Sunday, June 7, 2020

Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

My Chinese army is expanding again, this time with some armed civilians and a few more recruits for my conscript squad.  These were built from the Copplestone bandits and bandit chiefs packs.

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

As I wanted my guerrilla cell to look more like people from everyday life rather than some gaudy tong members, I've used mostly subdued tones with a few splashes of color.

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

My conscription squad was short 4 men per the Bolt Action rules, so a few of the bandits were converted into poorly equipped military troops. 

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

Here they are with two of the Pulp Figures/Crucible Crush militia miniatures. The commander looks pretty hefty compared to them, but I think the standard troops will blend in well.

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

Sunday, May 24, 2020

IJA Type 89 Tank and Type 94 AA Truck

I'm back with some additions to my Bolt Action Imperial Japanese Army for the Second Sino-Japanese War/WW2.

Type 89B Medium Tank I-Go Shanghai 1937

First up is a Type 89 I-Go (Yi-Go) Medium Tank (八九式中戦車イ号). In 28mm, you have two options for this tank:  Trenchworx makes the early 1930's version, while Company B makes the late 1930's version (different turret).  I planned to used my tank in the 1937 Shanghai battle, so opted for the Company B version.

The Company B version is fully resin, and you can tell it came from a handmade master rather than a 3D print (like Trenchworx), as the details were not as crisp and fit tolerances not as tight.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 89 I-Go Tank for Bolt Action

While the body, turret, and skids were fairly well cast for resin, the treads had some issues. The back sides of the treads were not smoothly cast and there were no guide grooves or pins to help with alignment to the tank body. One tread was also slightly taller than the other. I glued the treads on using the fender clearance as my guide, but ended up with a tank that leans slightly to one side. There also was a space gap between the treads and tank body that resulted in some painting difficulties.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 89 I-Go Tank for Bolt Action

The other major casting issue with the treads was significant areas of tread breakage and/or poor casting that detracted from the overall appearance of the tank. I filled in as many of these as I could using bits of plastic strips, and though not perfect, my hope was that they wouldn't be too noticeable once painted.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 89 I-Go Tank for Bolt Action

To give the tank a bit more character and also draw the eye away from some of the model's flaws, I added a Warlord tank commander I had in my bits box. For the paint scheme, I opted for a tri-color with black edging style seen in Shaghai according to Tanks Encyclopedia. The image shown had no unit markings, but since I had a bunch of unused decals, I included some seen on the 8th Tank Regiment Type 89's in China.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 89 I-Go Tank for Bolt Action

Company B 28mm IJA Type 89 I-Go Tank for Bolt Action

From a size perspective, the Type 89 is very close to Warlord's Type 97.

 Bolt Action 28mm Company B Type 89 Tank vs Warlord Type 97 Tank Sizes

 Bolt Action 28mm Company B Type 89 Tank vs Warlord Type 97 Tank Sizes

The next vehicle is a Type 94 Izuzu Truck with a Type 98 20 mm anti-aircraft machine cannon in the bed. Company B is the only one currently producing this in 28mm, and the kit consisted of a resin body with white metal details.  The resin casting was fairly well done (though the connection points for the wheel axles and struts required cutting and filing, and there was a bubble mark where the front gas cap should have been), but many of the metal parts came badly bent and had to be twisted back into shape. 

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

My main area of concern with this kit was the drop down gates on the bed. These had no included pins or supports and would only have been held in place with glue if built as is. This seemed like a significant breakage risk, so I decided they needed to be beefed up.

The first step I took was inserting some brass rods into the resin body under where the gates would fit. The resin strip I had to drill into was rather thin, so the diameter of the rod was less than I hoped for and I felt additional support would be required. The photograph included on the information sheet indicated there were some support legs under the gates, but the image resolution was too poor to see the details and I could find not a better version of the picture online.  

