Gaming Models Products Overview | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Friday, 01 June 2007
When we found out about Gaming Models, we naturally got as interested as you, so we ordered a cross-section of its products. Don takes a picture-laden look at a cross-section of Gaming Models 15mm Miniatures, noting both high and low spots.


All of the vehicles we ordered for this review.

WARNING: This article is more picture-heavy than any other we have produced. Not for the dial-up reader.

Note: This is a new style of article for Wargames @ Nordalia. If it's useful to you, please stop by the forums and let us know - so we know to do more of them in the future.

We ordered up a broad selection of Gaming Models miniatures to see what the product line would be like with our other miniatures. The models we ordered include:
- Opel Truck, Canvas Covered - this vehicle will be in our upcoming Opel Blitz review.
- Panzer IIB (early) - this vehicle will be in our upcoming Panzer II review.
- Czech 38T
- 250/1 Halftrack
- KV I
- Bren Carrier
- M-4 Early Sherman Welded Hull
- M-3 Halftrack GMC 3 inch Anti-tank
- Japanese sand and log bunker set 1

When the order arrived, there was an Opel Maultier included with "Free" written next to it on the packing foam -- possibly because of the volume we purchased. A nice touch, and as you will see, the Maultier is one of the finer vehicles.
As a general rule, we order things we've done multi-product reviews of, or will need in the near future. This round, the Ninja's EW Russian Army needed a KV I or KV II, and our Japanese Imperial Army required bunkers to defend its islands. The only other category is upcoming reviews. We've committed to a Bren Carrier review, so we ordered one ... hey, as long as we were paying shipping.

The vehicles all use a similar spindle/hole arrangement for mounting turrets, and the turrets stay on better than most.

The paint jobs are questionable, but they will allow you to drop the vehicles on the table the day they arrive in the mail, which is what Gaming Models contends.

Delivery was relatively quick - about one week from order to delivery, and our order wasn't tiny.

Overview

Gaming Models sells these products as "prepainted," but they're mostly painted in a base color with a dry-brush of a secondary color. It was no surprise that many of the vehicle base colors didn't fit with our armies, and we'll try repainting the PzII when we complete that review in the next week or two.

The Complete Bunker Set

Gaming Models miniatures are all resin-cast, and overall quality ranges from astounding to poor. The bunkers and KV I are well done, while the Sdkfz is not something we'll use - we will likely make it into a wreck for an objective marker.


The KV I from the side

Overall, these are sold as "ready to game," and technically they are - they're preassembled and vaguely the right colors, which is the minimum requirement. But placing them with our armies that are painted different shades and are replete with decals is unlikely - we might use them unpainted once or twice, but they would indeed hit our painting table, to touch up tracks and tools if nothing else.

The Details

First, let's take a look at the best and worst of what we ordered. The worst are the two halftracks, as can be seen in these images:

The Sdkfz is clunky.


As is the M3 75mm GMC


The Universal Carrier is nice, even though air bubbles marred one fender.

But the bunkers take the win for quality and beauty. Seriously, these bunkers are well built and realistic. Most of them are solid, which is a negative for most games, but that is the only complaint we really have, and at the price, most competitors don't have hollowed out Pacific bunkers either.
Let's look closer at the bunker set right up front.

The complete $35.00 (USD) set.


One of the smaller bunkers from the rear, side and front.


One of the larger bunkers from the rear and the front.


The bunkers with room for figures inside, with tops on.


The same two bunkers with the tops off.

German Equipment


The Axis vehicles at tabletop distance.

The German equipment we received showed the widest range of quality, with the Sdkfz 250/1 being the worst, and the Opel Maultier being the best. You've seen some of the Sdkfz 250/1, but here is the full breadth of pictures:


A view of the Sdkfz from all four sides. Note the air-bubble caused a concrete look.

As we said above, we don't much like the Sdkfz 250/1, but no worries, we'll find a use for it. Little goes to waste in the Wargames chests. We've saved worse ... and that's all we're going to say about that.

The Opel Blitz and Opel Maultier are better, with the depth and width of the door seams and windows along with the occasional air bubble being the only truly distracting items we found on the models. They are otherwise acceptable castings that will fit well with our other vehicles ... if we can repaint them successfully. Here are the detailed pictures:

The Prime Mover

The Opel Maultier from each angle. Note the doors and the bubbles in the road wheels.

The Blitz

The Opel Blitz. Note the doors, but also notice how different consistency of resin was used to make a texture difference for the tarp

Czech 38t
Judging by the paint job, we assume the naming choice is a minor error; this is a Panzer 38t, not an LTPT or anything of the kind. This vehicle is not the best mold we've seen - and we've seen a lot lately. Add to that the fact that bubbles settled into the bolt heads and made them appear missing in several places, and it's not high on the "best of" list. That said, the dimensions are reasonable, and though it is a little tall, it would sit OK with any but the smallest vehicles from our Panzer 38t review.


