Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - The Year as it Was

It is hard to believe that another year has passed.  I find, as I get older, that time passes faster and faster.  I don't feel like I have slowed down but rather the world is moving quicker.  I guess this is natural.

Anyway, I played lots of games this year and had high hopes back in January.  As usual, what I thought I would be doing this year might not match too closely with what I actually did.  Let's take a closer look...you know you want too.

Bolt Action

I predicted back in January that this would a be a big game this year and it was.  I got in about 15 games making it the number two game for me this year.  I also managed to paint some more figures for my Fallschirmjager army.  I bought some Perry plastic 8th Army figures, but you know how that turned out.  I managed to collect all but the Japanese book as well.

It was a good year for this game and I expect that will continue.

Flames of War

It is not too surprising to me that this is, once again, the main game for the year.  I managed to get in a couple of dozen games.  This included a El Guettar campaign that Tim and I played.  This ran from February to June and consisted of about 10 games.  I also played in my second FoW tournament.

I had no solid plans for new armies at the beginning of the year.  I knew I wanted to work on my early war French but I was not sure how that was going to actually happen.  In the end I did get an EW French force painted but it was a Tank Company rather than the Fusilier Company I had planned.  I did acquire lots of new models for the French and I will be adding more to it in the future.

What was a complete surprise to me was the US Tank Company.  This was not on my radar at all in January but by February I was on my way to getting this on the table.  I also purchased lots of additional models to expand this into an Infantry and Armored Infantry force.

In July I decided that I wanted to participate in a Kursk themed event in January 2014.  FOr this event I am taking a 1500 point Panther Company that I just finished painting today (pictures next year).

So, I painted three new armies and added a bunch of models to the paint queue.  It was a good year for this game.

Black Powder

At the beginning of the year the goal for this game was to build on our first big game from last year.  We managed to put on two more large ACW games.  I also painted more figures for my ACW collection.  In addition, I managed to assemble and start paint for my Napoleonic French project.  In the end it was a good year for Black Powder but I was hoping to get more going with this one.

28mm Ancients

The goal for this was to get in some games of Clash of Empires and/or Hail Caesar.  I played in three games of HC - on with 28mm armies and 2 with 15mm armies.  I had a really good time playing the games but I quickly discovered that the rules are not a simple expansion/modification of Black Powder.  I really need to spend more time with the rules to a solid grip on them.  This is a game that will get more attention from me in the future.

I did get in a couple of games of SAGA and really enjoyed it.  I picked up the rules and one of the expansions over the summer.  I am hoping to get deeper into this game.

Clash of Empires is fading fast.  I did nothing with these rules this year.

Warhammer 40K

I really expected, at the beginning of the year, to get in a few games this year.  I knew the new purchases would be very limited.  It turns out I did almost nothing with this this year.  I painted one model and added very little to the collection/paint pile (all used).  It seems this game has reached retirement for me.  I will keep what I have and probably add new models if they are really cool but otherwise it is over.

Other Games

I kept the door open for something new to come along or perhaps the return of an old favorite this year.  I did struggle a bit with the Hobbit/LOTR throughout the year but the prices (even for used) kept pushing me back.  I would like to have added some of the new Eagles to the collection but it did not happen.

One new game did appear this year - Star Wars X-Wing.  I finally picked up the starter set over the summer and got in a few games using the quick start rules.  I really enjoyed it and I got lots of new stuff for Christmas.  I see a bright future for me and this game.  It is just an amazing well designed and supported game.

Other Hobbies

My New Years post this year was different in that I discussed some of my other hobbies and the hope that I would spend some time on them throughout the year.  As fate would have it most of it was a wash.  The only area that went well as the guitar stuff.  I was able to purchase a new guitar this year and I got into Rocksmith on the PS3.  I also spend some time upgrading my songbook library.

There it is.  All things considered a good year for gaming.  Next year should. hopefully, be even better!  Happy New Year everyone!

Figures painted for the year:

FoW - 135 (3 Jeeps, 3 half-tracks, 4 trucks, 4 guns, 45 Tanks)
28mm Dark Age - 5
28mm ACW - 40
28mm WW2 - 35
40K - 1 (1 Battlewagon)

Total - 217

Game Record for the year:

FoW 11-14-1
Bolt Action 5-6-3
SAGA 1-1-0
X-Wing 6-4

Friday, December 27, 2013

Russian Village for Flames of War

I just finished a few Russian houses for Flames of War.  These are for a table I am contributing to the Shifting Sands 2014 Kursk event to be held in January.