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

The only other images I found of the Type 94 AA truck were screen captures from the War Thunder video game. They depicted the bed as having posts in the corners with chains connected to the gates.  I don't know of this was historically accurate, but it seemed like an easy way to build additional strength into the gates. For mine, I pinned thicker brass rods into the bed, added bases of plastic tubing, then connected them to the gates with jeweler's wire that was trimmed to length after the glue dried. The end result was relatively sturdy.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

The next challenge was the wheels.  In addition to them being cast with the axle ends off-centered, the hole size and depth did not create a snug fit on the axles, particularly with the front wheels.  For the front wheels, I ended up drilling out the centers and using wood shims to hold the wheels in place during gluing to the axle. This resulted in a fairly sturdy bond without the wheels being up against the body of the truck.  The rear axle ends were unfortunately too short to allow this, and the wheels had to be glued on as is.  I had a couple of the wheels break off during painting, so I'll see how they hold up during gaming.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

During construction and painting, I also had a lot of issues with the very thin barrel of the AA gun getting bent. Though I tried to salvage it, in the end I knew it would always be a problem and swapped it out with a piece of brass rod.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

The included figures were of OK sculpting quality and run slightly smaller than the Warlord miniatures. For aesthetic purposes, I opted to cut them off their bases and pin them to the truck bed.  As a bit of additional detailing (the bed still looked too empty), I added in a resin crate and some brass rod clipping to represent spent shell casings. I also made a plastic windscreen, but unfortunately forgot to mask if before I sprayed on the varnish, so it came out fairly cloudy.

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

Company B 28mm IJA Type 94 Izuzu Truck with Type 98 AA Gun for Bolt Action

The size of the truck is almost identical to Warlord's Type 97 truck.

Bolt Action 28mm Company B Type 94 Truck vs Warlord Type 97 Truck Sizes

Bolt Action 28mm Company B Type 94 Truck vs Warlord Type 97 Truck Sizes

Final Verdict: Company B produces a lot of interesting 28mm IJA vehicle and figures that no other manufactures have, so I appreciate them being willing to tackle some of these more obscure items. That said, the design quality and detail levels are not as high as some of the newer offerings by others (particularly 3D prints and injection plastic kits), so you will need to invest more care into building and painted them for your table.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Star Wars Legion: Rebel AT-RT and Operatives

Back with some more Star Wars figures.  First up is the rebel AT-RT from the core set.

Star War Legion Rebel AT-RT

I did some experimenting with sponging and washes to give it a worn look. The was my first time using the sponge technique (usually I dry brush on my wear marks), and though its not perfect, I think it's ok for a first try.

Star War Legion Rebel AT-RT

Next up are a couple of Operatives: Sabine Wren for the Rebels and Bossk for the Empire. Both figures are really well designed, and I like you get a few options to select from when building the figures.

Star War Legion Sabine Wren and Bossk

Having only seen one episode of Star Wars Rebels, I don't really know much about Sabine Wren, but I though the miniature looked cool. Searching online, it seems the painting on her armor changed on a regular basis, which created a lot of challenges/opportunities when selecting a paint scheme.  I ended up going with one that was credited to the 3rd season. 

Star War Legion Sabine Wren

It was definitely a challenge trying to get all the details painted and I'm not completely happy with the owl insignia on her shoulder armor, but it was the best these aging eyes and hands could accomplish.

Star War Legion Sabine Wren

On the Imperial side, I had the choice between Bossk and Boba Fett at the shop, and thought Bossk was the better looking of the miniatures.  Plus, I've always loved the menacing appearance of the character since I saw Empire Strikes Back as a kid.

Star War Legion Bossk

His skin tone came out a bit darker than I planned, as the original paint scheme didn't have enough pop when it came to his scales and I ran a sepia wash over him to better highlight them. However, I think the trade off was worth it and I think he's my favorite Legion figure that I've painted so far.

Star War Legion Bossk

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Star Wars Legion: Power Generators and Cargo Dock

I'm back with the last of my terrain for Star Wars Legion. First up is a set of power generators produced by TTCombat.

