Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Stop! Magnet Time!

Heinkel He.51s painted by Kevin Hammond
In order to host an upcoming Check Your 6! game, one set during the Spanish Civil War, I had to take some time and add magnets to the various aircraft that Kevin Hammond, he of Miscellaneous Miniatures fame, painted up for me quite some time ago!  Using my trusty magnet tool I picked up from Corsec Engineering, I not only knocked out the Spanish Civil War aircraft that were in need of magnets, but also some Korean War planes, painted by Chris Geisert, that were still needing this necessary accessory.

I was able to find some nicely priced magnets from K and J Magnetics.  Unfortunately, based on some completed aircraft I had picked up I ordered the incorrect size, very small fiddly ones, so I had to place another order after looking over my own aircraft to get the size magnets I truly wanted.  K and J offer a huge variety of sizes, with good shipping rates.  

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Going Dutch?

No, my wife and I are not splitting the dinner bill....

For some years I've keep an Excel file listing the various World War II 15mm Dutch figures available on the market.  Believe it or not, there are four companies making the Dutch in 15mm.  Why this interest in the Dutch?  Underdog syndrome perhaps.  My friend The G Dog has a plethora of WWII 15mm Japanese an it might be nice to provide an alternative OPFOR.  From infantry to vehicles to 1/144th scale aircraft, one could put together quite the nice Dutch force.  But that list sits there, getting updated about one per year as prices change.  Well, even if I do not order any Dutch, here is a bit of a breakdown of what is available:

East Riding I believe are the old Camel Miniatures range, and from what I have seen from their Japanese figures, are the roughest of the bunch in terms of quality, which begs the question why their price point is on the high end of the scale?  However, offsetting the quality and pricing concerns is East Riding's outstanding customer service even if they do not offer pictures of their Dutch.  Of note, their Dutch are for the East Indies, not Europe.

Depending on your tastes, I believe the Peter Pig figures to be of the best quality.  Many gamers do not like the open mouth ghost like faces, but their figures are full of animation and crisply sculpted and cast.  They are also the most expensive figures available for the Dutch.  Service has always been good.  If you want the best, perhaps use Peter Pig as your infantry core then fill in with vehicles and support weapons from other ranges.  But, having said that, their Dutch are suited for Europe, and would not make ideal opponents for the Japanese.

QRF can run the gamut in terms of figure quality.  Their more recent ranges are good, even though posing can look awkward from time to time.  As their Dutch have been available for some time, I would guess the sculpting is okay, but not of their more recent quality.  Alas, they offer no pictures of their Dutch.  From a price point the are one of the more affordable companies and they often run specials.  Service is excellent.  Bear in mind that their infantry is KNIL (Dutch East Indies) and not suitable for Europe, but ideal for facing off against the Empire of Japan.

True North Miniatures (Old Glory) - Army Card prices shown
True North offers a nice range of figures for both Europe and the East Indies.  They are average in quality, but they offer more vehicles in their range plus a Fokker D.XXI in 1/144th scale.  Based on price and completeness of range, this might be the most cost effective direction for your Dutch force.  Service is solid, a times my orders arrive quickly, at others takes a bit longer.  And if you order from Old Glory on a regular basis, then buy their Army Card and save 40% on all your orders for a year.  For years I resisted taking advantage of this offer, but finally broke down and spent the money last summer.  It has more than paid for itself and I still have several months to go!

Oh, there is one additional company offering 15mm Dutch, in this case aircraft.  Armaments in Miniature produce three aircraft in their Dutch listing, the Fokker D.XXI, a Fokker C.X, and a Brewster Buffalo.  While 15mm aircraft may be too large for your needs, the quality of their resin aircraft is top notch.

There you have it, the Dutch for World War II.  If I ever buy figures, I'll be certain to post pictures!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Slave 2 Gaming...Nailed It!

I mentioned in a previous post about the re-release of the old Cannon Fodder Miniatures ranges of "modern" 15mm figures, sculpted by Greg Blake.  I placed an order with Slave 2 Gaming within a day or two of seeing the announcement on a gaming forum, and received an email from them on the day I ordered letting me know there would be a delay due to the amount of orders they received for that range.  Now, here is one interesting aspect about that notice...Drew from S2G apologized for running out of figures and that he would have more in two days and would ship them upon receipt.  What?  A gaming company apologizing for a two day delay?  Oh, did I mention my order was placed on a Saturday and he was getting more on that following Monday and would send them immediately?  What kind of great service is that?  

