.

There is also a figure who has an MP30 submachine gun but no magazine in the weapon. While I know soldiers have to reload, I think this is a very poor figure choice. Especially since he is not reloading.



The final bad pose is one who is leaning on the butt of his weapon with the barrel in the dirt. First of all that wears the muzzle crown of the weapon and reduced the accuracy. It also can block the barrel so that the weapon could be unsafe to fire. Finally, the first sergeant will kick your butt if you do that in front of him. It is a terrible pose.



The ESCI figures are excellent sculpts, but the terrible poses really ruin the set for me. Too bad Italeri don't fix these few problem figures and make it into a good set.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Caesar Paratroopers


The curse of the WWII soft plastic German Paratroopers has been broken with the new German Paratroopers set from Caesar Miniatures in 1/72nd scale.


As usual with Caesar Miniatures the figures are flash free and come with only the little tab of a sprue on them.


The set has several of the figures with the FG 42 paratrooper assault rifle. These rifles were used from mid war until the end of the conflict.


These are late war paratroopers, including a figure with a panzerfaust.



This is a much better set of Paratroopers than has ever been done in soft plastic in 1/72nd scale. The officer pose is great, the two prone figures are very good too. I got this set from my good friend Larry at Pegasus Hobbies.





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pegasus Tank



This is a pre-production sample of a Pegasus Panzer 38t. These were used in large numbers by the WWII German army in the early days of the war. They will go great with the Pegasus 1939 Germans and the 1940 French.



As a pre-production set, the plastic color can be anything. The real set will probably not be this exact shade of green and may not even be green at all. Pre-production sets use any plastic in the shop to test the mold. Color is not a concern. Here you can see a good reason to test the molds. It is pretty typical for the first mold shots to fail to fill the mold cavity. The mold will go back to the mold maker who will work on making the "sprue" work better to fill the mold, or the heat or pressure will be adjusted to fill the mold properly.


This final sprue shows the other parts of the model. The model has good detail and yet will be simple to construct. This is another example of the great line of 1/72nd scale Pegasus quick to build models. While I don't actually own any, I do think they are very nice. Thanks to my good friend Larry of Pegasus for letting me take these photos of his newest tank model.








Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pegasus WWI French












The Pegasus World War One late war, French infantry are about a year late. I spoke to my good friend Larry of Pegasus and he is trying to get them out by the end of the year. There will be two identical sprues of troops. He has meticulously researched them and they look great. The figures are intended to be soft plastic with a slightly harder plastic weapons / arms sprues. His intent is to make the long rifles with bayonets straighter so they look better than soft plastic ones often do. The figures will have a variety of different gas mask cases and slightly different kit. These will be a great set.
The French 1940 set are for the French Army that fought against the Germans in 1939 / 1940. They will be much like the WWI set with separate arms / weapons. The weapons will be a harder plastic. Another good set from Pegasus.
These sets have been delayed for many reasons. One is that it just takes a long time to make a good plastic set. The masters were wrong a couple times and so they had to go back to the sculptor to make corrections. The research was difficult. The WWI and WWII uniforms are similar, and much of the WWI kit was used in WWII. That made it harder to figure out who was who.
The work is not done by Pegasus employees. It is done by contract and so they work is not always done quickly. Sometimes the work is delayed by other work, unrelated to the hobby stuff. This set is nearly done, all they are doing is making sure the mold works properly. It is difficult to get the plastic to flow into small spaces, like the weapons sprue.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Caesar Sets


Caesar Miniatures have just released five new sets of 1/72nd scale soft plastic figures. This one is Greek Hoplites.

This set is Persian Warriors. Like the Hoplites they have separate weapons that are molded in another color from the figures. Nice sets, flash free and good action poses. I know nothing about ancients and don't collect them. I only took photos of the box art and looked at the sets quickly without any photos.


Here is there US Army Set 1. It is really nice. They are the first set to have an early pattern WWII US Army flamethrower. They have several poses with Thompson Submachine Guns and a very nice .30 caliber heavy machine gun.





Soft plastic WWII German Paratroopers were cursed. They have generally been terrible, with the Esci set being the bottom of the stack of bad sets. The curse has been lifted with this set!




Here is the WWII German Panzergrenadiers set II. It is another of the long series of WWII German late war soldiers. It is great, with several terrific poses.
I will have photos and more reviews over the next week or so.
I got these from Larry at Pegasus. My friend Larry often gives me a discount on figures or sometimes even gives me preproduction sets. I will have some photos and more information on my visit with Larry over the next few days.