Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Some Modern Vehicles & 'What a Tanker!'

I've been fairly busy with work, outdoor stuff and some home renos, but I've not entirely neglected the hobby desk and have managed to get a few more things added to my ACWII project.

I figured that if I'm going to build a modern miniature collection, I really needed to beef-up my vehicle park to help set the stage for more urban scenarios. Nonetheless, doing this using wargaming-designed resin models is a fairly costly proposal, so I put on my thinking cap to see what alternatives were out there.

Card vehicles were definitely an option, as many of the available kits look quite good and are inexpensive, but I gave them a miss as I thought the whole cut, fold and assemble thing spread over 20-odd vehicles would make me snap my crayons, and they might be more susceptible to wear and tear over the long term. 

Hmm, okay, diecast vehicles was another possibility. They come painted, have a nice heft  to them and generally look petty nice. Nonetheless, sourcing civilian vehicles that are close to 1/56 scale can be a bit tricky, and often the final cost is not that much different than resin once you factor in shipping. 

In the end, I came up with the idea of using railway models after looking at some attractive  layouts at a local model shop. After scurrying home and doing a bit of research, I discovered that O Gauge is a fairly close fit for 28mm figures. So I scanned through eBay and found several Chinese suppliers who will happily provide bulk lots of painted plastic vehicles at very reasonable prices. I ended up getting 15 cars for $30 including shipping - that's about the same cost of a single resin model.  Score!!  To be honest, there's an inordinate number of BMWs in the lot I received, so I may have to acquire a few diecast domestics to better round out the collection, but overall its turned out to be a very economical way of filling up a street or two with traffic. 

While I was in the eBay vortex, I also purchased a couple transport trucks which seem an ubiquitous feature on any North American road. 

These are Tonkin 1/53 diecast models. While they are quite nice, they can be a bit pricey. Nonetheless, if you're patient you can find some for reasonable money (around $25), especially if you're willing to take on ones that have open packaging, or have minor bits missing. 

Okay, that's the civilian stuff pretty much sorted, how about the military gear? Well, let's start with some paramilitary kit in the form of a couple of armed trucks, or 'technicals'. 

This light duty truck is a resin kit available through Empress Miniatures.

Its designed to fit a wide number of weapon loadouts, from rocket launchers to heavy machine guns. Here I have it armed with a nasty ZU-23 automatic cannon. 

To provide a more North American idea of a technical, I also did a light conversion on one of the larger police trucks from the excellent 'Walking Dead' scenery set. 

To mask the roof police lights I used a bit of putty to mock-up some tarped stowage I then made a few base inserts for the truck bed so I could drop in whatever heavy weapon I wanted them to roll out with. The first few pictures are of it with a 50 cal HMG and... 

... another(!) ZU-23 automatic cannon.

Finally, I finished painting a 1/48 scale BMP-2 that I picked up from Empress Miniatures a few years ago (originally an HLBS kit). I did it up in a relatively generic three-tone camo pattern. Fairly quick work with an airbrush - it looks okay, but I think I'll dirty it up some more to make it more of a battered old veteran. Still, a pretty scary vehicle for an infantry skirmish game. 

To close off, I just wanted to mention that this past weekend we played our first game of 'What a Tanker!' . 

I mashed together a simple game using my old 15mm FoW North African collection. Well, what a hoot! The rules are very easy to pick up and quick to dive into. The activation mechanic is reminiscent to Chain of Command, with a nice crew advancement system for follow-on games. I'd like to see it expand to include armoured cars, anti-tank guns and perhaps something that abstracts infantry support. It's a bit 'popcorn' perhaps, but I think it gives a great game. Highly recommended.