Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Updating Your Spandrels!

One of the original releases for Team Yankee was the Soviet "Spandrel" or 9P148 Konkurs. It serves as a light anti-tank asset for your Warsaw Pact forces, and is typically fielded in groups of two or three - you get three in the AT Platoon box set (TSBX11). Because of its light armor and inability to fire on the move, the Spandrel is generally best used in ambush or from prepared positions with some cover. As a part of my overall East German force, I decided I needed a unit of these cute little armored cars.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Perils of Kickstarter - Over Promising - Under Delivering

Crowdfunding and Kickstarter has been a cornerstone of game development for several years now, and I last touched on some trends about two years ago in a blog post. Only a few days after that post, one of the miniature games I'd supported, All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQMF), abruptly shut down and its owners declared bankruptcy. While that particular property was eventually purchased and its new owners are trying to make a go of it, what looked initially to be a game with a broad player base now appears to firmly be a niche property. AQMF isn't alone in encountering difficulties in fulfilling their campaign obligations, as now the Robotech Kickstarter, which had been struggling to produce "Wave 2" for over a year, has finally thrown in the towel in a major way.

As of yesterday, Palladium announced that not only will "Wave 2" not be produced, but that the company's 30 year old license to produce Robotech games (role playing and otherwise) has expired and will not be renewed. This means that they'll effectively be having a firesale for existing product and not making any additional product. You can read the details of the announcement in the link above, but ultimately the failure of both the AQMF and Robotech Kickstarter campaigns come down to poor planning, poor management, and a "wave" strategy which can be Kickstarter speak for "Ponzi scheme" in many instances.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

T-72 Adventures in Photography

I'm still playing around with the settings and lenses I have available for my Nikon because I wanted to go for more depth of field in the photos. I think I'm making some progress here:

I'll continue to experiment and will post the final "recipe" once I get everything ironed out...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

East German T-72 Company - DONE!

My NVA (East German) T-72 company is finally painted, weathered, and the lot. I even worked out getting some decent photos taken of them, though I still need to work with the light levels a bit to get all of the details to pop. Going back over the photos, I likely have one or two details to add back in (haven't hollowed out all of my gun tubes yet), but that's minor compared to what it's taken to get here from where the started out.

Red tanks on the prowl

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Review: AK Interactive's Middle East Wars 1948-1973

In anticipation of the upcoming Fate of a Nation release for Team Yankee / Flames of War, I've been planning out my armies and looking for additional good references to get them all painted up and ready to go. AK Interactive has released a book covering the Middle East Wars from 1948 to 1973, and it is a rare gem. Packed with color photos and illustrations throughout, the book covers the major conflicts in the region in good detail, and at a price of €20,95, or about $25 U.S., it's a pretty good deal as well.

The book opens with an introduction giving a little of the history of the region and its conflicts from the Israeli War of Independence through the Yom Kippur War, and then moves on to discussing vehicles on a nation by nation, rather than a conflict by conflict, basis. The opening chapter is a bit light, but covers British and French vehicles used in the Suez Crisis of 1956. There is a very large chapter covering Egyptian vehicles in all their dizzying variety. Jordan, unfortunately, does not receive nearly the same level of attention and is lumped into a chapter with Algeria. The chapter covering Syrian vehicles is extremely detailed, and the variety of camouflage schemes used is amazing. This section closes with a chapter covering Israeli vehicles which are no fewer in number, but generally have less variety in paint schemes.

A couple of images from the Egyptian section

The book then goes on to discuss Arab vehicles captured by the IDF - largely in the 1967 War which were employed against their former owners in the 1973 War. This section is very useful because it shows many of the vehicles in their original Arab camouflage schemes. The book closes with a couple of chapters detailing surviving vehicles - many of which are at the Israeli Armored Museum at Latrun.

Overall the book is a treasure trove of images that anyone building a force for the upcoming Fate of a Nation release could use as inspiration. There are a couple of errors I've noted, most of which I think could be translation issues (referring to Sherman HVSS and VVSS suspensions as Horizontal "Volt" and Vertical "Volt" rather than Volute), but there are extremely minor and don't detract from the work as a whole. Overall I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in this period either from a modeling or wargaming perspective.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Markings for My NVA Vehicles - Peddinghaus Comes Through!

Good markings, numbering, and insignia can make or break an modeling or miniature building project. In the past I've created my own decals and markings for projects like the Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps for my lend-lease Soviet army as well as my 502 Schwere Panzer-Abteilung force. It is, however, a fairly tedious process and I hadn't intended to make my own markings for my East German force as Battlefront produced decals (TY014) included in the T-55AM2 kit, and available separately. Unfortunately I've had many issues with my decals cracking and fragmenting, so I went in search of alternatives.

Battlefront Decals - I'd hoped these would work, but have had several issues...

Peddinghaus decals in Germany has a very nice set of numbers and markings for East German vehicles in 1/87 scale which I'd picked up previously, but they're just a bit big for the 15mm (1/100 scale) Battlefront miniatures. I contacted Peddinghaus to see if they could or would run up enough 1/100 versions of the decals to make a go of the overall project, and needless to say, they came through in a BIG way! The photo below shows the original set of markings with numbers in 1/87 at top left, the Battlefront decals at right, and the 1/100 roundels at the bottom.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review: All the Gallant Men

I'd read an article about Donald Stratton's memoir All the Gallant Men in an article online and put it on my Amazon list for "later." My sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to pick the book up for me for Christmas, and I must say that the book lived up to the strong reviews and press it received. Donald Stratton is currently in his mid-90s, and is one of only a handful of living survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Born and raised in rural Nebraska, Stratton paints a rare and absolutely unflinching portrait of life during the Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. He is brutally honest about the hardships faced by his family and the rest of the state on a daily basis. Levels of deprivation thankfully rare today in the United States, but which were all too typical then. Yet these same hardships seem to foster a sense of perseverance in Stratton and many of his generation preparing them for the horrors ahead.

Source: Wikipedia

Stratton's sense of pride when being assigned to the Arizona is palpable. His thoughtful and heartfelt characterizations of his fellow crewmen help you understand these men not mere statistics or caricatures in some Hollywood movie, but real people who had real dreams, goals, and aspirations which were in far too many cases cut brutally short.