The buildings are your typical resin game pieces that we are all familiar with.  I have no idea who the manufacturer of these building is but they are very nicely done.  Each building has a detailed interior.  The casting is clean with only a few bubbles or other flaws.  Nothing worth worrying about at 15mm.

This is just a start on my Eastern front collection which will be growing.  I have big plans for this theater next year.

UPDATE:  After doing a little research I found out that these are Musket Miniatures buildings.  They have a pretty nice line of Russian stuff and I think I will be adding more of these to the collections.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

X-Wing Christmas

Christmas was pretty good on the game front this year.  I received a second starter set of X-Wing as well as several expansions.  In fact, I am missing only the wave one releases now and I plan to fix that next week.  All of this stuff and my original starter set means I can finally get into the game properly.  Next year should see lots of X-Wing on the table.  The family likes this one so I should be able to play it quite a bit.

I hope everyone had a great gaming Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thought of the Day...

Most interest in the game world about the new 3D print technology has been around the creation of game models and the IP issues that might come up.  I wonder what gaming will be like when gamers can print there own dice?  How easy will it be to abuse the technology in order to gain an advantage.  Will players not want to play against others unless they know where there dice came from?

Anyway, just a slow day at work...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

French Napoleonic Project

A couple of years ago I started on a French Napoleonic project.  I manage only a single battalion completed at that time.  This project got a little side tracked in favor of the ACW project for Black Powder.  Now that we have a few BP games in it is time to get the Napoleonic project back on track.

My usual game group have settled on the 1813 campaign as our focus.  I am working on French for the time being.  Once these are painted up I am planning on adding some Warlord and Perry plastics to the collection.

If everything goes as planned I hope to get a big game together for late next summer,  Stay tuned for painting progress.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Falling Off The (Battle)Wagon

I know it was just a couple of weeks ago I was talking about how great my gaming life has been without working on or purchasing any Games Workshop stuff.  All of that is still true...really it is.  I just needed to work on something a little different after cranking out my Flames of War French.

I actually acquired this Battlewagon about three years ago as part of a big collection I purchased from a local gamer.  The base color was already applied.  In fact, the picture about and the next few are how the model looked when I got it. 

Since I was planning to do Death Skulls and not Bad Moons I did not want or need a yellow Battlewagon.  But my friend, Tim was planning an Ork army and he wanted to do Bad Moons so I gave it to him along with some other items.

Tim promptly did nothing with it and it sat in his collection until a few months ago. He decided to get out of 40K completely and the Ork project had to go.  He gave this model back to me as it was the only thing I really wanted from the collection.

I was so excited to get this model back I set it on the workbench in the garage and did nothing with it.  You know, cause I am over all the GW stuff.  After months of collecting dust and calling my name every time I walked through the garage I had to finish it.

The base yellow color was really well done and I did not want to start over.  So I kept the yellow and just filled in the missing details.

Of course, the yellow was way too clean so I was going to need to orkie it up a bit so that it will match the grime of the rest of the army.

 I figure it was looted from another clan and the boss decided to keep the yellow as a kind of trophy.  An in your face kind of statement.  I did use blue as the accent color to help tie it in with the army as a whole.

In the end I am very happy with the results.  Sitting next to my other Battlewagon they look as if they belong together.  It was a fun little change of pace and just enough to get it out of my system for a while.  I am not sure when, or if, it will see the table.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Perry Plastic British 8th Army

The front of the box...

When I heard that the Perrys would be getting into 28mm World War 2 I was very excited.  I love the Perry's work and I love WW2 - a match made in heaven.  When I heard that they were starting with North Africa I was even more excited.  North Africa is one area where my collection 28mm is lacking so again another perfect fit.  I also need British 8th Army figures for my plans to do Crete battles in 28mm.

...and the back.

I picked up this set on vacation in California over the summer.  After spending a month working on my Flames of War French army I needed a change and I could not wait to dig into this set.

The instructions are very basic but serviceable.

Now, if you don't like to build models or if you did not like come of the other Perry plastic sets you will not like these.  This set is more on the model side than on the game piece side.  It is much more detailed than their ACW sets.

The back of the instruction sheet is an organization chart for a British platoon.

