Figures & Dioramas

Reviews of products for scale figures and diorama models.

Kursk 1943: The Southern Front

Published: April 9th, 2017     
Kursk 1943: The Southern Front
Author: Author: Robert Forczyk, PhD - Illustrator: Graham Turner
Reviewed by: Mike Lamm, IPMS# 50139
Company: Osprey Publishing

Following the catastrophic loss at Stalingrad, Hitler was desperate to regain the initiative in Russia. The Russian army capitalized on their success at Stalingrad, with victories over the Hungarians and Italians, and pushed on to Kursk and Kharkov with relative ease. The Russians fully expected the German army, which was in disarray, to pull back beyond the Dniepr River. However, a timely arrival of German reinforcements allowed von Manstein to conduct a "Backhand Blow" counter offensive retaking Kharkov and Belgorod and driving the Russians back on their heels. As the Germans continued their advance the weather played out in the Russian's favor once again, as the start of the 'mud season' forced both sides to put a temporary halt to operations. This halt gave the Germans time to regroup, and reinforce their armies. It also gave time to plan Unternehmen Zitadelle (Operation Citadel), a huge offensive planned to be launched near the city of Kursk.

Tales from the Apocalypse: The Truck Driver

Published: March 26th, 2017     
Tales from the Apocalypse: The Truck Driver
Reviewed by: Mike Lamm, IPMS# 50139
Scale: 1:16
Company: Gecco

The Truck Driver is the second in a series of kits called Tales of the Apocalypse. The title for this kit is "Day 1, 11:50am on freeway", and the figure represents an unfortunate truck driver who died in a horrific crash after his body was propelled through the windshield head first! Although his body is smashed and torn from the impact of the crash, his reanimated corpse is now stalking his prey. Let this be a lesson to make sure you always wear your seat belt.

This series of 1/16 scale plastic figures from Gecco represent the victims and survivors of the first day of the Apocalypse. Gecco is probably better known for their lines of vinyl action figures depicting various characters from video games, or the resin science fiction busts and figures. However, these new offerings are very nicely done.

Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568–1648 (1): Infantry

Published: March 25th, 2017     
Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568–1648 (1): Infantry
Author: Author: Bouko de Groot Illustrator: Gerry Embleton
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Osprey Publishing

This is the first of two volumes with the second volume due out later this year that will cover the Cavalry, Artillery, and Engineers. Bouko de Groot was inspired to write these two volumes since there is a notable absence of any English language titles about the 80 years' war. I counted 37 black and white photographs or illustrations. There are also thirty six color illustrations. Additionally, there is a map depicting the 125 battles during the eighty years' war.

Military History has always fascinated Bouko de Groot. He earned a BA in Art History and an MA in Egyptology from Leiden University. Bouko de Groot served in the Dutch Army and has authored a number of academic, popular scientific and business journalistic articles. He spent at least eight years working in Shanghai working for IHS Fairplay, publishing daily online maritime news, along with weekly and monthly magazines.

Railroad Water Crane

Published: March 12th, 2017     
Railroad Water Crane
Reviewed by: Bill O’Malley, IPMS# 46473
Scale: 1/35
Company: MiniArt

The water crane is the type used at German railyards during World War II and will be an excellent addition to railroad dioramas. This is another great kit from MiniArt with fine detail and excellent fit of the parts.

The kit comes in a 4.75 x 15.25 x 1.75 end opening box. It includes three gray plastic sprues and two clear plastic sprues with 50 parts. There is also a length of thread included for the water crane pulley rope. The model will measure 175 mm (6 7/8") tall. My package did not include sprue Af which is the light bulbs for the two lanterns. I sent an email off to MiniArt and got a quick reply that a replacement was on its way. Great customer service by MiniArt!

Paint colors are called in AMMO MIG, Vallejo, Testor, Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell, Mr. Color, and Lifecolor numbers, so it shouldn't be hard to find a match.

Assembly begins with the first 5 steps that build the main pipe elements for the water crane. The pipe sections are halves that fit together nicely but will still need some sanding and clean up for a smooth surface.

Tales from the Apocalypse - The Cook

Published: March 3rd, 2017     
Tales from the Apocalypse - The Cook
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Scale: 1/16
Company: Gecco

The Cook is the lead-off figure in Gecco's second series and follows the three figures in series one in their Tales From the Apocalypse that I believe are sculpted by Shojiro Kasai. This second series creates Scene 2: Day 1, 1:27 pm at the Diner, and goes with two other figures: a waitress named Cindy who is the sister of the heroine in the first series, and a nameless biker. This figure, the Cook, was attempting to rescue his daughter from a horde of zombies only to find out Cindy had already been infected. In his shock and horror, Cindy ripped into his neck infecting her father. At full zombified rage, the Cook, now wields his heavy frying pan against all comers.

The figure packaging is extremely well done. The outer over is portrayed as a heavily used VHS rental movie along with movie rental stickers and notes that you would have found on a VHS rental. The edges of the box are even depicted as heavily worn. The look is quite effective. I took it to show off at my local IPMS meeting and it fooled nearly everyone: "Why would you bring some worn out VHS movie to a model discussion"? The folded instructions help tell the story in a newspaper-like format.