Friday, July 16, 2010

Microform Models Out of the Wrapper

A year or more ago I came across a link to Microform Models on GHQ's forum, they're an artchitectural model company in Massachusetts who make models in a multitude of scales. Scales relevant to the smaller scales are their 1/20" (really 1/240, which I'm testing vs. 1/285 and 1/300 as their 1/25" line is small), 1/50" (1/600), 1/100" (1/1200), 1/200" (1/2400) and 1/500" (1/6000) lines.

After procrastinating for a year, I finally put in a decent sized order to see what things looked like at all those scales. I was mainly thinking of civilian background vehicles or targets, but I had some military conversions in mind as well.

One reason for the size of the order was they ship via UPS, and I knew I was going to get nailed with a brokerage fee, so I had to add that into a shipping estimate. I don't mind paying the taxes too much, and for a courier I could even live with the $5 they charge to collect the taxes, but can someone explain the other $36 they need to collect (it wasn't the shipping fee)? Even the post office doesn't do that.

Anyway, I'm going to ask before future orders whether USPS is an option. It's not like I'm in that big a rush. Shipping was fast though, and my order was actually packed even before we spoke on the phone to finalize the credit card info. To order, I prepared my shopping list in Excel, so I could calculate costs, pdf'ed the final version, e-mailed it to them, and they called shortly to get the cc info. Easy as pie and nice people.

All in all they look pretty good. They're a bit low on detail compared to say Oddzial Osmy's pieces, but I knew that going in (and Marcin spoils us with his work anyway). Anyway, at this scale, a decent paint job will make this look really good.

So I'll start with the pseudo-6mm stuff, which I calculate to being about 7.5 or 8mm.

Here are they are up against a GHQ Sherman. They don't look too bad, a bit big, but I can live with it. On the left is a bus for modern battles, and in the middle is an SUV, which I think could also be painted up to look like a WWII era car too.

Next up is all of the 3mm (1/600) stuff, for Vietnam and some fictional African countries for AK-47. This is an overview shot (click on it for the full sized version) of some of the figures, I have a lot more:
On the left is a tractor trailer, next is another bus, in the middle are a couple of favourites - a VW Beetle and a convertible. I picked up multiples of these, so some will show up on the streets of Saigon, and the convertible (pink, I think) will also be a warlord's personal vehicle for AK-47. Could probably also double for a WWII Mercedes convertible. Not shown here are the civilians and patio sets I got for a Saigon sidewalk cafe, but these cars will be parked beside it for some urban action. For scale a Walker Bulldog is next in the photo, and then leaning against the stickypad is a bulldozer, which will serve as Rome plows for Vietnam. Finally there's a tramp freighter for AK-47, which will go with the Skytrex coastal pieces I also got this week - quay, warehouses, Nissen huts, etc.

The bulldozer is leaning against the stickypad because some of these pieces come with little pegs on the bottom, presumably for architectural models they get popped into the base. I'll have to cut or bend these off, but the metal is soft enough to work with (not as soft as say Irregular, but easier than O8's white metal; maybe Tumbling Dice's metal is the closest).

A close-up of those vehicles. I think the Bug will be metallic red, like my parents first car, and the convertible will be a sky blue for Saigon.

I also picked up some targets for 1/600 gaming (and even 1/300 WWI I supposed, but I haven't thought that far ahead). For low-level tactical attacks, strafing and the like, I picked up enough pieces for 6 1/600 trains:

  • - modern passenger train
  • - modern freight train
  • - two WWII freight trains (need to add smokestacks, I guess architects don't need retro trains!)
  • - Russian armoured train, with turrets etc. added
  • - German armoured train, also modded up.
Pictured above is one of the WWII freight trains, with a Tumbling Dice Typhoon for scale. I'm actually using their diesel-electric locomotive model as the caboose (far right).

I also got targets for medium (1/2400 trains) and strategic/high level bombing (1/6000 trains and ships). The 1/6000 trains are those two little strips, the one on the left is on its side, the one of the right is right side up. I plan on creating a little railyard base, with these two trains on it. The 1/6000 freighters (I got 4) will form a dockyard. The 1/2400 train is between the Typhoon and Lancaster, for scale. The full sized version of this picture will show more detail of the small stuff, you can tell the flat cars from the tenders from the locomotive from the box cars on the 1/6000 train, pretty cool. I might make the paint job a bit more colourful than historical just to show it off better.

I got two 1/1200 freighters to see if they'd fit in with the 1/1850 Axis and Allies War at Sea miniatures I've been collecting, since the A&A auxillaries are a right pain to find. This is the Microform freighter (foreground) against the German freighter from A&A (background). It looks pretty good, just a bit wider than the A&A ship.

Here are my three freighters side-by-side - 1/600 for AK-47 (some warlords treasure ship), 1/1200 for Bag the Hun over the open seas, and 1/6000 for a dockyard in a port.

I also picked up some 1/1200 train engines that I'm going to add legs to, to turn into walkers for Land Ironclads like I saw in one of the GURPS steampunk books IIRC.


  1. Thanks for a great review, there; I've also been wondering about how these variously scaled architects' models would size up next to our usual favourites - some helpful comparison pics from you now mean I have a much better idea!

  2. I feel your pain for UPS. A couple of times they charged me around USD 50.
    UPS?... No purchase.