Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review - Heer46 Russian B-4 Howitzer

Time flies when you have a real job to do - my apologies for the long gap between posts...

Anyway, today I have a look at Heer46's massive B-4 howitzer.


The 203mm howiter M1931 B-4, nicknamed Stalin's sledgehammer, represents the heaviest artillery used by the Red Army in significant numbers.It entered service in 1933 and was used as division and corps artillery until the 1950s. During this time the "Bolshevik" factory produced over 800 of these guns. It was mounted on wheeled or tracked carriages, both without their own engine. Overall weight was close to 20 tons with an overall length of 9.3 m. 15 men were needed to achieve a nominal rate of fire of 1 round per minute. Every shell contained 100 kg of high explosives and had a range of 18 km.

The Heer46 kit comes in just 7 parts and assembly is pretty straight forward. No additional work beside a good scrub with soap water  was needed and everything can be put together easily with superglue.


The only major issue I have with the kit is that it can only be build in transport position. It is not possible to elevate the barrel and the tail is just one piece.


There is also no crew available, so I've built mine out of Warlord Games's Soviet Infantry (Winter) box.


Here are some pictures of the partially painted version (together with partially painted crew of 5):


And last but not least, a size comparison with the T-26:


Taken together, the B-4 is a nice model and a good addition to every Soviet army. It is definitely exotic and an eye-catcher, and I can't remember how many times I was asked if that is a 40K gun ;)
Anyway, an option to build it in firing position would be great.
The prize is 23.5€ (~ 26 US-$ or £20), which is okay considering that it comes from a small company and is the only way I know to get this particular gun.

Next time (and hopefully not again a full 4 weeks in the future) I will have a look at some infantry sets I recently received from Black Tree Designs.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review - Baker Company T26 "A" & "B"

Today I take a closer look at the T26 "A" and T26 "B" from Baker Company. As far as I can tell they are not in production at the moment, I got them as part of the hapless Winter War Kickstarter (still waiting for most of my stuff after just 3 years...).


The T26 was one of the many "improved" Vickers 6-ton which popped up all across Europe in the 1930s - in reality, most of them were blatant local copies of the original design. The T26 came in two main flavors, single turret with 37mm or 45mm gun (sometimes called "B") and twin-turret with wtwo machine guns (variant "A"). There were some attempts to build versions armed with 76mm artillery pieces, but those didn't develop past prototype stage. Hundreds of T26 were shipped to support the Republicans, and a couple were used at Khalkin Gol.
Large numbers were used during the Winter War against Finland, were the T26 proved to be already obsolete. The Finnish anti-tank rifles couldd penetrate its armor at decent ranges and the tank units were poorly coordinated with infantry which led to avoidable losses.
When the German invasion began they faced thousands of T26, who were in most places slaughtered by Panzer III and IVs, but especially by the Luftwaffe. Several hundred were lost in the first months of Operation Barbarossa.
Although basically already outdated at the start of the war, they were used until 1945 against the Japanese in Manchuria and at the Leningrad front.

The Baker Company models are not very high quality. Details are sufficient, but the material is rather brittle (this might be partly due to a couple of years in storage, too) and prone to break. Their is also quite a lot of excess material on the back of the tracks that impairs fitting. In other spots it looks like miscast surfaces were sanded down rather roughly.


The base platee for teh twin turrets was pretty contorted, but due to its thinness I could fix that with some hot water. Nevertheless, the hull for this versions has bolts on the top which need to be removed to make the base fit - I don't know why that was designed in this way...


The single turret variant suffers from the same deficiencies:




Assembled they son't look too bad, but you can see the amount of filler that was necessary:



Those are rather small vehicles:




I'm a bit torn on these ones. On one hand, they are just not nice-looking models and have their share of issues. On the other hand, I got them like really, really cheap and they do look the part once they are assembled and painted.
To me, it comes down to price, which I cannot judge because they are not available at the moment (and most likely never will be again). During the Kickstarter they were £22, which is obviously a joke when you can get a supposedly much better quality T26 for less from Warlord Games...
Yeah, so if you ever come across one of those, either pick it up really cheap or giv it a pass - there is  a lot of nicer stuff out there.

PS: We played our Barbarossa event last Saturday and it was a blast - I only have pictures from my phone but I will post them in the next days. And as soon as I can find my camera I'll write the review of the much nicer and cooler Heer46 B-4 howitzer!

PPS: I just ordered a Komsomolets armored tractor and a Zis 6 truck :D

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Review - Warlord Games BA-6 Armored Car


The Broneavtomobil 6, or BA-6, was a slightly upgraded version of the BA-3 armored car. It is based on the three-axle GAZ-AAA chassis and entered service in 1936. The BA-6 featured the same turret as the BT-5 and T-26 m 1933, a conical design housing a 45mm 20-K anti-tank gun and a co-axial 7.65 mm DT machine gun. A second machine gun was mounted at the front. The design was severely under motorized with a meager 40 hp engine for a 5ton vehicle, and it lacked maneuverability off-road. Top speed (55 km/h) and operational range (200 km) were also significantly less than those of its German counterparts.

