Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Tale of Two Kitties


Last week Robert over at Drunken Samurai Painting Blog, pitched me an idea for a big game that he would like to do sometime next year. It is sort of a top secret game but what I can tell you, it will require a few tanks in 28mm and use the Bolt Action Rules (I'm not going to spill the beans just yet). So with that said, I needed to start picking up a few vehicles. About two months ago, I started selling off all my 1/48th scale armor kits and started to switch over to 1/56th vehicles to be more in line with 28mm figures.

One of the kits I picked up was the Rubicon Models Tiger I Ausf. E tank to replace my Tamyia Tiger. I love the Rubicon kits and have a few now, so it was a no brainer that I would have this kit. In fact I was so excited that once I got home, I built up the kit! Now with this secret project, I knew I was going to need another Tiger, but after talking to Robert, I decided to pick up the plastic Tiger from Warlord Games this past weekend.

So last night I had some free time, so decided to build up the second Tiger to see how it matches up to the Rubicon kit. Now I have to say, if your in the market for a Tiger model, either one of these great kits will work and you will be satisfied with the results. I will be reviewing each kit below, but hear me on this, both kits are very well done and I really can't say which one is better than the other.

So first up is the cost of each kit:

Warlord Games Tiger = $32.00
Rubicon Models Tiger = $37.00

Now you can get both of these kits cheaper if you go online, but these are the suggested prices for both.

Next up is assembly, the Warlord kit gives you two plastic frames, while the Rubicon comes with three plastic frames. Each kit took about 45min to put together. Now the Rubicon kit allows you to build three different versions (early, mid or late variants), while the Warlord only allows you to build a late version. The instructions for both kits are easy to follow and pretty straight forward if you have ever built any sort of model kits in the past.

Now it is worth noting that the Warlord kit comes with zimmerit paste already sculpted on, which the Rubicon has none.

Another thing you get with the Warlord kit is a commander figure, while the Rubicon kit dose not come with a commander. Now this is not a big deal, but it is always nice to have a figure to add to the tank. On the Rubicon kit, the tracks have no real detail to them but the Warlord kit has actual track detail (you can see the track links and such). Once again its a minor issue, but not it was something I noticed when I assembled the kits.

Overall size of the kits is pretty good, but the Rubicon kit is just a hair larger than the Warlord kit. I noticed it with the gun barrel sizes, the Warlord kit is shorter than the Rubicon kit (and we all know barrel length is important, sorry!). But overall you could easily run both of these kits together on the tabletop in the same platoon without seeing an issue.

One other thing I would mention is that the detail on the Rubicon kit seems much crisper than on the Warlord kit. I am talking about the molded on detail like the tow cables and track equipment rear deck detail. Its minor and once the model is painted it will not be an issue. Both kits do come with decals, although the Rubicon decals are the same ones you get with the Panzer III & Panzer IV kits, would have liked to seen a different set of decals. The Warlord model has a generic set of German numbers and cross' which is nice.

So which one is better? Well I don't know, both kits have their strong points and low points, but as I said at the beginning of the post, these are very small issues. With saying that, I like the Rubicon kit much better since I have the option to build three variants as opposed to one version. But I think I will be buying another Warlord kit for our super secret project since the Tigers would have zimmerit on them and I do not want to green stuff up the Rubicon kit. I hope this little review helps you with deciding on a Tiger to purchase. Stay tuned for painting these big kitties.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Operating on the DB&AJ Railroad.


This past weekend we took a trip out to CA for a Dierks Bentley concert at the Irvine Meadows amphitheater on Saturday night. Well I got an email from a friend  Bill Meyer inviting me to play trains on his HO DB&AJ RR, which is a freelance layout depicting the Santa Fe railroad in the Fullerton area mid 1980's. I have been helping and operating on Bills layout since the mid 1990's.

A few U boats that I got to run this weekend.

If I remember correctly, he is now on his 115 operating session and he can host at least 6 operators with one playing as Dispatcher and the rest being either Road Crews or Local Switcher crews. There are about 25+ jobs to run during the session and takes about 3.5 hours for each session. Now I have operated many times in the early days and at that time we did self dispatching, meaning we just ran trains in order on his Job list.

Extra 6378 West bound.
 But now Bill is using a true Dispatcher (who sits in another room all together separate from the layout) and track warrants issued by the dispatcher. Meaning you must use a radio to call the dispatcher to get a track warrant to operate on certain sections of the layout. I will confess, I was rather flustered by operating like this but it does make it feel more like the real thing. With saying that, their is a lot of paperwork to fill out and waiting around to actually operate. At one point I got to sit and wait for a local crew to clear the main for about 15minutes. Like I said, it felt very much like the real thing.

Extra 2866 Sweeper train
 The nice thing about the layout is that Bill is always adding new things for his operators to challenge them. Bill uses a Waybill system that tells you where everything needs to go, this session he has added Blue Flagged cards that say Do not move Unloading, which is something that real railroads use when cars are not meant to be moved, the really railroad would fire you if you moved a blue flagged car, Bill just would make you buy him a Pint afterwards!

He has also added Re Spot cards, which means you can move the car, but have to put it back where it was at. These little things make the layout much more realistic and fun to operate. Most operating layouts do this, it was just new for Bill's layout.

The Colton CA ATSF station I made for Bill years ago, I am the Station Agent!
All in all I had a great time operating on this layout and I am lucky that Bill still invites me whenever I am in the area. For all of my non Model Railroading friends, picture operating a layout like a game, except that the playing pieces are HO cars and locomotives. If you ever get a chance to operate, take the chance and do it.


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Band of Painters Sept Installment completed!


My first installment of the Band of Painters challenge is completed and below you will see the efforts.

248 Points, 1 Spinne Walker and 6 Veterans

Spinne Mechpanzer

6 Veterans, 5 with Assault Rifles!
The hardest part was trying to figure out where to put the decals on the Spinne Walker, I had a tough time trying to figure out placement of the markings, in fact it took me over an hour to decide what insignias to use and where to put them.

So I started assembly on September 1, paint followed on the next few days and they were completed on Sept 5. I like how they turned out and look forward to filling in the ranks in the following months.


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Band of Painters Challenge - Month One


Today we start our four-month paint challenge called the Band of Painters which will focus on four of us building new Bolt Action/Konflikt 47 armies. As I mentioned I am building a Late War forces and will be focusing more on the Konflikt 47 army first.

248 points for Konflikt 47

So here is my first batch of 248 points of models:

 1 NCO with Assault Rifle (Veteran)

4 Infantry with Assault Rifles (Veteran)

1 Infantry with Rifle (Veteran)

1 Spinne Light Panzermech  (Veteran) 

That's it, 248 points which will be pretty easy to paint up.