Friday, 24 May 2013

Plastic Fantastic - Dimestore Spaceships Trial Painting

Just finished putting together some trial paint jobs on a selection of the plastic Dimestore Spaceships - mostly just a bit of fun, with a couple of detailed ones, and others that were little more than dry-brushing with some detailing to see how paint would sit.

Must say, I'm quite pleased - certainly no complaints for what was a quick test run - these ships painted up easily, and I think would support a number of complicated techniques or stages of painting if you were so inclined.

To start off with, I was looking long and hard at the Flying Saucer design, and it reminded me strongly of the semi-mythical late war Nazi design of the Haunebu or H-Gerat:

So I went for it in Luftwaffe Green including some hand-daubed iron cross insignia - a bit rough, but I was too excited to bother with time consuming decals - something I will correct at a later date:

The Flying Dart shaped ship I just gave a dry-brush of bronze over the black undercoat, and then did a minimum of detailing - I was thinking that these might be a secret Allied design to combat the German 'Wunderwaffe' - maybe a bit of Luft '46 might be in order employing these - they would go nicely alongside 1/300 aircraft, I should think - throw in a few ME262 and the odd all-white 616 Sqn Gloster Meteor and Bob's your uncle!

Next I went for a simple grey scheme on what I am calling the 6mm Gunship, just with some red detailing - although I realise I forgot to finish the canopy before taking the photos - tut, tut!
The Flying Horseshoe got a sort of alien purple with the odd bit of colour - very quick and rough again - but definitely speaks to the potential they would have as Fleet-Scale Sci-Fi:

I think there was a race in the Babylon 5 universe that it would fit the bill for; was it the Vree?

Talking of on-screen Sci-Fi, the next craft, the ones with the trio of domed protuberances, I did to go alongside my Late Republic / Early Imperial Ships; here with an Irregular Star Destroyer and a Brigade Models' Insidioso:

I think the domes reminded me of the ones on an Interdictor Class, so perhaps these are an early, smaller scale fore-runner.....

Finally, just to show the scratch-building potential - I lopped off the two side sponsons on the ship I have dubbed the Rocket Sled - came away nice and easy with a quick chop of a craft knife - I was thinking fixed upright, they would make good moisture collector towers for 6mm stuff?

All in all, then, great fun to throw paint at, no problems to deal with, and a few good ideas as to how to employ the various designs - obviously a couple more to play with yet, so hopefully more to come on these......

Monday, 20 May 2013

Plastic Fantastic: Dimestore Spaceships

More Plastic Fantastic madness, now, not in the shape of the usual strange conversion fodder, but rather these so-called 'Dimestore' Spaceships that I ordered via EBay from the USA.

Yes, rather than doing strange things to bits of plastic to turn them into something resembling Fleet Scale Sci-Fi, we have here seven separate designs of various craft that come in bulk - to whit: 144 of the blighters! I went the whole hog and bought them en masse, although I shared the cost and went halves with a fellow gamer and Blogger who could also see the potential in them.

Of course, not all the designs are immediately obvious as your standard Spaceships, but I feel they are ripe for conversion, and might do duty in a number of scales.
The major positive is that unlike previous incarnations of similar toys, these are neither made from rubber, or from a weak, bendy plastic, but rather from a good, hard styrene-like substance, so once washed with warm soapy water are ready for undercoating.

Made in China, the bulk shipper based in the US sends them out in random samplings and colours - you can't order specifics, but I received pretty much twenty or so of each craft, with a few more of a couple of designs thrown in to make up the total.

The variety can be see below, against a mat with 1cm square grids for size:

Immediate stand-outs are of course the Flying Saucer and the Horseshoe-shaped craft, whilst the Gun-ship type in the bottom left hand corner looks like it wouldn't disgrace a 6mm Aerospace environment; the remainder are somewhat more esoteric - if I was feeling critical, the ship in the upper right corner is a bit of a strange one - sort of a rocket sled with apparent seating for a pilot - although the side pylons look useful for removal and conversion.

All in all, the details are crisp and nicely moulded, plenty of greeblies and ridges apparent on the surface, and also on the underside as you see below:

As ever, not entirely sure how these will be utilised - I bought them cheap before a recent price-hike on delivery by the USPS, so was blinded by the fact that the unit cost had come down to about twelve pence a ship - and therefore didn't worry about such fancy considerations as where they might serve!

That said, I've got some ideas for some sample craft and some hopefully interesting identities that I will be working on soon - I've already undercoated a few, and found it easy to cut away any of the extraneous detailing, tails and guns to give the following:

They take paint well, and also superglue, as you will see with the addition of a circular rare-earth magnet on the base of the dart-like ship seen bottom right above.

