A range of Russian toys was recently brought to the attention of the TMP 15mm community. They are from a company called Tekhnolog, supposedly for the ZOD 15mm battle game. There are several different items available on eBay - mecha, flyers, tons of tanks, and an infantry sprue. They certainly looked interesting - who hasn't thought about 15mm plastics? So a few gamers (including me) took the plunge and bought a few items.
The results? Pretty darn bad. The detail is soft and the plastic is low-quality - I had several broken (and missing) items in the box. The most glaring problem - all of the vehicles are roughly 1/144 scale, not 1/100. The tanks are roughly the length of Matchbox cars, and the Mech hatches and cockpits are so undersized that even Games Workshop wouldn't try to sell them.
Now, because some TMP'ers can't get past the "ooh, shiny!" factor, there are heaps of justifications on those boards. Everything from "The mechs could be large battle robots" to "there are plenty of light tanks and tracks in the real world with an even smaller footprint than that." Well, these aren't supposed to be Wiesel AWC- or FV101 Scorpion-sized vehicles. These are clearly designed to be futuristic Abrams or Challengers. Don't try to rationalize yourself into buying the tanks and giving them a different purpose - they just aren't worth it. And maybe the Mechs could be used for conversions, but why buy these when we have so many good walker options in the 15mm market already?
I have contacted the individual selling these, both via TMP and eBay. I asked that the listings be changed from 1/100 to 1/144, so they could at least try to be sold to the right people. The seller simply said that the manufacturer claims these are 1/100, and has (inaccurately) listed more items since that contact.
And now we move on to the infantry. Here's the biggest problem of all (credit to Mark H. for seeing it first):
Look familiar? They should. They are slightly modified recasts of Ground Zero Games' SG15-F01 FSE Legionnaires in Helmets.
I wish I'd taken a detailed look at the eBay seller's feedback before I bothered with these. This seller has already been caught recasting Forge World minis. So it shouldn't be a surprise that they would steal from someone else - namely GZG. I brought these to Jon's attention - he confirmed that he gave no permission or license for his minis to be recast by Tekhnolog. Producing these figures is theft, plain and simple.
Even after all this, I know some of you are still wanting to find a way to use them in your 15mm games. People, I can't tell you how to spend your money - throw it away if you like. But please think about these last few points before you do:
- This company (or someone at it) is a thief and a re-caster. The infantry were stolen from GZG. It's a good bet the vehicles are also not original designs - we just haven't yet discovered where they were stolen from.
- These are not 15mm vehicles or mecha. Yes, I can read. No, I don't care what the manufacturer says they are. These are 1/144 vehicles, and you can't just say they are light tanks or robots and call it a day. And if you are a 1/144 gamer? Even with the low price, these are flimsy and poorly-detailed toys compared to miniatures from Reaper or DP9.
- Yes, these are cheap. How unlimited is your wargaming budget? Would spending a single penny on these deprive you of a purchase from GZG, Khurasan, Rebel, Combat Wombat, Old Crow, Mad Robot, Critical Mass, Micropanzer, Astro Minis, or anyone else we see on this blog? When it comes right down to it - who would you rather support?