Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket – Review

It’s time for another historical model. I’d bought it few months ago and finally found some time to describe it. So here it comes: Full Metal Jacket – review. Beware though, I do feel like writing today, so there might be quite a lot of text below…

Introduction to Full Metal Jacket review

This pretty big chunk of resin with some additional bits is made by Verlinden Productions and has the same name as one of the greatest Vietnam war-themed films, the Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”. There is also second name on the box “G.I. Vietnam”. G.I. is a general abbreviation used by US forces to describe to military units (or Government Issue, or Galvanized Iron), and Full Metal Jacket is a popular kind of a bullet.

I was considering purchasing it for a long time already, as Vietnam War is my second most favourite historical period, just after the WW II. VP range actually includes more small dioramas like this one: “Good Morning Vietnam” (name taken after the film with awesome Robin Williams), “Flower Power” and others… I’m thinking about getting them all to make a big camp, but for now this scene will suffice. 🙂

The model – overview

As of now I’ve chosen – in my opinion – the best quality product: a soldier lying with Playboy in his hands and his gear all around him. A classic scene, lots of details and true Vietnam feel 🙂

The model is in 1:35 scale. The catalogue number is 329, as you can see on the box.

It is packed in a plastic bag and nice box with picture of the painted version. There are 6 elements inside, which you can use to create the whole scene – diorama, 2 arms, 2 heads and a radio.

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review    Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Terrain

My review will start with the biggest element: the whole terrain around the soldier. The quality is of the highest level. Anyone familiar with this company will conform that their products are still considered to be one of the best on the market. Verlinden range covers loads of elements for vehicles (e.g. boxes, barrels, weapon, ammunition) as well as models. One can expect a whole lot of junk for dioramas from them as soon as bigger models (like the Abrams tank) are released. Majority of their products are provided for 1:35 scale.

The whole element is a one-piece cast. Nevertheless, the cast is perfect, as you can see on the photos. Cavities, holes, details and other shapes – there is nothing to complain about, even for myself 😀 I noticed just one issue, which is also visible on my pics – the scene was cut away from something else. I’m not sure what was it, but the cut is evident. Perhaps a bigger batch was cast, hence the cutting… there are this protruding bits around the sand. Anyway, these are not cast imperfections, just material excess cut off. One just need to cut and file it to solve the problem.

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Details

Quality and precision of details is astonishing. If you don’t believe me, check the glasses frame, wrist watch, boxes with excellent wood texture or the peace symbol hanging from the soldier’s neck. I won’t even mention details of the radio, cans, cigarette boxes, facial hair or boot soles.

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Even the M-1 helmet has a material pulled over it, with folds! By the way, don’t sand this element, as there are not mould lines 🙂 My only remark would be lack of visible nails, there are “only” perfectly executed hands;)

Flaws?

The model doesn’t have too much flash to be removed, and ones I’ve found result from the manufacturing process only, not the poor quality of forms. There are also just few delicate mould lines – careful filing and sanding will be sufficient to remove them. You could use a knife to scrape them off, if you feel confident, but remember this is resin, which can easily get damaged, especially in case of thinner, smaller elements.

My plans

My plan is to paint this model realistically, so I’m sure I’ll first watch the best (in my opinion) film about the war in Vietnam: “Apocalypse Now” (the director’s cut, of course, which I saw 3 times recently) with M. Sheen and great M. Brando, then most probably “Platoon” with Sheen’s son 🙂 So many famous actors there, and both are very good films. Anyway, I grew up watching them (and who didn’t? :)), so it will be nice to see them again. Not everyone is a fan of the subject, but most of us know these two productions.

And there is also my favourite chopper and workhorse of that war – Bell UH-1 Iroquois… but that’s completely different story…

Back to the model…

Painter’s opinion

Painting shouldn’t be difficult for anyone. One just need to get some pics and start painting. Colours true for that period are well known and you can find any required information in the internet. Of course, if you want to get deeper, you can get many books covering this subject, e.g. from the Osprey publications. Use green and olive shades for uniforms, with some tiger-stripes camouflage patterns, and Marlboro, Winston or Lucky Strike cigarette and you’re free to go;) I think you know how to paint ammo boxes too. Pastels and dry pigments might be useful to recreate dark ground and dust.

