Category Archives: Review

Sparker’s Wargaming Podcast

I recently discovered a new (to me) historical miniatures wargaming podcast, over at Sparker’s Wargaming Blog out of New Zealand Australia, and I thought I’d write a quick review (I’m doing an injustice to the word) and recommendation.

The podcasts run around 1 hour each, and are quite engaging, with a high signal to noise ratio. There are only three episodes, so far, and the first introductory podcast has some serious issues with the recording levels, but I can highly recommend the other two episodes. The second of the three is a survey of Cold War wargaming, discussing everything from scale, to model availability, to rules sets. The third covers a massive Waterloo game. I really appreciate the thoroughness with which the host approaches his subjects, and the analysis is excellent, as well. I hope Sparker continues to release episodes!

The link

A Question of Scale

I’ve had a couple of Airfix 1/76 buildings for a while and have finally got around to painting one up. My intention was to use these for my 1/72 Chain of Command games, but it turns out the buildings are on the small side for 1/76, and start to look absolutely tiny for 1/72.

Now, that’s not necessarily a problem-underscale buildings work well in lots of wargaming applications, but it DOES make them less that ideal for 1/72 skirmish gaming, where being able to fit an entire squad of panzergrenadiers in a building becomes important.

On the happy side of things, these buildings look absolutely perfect with my 18mm Napoleonics, which are, eventually, going to do double duty as skirmish figures for Sharp Practice, before moving on to proper unit basing for Neil Thomas’s Napoleonic rules set. The buildings are still small, but at 18mm (AKA swole-up 15mm), they just look like modestly sized structures, rather than something from a dwarf village.

Here are some shots to compare with. Modeling for you on the left are some AB British Peninsular Light Infantry, done up as the 52nd Oxfordshire. On the right are a couple of AB 20mm WWII US Infantry figures.

Airfix 1:76 European Country Cottage Ruin. I think this is meant to be Second Empire Style?

Airfix 1:76 European Country Cottage Ruin. I think it is meant to be in Second Empire Style? I still haven’t weathered this thing, and it definitely doesn’t belong in Normandy, but it will hit the table today for a game of Chain of Command, anyway! If I had it to do over again, I think I’d have left the photo-etched window mullions off of the model. They look a bit weird.

Airfix Italian Farmhouse. Definitely not getting any 20mm figures mounted on pennies on that front porch!

Airfix 1:76 Italian Farmhouse.  Definitely not getting any 20mm figures mounted on pennies on that front porch!

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All that out of the way, these buildings are extremely well sculpted, feature a lot of detail, and are cast in a high quality resin. Very little cleanup was required on the cottage, which made it a real delight to work up, compared to my previous efforts with a JR miniatures resin building. The Italian Farmhouse should be equally easy to prep for painting.

The backs of these buildings are knocked out, which makes it very easy to place figures inside, without having to fool with taking off a roof or 2nd floor.  A nice touch for the wargamer. Potentially bizarre for the dioramist. Looking at some of the damage patterns on the buildings, I question the sculptor’s knowledge of the way structure works, but that’s not really a problem, is it?

One potentially serious omission is that neither building has a first floor. This means you’re definitely going to need to base the houses, and scratch build a floor (with lots of rubble scatter), if you want them to look right. That’s not an insurmountable challenge, or anything, but it’s something to take into account, if you’re after a ready-to-go solution.

I think the buildings were $20-25, or thereabouts, which, even taking into account my quibbles, seems like a good price for the quality of product you receive.