TT Combat Generators SFU005 Star Wars Legion

These are very nice kits that I was able to assemble and paint over the course of the day. Overall, the build was fairly straightforward other than Step 5 on the instructions. For these side pieces, there are actually 3 slightly different sizes used on the construction of the curve, but it's not called out on the frame or the instruction sheet. As such, I would dry fit everything before gluing. I also recommend painting as you build, as it will be difficult to get a brush in some of the areas after assembly.

TT Combat Generators SFU005 Star Wars Legion

The size is listed as 28-32mm scale, and it looks suitably large enough next to a Star Wars Legion miniature.

Next up is the landing pad and cargo dock set from Sarissa which seems to be inspired by Scarif from StarWars: Rogue One.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion


Though the set is listed as 28mm, Sarissa advertises it in their Sci-Fi: Legion 35mm area, so I assumed it would be large enough for the Star Wars miniatures.  Unfortunately that is not the case. A human will just squeeze under the roof of the cargo bay, but larger figures like wookies are too tall.  A 28mm figure looks fine (this example is from Reaper).


Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion


The monorail tram also looks woefully undersized next to Legion figures.  Why they didn't scale these items by about 120%, I have no idea, but I consider it a misstep on their part.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion


Luckily, the cargo boxes, communications array, and landing pad look suitably large.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion


Another thing I found disappointing in this kit is the lack of details. This is the front door to the cargo bay, but there are no door controls to add on, or other details engraved into the MDF.  A good portion of the kit is also card rather than MDF, so the details printed on them are fairly shallow and not conducive to dry brushing.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion

The drawing of the kit also suggests a good length of monorail track is included, but as you can see, that is not really the case.  It's only about half the length I expected.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion

As I mentioned above, a good portion of the kit is actually card: the outer shells of the building, monorail track, tram, and cargo containers. To bring out the details and keep everything from looking really flat, you will need to ink all the seam lines, which is a time consuming process.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion

When folding the card, I found it was difficult to get really sharp edges (even with scoring) that fit on all the MDF pegs properly. As a result, many items, particular the cargo containers, had large gaps where the the card portions met.  Luckily they were on the bottoms, but they still had to be sealed with glue and hidden with paint and ink.

Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion

A major area of concern in terms of durability,is the bottom of the monorail tram. Not only are large areas left completely open, but the sled area for the track is made from card and has minimal support. As you can see below, the corner flanges are already bent and tearing just from assembly and painting. I fully expect this to eventually break from storage and play, and cannot understand why MDF was not used for this part.


Sarissa Landing Pad & Dock Set S144 Star Wars Legion

My final verdict is the the TTCombat kit is well done, but the Sarissa kit is mediocre at best and has a lot of deficiencies and missed opportunities.





Sunday, April 19, 2020

Star Wars Legion: Rebel and Imperial Command

Back again with some more Star Wars figures.  Theses are the Rebel and Imperial command add-ons.

Star Wars Legion: Rebel Command

Star Wars Legion: Imperial Command

For the Imperial officer, I went with the green-gray worn by senior officers in A New Hope rather than the black worn by lower ranking officers. The Rebel command uniforms came in a variety of brown variants, but I opted again for the tan New Hope version with yellowish rather than rust colored shoulder patches. 

Star Wars Legion: Rebel and Imperial Officers

The Rebel comms tech wasn't panted according to any particular on-screen uniform; colors were chosen to match other troops in my force.  The Imperial comms tech is based on the standard black Imperial uniform.  To keep everything from looking too uniformly black, the tunic was highlighted with grays, the leather with browns, and the helmet with blues.

Star Wars Legion: Rebel and Imperial  Comms Technicians

The astomech droids were painted as the classic R5-D4 from A New Hope and R4-I9 from the Star Wars Force Attax card game.

Star Wars Legion: Rebel R5 and Imperial R4 Astromech Droids

Finally, we have the two medical droids.  The 2-1B uses The Empire Strikes Back color-scheme.  I couldn't find a photo reference for the FX-9, so just opted for an overall dark metallic appearance.

Star Wars Legion: Rebel 2-1B and Imperial FX-9 Medical Droids