Category Archives: Comparatives

1/72 IS-2 Comparison: Zvezda, Italieri and PST

This is my all-time favorite tank and I wanted to build it for a long time; I already had Italieri and PST kits and I was ready for a kitbash. However, when I heard Zvezda will release its own version (a snap fit), and knowing the quality of its earlier releases (T34, Tiger I and Panther Ausf D), I decided to wait. And the wait was worthwhile. This is not a comprehensive review, just a few shots with the main parts (I didn’t removed the flash on any part, just detached it from the sprues).

The boxes:

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The upper hull (Zvezda on the left, Italieri in the middle, and PST on the right). Italieri’s hull is a little bit short, both Zvezda and PST seem to have the right proportions, Zvezda has the nicest details of all:

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Lower hulls (same order). I took an extra shot with Zvezda’s lower hull, looks like Dragon style, with superb details :

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Tracks:

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Road-wheels:

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Wheel drives:

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Gun barrels. I added the metal Aber barrel just for comparison. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think this is Zvezda’s only soft spot: the gun muzzle brake is maybe a little too short.

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The turrets. Italieri is the only one with a very nice cast texture (present on the hull also). All Zvezda hatches are closed (maybe another minus).

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General shots with Zvezda kit sprues. The DSzK 12.7mm machine gun has amazing details, and I think is the best plastic replica in 1/72.

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I think the conclusion is obvious: Zvezda IS-2 is the best on the 1/72 market today.
All the models showed here can be found through our utility in Ebay.

Caesar Multipart Series InBox review. Product codes , 7211, 7213, 7214, 7216, 7217, 7215.

Well, all these new releases by Caesar have been expected as something new in the brand range, and who knows, if something new for the hobby.
We have received six boxes, for the codes 7211, 7213, 7214, 7216, 7217, 7215, the paratroopers box seems to haven’t been released jet.
Note that boxes came marked as 7711, 7713, 7714, 7716, 7717, 7715 codes.

We was happy to unpack the first box…

The first we missed out, was an instruction sheet… the only instructions are in the back box, the same in all the boxes, and four our taste, this is clearly insufficient (at least for us).

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What you get in all these boxes…
All the boxes haves the same format, there are two sprue for the bodies, which came with arms, legs and chest separated in 5 parts. These sprue allow you to built up 16 figures, with any option unless you built up less figures and try to combine parts.
This sprue is different in the six boxes.

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To see in detail, right click, open link in new tab, and see the full image.
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To see in detail, right click, open link in new tab, and see the full image.

After this, all the boxes have 3 equal sprue with accessories such weapons, ammo pouches, helmets and so, they are enough for the bodies included in the box.
These 3 sprue are the same in the 6 boxes, we have purchased all these references, so we have 18 equal sprue in our hands. Well, we will have a lot of spare parts for other uses, but we think that some variation could be good…

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To see in detail, right click, open link in new tab, and see the full image. You will get 3 of this sprue in any box.

The last in the box are three small sprue with 10 faces and pistol in it, and these sprue also are repeated in all the boxes.. we have 30×6 = 180 faces for 96 figures… once again we think that some variation could be good…

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To see in detail, right click, open link in new tab, and see the full image. Another 3 of this sprue in any box.

Lets go with some figures…
We have chose the 7716 German Panzergrenadiers (in Normandy) box.
Plastic is hard, and it took well our glue (Tamiya plastic cement), you must be careful, this glue can damage smallest parts, and there are a well bunch of small parts.

Built so small figures is not always an easy question, the figures are engineered like Preiser figures, it means that position of the parts is not always clear, specially with arms, all the legs joint the other leg and then the body goes over them, this part is easy but don’t allow much (easy) variation.
As guide, you must take one of the box sides, where you will find the 8 poses of each box. Note than you have some space to variation.
Problems don’t take many time to appear… as always, maybe is my fault, but is impossible to get one Kar 98 decently posed in fire position… so both kneeling figures, well, we haven’t achieve any convincing pose with these. After some tries, we give as lost our first figure..
The prone pose haven’t interest for us… two other figures lost (it’s our personal taste).
Put the weapons in their hands is a common problem, the problem of rigid parts, and the problem of the lack of instructions or concrete suggestions.
We also don’t feel very natural the heads positions, and damage helmets when you cut of the sprue is very easy. Hats works better.

