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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bolt Action: Full scale model wars

Full scale model wars
Quite some time ago I participated in an event and I noticed that two of the players were using some tanks that seemed a little on the large side. Melbourne's favorite French sons Julian and Enzo had come out to play and they had bought some 1:48 scale tanks. Initially I had a kind of reservation about using a larger scale, after all 1:48 is a lot bigger than 1:56 and therefore harder to transport, easier for your enemy to shoot at and easier to break as 1:48 tends to be an actual model as opposed to a toy. But then I noticed the exquisite detail these models offer as well as the fact that your models actually look like they could fit inside the tank.

I run either warlord or Artizan miniatures, they're modeled to the heroic 28mm. This means they're chunky, large and if scaled up to 1:1 proportions I fear their hands would closely resemble baseball gloves and they'd have faces that perhaps even mothers couldn't love. The long and short is that against a warlord 1:56 Sherman I don't really see how the little guys could squeeze 5 men in, plus the engine, ammo, supplies and basically anything else that makes a tank go! Now if you are running Perry minis or to a lesser degree Eureka then sure, 1:56 works great as the minis look like they stand half a chance at squeezing into their vehicle of choice. But I'm starting to wonder if 1:48 isn't better suited to the majority of armies.

Now at this stage I'm sure that more than a few of you might be getting ready to pen some long winded response that details how scale works and that 1:56 is the truest representation of vehicles in 28mm, and you might be right, who am I to say otherwise, it's just the figures I use look more at home next to a larger piece of plastic.

My journey into the world of 1:48 started quite some time ago thanks to Bryan who sold me a 1:48 Matilda. I assembled 2 of these kits, loved the results but found them to be rather fiddly to get together. Recently when I was wandering aimlessly around a local hobby store, amidst all the mountain of 1:35 and 1:72 I found two little gems. A 1:56 warlord plastic Hellcat and a 1:48 Sturmtiger. Now for some of you out there this would be a no brainer, the Hellcat is a superb looking tank, in games it performs admirably and the plastic kits being produced by Warlord right now are getting very good indeed (the Greyhound springs to mind) but I already own 3 Hellcats and I'm not certain but owning 4 might deem me worthy of some sort of crazy cat lady award. So I bought the Sturmtiger.

I had dipped a toe in the sacred waters. Once I assembled this beast I just surrendered and fell into said waters.

The kit was a Tamiya kit and I'm awarding 10/10 for the model itself. The instructions are clear and concise (WG please take note) and the finished result was impressive and detailed. I must have stared at this damned thing for 30 minutes straight, admiring its lines, details and overall grandeur. I put it next to 1:56 Sherman and the comparison was comical. But I loved it.

Here's the catch ladies and gents. I currently own the following tanks for my future German army

Panzer IV

I'm now in an awkward position where I'm seriously considering selling off my existing tanks and replacing them with 1:48 kits. This problem has been made worse by the arrival of the Sturmtigers big brother, the Jagdtiger. This kit was even easier to assemble and given I've become quite adept at assembling the Tamiya track systems I was able to build the Jagdtiger in just a pinch over an hour.

My hesitations are still the same. If I take the plunge and replace everything with 1:48 then my tanks are going to be difficult to transport, they'll NEVER get cover and I'll most likely have to shell out some serious coin to replace the 1:56 tanks I already have.

But I'm not sure that I care. Because, well, quite simply, bigger is better.

Before I go any further I'll be very clear that I have allot of love for the amazing work done by companies like Rubicon, Trenchworx, JTFM and Warlord, but I'm finding more and more that the hobby opportunities offered by the larger scale model tanks allow for a greater level of customisation. The larger bodies allow for more detail and offer a broader "canvas" to try out new techniques. Also 1:56 stowage doesn't look out of place, any tank crews or tank riders don't look odd when modeled with the vehicle.

Going forward I'll be exploring my options fully when it comes to vehicles and deciding on what brand I choose. It seems that Tamiya has done all the hard work for me this far and has an excellent range of 1:48 kits. These can be enhanced with some incredible stowage options from Black Dog.

The only question left is: do I now go back and upgrade my existing 40+ vehicles with 1:48? Ummmmm

A big thank you to Bryan for the stunning photos of his gorgeous Hetzers!

Until next time roll your 6's and have fun


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