Thursday, 3 July 2014

1/300 scale white metal aircraft by Scotia Grendel

How low can you go? How about 6mm scale (1/285 or 1/300) miniatures?

A while ago I did a couple of 1/144 aircraft models, I never intended on getting into aircraft kits but I needed a few examples for my Finnish Rapid Fire force. Well, much to my surprise I really enjoyed doing them and a lot of it had to do with the challenge of working with the smaller scale.

As soon as I finished those petite planes I promised myself I would return to the subject later 'when I had the time'. Well aside from never really having the time to do the stuff I really should be working on - never mind branching out into other types of models - it's hard to see when I might get space to do any more planes with my current list of jobs in progress!

But I do like to have a bit of a break between projects - so what to do?

Well, how about doing some even smaller planes? Very small projects that literally cannot take up too much time, but will be time enough to give me a rest between my bigger (1/72) projects!

One of my all-time favourite aircraft - the Curtis P20 (Hawk 75), the plane
that was the precursor to the beautiful P40! And only 30mm long!

Enter the wacky world of 1/300 scale aircraft!
I heard about 1/300 scale while talking to a member of my local wargaming club on Facebook. '1/300?' I thought 'Isn't that ridiculously small?' (Before realizing there ate 1/600 aircraft and even smaller scales on the market!)

1/300 scale bombers of the Finnish Air Force. Left to right: Bristol Blenheim
Mark IV (Long Nose), Dornier Do-17 and Blenheim NF (A1).

Anyway, what swung it for me was that I am a bit short of finances at the moment (as she who must be obeyed want a holiday in Rome this year) and 1/300 aircraft are a pittance to buy.

So off I went and found a UK manufacturer - Scotia Grendel Productions - who make an interesting range of historic models in this diminutive scale. The theme I gave myself was Finnish aircraft of WW2 - as I had already done a fair amount of research in this area.

Fighters of the Finnish Air Force. Left to right: Lagg 3, Me109 and the
Curtis Hawk. The Finn's were eclectic - they had to be!
In purchasing my little air force I was pretty indiscriminate - I hadn't done any research on who's the best manufacturer or which is the best model or how to paint 1/300 models. I just bought a handful and thought I'd see what happens!

The 'Finnish Air Force of WW2' is really quite an interesting project that provides the modeller (of whatever prefered scale) a lot of variety. They acquired aircraft from anywhere they could and because they sort of jumped from one 'side' to another in the war they got them from both the Allies and the Axis. In fact, it seems the only major belligerent in the war they didn't have an aircraft from was the Japanese (and I wouldn't be surprised if someone emailed me to say 'well actually...')!

Left: Signals 'Finnish Air Force 1939-45' is a superb record of the myriad of types the Finns flew. And I just happened to already have a copy, what luck!

First impressions
Well...Yep...They are small! I guess that's not going to be a surprise to you - what was a surprise was how Scotia managed to do some of the fine detail on these tiny models and in white metal of all things!

It's a bit hit and miss though, but in the case of the Blenheims you can actually make out the radial engine inside the engine cowl! However, as always with white metal, there is some amount of pitting and also some flash and in some cases this ruins some of the detail there is (the Me109 is a bit of a carbuncle).

As I said, I don't know if Scotia are a great manufacturer, but they seem to be well thought of. But you have to start somewhere. That said I did locate a company called Raiden Miniatures who do aircraft in 1/285th scale (why there are two very small scales so close together is a mystery to me - I suspect it's something like the 1/76 and 1/72 'thing'). Anyway, I can't see why 1/285 and 1/300 won't be comparable -unless you are a real nitpicker - so I bought a few of their planes to to compare the quality of their model to those of Scotia's (but they haven't arrived yet).

So, all in all, I have plenty of variety now and shouldn't get bored doing models because I can have a crack at some of me wee planes if I do start to feel a bit weary of trucks, tanks or figures. Just don't expect much - I'm not! :D

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