Panzer from GMT
Plastic Soldier Company (1/72) T-34's
The tank ultimately became the mainstay of the Soviet WWII tank armies. This kit gives you the 76mm and the 85mm gun / turret option, but the nice thing is that these variants are BOTH supplied, so you get a 76mm gun turret and a 85mm gun turret for each chassis, significantly extending the use of the vehicle - if only every supplier would do that.
The 76mm version found itself underpowered when up against the Heavy German vehicles (Panther and TigerI), though could still hold its own against medium tanks. With the introduction of the 85mm model, the T-34 could potentially deal with the frontal armour of a Tiger I at ranges of out to 500 metres and was now also a much greater threat to medium armour at much further distances.
The box artwork gives us both versions. You get three fast built vehicles in the box.
Panther Ausf A with Zimmerit.
Fast Build 1/72 scale German Panther by Plastic Soldier Company. You get two of these kits per box compared to the usual three. The Zimmerit effect is quite thickly applied and seems to be in addition to the basic body itself, resulting in a slightly heavier model, using more plastic and this may be why there are just two vehicles in the box.
Zimmerit. is an anti-mine paste and the pattern / texture gives a quite a pronounced effect to the body of the vehicle, making it a welcome change to 'ordinary' models.
The box artwork shows the Panther in its ochre colour, with foliage applied as camouflage, which is a helpful guide to the modeller, as I think I would otherwise have had a tendency to apply foliage too densely. It also shows the Zimmerit extending under the front of the hull, but this is not reflected in the model, which is left plain
The 28mm Saxon Thegns from Gripping Beast. These are the armoured warriors, the elite, the land owners, trained in a martial way that can sit in my 1066 Anglo-Saxon line-up as the front line Housecarl / Thegn troops. They are a mix of spear / sword and axe armed troops and they look like they will make up into nicely animated figures.
As part of a deal, I also picked up their dark age archers and dark age warriors. The archers are rather limited with only three poses on ten sprues, but they look like they will mix well with my Conquest Games (plastic) archers to add a bit of diversity and that both sides will be able to use them.
Likewise, the dark age warriors look like they will be useful for a bit of kit bashing with Conquest Games' foot, as the Conquest box alone don't feel like they provide enough spear to represent the Norman spear armed heavy infantry and the Gripping Beast box looks like there may be a few arms with spear attached going spare. Either way, the plastic 28mm offerings from both Conquest Games and Gripping Beast taken together, look like they will be enough to provide the bulk of my 1066 Hasting armies.
Waterloo - Fallen Eagles by Hexasim.
StuG III G (1/72 from the Plastic Soldier Company).
Something of an iconic German WWII vehicle for wargamers. It was an assault gun with a 75mm gun, which
Initially provided an armoured support element to infantry based units (usually mechanised), but as the war progressed, it was increasingly adopted into the panzer divisions, with the long gun of the G model having a good anti-tank performance as well as the useful H.E. capacity.
The kit variants are early model, late model and the Sturmhaubizte (105mm gun). I may have this wrong, but the artwork seems to have the early gun shield, but the later mantelet. Adding the Schürzen skirts (steel plates hanging along the sides of the vehicle) is optional, but I always feel the model G looks a little 'undressed' without them.
I have put the first one together and thought is was very straight forward ... until the end when I added the skirts and realised that I had reversed the brackets, so they were effectively put on upside down. The instructions have the skirts and brackets assembled first, so by the time I discovered the fault, the glue weld was virtually dry - some brute force and resulting bent parts got them clear and I immediately re-fixed while the plastic was still soft, but another 5 minutes and I would of had to do some cutting and scratch building - or else had a naked StuG ...Yikes!
You get three vehicles to a box and I will probably do two as late models and the other as the 105mm version, since I have not had that variant before. These are likely to be my most used vehicles on the table.
This is the Zvezda TANK COMBAT module from their Art of Tactics series for WWII. They have quite a few historical modules in this series and this box seems intended as the ideal starter set as it only contains tanks.
It cost £20 and seems good value for that. The 6 models that come with the game would come to that value on their own, plus you get 4 small hexed sturdy double sized boards, a rule set, a scenario booklet with 4 scenarios in, 10 dice and unit cards.
The vehicles included are;
German: Pz-38(t), Pz II and Pz IV Ausf D
Soviet: T34/76 (1940), T-26 and BT-5
The box art is dynamic and eye-catching, and whilst not immediately looking likely, early Soviet tanks did ram enemy tanks. Plus it all makes a good change from the ubiquitous smoking buildings in the background type scene.
Soviet KV-1 from Zvezda, the 1940 model that had the L11 gun (76mm with a calibre of 30.5).
The box artwork has the tank in a heavy snow scene with fir trees and soldiers in white winter clothing in the background, artistic inspiration likely drawn from the Soviet Winter War with Finland.
The vehicle was heavily armoured and was something of an unpleasant surprise for the German invading armies in Operation Barbarossa, as the KV-1 was general immune to the smaller diameter anti-tank guns used by the light tanks in the panzer divisions.
The '41 model was up-gunned to the F34 gun, also a 76mm weapon, but with a calibre of 42.5 and an improved muzzle velocity of 680 metres per second.
The chassis would remain useful in the first half of the war, giving the KV-85 variant and the less successful KV-2, which mounted a howizter in a large high turret.
28mm Plastic napoleonic starter set called Waterloo, from Warlord Games. The Anglo-Allies include British foot and Hanoverian foot, plus some cavalry and a 9pdr gun (metal) with crew. The French get infantry in trench coats (easier to paint!) and cavalry.
Both sides get some metal overall army command figures, the British includes a rather nice pose of an officer leaning on his brolly (rather Picton like!). Unfortunately the set does not include battalion Command figures for the British, Hanovarian or the French infantry.
You do get an A5 paperback version of the Black Powder rules (a full replica of the hardbacked rules), plus a fast play set of rules to get you into the system, these have been done rather well ...... though they don't mention how to recover from Disorder! (But it doesn't really matter as you can find that in the provided full ruleset) and they include a pre-amble on basing and notes about the Waterloo battle. A good starter, let down by the absence of command figures.
Churchill Tanks - a 15mm plastic kit offering from Plastic Soldier Company.
The box has five sprues, each able to give a Churchill tank in the variants of Mk III, Mk IV, Mk VI (75mm) and the V 95 close support plus the III AVRE close support.
These are fast build kits, with typical crisp details, but no decals.
I particularly like the artwork on this large box because it looks like it has been done in oils, with the blending giving warm tones and soft lines. The camo netting around the turret and gun barrel on the left tank gives is a nice touch.