After my recent post on resin vehicles I lauded Warlord Games in particular for their excellent (but now reduced) range of WW2 resin models. As I really like the models, I have been searching the web for OOP sets. They seem to be going fast: many models that are just 5-10 years old have already been discontinued and are now nowhere to be found.
As it happened, I managed to lay my hands on a set of three resin Sherman Vs, including a Firefly. These were available from a store in Norway of all places. The Firefly had a well worn box, and the plastic bag which kept the metal parts was open – perhaps this model had been returned by a customer at some point (with good reason, as I soon found out!). But the other two were in mint condition, with plastic wrapper around the box still intact.
As soon as I set about trying to build the tanks, I found out that something was wrong. Some of the metal parts were simply missing, some were miscast. Some metal parts were included even though they were superfluous, as those parts were cast in resin and already on the hull. Oddly, the searchlight which goes on the turret of the Firefly was missing from the Firefly box, but for some reason happened to be included in one of the regular Sherman boxes (which arent supposed to have one at all).
The biggest problem was the lights on the front of the hull, again the issue was with the Firefly. There was only one light in the box, and that one was miscast. This would have been a disaster, if I hadnt by sheer luck had a set of two US Shermans lying around, which have a similar (although not exactly identical) set of front lights. I had ordered those Shermans a while back, but I received the wrong models (I got the ones with wooden armor, as seen on some tanks with the marines in in the Pacific). I emailed Warlord about it, and they very generously sent me replacements with the right contents, but they didnt want the old ones back. Without a set of spares like that, it would have been a pain to repair the Firefly with greenstuff. The models look great in the end, and it will be nice to get them painted up. But the build was a bit of a challenge.
Also, after working with these for quite a few hours, I do begin to understand the challenges for the producer. With a plastic set, there is minimal risk of parts getting mixed up like this, and consequently the number of returns are likely much lower. Add to that the fact that the production is much more labor intensive to begin with, and one does understand that a major company like WG want to move towards plastic as much as they can.