Saturday, 27 December 2014

Italian Cv3 Tankettes, Perry v Empress Review

Back again
Is that a good, or bad thing? :-)
Well what better way to return to the pond, but with another no hold barred review, and the victims this time, are the two Cv3 Italian tankettes, released by Perry Miniatures, and Empress Miniatures.
Now, before this review goes any further, I have to declare an interest, and what could be a possible bias. You see, the Empress Miniatures model, is one of my vehicle masters, I made the model when I had Anglian Miniatures, and it went along with everything else, when I sold Anglian to the Empress folks.
Here's the original plasticard master, ooohhhhhhh the nostalgia

Enough of that nonsense, lets offer our critique to these models

Take your pick, its Tankette Time

So, you have some pennies burning a hole in your pocket, and your Italians, they could be CTV fighting in Spain, or the Italian army fighting in the desert in WW2, are in need of armoured support!!
Cv3 tankettes, yep the terror weapon of the Italian army, whats not to like about them, apart from the obvious of course
So, you have a choice, you can pay out £16.00 for the Empress Miniatures version, or you can pick up the Perry Miniatures one for £9.00, bit of a difference there folks!!

Ok, so here they both are, and the first thing that becomes apparent,

For the same scale models, they appear to be different sizes!!
The Empress model is the top one of the two, and as you can see

its a fair bit bigger than the Perry model.
I built my original master at 1:55th scale, as it was my preferred scale to match the lovely sculpts that Paul Hicks did for Anglian. Now I could have buggered up, and unfortunately I don't have my original plans to hand, to check my measurements. I do believe that the Perry vehicles are scaled at 1:56th, but there should not be that much of a difference!!
So one of us has cocked up, bet its me :-(
Both models are cast in white metal, and on first appearances, they seem to be well cast.

Empress Miniatures

So lets get into it, and first off, lets have a look at the  Empress offering , and see what your £16 gets you

One main body, two track units ( detailed front and back)
Two hatches, a half figure commander/gunner , and a partial figure driver, (Paul Hicks sculpts)
twin Breda LMG, and a jack and pickaxe that go on the rear of the vehicle.
The parts are well cast, they do require a little clean up, and straightening here and there.

The model goes together well, and its not that difficult to assemble. It has a good level of detail, and will look pretty decent with a good paint job

All in all, a neat little model. At £16 its not cheap, and you have to ask yourself whether the extra cash is worth forking out for, well read on, because I am going to do something terrible next!!!

Perry Miniatures

Ok, Perry Miniatures, for some people, the very top of the figure league, and untouchable, if you feel that way, then please read no further, because I am about to savage them, and it won't be pretty.

The Perry version will set you back £9.00, thats a whole £7.00 cheaper than the Empress offering, so is it worth going for the bargain version, well folks lets see

One main body, two track units ( detailed on one side only),
two hatches, a half figure commander, and a partial driver, two gun options, the twin Breda, and the 20mm Solothurn.

Now, here is where it gets a bit nasty, because, and I am being totally honest here, this model is not very good, in fact, its incredibly poor.

There are issues, and I think just by looking at the above picture, you can see what I mean.
The model is covered in tiny lines!!!, In fact they are quite bad in some areas

To remedy these lines, will require a fair bit of sanding, in some areas the sanding itself, will destroy other detail, mainly rivets, which will require redoing. Not that is really a problem, as the lack of detail on this model, means that I would have to add my own to get the model even close to the Empress one.
Its not very good, and I dislike having to say that, or be critical about other model makers, but the fact remains. This vehicle is quite frankly, rubbish.

The Perry model is on the left, and the lines are quite obvious.

they are all over the model!!
I had to go and look at some pictures of the actual vehicle, just in case I had messed up when I built my master, and the  real vehicle has these lines, and I missed them.

Nope, no lines, the plate is completely smooth.

So, bit of research, and it seems that when you print a master, rather than rely on the skill of a model maker, you get these striations, caused when the printer builds up the 3D image. They should of course have been cleaned up, and I cannot for the life of me understand, why this was not done. Perhaps because to clean them off such a tiny model, would destroy the other detail, thus requiring an element of modelling to replace the sanded off detail, perhaps they just thought, oh well gamers don't really care, it looks like a Cv3, and its cheap, actually no, because I wasted £9.00 buying this sub standard model, and I won't use it, I may get some use out of the crew figures, but that is it.

Computer design and 3D printing, its all well and good, but when the end result is as poor as this, then you can keep it, and I shall continue to make my own stuff from scratch.

So Perry gents, please get a modeller to make your vehicles, we may be miserable old bastards, but we still do a better job than a bloody printer.
In fact, how about combining the two principles, and have the core of the model printed, then get the detail added by a decent pattern/master maker.

