World War 1 Coastal Series -
by Langton Miniatures
|By Air and Sea - Review of Langton Miniatures
After twenty-plus years in this hobby it takes excellent design work and quality casting production to get me 'excited' about a new line of miniatures or accessories. The reason(s) for this are twofold: at this point I enjoy spending my time on painting and playing - not correcting flaws and specialization within a certain period allows me to explore the limits of my abilities.
Most readers know of my intense interest in both World War I air-gaming and low level naval gaming (coastal actions). Up to this point I saw no way to combine the two until now! Langton Miniatures has now begun production on a line of both World War I aircraft and coastal naval vessels in 1/200 scale. It's about time mainly because this (to me) has always been the ideal scale for either type action if the quality and design were of high standards. Rod Langton does not disappoint in either area. What follows is a review of four of the items in the current range.
General: all vessels/aircraft come in an attractive box with a full-colour photograph of the completed model ..... and turnaround time from the UK is fast - a sure sign that Rod cares about his customers! Kits are multi-media: white metal, resin and etched brass - again the best I've seen in this or any other scale.
Hansa-Brandenburg W29: 12 parts, 11 white metal and 1 etched brass (propeller - very well done, too). Includes choice of two different tailplanes. I checked the model and it was obvious that Rod did 'his homework'. One piece fuselage measuring just 1£" is cleanly cast and the integral pilot figure is in proportion. Wingspan is just over 2£" and rib detail is excellent. This aircraft has several sets of supporting struts between the pontoons and wing/fuselage and the model reflects that by neatly combining two metal castings elininating a potential assembly headache. Decals are of the water-slide type and each cross is well printed and straight. A beautiful model.
German Coastal Submarine: this German submarine was one of the smallest classes built with a crew of only 14, two bow torpedoes and one machine gun. the model faithfully captures the lines of the original with a 7" resin hull with subtle detailing. No sink-holes, no warpage here. The other five parts include the periscope, mast, conning tower etc and are all done in white metal. Highly recommended!
British 80' Motor Launch: a forerunner of the British MTB of the World War II, these craft were armed with a Lewis gun (or 3" AA gun) and carried a crew of 8. Designed for anti-submarine work, they were fast with a top speed approaching 18kts. With this model we have a step-up in price and complexity with a resin hull measuring 4£" in length and £" at the beam. Resin casting quality is sharp and defined - holding the hull in your hand you would think that someone had handed you an extremely well-built plastic model. A white metal parts pack of 19 castings completes the entire upper deck and each part is well done. What really impressed me about this kit was the crew figure (that's naval rating to you land-lubbers!) - measuring 11mm from the bottom of his feet to the top of his cover (hat). The face (!) is well sculpted and the uniform (neckerchief, etc) is right on. I wish regular wargaming figures were this well designed! Rod also sells these figures by the pack.
German L.M. Torpedo Boat: this is a very unusual vessel powered by an airship engine with a central torpedo tube mounted on the center line of the forward hull with an enclosed cockpit. The resin hull measures 3£" and £" at the beam. Six white metal parts complete the model and the standouts are the crew figure and Spandau machine gun. Excellent!
Maybe you're wondering about flash content - don't - there wasn't any on either the resin or metal parts. Of course the metal parts require some clean-up; simply running an X-Acto or Flex-file along the parts will do it.
In summary - what Rod Langton has done is combined quality wargaming design with a flair for modelling and produced an extremely accurate line of miniatures for a heretofore untouched, exciting period. This line has my highest recommendation.
The Albatros W4 - A Review by Bill Devins
The latest from Rod Langton's 1/200 WW1 Coastal Series is this tiny German single-seat float fighter. Langton 1/200 offerings, despite their small size, are true kits. A multi-media effort, the Albatros W4 model provides metal castings, etched brass, decals and instructions. The parts are all carefully packed in a cuff links sized box with a photo of the completed model (twice actual size!) on the top. The kit represents a W4 from the 948-1326 production range with two guns, Windhoff "ear" radiators and ailerons on the upper wing only.
There are seven cast metal parts: the fuselage, two wings, tailplane, floats and pilot. The parts are nicely cast with only a small amount of flash in evidence. As usual, the rib detail on the flying surfaces is raised on the top sides and engraved below. The heavy fuselage casting will benefit from a bit of polishing; the aft section is slightly too wide. Brass parts include all struts, prop blades, and the "saxaphone" exhaust stack. The interplane struts are formed as hollow rectangles which fit into slots in the wings. Cabane struts are similar, with the connecting strap across the top only. Langton apparently had some problem with the length of the fold-up float struts on the original brass fret, as a separate set of struts is provided in its own bag with an enclosed tiny errata sheet! This is an example of the attention to detail and quality control shown by Rod Langton.
The step-by-step instructions offer quite a few assembly and finishing tips. Once again, they recommend hand-painting the German Navy hexagonal camouflage. Though it seems impossible, the photo of the completed model testifies that it can be done! The decals consist of six straight-sided, white-outlined black crosses for the wings and fuselage. No rudder insignia or navy numbers for the fuselage are provided. The W4 was more commonly seen with Pat£e type crosses. You may also find color schemes other than the hexagons for a few of these aircraft; the prototype once wore sprayed camouflage patches. I recommend using fine wire rather than thread for rigging.
Once again, Langton Miniatures has produced a first-class product which is part of a great little series.
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