Reviews: December 2012

Reviews: December 2012

Reviews: September 2012

December 2012

Our regular, monthly round-up of what's new on the hobby scene.


American Guerrilla:
The Forgotten Heroics of Russell W. Volckmann
by Mike Guardia
Casemate Publishing

Reviewed by Neil Smith

War casts up the most incredible characters and stories like no other human activity. The exploits of Captain Russell Volckmann against the Japanese in WWII, as narrated by Mike Guardia in American Guerilla, places him high in that pantheon. Trapped behind enemy lines in the Philippines, Volckmann took charge of a highly successful guerrilla force and hounded the occupying Japanese. He went on to set down the blueprint for US Special Forces in the 20th Century. Yet few now have heard of Volckmann let alone know of his impact on the Far Eastern Theatre and beyond. Guardia’s mission therefore is to recover Volckmann and re-establish his place in military history.

Volckmann’s passion was the army and it was no surprise when he graduated from West Point in 1934 at the age of 23. The newly minted officer repeatedly asked for duty in the Philippines and finally arrived there with war just over the horizon. Indeed, Volckmann was in the process of training Filipino units when the Japanese struck and he led them in a fighting retreat down to the Bataan Peninsula. Defeat followed, but Volckmann would not be taken prisoner, escaping into the jungle to continue his war.
American Guerrilla: The Forgotten Heroics of Russell W. Volckmann
For four months, Volckmann trekked through the jungles of north Luzon island until he reached an area of relative security where he could establish his headquarters and organize his army. Volckmann’s command grew to in excess of 22,000 men over the next three years, almost all Filipinos with a sprinkling of Americans who had also escaped the Japanese. They harassed the Japanese at every turn, eluding all attempts to hunt them down, and were instrumental in easing the US retaking of Luzon from a well-entrenched enemy in 1945. When General Yamashita surrendered, he did so to Volckmann not the returning MacArthur. After the war, Volckmann operated behind the scenes to promote the idea of Special Forces, including writing the basic army manuals on which they were organized. Volckmann received little credit for his work in the wider sphere but, according to Guardia, he was the true father of the US Special Forces.
Guardia does a good job of recovering Volckmann for posterity. He also provides valuable insight into how Volckmann waged his successful guerrilla war, not just through direct fighting but Volckmann’s skilful use of diplomacy, administrative acumen, and ruthlessness tempered with strategic foresight. American Guerrilla lacks depth as a biography, however, and Guardia never quite gets to grip with who Volckmann was underneath his military activities. I suspect that is a result of Guardia’s reliance on Volckmann’s diary for the most part and not giving enough space to the broader questions others have raised about Volckmann’s character and sometimes dubious wartime activities. Thus, thanks to Guardia we now have a new snapshot of Russell Volckmann, but we still need a fuller portrait.
28mm Woodland Indians by Crusader Miniatures 28mm Woodland Indians
Crusader Miniatures

Reviewed by Andy Sykes

Crusader have released six packs of Woodland Indians for the Seven Years War, each pack contains four castings. I have been supplied with two packs for review FIW001 and FIW003. The castings average 27mm sole of foot to eye and are of medium build, there is little mould residue and the detail is well defined and should paint up nicely.
FIW001: This pack has two figures armed with muskets and two with tomahawks/hatchets; the first chap has the butt of his hatchet on his right thigh and is depicted shouting a war cry. The second strides forward determinedly with his hatchet held low, the third is in the classic standing firing pose and the fourth is hunched reaching in a pouch for a cartridge. All are fine figures and the faces are particularly well done each matching the figure poses perfectly. All have bare chests with loin cloths and leggings.

FIW003: This pack has four musket armed Indians, each dressed in shirts and leggings. The first is posed cradling his musket and making a field sign with his right hand. The second advances with his musket forward. The third is standing ramming home a cartridge and the fourth is in a kneeling firing pose. The faces again are all different and very nicely done.

I can highly recommend this figure range and are well worth adding to your Woodland Indian horde.
20mm WWII Daimler

Reviewed by Rob Townsend

I have been aware of Milicast for some years and have always liked their ranges, especially their Battlefield series which is more suited to the 20mm War-gamer.  These kits are made with very few pieces, mostly all the hull is in one piece including tracks then the turret comes in one piece so it is only hatches and Gun that need to be attached. The standard of casting is superb, if you wish something a little more taxing than their Premier range might have what you are looking for.

20mm WWII Daimler by Milicast
Now to the review piece, I must start out by saying that I had not heard of this vehicle before. In fact I could only find one photo of one, as this is one of the Battlefield series then it is of limited parts but very high in detail. You get the following as part of the kit, 1 hull, wheels on an easy to remove sprue, a driver’s hatch, 8 pieces of stowage and three or four smaller parts on two sprues like steering wheel, Bren gun and tripod. The kit received required almost no cleaning up apart from where items were removed from their carriers.
20mm WWII Daimler by Milicast
Before painting the parts were washed in a very dilute detergent mix to remove any resin residue, I do this with all resin models. Build took minutes and the vehicle was ready for paint. This kit with its large open crew compartment in my mind really needs crew, which do not come as part of the kit. I used a slightly converted AB crew figure as I had one spare (Milicast also carry AB figures as well as their own)
I really enjoyed building this model, with its quirky slightly futuristic look, and it makes a change to having another Humber scout car as your HQ transport of choice.
28mm Dutch / Belgian Buildings
Sarissa Precision

Reviewed by Andy Sykes

Sarissa Precision manufacture several ranges of buildings and accessories for wargaming; they have Dark age, Old West, Dutch/Belgian, City Block, WW2 and Far Future  buildings and various tokens and movement trays, all of their products are manufactured from laser cut MDF.

For review I have a 28mm Dutch/Belgian building, which is catalogue number; Type 4, which is a three story town house.

The building comes in kit form and consists of a base, four walls, two roof supports, two roof pieces and two three part chimneys. Construction is simplicity itself and may require a little sanding or paring on tabs but is otherwise hassle free, a clear instruction sheet is included.

28mm Dutch / Belgian Buildings by Sarissa Precision
The kit builds into a nice looking house, the detail is laser etched very well and paints up nicely, the long walls each depict a double door and eight windows, the back wall has three windows and the front six and a decorative roof end.

The dimensions are approximately, W100 x L125 x H120mm to Eaves (200mm to top of chimneys), the house is suitable for a number of periods up to the present day and a grouping of the different types would make for a good looking town. An interior flooring kit is also available for those wishing to model the interior.

The website is well worth a look, some of the larger buildings are very impressive and some bundle deals are available.

Last Updated On Tuesday, December 04, 2012 by Blake at Battlefront