Okay, so the S2G box arrived today.  What is today's date?  January 23rd.  So, let me get this timeline down - order on the 12th, get an email apologizing for running out of stock, they get more on the 14th and send them straight out, and I have them on the 23rd.  Not too bad, right?  Oh, did I mention they were shipped from Australia to the United States?  What kind of friggin' magic are they using to wing that order so quickly?

But wait, there's more....

In the package, which by the way was packed very nicely, was a set of S2G six-sided dice, and a handwritten note on the invoice from Drew, thanking me for my patience.  Patience?  Hell, the figures arrived faster than some of the orders I've placed from U.S. companies, and a freebie to boot?

Really good stuff from Drew and co.  If I decide to order more of these figures, I will not hesitate to place another order.  

I'll review the figures with some comparison shots in a future post as I get the figures mounted and ready for primer as part of my Little Bird Down project.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

East Germans

Several weeks ago I took advantage of a sale at Plastic Soldier Company to pick up an infantry platoon of their 15mm Cold War East German figures, originally part of the Armies Army range.  The figures arrived several days later, but there was a bit of an issue...one of the light machine gunners was missing.  An email to PSC about the missing figure took a few days to get a response, but they eventually did, and I also eventually received the replacement figure.  Fairly decent service overall, with at least the willingness to make it right, even though it took a bi of time.

The platoon will be painted up with a winter scheme in mind, which is basically a white smock over the strictarn uniform as pictured.  I have some terrain I've been collecting, including a snow mat, and plan on finishing my Novus Design Studio Russian houses with snow on them.  Why Russian houses?  Why winter?  We'll just say that these East Germans got a little off course and wind up closer to the Arctic Circle than West Berlin.

The figures themselves are organized in eight man squads, and if one tries to obtain a true squad organization, well, just search for that on some of the gaming sites and see what happens.  Each squad has a squad leader, light machine gunner, an RPG gunner, one rifleman with underslung grenade launcher (which may or may not have been in use), and four other riflemen.  Apparently dismounted squads were of seven or eight men, and should have two light machine gunners, but I am not going to sweat that discrepancy.  I do need to decide on what sort of transport I want to give them, either BTR-60s (known in East German service as SPW-60) or BMPs.  I think I'll go for BTRs as they are just a cool looking throwback APC.
Picture from Armies Army blog

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We Have a Little Bird Down

I say again, we have a Little Bird Down....

Taking advantage of the recent re-release of the old Cannon Fodder Miniatures range of 15mm by Slave 2 Gaming, sculpted by Greg Blake, I decided to get my Black Hawk Down project moving forward, but modified using a crashed MH-6 Little Bird instead of a Black Hawk,  (the former of which I conveniently have thanks to David Glenn, who created the terrain piece as part of a swap).  I've actually been thinking of using the Slave 2 Gaming rangers as part of a pseudo imaginary force, based on the Danish army.  Yeah, I know, I am goofy, but instead of going for a straight Black Hawk Down setting, why not?  While it appears that the Danes were not involved in many foreign operations beyond the Balkans during the 1990s, they have supported various UN and NATO missions since then, including in Africa.  Currently they use weapons that are the same or similar enough in 15mm to the Cannon Fodder U.S. Rangers, like the Canadian version of the M-16. 

The Cannon Fodder Africans are a mix of AK-47s, RPGs, and other light weapons.  I have shanties, North African buildings, the mosque and Olympic Hotel. 

We'll have to see what inspires me once the figures arrive...they are winging their way from Australia as I type!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Cannon Fodder Returns...

U.S. Rangers - picture from Slave 2 Gaming site
...well sort of....

Modern Africans - pic from Slave 2 Gaming site
Slave 2 Gaming, a newer gaming company, has picked up the old modern range first offered by Greg Blake at Cannon Fodder Miniatures.  This makes me very happy!  Why?  Because a few years ago when I wanted to do a 15mm Black Hawk Down project Greg had already closed his doors and the next company to grab the range only offered them for about five minutes.  Yes, there are other ranges one could use, but I have a bit of brand loyalty to Greg's figures...numerous years ago he sent me some of his 28mm Irish as a sample pack, gratis, which I thought was really grand of him.  He has also let me tinker with his
rules that he used for his Irish and 1920s China gaming, and I modified them and offer them free with his blessing (Yanks Up the Yangtze).  

The cost of the figures are a bit high, running about .85 cents each, and with shipping from Aussie land, I am paying around a buck per figure.  But, I want them, I have to have them, and I am sure the wife would understand.  

I ordered four packs, two of rangers and two of African militia.  I was tempted to order some Delta boys as well, but instead decided to do a Black Hawk Down lite sort of thing.  I've got the terrain well in hand for a small town setting, including a version of the Olympic Hotel and a large mosque.  

I am looking forward to receiving these figures and getting them on the table!
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