Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review: 'Total System Scenics' 1915 Lanchester Armoured Car (15mm)

Hey Internet,

Its been a little while since I last did a 'review' on here, but a little something came in the post the other day, and I feel like writing somthing about it.

For a while now, I've been after some Great War era British Armoured cars for my 15mm British 'Scientific Romance' project - which surprisingly are in very short supply.

Both Minifigs and Quick Reaction Force do a Rolls Royce, but to be honest - they are horrible. Battlefront do one too, but its circa 1940, with a completely different turret, so is no good for my current project.

So, when TSS (Total System Scenics) put out a 15mm Lanchester, I thought I'd go for it.

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A Lanchester Armoured Car
When I ordered them their webstore did not have a photograph of the product, but since then they have uploaded one - although it is low-res, out of focus and only shows an unpainted casting.

Ordering it was simple enough online, and it arrived well-wrapped in newspaper a short while thereafter.

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Now, I don't give 'bad reviews' as a rule, but I must say that this model was a bit of a disappointment.

Why? Mold Lines. Real nasty ones running right down the middle of every hull panel, and a nice big pair of them marking out the circumference of the turret.

Now, this wouldn't be all too bad a thing normally - you'd just grumble and grind the panels down; but unlike most badly cast models, the detail work on this one is just superb.

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Just look at all the tiny little rivets and surface details.
Its just such a shame. Clearly some talented fellow has gone to a great deal of trouble to produce a superb master for this model. I'd guess that it was a 3D printed affair in order to achieve the level of detail present - and that would mean that its had to be printed on top of all the other cost and effort. But then at the last hurdle all that hard work has been wasted by some shoddy mold-making and casting.

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The above photograph is post-'grinding down'. For an indication of the mold off-set, just look at the front. It was maybe a full 0.5mm out of alignment!

I hope to get the one that I've already put together painted up before too long, and will post up the results. I hope to be able to finish it to a good standard - but the effort involved in getting this far has put me off even starting its partner.


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

"The Wrenched Boys"

* * * 

They sleep below the hillside
In earthen cots
'The Wrenched Boys'

But when they rise
Look upon their sullen faces; 
So dismal; unwashed, tear-streaked

For a Frenchman killed their father
And mourning, they wait to cry 
Their leaden tears in revenge.  

* * *

Hey Internet,

This time around, I present 'The Wrenched Boys'; a pair of 'retractable' gun cupolas.

The models are of a particularly nice type of turret that helped make up the Maginot Line back in the 1930's. They had the novel feature of being able to be lowered down into their concrete pits as a further protective measure, so that only their well-armoured roofs were exposed to enemy shells.

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I've done a fair bit of rambling around old European military sites in my time, and always thought the things looked really rather 'cute' for fortifications. 'Alien Squad Leader' allows me to take some defective turrets as part of my Human Colonial force, so I took the opportunity to add a few to my collection.

I got these models a few months ago from "Last Man Last Bullet", and are really rather nice. The company makes a number of different WW2 era fortification works - and interestingly, they've chosen to duplicate the lion's share of their range in 6mm, 10mm, 15mm, 20mm and 28mm scales. And its not a matter of 3D printing each item re-sized either; they're casts from a traditional master.

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Initially, I painted these up in no time at all using the same colours that I've been using for my British Armour. They looked good, but were quite boring - they looked like green bobbins on little grey coasters. So, I went at them with a little weathering.

I justify the totally-over-the-top amount of rust on account of their twofold 'pop-up' nature - I can quite imagine that, built in the mists of some Anglo-French war-scare, the plans for their subterranean drainage could have well fallen by the wayside, leaving them to stew in pits of groundwater whenever they are not in 'firing position'.

I also used some 'varnish weathering' effects on the roofs. It does not show very well in the photographs, but the idea is that they are sun-bleached compared to the rest of the turret facings.

Even the most Wreched Boys of the Empire 'll show those Frenchies what, eh?


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

His Majesties Land-Ship Minotaur

Hey Internet,

May I present His Majesties Land-Ship Minotaur.

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* * *

Minotaur is the very image of the modern Land Destroyer - a novel fighting machine designed for the particular task of combating other Land-Ships. To the accomplishment of this new task every facet of the ship's design and equipage has been directed.

Forgoing the usual batteries of machine-guns and cannon, Minotaur's primary asset is her 3" high pressure gun of 55 calibres, who's 17lb shell is able to penetrate the protection of any known Land Ship currently operating in Europe or overseas.

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Equally, she is protected with a sufficient thickness of plate to grant her practical immunity from rifle fire, and even from shells fired at all but the closest distances. This protection is granted by the hanging of 3" Harvy Steel plates about the hull and turret, reduced in thickness to 2" and 1" on the sides and rear of the hull respectively.

All of this comes at some expense however, for the thing displaces no less than 80 tons. Yet, by utilisation of modern advances in the field of electrical engineering it is able to keep pace with the advance. Her machinery consists of two electrical motors of new design, powered by an internal dynamo. This outfit is able to produce a constant locomotive force of six-hundred horse power, driving the whole assembly along at speeds approaching nine miles per hour, on level ground.

* * *

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The model is a 1/100th (15mm) scale TOG II* tank produced by Battlefront/Flames of War. Its a reasonable offering from the company, though unlike their more recent kits it took some fitting and filling to get the parts to go together snugly. Makes for a fine finished piece though.

In terms of painting this peice was pretty standard, but for one respect. The huge flat surfaces of the hull gave me opertunity to experiment with some 'model railway' and 'large scale model' style varnish weathering techniques, which turned out okay.

The Minotaur decals are by Dom's Decals.

I have long been a great fan of the real-life version of this machine, having regularly visited Bovington Tank Museum as a boy and been awed by its sheer scale.

If your interested in the history of armoured development, then the TOG makes for good reading. A contemporary of the WWII Churchill and Valentine tanks, it was designed by the same men who designed the worlds first tanks during the Great War. Known themselves as "The Old Gang", their machine too adopted the jestful title, becoming known as the TOG.

Minotaur is soon to be pressed into service as part of my 15mm British Empire project, more of which I will be posting shortly.

Think she will do King Edward proud?