The extraneous parts cut away easily and in one piece, so could be saved as further scratch-building material - I'm certainly looking forward to playing around with these, so watch this space for some developments soon!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Brigade Models New Buildings Range: Comparison Photos

Returning after a long absence from Blogging, (Apologies!)  - thought I'd kick off proceedings by taking a look at a recent development in the world of small-scale wargaming, namely the new and expanding range of buildings from Brigade Models.
These new scenic items are ostensibly meant to go alongside their Land Ironclads miniatures, and the company themselves explain that they are designed at 1/1000th scale, but obviously would happily sit alongside 1/1200th Aeronef whilst also being in the right ballpark for Irregular Miniatures' 1/900th or 2mm ranges.

Now Brigade have as usual excelled themselves in introducing these new products to the consumer, and have been particularly good at providing clear photographs of the various sets as they have come available, so I do not propose to duplicate their efforts here.
Rather I'm going to put the contents of the two original sets, English Village Houses and English Churches, alongside similarly sized or scaled buildings that I know both I and others have used with small-scale miniatures between 1/3000th via 1/1200th up to 1/900th.

I'm hoping that these photos will help me to decide how I should re-assess my vast collection of tiny buildings to accomodate the new range, and ideally this post will also be of use in deciding where these 'new kids on the block' fit in with what has previously been available.

First impressions of all of the buildings that I have seen so far, is that they are extremely well sculpted in terms of architectural details and proportions, and are of a quality rarely seen before at this end of the wargaming scale; I think that they could easily be used for a variety of purposes, but I will start the comparison by putting them alongside some 3mm buildings that were originally produced by 'Simply Six', but I believe are now available from Pico Armour to be used with the Oddzial Osmy ACW range:

As you can see, these new Brigade buildings are definitely true to their description of being of a smaller order, although of course it would not preclude their use if you wanted to depict 'Built Up Areas' rather than individual buildings for a 3mm set-up.

Next up, the ubiquitous and ever-useful plastic Monopoly buildings, that in various forms have been an economical and easy option in the past when no other alternatives were available; again, you will note the discrepancy in terms of proportions and size, so they would not sit well together on the table-top:

Following on, we have what up until now has been the best option for detailed buildings in the smaller scales, the excellent 1/1200th Napoleonic items from Rod Langton:

I have found that depending on which building you buy, there is some variation in the sizing of these pieces, and in the past that has meant they have fitted comfortably next to a range of models, whether small scale naval or even land based 2mm. I think it is interesting to note that it appears that the Brigade 1/1000th pieces look smaller in proportions alongside the majority of the Langtons - perhaps I need to have a re-think about which minis I currently use these with - although I certainly wouldn't give them up, as they are great items, given their tiny size.

Next, a slight curve-ball in the form of a couple of Navwar's 1/3000th terrain pieces, namely some Wharehouses - these are obviously meant to represent very large constructions, but look correctly much smaller against the new stuff from Bigade:

Moving on, we have some examples of the 2mm houses from Irregular Miniatures, that form part of a slightly different approach to scenic items that has been discernible  in their recently available items, away from the original 'Area' terrain pieces (of which more below) to larger individual pieces:

In theory, these building should come the closest in terms of appearance, and although there are obvious differences in detail, they are in the right area, but to be honest would struggle, I think, if placed alongside what has probably been a quantum leap in quality now provided by Brigade.

The next phase, of course, is to set the new contenders against the original, and for many years, the classic weapon of choice for small scale gaming, Irregular's scenic items:

The difference in approach and 'identity' if you like, is of course obvious, so I think I will be torn in the future as to which type to use in my set -up, perhaps the new Brigade might go with my 2mm forces, whilst the Irregular will be used to populate the world below high flying Aeronef or even 1/600th aircraft?

This is again re-inforced when they are seen with the plastic villages from GW's Mighty Empires:

Hmmm, I suppose I should not be complaining about being spoilt for choice, as it were, but these new items have definitely put the cat amongst the pigeons with regard to my pre-conceived scenic inventories; proof positive seen in the following shots next to 2mm troops:

To conclude this quick ramble through the small scale urban landscape, I would probably say that for me, the quality, proportion and precision of these new items are very much in 'game-changer' territory, and I think I will have to look long and hard at what I have been using in order to better match troops to their surroundings in future; all of the various contenders detailed here have their pros and cons; whether price, availability, ease of painting, or representational qualities as how you decide buildings are to be depicted, but I think as this line expands, they will be hard to beat - great quality, flexible, and reasonably priced.....

Maybe I'll give up on these ruminations, though, and just keep using them all..........

Although not at the same time.........