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.