Does Anyone Else Think This?

A ramble and a rant:

I’ve been watching the Spectre Miniatures Kickstarter recently, as I mentioned a while back. In fact, I pledged for it then, and may be upping that amount to get some more of their increasing range of interesting figures. However, one thing they added lately made me think about how I view models in a broader way.

Spectre PMC technical 3

Yup, it’s a truck.

Spectre PMC technical 2

Spectre PMC technical

This looks like both a nice model and a huge one. This is deliberate on Spectre’s part as they’ve gone for something that starts as a large truck in the first place, and then modelled it with raised suspension and extra large off-road tyres, just as the PMCs do. A nice touch, and details that are often overlooked. These mods make it even larger and more intimidating than it would be anyway, and it doesn’t roll off the forecourt as a compact. Of course, that intimidation factor is the whole point…

So it looks like a nice model. Agreed. However, for me it lacks a really important detail: an interior (and non-solid windows).

MA truckThe Patriot truck from Mars Attacks uses the same approach.
I’m not sure what this will be made from. Probably not resin. 

This isn’t just Spectre (they merely inspired this rant). The vast majority of cars and trucks you see for gamers are exactly like this: a big block of resin with details on the outside. All well and good, but especially in skirmish games I really want to be able to interact with light vehicles¹. Think of the movies and the newsreels. Trucks aren’t simply large boxes, they have doors you can open, and if they are armoured can use as cover. They have windows you can see and shoot through, engine blocks to hide behind, unarmoured panels to offer concealment, and so on. I want to be able to get in and drive off, or roll up and bail out. Of course, I can do this in an abstract way, and even if they had a full interior I couldn’t bend my models to get in. However, the vehicle could still be shown with doors open and this flexibility allows it to become not just part of the terrain, like every other modelled box, but a mobile and mutable part of it. It also looks a load better.

I appreciate that most people don’t seem to care about this. But I do. In this specific instance it’s the difference between me buying 3 and buying none. I expect I’ll end up with either 1/48th kits or die-cast models.

At the end of the day it comes back to the usual question: where do you want to compromise? In gaming there is no option – you have to compromise somewhere because reality is way too complex to model on a tabletop. You’ll compromise on models and terrain as well as rules because you need all these things to be practical and affordable as well as working in-game. Too fiddly a model and it will break, too complex a rules set and people will get bored. But in making these (necessary) compromises we remove our games from the realities we are trying to replicate in the first place. We all have our personal limits to how far is too far and which elements of the puzzle are key. Where are yours?




1: Note that this is predominantly an issue with light and especially light, unarmoured vehicles. Think cop cars at a shootout. Doors open and windows shot out all over – at least some of the time. Properly armoured vehicles tend to keep their doors closed in combat to retain that integrity, unless someone is actually getting in or out at that particular moment. In that sense they are just large lumps in combat.

This entry was posted in Random Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Does Anyone Else Think This?

  1. Andrew says:

    Having grown up with Airfix kits, I do prefer the open, detailed look. I understand that some people don’t want to fuss with the detail that goes into such a model, but those people can build their vehicle with all of the windows up and just paint over them.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      True. Designing them with the option allows everyone to get what they want. And, there’s no reason with CAD designs why you couldn’t easily produce two versions: a very simple one and a more detailed one with interiors. It’s what Millicast have done for years on some of their resin range of 1/76th vehicles.

  2. TGM says:

    For a gaming piece it doesn’t bother me to have no interior.

    I don’t like Mars Attacks “patriot” truck. Which I suppose represents a civilian Ford 650. Mantic should have modeled a proper US Military BAE/Oshkosh M1078 LMTV.

  3. Jim says:

    I suspect that it comes down to ease of modelling and/or casting, it’s far easier to do both with a solid cab. I wonder how many people would want to pay the ‘extra’ for such detail to be reproduced?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      You’re right, there would be cost implications. Personally that’s not so much of an issue for me. As a rule, I’d rather pay more for better models. It’s part of that.

  4. Teskal says:

    I would have been really interested in Car Carnage and Road Rampage, but with damage windows and no real interior, I didn’t know if it looks really good.

    If the trucks would not have been part of some sets, I’m sure I would not have bought them…

    I got some 1:43 cars, top use them with Zombicide and other games, but I think for MA I can use them, too. I still need Police Cars, ambulance, different Trucks, Busses, a campmobile, an old VW Bully and others. I think I will buy them one after another.

  5. Anthony says:

    The patriot wasn’t supposed to be anything other than an easily adaptable technical/transport for the civilians since they’re fairly common medium duty trucks.

    I think it just boils down to cost. I’d love to see fully interiorized vehicles even if it does turn TLOS games terrain into lots of windows.

  6. tornquistd says:

    I don’t like the large block vehicles with solid windows. The best I can do with them is paint the windows gloss black which almost guarantees I will not be pleased with the results. Of course there are very nice plastic vehicles with interiors and doors available but they are so fragile it is a real problem using them in a game. We need good stuff made from brass with working doors and hoods that would cost about $500 each

  7. jack says:

    it’s weird this does not even look like the DKH pictures from open day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s