Everything Old is New Again

Just to show that it isn’t all naval all the time here’s an update on my IDF forces.  I picked up a pack of GHQ’s new release, the Magach 3.  As with most of their offerings I liked this one right off the bat.  I’ve always loved the classic M48 lines, the boat-hull bow, the beefy tracks and suspension, and the big cast turret that says ‘I dare you to knock this off’.  Yes, yes, I know that in actual combat they suffered from a number of serious flaws…  but they look so cool!

The rare earth magnets worked so well on the GHQ Magach 6b Gal that I put these models through the same process.  I made sure that they all had the same polar orientation this time.  Here are some shots of the process.

Underside of turret with turret pin.

Underside of turret with turret pin.

Existing turret pin removed.

Existing turret pin removed.

Turret pin drilled out to accept 3mm magnet.

Turret pin drilled out to accept 3mm magnet.

Undersife of hull showing existing turret pin hole.

Undersife of hull showing existing turret pin hole.

Hull turret pin hole bored out to accept 3mm magnet turret pin.

Hull turret pin hole bored out to accept 3mm magnet turret pin.

5mm magnet glued to underside of hull.

5mm magnet glued to underside of hull.

Completed hull and turret. Now fully rotating but removable.

Completed hull and turret. Now fully rotating but removable.

The Magach 3 and Magach 6b Gal side by side.

The Magach 3 and Magach 6b Gal side by side.

Now it is just a question of getting them primed and painted.

 

Mini or Micro?

I have been a fan of microarmor (1/285 scale) and micronauts (1/2400 scale) since discovering them in college in the mid 1980’s.  The details and the quality of many of the models, given their small size, was very impressive.  In the past few years however I’ve found something which is even better – for some applications.  The Figurehead range of naval miniatures are smaller (1/6000 scale), less expensive (on a per model basis), and have a larger product range than 1/2400.  I suppose now is a good time to caveat my comments with the fact that I’m speaking about post-WWII models.  I’m just not familiar enough with earlier ranges to judge which ones are most complete.

Figurehead also seems to offer the most complete line of vessels for a full Falkland Islands campaign.  The only other line that comes close is SeaWulf, but I don’t think theirs is as complete and for 1/2400 scale the quality isn’t as high as GHQ, CinC, or Viking Forge/SeaBattle.  Don’t get me wrong I like the SeaWulf line because they offer ships no one else does like the Leander class frigates and all the variants of that class but they are gaming quality not collector’s quality pieces.

With a new affinity for 1/6000 scale I’ve launched on a naval expansion program that will provide a significant increase in capability and diversity of my navies.  In truth the original attraction to this scale was the breadth of models available.  GHQ makes some fantastic models but they have a very narrow selection in modern naval miniatures.  They are trying to correct that now but with eight major product lines spanning five scales, modern naval is almost the red-headed step-child.  As an example, the announcement for the 2014-2015 product year had four modern naval vessels out of forty-seven new models.  About 8.5% of their new model production.  The WWI and WWII lines each will be getting four new models as well so overall naval enthusiasts will be getting about 25.5% of GHQ’s attention next year.  Just think what wonderful models could be made if a company of GHQ quality focused only on naval units, but I guess its the sales revenues of all the other things that allow them to expand as they have in the first place.

Back on point, it was the breadth of models available that attracted me in the first place.  For several years now I have been working on a scenario supplement for the Harpoon ruleset published by Clash of Arms Games.  My supplement is devoted to aircraft carriers and naval aviation.  I have more than a dozen scenarios from 1962 to 2013 researched and written, some large, some small, some historical, some ‘might-have-been’ and so on.  If you follow my blog then you know real life often interrupts my projects and the Harpoon supplement is no exception.  At this point I’m not sure CoA will ever speak to me again much less publish my work.  Maybe I’ll have to go into micro publishing and do it myself…  I digress.  Some of the scenarios I’ve written that take place in the 1960’s have no miniatures in 1/2400 scale, only Figurehead makes appropriate ships.  Naturally I want to someday be able to play my scenarios on the table top and Figurehead, for the moment at least, is the only solution.

All of this got me thinking about the hobby and scales and names and things.  While GHQ has trademarked certain names like Micronauts, is “micro” really appropriate anymore when there is something even smaller?  A similar situation exists with Micro Armor, also a GHQ registered trademark.  With 1/600 scale tanks and vehicles on the market should the smaller version become ‘micro’ and the 1/285 range become ‘mini’?  Or maybe the 1/6000 ships and 1/600 tanks should be called ‘nano’.  There may be a marketing downside to that however.  The word ‘nano’ makes it sound impossibly small.  I doubt GHQ will give up their trademarks so the point is moot.

Pivot to the Pacific Part Two? Part Three? Whatever…

  GHQ, a company I think I’ve mentioned in every one of my posts, has just announced their production plan for 2014-2015.  The list (which appears about half-way down the page) has lots of good stuff but they haven’t worked out production dates yet.  The most interesting for me with regards to this post are the 1/2400 modern warships.  there were no new PRC PLAN ships announced but they did announce their first JMSDF ships.  The first is the Hyuga class DDH, the aircraft carrier that’s not an aircraft carrier, and the Takanami class DDG.  GHQ is also planning on producing the Royal Navy Type 45 DDG which is the first update for their RN line in more than 20 years.  The final modern unit announced is the the San Antonio class LPD, USS New York.

   I think these JMSDF ships are a solid choices.  Viking Forge already produces many other JMSDF ships and the new vessels from GHQ will complement those without competing with them.  I previously purchased a 3-D printed Hyuga from Shapeways so I’m eager to get my hands on one from GHQ for a direct comparison. 

   The Type 45 however is a curious choice in my mind.  The Type 21 and Type 22 Frigates and the Type 42 Destroyers in the GHQ catalog are Falklands War versions and were disposed of a long before the Type 45 entered service.  The Invincible class offered in the catalog is the wrong version to serve alongside a Type 45 but at least there is overlap in service.  Essentially there are two periods represented by the GHQ RN catalog items, Falklands War and modern day.  It would have been nice to see a Type 23 or even a Type 22 Batch 3 come down the ways at GHQ at some point in the last 20 years but that’s the way it goes.

   New York, LPD-21, is another interesting choice.  I’m sure I’ll get one or two but I can’t decide if they’re useful or not from a gaming perspective.  Sure its cool that part of the ship is constructed from steel recycled from the WTC after the 9/11 bombing but without additional expeditionary strike group units it becomes another one-off.  It could be useful in a small scale scenario assaulting an isolated island garrison/radar station/ESM station or whatever but then again if it is a target small enough that 700 marines and a handful of helicopters can take it why not just use a dozen TLAM?  Paired with GHQ’s excellent LHD, and Viking Forge’s LSDs it begins to provide some expeditionary assault capability.  Hmmm… Maybe it will come with V-22 Ospreys.  Now that would be something.