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, July 5, 2014

All Quiet on the Martian Front - Steam Tank Mk II/III Sprue

After a communication and shipping snafu, the first batch of my All Quiet on the Martian Front miniatures from the highly successful Kickstarter Campaign finally arrived... just in time for me to have to go to Japan on business.  Two weeks later I've finally been able to crack into the miniatures.  I've started with the American Steam tanks.  One of the stretch goals was reached so rather than these being delivered in resin and metal, they're injection molded plastic.  Because they were able to go with an injection molded plastic frame, you can make several different steam tank variants from one sprue - though you'll still only get one tank per sprue.

The photo above shows the general layout of the steam tank sprue.  I've gone through and labeled everything on it to the best of my knowledge/ability.  For the common Mark II tank, you'll have quite a bit left over. The Mark III tank, with its higher superstructure uses more pieces. Because of the included interior detail, it's clear that the sprue will be used as a basis for several other vehicles as well.

The photo above shows the bottom of the steam tank sprue.  The quality of the engineering and detailing is not quite up to what you'd expect from the larger miniature or model manufacturers.  The rivet detail on the tank is fairly faint, and the overall fit is not spectacular.  Just about every piece takes at least a little work to get it to line up properly.  There is also a fair amount of mold offset on the short smokestacks.  None of the issues with the mold are showstoppers, but be warned that you'll need to do a fair amount of fitting, sanding, and filing to get the tanks together.

The ejector pin marks on all of the bottom pieces are extremely deep. Fortunately they've done a good job of making sure you're unlikely to ever see any of them.  A few of the round pieces may need a little extra work - as will the towing attachment, but otherwise all of the pin holes will be inside sealed portions of the model itself.

Another thing you'll notice about the steam tanks is that for 15mm miniatures they're BIG!  This should be expected for vehicles inspired by World War I-era tanks. The picture below is a side view of a Battlefront Jagdtiger and a ready to paint Mark II Steam Tank - as you can see the lengths of the tanks are quite similar.

The relative level of detailing of the two should also be readily apparent - the detail on the Jagdtiger (even that which I didn't add myself) is very crisp and in high relief whereas the detailing on the steam tank is fainter.  Truth be told, the rivet detail on the steam tank is probably more accurate to the scale, but it makes it more difficult to bring out the detailing with weathering.  It also stands in stark contrast to some of the other detailing on the steam tank which is in strong relief.

The top view above further demonstrates the differences in the level of detailing.  The tracks and hatches on the steam tank are strongly detailed, while the rivets and screens effectively disappear.  I'm planning on doing a fair amount of panel shading on the steam tanks, so hopefully that will better bring out some of the detail.

At this point I have several sprues of tanks - somewhere around 15 if memory serves.  I'm planning on doing at least six as the Mark III, with at least six Mark II - I may even try and bust out a few Mark I tanks if I can better confirm the parts count

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