This is the command sprue with the officer and the radio operator.

This is the main sprue.  There are parts for 12 figures and you get three of these.
The set includes enough parts to build a proper platoon including officer, radio operator, Boys ATR team and a light mortar.  The set is targeted for the 1943 period with Thompson sub-machine guns for each squad and the officer.  There are enough rifles to build the earlier squads before the SMG became common.

These are the bases that are included in the set.
 The set includes bases for all the figures, including some 40mmx40mm bases for the gun teams.  The round bases are only 20mm and I think they are a little small.  Due to the light weight of the assembled figures i would not recommend the 20mm bases.  They are just too light. I recommend using a metal washer or base to add some bulk to the figures.

A selection of completed figures.

The completed figures are truly stunning.  I really love them.  The animation and sculpt quality are perfect. The plastic is great t work with and allows for easy conversion and modification.  In the end, what we have here is an excellent set of figures that will look great on the table and are very flexible.  Getting 38 figures for less than $30 makes this hard to beat.

From left to right - Crusader, Foundry, Battle Honors, Perry, Black Tree, Artizan
But...there are some issues.  First, I would have loved to see the heads separate from the bodies.  This would add the flexibility of the set without being any more fiddly.  Second, the arms use three different attachment methods.  Some arm sets are both arms on the gun.  Others are one arm on the gun with the other arm as an open hand.  And, yet, some others are an arm attached to the gun with the other hand molded to the gun (and then a separate handless arm).  I would have liked to see one way of doing the arms as this would make conversions easier.

Finally we have the biggest issue for me.  These figures are VERY small compared to other 28mm figures on the market.  Generally speaking, I am not overly concerned about mixing different brands of figures but these are so different they just cannot be on the same table, much less the same unit, as other figures.  It is not an issue of height, it is the bulk.  These figures are basically 1/56th scale models rather the 28mm game pieces.  It really breaks my heart because these are beautiful figures and I really wish I could use them.  I have built 8 of these and put the rest back in the box.  I doubt i will ever finish them or even paint the ones I have built.

If you are looking to play games set in North Africa I would recommend these as long as you are also using Perry Germans or Italians.  In that case they are great!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

French All-Terrain 75mm mle 1897

With the completion of this battery of 75mm mle 1897 guns my Escadron de Combat is now complete.  For most point sizes I will only be using two of these guns in a mainly direct fire anti-tank role.  For larger games I can take the full battery and have lots more options.  For a 1940 French army this is a must have unit.

I have an early war tournament in a couple of weeks and a few practice games before then so these guys will be seeing plenty of table time in the days to come.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

French Fusiliers Portes Platoon with Laffly S20TL Trucks

My 1940 French Escadron de Combat continues to grow.  This installment is for the Fusiliers Portes platoon.  These guys are similar to German Panzer Grenadiers.  Each team is an MG team which give them amazing firepower for their size.

These guys ride into battle on Laffly S20TL trucks.  These are very cool looking models that help give the French army a unique look.  I really like the fact they when mounted these trucks count as having 2 AA MGs.  I have a feeling this might come in handy.

This unit has already seen a couple of battles and did well both games.  In the first game they fought dismounted and proved to be a very tough unit once dug in.  The ended up fighting a few close combats with some panzers and were ultimately destroyed, but no without taking out a platoon of tanks.  In the second game they never dismounted.  They supported an attack by tanks and armored cars.  Having them in close support forced my opponent to make hard choices - kill the dangerous stuff or go for the easy VP and shoot the trucks.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

French Panhard AMD-35

The Escadron de Combat project marches on.  Here we have the Deep Reconnaissance Platoon of 5 Panhard AMD-35 armored cars.  These are some really cool models and they really make me want to do a full recon army.

This takes me to 5 platoons and just about 1200 points.  I have some infantry in the works as well as artillery to finish this out to 1500 points.  Then it will be time to put this on the table.

Friday, October 11, 2013

French Hotchkiss H-35 Cavalry Tanks

Here are a few more tanks for my Escadron de Combat.  This bring me up to 4 platoons so far.

Inspiring People

It is a good feeling when something you do inspires others.  The main reason I blog is to document my thoughts and hobby activities as a way to track my progress and interests over time.  It is also to share what I do with like-minded people.