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After some assembly you will need to fill minor gaps. Weapons don’t fit hands in a natural way. These are our first three figures, after lost one.
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Attach to sprue are too tick for so small parts, is easy to damage helmets or other parts. We still have some work to do with these guys, fill gaps, sand imperfects.. You can choose a reasonable bunch of accessories for their backs.
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Comparison with the also new H077 German Soldiers with Tank Raiders, not the best Caesar box, some of the figures looks some flat… about tall as you can see they are fully compatibles.
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We can’t not say this is an excellent figure. A lot of work to achieve this, not recommended for beginners.

Three figures are enough for our first contact, a lot of work must be done to assemble the whole set, and for sure some of the pose will don’t look very natural.

And what about detail…
Well, proportions are good, these sets produces figures totally compatible with previous Caesar releases. Details is correct, but not very crisp, in fact, is difficult to see some details, and it will be worst during painting process…

So what we think…
Mmmmmmmm… we think that buy the 6 boxes have been a wrong decision by us, just one or two boxes it’s enough for us. 😉
You get some spare parts, which can be very useful to complete other figures, to use in vehicles and so, and you can achieve some nice variation combining different accessories in the figures and arms positions + weapons, although they don’t fit always well.
You get a lot of work to put together all the parts.
These are not bad figures at all, but we are not very happy with the way they have been released, with so many sprue equals in all the boxes. More variation in the weapons would be desirable, as panzerchecks, panzerfaust, different MGs.. you get the same in all the boxes.. (no panzerchecks or panzerfaust)

Sincerely, we expected some more of Caesar.  We don’t feel that these boxes beat the Preiser standard, and of course, they are thousand miles away of a 28mm multipart set.  What do you think ?

German LeFH 18. 1/72 Sets with crew

Although some other manufacturers have this gun in their range, only three of them provides some kind of crew for it. From past to recent they are Revell, Zvezda and now the new Armourfast ones.

Left: Armourfast Center: Zvezda Right: Revell

It was the standard divisional field howitzer used by the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. It was designed and developed by Rheinmetall in 1929-30 and entered service with the Wehrmacht in 1935.
LeFH 18 was developed in 3 different versions, the LeFH 18, LeFH 18M (1941), which incorporates a new muzzle brake and the recoil system adjusted to allow the use of a more powerful charge and new long-range shell and finally the 10.5 cm leFH 18/40, mounting the gun on the carriage for a 7.5 cm PaK 40, additionally, a more efficient muzzle (which also upgraded some of the 18M version).

Revell 02515 German Artillery.

Revell model was the first to appear, in 1995. Set is an excellent show case of the Revell’s better works in our scale. The two guns included in the set, depicts the early LeFH 18 gun, without muzzle, and with pressed steel wheels, although it comes with a full horse limber, a missed good opportunity to include the wooden wheels. Set also have a full crew for the firing gun and a lot of excellent extras, such munition, helmets and so. Instructions are clear enough and guns have a very good detail, taking care that they are made in soft plastic.
As other times an excellent full review can be found at Plastic Soldier Review site.
This Revell model is also usable for the Spanish civil War, as this early version was shipped to Spain as part of the Condor Legion.

Zvezda 6121 – German 105mm Howitzer with Crew

The Zvezda’s set only comes with two crew men, which maybe is good for their gaming system, but not so good for other purposes. Figures have the usual good quality of the brand, but their are just two. Gun is depicted in the box as the 18M gun, the muzzle brake is clearly visible, but it looks more like the 40 version, although this muzzles also upgraded some 18M versions in the late war. Which definitively seems to be a 40 version is the carriage and wheels, which looks to be the Pak 40 ones and the modified wheels designed just for this gun, some taller than the Pak 40 ones, but smaller than the other LeFH 18 versions. Figures seems to be to classic German soldiers, more appropriated for the early war, but the gun is the last version, appropriated for the late war, so at this point Armourfast crew could be good for the Zvezda’s gun.
Plastic is quite rigid, instructions are easy and gun is mounted with just a few parts.

Our mate Cristian Florescu made an excellent review about this set in the Braille Scale Discussion Group.

