Monday, February 3, 2014

Company B 28mm Vehicle review

A few weeks ago I was discussing Bolt action with one of my good friends, Mike, and telling him about how much easier it was to paint with my air brush I received for X-mas.  He explained that he was planning a Burma campaign for the upcoming convention season and asked if I might help him with painting a few vehicles.  The next week Mike came up and a "few" vehicles turned into a combination of nine British and Japanese Tanks and trucks.

The vehicles were all from Company B and required assembly.  I had heard about Company B and visited their web store a few times, but had not ordered from them yet.  I figured this would be a good opportunity to check them out first hand and help my friend while I gained experience with the new air brush.

Company B web store:

The vehicles were as follows:

M3 Lee Medium tank x2
M3 "Honey Stuart" light tank x2
Morris 2PDR Porter
Standard Utility 4x2 "Tilly"
Type 95 HA-GO Tankette x2

Complete order prior to assembly
The package comes with a picture of each vehicle, but like Warlord Games no detailed assembly instructions.  Most of the assembly was fairly intuitive and any questions could be referenced to the pictures with a quick Internet search.  I did get stuck on a couple items, but e-mailed Company B and Bruce was very helpful in answering questions and even sent a couple more pics from different angles to help me out.

I was very impressed with the amount of extra stowage that was included with some of the models.

M3 Lee mostly assembled showing all the stowage included
I did find some of the assembly a bit difficult due to the fact that there were not always guided or pegs to line up the tracks as some other models have.  As a result I had the gauge the spacing with the hull and secure the tracks in place while the glue hardened.

Honey Stuarts using rubber bands to secure the tracks
M3 Lee assembly complete
As for casting quality I was initially very impressed with the first M3 Lee I assembled and then noticed that there was some notable variation from one model to the next.  Most of it was simple cleaning up the flashing which is expected with resin and pewter.

The Type 95 Tankettes were a bit more problematic.  The casting quality on these was a bit on the sub standard side in my opinion.  The resin was very thin in spots and the tracks actually had chunks missing and one track was cracked.   Since they were not mine I consulted my friend and we agreed to press on as paint would cover most of it and he wanted these for mid February play testing.

IJA armor during assembly
To be fair we did not give Company B a chance to send replacements, and my guess is they would have based on the interaction I did have.  When I place my first order I request that they take there time and double check each model for casting issues.

Once assembled it was on to painting the part I really enjoy.  My friend gave me artistic license with these.  The tanks were for a Burma campaign so the allied tanks were to be British.  I asked him to send some pics of what he envisioned and then did a web search of my own.  No decals were included and Mike did not provide any.  I asked if he wanted some and he decided to go without for now.  You will also note I did not place the stowage.  This is something Mike will do later if he desires.

I decided to go with the IJA first to get the camo patterns out of the way as we decided the Allied vehicles would all be the same brownish drab.  These were the results:

HA-GO Type 95


M3 Lee

M3 "Honey Stuart"

Porter and "Tilly"

Overall I am happy with the results as is Mike. He already picked up the IJA vehicles as they were completed last week when we gamed together.  I just finished the Allied vehicles this past weekend.

I would give Company B an overall B+ on the quality of the product.  Had there not been casting issues with the IJA Armor it would be a solid A, but due to the inconsistency especially the the IJA tanks would downgrade them .  Granted I did not give them an opportunity to correct the issue, but my feeling is certain items should not make it past initial quality control and should not be left to the customer to have to ask for a replacement.  Either way I would recommend their product line as the scale seems to fit very well with the Warlord Games 1/56 (28mm) stuff I already own.  I certainly plan to order from them in the future.

As I do not consider myself a professional I was not expecting payment for my help other than replacement of materials used.  Mike has indicated that  a Company B order may be in my future.  The M3 Lee while really a European tank certainly is a beautiful model.



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