Five years ago I did a quick post on some scratch-built higgins boats that Tim and I were going to use for some 28mm WW2 beach assault games.  At the time we were planning an Italy campaign that was going to start with the Salerno landings.  For this we need landing craft. This post did not generate much interest and it really lacked much usable information.  It was basically some pictures of the unfinished models.

Fast forward 5 years and up pops this thread on The Miniatures Page.  Another gamer had found my old post and was inspired to build some landing craft based on my ideas.  It was really cool to see this!

Now I just wish I had put more effort into the original post...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

French Hotchkiss H-39 Cavalry Tanks

The next installment to my 1940 Escadron de Combat is a platoon of H-39 tanks.  My plan with this army is to model the 2nd DLM at about the time of the Battle of Hannut.  Naturally, I made this decision after I had already built some tanks.  Turns out the 2nd DLM had no H-39 only the older H-35.  Oh well, per the rules they are basically the same tank so no biggy I guess.

These are very neat little models.  They have excellent armor for the period but the guns are not so good.  I am not sure how these will actually work in game terms but they are cheap enough to bring lots.

More to come on this project very soon.

Monday, October 7, 2013

French S35 Somua

 The first batch of my 1940 French Escadron de Combat.  This is the base of what will eventually be a ridiculously huge French army. 

This is the Company command tank.  I can already see an issue with this army.  There is no 2iC so if the CO gets it there is no back-up.

These are some of the best tanks in the early war but they do have their drawbacks.  The one man turret rule will really slow down the army but this seems to be a fact of life for French tanks.  They should be fun and a real challenge to play.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Life Without Games Workshop

Hi!  My name is Robert and I have not played a GW game in about a year.  That was a game of 40K against my friend Lonnie.  I wrote about it last December if you are interested.  At the time I did not know it would be the last GW game as I fully expected that Lonnie and I would get together again.  I did realize that my GW days were numbered.

Over the years I have played lots of Games Workshop games and purchased huge amounts of models, both new and used.  I started with Necromunda back in 1996 and collected and painted nearly every Necromunda model made.  Next I moved on to Warhammer 40,000 and started a small Dark Angels army.  I really loved the models and the gamer were fun.  GW games helped to rekindle some old friendships and start some new ones.

In 2001 the Lord of the Rings game first appeared.  My friends and I were really excited about the movies and the game and by 2005 LOTR:SBG became my main GW game.  I spent thousands of dollars over the years amassing a huge collection of Lord of the Rings models. Much of which did actually get painted and used.  During this time I continues to build armies for 40K and upgrade the rules through four versions of the game (Lord of the Rings went through the same number of versions over the same period).

In March of 2012 I played my last game of LOTR:SBG.  For several weeks prior GW rolled out new versions of the army list for the games and repackaged long released models in smaller model count packages.  This had the effect of doubling the price for models that GW had already made massive amounts of money off of.  This was about the same time that Finecast was released and the new FC versions of the hero models were more than doubled in price.  Combined with the damage the new army lists were doing to the game I could see the writing on the wall.

Even with the death of LOTR:SBG I still was not ready to completely drop GW games.  The 6th edition of 40K was released in the Summer of 2012 and I (grudgingly) dropped the $75 for the rules.  At the same time I purchased the new Ork Dakkajet.  I really loved both purchases and have no regrets for them.  At the time I did not know they would be the last GW purchases I would make.

The last few years has seen some real changes in the GW hobby.  The cost of the hobby is one part of this.  Prices are sky high and are actually quite ridiculous.  I make more money than I ever really thought I would and in the last 10 years my income has roughly doubled.  In that same period the cost of playing a GW game as quadrupled or more.  Their prices are increasing much faster than inflation even while the company outsources production to cheaper locations.  This has not gone unnoticed by many gamers.  I have seen lots of people leave the GW hobby and move to other games or even out of miniatures altogether.

Now consumers and gamers in particular love to bitch about price but I really believe that GW has priced themselves out of reach for their target market - teenage and preteen males.  GW has also done huge damage to their brand with their pricing policies in different markets.  I don't claim to understand the ins and outs of how things are priced in various places but I can say it is nuts that an item in, say, New Zealand, can cost twice what the same product costs in the United States even though the currencies of the two countries are near parity.  To then rub salt in the wounds of these gamers by setting policies that prevent them from making purchases from a country that can offer a better deal than they can get locally is plain profiteering.

