2012/09/25

Fantastic Flytrap Factory

Last week I FINALLY got the minis ordered from Flytrap Factory back on August 2nd.  Aside from the lengthy delay in shipping, these look great!  They remind me of the old Flashpoint Miniatures done a few years back in the same neck of the woods, New Zealand.  Anyway, lets take a peak:



U.S. Special Operations HMMWV
The Special Operations Humvee comes in white resin with metal bits with a gun shield, 2 crew men, 1 M2 .50 cal. and some extra gear.  This is a nice mini, unfortunately mine came with a lot of bubbles all over.  Barring that it's a very cool mold and looks very neat with all the kit strewn about the vehicle. 


Spec. Ops HMMWV, with Rebel Mini's Modern American Infantry, Flytrap Factory USMC, Peter Pig, USMC and Flytrap Factory Royal marines.


British Royal Marines.
The Royal Marines are VERY nice molds.  I am by NO mean an expert on kit, but looks like this set comes with 7 lads with L85A1/2's , 2 L85A1/2 with the 40mm Grenade launcher attached, 2 Minimi's and 1 Afghan interpreter.  All rifles are also equipped with the SUSAT optics.  All dudes are wearing the Mk. 6 Combat helmet, while 3, one with a radio kit, are bare head.

USMC.
The U.S. Marines are very nice sculpts as well, though in my opinion, not as nice as the Peter Pig Marines.  In this set you get  8 Devil Dogs with M-16, 2 with M-16/203's and 3 with SAW's.  They appear to be wearing the Coyote Outer Tactical Vest.
 Doesn't appear to be any communications dudes in this set, nor any indigenous translator like the Royal Marines set


IJB Insurgent Cell



The IJB insurgent cell is basically Taliban, and a variety of armament they do have!  With the ubiquitous AK-47's, AKS-74,  RPG's you also get 2 RPD's, one SAW and would you believe 2 Lee-Enfields and a DPM!


Merc Rifle squad.
The last set I got was a MERC rifle squad.  These dudes wear soviet M 40/60/68 helmets, though there are 3 that look like they have the SPHERA dome.  Weapons are again AK-47's, AKS-47, 2 RPG's, 3 RPD's or PKM's and one Dragunov, who is also wearing a Ghillie suit.

All in all, these are good sculpts.  They have more of a heroic look like Flames of War mini's.  Also detail on some of the weapons is a little soft, and the bubbles on the Humvee were a bit of a let down, but I was happy to finally get these after over a month wait.  I look forward to seeing what else Flytrap Factory is going to release in it's "Warfighter" series.

2012/09/18

Irish Serbs M2 Bradley

Haven't posted in a couple days, so another review.  When I picked up Irish Serbs AAV-7A1, I also decided to purchase his M2 Bradley and both do not disappoint.  Here, finally is the M2 Bradley:

Irish Serb's M2 Bradley with Rebel mini's Modern Americans and Peter Pigs USMC for scale.


Left to right, Flytrap Factories USMC, Peter Pig's USMC, Flytrap Factory, Royal Marines and Rebel Mini's Modern Americans.

Same as above.
Again, Irish Serb doesn't disappoint.  Nice, crisp detail, no mold marks, very nice.  Again, my only hang up is the tracks, very generic, but everything else...superb.
Thanks again to Irish Serb for this wonderful addition.  Coming up, Flytrap Factory's Warfighter Minis.

2012/09/14

Striking Strykers

Some months ago I remember coming across an advertisement for a 28mm M1126 Stryker that would also be produced in 15mm.  When my Summer arms build up began that mental note popped up and I started looking for that Stryker, finding it on the Acheson Creations site. Today these little beauties showed up at the post office:

Acheson Creations M1126 Stryker with Peter Pig USMC.




Acheson Creations M1126 Stryker with Peter Pig USMC, Flytrap Factory USMC, Rebel Minis Modern American Infantry and Flytrap Factory British Marines.




Same as above.

So what do I think?  Well the mold is nice with a lot of detail, some a little dull while others very crisp.  The big plus is all the open hatches and separately molded hatches..  Also, the crew figure is a nice touch.  The M151 Protector system weapons system looks nice and is very delicate, so much so that even the smoke launchers are molded on as well.  The armament is an option of M2 Browning .50cal. or Mk.19 Grenade MG .
M151 Protector system with Browning M2 .50 Cal or Mk19 Grenade Gun.

   The only problem I have are the wheels, In my opinion they seem a little frail Width wise.  How does it scale up?  It's a bit lacking in Length, approximately 2mm.  Height to the Protector system is 2.6cm, which is spot on and Width is on the mark at 2.7cm.

