Sunday, 7 April 2013

Expanding my collection of ROCO Minitanks

One of my long-term projects is to fight an Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War wargame campaign, and whenever an opportunity arises I buy stuff that I will use. Early on I made a decision to try to use model vehicles from the range produced by ROCO Minitanks wherever possible, and I have bought them whenever the opportunity has arisen.

I recently bought a ROCO T-34/76 and a ROCO T-34/85 from an eBay seller, and they asked if I might be interested in buying further similar models. I asked what they had available, and I was sent a photograph of what they had on offer. A mutually acceptable price was negotiated, and early this afternoon I drove over to meet the seller and to collect my 'new' Minitanks. Here is what I bought:










I already owned the following Minitanks and KoMo models (Russian-made and compatible with ROCO models) ...


... and had been given these as well by fellow wargamer, Nick Huband:


I also seem to remember that I have quite a large box of various ROCO Minitanks in my garden shed ... but it will require a serious effort on my part to find them as the shed is almost completely overgrown by a cherry laurel bush that is situated next to it.

I am now the owner of enough ROCO Minitanks to begin serious work on my project ... and with luck I might be able to start in the very near future.

34 comments:

  1. Not bad! I may have a few more T34s for you.....

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  2. I love Roco minitanks!

    Most of my collection is postwar but I have a few WW2 models, mostly where used by less affluent nations.

    Some of their early models are crude & fluctuate in terms of scale (around 1/90 to 1/100).

    They have periodically revisited some of the range, the panzer IV has been redone (as well as a Jagdpanzer IV) & it is superb (mine is destined for 1967 Syrians).

    What I like is the "footprint" which is large enough without being too huge.

    BTW Bob there is a seller who has a number of Trident 1/87 Sdkfz 250s for around £5 each. These are very nice.
    Neil

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  3. Tim Gow,

    Not a patch on your collection ... yet ... but any additional reinforcements would be very welcome if you can spare them.

    As far as I can work out, I have enough vehicles for three or four Panzer Divisions, several independent Heavy Panzer Regiments, and four Russian Tank Corps as well as several Russian Tank Brigades.

    It will take time to get everything painted and based, but by the end I should be able to recreate some of the really large mobile operations that took place.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Neil Patterson,

    I absolutely agree with you! To me ROCO Minitanks were the definitive wargames model tanks to use when I started serious wargaming ... and I still love them.

    They are large enough (but not too large) for the restricted size of tabletop that I own, and fit nicely into a Hexon II hex. Some of the models were a bit variable in scale (especially the Pzkpfw IV and the cast-hull Sherman), but as I own quite a few Corgi diecast Pzkpfw IVs, I can substitute them for the ROCO ones. The latter will probably end up as the basis for some Russian tracked artillery tractors or SPGs.

    I will look out for the Sdkfz 250s. At that price I could certainly afford to buy a few.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Hi Bob,

    That is a haul and a half! I suggest the shed may well be getting a visit from you to add to this lot in due course - after the bush has been trimmed, naturally.

    Hexblitz 2 would work very nicely with this lot as well I suspect.

    All the best,

    DC

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  6. David Crook,

    I now have more than enough stuff for my project. All I need now is the time to get started!

    I certainly need to pay a visit to my shed ... but not until the weather turns warmer. After that ... who knows?

    It is my intention to use HEXBLITZ II (or something very like it) as the rules for my project, and I intend to base the figures and vehicles so that they are compatible with MEGABLITZ as well.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Looks like we have a lot of interesting and inspirational posts ahead to look forward to from you Bob.
    Well done on updating your collection.
    best wishes
    Alan

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  8. Tradgardmastare,

    Many thanks for you comment!

    This is a long-term project for me, and I suspect that you might be right about it generating quite a few blog entries in the future.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. I'm starting to wonder what size of table you will need to field this lot Bob.

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  10. They did a surprisingly large range

    http://www.87thscale.info/roco_minitanks.htm

    For moderns we used to use 1/87 tanks alongside 20mm figures as little post WW2 used to be available in 1/72 and the smaller size was quite convenient.

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  11. Jim Duncan,

    A bigger table than I own ... at the moment!

