måndag 8 oktober 2012

Total Battle Miniatures review, and stuff...

Bit of a slow rate for my updates now, because I'm actually playing games. I'm currently planning and playtesting the Operation Supercharge scenario as well as trying out Fantasy Flight's X-wing game that I have finally got hold of. However, the playtests are hardly blog material because of the unfinished minis and the generally slow action because we now and then stop to discuss some issues that have cropped up.

Likewise, my X-wing games have been with my sons and I wanted to focus on the game and help them maneuvering and so on instead of taking notes and photographing each turn. I did take a picture though to prove I did play a game :-)

Look at the size of that thing!
Instead I want to take the opportunity to catch up with some stuff I have been meaning to write for a while now.
Some of you might remember that I wrote about some 6mm barricades from Angel Barracks early in the summer. I also bought a couple of houses and a village base from Total Battle Miniatures which Angel Barracks sells. My intention is to convert a couple of eastern front scenarios from Flames of War to IABSM in 6mm, and I need suitable village houses, including a wooden church common to the southern parts of Russia.

I'm no expert at architecture but I do have a feel of when things doesn't really fit in. In 6mm it's even more important to get the overall look right rather than the individual details. Now I wanted a small wooden church suitable for a small village, sporting the familiar russian "onion dome". So far I had been out of luck, the models I had found were either too big, not wooden, or lacking the dome. But then I saw Total Battle Miniatures' line of 6mm ACW buildings, which had a wooden church with a dome.

Now here's what we call a genuine american russian church!
 Well, ok... it might not be perfect, but it got what I wanted. I bet nobody would notice unless I say something... which means that I need to go around and wipe the memory of anyone who reads this! (Or not. Please don't sue me if you suddenly develop amnesia...)

Small american town house... or russian village house?
These buildings are part of TBM's "Big Batallions" range, designed to fit with games where the figures represent several men and a unit might represent a batallion of troops. As such they are a bit compressed in the space they take up on the table, their footprint as it's called. But I think they will fit in nicely.

Posing in the pictures are the familiar GHQ US paratroopers and a GHQ british 6-pounder.
The buildings are molded in off-white resin with finely molded details. The level of sculpting is high with individual roof tiles, window battens and plankings on the side of the buildings are all there. Almost no cleaning up is needed and I did not spot any airholes that needed filling. (In the pictures I have not cleaned the models up.)

In my book a barn is a barn is a barn. How many ways can you build a barn anyway?
One peculiarity is that the BigBatallions buildings all have a standardized footprint; each side is a multiple of 30mm. So the smaller houses are 30x30mm while the church and the row of townhouses have a footprint of 60x30mm. This is because TBM also sells soft latex bases with standard sized cutouts for the buildings to fit inside.

A village base, with hedges, walls, a through road and spaces for the buildings.
Again, the footprint is compressed and four buildings do not make a village in my book. The base is more helpful if you need to define a built-up area but not track the exact position of every figure inside it. This way you can even remove the buildings to fit the figures inside. I plan to use this for my russian village and add houses outside base as well for that larger look. The base will be an easy way to get some ground detailing done.

With the buildings placed. Doesn't it look nice and cozy? Perfect for driving those panzers through.
As ever, I need to do my base size test; see if my bases can fit inside the terrain. And the result is... not particularly exciting. The road is about 30mm wide, so I can fit my 20x20mm bases on it in column; my 40x10mm and 40x20mm bases need to travel the road sidewise, like crabs. The distance from the houses to the walls and hedges are also too narrow to fit anything there without it looking cramped and weird, not even a 40x10mm base. The space behind the curved wall between two of the houses can fit a 20mm base, just, so you can get a machine gun or an infantry gun in there, but that is about it.

The irony of it all is that shortly after I bought these figures, TBM announced a new addition to their Big Batallions range, called "Napoleon in russia". And yes, you guessed it, it has a wooden church with an onion dome, looking even more russian than this one. They also released several very nice wooden town and village houses, so I'm looking at ordering me some more houses soon. I will probably ordering one of their bigger ground tiles too beause I'm a sucker for nice terrain. I just need to get Operation Supercharge out of the way first.

I give Total Battle Miniatures Big Batallions range 3 out 5 if you want perfectly realistic scaled terrain.
However, I give their Big Batallions range 4 out 5 if you don't mind a bit of compressed ground scale.

To sum it up, I think Total Battle Miniatures buildings are rather spiffing, and you should check them out since they have models in several scales, not just 6mm.

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