As for papers and centrefold… well, you can print these in proper scale (Playboy cover should not be a problem) or even paint, if you feel adventurous 🙂

Conclusion

I will rate this model 9.5/10 – almost perfect. The slight drawback (there always is something) are all these small bits, excessive material and mould lines. Nothing difficult to remove, but one needs to spend some time on these, as any observer would notice those on all the details.

I do recommend this model. The box might be a bit pricey at more than $21, bit it’s worth every cent! You pay for the quality, and quality to price ratio is really good in this case. You can be sure that you’ll get a top shelf product, and I’m sure you’ll have fun painting it.

— Slawol (who would like to thank Nameless for his translation and making this article available to our international readers)

Dreadfleet review and gameplay impressions

A group of gamers here in Dubai invited me to join their club and last night was the first time I went and luckily they had a copy of Dreadfleet to test out for their store. This allowed me to try the game out and report my impressions in this Dreadfleet review.

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Components

Anyway, my initial impression is that the sets of models were superbly detailed with very few mold lines, etc. and putting them together was really quite easy. The GW plastic kits in Dreadfleet really are a treat to work with and the quality is great.

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

The Dreadfleet board and all the game pieces are also of a very very good quality. The board is a fine cloth which feels nice to the touch, very smooth and light. I’m not completely sure about the non-crease abilities of it but still we will see.

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Game

As for the game itself it took us 1 turn of play and about an hour and a half to get to grips with the rules of Dreadfleet and with 9 of us there (8 players and 1 referee), it was really fun as each of us had a warship to control and use. The mechanics of the game are well thought out (although I’ve never played Man-O-War or the Spartan Games, so I don’t know how they compare).

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

Rules

The game starts with different scenarios, initiative and the teams take turns activating a ship one at a time which is similar to other games systems like warzone so the tactics and dynamics are much more exciting and slightly more tactical. Especially when you factor in the wind and broadside firing, etc. The only thing I had a quibble with was that you could not ram another ship. You can board them, but not ram.

    As combat went, you can either:

  • fire your broadsides
  • board your enemy, duel captains and fire broadsides all in the same turn.

Photo: Dreadfleet - review and gameplay impressions

The damage was worked out using damage cards which was varied with stuff like damaged hull, speed, crew, broadsides etc. It actually made it a lot more interesting and the survivability of ships was increased some what.

Dreadfleet has the nice option of giving ships command orders at the beginning of the turns was also a nice touch (after you pass a command check of course) and added much needed boons now and then and made it more exciting as sometimes you could fail that check and your well laid plans went up in smoke.

Conclusion

Generally speaking as it was our first game of Dreadfleet I am sure we made lots of mistakes etc. but as a game goes I think it’s a lot of fun and can be very dynamic and tactical. I think as far as quality of game goes it’s really good, not much I can fault them on there. The rules set are fairly good and cover everything pretty well although there are a couple confusing elements to the rules but we did figure them out towards the end. I think GW have made a game which can be played by kids or by older generations and as a standalone game I think Dreadfleet is actually worth the money, but only just.

— Arctica

Dark Art Miniatures bases – Review

Manufacturer

Product

I had decided to get some pre-cast bases for my 40K army. Dark Art Miniatures range included exactly what I’d been looking for – big discounted sets of bases with different diameters. I bought two of them – rocky and lava bases.

What you get for your money

Each set costs 9.80 GBP and contains 26 resin bases: 20 x 25mm bases, 5 x 40mm bases, 1 x 60mm base. You get a whole lot for what you pay!

Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Bases are packed in zip-lock bags
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Lava 60mm base
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Lava 40mm bases
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Lava 25mm bases
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Rocky 60mm base
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Rocky 40mm bases
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Rocky 25mm bases

As you can see, bases have different designs. There are enough flat surfaces on every one of them, so there should be no problems with placing and attaching minis to bases. Also, designs are not overly complicated which should save time required to paint them.

Casting quality

Here’s an example of a good cast.

Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review

Unfortunately, majority of bases has some casting issues – small air bubbles mainly. You can see it on this photo:

Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review

Summary

Dark Art Miniatures bases are clearly provided for 40K gamers and they meet almost all gamers’ requirements – proper diameters, different yet simple and well-thought designs, discounted sets.

However, casting quality might discourage some clients from buying these (or returning for more). Personally, I don’t really mind small imperfections, but I’m sure some of customers would disagree with me and demanded better casts (can’t really blame them!).