The Czech 38t. Note the air bubbles and the bolts. Also note the "rough and ready" sculpt - not out of line with how Gaming Models sells them, but something for you to decide if you can accept.

The Panzer II
From the moment we looked at it, we didn't like this sculpt. It took us a while to figure out why, then realized that, in our opinion, the slope of the turret as it moves toward the bow is overly steep. Aside from that, our model was rather air-bubble-ridden, but that doesn't mean yours will be.


Our PzII; note the air bubbles and the slope of the turret. Other than those items, this is a nice sculpt that we feel the paint job hides.

Allied Vehicles



The Allied vehicles - one each from Russia and England, and two from the U.S. - fared better: the M3 GMC is better than the worst products in our review of this vehicle, and the other models are good enough. We aren't fans of the paint jobs, but we already let the cat out of the bag that we're going to treat these paint jobs as primer, so no problem there. Note that these minis took paint quite well - watch for our upcoming Opel Blitz and PzII reviews to see how well - by the time this published those two were repainted.

M3 GMC Anti-Tank

The M3 GMC is the worst of the Allied vehicles, with little detail on either the road wheels or the gun. Still, the basic form is there, and the model is functional. After some cleanup on the gun and a little repainting, we wouldn't have a problem fielding it - though we have a surplus at the moment.
The M3 GMC from three sides. Note the lack of detail on the gun and the nice detail on the front tires.

Universal Carrier
The Universal Carrier is a fine model, and fits right in with our other UCs. Once again, ours has a couple of air bubbles, but those can be filled in when we repaint it. Our only problem with this model is price. Interestingly, Gaming Models charges $4.00 per model, regardless of size. Thus, the KV1 and the UC - both close to 1:100 - each cost $4.00. For this one model, that makes the price/value quotient less appealing.


The Universal Carrier from front and side. Note the crispness of the cast in comparison with other GM models, and the air bubbles.

The KV I
While our uber-close-up pictures make the KV I look off, the model, when held in your hand, is very nice. In fact, we found it to be one of the best in the bunch that we ordered. There is significantly more detail on the road wheels, and the surface is much cleaner than some models - possibly a function of mold age. This vehicle already went into the box for The Ninja's Early War Russian Army ... if I can ever get it to the front of the queue.


The KV I. Note the cleanliness of the surface and the detail on the road wheels.

The Early Sherman
This is another fine model, and might have made "the best of those received" had the turret not had issues. Looking at the pictures, you should see that the turret is very rough and in need of sanding, while the body is very clean. We'll sand the turret down before we use it, and that will make this a fine model.


The Sherman, as delivered. Note the smooth body and rough turret.

Conclusion

Gaming Models sells these as "...to game with and not collector's pieces." We agree. If you want to purchase vehicles that you can slap on the table the day you get them, then Gaming Models are a good choice. If detail and cleanliness of cast are of utmost importance to you, you will not like these vehicles. Most of us fall somewhere in between, and there are some of these models that we would buy more of.
This was just a sampling of what Gaming Models has available - we tried to take a cross-section with something out of each category. The only category we did not exercise is its landing craft, which we're considering running a comparative review of. The price of these models is definitely right; in fact, this is the first company we've seen that can compete directly with Old Glory on price - with basecoat prepaint as a bonus.
While Gaming Models are not the only all-resin miniatures out there, these are very light in comparison with other resin 15mm gear. If that's a problem for you, you'll want to base them. The turret attachment mechanism is solid, and will keep your turrets in place unless you really spill your box.
And then there's the bunker system. For $35.00, we have to say it's a great deal. The molds are clean, the bunkers are cool looking, there are plenty of pieces in the package, and we're fighting to keep from moving them to the front of the line, ahead of all those reviews we've promised you!

Overall, our order was a mixed bag. If you need a lot of a vehicle quickly, or don't have time to paint, we can recommend Gaming Models - just look for sample pictures of your chosen vehicles first.

Gaming Models does not have a website at this time, but you can reach them via email (and request a text-based catalog) at:

Discuss this article on the forums.

Pictures from Gaming Models

Compliments of Signals20, used with permission of Gaming Models

American


M3A1 Stuart


M5 Stuart


M5A1 Stuart


M4 76mm HVSS


M4 Sherman Easy Eight


M4 Sherman Jumbo


M4 76mm


GMC 6x6 - Canvas


GMC 6x6 - Open


GMC 6x6 Soft Cab - Canvas


GMC 6x6 Soft Cab - Open Back

Soviet


GAZ AA


GAZ AA


T34 1942 - Cast Hull


T34 1942 - Welded Hull


T34 1943 with Commanders' Coupola


T34 1943 - hard edged


T34-85



SU-85

German





Wespe


Panzer IV with Skirts


Hetzer


Opel Maultier


Opel - Canvas Rear


Poltze

British


Universal "Bren" Carrier


Firefly

French




Char B 105


Char D


Lorraine

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