Wednesday, November 30, 2011

¡Minions pt. Tres!

As promised, the next installment in the never-ending saga of my obsessive angst....

I decided to change out the uniform for a German "M45" (or is it 44?) uniform in the Leibermuster camouflage scheme. I'm not sure if this is the direction I'll ultimately go but I thought it looked interesting and it provides an obvious contrast to the previous entries. As I mentioned earlier, I also decided to try the Steyr AUG rifle and an alternate web gear configuration. This is a quick "bash" but I think I like the over-all look.

For the "gear heads", here's the breakdown of what I used.

  • Dragon- Boots and Uniform
  • 21st Century Toys- Helmet and Rifle
  • Sideshow Toys- Web gear
The Sideshow gear deserves some note as you typically find these on eBay or through online retailers for way more that it should cost, IMO. This is the web gear from their GI Joe "Stalker" figure and while it's quite adequate, it seems a bit "old school" (say, Dragon quality from the early 2000s) for something that comes from a figure retailing for well over $100. I bought a few sets when Monkey Depot had them parted out back in Summer 2011 and they were just under $8 a piece at the time. I don't think I would want to pay much more than that considering the "just OK" quality and my need for multiple sets.

 I still wouldn't mind picking up a few SMERSH rigs from the Cobra Trooper or Officer but those have become difficult to find and typically expensive. Again, the quality of the one set I own is OK but not quite up to the standards of say, Soldier Story, Playhouse, etc. Having a few SMERSH rigs would've probably led me to stick with an AK74 for my troops' primary weapon. It's cool though because this equipment set up seems to work pretty well, too. I'll live with it a few days and see if I still like it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Minions, pt. Dos

Oh yeah, some additions to my previous post. I mentioned that I had already "bashed" some prototype figures of the more Eastern Bloc/ Warsaw Pact style version of the Minions. This first guy is based on a different copy of the same figure shown in the previous post. Yeah, sad to say that there actually SIX of these Hasbro "Indiana Jones" German Officer figures who play the rank and file troopers.

I was actually pretty happy with the way this guy turned out so I'm not sure why I kept buying gear and looking at other alternatives. Just to be sure, I even bashed a senior NCO/squad leader, as seen here.

I was genuinely happy with these guys. The only real problem I had was a lack of a squad machine gunner and that is mostly due to a lack of post-WW2 Soviet or Warsaw Pact light and medium machine guns on the 1/6 scale market. Even that isn't entirely insurmountable since the RPK squad light machine gun is basically just a "hardened" AK that can handle sustained full auto fire. Externally, the main differences are a long barrel, bipod, larger buttstock and either a drum or extended length magazine.

I'm not sure why I didn't pursue this course because honestly, I like these guys a lot more than the late WW2 German soldier seen in the previous post. They would all use the same basic service uniform as seen on the previous guy (the so-called "M43" German uniform) while the camouflage seen here would serve as the field or combat uniform.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Minions, etc.

The problem with the way I write is that it's often done in small burst and then saved for later completion. When I look at my list of blog posts, I always find a few that are still in draft form and I ask myself "Where was I going with that?" For finished posts, I often discover upon review that the editing is choppy and occasionally makes no sense. I just finished an overhaul of my post "Writing Against Type, part 2" because there were some amazing verbal gaffes in it. Heck, there probably still are! Sorry about that but hopefully it flows a bit better now.

As mentioned in that post, I have been working on some antagonists that basically look like WW2 Germans. To re-hash, this was done for comedic effect and as a commentary on what we as a society are willing to accept. It's also dead easy to make up (or "bash") 1/6 scale figures this way since there's so much 1/6 WW2 German equipment on the market. My original idea for the minions had been to make them a bit more post-war, generically "Eastern Bloc" looking. For inspiration, I looked to the Cold War-era militaries of countries like Yugoslavia, Poland and especially East Germany. In the end, the figures looked somewhat like East German soldiers from the late '50s-early '70s, except for the AK 74 rifles, which would place them in a later time period (the "74" is the smaller caliber younger sibling of the AK 47/AKM family). Just for sake curiosity however, I decided to see what they would look like "bashed" as a somewhat idealized but plausible late WW2 German soldier.

The first thing that strikes me is that the helmet, although it fits, seems way too big. I'll admit I'm not an expert on WW2 German subjects (haven't watched enough History Channel "Those Darn Awesome Nazis" marathons, I guess) but WW2 era Stahlhelme (plural) seem smaller than their WW1 ancestors. This version (from 21st Century Toys) is allegedly the WW2 "M1935" but looks more like the size of the WW1 "M1916(?)". It doesn't have to be perfect and in fact, I can still think of others projects to use this helmet for, but it just looks "off" to me. I think I still prefer a more post-WW2, East German/Warsaw Pact appearance. The other issue I have with this guy is that he would reset my project in to an alternate WW2 style setting. That could be fun and I could even include some overtly Sci-Fi elements but I'm just not feeling it right now. I'm going to give this another try with the basic uniform but replacing the helmet with East German "M1956". I've "bashed" this style before and liked the look of it but this time, I might swap out the AK74, "Chi-Com" chest rig and related gear I used for something more "Western". The back story I've worked out is that, while they keep their old-style "Germanic" uniforms and helmets, they switch to NATO small arms, including perhaps the Steyr AUG (rifle) and the FN Minimi light machine gun (known in the US as the M249). Since I already have a couple of these basic dressed troopers on hand, it shouldn't be much to put together a quick test "bash" to see how that looks. Hopefully I should be able to post a follow up and a photo in the next day or two.