In my opinion, this is a good product with a good quality to price ratio. I do hope though that Dark Art Miniatures are able to improve casting quality.

Instant Mold review and tutorial

Here is a little tutorial/review for the Instant Mold product that has been released by Cool Mini or Not (called CMON later in this article) some time ago.

Instant Mold review

The product should be available on their website in the Shop section. I’m not going to repeat what this product is aimed for since it’s clearly said in the description.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Instant Mold is cleary a nice product. You can do a lot of things, not everything but still lots. The level of details you can get is just breathtaking (of course it also depends on the original item). With a little training, you can do things like bases, weapons, and some other accessories, reaching a nice level of quality.

Warning: If you’re expecting to have in putty/green stuff/miliput or even resin the exact same quality as the original product, you would be disappointed and you don’t need to read what’s following. Though, if you can live with something that is of a nice quality but not perfect, then, you’re good to go.

CMON said on their website: “Make your own bits” and that is exactly what I needed.

For the record, I started a Salamander army for Warhammer 40K, but even though Games Workshop and Forge World released a few things for this army, they unfortunately forgot (or didn’t want) to add the Salamander’s Insignia in the drop pod kit, so I decided, thanks to the Instant Mold, to make one.

I’m not going to repeat how to use the Instant Mold, it has been seen on CMON website and you’ll find hundreds of tutorials on the web, though it’s always nice to have some little tips which I’ll try to give here.

Here is what I used

  • The item you want to mold (here it’s a FW front door for a Rhino)
  • Instant Mold
  • Something to cut with (scalpel, cutter)
  • Something to pick up the Instant Mold from the hot water
  • A little piece of plastic card
  • Something to make a container/framework for the mold and something to press the item in it (here some Legos, the number is depending on the size of the item you want to mold)
  • Some stuff (here it’s Green Stuff but you can also use Milliput, Putty…)

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

The box

The first thing you want to make is to make the box that’ll be used as container. I tried doing it without and I ended lots of time having parts that weren’t molded properly or bubbles which wasn’t nice. I noticed that with the container everything was molded nicely.

The flat pieces in the bottom are there so that you can press heavily the item in the mold without ruining it with the circles of the Legos

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Now that we have everything ready, we can start working with the Instant Mold.

Heating it up

After having put it in hot water (I have a boiling machine like the CMON guy and I put it in a bowl and then through the Instant Mold inside it) and have it ready, I place it in my container. I’m doing this in multiple times to be sure that I don’t have holes in the mold, or stuff that will make the final result crap.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Once you have fill the whole space with the Instant Mold, as you’ll notice, now, there are finger prints and bumps/holes all over the Instant Mold, so to avoid having a bad mold, I put it back like this in the hot water, taking care of not pressing it or whatever to soften it again a little so that I’ll be able to remove the fingerprints and bumps/holes using the plastic card

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Push it!

As you can see, it’s not perfect, but it’s better. If you’re fast, you can directly press your item into the mold (I personally put it back in the hot water one more time, but it’s me) using something to press.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Once you’ve pressed it, you should have something like this:

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Now you wait a little so that the mold hardened itself. Don’t try to remove the item from the Instant Mold while the Instant Mold is still soft, you might break some details here (and it’s not what you want). It takes usually 4-5 minutes to be completely hard, so be patient. You can check, while Instant Mold is hardening, if you don’t have bubbles or anything by flipping it.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

If there are bubbles or anything, you should see it clearly. When everything is hard, you can remove the item from the mold.

Cleaning up

Now the next step isn’t necessary, but I found it easier. Cut the part that aren’t necessary

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Molding

Once everything is clean, just prepare and put your putty/green stuff/miliput inside the mold.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Now, you just have to wait for it to harden. I personally wait like 8 hours. Why? Simply because I just want to be sure that everything is completely hard, because there are multiples micro details that are so easy left inside the mold.

Done!

Once everything is hard, you can easily unmold it by peeling off the stuff you used from the IM, no need to put the mold in hot water again (especially if you want to re-use it for the same item) because, even when green stuff is still pretty sticky, it won’t stick to the IM. Now you can just see the result.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Do you think Instant Mold is the answer to your needs? Is the quality sufficient? Did you have any problems wih it? Why don’t you share your comments about Instant Mold here?

Thanks,

— Hellspawn