Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Diecast Police Cars

Diecast cars are frequently used for gaming, but the market is dominated by box scale (with no indication of the actual scale), 1/64, or 1/43 scale models. Hongwell, Yat-Ming, Real-X, and Furuta make 1/72 scale cars, but they are not particularly easy to find. Oxford makes 1/76 scale cars, but they don't always look right for the fanatically scale conscious.

Matchbox of course was once the king of box scale diecast cars. Most of the cars are marked with the actual scale on the bottom, so it is possible to find some appropriately scaled cars for use in 1/72.

One type of car that Matchbox seems to like making in ~1/72 scale is the police car. Last week, I had to stop by the local megamart to pick up some cars because I saw that the 2011 line had a Highway Patrol 1978 Dodge Monaco.

Anyone remember this show?

Matchbox Dodge Monaco Police Cruiser (MB53) 1/71 scale

The car scales out nicely, though they are using a modern low profile lightbar instead of the proper older model lightbar, and the roof is black rather than white. I bought one model, but I want to get a few more of these.

Matchbox Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (MB54) 1/70 scale

These are older Matchbox police cars. I'm not sure if the markings are for actual police cars, but what I really want to get are the Highway Patrol and El Segundo PD versions of this model. The only problem I find with these models is that they sit too high (even for 1/70 scale). The 2011 Matchbox Crown Vic is a taxi (as Ford decided to discontinue the CVPI) so was not used in this post.

Matchbox Ford Police Interceptor (MB49) 1:70 scale

This car is the successor to the CVPI, based on the Ford Taurus. I had the misfortune to drive a Taurus many years ago, and it had awful driving characteristics. They must have made some major improvements since then to be able to use it as the basis for their new police interceptor. Fargo PD has adopted this vehicle. I'm not sure if the Sheriff markings on the other car are used in reality. Again, I think these models sit too high for their scale.

Maisto Police Car

This car is from the Maisto Fresh Metal line. It does not have a scale, but is roughly 1/69 scale by my estimation. It is loosely based on the 1998 Cadillac Seville, and bears a generic front grill because of licensing issues. Unlike the Matchbox cars, the Maisto cars have suspensions like lowriders, and sit about 5mm lower than the Matchbox cars.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aircam Figures

MBM Models carries a series of figures based on illustrations from the Osprey Airwar/Aircam series. I'm not really sure who the actual manufacturer is, and the product line is just listed as Aircam, though they arrived in SHQ baggies. The sculpting is a bit soft, but the figures are decent, and good representations of the illustrations from the book (though some are more faithful to the original art than others).

The first set of figures is the Luftwaffe Night Fighter Air and Ground Crew (AIR7209), based on Luftwaffe Night Fighter Units 1939-45 (Airwar/Aircam 9). It consists of (left to right) a Luftnachrichten-Helferinnen Führerin, Hitlerjugend Flakhelfer, and aircrew Leutnant.

The second set of figures is the USAAF Fighter Air and Ground Crew, MTO (AIR7212), based on USAAF Fighter Units MTO 1942-45 (Airwar/Aircam 12). It consists of (left to right) a WAC Private, aircrew 1st Lieutenant, and 15th AF Captain.

The final set of figures is the Japanese Carrier Groups set (AIR7221), based on Japanese Carrier Groups, 1941-45 (Airwar/Aircam 21). It consists of (left to right) a Junior Lieutenant in winter flying suit, Petty Officer 1st Class in summer flying suit, and Petty Officer 3rd Class in summer fatigues.

The figures are a bit pricey, and some of them seem to be a bit on the overly tall side (e.g., the Helferinnen and the Japanese), but I'm guessing they're probably intended more for use alongside scale aircraft, rather than with other figures.

Finally, I did a group shot of the Helferinnen with all of the German female auxiliaries that I own. Not surprisingly, there are more WWII German female auxiliaries than 1/72 females from any other nation of this time period. Elhiem figures even makes a zombie version of one.

From left to right are an Odemars figure from Operation Antarctica - Haunebu (CREA04), three Odemars figures from The Last Defenders of Berlin set (PF17), a figure from the Orion Volkssturm set (72017), a figure from the LW(?) Leaders of the Second World War set, a metal Luftwaffe Female Auxiliary (Elhiem LUFT02), and the Aircam Helferinnen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Flying Kobolds

The Drake (Dråk/Tråch), or Fire-drake (Fürdråk) of North German folklore is considered to be the same type of creature as a Kobold. They appear to the human eye as a fiery (red, or sometimes blue) streak passing through the air.

In my campaign, the Drake is a winged Kobold somewhat like the Urd from 2nd edition AD&D, or the Dragonwrought Kobolds from 3rd edition D&D in appearance. They have the ability to cast a glamour over themselves so as to appear as ghost-lights to anyone observing them, which is why they are described as fiery streaks of light.

These two figures were converted from Ral Partha 15mm Battlesystem Kobolds. The bases were removed, the legs and tails were modified, and wings were added from some Reaper Miniatures bats (P03355B).

Some additional modification was performed on the figure on the left. I bent his head slightly, and clipped off the spear he was carrying. A bag made from Kneadatite was added to his hand, because Drakes were commonly described as flying about carrying sacks of treasure or agricultural products.

"The Drake carries treasures through the air. If a person sees him, he must cry: "Halb part!" He will then bring him something. But he must take care to stand under a roof, or the Drake will cover him with filth, which he will not again get rid of."

Northern Mythology, Vol. III

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2 cm Flak 38

I've had the Zvezda 20mm Flak-38 kit (Zvezda 6117) sitting on my desk for a while now, and finally have gotten around to take a few minutes to put it together. It's a nice kit that is quick and simple to put together, but there are a few places where a bit of care and forethought are required.

One of the nice surprises I found was that the plastic could be glued together with liquid plastic cement. I don't think the weld is as strong as for a regular styrene kit, but it seems to hold fairly well.

The one big problem I found with the kit, was that the slot at the end of the arm where the sight (A6) was supposed to be attached was not there.

From the box art, it looks like the model and instructions are in complete agreement.

However in my kit, the arm did not look like the illustration in the instruction sheet, or the model in the box art. There was a small divot at the end of the arm, but no slot for the peg on the sight to fit into. I just glued the peg onto the end of the arm. I've seen a couple of other builds where people just left the sight off completely.

I don't know if the part was not designed as shown on the instruction sheet, short-shot, or if I messed up the attachment point when I clipped the piece from the sprue. In any event, be careful while removing part A9.

I would also recommend taking a sharp hobby knife to widen the holes for fitting the gunners seat (A8), and the hole in part A5 for fitting the brace on the main gun assembly. I ended up mangling the chair, and broke the brace because the holes were too tight. For this step, I would also suggest putting the seat in place before attaching the gun assembly.

The final place to pay attention to is for the optional control wheels. I didn't really pay attention to the figure, and just attached the wheels (A3) to the gun. Afterwards, I noticed that the figure was molded with wheels in his hands.

I look forward to seeing more of these Zvezda Art of Tactic kits.