Do these wheels seem small to you?

As I don't have QRF's Stryker I can't compare the two, but Acheson Creations Stryker will be a hard customer to beat.  Now to start looking for photo etch slat armor for this beast.
Thanks to Craig at Acheson Creations for getting these out so quick.

2012/09/12

The Rebels have arrived!

So, for Christmas this year my wife was kind enough to get me a copy of Ambush Alley Games Force on Force with the Road to Baghdad, Ambush Valley and Enduring Freedom campaign books.  Grateful that she didn't get me the usual gift of socks and underwear, I began to figure out what I needed for mini's and who's I was going to buy.  As Winter came to Spring and Summer I still had not decided what mini's I wanted for Modern American Army Infantry.  As of  a couple weeks ago, I  finally bit the bullet and pick up some of Rebel Minis modern American Infantry and Chinese Peoples Liberation Army miniatures.  After a wait of about a week and a half a nice little packet showed up with these gems.

US Modern Infantry
Rebel Minis Modern US Sniper pack,



Modern US Infantry. Setof 21 mini's



Modern US Infantry Command Pack. Also as set of 21.

 All in all these are nice molds.  They are a little taller than the Peter Pig USMC (see my 15mm comparison pic below) and, less "heroic" as Peter Pig.   As for the kit, all the weapons are there, M4, M203, SAW and Javelins.  Personal gear looks to be the new Improved Outer Tactical Vest, but some of these guys are mounted with square packs on their backs and those, I'm not to sure about.  Could be radio's could be backpacks, defiantly not CamelBaks though.  If anyone can shed more light please drop me a line.  The only criticism I have is of the prone MG stand, they are a redesign of the sniper stand and as such have the troopers wearing boonie caps.


The Chinese PLA


Chinese PLA Infantry.



Chinese PLA Heavy Weapons.

 These mini's look great as well, very crisp molds.  The Infantry, which consist of 21 mini's, seem to be equipped with Type 95 assault rifles and the Heavy Weapons dudes, which make up 6 mini's, look to be equipped with Type 85 Heavy Machine Gun's, M99 or JS05 Sniper rifles and the ubiquitous RPG.  As I'm not up on Chinese kit, I can't comment on authenticity, but again, they look very good.  Hope this helped.

2012/09/11

Amtracks

Of all Armored Personal Carriers employed by the Worlds forces, 2 have fascinated me the most.  The first is the Soviet/Russian Bronevaya Maschina Piekhota (BMP), which I will cover at a latter date.  


BMP-1.

The second and most interesting to me are USMC Landing Vehicle Tracked the LVT, LVTP, and AAV,  The Amphibious Tractor, Amtrack in Marine jargon, started out as a cargo carrier in World War II on Guadalcanal.

LVT-1 on Tarawa.


 The LVT would come into it's own on Tarawa as an Amphibious Personal Carrier and continue in many guises throughout the war.  

This unique vehicle cemented it place in, not only history, but in inventory throughout the USMC's service.  LVT's would return to combat in Korea and a newer version, the LVTP-5 would see combat in Vietnam.

LVTP-5 in Vietnam.


In 1964 the Marines put in a request for a new Landing Vehicle Tracked Personal and in 1967 the first 15 prototype LVTP-7's were completed.  The Marines were so happy with it that they signed a contract in 1970 with FMC (Food Machinery Corporation) for a batch of 942.  Much like all other LVT's the Marines wanted several versions of the Amtrack, but only three types were green lighted, the LVTP, LVTR (Recovery vehicle) and LVTC (Commands Vehicle)

LVTP-7.


Though originally designed for a 10 year service period, it was found that the LVTP-7 was a very rugged and enduring vehicle and in 1977 an SLEP (Service Life Extension Program) was decided to upgrade the LVTP with new engines, fire suppression system night vision equipment and the like.  This was done between 1982 and 1986 and the LVTP-7 designation was changed to AAV-7A1 (Amphibious Assault Vehicle).


Cadillac-Gage turret.
  
When originally built the LVTP-7 was armed with a single 12.7mm Machine Gun turret.  This was remedied between 1987 and 1990.  The new Cadillac-Gage turret upgunned the Amtrack with a 12.7mm MG and a 40mm Mk.19 grenade launcher.   In another effort to give the AAV more survivability an Enhanced Applique Armor kit (EAAK) was purchased from RAFAEL Armament Development Authority and applied from 1991 to 1993.  And in 1997 an upgrade to harmonize commonality between the AAV-7 and the M2 Bradley IFV was undertaken.

