Friday, November 30, 2012

Wee Friends

Friendship Models produces a line of 1/76-1/72 compatible figures for periods from WWII to the modern era. I purchased a number of the figures from their eBay store, but they also have a website that you can order from.

The sculpting and proportions of the figures for the most part is very good. The weakest part were the faces, which are done in a very simplified style reminiscent of old Minot figures, but this is not terribly obvious unless you are looking at the figures under a magnifying glass like I do.

Some of the WWII era figures that I ordered from them are shown below:


To the right are a pair of Germans from the WWII German Infantry with IR Equipment set (WFM72022). There is a third kneeling figure which I have not put in the comparison. The figures are all multi-part, with equipment provided as individual pieces. To the left are a pair of Italian tankers from the WWII Italian Tank Crew set (WFM72015). The figures are also multi-part, with separate heads and arms. The set has a seated figure and a half figure which are not shown in the comparison. A total of eight heads are provided.


On the left is a WWII WRAF Driver (WFM72013). On the right are a WWII Soviet Female Army Nurse (WFM72016), and a WWII Soviet Female Tank Commander (WFM72014) who comes with two different right arms.


On the left is an old lady from the Two Old Ladies set (WFM7218) which also includes a seated figure (not shown). On the right, the two figures from the Civilian Woman and Children set (WFM7617). The woman holds a baby (thus "children"), while the girl hold a pet or a doll. I can't really tell if it's a cat, a bunny, or something else.

Overall, I like the Wee Friends figures. They are definitely more suited for 1/72 than 1/76. I haven't assembled any of the multi-part figures yet, but I don't foresee any difficulties (other than the possibility of small pieces being lost to the carpet).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Landships

Evidence for the maritime heritage of tank design can be seen in the multi-turreted landship type designs that were created in the interwar period before WWII. While probably not what H.G. Wells envisioned when he wrote The Land Ironclads, there is a good possibility these designs were influenced by concepts developed by the Landships Committee that were later embodied in the Vickers A1E1 Independent.


Models of interwar tanks are scarce, but three different types of multi-turreted tanks have been made in 1/72 scale. Most likely because they were actually used in the early part of WWII.
The first model is a Soviet T-35 from the Russian Tank Collection. It is mostly plastic, with a metal lower hull. The details are decent except for the silver painted headlamps which make the model look very toy-like.


The second model is the Soviet T-28, also from the Russian Tank Collection. This model is also metal and plastic, though there may be more metal in the T-28 than in the T-35. Details are a bit softer on this model because the rear deck is made of metal. It also has the same issues with the headlamps as the T-35. A resin model of the T-28 is also made by MIG productions, but it is fairly expensive when you can find it.


The final model is the Dragon Nebaufahrzeug Nr.3-5. Frankly, when I saw the model, I was a bit underwhelmed. It is the smallest of the three tanks. I would have thought that the people who came up with the Maus, the Ratte, and the Monster would have developed something bigger. Despite this, I will probably be getting the Nr.1 version with the Rheinmetall turret as well. There is another kit for the Nr.2 version, but I'm guessing that it is the same as the Nr.3-5 except for different decals so I'll skip that one.


A comparison of the three tanks.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sengoku Daimyo

I found these two blisters in a pile of unboxed gashapon at the hobby shop over the weekend. The people at the counter seemed to think they were manufactured by Furuta, but I haven't been able to verify that this is accurate. Furuta did release various samurai in 1/35 scale, but I have never heard of a line in 1/72.

メーカーは誰ですか?

The set on the left consists of Uesugi Kenshin and his mount, while the set on the right consists of Takeda Shingen and a retainer. I'm assuming it is Takeda since the screens bear the Takeda mon.

The figures are made of a soft vinyl, and come pre-painted. Details are soft and toy-like.

Kenshin has his sword arm bent back at the elbow at an uncomfortable angle (though you can't really see it in this picture). The figure was not designed to sit on his mount very well either (Kenshin's cape and the high cantle of the saddle make him tilt forward). The horse has a peg under one hoof so it can be plugged into the diorama base that comes with the set.


General Takeda (right) is wide. Really wide. I'm guessing it's Takeda, but he is not wearing his famous red armor with wigged helmet. In fact, his helmet is more reminiscent of Shimazu Yoshihiro's than any representation of Takeda's helmets that I am aware of. The accompanying samurai (left) has a peg in his foot to allow him to be plugged into the diorama base that comes with the set. I thought he was a mounted figure at first because he was so bow-legged.


The honjin (本陣) consist of a single two panel screen, and two single panel screens for the sides. The screens are made in hard plastic with the mon of each daimyo printed on the center of each panel. The screens come with pegs that allow them the be plugged into the diorama base.

Uesugi clan mon

Takeda clan mon

If anyone has any information on these figure sets, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hasegawa M3 Stuart


I had a day off, so I decided to work on a project that I have been thinking about for a long time. It has been noted that the Hasegawa M3 Stuart is 1/70 scale (maybe larger), but when I compared it with a Mirage M3, I was thinking that it might not be impossible to fix it so that it would come close to 1/72.

A comparison of the Hasegawa and Mirage hulls can be seen at On The Way! I'd say that the Hasegawa hull is almost 2mm wider, and 5mm longer than the Mirage hull, which is ostensibly 1/72 scale.

What really concerned me however, was the turret. It seemed gigantic when I first compared it with the Mirage turret. I was actually thinking about trying to find an appropriate 20mm turret as a replacement, but when I actually measured them, it was actually the same length, although almost 2mm wider and 1mm taller.


I decided I could live with the difference in width, though the difference in size between the hatch on the commander's cupola for the Hasegawa and Mirage kits is quite dramatic.


Here is what I did to adjust the dimensions of the Hasegawa kit:

1. Shorten the rear deck by 0.5mm
2. Shorten front glacis
3. Shorten fenders
4. Glue bar in new position
5. Sand down the sides of the hull (reduction of 1mm+)

I think that overall, the converted Hasegawa hull on the left matches the Mirage hull on the right very closely.


The left fender is missing in the picture because it fell to the carpet while I was trying to glue it in place. I looked for it everywhere, and then started to check if it somehow got stuck in my clothes. As I was shaking out my jacket, it reminded me of a scene from Ganota no Onna... I didn't quite get to the stage Utsuki did before giving up though.

Next, the walls and bottom of the lower hull were cut and assembled to match the length of the upper hull.


Some more assembly, and some putty work. I even found the missing fender and attached it.


Disaster! I had already figured that I would need to shorten the tracks, but I forgot to account for the size of the wheels when moving the bogies closer. Actually the fit is really tight even where I didn't adjust the spacing. The rear road wheel can barely fit because it is pressed right up against the rear idler assembly.


I walked away in disgust at that point, but now that I've had some time to think things over, I'll have to see what diameter the wheels need to be in order to not be jammed up. Maybe some 1/76 wheels might work out...

anigif

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