Wednesday, 12 July 2017

1/72 Pleasures

Being man of a certain age and sprues in boxes

I have done a bit of yo-yo-ing over the past couple of years in terms of figure scale, with the distraction of indecision having a definite impact on time that could have been better spent just simply playing games with a properly resourced single focussed collection.

Just when I thought I had turned a corner and abandoned the larger scale in favour of the more functional scales, I went to a hobby store and came across 1/72nd fast build kits by Plastic Soldier Company. I foolishly picked up the StuG III box to have a read of the blurb on the rear of the box and that phenomenon kicked in that sales people understand so well, that if you put something in someone's hands, they are more likely to buy it.

There is without doubt something relating to the inner psychic of the Airfix Generation, that will always cause a delight in opening a box and pulling a plastic sprue from it - and so it was with this package. There is a disarming effect of the 1/72 scale with direct links for me into my early years of wargaming and an affection associated with that. The sheer pleasure that I have got from this purchase and the so far, building of two of the three models, confirms that I am of a certain age (the Airfix Generation) and open to the charms of the sprue, the scale and to those that sell it!

You get three models per box and each sprue allows the building of either an early or late StuG IIIG or the 105mm gun version. The real beauty of fast build is that all the running gear generally comes as complete as one piece parts or nearly complete with just the hard tracks to glue into place, so no cutting 20 wheels separately from the sprue and watching as they fly across the room into the ‘never to be found again’ territory of carpet land, patio land, garage land or wherever this precision surgery takes place.

So far I have built two late models and am debating whether to do the third as another late StuG or whether to do the 105mm version, as I have never had a model in any scale for that particular vehicle. 

Anyway, for WWII, these models seem to just hit the spot for easy building, viewing and handling and this is one distraction that I am enjoying very much. Even for easy build, I managed to glue two parts in wrong places and realisation came just in time to rescue the parts - though I imagine I am in good company in this regard.

Having returned to the shop for more paints, I discovered that Italeri, Pegasus, Armourfast (HaT) and Zvezda also do fast build wargamer kits, so together with Plastic Soldier Company, the diversity and availability is there. The whole thing feels like something of a joyous rediscovery to me.

What to do next? I quite fancy starting a project that creates two small forces for use with the Iron Cross rules from Great Escape Games. The rules interest me and the scale is big enough to take the markers that need to follow each vehicle / stand, without them looking too dominant. I did a blog post last year on some of the command aspects and mechanics of the rules (see Resource section below if interested).

I realise there will be a body of readers who have remained loyal to 1/72 for over 40 years and wonder what all the fuss is about, but this post is for the rest of us, who may have forgotten its pleasures.

Normal service will resume shortly :-) 


Previous post showing some mechanics of the Iron Cross rules LINK



  1. I can sympathize with this. Having started with Airfix in the 70's I have since built forces and gamed WWII in 6mm, 10mm and 54mm but these days its back to 1/72.

    1. Ross, full circle indeed, except it's strictly on a table now .... not a floor .... oooh my poor knees! :-)

  2. I am glad you have gone back to 1/72 and got so much joy, and Iron Cross is a good choice - a friend are I have been eyeing off playing it for the last year but the world has not aligned for us yet. I am only 38 years into it, not 40, but I am in the camp of "1/72" (including "1/76" or "20mm") is the one true scale for WW2. And plastic. Most of my "" stuff is plastic. I do dabble in 6mm, but only as a sideline!

    And I do realise that saying 3 scales (and for a purist one is a size not a scale) is "one true scale" may not be helping my stance ;-)

    1. Shaun, have always enjoyed your AAR's, particularly the one with the 3 Churchills advancing over open ground.

      I have never really understood the size / scale purist crowd. Everything representative is a size and a scale and indeed a percentage (a millimetre against a centimetre is 1/10 and 1mm and 10%). Add to that, that we all know what we mean when we refer to the 'scales' of 10mm, 20mm etc and to my mind becomes a rather sad matter when someone feels they have to publicly 'correct' a poster.

      I hope this all turns into something and you get to see some more 1/72 posts here.

  3. 1/72nd scale armor brings on a twinge of nostalgia for me as well. I began with 1/72nd WWII armor a long, long time ago using Hasegawa's excellent kits as the basis for my introduction into the hobby. The models were in plentiful supply in a local drugstore and were cheap even for a youngster od limited means. Ah, those were the days! The Zvezda 15mm armor kits are nice too and field many of them in my WWII project.

    Is your plan to expand scales for WWII gaming from 10mm to include a 1:72 project as well?

    1. Jonathan, I have never really been quite happy with the 20mm tank stuff on 4" hexes, they just seem too big for the grid, though I can get around multi hex buildings and so my feeling at this time is that my rules and systems for 10mm will likely stay hex based, while those for 1/72 would be open table based. I might like to do an open table version of Tigers at Minsk and have already thought of a diffent command (i.e. Not hex based) system that seems fun and more interactive than TaM. It is all (as always :-) ) in the melting pot.

  4. I to do like the those kits were you don't have to cut out and stick all those wheels. It is so much easier. Good luck with your project.

  5. Thanks Peter, the combination of plastic and fast build makes this whole thing do-able for me. I never want to try and put all those little wheels on a Churchill again and then try and get some impossible rubber band track thing around them again!

    These things are fab, there is a spot on balance between minimum build and result for my liking.

    My naughty little secret is that I have bought enough stuff to put together a small action, so I hope this project is something that is going somewhere.

    Your continuous, thought provoking endeavours, giving nice sized actions, that show that effort = game, are quite inspiring to me.

    It will also be interesting for me to do a bit of open table gaming rather than grid based, so there is much to taste and test.

  6. It is quite staggering how quickly you can pull together a couple of WW2 forces for a game. I to did buy an Airfix Churchill for old time's sake. Doh! My finders were too thick and eye's couldn't focus. I am looking forward to your game reports.



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