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    I’m going to expand my small WW2 collection which, of course, means more vehicles & armour.

    There’s a world of choice with this period in 20mm. My question is, do I buy items made of resin, metal, or plastic(kits)?

    I’ve a little experience with all 3 but I’m interested in hearing of the positives & negatives other members of the forum see?

    Is there any problem with mix and match of the 3 or are they too different?




    I’ve not tried mixing all 3 in the same size & conflict, but have got all 3 types.

    I think it will be more to do with the manufacturer than material as to whether they will be compatible.  Gripping Beast plastics are the same size & shape as their metals for instance; the only difference is momentary surprise when picking up a plastic when expecting a metal – or vice versa

    Doesn’t help much, but it’s all I’ve got to contribute …



    I have a mix of all three in my 20mm early war armies.

    Metal kits tend to be fiddly to put together and are pretty heavy.

    Plastic kits are also usually fairly fiddly to assemble.

    I am a big fan of the resin vehicles from Frontline Wargaming


    which mostly just need tracks adding to tanks or wheels to the lorries.  They are quick to assemble and paint up very nicely.

    I don’t notice the difference between all three types on the table.


    Black Hat Miniatures -


    I probably like resin the best. Reasonable quality and accuracy, adequate heft, not too hard to carry around if you travel with it. Usually, not too many parts, especially if made by a gaming company.

    I find that I don’t like the light weight of plastic.  Smaller vehicles have tended to slide down slopes more readily ( though this will vary with the type of terrain that you use) and they will “float” above the ground if they hang up on the slightest bit of lichen.  Additionally, I’ve had more damage occur in transit with my small number of 1/72, 20mm plastic models, than my hundreds of 15mm models over the years.  They do offer a light load, and great detail, if lots of pieces for assembly.

    I only have one metal vehicle in that scale. I like the heft, but even a small army of them would be a load to move around. It is an older model with overly thick tracks and fenders, which may be common based on sculpting methods and casting/flowability considerations.

    I don’t tend mix the same type of vehicle from different manufacturers, as scale and detail can vary so much from one manufacturer to the next, though with some, it doesn’t vary that much.


    Smaller vehicles have tended to slide down slopes more readily .

    Which leads me to the second item on my agenda: basing vehicles. None of my small collection is based at present.

    At least partly for protection & to make storage easier, I *think* I’ll make customised bases for all vehicles (which will include Bren Carriers & German motor-cycle combos). I’ll simply cut them to a slightly bigger “footprint” than the vehicle from 2mm MDF. I’ll bevel the edges, grout & flock them.

    I can take criticism: what do you think?




    I’m fairly agnostic about the material as all have pros and cons.

    Metal vehicles tend to be heavy & can require fairly heavy duty glue (2 part epoxy, or even soldering) to hold everything together. Guns tend to bend rather than snap. Postage to Oz is considerable, especially when you factor in weight. There isn’t much available locally.

    Resin are lighter & the ranges tend to be more comprehensive than either metal or plastic. They can be quite delicate, especially those intended as display models rather than gaming pieces. Some manufacturers do (or did, it’s been 15 years since I really looked at 20mm) simplified models for gaming purposes. Again not cheap and can be hard to find in Oz.

    Plastic models are the cheapest option but do need to be put together, which may become quite fiddily (eg individual track links on some Esci/Italerai builds). There are some quick builds around (eg Armorfast). The scale can differ between (& sometimes within) ranges. There is a vast difference in size between the Hasegawa Sherman E8 at 1/68, the Esci/Italerai Sherman at 1/72, (as is the Matchbox/Revell Firefly but the Airfix one is smaller again at 1/76. They’re all classed as “20mm” though….  Readily available in Oz though and cover the main variants for most countries.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Etranger.

    I have built and gamed with resin, metal and plastic 20mm / 1/72/76th models for 30+ years, resin is the easiest to build and assemble but barrels and poky out bits can be fragile.  Metal as mentioned can be fiddly to build but are more robust, plastic depending on the firm you are using can take a little longer to build but if based can be stronger than metal.  If I was starting over again I would use Plastic Soldier Company tanks and vehicles they are easy to assemble and have robust running gear and wheels, which will stand up to wargaming handling with or without bases.


    Three-quarters of my WW2 stuff is based but that started out as a necessity due to the weakness of Airfix / Esci / Revell running gear and wheels as mentioned the more modern plastic manufacturers running gear or wheels tend to be one piece and stronger.  I like bases on my WW2 stuff as it helps with transport and storage.




    Forgot to add, there are fully assembled, painted vehicles available too, usually plastic, although there may be the odd metal one. They’re around twice the cost of the equivalent kit but you can use them straight out of the box. Paint schemes and markings are fairly limited & the ranges tend to only cover the common AFVs but they’re another option.

    Basing is tricky. I didn’t use to base (in 15mm) but am reconsidering that approach again.


    The biggest argument against basing is the terrain effect might not match where the vehicle is placed ie a nice muddy “rural” base looks odd when the vehicle is in an urban area.

    However, IMO, this does not outweighs the practicality of basing. On a minor note, I think basing also clarifies where the vehicle is sitting for purposes of shooting or being a target. You measure from the edge of the base, in other words. Whilst gentlemen (& gentlewomen) gamers would not argue over a mil or two, it does help avoid controversy.



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