Tuesday, November 9, 2010

HäT Tank Riders — British

Here's the first of four tank rider sets from HäT.

First of all, these tank riders are not just for tanks. Seated figures are very useful to fill up and give life to half-tracks, jeeps, lorries, armoured cars, sitting on crates, barrels, waiting to move out and so on.

This set has two kneeling figures—an officer and section leader. The infantry has been painted as part of the 43rd wessex. You may notice a blue (square) with a yellow dab in the middle. The officer has been painted as an RAF link officer (cab control? can't recall what these guys were called) attached to armoured divisions whose job was to call in air strikes as needed. The head is a swap, the original figure wears a beret which RAF the RAF did not wear at this time.

Speaking of heads, one complaint is the sprue attaches to the crown of the helmet on some figures. If cut to short, the helmet will be sporting an odd cylinder rising from it while an over cut will lop off the top. It would have been better to have attachment at the bottom of the feet.

The riders are very nice with a lot of detail. With most British figures on the market, it seems the kit and webbing always suffers. In this case, the entrenching tool and canteen is nicely sculpted with it skeleton holder rather chunky (in a good way) to take paint easily.

I feel for the sculptor. Due to the poses, there is some excess plastic between the rifle butts and the hip, and in some cases, the canteen doesn't turn the corner and the space between the canteen and buttock fills in. These figures could probably benefit from separate packs like HäT's Napoleonic Prussians and some of the Zvezda sets.

On minor point, most of the men are sitting as if on chairs. This arrangement works better on the angular Cromwell than the slope found on Shermans. Gluing the figures on (or to each other) would be the best solution for stability but I prefer to freedom to position as will. Just don't bump the table.

Overall, nice figures, poses and detail. Another job well done!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

French Foreign Legion

Had these guys for years, hoping to convert to WW1 French but after butchering a neck or two gave that idea up. The white paint was chunky and swamped most of the detail. Painted them up in three uniform styles. I know little of the FFL but I believe these variations cover a period of years and theatres such as Mexico and Morocco. Not sure. Regardless, the French Foreign Legion are always dashing looking fellows. Or is that Gary Cooper I'm thinking of?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

HäT Austrian Grenadiers and Militia.

Militia? Looks likes jägers! And for the Napoleonic astute, (which I'm not) HäT's new figures of Austrian militia have been painted as jägers. As I can tell, I think the only difference may be the placement of the cockade on the hat.

These figures are overall pretty good. The poses are the standard formula HäT is now producing for Napoleonices. The Militia is nice (not all figures shown) because of the running figure. Nice animation which felt more like jäger tactics.

As for a sculpting detail, I wouldn't rate them as high as HäT's most recent endeavors—Prussian infantry and Peninsular British. I found that lot of the detail was soft or melting away. With all the straps and cross straps of the grenadiers, the area got real congested and at times I didn't even know what I was painting. It was like following an Escher staircase.

The cuffs and buttons on the sleeves often disappeared leaving their existence to rely on the paint brush.

The softness of detail could be that the figures are test runs and not final productions figures. The plastic is soft and tends to tear rather than bend or break.

Overall, very pleased with these figures and the militia as jägers is a better option than their previous Brunswick Avant Garde.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Traffic Jam

Thought I'd post some pix of a quick diorama/setup. Nearing mid-June, I think of the Normandy offensives by the British Army. Inspired by Operation Epsom and the traffic jam at Cheux, here's some ArmourFast Shermans and a converted Hasagawa Half-Track (M3 to M5) of the 11th Armoured. In the background are Bren Carriers and AGRA Matadors trying to move forward. Soldier are AB Figures. Most have shoulder flashes of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HäT Napoleonic Prussians

These are beautiful figures and the best I have seen from HäT. They are of the same quality as their Peninsular British Infantry, the bonus being the figures are in three sets—Command, Marching and Skirmishing.

The straps, buttons and cuffs are raised and oversized just enough (like stage makeup) to be visible and for ease of painting. Their are just a few figures where cuffs/buttons become lost but is easily remedied by paint.

There are twelve unique marching poses, shoulder and support position. This gives the line a sense of motion and humanity. The officers have separate right arms with swords allowing for multiple poses. Personally my having is advancing with sword over the shoulder.

The separate arms also allow for more realistic sculpting and detail. The drum is a good example. This allow the drum sticks to be free and away from the body (as if he is actually playing.)
The drum is in two parts. I was worried it would be a fiddly affair but the fit is tidy and seamless. I used super glue and the adhesion is tight. Note, if you to to paint, painting is required before assembly. I was impatient and thought I could get away with it on the flag bearer.

Personally, the downside is the amount of assembly (arms and backpacks) as I like my toy soldiers to be that—toys and not model kits. However, the end result is fantastic. The three kit concept, one that HäT has pioneered in plastic, is truly a game changer.

Hopefully, this arrangement will be adopted for line infantry of all major nations.

(Pardon the lousy photographs. More shots will be taken when I have access to my wife camera.)

Many thanks to HäT for these wonderful figures.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In the works

In a few weeks when the rest of our household is moved up (mainly my diorama/display boards) I'll post some more pix. In the meantime, I've been painting up some great figures—

HaT Austrian Cuirassiers
HaT Brunswick Inf. (as French Marines)
HaT Prussian Dragoons
Revell 30 Year War Imperial Army
Zvezda Voltiguers

Monday, February 15, 2010

Waterloo 1815 Polish Infantry

I thought I'd put these two images of Poles together in one post. Top painted as the 'Vistuala Region.' I painted the flag design over the existing engraved pattern—love the 'three-foot rule.'

The bottom figures are painted as Line Infantry in winter trousers.

I like these figures, I wish there were better distribution of figures. Rather than four identical sprues (which give your four drummers, flag bearers and officers. I'd rather have 4 more marching figures and 4 more standing firing.

More Leipzig Units.

HäT French Line Fusiliers as Saxon Infantry (charged by Revell Prussians.) The Saxons turned out okay, not a big fan of all white uniforms. HäT French Young Guard in background. The Young Guard, being one of HaT's older sets, is in rather simplistic in sculpting but one of my favorites. I particularly like the figure with his rifle up, bracing for attack.

Zvezda Russian Grenadiers as Jägers.

HäT Swedish Line Infantry with British Rocket Troops. The Rocket troops look stunning. The Swedes look good but with so little visual reference (i.e. contemporary paintings or movies) I have to trust this is what they looked like. I've waned on the Swedes (or more than likely their commander Bernadotte) for their lack of gumption at Leipzig.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm posting again which means one thing—I found employment! I'll be working for an advertising agency in St. Louis which means I'll be relocating from Atlanta back to my hometown!!

That said, here are some pix of units I've been painting for my Leipzig diorama.
These in these posts you'll you see— HäT French Young Guard and Prussian Reserves, Zvezda Russian Grenadiers, Cuirassiers, French Imperial Guard, Revell Prussians and Waterloo 1815 Polish Infantry.

This is a great group of figures—the sculpting on all is crisp and sharp, easy to paint (though I painfully plod along at a snail's pace) I was thinking of giving a 'shout out' to some manufacturers but these are all great. I love everything Zvezda does—the Russian Grenadiers and Cuirassiers particularly. Props to Revell for releasing their Prussian Line Infantry. These guys look awesome. Even the simply sculpted French Young Guard have a nice presence.
More pix to follow. Cheers!

Photoshop Alert—the haze, smoke and rifle fire on one of the Prussian shots were added.