Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Caterpillar 793D Mining Truck

I became interested in mining trucks because of a vehicle that was part of the Barjack Army in the manga Battle Angel Alita. The truck in the manga is a 3-axle vehicle that looked like it was based on the typical Caterpillar or Komatsu mining truck.

The closest thing I could find in both scale and appearance was a 1/75 scale model of the 240 ton payload Caterpillar 793D mining truck produced by KDW (Kaidiwei; 凯迪威), aka Guangdong Kaidiwei Culture Co.,Ltd (广东凯迪威文化股份有限公司).

The model comes in two different colors, and is sometimes advertised as being 1/72 scale.

The truck is very heavy, with a diecast metal hopper and undercarriage. The tires and other various pieces are made of plastic and vinyl. The articulated front axle steering system allows the front wheels to pivot.

The markings are spurious to avoid trademark complications, but I don't think it would have hurt to spell "Truck" correctly...

The telescopic cylinders that allow the truck bed to be raised are fully capable of supporting the weight of the hopper without it sinking back down on its own.

Measuring the wheelbase seems to indicate that it is somewhere between 1/75 scale and 1/72 scale (80mm measured; 78.7mm if 1/75, 82mm if 1/72).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Del Prado Medieval Soldiers

Advertisement for the 60mm Medieval Collection.

The Spanish publisher del Prado was established in 1988 and is known for its partwork series subscriptions that come bundled with collectible models. They are supposed to have had a presence in the USA at one time, but I have never seen any of their publications on sale anywhere. I'm not even sure if they are still in business, since some of their properties have apparently been sold off.

I was more familiar with their diecast fire engines, since they made them in 1/72 scale, but recently I found out that 1/72 Napoleonic and medieval figures were sold under the del Prado label.

I was a bit hesitant about buying any of the figures at first, since it seemed that some of the putative 1/72 Napoleonic figures might actually be closer to 28mm, but after finding a large lot of the medieval figures on eBay for a little over US$1 a figure, I decided to take a chance and purchase the lot.

When I received the package, I wondered what I had been sent because it looked as if the contents had been taped up in a tattered paper bag that was full of holes.

When I opened the paper, I saw that half of the figures inside had fallen out of their blisters. The plastic packaging contained water, and the backings were still all damp. It seems Deutsche Post somehow half drowned the package, and that the outer wrapping was originally a box, before being deformed by water damage.

Anyway, the figures all seemed to be there, and the loose figures didn't seem to have much in the way of damage to the paint, so I guess it wasn't a huge deal in the end.

Here are the figures I received, starting with castle besiegers in red and white livery.

AME001, AME004, AME007, AME008, AME010

AME012, AME015, AME017, AME019

AME021, AME023, AME026, AME028

AME036, AME038

Next are the castle defenders in gold and red livery.

AME003, AME006, AME009, AME011

AME014, AME020, AME024

Overall, I like these figures. They match up well with 1/72 plastics, and are well sculpted with good proportions. Some of the figures seem to be made of lead, so the metal is very soft, but others are made of a harder tin alloy. The paint jobs are not the greatest quality. It is a bit on the sloppy side, but at least they are painted (unlike the large part of my collection).

I may try to buy some Napoleonics to do comparisons at some point if I see them for cheap, but I really would like to complete a set of medieval figures. It is unclear how many figures were produced in the series, and from the looks of some of the poses, a siege engine may even be part of the line. I'd be interested to hear from people who have more information on these figures.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

More McEwan Miniatures

This post is a follow-up from my previous article on McEwan Miniatures, and covers several of the human and dwarf figure sets.

The first picture has figures from the Men at Arms set (left), and the Warrior Maid set (right). The Men at Arms set comes with 6 pairs of identical swords and shields. The Warrior Maid set comes with a mounted version of the figure (which seems to have been missing in my set), and a horse, along with shields and swords. A male footman in ring mail is also included in the set.

The men-at-arms are sculpted in a simple style, with high crowned helmets that make them appear to be taller than they actually are. The figures in the Warrior Maid set are more detailed, but the sculpting is on the chunky side.

The next image is of the Dancing Girls set (left) which were originally a Dancing Girl (HE-9) and Harem Girl (HE-3), and the Evil Priestesses set (right) which were originally a Priestess of Isis (WZ-4) and Sorceress (WZ-2).

