Sunday, 3 July 2011

Plastic Soldier Company Tanks

A year ago, at Salute 2010, I got talking to a stall owner who had just stated up a new project, called The Plastic Soldier Company. The idea behind his company was that if he used CAD to design some World War 2 tanks and soldiers, he could scale them up to either 15mm, 20mm or 28mm.
I thought is was a jolly good idea.
I don't collect 20mm my self, but I know it is a very popular scale with the WW2 lot. 28mm is also popular, with a number of skirmish games being made to suit that scale, such as Operation Squad, and of course, 15mm is very popular with the Flames of War players. Of course, FOW produce their own range of 15mm men and vehicles, but as far as I know no one is making plastic tanks in this scale.
The Plastic Soldier Company now make a variety of pack sin various scales. They make the T-34 soviet tanks, the ubiquitous Sherman, usable in the US, British and even the Soviet armies, and the good old German Panzer IV. These kits come with various bits on the sprue to build several different configurations of these tanks, as wall as some stowage to individualise the vehicle.

Three of the Panzer IVs I built for my FOW army. You can see the impressive detailing- remember this is 15mm!

As I am currently slowly building up a FOW army, I bought a box of five panzer IV. I was delighted when they arrived promptly in the post and quickly put some together.
My first impression was how remarkably well made these were. They went together perfectly, and even though the instructions were a bit sparse, the kit was so well made that it was pretty obvious how to assemble them. A while ago my son and I built a 20mm Sherman tank from Airfix, which was a right bugger to put together. In contrast these Panzers were a joy to assemble. It took me about 30 minutes to build my first tank, but by the third I had got that down to just 15minutes, which is probably about the time I spent deflashing, washing and gluing the my FOW StuG G prior to painting it.
The detailing on these tanks is fantastic, and the lines are crisp and sharp. In comparison to the FOW resin/metal tanks the Plastic Soldier Company fair very well. These Panzers were far more detailed thanthe FOW StuG G's I have been painting recently.
As for the cost, well again the Plastic Soldier Company fair very well, with five Panzer IVs costing about £16.50, which is about half of what you would expect to pay for the equivalent resin/metal tanks from FOW.
That said, it wouldn't be fair of me to not point out that The Plastic Soldier Company's range is very small compared to the huge number of vehicles and infantry available from FOW, but their range does seem to be expanding rapidly. I can see that The Plastic Soldier Company are never going to make the obscure transport vehicles and alike that FOW sell, as their is only so much money to be made from these less commonplace items, but if The Plastic Soldier Company stick to the more popular units, I can see them gathering up a larger share of the market.
If I was to build a wish list I wouldn't mind seeing a Universal Carrier that could be converted into a Mortar Carrier or an MG Carrier, and a Wasp. The ever-present Jeep would be useful too, and could come with spare crews for either Brits (regular army, desert rats and paratrooper please) and of course Yanks. A trailer would be nice too, for the pioneers. And if The Plastic Soldier Company followed FOW into the early war period (not very likely I know) I know that the Very British Civil War lot (me included) would snap up those early war light tanks 28mm.

All in all, this product is first class- well cast, with great detailing on it, and a good price, especially when compared with the FOW range. Definitely one to recommend to others.

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