If you have followed my painting for the past 5 years, you'll know that I have switched back and forth between 6mm (GHQ) and 15mm (FOW) several times. I am all about precision and to be honest I'm not always happy with Battlefront's sculpting; that's not to say I don't like their product, it's just that I enjoy the painting and modelling aspect more than I do the gaming. So details are important to me.
I just received an order of 15mm Soviet T-34's and Soviet Infantry (more on these in the coming days) from The Plastic Soldier Company in the UK. At this point, I am cautiously optimistic that I have found what I'm looking for in 15mm. Keep reading...
First off, these are hard plastic similar to what you'd see in a scale model kit. The details are sharp and while they are not as raised or as pronounced as Battlefront's Miniatures, I think they'll work out nicely as I typically paint with an airbrush. **UPDATE - after closer inspection, I think the details are just as pronounced, they are just more precise and so they appear more uniform and consistent on the vehicle... definitely a Plus!**
No detail on the opposite side (except for the tracks) but no detail is needed. I attempted to quick fit a tank and everything seems to line up precisely. The one exception is the two halves of track... they fit together good, but I can see them being a little fiddly to glue together.
The plastic T-34's appear to scale well with Battlefront's T-34 although they appear slightly narrower and shorter. Hatches are actually round and fit tightly together. Being these are plastic I'm hopeful that they'll be much easier to modify and customize. The handrails on the turret for example could probably easily be replaced with some narrow brass rod... there are probably more possibilities for battle damage as well in the form of holes melted with pins, etc.
So while everything seems swell so far, I do have a couple concerns. For one, this is the only vehicle currently available in the range... so, it'll be quite some time before there is a good selection to choose from. At least TPSC got it right and started with a popular AFV that everyone can use (hopefully they do a Panzer IV next!) Second, I have not glued one together yet, and I'm curious to see how everything fits... especially the tracks. If all glues together nicely, then I'm convinced these will be a huge hit.
I am VERY hopeful that these will take off and that The Plastic Soldier Company has more vehicles planned because I think they have a lot of potential. I like what Battlefront and Flames of War has done for World War II gaming and painting but in my opinion they better jump on the bandwagon with Plastics or they are going to get left behind by the technology... Again, just my personal opinion :)
**UPDATE** I've assembled my first tank from the box and I must say that I'm impressed. All parts fit together tightly and with no problems. Even the tracks that I feared might be tough were pretty easy. There are some small gaps on the ends where the tracks meet, but that should be very easy to fill in with superglue or a small bit of putty. I think these are the real deal and I'm very pleased with my purchase. Here's a few pictures.
Notice the tracks in the background of this photo... the tracks layed perfectly over the road wheels like a puzzle. Hold them in place with a little superglue for a moment or two and you're all set.