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, November 25, 2017

Pimp My Ride - Warsaw Pact Edition

Given I'm an absolute sucker for detailing my miniatures (as seen in my various T-72 updates part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4), I didn't want to neglect the transports for my NVA Motorisierte Schützen company either. Overall the Battlefront BMP kit (TSBX02) is pretty decent, but the one chink in the armor is at the very front (as on the T-72). The front plate (I hesitate to call it a lower glacis because of the design) has a couple of fairly unsightly and inaccurate seams and gaps where the various pieces making up the rest of the kit join. Overall the plate should be smooth with only a few details - so I decided to add the details!

Step 1 is to putty and fill the seams on the front of the miniature (shown above). Once that's done, you can start to add the details. I kept things purposely simple. There are two tow hooks near the top of the font plate, what look to be two tow rings lower down - usually with circular bases, and then two flaps covering the opening above the tracks.

For the top tie downs, I used 0.015" x 0.02" strip styrene. I eyeballed the length, but it is about 0.08". The flaps are made from 0.01" x 0.1" strip, and the length is about 0.135" - again eyeballed based on photos and the kit itself. The circles are cut from 0.01" thick sheet and are punched with a 0.048" punch from my sub-micron set. Placement is by eye based on photos. For the linear parts, I used my Northwest Short Line "Chopper", and usually had four strips running at a time - greatly shortening the time to cut enough parts!

At this point I "only" had 15 to do, and part of the rogues gallery is above. It adds enough detail to the front of the BMP to make it look semi-accurate without going absolutely crazy. I could have added more detail to the flaps (they usually have an "X" pattern on them), but decided not to this time around.

For those of you wanting an update on the T-72 turrets - they're all done (see above)! These were a blast to do, even if the wiring is a bit fiddly - thanks again to the chaps over at Breakthrough Assault for providing the inspiration!

So here's the lot ready to prime for tomorrow. A total of 15 BMP - 14 BMP-1 and my KSh, the 15 turrets for the T-72s (primed earlier), some Gaskins, and how the heck did that RV get in there????

Once this lot is primed I can actually start getting paint on them... as my son is now getting back into miniatures in a big way and will want his Americans painted - and will be painting his Ultramarines. I also have a secret project running at this point that will let me try out some extreme weathering and rust effects - so continue to watch this space!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Economics of Wargaming

On one level, game designers seem to have an ideal job; they get to spend every work day effectively doing what for the rest of us is a hobby. Of course, the operative word there is "seem." To be and remain successful in what has become a highly competitive business game companies need to have a steady revenue stream. This revenue stream pays the workers and designers, and if the latest product or version of an established game flops companies can quickly find themselves in very dire straights.

Buy a new car or buy a new army???

The key challenge that any company must overcome is that hobbies are expensive. There, I said it. It's the "uncomfortable truth." It's the elephant in the room. Hobbies require both disposable income and the time to actually pursue them, and therefore as long as there have been miniatures and games, people have been looking for more economical ways to procure and enjoy them. In wargaming various money-saving techniques include patronizing deep discount retailers, using alternate miniature sources, casting one's own miniatures, and even turning to new technologies like 3D printing. 

So how expensive are wargaming and miniatures hobbies in general? The answer is "it depends greatly." On a one for one basis, miniatures in the smaller scales (15mm, 12mm, 10mm and 6mm) are going to be progressively cheaper than larger ones (28mm, 54mm, etc). The number of models and miniatures required to play a typical game is also going to factor heavily into its overall cost with skirmish-style games generally requiring fewer miniatures than platoon or company level games. The media used to actually produce the miniatures is another variable. Miniature wargaming started out with "lead figures" - which has evolved into white metal (a pewter which may or may not be lead free), resin, and even injection molded plastic. Then there is the cost of the rule books themselves, though the miniature cost often outweighs the rules cost, sometimes by a fairly hefty multiplier.

So let's look at a few real world examples. For all of these I will use quoted retail prices in U.S. dollars. In cases where currency conversions must be made, they will be accurate as of the writing of this article (October 2016).