The dancing girls are simple sculpts, and probably the sculpts that I like the best out of all the figures in this particular review. The priestesses have a lot more detail, but again the details are large and chunky, which detracts from the figures.

In the next image is the Fat Knight Sir Boars (left) formerly known as just Fat Knight (HE-18). The set comes with a mounted version of Sir Boars and a horse in caparison, as well as heater shields and swords for both mounted and dismounted figures. The second pair of figures (right) are the hag (formerly WZ-3) and hunchback (formerly WZ-5) from the Hunchback Servant & Hag set.

Sir Hubert de Boars is short and fat. The sculpt is nice and simple. The same goes for the hag and the hunchback. I like the later in particular, which seems to be modeled after Igor from Young Frankenstein.

In the final picture, the first two figures (originally HE-26 and HE-10) are from the Dwarf & Dwarfett set (left), while the three figures to the right are from the Armored Dwarfs set. Both sets come with a mix of weapons (mostly axes) and round shields.

For me, these dwarves are on the tall side. I suppose they could be used as mountain dwarves. There are three poses for the armored dwarves, but you get a random mix in the set. The first armored dwarf seems to be a modified version of the male dwarf from the Dwarf and Dwarfett set.

Overall, I'd say that the humans can pretty much be used as 1/72 scale figures, but they have the typical overly large hands and heads encountered with many metal figures. The dwarves on the other hand, are a lot taller than the typical miniatures I use for dwarves, so are not particularly useful for me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Magaidou (マガイドウ) is a company that produces gashapon for capsule toy vending machines. Some of their more popular lines include junkyard cars [trains, ships, spaceships...], Medjed, and figures made in the style of green plastic army men.

Their first set from the Green Army Japan (グリーンアーミージャパン) series was of figures taken from Chōjū-giga, while their second set was of a sankin-kōtai entourage.

Sankin-kōtai (参勤交代) was a custom imposed upon feudal lords during the Tokugawa shogunate as a means to reduce their economic power.

What caught my attention about these figures when I saw them in Tokyo recently, was that they were 1/72 scale. The figures came out in 2016, so I didn't see them in any of the gashapon machines that I encountered, but they are available from a number of different shops selling gashapon toys.

The original price for one capsule containing two figures was ¥200, which is about how much I paid for them. Later, I found places on the internet selling them for under ¥800 for a complete set (before shipping).

The first two sets consist of peasant siblings and a dandy (百姓姉弟&伊達男), and a lantern [carrier] and spear bearer (提灯&槍持ち[1]).

The third, fifth, and sixth sets consist of a standard [bearer] and archer (大羽車[2]&弓組み), a foot soldier and musketeer (御徒歩&鉄砲組み), and a spearman and parasol [carrier] (長槍&大羽車[2]).

The seventh and eighth sets are of a forward attendant [3] and chest [porter] (先祓い&挟箱), and a three part palanquin (bearing lord) (御籠(殿様)).

I was unable to find the senior retainer and horse set (御家老&馬セット) to complete the entire series.

The figures are made of PVC and are definitely toy-like. The sculpting is very basic, with thick, over scale weapons and accouterments. However, I think this is understandable, since they were made to represent green army man figures.

Here's a Japanese video review that give a closer look at the full set of figures.

[1] The word used here is yarimochi, which translates as spear carrier, but I think that he is actually carrying a naginata, so the term may be more generic for soldiers with polearms.

[2] The word used here is daihaguruma (?). I don't think the Japanese reviewer in the video is even super sure of this kanji reading. The only definition that I was able to find of the word [haguruma] stated that it is a portable shrine similar to a mikoshi, which these are obviously not. I called one of the daihaguruma a standard, though I think its a big bunch of feathers, and the other one a parasol, though it's some sort of dome-shaped item wrapped in a cloth.

[3] I translated the word sakibarai as "forward attendant" because that is one of the definitions of the word, but the figure carries a monk's shakujō which suggests that another meaning related to "exorcist" may actually be more appropriate. I decided to go with "attendant" because the figure is definitely not dressed as a monk, but it's possible I made the wrong choice...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

500,000 Hits

For various reasons, 2017 has resulted in my lowest post output by far. Still, as of today, the blog has received enough traffic to reach 500,000 hits.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog, and to those who've corresponded with me. I apologize for not always being able to respond as I would like to, but events of the past year really took away a lot of my free time.

I was able to get away for a couple of weeks at the end of the year, and now I'm back and ready to write more articles on our favorite scale.