AAV-7A1.




The AAV-7A1 has been used by many different nation including Argentina, who used them in the 1982 Falklands war; Brazil, Italy and South Korea are a few other customers.  The combat use has spanned 3 decades, beginning with the 1982 deployment of Argentine LVTP-7 in 1982 to 1983's USMC deployment in Grenada.  The USMC used the AAV-7A1 in Desert Storm, Somalia, Kosovo and again in Iraq in 2004 to present.



The LVTP/AAV-7 in 15mm

So we get to the part, FINALLY!  As far as I know there are only 2 manufacturers of LVTP/AAV-7 in 15mm, QRF and Irishserb's Miniatures.  Here's what they look like:


QRF's LVTP-7 with Peter Pig' USMC.

QRF's LVTP-7 with Flytrap Factory USMC, Rebel Mini's USArmy and Peter Pigs USMC.
So, what do I have to say about QRF's LVTP-7?  Well, it's defiantly an LVTP-7 as it doesn't have any Applique armor and only comes with the 12.7mm MG turret.  This is a nice mold compared to some others from QRF.  It's VERY solid, being done in metal and minimally hollow inside.  I like the tracks as they look like the tracks of the real thing, but the set for the right side are a bear to get placed.  The mold is very crisp, as most detail is not marred or mucked up like on some of QRF's molds.  The only real concern is the mold line around the waist line of the model, it does muck up some of the detail on the rear troop door.  Saying that, the other QRF LVTP-7 I have doesn't have this mold line.  As for scale, the Length is very close at 8.1cm, the big guy is 7.9m.  The Width is spot on at 3.2 cm.  The Height is a little small as the real thing is 3.26m and the mini measures out at 2.5cm.  I think the tracks are a little short and the right side commanders turret is also a little shallow.   All in all is a nice looking model if not small in stature and works for an early LVTP-7.

Irish Serb's AAV-7A1 with EAAK and Upgunned Turret.


Irish Serb's AAV-7A1 with Flytrap Factory USMC, Rebel Mini's USArmy and Peter Pig's USMC.



Irishserb has done a great job with his rendition of the AAV-7A1.  Molded in resin, it's not as heavy as the QRF model and being resin won't handle a fall well, but the mold is very crip and the detail is very nice.  It scales out at 8cm Length, 3.3cm Width and from the top of the Cadillac-Gage turret Height is 3.6cm,  Height from the right side commanders turret is 3.2 cm to, so I'd say Spot on!  As for mold lines, I have yet to find any.  Again detail is very nice and the only criticism I have are the rather plain tracks.  The tracks look very generic with no pads or detail.  At first I thought they were wrong as the tracks have 3 return rollers molded at the top.  Most pictures I have seen have no return rollers, just the running gear.  After more searching, low and behold return rollers: 

Return rollers.

So Irishserb's AAV-7A1 is a great representation of it's big brother.


Comparison Irishserb's AAV and QRF's LVTP.

Same as above.

All in all, both mini are nice with the edge going to Irishserb for measuring out spot on.  Both models fit their perspective Types and will fit for their perspective time periods.  One last criticism I have, of both models, is that none of the crew hatches are molded open.  This can be a somewhat easy remedy with the Irish Reb mini as it's in resin, not so easy with the metal QRF.
Thanks to Brian at Irishserb for this and the extra M2 Bradley, that will be review soon, he sent and to Geoff at QRF for putting out these great mini's!


2012/09/10

15mm Comparisons

When I started collecting modern forces in the 90's the thing I wished most was to have pictures of manufacturers products and photos of different manufacturers mini's compared to each other.  It would have save SO much time and MONEY!  So when I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to strive for were shots of product and comparisons for other games to check out, to help them choose what companies they wanted to get their forces from.  This is my first comparison shot of 8 manufacturers of 15mm figures.  A word of caution, the Old Glory modern Americans are not modern, they will fit as infantry for 1985 to 1995.  The Rebel Minis are modern infantry as of 2004.  The Flashpoint Miniatures USMC are the first issue of mini's they did in, I believe 2007 and the Flashpoint NVA are the second batch done by them before being bought by Siege Work Studios.  I put 2 different Peter Pig mini's up as the IDF Infantry are an older fig and seem a tad smaller to the new USMC.  Hope this helps you out.