Armourfast 89001 LEFH 18 Howitzer 105mm

The Armourfast version seems to be the real 18M ones, taking care of the muzzle shape. I’m not sure about the wheels, maybe this time they are wooden spoked ones ?. Crew figures are probably quite good, details are very good, and maybe the discussion could be around the poses itself. For my taste the quality of these figures are better than previous Armourfast figure set, they are hard plastic and looks pretty well. They need glue to fix the multi-part, this allow no plastic excess at any point and flash is non existent, have mould lines, but are easy to fix. These figures are all wearing anklets, a late war feature.
Instructions come in the box rear, they are clear enough to build the gun.

Figure comparison, Armourfast crew are thicker but well detailed
Zvezda figures close to the Armourfast officer. Both quite compatibles.

Conclusion
So 17 years after the Revell’s launch, their set continues to be the most complete ones. Not only by the excellent crew, it also comes full of munition and boxes and the complete limber. Although soft plastic is an odd. The new Armourfast ones is clearly oriented for wargaming environment, but we though it’s a great product for this purpose, 4 crew men per gun, robust, and shape detail in figures. Also we like the style of these figures, discussion about the poses apart. Zvezda ones is a product which don’t gets happy to much people, 2 crew is a joke and detail level of the gun also is nothing special, a wargaming product less useful than the Armourfast, even if sculpture in the figures is better. Both sets lacks of munitions, boxes and so, which is a pity.

With the three sets seems that we have the three LeFH 18 versions available for our armies.

Minor faults are present in all the sets, which have a quite simplified detail, the worst in the Armourfast could be the absence of a sight, and detail missing in the lower shield. The most ugly in the Zvezda’s ones is the gun itself, you may drill and drill to get this muzzle looking well. Also you may drill the Revell’s and Armourfast’s ones. Zvezda and Armourfast are the most robust, as correspond for wargaming models.

 

What we miss now is a decent winter crew for these guns, to combine with all the leFH 18 available in the market, such for example the ACE ones, with 18M and 40 versions. Note than the box illustration for the 18M comes without muzzle, which is incorrect. Also some resin manufactures have the LeFH 18 in their ranges.
A set in the way of the recently released Orion Russian Artillery Crew could be welcome for the German guns.
By the way , we also recommend to take a look to the excellent MMS material, such this.

Armourfast team at full.

1/72 Orion 72039 Hussite War Wagon And Command

Orion 72039 Hussite War Wagon And Command

Another tiny review for one of the latest released set, this time the Orion Hussite War Wagon and Command, 72039 set.
First of all I must said than figures in this set have a high quality sculpture, and are a must be in any Hussite or Medieval army in our scale, but the set have other odds which don’t glad to me. The most important the lack of instructions to built the wagon, which haves around 35 parts, and just a one angle picture in the box’s back will be your only help.

Orion Hussite War Wagon built.

Hussite Wagons were covered time ago by MiniArt, but this new wagon from Orion have some better features, and also another odd, which is size. Figures are completely covered by the wagon wall, while this probably is more accurate it means than the figures you will be painting a couple of hours will be almost hidden. The best of the wagon is the wooden pattern, clearly visible in all pieces.

Comparative between Orion Hussite War Wagon and MiniArt's ones.

Another odd of the set is that Orion don’t managed new horses for this great figures, they just re-release one sprue of horses used in previous sets, which we must say are too small for the riders, as pictures show. I replaced them by some Italei horses, but just for the pictures, i don’t know which will be the definitive horses if i paint this set.

Orion horses aren't the best of this set.

Figures of the set depict three own named historic personages plus three figures including one horse standart and one driver for the wagon. The historic personages are Jan Hus, Jan Ziska and Prokop the Great.

Jan Hus (1369 – 6 July 1415) is who named the Hussites, he is the first actual Church reformer, prior to Luther or Calvin. Their defense and rebellion against Roman Catholics became known as the Hussite Wars.He died burned at the stake for heresy, something very common in that time.

The left figure represent Jan Hus.

Jan Ziska (1360–1424) was an Hussite Leader, probably the famous ones and is one of the four general in history who never was defeated. One of his innovations were the War Wagons which are a tank precursor 5 hundred years before. I recommend the lecture of the Wiki article, as he was a really impressive and important General who improved and changed the medieval warfare forever.