My verdict, well if quality does not matter, and you prefer cheap and cheerful, then get the Perry model, but if you like well detailed, well cast models, that will look rather nice with a decent paint job, then pay up, and go Empress, because to be frank, that model is most definitely £7 better that the Perry one.

As a footnote, I will add, you may see this review as biased, because of my connection to the Empress model, I can assure you its not. One of the things I tried very hard to do when I ran Anglian Minatures, was to provide well detailed models, to the highest standard that we were able to produce. I am by no means an exceptional model maker, but I can work to a good standard, I was fortunate enough to have Paul Hicks sculpting for the company, and Ian Crouch provided some of our vehicles too. There is an element in gaming circles, where cheapness is seen to be the overriding factor, and sub standard models are accepted, of course there is no problem with this, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and their right to voice them too.
I felt it important to point out the flaws in the Perry version, as like me, other gamers will buy it as it has the Perry name attached to it, and we all expect a high standard when buying their stuff, only to be disappointed when they open the pack, and find what I did.
forewarned, is forearmed, so they say :-)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The End Of............B.S.T

Maybe now I will get something bloody well done!!
As the clocks go back, and the shorter nights begin, maybe, just maybe.......

Following weeks of inactivity, as the malaise set in, I've sat back in the grubby old leather chair, and cast a weary eye over the vacant space, that was my work area.
 One of the problems of suffering from Depression, is that the slightest stupid thing, can set you off on a downward spiral, and once you start, its difficult to pull yourself back up again.

I cleared my desk,the constant image of piled up crap, everytime I went into The Pit, a reminder of the things I could not do. The last thing I finished, was a figure as a gift, for my good friend Juliette"s birthday,way back in July, and since then, I just cannot find it in myself to lift a paintbrush, let alone anything else :-(

Today, I did this

Opened a box, and dug these out, because I need to inspire myself to do some more work. if I can get one hobby back, then I can build on the other things I like to do.
Right now, gaming  is beyond me, I can't get an army finished to save my life, but by finishing just one model, I prove to myself that I can do this, I can build something that other gamers might be interested in, and the snowball effect might just begin to roll!!!!

Lets hope so eh gang :-)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Not Painting, but Hacking

Yes, I know, how long did it last?
As any budding gaming type person knows, us folks have the attention span of Goldfish.
I've put various projects on hold again (in boxes under the desk) as I have a new role to play.

Post Apoc, MadMax type pursuit game

Yes thats it, I'm building cars,bikes and other assorted vehicle masters, plus I get some input on how the rules will play out.
Can't say too much right now, as its in its very, very ,very early stages, but a sneaky peek is always in order

So here we go,the first model, a bike, from daft idea, to where it is now.

Its a slow old process, I can make stuff, but I take an age to do so
Anyway, I think this has legs, and will continue to take some "in progress" pics, so you folks can see how my tortured mind moves this model forwards

                            Gentlemen, Start your Engines

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Of Vehicles, and Vicars, and Other Such Nonsense

I'm perusing the piles of unfinished bits n bobs that litter my work bench, and think to myself, maybe a bit of an update is in order, so here are a few random snippets, from the cornucopia of crap that inhabits my desk space. Without further ado, lets kick off with the FAI/CNT motor pool

This old chestnut still rolls on, the crew are nearly completed now, will get them off the workbench this week, then switch my attention to the car itself. Windows to be added, another coat of paint, followed by weathering, and a few well placed FAI/CNTs plastered over it.
Next, a selection of rather fine automobiles, all commandeered by the local committee.

The first two cars, will have their roofs taken off, and be filled with an assortment of dubious Milicianos, the car furtherist away from the camera, well I hope to open up one of the doors, and have a figure standing next to it..

and then we have the ubiquitous Autobus, my first attempt at a more "period" front end, has gone a bit "Pete Tong", so version two is underway. The idea being, that I will make one master, and then cast myself some copies in resin. I have 4 of the bus models to convert, plus this one, so I have a decent size fleet. Bit unique this, as no one produces a decent period bus model, that can be filled with a selection of dodgy passengers, yes I am going to bung people inside,and a roof rack on the top.

So vehicles done, Vicars next, well priests actually

Take two Perry Miniatures Carlist priests, and two Empress/Anglian SCW heads, rip off the Perry heads, replace with the SCW heads,stick on a rifle, add some paint, and "hey presto" your very own in period god botherers. all ready to inspire the believers against the Filthy Red Scum,
 "Viva El Christo Rey"

 and last of all, Other Such Nonsense
I made a purchase, I think it was at Partizan, an the company was called Warbases (possibly)

quite handy little gadgets, save all that individual figure shuffling, however, because I am an annoying old fart, who is never happy with things just the way they are, I have decided I don't like the edges!!
My solution? File em down to a nice rounded curve

There, thats so much nicer!!!

