Due to airbrush teething problems and time restrictions I've been unable to get my WW2 armour painted up, however, I thought I'd write a few reviews of the models involved instead. Enjoy!
First up are my 15mm Panther Auf Gs from Command Decision/Old Glory. Anyone who has bought from this company before will know that the products you receive can be very mixed, my experience was no different. I opened the bag and was initially quite disappointed. The big cats had quite a large amount of flash (albeit easily removable) but the main problem was some really poor casting, this was especially evident on the vehicles' rear right hull side and on the rear exhausts (see pictures below).
|I know its out of focus but you can see the flash gumming up between the exhausts. The storage containers are also a little soft.|
|It should look more or less like this...|
|This rear flank is all soft and distorted (again, not the best picture).|
|Most of the track detail was pretty good.|
|But a couple of pieces looked like this. This took A LOT of tidying up to make it passable.|
Each tank about an hours worth of tidying up, filing, cutting and green stuffing. Quite a time investment. Below are some pictures of the green stuff work I did to try and repair areas where the casting was very soft.
|I know this isn't how the storage containers should look, but covering them with zimmereit was an easy fix.|
|Green stuff shaped and pressed with a piece of wire to resemble zimmereit.|
I had also ordered the Command Decision line's stowage set. Again there were issues with the casting, some pieces were good, others were soft or malformed. The barrels were the worst - most of the 'hoops' didn't even line up, there were huge mould lines and the edges were soft rather than sharp and defined. Overall I'd rate them as acceptable - barely.
Here are a few pics of the assembled models, cleaned up, and with stowage added. Surprisingly I had no problems joining the tracks to the hull - this was a straight forward superglue job, following a guide rail moulded onto each inner track surface. Overall, they look very presentable, after a lot of work. (Btw I realise the stowage is not arranged accurately, I was going for something I found aesthetically pleasing rather than strictly historically correct). I can't help but get the feeling that that I'm going to regret all this stowage when it comes to putting on the decals...
|I quite like the added fuel drums. Whilst no doubt historically inaccurate they make these cats look like they are ready for a long campaign.|
It doesn't show up well on these photos but the MG on the front glacis was originally a strangely moulded lump - a flawed workaround following casting issues I suspect. I scraped the whole thing off, drilled a hole and replaced the MG with some wire. Yet another issue that required a fix.
Below are some pictures of the overall finished models with a few more stowage items added (leftovers from the Plastic Soldier Company's 250/1 kits I had). I intentionally bent the front mudguards on a couple of the tanks to give them a used, weathered feel. Crew figures are from Command Decision's 'Tank Crew' set. In my opinion these are great figures; well proportioned and full of character (cheap too!)
|This was a simple conversion using an infantyman from the 'Command' set, a standard tank crewman with the head removed and repositioned, a plastic MP40 from the PSC's Late-war infantry set and few short lengths of wire for casings.|
- They were cheap! I got them from War Web (60% discount overall!) for a steal at approximately £8-9 for 3. The Battlefront equivalents are £7.65, EACH! Forged in Battle's are £17.25 for 3 whilst the PSC has yet to release their (probably great and cheap) version. Skytrex also produce better cast versions from the same masters for £7.25 each.
- The sculpts and detail are pretty good, although not Battlefront quality.
- They have great heft. They really feel like tanks. Seriously.
- They don't have integral bases.
- They're very robust - I think if you dropped one you'd get away with it, unlike resin.
- They need a lot of work. Areas of detail are sometimes soft or miscast. If you're a perfectionist you'll end up disappointed. Remember; keep the greenstuff handy!
- The detail is good but they're no Battlefront or FIB.
- They're heavy - I can see safe transport becoming an issue.
- Casting Issues - I can't help but feel the moulds for these were worn out and needed replacing. This seems to be a recurring criticism of some of Old Glory's lines and I saw it in evidence in the other models I received from this company, mostly the tanks. Be aware.
- EDIT: After some comment from the guys on the TMP forum it seems like they're also a little dodgy with regards to historical accuracy; the zimmereit should be of a more 'square' patterning.
Overall I'm happy with these models. If you're time rich and money poor (i.e. Me) then they're a good option. If you want the best, then look elsewhere. Personally I wish I'd waited to see the PSC offering before buying these. Ultimately, If I think the PSC's version looks better (and if the price is right) then I might just get them anyway. More Panthers can't be bad!
These are currently undercoated and awaiting me getting my act together on the airbrush. When complete they'll be part of my late-war Panzer Lehr force - my first FOW army - which is currently under construction.