    At some point in the future my wife and I might move to a bungalow, and if we do I will be making sure that I have a wargames room that is big enough to fight sizeable battles.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Nigel Drury,

    The range was vast, and it is a great pity that they are not all still available.

    I did very much the same as you did ... and the slightly different scales did not notice too much.

    At some point I want to re-fight the Bay of Pigs, and I will need plenty of T-34/85s for that ... and a couple of M41 Walker Bulldogs.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Bob,

    Forgot the link:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TRIDENT-90246G-1-87-ARMOURED-TROOP-CARRIER-HALF-TRACK-Sd-Kfz-250-1-MODEL-MIB-/221168319125?pt=UK_ToysGames_ModelKits_ModelKits_JN&hash=item337ea8ba95#ht_2700wt_768

    Searching for "Trident 1/87" will bring them up.
    Neil

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  14. Neil Patterson,

    Thanks for the link.

    I have paid the seller a 'visit' and have bought several to add to my German forces.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. I loved my minitanks. Sometimes my father would bring one home for me from London. What a treat!

    Lovely to see them again!

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  16. Legatus Hedlius,

    They were - and still are - great models for wargamers. Robust, simple, and just the right size.

    It is amazing how many people loved - and still love - their Minitanks.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. Impressive haul, should give you plenty to incorporate into your campaign planning....

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  18. I'm truly envious of your expanding collection...mine dates from the early 70s ...but sadly only a few vehicles. The siren of 1/285 caught me back then and those classic Rocco's are hard to come by now.

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  19. What a score! I've always rather regretted the lack of availability of Mini-Tanks in this part of the world. I did score 3 Tiger Is at one point, but gave them to my half-brother, who was into WW2. The 3 vehicles in your collection reminded me very much of them, having a very similar camo pattern.

    Those panzers look as though they might need a bit of TLC, but no doubt they will respond to it come the call to action! :-)

    I infer from the early comments exchange you're a MEGABLITZ or maybe a 'Command Decision' man?
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  20. Pete,

    I was very lucky to get hold of these models at such a reasonable price, and they have certainly given me the basis of a really good collection.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  21. Don M,

    Thanks! All I need now is enough time to get painting and basing.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  22. Littlejohn,

    I wish that I had stuck with Minitanks. I had quite a few back in the 1960s and 70s ... but over the years they got lost, were given away etc. I had quite a large number of the 'classics' and could do with them now ... particularly the Pzkpfw III and Stug III.

    The price of the basic Minitanks has gone through the roof over recent years, but one can still have the occasional luck find.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  23. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    At one time ROCO Minitanks were widely available in the UK. I bought my first ones in Woolworths in Southend-on-Sea in the mid 1960s, and afterwards they were sold in quite a few toy shops ... all of which have now gone!

    Some of the models are incomplete or in need of a bit of minor work on them, but at least the basics are there. The rest is down to me ... and my modelling skills!

    I tried COMMAND DECISION, but could not find anyone else who wanted to use the rules. I helped Tim Gow develop the earliest versions of MEGABLITZ, and have taken part in some of the battles featured on the MEGABLITZ website ... so I suppose that I am a bit of a fan of the rules system!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  24. Hi Bob
    when I was 14 in 1971 ( Dear God!) my friend Chris and I used to use Donald Featherstones book to fight wargames. We loved the rules - and actually thought that they were very sophisticated - happy daus indeed! Chris had a large collection of minitanks but mine were all airfix so they never looked good together. What figure scale do you use with the minitanks. The very early airfix ww2 british army figures always seemed perfect as they were quite small - if rather crudely formed.
    Very nostalgic hearing about Roco minitanks again - I hadnt realised how popular they had been!

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  25. Ken H,

    I am sorry to say that I was a bit ahead of you (I was 21 in 1971!) and probably thought of myself as being rather more sophisticated. By them I had moved on from Donald Featherstone's rules (which still give n excellent game if used as written!) to Charles Grant's ... which probably explains why I collected so many ROCO Minitanks, as these were heavily featured in the photographs in his book.

