Sunday, 20 November 2022

Farnborough & The Frog Box

 A few weeks ago I mentioned Bob Kett (of fame) was taking over my Warrior Napoleonic collection, including the Frogbox of Delights. We were originally going to meet at an NT property, but my dodgy back scuppered that. Seeing Warfare approaching, I suggested we meet up there and I’m jolly pleased we did! Had a thoroughly enjoyable time catching up with Bob in person and wandering around the show.

I didn’t take photos, but the quality of the games was very high, in particular the Rapid Fire Carentan game (Bob grabbed the last copy of Reloaded from a nearby stall…). I managed to score a couple of bargains (four TT Combat sprays for £20) but otherwise kept to window shopping. The Farnborough venue was a massive improvement over the Rivermead centre with ample parking, room to move around and more than one toilet… All in all, a credit to the organisers: they even arranged a sunny weekend in November!

Warfare was the first show I ever attended in 1983 - Reading Town Hall, I think - when Miniature Wargames was only a few issues old and I had not had a single driving lesson. Things have changed a bit! But at least I’ve achieved one thing on my bucket list and boosted the mojo.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on Bob’s blog as he ploughs through the Frogbox…


Saturday, 12 November 2022

A Lovely Pair of Bristols

 Blenheims, that is. Clickbait strikes again!

The venerable Airfix Mk4 and Frog Mk1. Actually this is is a Novo kit, but it’s still the same Frog mould which Revell used recently, so shows how good it was when first released. Both date from the early 80s as far as production goes, which is the last time the Airfix Mk4 managed to fit together without much in the way of gaps (or just fit together…). I tried to get a 70s ‘light blue’ version, but there was nothing about that wasn’t silly money. It was bad enough the decals for the Mk1 cost more than the actual kit! But I now have enough for five more Mk1s, including one for the AASF in 1940. Now there’s a thought…

Friday, 4 November 2022

1/56 M3 Stuart Update & 18mm ACW

 In my previous post, I whinged about the tracks. Well, I’ve found out what I did wrong and would advise a dry fit first (which is clearly stated on the instructions!). The problem is that both left and right track sections are identically numbered, which is OK for all but the top sections (parts 14) which are not interchangeable. If you dry fit first it will clearly show which one is which (the missing teeth are a clue). 

My next two efforts resulted in significantly fewer rude words…

Meanwhile, I’ve got loads of these going on eBay tomorrow:

With luck this will earn me enough for a Rubicon or two!

Monday, 31 October 2022

Italeri/Bolt Action 1/56 Carro Armato M14/41

 I have been busy!

Always loved this pile of junk, so I had to give this a whirl. Another Italeri kit, with a very similar output to the Stuart. Little to no flash, crisply cast & skimpy decals!  The big difference is the suspension, which is much better designed and fits together easily, but you have to pay close attention where they attached to the body as even a slight misalignment can throw things out of kilter (luckily, I rectified this before the glue dried). It will teach me to do a dry run first on unfamiliar kits…

Three variants can be made from this single kit: M13/40, M14/41 & Semovente. I went with the 14/41 because of the misnamed Esci kit, but if you build the Semovente make sure you put the internal detail in if you want to model the hatches open. Yep, it has internal detail… 

The turret was the most fiddly section and there are tiny gaps but nothing a spot of Vallejo filler won’t cure. In fact, they would probably disappear when painted. Two crew are included; one full body for the Semovente and a half figure for the others. This figure is terrible and will not fit the turret, but the full bodied chap is OK and can be chopped in half to fit the turreted versions. Your meant to have two heads (cap and helmet) but the helmeted head was missing from my kit. The decals cover Italian, Australian and German vehicles. I would have preferred more Italian decals than crosses and kangaroos, but what is there will do. The Rubicon version wins on the decal front and also includes rams head markings for Ariete, so worth obtaining a sheet.

Quick comment on the Rubicon M13/40. From what I can see, the Italeri kit is superior but the Rubicon has an option for a command tank. I would suggest using the Italeri kit for your fightin’ vehicles but buying a Rubicon for the command and the decals!

So it’s another 9/10 from Len. You get a lot for your money (and more puffs of smoke) and the end result is very nice with little need for remedial work. If only they could ditch the Bolt Action cards in favour of a larger decal sheet!

Ignore the hole: this is for the Semovente only but I didn’t read the plans properly!

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Italeri/Bolt Action 1/56 M3 Stuart

 My latest obsession!

After the Rubicon Valentine I thought I would try an Italeri kit, so took advantage of the price cuts at Zatu Games and bought three (free postage and cheaper individually than buying the troop. Skinflint strikes again! 😆). On arrival, the excited 12-year old in my mind had to crack one open and dive in.

Another plug for Zatu Games: ordered Friday, arrived Monday. Top service.

The kit allows you to build 4 versions: British M3 and M3A1, US M3A1 (Tunisia & Pacific flamethrower!) and Soviet M3. The decal sheet is limited to one vehicle for each, but it’s not difficult to source elsewhere (Rubicon are very generous with their decals) but a bit of variety would not go amiss. The Bolt Action cards will just be binned (recycled, actually) but I like the little coloured tufts of smoke: nice touch! So a bit of swings & roundabouts. The kit itself has little to no flash, although the crew figures are horrible. No matter because I will order some from Perry, but disappointing nonetheless.

On to construction then, while the girls watch some guff about KC3. First are the tracks: they are quite a tussle (Rubicon wins again) and need work with the scalpel with additional swearing to get right, but after that the kit is a breeze and rolled off the production line in a couple of hours (including stretching and wee wee breaks). It’s in my Chrimbo painting queue now, so what you see is the raw, finished article. I thought I’d take a snap now so you can see how good it is; note the complete absence of filler.

Very much looking forward to the others, especially after conquering the track fitting. It’s a 9/10 from Len: -1 because of the tracks, grotty figures and skimpy decals, but there are a lot of variants and the end result is a cracker and well worth the £14 I paid.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Just to clear up…

 … what I thought was a humorous comment on another blog. I was referring to this interview (on LBC, not GB News) around 15:30 (unless you are desperate to sit through the whole tedious thing):

I leave it to you to decide if the right answer is ‘no’ or the waffle given.

For the record, Izzard has given the right answer himself, which shows he’s probably too straight for politics.

I’ve unfollowed that particular blog and expect - understandably - to be treated likewise. Life’s probably too short for both of us.

And to those of you who try to draw conclusions as to my political leanings from this: good luck. I’ve not been able to pin them down since I was legally able to exercise my prerogative in one of those little booths.* 

No comments, please. KBO.

*Mike Smash.