Sunday, October 11, 2009


Well, my excursion into 15mm didn't last long!  Some reasons for this.

First of all, I didn't really enjoy painting the smaller scale- partly my ageing eyes, but also just because I found them to be both more fiddly and much less satisfying when painted and placed on the tabletop (the two-foot rule) than are their larger brethren.

Another reason was that when I sat down with a calculator, it became evident that the cost of building up a collection from scratch in 15mm was simply going to be a lot more than I originally estimated, especially seeing as I already have a lot of models and miniatures already in 20mm.

And I mean a lot!  The re-think started a few months ago as I was nosing around a flea market here in Tokyo and stumbled across two brand-new boxes of these; 

I couldn't resist picking them up, as they were a steal at only 600 yen each, and with each kit containing a 1/76 Tiger and IS-2m. That's 300 yen per vehicle, cheap by any standard! And they are indeed beautiful models.

Recently I met a fellow gamer from Italy, who is like me a long-term resident here in Tokyo.  We  were discussing possible gaming projects in the future and one of them was WWII.  So when I got home I decided to dig out all the kits I had- and found myself astounded at just how many  models I have picked up over the last seventeen years or so!

These are what I have just for the Russians.

Not counting these on the workbench;

Fujimi's T-34/85 mould is getting "long in the tooth" and like any kit of its vintage, it has its frustrations and gaps which need filling, not to mention the soft rubber tracks ( I'm one of those madmen who prefers putting together separate link sections in hard styrene, as with the IS-2m kit).

Nevertheless, the T34/85 is on the whole pretty simple to knock together  and I find it very much looks the part when finished.  I am as much a modeller as I am a gamer and painter, so I have a lot of fun cutting off fenders, adding battle scars and stowage and opening hatches etc. so as to give each vehicle an individual look.

Three are pretty much near completion, and I was able to put the hull and turret of another one together in an hour.  While I'm waiting for the glue and/ or putty on one model to dry, I can work on another so that progress is actually pretty swift. 

Note the commander in his BA-64 in the back.  I've done a lot of conversion on this model too, but the Skytrex white metal castings can be rough and it took a lot more time, effort and bad language  to get it presentable than did the Fujimi kits!

Haven't decided on markings yet; I will probably order a few sheets from Aleran who do a good range of 1/76 decals, including vehicle slogans and turret numbers for the Russians.

Power in my palm! Completed model ready for priming and painting.

I have around 24 T-34/85's in total.  21 is enough for either a tank battalion if using Flames of War, or for two entire tank brigades (twelve models each) if I use the Command Decision/ Spearhead organization (which I'm thinking of adopting for Blitzkrieg Commander).  In 20mm, these should make for a very impressive looking force.

Also in the picture are five Fujimi IS-2m's, which will make make up either a heavy tank company or regiment, depending on the rules.  You can also see some lend-lease half tracks and a few SU-85's which I will convert into recovery vehicles.

For the Germans I must have at least a score more, including half a dozen Pz-IV's and eight Sdkfz-251 half tracks.  One nice thing about living here in Japan; access to all the available kits, and at a reasonable price once I know where to look. 

And all this does not include the models I have in metal!  I have loads of Russian infantry, heavy weapons, mortars and command figures.  The only thing I need  for the Soviets are some rocket launchers and heavier guns, but as these are factored in off-table in many rules, it is really just for the sake of completeness. Such models are not cheap, but again it would cost me a lot more to start over again in 15mm.

For the Germans, I may need to get some more infantry but as I put fewer models on a base (as each infantryman was armed to the teeth when compared to his Russian opponent), there are not a lot I need.

So basically, I realized that despite the attractions of the scale, it would be rash for me to start all over again in 15's.  In fact, I've actually got more than I need of some models in 1/76, but I'll probably eBay any extras along with what few 15's I have.

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