Yes, I did, and the blame lies firmly with UnderFire Miniatures, damn them to hell :-)
They released some figures, not their normal 20mm stuff, oh no, these were 28mm, shiny and............
Nationale Volksarmee of the DDR
Just two little packs NVA2 and NVA3 ( which means there is an NVA1 hiding somewhere), what harm could there possibly be, in ordering just the two packs, to add a bit of variety to the shedload of old Mongrel Miniatures I have.
I underestimated the threat I should never have pressed those buttons, the ones that made the packs fall into my shopping cart, because they arrived today, and like the Warsaw Pact tidal wave they were a part of, they swept their way onto the desk, and at the points of their shiny little MPiKs, they made me write this review.
Warning, this review contains gushing sentiment, and all out raving. Its also includes a number of photographic images that you may find persuasive.
I confess, I like the whole "Cold War Goes Hot" scenario, as a chap growing up through the 80s, I sort of lived through it all, eagerly reading any news items that cropped up, devouring numerous books on the topic, and collecting, and building models of the various protagonists.
The good old DDR was immensely interesting, as a schoolboy, I had travelled to Berlin, and had seen firsthand the Berlin Wall, it sort of stayed with me.
When Mongrel Miniatures started their 28mm range a few years back, I jumped on board, quite literally in fact, because it inspired me to try my hand at making a vehicle master, and the first ever thing I built, was this
FV423 Trojan APC
Seeing the UnderFire models, made me think back, and revisit the stuff I have lurking about, what if the new models from them, match the old ones from Mongrel? I can fill in the gaps I have in my forces :-)
Be prepared for a selection of high points, and low points, as we review the new range.
UnderFire Miniatures 1980s National VolksArmee (28mm)
The range so far consists of just two packs, each one contains 4 figures.
The models I received were well cast, and required a minimum clean up, my only gripe being, that some of the figures have a mould line straight down their faces, incredibly difficult to clean up, without ruining the faces.
Lets review each pack first, then we shall get down to the nitty gritty, so its good news first folks.
Four infantry men, three of them armed with the ubiquitous AK47, the other has a PKM LMG for a bit of support, the kneeling figure coud easily be used as an NCO if required. Equipment wise, they appear to have all that is required, gas mask bag, water bottle, magazine pouch, combo bayonet and wire cutter, entrenching tool, and the NBC suit, in its pack on their webbing at the back.One of them carries a LAW.
My pics don't really do them justice, so I pinched this one off their website :-)
and yes, they really are as nice as this
As above, only this time, the kneeling figure carries an RPK for squad support
So lets have an overall look at these models.
As previously stated, the models are cleanly cast, requiring the bare minimum of cleaning up. The uniforms appear to be accurate, as does the equipment, they even have Dienstgradabzeichen (shoulder) tabs!
I would have preferred to see them armed with the MPiK, with the folding stock, but the AKs they have are just fine. I like the fact that you get a good mix of helmeted heads, the M56 looks right, and you get plain, net covered and the cloth covered version, a good idea might be to make up some head sets, so us punters can chop and change, thus adding to the variety. Not quite enough variety to make up a section, as they would only carry one support option, so I hope there will be another infantry pack to allow a bit of variety.
I believe the models are sculpted by Tony Boustead, and he does have a knack of getting the detailing just right. I've not painted one of his figures before, so I'm looking forwards to having a go at these.
£8.00 for four models, on the expensive side, but that does seem to be the going rate these days, especially if you want quality figures, that are not in the popular gaming periods like Napoleonic or WW2. For me, its a more than fair price to pay, for the quality you get, so no quibbles here.
Now, as you know, whenever I do a review, its warts n all, so now its time to disappoint, and if you were hoping, like me, to use these with your Mongrel Figures, then look away now
I'm a scale nazi, its my days of making 1/35th scale kits, and scratch building that has made me this way, so this made me go " Ohhhhhhhhhhh Poo!"
They don't match!!
Some folks will say, "hey no probs, they are OK"
In my book, they are not. The UnderFire models are taller, and slimmer. Yes ok you could use them in separate squads, but I was a little disappointed.
Now, the next part of my dilema, and that my friends, is vehicles!!
Mongrel, and Sloppy Jalopy, I have both of these, and they went together really quite well. The Sloppy models are 1/56th, and, shock horror, they don't go that well with the UnderFire models!!!
Have a look at the picture with the ruler, the UnderFire Model, once based, is closer to 36mm, that makes him more like 1/48th scale.
Now hiding amongst the pile of stuff I have hiding in various boxes in the ManPit, was a HLBS BMP1, in 1/48th scale, I also have the same vehicle from Sloppy Jalopy, so what else could I do, but a few more comparison pics.
Here is the vehicle in question, used by quite a few WARPAC countries, and here we have the resin equivalents, for those of you watching in black and white, the SloppyJalopy model is the green one!!
I know, a lot of pictures, but you get the general idea, the UnderFire models fit in very nicely with the HLBS 1/48th model, and I feel bad doing that to Sloppy Jalopy as the lads running that company, are mates of mine :-(
So lets put this one firmly to bed
UnderFire Miniatures, nice new shiny DDR NationalVolksArmee models, they are not 28mm, but they are lovely.
If you are starting out building yourself a Cold War goes hot force, then you cannot go far wrong with these figures. I am kinda hoping that they will fit in with the Eureka 1980s stuff, so I guess I shall have to try to send an order to the other side of the world, and get myself a sample or two for comparison purposes, unless any of you lovely folks out there have some you can photograph against a ruler for me.
Sorry for the somewhat long winded waffling, I hope you managed to find a review hidden in there.
Off to practise painting Strichtarn, I have a couple of the figs primed up, so painted pics next time
So pop over to here
and order yourself a pack or three.
Auf Wiedersehen Genossen