Then we come to GW and how they protect their IP.  First of all, let me say that I believe they have a right and a duty to protect their IP, but they have a lot to learn about the best way to do this (their PR department must hate their legal department).  The internet is filled with stories of GW sending letters and threatening various websites with legal action for things that seem to be fair use and within the scope of legitimate news.  But GW seems to think that, since they have money, and most of these websites don't, they can just do whatever they want.  Well, they are right, they can do whatever they want.  But I don't have to support a company that treats it customers and best fans as if they are all criminals looking to steal from them.

In the end, I miss playing 40K and Lord of the Rings, but I don't miss all the baggage of the GW hobby.  I have moved on to companies that appreciate my business and make a real effort at customer service.  This is a great time to be a miniatures gamer as there are so many options available.  Now I just need to decide whether to keep all this stuff or sell it off....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Random Update

I just realized that it has been a few weeks since my last post and September is close to being over.  I can't let a whole month go without posting something!  So here is something...

Actually, I have been doing a fair amount of stuff over the last few weeks.  I have just been a bum about documenting it and posting.  Last week our game group got together for a big ACW Black Powder game.  Tim posted lots of cool pictures of the game.  You should go check it out. 

We have also been playing lots of Bolt Action.  Our local Warlord folks setup a small escalation league and Tim and I jumped in.  We got in several games against lots of great opponents.  A good time was had by all.

As for painting, I have been working on my Flames of War French tank company.  I am making good progress and am just putting on decals for 19 vehicles.  I really hate working with these little 15mm decals.  To make things worse you need 5 or 6 for each tank.  Anyway, I am nearly done with the tanks and that will give me about 1200 points of French.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Can It Be? More Fallschirmjagers!

I just finished up another 23 28mm Fallschirmjagers.  This is in addition 12 I did a couple of months ago (and failed to photograph and post).  This brings the collection to more than 100 of these guys!

These figures are a mix of Foundry, Black Tree and Crusader.  This addition brings me to 6 full squads and a couple of dozen extras.  I have lots of support options done now but I still have a few team left to paint.  I still need to add a PaK40 and maybe a Nebelwefer.  I also want to add some motorcycles and a kettenkrad.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Plastic Soldier Company Panther

For my Kursk German army I am going with the Panther Company.  Since I am cheap...no, no, no...sensible, I am going with the Plastic Soldier Company Panthers.  I really love the PSC models and I recommend them highly.  This set allows you to build any of the three versions of this tank - ausf D, A or G.

Like all of these kits the Panther kit is really well designed.  It is amazing to me how you can get such a nice model from so few parts.  As nice as this kit is it is not perfect.

The trouble is with the instructions.  This kit suffers from the common confusion with the Panther version numbers.  Unlike other German tanks the Panther did not start with the A model.  The A was actually the second model and the D was the first.  This means that the instructions start with the A but it is actually the D and the D is the A.  To make things worse, the version that should be the A is really the early A that was built for about a month.  To build the most common version of the A you will need to do some converting.  The G version in the instructions is the later version that was available in 1945 so to build the more common G you need to do some converting.

The key to making this kit work is to do some research and take the instruction with a grain of salt. 

I have 10 of these built so now I need to order some decals and get to painting.  Stay tuned for more.

Monday, August 5, 2013

El Guettar Campaign Complete

I meant to do this post a couple of weeks ago while event were still fresh.  Tim and I played game 11 of our El Guettar campaign a couple of weeks ago.  We both knew that this might be the last game and if not there would only be one more game after that.

I was really unsure as the force I should take for this battle.  I knew Tim was unlikely to leave the Tigers out and my previous infantry force had no answers for them.  I guessed the he would stick basically with the half-track heavy panzer grenediers.  With this in mind I decided to build a force to kill the half-tracks and just ignore the Tigers.  I took basically the following.

2 M3 Stuarts

Combat Platoons
5 M3 Stuarts
5 M3 Stuarts
4 M3 Lees

4 M10
4 T19
Limited P40

Fortunately, Tim did stick with the panzer grenadiers and as expected he brought two Tigers again.  He did make some significant changes, however.  He dropped the artillery, AT guns and air support to add a 4 tank PZIII platoon.  This was going to be a little tricky.  The scenario we rolled up was Fighting Withdrawal and Tim would be the defender.

