Wednesday, December 14, 2005

DIY: ...and Speaking of Tanks...

In the previous review, I mentioned the large-scale model tanks used during the filming of Coronado. If you're looking for tanks of your own, have I got a deal for you!

In the world of ready-made miniatures, there are a wide variety of scales available for different items. One standard scale for military items is approximately 1/18th scale, about the size of the small Star Wars action figures or the small sized GI Joe toys. There are several manufacturers of military-themed miniatures in this scale (a future article, I'm sure), but I found an unexpected gem at a bargain price.

It's a toy tank I've had my eye on for some time, but hadn't purchased because I'd only seen it online, never in person. I've purchased a few items from this military toy line before - their toy Humvee vehicles are accurate enough to be background models after painting and basic customizing, but several other items I've seen are so inaccurate and toy-like as to be useless for most film use. However, when the price dropped to $10 through, I decided to take a chance and see if it was a worthwhile buy. Since other tanks in this scale that I've purchased are 3-5 times that price, you can understand why I jumped at the chance.

The tank in question is part of the "World Peacekeepers" line (sometimes called "Power Team Elite") and they bill it as merely a "Combat Tank." It's real-world counterpart is the modern M1A1 Abrams tank used by the US military. Detail-wise, I am quite impressed! I wasn't expecting such a high degree of accuracy from a manufacturer that I'm often not happy with. The tank is molded in dark olive green with a minimum of detail painting, but it could easily be repainted with a camoflage or desert tan with weathering. The turret turns nearly 360 degrees and the tracks roll independently. The main gun barrel can be elevated slightly.

When compared to the real deal, there are many areas in which the nit-picker might point out this miniature fails as an exact replica, yet it's more than accurate enough for a background mini and with minimal work could be used for foreground and closeups. It sits easily among the several more-expensive tank miniatures in my collection and I hope to have a chance to rework it soon. In the meantime, I am so happy with this miniature, I've purchased several more, expecting that one or more will end up being sacrificed in effects shoots in the future.

The company Web site is at, though it seems to be under redevelopment at this time.

For pictures of this miniature as it comes from the box, check out this review from a GI Joe enthusaist

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