Saturday, 27 December 2014

Italian Cv3 Tankettes, Perry v Empress Review

Back again
Is that a good, or bad thing? :-)
Well what better way to return to the pond, but with another no hold barred review, and the victims this time, are the two Cv3 Italian tankettes, released by Perry Miniatures, and Empress Miniatures.
Now, before this review goes any further, I have to declare an interest, and what could be a possible bias. You see, the Empress Miniatures model, is one of my vehicle masters, I made the model when I had Anglian Miniatures, and it went along with everything else, when I sold Anglian to the Empress folks.
Here's the original plasticard master, ooohhhhhhh the nostalgia

Enough of that nonsense, lets offer our critique to these models

Take your pick, its Tankette Time

So, you have some pennies burning a hole in your pocket, and your Italians, they could be CTV fighting in Spain, or the Italian army fighting in the desert in WW2, are in need of armoured support!!
Cv3 tankettes, yep the terror weapon of the Italian army, whats not to like about them, apart from the obvious of course
So, you have a choice, you can pay out £16.00 for the Empress Miniatures version, or you can pick up the Perry Miniatures one for £9.00, bit of a difference there folks!!

Ok, so here they both are, and the first thing that becomes apparent,

For the same scale models, they appear to be different sizes!!
The Empress model is the top one of the two, and as you can see

its a fair bit bigger than the Perry model.
I built my original master at 1:55th scale, as it was my preferred scale to match the lovely sculpts that Paul Hicks did for Anglian. Now I could have buggered up, and unfortunately I don't have my original plans to hand, to check my measurements. I do believe that the Perry vehicles are scaled at 1:56th, but there should not be that much of a difference!!
So one of us has cocked up, bet its me :-(
Both models are cast in white metal, and on first appearances, they seem to be well cast.

Empress Miniatures

So lets get into it, and first off, lets have a look at the  Empress offering , and see what your £16 gets you

One main body, two track units ( detailed front and back)
Two hatches, a half figure commander/gunner , and a partial figure driver, (Paul Hicks sculpts)
twin Breda LMG, and a jack and pickaxe that go on the rear of the vehicle.
The parts are well cast, they do require a little clean up, and straightening here and there.

The model goes together well, and its not that difficult to assemble. It has a good level of detail, and will look pretty decent with a good paint job

All in all, a neat little model. At £16 its not cheap, and you have to ask yourself whether the extra cash is worth forking out for, well read on, because I am going to do something terrible next!!!

Perry Miniatures

Ok, Perry Miniatures, for some people, the very top of the figure league, and untouchable, if you feel that way, then please read no further, because I am about to savage them, and it won't be pretty.

The Perry version will set you back £9.00, thats a whole £7.00 cheaper than the Empress offering, so is it worth going for the bargain version, well folks lets see

One main body, two track units ( detailed on one side only),
two hatches, a half figure commander, and a partial driver, two gun options, the twin Breda, and the 20mm Solothurn.

Now, here is where it gets a bit nasty, because, and I am being totally honest here, this model is not very good, in fact, its incredibly poor.

There are issues, and I think just by looking at the above picture, you can see what I mean.
The model is covered in tiny lines!!!, In fact they are quite bad in some areas

To remedy these lines, will require a fair bit of sanding, in some areas the sanding itself, will destroy other detail, mainly rivets, which will require redoing. Not that is really a problem, as the lack of detail on this model, means that I would have to add my own to get the model even close to the Empress one.
Its not very good, and I dislike having to say that, or be critical about other model makers, but the fact remains. This vehicle is quite frankly, rubbish.

The Perry model is on the left, and the lines are quite obvious.

they are all over the model!!
I had to go and look at some pictures of the actual vehicle, just in case I had messed up when I built my master, and the  real vehicle has these lines, and I missed them.

Nope, no lines, the plate is completely smooth.

So, bit of research, and it seems that when you print a master, rather than rely on the skill of a model maker, you get these striations, caused when the printer builds up the 3D image. They should of course have been cleaned up, and I cannot for the life of me understand, why this was not done. Perhaps because to clean them off such a tiny model, would destroy the other detail, thus requiring an element of modelling to replace the sanded off detail, perhaps they just thought, oh well gamers don't really care, it looks like a Cv3, and its cheap, actually no, because I wasted £9.00 buying this sub standard model, and I won't use it, I may get some use out of the crew figures, but that is it.

Computer design and 3D printing, its all well and good, but when the end result is as poor as this, then you can keep it, and I shall continue to make my own stuff from scratch.

So Perry gents, please get a modeller to make your vehicles, we may be miserable old bastards, but we still do a better job than a bloody printer.
In fact, how about combining the two principles, and have the core of the model printed, then get the detail added by a decent pattern/master maker.

My verdict, well if quality does not matter, and you prefer cheap and cheerful, then get the Perry model, but if you like well detailed, well cast models, that will look rather nice with a decent paint job, then pay up, and go Empress, because to be frank, that model is most definitely £7 better that the Perry one.

As a footnote, I will add, you may see this review as biased, because of my connection to the Empress model, I can assure you its not. One of the things I tried very hard to do when I ran Anglian Minatures, was to provide well detailed models, to the highest standard that we were able to produce. I am by no means an exceptional model maker, but I can work to a good standard, I was fortunate enough to have Paul Hicks sculpting for the company, and Ian Crouch provided some of our vehicles too. There is an element in gaming circles, where cheapness is seen to be the overriding factor, and sub standard models are accepted, of course there is no problem with this, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and their right to voice them too.
I felt it important to point out the flaws in the Perry version, as like me, other gamers will buy it as it has the Perry name attached to it, and we all expect a high standard when buying their stuff, only to be disappointed when they open the pack, and find what I did.
forewarned, is forearmed, so they say :-)


  1. Hmm, the Perry model really is poor. The moment I saw those striations I figured they'd used a 3D printer to make the master. I'd also expect better for my bucks.

  2. Beeing no big fan of Perry Models anywayy I'd happily pay the additional 7£ for a better model. That said it seems to me as if the Perrys prefer quantity over quality as I find most of their metal casts rather sub par. Mould lines evrywhere and especially on hard to reach areas lots of flash.

  3. I like the Perrys stuff, even if it is a tad smaller than other 28s, which doesnt explain the difference in size. After looking again at both vehicles again the 3D printer of the perry's is bad. My money goes to Empress

  4. Nice to see another post Nigel, a fair review too.