Thursday, December 29, 2016

Old Blood and Guts

There he sat, big as life even at that distance. His hair was silver, his face was pink, his collar and shoulders glittered with more stars than I could count, his fingers sparkled with rings, and an incredible mass of ribbons started around desktop level and spread upward in a flood over his chest to the very top of his shoulder, as if preparing to march down his back too. His face was rugged, with an odd, strangely shapeless outline; his eyes were pale, almost colorless, with a choleric bulge. His small, compressed mouth was sharply downturned at the corners, with a lower lip which suggested a pouting child as much as the no-nonsense martinet. It was a welcome, rather human touch. Beside him, lying in a big chair, was Willie, the bull terrier. If ever a dog was suited to his master this one was. Willie had his beloved boss’s expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I’d ever seen.

– Bill Mauldin

George S. Patton Jr. was a colorful and controversial military figure who was considered a central figure in the development of American armored warfare doctrine during, and between both world wars.

His peers in the North African Campaign included Montgomery and Rommel, but unlike the later two who have likenesses in plastic, metal, and probably resin, you'd be hard pressed to find a figure representing Patton at all.

I only know of one metal 20mm figure from Sgt Major Miniatures in the General Patton set (GUTS).

The figure is wearing a B-3 bomber jacket, and has a pair of Colt SSAs at his hips. The stars on his helmet are overscale, but can be easily removed if so desired.

A 15mm figure in the General George S. Patton set (Flames of War US885) from Battlefront Miniatures also exists, but the set is only useful because it comes with a figure of Willie which is more suitable for 1/72 scale than 15mm.

I increased the size of the figure a bit to bring it in line with Patton's actual height.

Patton had his flaws (some pretty spectacular ones at that), but I think he was a lot more complex than what detractors or conspiracy theorists make him out to be.

Document everything, leave nothing to chance...
because one day, some cockroach will crawl up
out of the latrine and deny all this ever happened.
God damn them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Leonardo da Vinci is most well known for his paintings, but he was an inventor and engineer among other things. Some people credit him with the invention of flying machines and the tank, but both claims seem like a stretch to me, since he did nothing beyond make designs for these machines. If anything, these designs should be considered the first paper panzer and Luft' 86 projects.

The da Vinci armored car is still popular to this day, with a modern reconstruction displayed at the Burning Man festival, and an appearance in the Assassin's Creed video game.

RetrokiT offers a 1/72 scale version of da Vinci Tank (RetroSF RSF016) in resin.

It comes in 16 pieces on 7 blocks, and includes a decal sheet bearing three fleurs-de-li.

The resin is good quality, but the huge casting blocks on the upper and lower hull made clean-up difficult, and resulted in damage to the edges of the hull pieces that required repair.

I'm not sure why the kit came with the fleur-de-li decals since the armored car was designed while da Vinci was under the patronage of the Duke of Milan, but I guess they could be used if someone wanted to model a French beutepanzer.

The RetrokiT model differs from the original sketch in that it has six cannon which protrude through the upper hull. The sketch on the other hand, shows a vehicle with a multitude of cannon that protrude from the lower hull.

I was undecided about how to paint the tank, but decided to go with a natural wood color.

However, after painting the Milanese Bissa heraldry on the front, the model just didn't seem to look right. Now I can't decide whether to paint the hull in different colors, strip the heraldry. or just leave it as is...

Anyway, to go with the armored car, I purchased the Leonardo da Vinci mounted and on foot set (HOT102) from

The bearded 15mm figure looks like a dwarf compared to George (the mounted da Vinci even more so, due to having shorter arms).

I embiggened the figure by widening and lengthening the body. The arms were also lengthened, but the head and feet I left alone.

After this first layer of Kneadatite hardens, I'll finish up the arms and refine the sculpt with some details.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Takara Ships of the World

The Takara Ships of the World (世界の艦船) product line consists primarily of pre-built 1/700 scale surface vessels and submarines, with a scattering of 1/144, 1/100, and 1/72 models.

The 1/72 scale models were only produced in series 1, and consisted of two Marder mini subs. Each box contains an insert with a base, a clip, and a sprue with the front sight.

