Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bolt Action: Cheap alternatives to tanks!

With the release of the new Tank War supplement for the Bolt Action WWII system, many of us find ourselves dreaming of lots of tanks rolling over the tables in our upcoming games.

Warlord has a few new releases and some plastic kits , but most ring in at $30-50 for an oddly underscale lump of resin and lead. (don't get me started on those tiny jeeps)
Most of us have gone the way of using some of the high quality plastic kits in 1/48 scale or even some nice die cast stuff that is already built, but even these options hammer away on the wallet still around $20-50.
How about some super cheap kits that you can buy truckloads of you say?

How about $8 Shermans and Panzer IVs? Two of the most prolific tanks for the two big armies are available in 1/48 scale for the price of a Mclunch.

 Revell has rereleased a couple of 70's snap together WWII tanks that you might consider for your gaming needs. The Combat Crushers kits are definitely targeted to kids but I ordered a couple to see if these toys can be used as a decent low cost option to bolster your armor to the sizes needed for the new Tank War games.

These kits are blister packed and prepainted in crazy graphics to grab the attention of kids , but I figured with a little work and some paint they might be useable.

You can find them searching for Quake and After Shock with Revell on Ebay.

Unboxing reveals how simple these kits are and they go together in a few minutes. The horrible graphics are tampo printed and need to be knocked down a bit with some sanding before you paint over them to avoid seeing the designs under the paint.

The Sherman is an odd kit with the late war HVSS type chassis with what looks like a 105 turret and a early 75 gun. Purists out there may not want to deal with this, but on the good side, it looks like a sherman tank if you dont look too close and its scale is pretty good.

Here are some pics with a Tamiya Sherman based Firefly, as you can see the height length and width all compare pretty well.

A little paint goes a long way and this odd kit can look pretty presentable with a simple quick paint job. The .50 cal machine gun looks pretty silly so  drilled out the grips and added a bit of rod to make the barrel look better

The Panzer IV kit fares a bit better, once you flip the side skirts over where they should be, it looks pretty good. You could even make an earlier version by ditching the skirts and turret shields, and even chop the barrel and do a little plastic card work to make the F1, sure the details are molded on and not too amazing but it's really pretty decent on the table with a paint job. A nice airbrush camo job will really make this thing a contender.

 Here is mine waiting for some camo. I drilled out the barrel but that's about it.

One other problem is that these kits don't have decals. 1/48 decals are available out there, and if you have been using plastic kits, odds are that you have some extra sitting around and if you are planning to make a fleet of these you can find a sheet with lots of 1/48 decals reasonably,

So is it worth it? I think the average player would say yes, if you love building superdetailed models, not so much. A Tamiya kit can be found on Ebay for around 30 bucks and is a wonderful kit to build, and that's cheaper than a rhino, but you can buy 3 of these Panzer IVs for that and they look pretty good on the I guess it's up to you.

I think I will be buying a few more of the Panzers and a decal sheet set for my Germans, add some weathering and some stowage and see how they look.

If you do go after these snap kits, be careful of the shipping fees and find a seller that will combine at a reasonable fee, most of the 8 buck kits seem to have that much in shipping fees, and that kind of kills the great deal, so make sure you get a good combined rate.