Monday, February 28, 2011

15mm GZG Rover APC: Build it & Review

I started diving into 15mm sci fi with picking up a variety of different infantry & 'droids'.
I'm finally now getting around to vehicles.

There are a lot of really nice miniatures out there from several different companies. There's also a lot of stuff that doesn't suit my tastes... well you can't please everyone. So when it comes to my tastes in aesthetics and design, yours may differ from mine. Khurusan miniatures is probably coming out on top for me for infantry, though there are some real gems from Ground Zero Games & Blue Moon that I like a lot. For Vehicles, Ground Zero Games is leading the pack by a large margin for what I'm drawn to, though again there are some gems out there from others.

So today I'm looking at the first of the vehicles I bought from Ground Zero Games: the Bulldog Troop Carrier.

From first view on the site, I liked this miniature. I liked it a lot. Why?
I like my Sci-Fi like I like my Orange Juice: with a good amount of Pulp.

And this model fits the bill. It is simple, functionally utilitarian, and its cute in a Retro way.
It also reminds me of the Eagle 1 from Space 1999. Ah memories...
So with an appealing design and a decent price I ordered a couple last December. Let's take a look:
This is the contents of the kit. I was surprised. This is a lot more pieces than I expected for a 15mm kit. Before this my experience with GZG was limited to infantry, droids & NSL Spaceships.. I do so love those NSL spaceships.
I was expecting a 15mm vehicle kit to have fewer pieces. Not unhappy, just wasn't what I expected.
The miniature requires a lot of clean up. I was expecting this, with my experience with the NSL spaceships. Mold lines were fairly heavy and it required some good file work. The wheels have deep cuts in the detail and the mold line is the most problematic here... although, its in the wheel grooves, so it is the most forgivable area for such mold lines to be- easy to get rid of most, near impossible to get rid of it all, but wheels will have some caked in dirt anyway right?
Nothing too extreme and it is worth the effort, but don't skimp on this stage or you'll regret it.
Each wheel comes in 2 parts and there are two axles. To get the vehicle to sit level on its 4 wheels takes a bit of adjusting of the axles. This isn't hard to do- the axles will bend with pliers, just be slow & careful about it, adjusting one at a time in small increments and you'll be rewarded with a level miniature.

Now, check out the detail on the undercarriage. Very Nice. This is where I'd expect a sculptor to cut some corners... I mean, it's underneath: when its upright no one sees this, but I think it's great that it is there.
The Bulldog is nearly complete now. NI trooper shown for scale. The top should probably be glued to the lower half now, but I've gone with something a bit different.
I decided that with the top removed, this makes a very nice 'colony world pickup'!
As a pickup this could make a great civilian vehicle or some terrain in a colonial town.
The top is going to slide off in game play though so here's the simple fix:
a bit of green stuff & sprue glued to the corners of the inside of the top.
These will knock against the lip of the truck bed if it starts to slip and keep the top in place during game play. Sure, it's ugly, but no one is going to see the inside of the top, and it leaves the inside of the bottom free from anything like pin holes or magnets. Simple & effective, and it's like getting 2 vehicles in 1!
Add some brass rod for aerials and the pair is finished.
The one on the right, above, had a slight miscast, missing a section of the lip for the circle to place an areal rod, but as I was using green stuff to help hold in the rod, it was not an issue to fill that gap.
I didn't want to wait until April, so I placed my order with 10% off today to get in before the store closes for March. I ordered 2 more of these, and several more vehicles for a couple factions I'm working on, so there will be more to come!

Casting: 7/10
Cleverness of Design: 9/10
Aesthetics: 10/10


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