Product Review – 4D Models

So you may have noticed in our last few posts some rather nifty looking additions to both the Atlantic Alliance and Holy Soviet Army factions:

 

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M42 Mirage Tank

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SU-152 Assault Gun

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T-48 Medium Tank

And you may have wondered (given our predilection for making our models out of cardboard and junk in order to avoid spending money) just where we got them from – they certainly look a bit slick for chopped up pizza boxes, drinking straws and IDE cables.

In fact these are snap fit plastic 1/72 model kits from a Chinese manufacturer billing themselves as “4D Models” – £8.99 from Ebay for a pack of 8, including the M42, the S-15, the T-48 (a T-55 in the real world), along with a mine clearance vehicle, an M1 and a Leopard 2 as well as a T-72 and a Type 63.

Now, it hadn’t occurred to me to do a product review until I came across this video –  essentially, it’s Games Workshop’s Duncan Rhodes (the most serene man on the internet) explaining why, after spending £200 + on a toy tank from Forge world, you should have to arse about with it for several hours before you even glue the damn thing together. Now, this is not a GW hate page, I appreciate the concept of “profit margin” and I don’t begrudge it.. but if you’re going to charge £200+ for a TOY TANK the thing should go together with the absolute minimum of fuss. Joints should be clean and smooth, flash a bare minimum. You certainly should not have to spend yet more money on “Liquid Greenstuff” to fill in the gaps, and then sand them down – I’m sorry but Tamiya, Revell, Airfix.. these guys don’t have those sorts of issues and the prices are far lower. In fact, I’m writing this on a laptop that cost less than their new superheavy, and you know what, I turned it on and it just worked. I didn’t have to resolder any joints or replace any cables before I could switch it on and use it.

Anyway, rant over – Our 4D kits occupy the opposite end of the scale – dirt cheap, 20 piece (ish) kits with rubber band track assemblies.. but you know what? They pushed together – no glue needed. They paint up well – there’s a fairly decent amount of detail molded onto the bodies and wheels (check out the engine grills, the tow cables and shovels – all molded on, present and correct). The tracks fit. The turrets fit. The turrets move, the gun elevation can be adjusted. They’re light and sturdy, the scaling certainly seems correct to my enthusiastic but untrained eye – they’re never going to be winning awards from high-end detail obsessed modellers, but for a wargamer, I think they’re fantastic. They’ve been panned in the only other product review I’ve been able to find but they’ve worked very well for us.

My only criticism? You get eight different kits, eight different vehicles, vaguely linked by era, which is not so great for a wargamer. So 4D, whoever you are and wherever you are, do this one thing – let us specify what eight kits we want in a box. If I could specify a box set of T-54s or M113s, we would be snapping these up and so would a great many others. You will win many friends amongst the cost conscious and bargain seeking wargaming community.

And Forge World? Take a hint.

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Cheap ‘n’ Simple Scratchbuild – Holy Soviet Empire Shock Drones DIY Miniatures

How do – Dan here again. After Jim’s revamp of his decadent Western capitalist imperialist helots (which included a reinforcement with a dastardly M42 Stealth Tank and a close air support flight of Avrocar flying saucer tankbusters), I’ve had to up the game for my Holy Soviet Army in the hope of Lt. Polikarpov finally getting a victory for the workers.

This started with the BEHEMOTH mech I showed you last time, but seeing as we got such a positive response I thought I’d share these little critters with you – a pair of Shock Drones. Now, these are inspired by and similar to (but definitely not the same as) the notorious Terror Drones from Red Alert 2, and function in a similar way – basically fast moving close combat killers with limited AI and rigged to self-destruct when they hit Allied lines!

So – the build. For materials, you’ll need a few wee tiny offcuts of foamboard, some cocktail sticks, some glue that isn’t superglue, some glue that is superglue, some bits of sprue, some wee little bits of cardboard, and some disused guitar strings or bits of wire.

Step 1:

Foamboard. Take a rectangle of foamboard, 20mm x 15mm, and trim it at the edges. Count 5mm in each side and trim off. This gives you an octagonal shape which is the main body of the droid.

Step 2:

Glue a bit of sprue on top. Two if you’re really enthusiastic. These are the sensor superstructures on top of the droid.

Step 3:

Legs. You’ll need two cocktail sticks. Chop them in half, and then score each half a stick in the middle. Break the stick along that line but leave it in one piece and bend it at an angle. You then soak it with superglue to stiffen that joint. It will harden and actually be more solid than you might expect. Then you cut a V-shaped piece of cardboard, score it along the middle and fold it, and glue those to the “shins” of the legs (it doesn’t matter which way round you do it, but I had the sharp bits of the cocktail sticks as the feet). The other end of the cocktail stick gets dunked in glue (NOT SUPERGLUE – that will melt the foam) and pushed into the foam on the edges.

Tell you what, here’s a picture:

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Step 4: Attack cables

Guitar strings (or wire) wound up around a screwdriver, dunked in glue and pushed into the foam.

Step 5: Painting

This is exactly the same as the paint scheme for Stompy Uncle Joe, with one MAJOR difference – DON’T USE SPRAY PAINT! Spray paint has a chemical in it that melts foam. Your model is largely made from foam.

Some close ups of the finished articles:

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This is a dead easy build, and the little fellas actually do look quite nice in situ:

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Seen here about to rip apart an M60A3 Centurion..

They’ll certainly be a valuable addition to the rolling firestorm that is the Holy Soviet Army, skittering ahead to attack whatever enemy unit registers on their crude but effective sensor arrays. They also represent a potent, if somewhat unconventional anti-tank capability – admittedly the Holy Soviet Army likes to deal with tanks by using LOTS MORE TANKS (and occasionally the Holy Mystic to chuck them about).

We’re going with Armour Rating 12, Speed 24cm, CCR8 but no ranged weapons. A rugged Soviet construction method means the first hit penetrating the armour won’t destroy them, just halve their stats – the second takes them down, and when they go, they explode like a frag grenade!

And of course, there’s no way they could get hacked and go haywire. Is there, Jim?