Left to Right: MJ Figures Falklands Line, Flashpoint Miniatures US Marines Vietnam (old) Line, Flashpoint Miniatures NVA Vietnam line, Old Glory Afghan Irregulars, Old Glory Middle East Regulars, Old Glory Modern Americans, Rebel Miniatures Modern Americans, Peter Pig USMC, Peter Pig Israeli Infantry, QRF US Vietnam, Flytrap Factory MERC Rifles, GZG UNSC Infantry.

2012/09/09

GZG means Great Zipping Gear

Early last year we bought an Xbox 360 and one of the first games my son wanted was HALO 3.  Since then he has gone head over heals for anything HALO.  For Christmas this year I thought I would get him the HALO Encyclopedia.  Well that was a double edged sword as I found myself getting sucked into the book and thinking this stuff is very cool!  So one of the many things I wanted to get this summer were some Sci-Fi figures that would fit my sons interest in HALO, specifically HALO ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers).  What I also wanted to do was to get something that would fit with my Heavy Gear minis as well.  Though I like the idea of HALO, the time line and especially the gear, the idea of Space Para's has always intrigued me.



My choice was not hard at all as I've always loved the 15mm figures produced by Ground Zero Games.  After checking all the mini's I finally decided on the UNSC for my ODST's.  Convenient as the Earth troops in HALO are also know as UNSC (United Nations Space Command). So here is what the packs look like:

UNSC Light Infantry with rifles Pack A.

UNSC Light Infantry with rifles Pack B.
UNSC Light Infantry with SAW.
UNSC Light Infantry Command.

UNSC Light Infantry Support weapons pack with Gauss and Guided Missile System


UNSC Light Infantry with Light portable Anti-Armor Missile.

I love the look of these mini's, the helmets especially.  They have the ODST look to them, but I may add some more kit to them in the form of more pockets and pouches 'cause personally I think Para's look good with extra ammo pouches and the like.



To go with these I also wanted to have Halo Troopers.  These were a bit trickier as there are 2 different  factions that could fit the trooper look. 



HALO Heavy Trooper.
  Unfortunately with the new GZG store, the wonderful picture of the old site have disappeared and in place are small, less detailed picture, which is a pity as GZG mini's are SO much more detailed than the pictures show.  Finally I decided to just buy both factions and figure out for myself which fit better.  My choices were the Islamic Federation in helmets and Oceanic Union Defense Corps in helmets.

Islamic Federation Infantry in Helmets



Islamic Federation Infantry kneeling and prone.

These didn't satisfy my wants for heavy troops as their kit is very light and they all seem to be equipped with light weapons.  My son looked at them and said, hey those could be light troopers.  With the voice or reason speaking, they are now Light troopers.

UNSC Light Trooper


Looking at the OUDF for the first time I new these were going to be heavy troopers.  They have extra gear mounted all over and the helmets just scream trooper!

Oceanic Union Defense Force in Helmets.


Oceanic Union Defense Force.


 These mini's really look the part, and I do know my picture are not great, but you really have to see these mini's to understand how great they really are.

While I was buying mini's I thought I would take a crack at the New Anglican Confederation.  Why you may ask?  I really like the look of the helmets.

British MK6 helmet.
  And if I were to choose Sci-Fi British troops, it would certainly be the NAC, again I think it's the helmets.  So lets take a peak at what they look like:

New Anglican Confederation Infantry prone and kneeling


New Anglican Confederation Infantry Rifles Pack A.



New Anglican Confederation Infantry Rifles Pack B.

New Anglican Confederation Infantry with SAW.

New Anglican Confederation Command. 





New Anglican Confederation Support with Laser Sniper rifles and GMS.

New Anglican Confederation Anti-Armor with Gauss and GMS.

I can't express how much I love all these figures.  They just look....right! All the mini's are crisp, they all scale well together and I like the poses and weapons choices.   The other thing I like is that there is such a variety in the pack, especially the NAC.  Some of the NAC have their visors down, others don't and in fact in the command pack one of the troops is a woman, the one holding her helmet.   As for an overall review I can't say one bad thing about GZG.   I placed my order on a Monday and Jon at GZG email me to let me know the order went out the next day. Tuesday of the next week I had my minis!  I have NEVER had something from the UK, nor over seas, delivered so fast!  Not only that but Jon saw fit to put in a sample pack of some OFFICIAL Tomorrow's War 15mm mini's and here they are:



 They have a  United States Colonial Marine Corps./ Samurai look to them.



 Anyway, that's it for the Human Forces.  The Aliens are coming from Khurasan as of last Tuesday and will hopefully be hear this week.

Once again thanks to Jon at GZG for getting these out so fast and for the sample mini's.