    My favourite figures to use with Minitanks were/are the earliest Airfix German Infantry (original and Afrika Korps) and British Infantry. They were/are 'true' 1:76th scale as far I am concerned, and if I could get those figures in metal or hard plastic today, I would be in Seventh Heaven.

    In their place I am looking around for a manufacturer who makes either small 20mm-scale or large 18mm-scale figures to go with my Minitanks.

    As for the popularity of Minitanks ... well the response to this blog entry would seem to indicate that if they were still widely available at a reasonable price, people would buy them.

    All the best,,

    Bob

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  26. Tumbling Dice are among the smallest of the "20mm" figures available in metal, certainly smaller than RH models and Ravensthorpe tower over them. I think Irregular may be smallish bit don't have any of their 20mm to hand to compare.

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  27. Nigel Drury,

    Thanks for this information.

    I do have some Tumbling Dice figures in my current collection of unpainted figures, and I will take a look at them alongside some of the Minitank vehicles.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  28. Might be worth looking here - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/1-87_Military_Models/

    Irregular's RUG 15/20mm artillery should fit well.

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  29. Nigel Drury,

    Thanks for yet another excellent suggestion. I will follow it up as soon as I can.

    I understand that Irregular Miniatures Really Useful Guns are 1:87th-scale, and should be an excellent match.for the Minitanks.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  30. Figures...........

    "True" 1/87th figures are few & far between. Minitanks have a few crude ones, but if you can find them Preiser make some very nice WW2 Germans & Soviets (the latter look to be scaled down versions of the Revel set, with figures firing rifles resting a foot on brick rubble).

    CMSC did modern US, Soviet & Afghans & I have heard the moulds may have resurfaced....

    Grenadier did some Twilight 2000 figs in 1/87th; post WW3 types inc Soviet & Polish Cavalry.

    For "20mm" (1/87 works out at 18-20mm figure height BTW) I find SHQ work, as well as a few selected others.
    Other than SHQ, Irregular are your best bet. Their 20mm are quite small & some of their 15mm quite large!

    As to price & availability, ebay is fairly well catered for, but prices vary widely. I normally aim to pay no more than a fiver unless it is a rare/difficult to get hold of. Most come in under that, esp if bought as a job lot.
    That said I saw a Roskopf 1/90-1/100 post war M59 APC go for £51!

    What models are you after in particular Bob? I often get job lots with all sorts of WW2 stuff that I won't use (Kingtigers for example). I'm sure I have a spare Stug (possibly without gun) although the wheels would be useful for a scratch FV432 (sort of Band of brothers in reverse....)
    Neil

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  31. Neil Patterson,

    Thanks very much for the information about figures sizes. I have examples of some of the ranges you mention in my pile of unpainted lead (Irregular and SHQ) and will see what they look like alongside some of my Minitanks.

    The cost of some 1:87th-scale model vehicles can be prohibitive, but setting yourself a price limit is a very good idea. (By the way, I think that I have some Roskopf M113 APCs in my shed! I wonder how much they might be worth?)

    I am not a purist when it comes to having exact models, particularly for trucks etc. I will use anything that looks reasonably right. I would like a few more Pzkpfw IIIs and Stug IIIs for my German forces, but they do not need to be complete models as I can 'kit bash' them into something that I can use. For example, I have used the chassis of a Pzkpfw III to build a 15 cm sIG 33 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf). Another possible conversion is the Russian SU-76i, which was a Russian re-build of captured Pzkpfw/Stug IIIs.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  32. Roskopf are a bit hit & miss.
    I have some M113s picked up in a mixed lot & have a couple of the M59s (with my luck they wouldn't make £100!).

    It is also worth looking at ebay Germany, some bargin lots to be found but postage can be higher (although UK is high enough!)

    I will have a look to see what I have in the stash....

    Neil

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  33. Neil Patterson,

    To me the Roskopf models always looked smaller than their Minitank equivalents ... closer to 1:100th-scale than 1:87th-scale.

    I seem to remember that I had plans to use the chassis of the M113s for SPGs ... but it was a long time ago when I bought them.

    I had not thought of looking at eBay Germany ... but I will do so in future.

    Thanks for the offer of any bits and pieces that you can spare. It will all be gratefully received and used.

    All the best,

    Bob

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