As the defender Tim left the half tracks off the table.  He had to cover three objectives, one on his right and two close together on his left.  I place both the of these objectives with the idea that if one got pulled late in the game the other one would be just a few inches farther away.  Tim seemed OK with this objective placement as it allowed one dug in pz grenadier platoon to cover two objectives.  Tim placed his Tigers in the center of his line and as far forward as possible.  He wanted to dominate the center of the table.  On his right he deplayed three platoons to cover the one objective.  Part of this, I think, was due to this objective being in a small village that provided excellent cover.

My plan was rather simple, I would focus the majority of my force against Tim's left towards the two objectives held by the single platoon.  I would send the 2iC and one platoon of Stuarts in a feint against Tim's right, hoping to keep the PZIII platoon from shifting to reinforce against my main attack.  The main attach consisted of a platoon of Lees, a platoon of Stuarts, the CO, a recce platoon and the TD security section.  I planned to keep the Tigers occupied with artillery and air power until the M10's could get into a good spot and may be do some damage.

My plan, I must say, worked much better than I expected.  The M10 platoon deployed on turn two and knocked one of the Tigers.  Within another turn the Tiger platoon was destroyed and the German infantry was pushed off the objective.  Americans win 6-1!  Here are the final numbers for the campaign.

US - 7
German - 4

Victory Points
US - 43
German - 34

US - 174
Germans - 99

Vehicles lost
US - 62
Germans - 51

Guns lost
US - 7
Germans -7

I really liked the format of the campaign.  It was very simple and it favors the side with the initiative in the campaign, in our case the Americans.  But it provides a reason for the games and a way to track some interesting info about the battles.  Tim and I have already chatted about how we might change the system to add more detail and about where the next campaign will be set.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

First 4Ground Building

The first item I tackled from the vacation haul was the 4Ground building.  I have really been looking forward to building one of these kits ever since I first learned of them.  This kit was $20 from Brookhurst and that makes it comparable to the Battlefront houses I have been getting on the subscription deal.  The BF houses run about $21 each.

These kits come in a plastic bag package, so nothing real fancy.  Inside there are several laser-cut sprues with the various parts.  The 'pre-painted' aspect of these involves using different painted MDF boards for various parts.  These boards are painted prior to the laser cuts and, therefore, show some scorch marks that mar the color.  In addition, the color is not on the edges of the pieces which is quite noticeable once the model has been built.

I found the instructions for this kit to be excellent.  The are full color and have a nice step by step process.  If you take your time and follow the instructions the kits is not too difficult to assemble.  If you are like me and think you know it all you might have to redo some bits here and there.

At the end of the instructions they have included some color signs and posters to enhance your model.  I thought this was a nice touch.  Being the 'with it' dude I am I promptly threw away these instructions, and the cool signs and posters, once I was done building the model. *sigh*

I am not going to do a step by step on the assembly as the instructions do a really nice job of that.  Besides, I forgot to take pictures as I was working on it.  One important thing I learned is that some of the parts can be quite delicate.  It is strange to me that some parts will literally fall of the sprue and others take some work.  I did manage to break one of the roof sides while taking it off the sprue.  Fortunately I was able to repair it and the damage is not noticeable.

The ability to remove the roof and the second floor for interior access is really nice.  You can fit one Flames of War medium base in each side of the building but to fit them in the bases must be facing the walls rather than the windows (sorry, no picture of that).  This not that big of a deal but if the model was just a few mm longer you could fit bases in much easier and in all directions.

Here is a side by side with one of the Battlefront houses.  In the end, being that these are basically the same price, I prefer the BF model.  The BF model is fully assembled and nicely painted for only $1 more.  The 4Ground building took me nearly 8 hours to assemble as was fiddly in a few spots.  I can see that people who do not enjoy building models will not like these kits.  The paint on the 4Ground model needs work in my opinion.  Either the whole thing needs to be repainted or I need to find the 4Ground paints that they produce to match the kits.  As hard as it is to find these kits in my area the paint would be impossible so I would have to order it online.  For a $20 kit that is too much trouble so I will just repaint it.

I will likely purchase a couple more of the 4Ground kits but I think next I will try one of the unpainted kits.  These are cheaper but, it seems, they are simpler kits than the pre-paints.

If I were t do the whole star rating thing I would have to give these 3 out of 5.  If this was a few dollars cheaper they would rate much higher.