It's a fact of warfare that you can't have too much canvas.
Whether it's tents or tarps, soldiers like shelter from the elements, and need to protect their gear and vehicles from the wet lest it rust or freeze in cold weather. And while Legend
and Black Dog
among others have done well supplying us with sets of stowed gear for specific AFVs, their stuff is often shaped to the particular vehicle's dimensions and angles, and is not easily-adapted to other situations. There are sets of backpacks and rifles, but not the general crap that soldiers need in the field like tents and tarpaulins. We've really needed a generic set of stowage, and now Value Gear
, a new company in Ireland, has stepped in and offers a large and growing line of canvas items for on-vehicle or in-diorama settings.
what you get
Inside a Ziploc baggie are 16 cream-colored resin pieces.
As pointed out above, there is no lack of stowage out there, usually in the form of resin AM sets. Korea's Legend and the Czech Republic's Black Dog have created a light industry in the category. But their sets are primarily intended for specific vehicles, with the stowage usually molded-together into large groupings, and shaped for the bends and corners of the designated vehicle.
Simultaneously, there has been an explosion of soft skins in the hobby, though usually they come "straight from the factory" with nothing in their cargo holds. So you either end up cannibalizing stuff from a leftover conversion/upgrade set or scrounging through your spares box. Scratchbuilding stowage is challenging because of the difficulties in converting tissue paper to simulated canvas.
Now Value Gear is "gearing up" for an entire line of generic stowage sets
, including 18 "tents & tarps" sets like this one, as well as some covered crates, pots & pans, etc. The gear is just that: generic. Unless you have in mind something specific to a particular army or time period, these items will work well on a Tiger in the mud or an M1A1 Abrams in Fallujah. After all, armies have been living in tents probably since the Romans or before, so these items could work in a variety of periods and for both sides.
The molding is crisp and tight, with no apparent air bubbles. However, these are new items, and I only hope Value Gear will renew their molds frequently and not fall into the trap that some other makers have of allowing molds to get age out without replacement with the resulting bubbles and smudged detailing.
The detailing here is outstanding (see close-up photos at right), including belts and ties to hold the items together or onto a vehicle, and even a few tent poles. I'd like to see a set of items without belts and ties that might be placed in the back of a truck, for example, and Value Gear has a long line ahead to include variations.
The gear won't work on a sharp angle or anything but a flat surface, though some softening in hot water and a little care with a hobby knife might allow some of the items to be adapted that way. As always when using resin, be sure to avoid inhaling the dust when removing the gear from the very small pour plugs at the bottom. You pretty much just remove the base, paint and stow.
Shipping is quite reasonable (free within Ireland, and €1.65 for 1-2 sets and €3.3 for 3-4 sets. Value Gear accepts PayPal and has an eBay storefront.
If you look at photos of AFVs from almost any war since 1900, you will see lots and lots of gear piled up, especially on trucks and transport vehicles. But surprisingly, there is little out on the market that recreates these items for generic builds. This set and the others like it play to that deficit very nicely. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Value Gear for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering from them.