The first model (Series01 No. 10) is a Marder with torpedo, 1944 (マルダー・実戦用弾頭 1944年).

The second model (Series01 No. 11) is a Marder with training torpedo, 1944 (マルダー・訓練用弾頭 1944年).

The length of the submarine seems to be accurate, but my first impression after looking at various period photos was that the positioning of the cockpit seemed too far back. This was probably due to the angle of the shots, and possibly because many photos are actually mislabeled.

Having some scale reference in the photos helps, and the model seems to look pretty close to the submarine shown in the following image.

The models also look good when compared to the illustration of the Marder in the Osprey book on Axis Midget Submarines.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Filipino Guerrillas

After the American forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese, hundreds of independent guerrilla units composed of both civilian and military personnel formed throughout the Philippine Islands.

Many of these groups were recognized military forces that worked under the command of MacArthur's SWPA General Headquarters.

In 1944, the recognized guerrilla units were inducted into the Philippine Commonwealth Army to take part in operations to retake the Philippines from the Japanese.

I think that figures representing Filipino guerrillas only exist in 20mm, and are produced by Sgt Major Miniatures.

The two sets (RAID4, RAID5) are part of a line of figures that represent the forces that took part in The Great Raid.

The figures are a bit on the chunky side, but are among some of the better sculpts produced by Sgt Major for their 20mm line. Two of the figures are duplicated between the sets.

Two other sets that I purchased from the line are Raiders (RAID1, RAID2) representing members of the 6th Ranger Battalion.

I think these are the only American WWII figures in 20mm (or 1/72 for that matter) that I've seen wearing Daisy Mae hats and field caps, which is why I bought them in the first place. Unfortunately, the figures are tiny and almost like 15mm figures.

I think the two crouching poses of the second set could almost pass for 1/72 scale, but I'll probably just decapitate the other figures and reuse the heads with more suitably sized bodies.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Male full frontal nudity...

The number of fully nude male figures in the miniature world are few compared to the number of fully nude female figures, but if humanoid figures are included, it raises the number significantly.

The problem with most of these humanoid figures however, is that they are sculpted with Ken doll anatomy despite being ostensibly male.

I find this akin to not supplying WWII German aircraft models with swastikas for the vertical stabilizer. Some people may find the swastika offensive, but it was part of the aircraft's markings, just as the naughty bits are part of the male anatomy.

Even the Finnish hakaristi gets the swastika treatment.

Anyway, I'm not suggesting that sculptors need to make more naked men or anything (although I have been trying to find some proxies for herd men and oasts), but I do think that sculpts should be anatomically correct.

Anyway, outside of some trolls and balrogs by Tom Meier, here are some of the other naked male humanoid miniatures that exist.

The first figure is a Bad Hairy Nude Thing from Heritage (Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques 1158), while the second is a RAFM Gibbering Howler (Monster Mash 3405).

The Heritage figure is anatomically correct, whereas the RAFM figure does not really appear to be so, though it is relatively faithful to the image of the Gibberling from the Fiend Folio, which it is supposed to represent.

The final set of images are of Minot's Miniatures Armoury Sprites from the Thane Tostig Range.

In the first picture is King Debobmik Fen (TT8), the Court Jester (TT10), two Palace Guards (TT11), and a Standard-bearer (TT13).

Due to his size and pose, I'm guessing that King Debobmik is a petulant child ruler. The second guard has a halberd that seems to be slightly different than the first (though I'm not sure if it is merely miscast).

In the next picture are a Sprite with war horn (TT14), a Sprite drummer (TT15), and three Sprites with pole-axe (TT19).

The second figure with the pole-axe may have been modified by bending the axe-head, but the third figure seems to definitely be a variant, with tassels attached to the base of the axe-head.

Next are a Sprite with glaive (TT20), a Sprite archer (TT21), a Sprite with a rock (TT22), and The Vile Wood Witch, Hangbeffor (TT30).

Hangbeffor is neither male nor completely nude, but I added her to the picture to complete out the set of miniatures that I own.

Finally are a stretching rack operator (TT23), a Torturer with whip (TT27), a Torturer with ripper tongs, (TT28), and an Brazier Attendant (TT29).

