Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Armies in Plastic 30-pounder Parrott Gun

Right on target!

I'm a big fan of artillery, 1:1 or 54mm, its all good.

On a recent trip to Gettysburg I picked up what I believe is the finest (hands-down) 54mm plastic representation of an artillery piece manufactured today.

Ladies and gentlemen...The Armies in Plastic 30-pounder Parrott gun!


This past summer on one of my trips north to check out the new (and outstanding) Visitor Center at Gettysburg I stopped by my usual toy soldier haunts as well as one I'd not visited before.  "Better late than never" is all I can say!

Tarbox Fine Military Miniatures is a paradise of quality and craftsmanship amid the sea of schlock shops on Steinwehr Avenue.  



Tucked between ghost tours and tee-shirt shops its a real goldmine for miniature collectors and toy soldier enthusiasts.




Charlie Tarbox holds court in the store and is a wealth of information, and puns, including visual ones.  Note the soldier below who has obviously...


"kicked the bucket".  The place is full of groaners like this, though you have to look closely.


I'd opine that the shop specializes in really high-end stuff like Napoleon and his staff here,



but also has a nice range of plastic focusing on Imex and Armies in Plastic, two solid product lines.

Be sure to check out Tarbox's establishment on your next visit to G'burg.  

I was hoping to get the (relatively) new AIP release of the 30-pounder and I scored by going into Tarbox's, they had plenty of them, Union and Confederate.   Several shelves of these simple but attractive AIP cartons caught my attention and I knew my hunt was over.

This fantastic cannon comes in what AIP calls "military green" but I'd say more of a greenish gray (heavy on the gray).  Also included are five well done crewmen (discussed below).  I opted for the Union detachment. 

 The gun comes with two barrels providing the buyer with the option of the welted Parrott tube or the iron 32-p0under.  That's some nice flexibility.


The "kit", if you want to call it that, comes in six pieces: trail, wheels, handscrew, and the two tubes.  Everything snaps together beautifully, and generally casting-mark and flash free.


You can even dismount the tube and position it in the towing configuration for these larger siege guns.  The carriage is quite correct in all respects for these larger caliber heavy guns.


Altogether a very handsome, well sculpted, and accurate piece in all respects.  I bought two!


The tube exhibits one of the few casting marks, otherwise its a very clean model.



With the included crewmen you can man the works of these combined BMC redoubts, or...

appear equally menacing peering out from a custom made recreation of ...


historic Fort Ward,



part of the outer defenses of Wartime Washington D.C.

Click here to see more of my recreation of Fort Ward as well as the real thing.


Reviewing the troops.

Like all Armies in Plastic figures these guys aren't exactly detail-rich, however, like all AIP figures they are flash-free, exceptionally well sculpted, nicely animated, robust, well balanced, and so delightfully shiny

 AIP makes really nice soldiers, despite the limited detail.  My main beef with AIP is their silly tendency to mold the same figures in a variety of colors in an attempt to pass them of as different types of troops.  They package about eight different versions of Zouaves, which are merely the same poses molded in different colors.  Similarly their Berdan's Sharpshooters (in Green) are the same figures as their Union (blue) and Confederate (gray) Marines.

That gets a little tiresome.  I'd prefer to see them extend their talents and exceptional degree of quality control to all new poses.  

Like these guys:

The battery commander has a nice command posture.  The arms holding the binoculars are a separate piece and are a nice, clean, tension fit in sockets in the shoulders.  The caped greatcoat is very nice though I always prefer my troops in summertime order.


Our equally nicely-sculpted number two man seems to be have an exceptionally heavy sponge at the end of that staff, also his posture is, technically incorrect.  Sponging, and ramming, must always be done with one hand, lest the powder discharge prematurely.  At least our veteran will be able to go home with one arm intact.

here's a little video I did demonstrating correct sponging technique:


You can check out all of my videos by clicking here.

Now, back to the troops.



The spherical projectile limits this guys usefulness to serving the 32-pounder.  It would have been nice if AIP had sculpted a man with an elongated projectile for the Parrott rifle.


This guy has a long implement used to lever the carriage into position, by boosting it under the wheels and manhandling the gun.  Unfortunately the engineering on this figure is flawed.  As is evident in this picture, that lever extends far below the plane of the base.  Also, the shaft isn't particularly straight, and the thing looks a whole lot like the crazy weapons carried by those Egyptian alien dudes in Stargate.

 
                                                                          yikes!


Powderbag man.  No complaints here.


 Hat cords and crossed cannon (in fairly low-relief) are evident on all of the hats, which is a nice touch.  

I like these guys.

And the guns are stand-outs among their peers, as well as in the ordnance yard below:

guarded by steadfast tin soldiers of the Third Michigan!



Detail is great and the engineering is absolutely robust without being clunky or off-scale.

I'd love to see AIP  take on the production of 54mm light field guns, of which even the best (plastic) like this Imex 10-pounder Parrott...

tend to appear very spindly and have very fragile engineering.



AIP scores a bulls-eye with this outstanding release!

See you again on November 1.

Soldier on!

Mannie

3 comments:

Jubilo said...

Dear Sir ,
Superb posting ; superb cannon ! Thank you .
cordailly ,
David Corbett

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