Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mission San Miguel Arcángel

The California 4th Grade Mission Project has been a part of the curriculum in many Californian public schools for quite some time. I'm not really sure when this tradition started, since I don't remember anyone doing this when I was in 4th grade, but it is certainly something I've been aware of since my kids started going to school.

Anyway, my daughter asked me to help her make a model of Mission San Miguel, so I blew up some drawings of the mission to approximately 1/72 scale, and used them as a template to cut out parts in cardboard and Styrofoam for her to paint and assemble.

East Elevation

West Elevation

Arcade with a couple of friars and a visitor

Mission Chapel

A friar and his flock

The friars are made of regular modeling clay, and the sheep and cow are from a set of farm animals.

When I helped my daughter deliver the mission to school this morning, I saw that other kids seemed to use more manageable scales like 1/250 or so, but 1/72 looks much more impressive in comparison, and there's the bonus of being able to use it in gaming.

Still, the footprint of Mission San Miguel is already so huge that I think I'm just going to give up on the scale model of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel that I had wanted to build at one time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Soviet Naval Infantry

This is just a short post comparing Soviet Naval Infantry figures from Pegasus and Zvezda. Pictures of all the poses from both the Pegasus Russian Naval Infantry set (7270) and Zvezda Soviet Naval Infantry set (6146) can be found at PSR. I recently purchased these figures from Great Models Webstore, which is offering 40% off of most of their inventory prior to transitioning their remaining stock to a new owner.

The Zvezda figures (green) are nice, and the parts can be glued with liquid cement if desired. The bases are a lot better than the ones used for their earlier figures because they are not as thick. However, they're still relatively expensive even after the discount.

The Pegasus figures (blue) have been around for a long time, but I didn't buy them earlier because I didn't feel like dealing with all of the fiddly little parts. The figures almost all come with separate arms, but unlike their earlier kits, the arms are molded in a stiffer plastic that is more like what Zvezda is currently using for their figures. The rest of the body however, is made in the typical rubbery Pegasus plastic. I haven't tried assembling any of the figures yet, but I hope that the different type of plastic makes it easier to glue them together.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


SWAT units were first implemented by LAPD in 1968 to perform police operations that required specialized training. Since then, they have been introduced to the police departments of most major US cities.

In the 1/72 world, modern SWAT officers are produced by Elhiem. I purchased the figures with some vague notions of using them for some sort of modern gaming, but mainly because I thought they would be easy to paint.

While the proportions are good, I thought the figures were all too short. They're not quite 1/76, but they weren't big enough for 1/72 either. I know that most if not all police departments have done away with minimum height requirements, but I think that big, brawny dudes are still preferred as recruits. Again, I had to break out the pliers and J-B Weld to adjust their size.

The only other nitpick I have with these figures is their lack of tactical knee pads, although maybe they were modeled after FBI SWAT teams, which do not seem to always wear them.

And finally, to transport the SWAT team to their destination is a Matchbox SWAT van (MB60/MB787).

The Matchbox Express Delivery van is putatively 1/70 scale, and it seems to resemble a Chevrolet step van. It is equipped with a rear overhead door instead of swinging doors. The van would probably be more appropriate with an older style of SWAT team (e.g. from the 70's TV show), but I think it's fine for gaming purposes.