The sprites are supposed to be dwarf-like creatures in the Thane Tostig setting, but they work well as human-sized creatures in 1/72 scale.

Some of the figures are done up in an old-school gloss finish, and I'm really conflicted about whether to leave them as is, or to strip them down and completely redo the paint.

Some great info on the range can be found at the old school blog, Dear Tony Blair.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Orcs; Take 2

The new Orc Warriors from Caesar arrived in the mail today, so I've prepared a quick review.

My set contained 35 figures in 13 poses, two of which come with separate arms. The material is less pliable than the plastic used in the older Caesar fantasy sets, but takes CA glue very well.

The orcs come in a dark forest green plastic which was very hard to photograph. I had to adjust the image levels to make the details show up better, so the pictures do not reflect the actual color of the plastic very well.

I like the sculpts because the jaw size of these orcs is more subtle compared to the previous set, making them less cartoony despite still being influenced by the Warhammer/Warcraft look.

Unfortunately the subtlety did not carry over to their feet, and the orcs seem to be wearing huge clown shoes.

The swords and macuahuitl-like weapons used by some of the orcs are over-sized, and joined to the hand by a very narrow section of plastic. It seems like they may be prone to breakage due to the thinness of the plastic, but I may be wrong.

In any event, they match up pretty well with the previous set of Caesar orcs, though they seem to be slightly taller on average.

Orc Warriors Set 1 (in gray) v. Set 2 (in green)

Another recent acquisition that I want to present in this post is a set of the revised Heritage Goblins (Dungeon Dwellers 1240).

I don't know how many years it's been that I've been looking for these miniatures, but they seem to be particularly difficult to find.

People may be more familiar with the original Heritage Goblins, which (to me) have the look of goblins from the Rankin/Bass Hobbit and Return of the King TV movies.

The original and revised versions of the goblins match up fairly well in size, but the heads of the original goblins are even bigger than those of the revised versions.

Despite their over-sized heads, I will still incorporate these figures in my orcish hordes.

Where there's a whip, there's a way!

Sunday, October 16, 2016


The Cimmerians were a tribe of steppe people who (according to Herodotus), were driven from their homeland north of the Black Sea by the Scythians.

Battle between Greeks and Cimmerians shown on a sarcophagus from Clazomenae.

They migrated southward, sowing chaos in their path for a century or so, before being broken by the Assyrians and Lydians, and passing into obscurity.

Battle between Assyrians and Cimmerians shown on a bas-relief from Nimrud.

The popular perception of the Cimmerian however, comes from the fiction of Robert E. Howard, who characterized them as the descendants of Atlanteans, and the progenitors of the Gaels.

It is more in the image of these later Cimmerians that the Dark Alliance Cimmerians were made.

The figures are essentially the male equivalent of the Dark Alliance Modern Amazons, with mostly bare-chested, mighty thewed, hair metal barbarians.

The set is advertised as having 40 figures in 10 poses, but there are actually 44 figures in 11 poses. The figure on the far right in the following picture is part of the set, but not shown on the back of the box.

The figure on the far right in the following picture is the lone unmounted figure from the Mounted Cimmerians set.

He is obviously modeled after the former Governator of my state from his breakout role in Conan the Barbarian.

The second set contains figures with more of a death metal/chaos warrior look, who might fit as a modern interpretation of Homer's description of Cimmerians as "dwellers in a land of fog and darkness, at the edge of the world and the entrance of Hades".

The figure on the far right in the following picture is a bit of an oddity in that he is dressed as a berserker, but appears to be wielding a magician's staff (perhaps Dark Alliance was taking the description of berserkers as shamanic warriors too literally).

One thing that I noticed with these sets, was that there was a high percentage of particular figures that were short-shot. Three of the four figures of the spearman pose from Set 1 did not have a properly formed spear tip (I thought the figure was wielding a magician's staff at first).

All of the figures of the single-bladed axe man pose from Set 2 were missing the left horn on their helmets. I reconstructed the horn from melted sprue for the figure in the picture above.

Otherwise, I like these sets. I can see swapping parts between these figures to create Thorgrim and Rexor from the Conan movie, and even the Kurgan from Highlander.