Maidstone Wargames Society
I didn’t think I was going to do a
part 3 to this series. But here we are. For those wishing to game out aerial
wargaming in miniature, you have a bit to choose from. I won’t be doing the
larger scales (1/100 and larger) because, at that point, you’re building
In the smaller scales, they have a lot going for them. First off, you can put a lot on the table, especially at 1/600, but even at 1/300. Look at this combat box of B-17s, right?
There’s a lot out there, and I hope we can scratch the surface and show you some things to get you interested in one of the fun aspects of the hobby!
1/600 scale B-24 and FW-190 | Tumbling Dice website
There are two main manufacturers of 1/600 scale aircraft, Tumbling Dice, who has been producing models for years, to very high quality, and affordable at that. I really like their discounted sets that allow you to cheaply build both sides of a given engagement. The discount packs cover everything, from WW I Barrage Balloons to aircraft for the Falklands and the Gulf War. If you want to simulate a conflict, they have the means to do so. And at $20.00 a pack (not including shipping) for anywhere between 32 to 48 aircraft, it’s not a bad deal. Postage isn’t too bad, being a flat rate of $5.56, plus 10% of the order value. You can also order the aircraft individually, at 4 to 6 aircraft a pack. Again, you get a lot for a little, and the sculpting quality is top-notch. There are even $20.00 Squadron packs for B-17s, B-24s, Lancasters, and B-29s, 18 for everything except the B-29s, where it’s only nine aircraft a pack, but for those bomber swarms of World War II? It’s not a bad deal either. They also have rules and flight bases for sale as well. All in all, not too shabby. And, their naval and land ranges make nice target markers for games as well.
Another entry into the 1/600 field is Pico Armor, whose detail is downright incredible. A bunch of us have been marveling at it for the armor, but the aircraft is nice as well. Here’s a side-by-side of two F-4s from Tumbling Dice and Pico Armor.
The Pico Armor (right) and the Tumbling Dice (left) | SexTwentyEight Blog
I can recommend the review of both lines at the sixtwentyeight blog, and Pico’s offerings are superior to the long-standing offerings of Tumbling Dice.
French Nieuport 17 by Pico Armor | Pico Armor Site
Pico’s sculpts are clean, and you get six to eight aircraft in a pack for $4.25, and Pico Armor is the importer for the Oddzial Osmy (08) line of miniatures sculpted in Poland. I must say, having ordered some of their 15mm line, I was impressed with the quality of the figures if a bit concerned about the hardness of the metal. It does make working with the figures a touch difficult, but as you can see, not overly so.
Decals are a bit tough to come by in this scale, sadly. Dom’s Decals, who were the go-to for 1/600, has gone away. The best plan going forward is Flight Deck Decals, which has more than a few choices in 1/600 scale for you to choose from! (They also do 1/300)
1/285 and 1/300
1/300 B-24 painted up for the Ploesti Raid, model by Raiden/I-94 Enterprises | A Gamer’s Tales Blog
There’s a lot to offer in 1/285-1/300 scale aircraft in both plastic and metal. We’ll just be calling it 1/300 collectively for now, and we won’t be hitting EVERYTHING, but I want to, at the very least, cover the big producers and some interesting places to look as well.
First up, we have I-94 Enterprises. They bought the Raiden line of aircraft miniatures and are redoing the molds. And may I say, as someone who owns a lot of their aircraft, I am impressed with the quality of the sculpts.
Some early war USN SBDs and Wildcats by Raiden Miniatures. | Chris Geisert
Raiden’s line covers both World War II and modern conflicts. Sorry, no World War I, but I-94 has the old Goblintooth line, which does cover World War I. I can’t speak for those planes, but the rest of the line is just stunning in the quality of the aircraft. Planes typically run $3.00 each, and you can get Battle Sets for Check Your Six for around $100, which is a bit pricy sounding but consider you get 20 or so aircraft, flight stands, and decals. Not a bad deal if you ask me. I-94 also does a nice line of decals of which I can attest to, as I am a repeat customer.
The next entry into the 1/300 field is MSD Games.
B-10 Martin bomber | MSD Games
MSD has been around for a while and markets their aircraft line under the “Luftwaffe 1946” label, which in addition to historical aircraft, you can find all the Wunderwaffen that never left German or Japanese drawing boards towards the end of the war and do some nice “what-if games.” They even have a set of rules to cover it, as well as various historical periods for World War I and World War II.
I have more than a few MSD models, and they run about the same price as Raiden, or $3.00 for most planes, with exceptions for larger aircraft. The sculpting is a bit less crisp than Raiden, but you can get two aircraft in one pack. Even if they aren’t any cheaper, you do have to remember to buy fewer packs. And, they have some of the lesser-known World War II air forces covered better, such as France and the Netherlands.
The store has its own decal line, called Blue Sky Decals, which I haven’t tried yet, but I will at some point, and probably what may be one of the largest remaining stock of Dom’s Decals to be found. Be advised; it’s not much.
Another line to be found in the UK is Scotia/Grendel’s Collectair Line.
FW-200 Condor, Model by Scotia Grendel | DakkaDakka Forum
Scotia-Grendel is a massive line. It covers, well, everything. And it’s widely available here in the US (through I-94) and the UK, with costs comparable to Raiden and MSD. I have only seen the aircraft in pictures, but the sculpting is comparable to MSD. I can’t say too much more about it than that as I don’t own any myself.
Another option, though limited, is plastic. Trumpeter has a line of 1/350 scale aircraft carriers and, well, makes packs of planes to go with them.
F/A-18 Hornet kit from Trumpeter | HobbyLinc
I happen to have a pack of A-6s and A-7s and two assembled SU-27s. I’m eager to get more, but the darn things are rarer than hen’s teeth, even if they are only $9.99 for six aircraft, which makes them a really cheap option for anyone’s air force.
Finally, there’s 3-D Printing. A fellow by the name of Captain Ahab gives out a number of STL files for a number of aircraft in 6mm at Wargaming 3D. They’re sized in 15mm, but you can easily resize them with most slicing programs. I haven’t printed any out yet, but I think the models would look great in resin! What makes it great is you get planes like the PBY-4 Privateer, or the SB2C Helldiver, neither of which is a very easy-to-find aircraft in 1/300!
F-100 Super Saber | Wargaming 3D
I didn’t get to all the models today, but I got to more than a few. The main thing is to see this as a starting point. If you want to do the miniatures end of air wargaming, these are the places to begin. A little more research can find even more aircraft, but they might be pricier as they weren’t intended to be much more to denote airstrikes for a micro-armor game. That said, they still might surprise you, especially if you’re looking for helicopters.
As always, Good gaming, everyone!
At Epoch Xperience, we specialize in creating compelling narratives and provide research to give your game the kind of details that engage your players and create a resonant world they want to spend time in. If you are interested in learning more about our gaming research services, you can browse Epoch Xperience’s service on our parent site, SJR Research.
(This article is credited to Jason Weiser. Jason is a long-time wargamer with published works in the Journal of the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers; Miniature Wargames Magazine; and Wargames, Strategy, and Soldier.)