Tag Archives: vehicles

Review: Warbases MDF Vehicles

Warbases started doing vehicles in lasercut MDF and cardboard (greyboard) a few years ago and I was intruiged right away; a lot of 28mm vehicles are fairly expensive or (especially for World War One, Russian Civil War, or other early 20th C gaming) simply don’t exist.

It took me a while to get around to ordering any of the vehicles, but I now have a Pierce Arrow truck and an Albion truck that I’ve built, and I’m pleased to say these are really nice kits, great value for their cost, and quite easy to build!

The Peasant Cart

I also picked up Warbases’ Peasant Cart 2, which is part of their Carts & Wagons line, listed separately from the Vehicles line. This is a straightforward little model, about 20 pieces including the wheels, and produces a nice solid piece of wargaming scenery. It’s called a cart, but it is a full four wheel wagon.

Assembly and painting didn’t take much time at all, maybe half an hour. I used a random grubby wash of green-grey over the whole wagon, added a bit of pale grey for the insides of the wagon, then did a bit of edge highlighting with a grey-white mix just to pop some of the edges a bit. I’ll probably glue some straw (cut from manila cord) down to the inside of the wagon just for a bit more easy detailing.

Assembled and painted wagon, resting on top of a paint jar. Click for larger.

The wagon is big enough that two or three figures on 20mm bases could fit in the bed of it, although it’s too narrow for 25mm or larger bases to fit flat.

The Trucks

The Pierce Arrow is a relatively small truck, with room for two or three figures in the truck bed. The Albion is quite a bit larger, with room for 6 figures on 20mm bases or 3-4 figures on 25mm bases in the bed.

Albion truck under construction in the foreground, Pierce Arrow in the background. The figure is a 28mm Pulp Figures mechanic on a 20mm base. Click for larger.

Each truck comes as a couple of small sheets of MDF and an even smaller (business-card sized, roughly) sheet of greyboard card, with roughly 30 or so parts per vehicle. The instructions are photo-illustrated PDFs on the Warbases website, which does mean you can check them out before purchase. It sometimes takes a bit of peering at some of the photos to figure out which part is being fitted where, and as always I highly, highly recommend carefully dryfitting everything before you start adding glue!

One thing I noticed and appreciated about both trucks and the wagon is that any part that isn’t unique is actually identical to any corresponding part – the sides of the truck beds are identical and interchangeable, for example. Most parts aren’t labelled or numbered, but this nice design touch makes it hard to screw up the build process. Warbases has also put on-sprue/on-sheet photos of the parts of all three of these kits on their website, which helps sometimes with keeping track of parts.

The Pierce Arrow truck took me maybe an hour to assemble and paint to the point you can see in these photos; it’s got a bit of detail painting and cleanup left to do, and maybe some more weathering, so these are fast kits to assemble and get onto the table. I stopped assembling the Albion at the point you see in these photos so that I could paint the undercarriage before adding the wheels and fenders, as the Pierce got a bit cramped to paint with the wheels in place and the Albion has fenders on all four wheels, not just the front. I’ve also skipped putting the cab roof on the Albion for now to make painting the inside of the cab less painful.

Top view of both trucks with figures on 20mm bases in both. Six fit easily in the Albion (left) while three only just fit in the Pierce Arrow (right) with the third one overlapping. Figures all by Bob Murch/Pulp Figures. Click for larger.

The Pierce Arrow has been basecoated dark green with a black roof; I’ll do a round of highlighting (mostly of the edges) and there’s some detail areas like the wheels, headlight, and front grille left to paint. I haven’t decided what colour to do the bigger Albion; possibly dark grey or tan. Both colour schemes will do for either military or civilian vehicles of the era, especially in the chaos of the Russian Civil War!

The fenders, incidentally, are the only really fiddly bit of these kits. They’re lasercut card (greyboard) that you have to bend gently and then glue to an MDF inside piece to get them to hold the needed curve. Neither fender on the Pierce Arrow is quite right, although both are acceptable given the battering such fenders would take on the real vehicles! The instructions from Warbases say to bend the fenders over a pen or the handle of an Xacto, but doing this caused the greyboard to crease for me. I had better luck gently pressing the pieces against the pad of my thumb with another finger and gently flexing the card into a sort of curve that way.

That quibble aside, these are great kits and I’m sure I’ll get more eventually. They’re very sturdy once assembled, well designed for easy assembly, and it’s nice to have such an inexpensive source of vehicles for Early 20th C gaming!

Armstrong-Whitworth Armoured Car, Finished

Finally got the Russian Civil War Armstrong-Whitworth Armoured Car from Copplestone completed and photographed. The new monitor and computer I set up ten days ago helps hugely with good photos, not only is processing them faster the new brighter monitor makes contrast and colour balance easier to sort out. (oh, and I remembered how to set custom white balance on my camera again, which always helps picture quality and reduces the amount of work you have to do on the computer afterward…)

Anyway, the Russian armoured car “Freedom!”, suitable for appearing on nearly any side of the Russian Civil War, all finished and ready for the tabletop:

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Side and front views of the Copplestone Armstrong-Whitworth a/c; the priest is a Brigade Games 28mm figure.
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Oblique view of the car. Most of the weathering is pastel chalk dust.

Two related links, as well. Via Lead Adventure, a very, very high quality (and free!) booklet on vehicle weathering. Most of the techniques aren’t new, but it’s great to have them clearly illustrated in a free, high quality PDF.

Via GWP, this page on Austin armoured cars, mostly focused on the ones that wound up in Polish service but of course it talks about the ones built in Russia that were captured by the Poles. Great photos, including some unique ones I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Armstrong-Whitworth Armoured Car, Part Three

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately, which is entirely due to the fact that I finally bought a new computer and have spent the last week setting it up and transferring seven years of stuff off my old computer. New monitor and other peripherals with the new computer, and I’ve realized how bad some of the photos I’ve published have been, and how burnt-out the old monitor was!

Anyway, I got back to the painting bench finally, and finished the Copplestone 28mm Armstrong-Whitworth Armoured Car for my Russian Civil War forces. It’s deliberately generic, able to show up in anyone’s service, Red, White or other, and with that in mind I asked over on the Lead Adventure Forum for some good generic Russian names for the beast. One of LAF’s resident Russians suggested “Freedom” as a good universal name, and so here we have the armoured car “Freedom”, ready for service!

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The armoured car "Freedom", ready to do battle in the Russian Civil War.

The figure is the same 28mm Brigade Games Russian priest as in other pictures. Here’s the front of the vehicle, with the skull & crossbones on the armour protecting the radiator. Random Russian trivia: apparently the skull & crossbones is known as “Adam’s head” in Russian. The smaller photo to the right is the base of the armoured car before I glued the car to it. The base is 1mm plastic car with some Milliput ruts and ridges, a bit of sand, paint, then some basic flock. It’s cut just big enough to encompass the wheels, designed as a brace for the wheels rather than the sort of base you’d handle the vehicle by. I’m always a fan of minimalist bases, and these thin little “shadow” bases are perfect.

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The front and base of the Armstrong-Whitworth.

These photos were taken after dark on my painting bench, so they’re not the greatest, but I’ll try and get some photos in daylight this weekend, after the last few touches are finished on this vehicle and it’s had a coat of Dullcoat to protect the pastel dust weathering.