Prokop the Great (1380 – 1434) Another Hussite Command, who was the most prominent leader of the latter Hussite Wars.

Prokop in the center, Jan Ziska on right.

The last feature remarkable of the set are the couple of ox, which are not common in our hobby. MiniArt’s wagon use horses. Take care that real War Wagons were capable to acommodate 15 or 20 men, which are impossible with these two representations.

You can buy the set here.

1/72 RedBox RB72039 Hussite Infantry

1/72 RedBox RB72039 Hussite Infantry

Another of the newly released sets from RedBox. This one was released prior to last entry for the War of the Roses, and has been completely reviewed at PSR site, don’t miss it.

My figures haven’t the same plastic colour than the ones in PSR site, so they must be a second series, and once againg they show some less flash than in PSR, although more that the Men at Arms and retinue set.

This time you get 36 figures in 12 poses, plus 3 shields in three equals sprue.
One of the problem with the sprue are some of the weapons, is hard to know where the sprue ends and the weapon begin :D, so take care of this.
Sculpture is quite good and shields have been decorated in relieve so a hand painted scheme is affordable.
Another problem are gain mould marks, which cross some faces by the middle.

The hussite infantry has been covered previously for some other manufacturers, for comparission i took some pictures close to the MiniArt 72010 Hussites and the Orion 72019 Medieval Siege Troops which is not marked as Hussite but have a lot of hand gunners than can be used so.

As you can see in the pictures the three sets are quite compatible, so a great variation can be achieved to cover the subject. Only one of the three sets, the MiniArt ones, comes with two hussite wagons, although recently Orion have released a set which haves some nice figures and one hussite wagon.
I also included two Zvezda figures to show they are all quite compatible again. Medieval range seem to be a lucky ones, we have four manufacturers here and all figures are compatible, this not ever happen.

If i must choose one of the sets as the best, i can’t. All have odds and advantages. The MiniArt haves the two wagon, but at least my set, is plenty full of flash and mould problems, more than the RedBox ones. The Orion set have some very nice sculpted figures, but also tons of flahs, no wagon and not all the figures can be taken as Hussite infantry. So probably the best option is take the three. 😀
An excellent example of the MiniaArt figures can be found at mate Paul’s blog.

As the War of the Roses set this one shows the improvement made by RedBox, and i’m excited about the next release from this brand. It could be good if they reworked all the sets made for the Boxer’s Rebellion. A good subject very bad covered by their previous sets, or the Korean medieval army, also covered by their previous works.

If you want to take this set now, take a look here.

1/72 RedBox RB72040 Men At Arms and Retinue

1/72 RedBox RB72040 Men At Arms and Retinue

Is the first time i brought a RedBox set, after see the quality improvement they have done with their new medieval range,and i think they deserve this tiny review.
Set contains 30 figures in 10 poses, spread in 3 equals sprue.

In fact quality of the sculpture is far away from previous RedBox’s set, so this one must be in any medieval army in 1/72 scale. All the poses looks pretty well, and the amount of flash in my set is less than the showed at PSR site (i’m lucky). They still have some mould problems, as many of the figures are crossed by mould marks, specially faces, what is an important odd in paint process. Mould marks are harder to remove than flash, you will probably disfigure all the faces if try it.
The standard bearer is probably the worst figure, not by the figure itself, but the standard is quite usefulness, and hard to remove from the sprue. Better will be thinking in replace it for a self made flag, which is not so hard. The flag is so thick than figure can’t stand up by itself 🙂

Although it can’t be appreciated in pictures another fault is the figure taking an arrow from the ground, the arrow is almost so thick as his arm.

I’m not an expert in medieval period but all the figures looks correct to me. They look what they are, medieval knight and men at arms, ready to fight. The several archer figures contribute to the sensation of they are British men.

Figures have a size totally compatible with the high quality Zvezda’s range, so if you have a medieval army composed with the Zvezda’s set, this can be a good addition.

This one pass to the workbench, which is so huge at this moment than i’m not sure if they will be painted any time, as my medieval project is currently stopped.

Despite all the odds we are very happy to see the great quality improvement done by RedBox, we expect all the forthcoming releases will be in the same or greater quality, so we almost can say a “new brand” has born and we will be happy to purchase and work with their sets.

Don’t wait to get it, take a look here and choose the cheapest option.