There you go gang, more later, as the project starts to grow, hopefully next time, there will be moving images!!!!!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A Project Too Far...............?

But, you see, I have this cunning plan. I enjoy a number of hobby activities, painting, modelling and gaming being the main one, I also enjoy filming and editing video, and writing, so the old brain gets working, and here's the end result

La Tierra es Vuestra

For a while I have been threatening to do a full gaming table for my Spanish Civil War collection, and I have steadily collected a stockpile of materials,and imagery to help me on my way, and I had this stupid idea, why not combine all the things I like, and produce a bit of an epic!!
So, the blog will be, for the forseeable future, dedicated to this madcap idea.

So what can you expect? Well, TBH, I have not worked out the whole thing yet, but I know I want to include background information for the conflict, some useful information on uniforms, and equipment, and some handy hints and tips for the gaming, painting and modelling side of things. I am busy writing a modelling article for Wargames Soldiers and Strategy magazine, and over the course of this coming weekend, I will film an intoduction video,and these will get the ball rolling.

It may just be the ramblings of a mad old toy soldier freak, or it may turn into something thats half decent,  I shall give it a go, and see

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dux......Redux !!!!

Yes, bloop, bloop bloop, Polish Renaissance, ooooooohhhhh hang on, whats in that box?

Just a quick peek, in case its something important.

Aaaaaaah of course, its those Dark Ages figures, you know the ones, they are in that set of books, by whotsits face

Yep, thats the badger, so what have we got in there then? Time for a Higgs type rummage :-)

Crikey chaps, forgot all about this little stash, I do believe I have some of those painted somewhere.

Well, they don't look too shabby, now what rules? 

Ho hum, and whooooooooooooooosssssssssssshhhh, we are off on another tangent. It only took a week.
Well how can you resist, when you have figures of this quality, to paint

These are just the Romano-British, all Musketeer Miniatures, sculpted by the talented Mr Bill Thornhill, damn you sir.

The reality is, I did some sums, the Poles, whilst looking beautiful, would cost me far too much money to put together. The rules alone were £38.50!!! :-o
I already have nearly enough figures to do two Dux armies, the rules have been sitting on my shelf gathering dust, and I have an assortment of buildings, trees and other scenic items already. Its a no brainer, for absolutely minimum outlay, I can put this game onto the table, and have a laugh playing a few games.
I like the figures, they paint up quite easily, and look fantastic, its a nice little summer project to keep me occupied, and distract me from my everyday life, which at times, can be very stressful. Thats one of the main reasons I paint and make models, I can focus my mind, and forget all the crap.

Here we go again, lets see how long this fancy lasts me.

Oooh I say, theres a bloke there without any strides on!!!!! 

Until next time paintbrush lickers

wyrd bið ful aræd

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Polishing off a Pachyderm, and Plopping Pigment on some Poles

And, in a sudden swerve off tangent, this week I shall be mostly

A) Polishing off the Pachyderms

Just need to paint a few minor bits, and then work up the bases, and hey presto, Pyrrhos has his Heffalumps!!
That leaves just the Agema and Greek cavalry, and the Cretan Archers to finish off, and I finally, after god knows how long, have a basic Impetus army.

Not exactly a matching pair, as I painted mine in the classic grey with pink bits, and Doug went for an odd shade of purply grey, hopefully the bases will tie them both together.

B)Plop some Pigment on a few Poles.

Yes, its true, I am a man, that never learns

A while ago, I had some Sassanid Persians, oooohhh look at them, says I, pretty, pretty, pretty, an army of them will be fab, so I duly slap a bit of paint, on a Clibanari. The effort makes me realise that pretty, is not easy, in fact its bloody hard work.

The lovely shiny Sassanids get shipped off sharpish, and all thats left is the single, solitary Clibanari, with his lovely flowery trouser ensemble.

So why oh why, do I have Renaissance Poles lurking on my painting desk?
Lurid, mad colour schemes, flamboyant, a shed load of blokes on horses!!!

Well, I love em, always wanted to paint them, and on a loft rummage, I found the impulse order I had made to The Assault Group, and hey presto

They have magically appeared on my painty space.
I quite fancy building a couple of forces for these rules

Yes I know, this is the man who got bitten by Napoleonics, and found them too complicated to paint
I estimate that one, maybe two figures will get finished, and the other poor little metal fellows, will once again become loft lagging.

Until next time fellow figure fondlers

Do Widzenia