It was used in the Spanish Civil War and served in the early Soviet campaigns of WW2 against the Japanese and Finns. The BA-6 was still in used when Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, but it was quickly replaced by the T-60 and T-70 tanks.

The Warlord Games kit comes as a combination of resin hull and turret and metal parts. I was slightly concerned about that because it can sometimes cause trouble during assembly. Luckily,  Warlord Games used a lot of pegs and holes and building the vehicle was quite enjoyable.


The details are very good, and both resin and metal parts are casts in good quality. As always, the exact alignment of the wheels is a bit tricky, but I have seen worse. The only issue was the axle for the two spare tires - it is too short...


Overall a kit that satisfies all expectations. My only minor criticism is the lack of any extras like stowage, crew or decals, but those are rarely included in this type of model (although I think that is what turns a good kit into a great one).

 

The Warlord Games BA-6 is 8,6 cm long, 4,8 cm high and 4,2 cm wide,  which corresponds to 4,8 m, 2,7m and 2,4m, respectively. This is reasonably close to the size of the original (length 4.65m, height 2.2m, width 2.1m).


All in all, the BA-6 is a kit from the upper third of the scale. It is easy to build, well detailed and a good representation of the original.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

For the Motherland (Part 1)

Hello everybody, sadly I only have time for a very quick update.
Here are some of the miniatures for my newest project, an early war Soviet army for the Operation Barbarossa event our wargaming club is organising.


The T-26s and infantry are from Baker Company, the BA-6 is from Warlord Games.
I'm planning to turn the biplane into a mission objective for the Top Secret mission.

I hope I can put up the full reviews soon!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Review - Anvil Industry The Blacksmith

Anvil Industry is one of my favorite miniature companies, and they recently turned 5 years old! To celebrate this, they released The Blacksmith, their special 5th anniversary miniature. Of course I ordered two, let's have a look!

The miniature come with a lot of pieces: a base plate, a body, an anvil, a pair of tongs, two heads,
two right hand options and three left hand options!


The quality is very good, as usual for Anvil Industry. But I was very surprised to see the amount of bubbles on the underside of the anvil piece:


Shocking! ;)
Well, luckily this is completely irrelevant for the look of the miniature because the rest of the anvil looks as sharp as  you can wish for:


 I can only speculate that the bubbles are caused by the process of casting such a complex form, but then again, they do not affect the look of the model at all.

I bought two sets so I can build one as an actual blacksmith and one as a warrior ready to fight.
Assembly is easy and everything fits perfectly:


Amazing character!

I chose the flaming sword and shield combo for my warrior. You could also use the hammer for the right hand and a dagger for the left.


The tools on his belt appear a bit out of place to me, but who knows what they will be used for after the battle...

I am looking very much forward to painting these two. It's a really cool miniature, especially when built as a blacksmith. Makes me wish I could do OSL...

If you want to pick up you own blacksmith, go to:

http://anvilindustry.co.uk/Boutique/special-edition/The-Blacksmith


And in case you are wondering what happened to my Bolt Action Hungarians... Well, I missed the tournament due to a severe plumbing issue (I spare you the details). There was some progress painting them, and I hope I will show some new pictures soon.

Overall I promise to take better care of this blog in the future - I have sorted out my wedding, residency and new job and it should be much easier now to post an article every other week or so.

See you soon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Magyar Királyi Honvédség - Assembling the Force

My miniatures arrived a couple of days ago and I wasted no time building my army!



The army list I will use is as follows:

Second Lieutnant (Regular) - 50

Light Infantry Section (Veteran)
+ 4 soldiers
+ SMG - 120
Light Infantry Section (Veteran)
+ 4 soldiers
+ SMG - 120
Regular Infantry Section (Regular)
+ 6 soldiers - 110

Sniper Team (Regular) - 50
MMG Team  (Regular) - 50
Medium Artillery (Inexperienced)
+ Spotter - 70

Turan I
+ Upgrade to Turan II - 195
Toldi I - 75
Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma - 160 (Axis Support)

Total: 1000 Punkte

 And here are pictures of the some of the elements:

I went for a rather relaxed pose for the Lieuntant, and decided to arm him with just a pistol. Normally, I would use Officers to get some free SMGs in the force, but this time it somehow didn't feel right.

This is one of the NCOs with SMG. Hungarian used the Danuvia 39M SMG which looked a lot like a normal rifle:


The artillery is a hodgepdoge of miniatures: I stole the gun from my Italians, the metal crew is actually from a mortar and I built two additional crewmen from the Blitzkrieg infantry box.


The MMG on the other hand is straight forward out of the box. I just needed to find a way to mount the separate bases in a reasonable way.

And the sniper team. Due to the separate weapons it was really hard to pose them in a proper way, and I still hope nobody'll look at them too closely.

Last, but not least, the tanks:

I ordered a Puma at our local hobby store, but it didn't arrive yet. If it's not here in time, I'll go back to use the Szebeny's Tank Destroyer as a Marder II.

Next I'll have to remove the last bits of flash and tub, and then they'll all get a nice white primer.