Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Rise of Plastic?

If you've been following threads on various wargaming forums you'll have come across recent discussion on new 15mm or 1/100 plastic releases by the Plastic Soldier Company and Zvezda. The PSC 15mm plastic Russian mid-war infantry were released a while back, but their more recent T-34 release has caught my eye as a particularly good-looking product. Made with options for both a 76mm and 85mm turret, in pure gaming terms it is surely a winner. For instance, a 20-tank T-34 battalion bought from Battlefront comes in at 126.00 GBP (counting the less 10% you can usually find, and buying four boxes, individual blisters will cost a little more) compared to 20 from the PSC at....err, surely not....66.00 GBP. Almost half the cost, and the PSC vehicles come with two turret options, meaning you don't need duplicate models for you 76mm T-43s and your 85mm T-34s....someone has finally seen the light.

Miniature Review has reviewed both the PSC T-34 and the Russian Infantry, some good shots of the sprues can be seen here and further reviews on the WWII Central Blog.

Likewise, Zvezda announced several months back that they too would be releasing plastic tanks in 15mm, currently a Panzer II, Panzer III G, T-26, and T-34 (coincidentally, they  have also released models of a Shturmovik and Ju-87 Stuka in 1/144 which might prove useful for Flames of War). These look to be very good value for money as well and might go to prove that not only the major marks/models of vehicles are viable to produce in plastic? Time will tell.

After all that I'm left wondering what impact this might have on metal producers of 15mm WWII vehicles, Battlefront in particular? Now of course there will be those who vehemently cry 'I'll never use plastic'. But I suspect, just like has happened in 28mm with releases by The Perry Brothers, Victrix, Warlord, etc., just as 28mm plastic has found its niche, so 15mm plastic eventually will as well. Developments should prove interesting and, above all, I think competition can only be a good thing.

EDIT: an interesting thread on the FOW Forum (login required): HERE (Possible hint by John-Paul that BF will expand their plastic components? BF's plastic Sherman track are awesome, others would be equally nice) 

On another note my (much) younger brother has started a blog for his Flames of War projects, Behind My Hedgerow. Feel free to drop by, say hello, or tell him to hurry up and finish painting his US Paras. He'll enjoy that ;)



  1. I'm sure plastic's will make in roads into this scale and period as it has into 28mm. The reason being the obvious benefits of cost and conversion potential. However, plastics will always suffer from the two big down sides of being a pain to clean and assemble and a bit less detail. Also, I like the weight of metal personally. I think like in 28mm plastic will offer more variety and options to collectors, but won't replace metal as both serve a niche IMHO.


  2. I have some of The Plastic Soldier Companies T-34's.

    I am very happy with them. I can use both variants without resorting to conversions or ordering more models. They are light weight and detailed and for the price of two boxes I could have ordered 5 of one type from Battlefront. I love Battlefront and Flames of War (just look at my shelves and boxes full of models) but this is a very good thing. It has allowed me to afford building a Soviet Army for Mid or Late War.

    Keep up the blog! Great work as always.

    Now I am off to "encourage you Brother"!

    Happy Gaming,


  3. @ Christopher
    I agree that it is unlikely they will supersede metal and/or resin (nor would I want it to) but the development of cheaper plastic models may cause metal manufacturers to reconsider their prices, particularly on smaller tanks, as well as the perceived "standards" in quality. Also, several reviews have claimed the PSC T-34s have superior detail to the Battlefront models: similarly, I recall back in the day claims that plastic 28s would never match the detail of metal equivalents. A certain pair of Perry Brothers have continued to prove that claim incorrect.

    @ Allan

    Thanks, and glad to hear the models are good. Local Soviet players are quite excited about the releases.


  4. I've been discussing plastics for a long time now on various forums and these are conclusions I've come to.
    I personally think that BF lowering their prices due to other companies is wishful thinking IMHO. In 28mm prices have not dropped for metal in least due to plastics and in fact what has happened is plastics have progressively become more expensive as customers buy more of the product( GW a prime example).
    In regards to Perry and the quality of their plastics in regards to detail they do achieve very good results as does GW and now Conquest Games. But, still not quite as good as their metal IMHO.
    Let's just say I'd love it if the prices of metal would be effected, but as of yet I've seen very little of that. Let's hope your opinion becomes true. :-)


  5. A wonderful blog you have here! Thanks for dropping by on mine, as well as being the first follower on my little upstart creation.

    As per the topic, it's definitely an interesting debate. Being rather new to the resin/metal world of Flames of War I must say I like the added "weight" on the table that resin/metal offers (simple personal opinion.) Coming from a WH40K background of plastic models I feel like Flames of War has it right with the materials they are using. This doesn't really contribute much to the debate, but I can't help but wonder if others somewhat new the game feel the same.

    Now, if plastic meant cheaper prices for Flames of War I'd most assuredly be up for it, but in-line with Christopher's thought here I think BF lowering the prices, even if they went to plastic, would be too good to be true. My guess is margins for BF after design, creation, and distribution aren't quite as prolific as a company like Games Workshop.

    Part of me is even happy that the guys making my favorite game (hopefully) make a good living wage off what they do for the money I spend on the game =)

  6. Cheers, I appreciate your thoughts. Keep on blogging ;)


  7. Just a general note to say a great site with high quality content :) Chris from ModelDads


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