Military minatures/models

I want to make a narrow, long shelf in my study and create a small diorama of WII infantry, maybe a few tanks, AT guns, broken walls and rubble, etc. Ideally I’d like it prepainted and/or molded plastic with the colors pre made. Bascially, out of the box ready to go.

Any ideas where I’d get this on-the-cheap? I’ve done some googling but most of them are either expensive ($40 for a small tank), or diecast or plastic non-painted.

I’m not looking for super quality, just something I can throw up. I may repaint or paint in time but I definately don’t want to fuzz around with model glue and such. I’ve done that, and while fun, I don’t really have time right now.

Edit: Sigh. How do I move this over to Everything Else? Little help please. :)

The terrain / buidings are harder, but you can get Axis and Allies collectible miniatures. They’re plastic, but pre-painted and look pretty good.

Toys R Us had some 3 3/4 sized WW2 paratroopers (nicely jointed) last time I went by. Looked alright. Might be bigger than you want, but then, you can pull your old Cobras out of the attic and make a fight out of it.

The “Ultimate Soldier” line is relatively inexpensive. It’s from 21st Century Toys.

They’re a good compromise between realism and price.

I’m looking at the Forces of Valor line right now. Pretty cheap, on the same level/line as the Ultimate Soldier line.

Wish I could move this thread . . . but then again, looking at these sites has made me want to run home and play The Outfit in a big way. Forces of Valor sells an absolutely gorgeous Whirblewind, but it’s 30 bucks.

Man . . . The Outfit would have been a truly awesome game with a sandbox or skirmish mode.

This sounds like a fun project but if you haven’t done a diorama before–if you built models but didn’t put them into any context–I think you may find that it’s very easy to make a diorama look stunningly bad. You’ll literally end up with exactly what you described: a narrow shelf with some world WWII models on it! :)

A diorama has to have context and has to appear to tell a story of some type. It doesn’t have to be a complicated story but it has to make sense and be believable. There have been entire books written about this. Some kind of theme should be implied…even if it’s just “allied soldiers heading down a road and findind that there’s a fallen tree across it.”

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is (and I apologize if this is stuff you already know about and I’m just preaching to the choir or something) that you should really concentrate on getting the shelf right. My advice would be to figure out the scene and then purchase the models to fit the scene.

I have an embarassingly large collection of tanks, artillery, and stuff, WWI to WWII to the present. Much of it is inexpensive Forces of Valor/Ultimate Soldier type stuff, the $15 for a tank class. Some is more expensive, but I haven’t added any of the good stuff in years. The cheap stuff is very good for the money, but I find the selection exists really only online, as the Toys ‘R’ Us and other retail channels usually don’t get many of the more obscure types available. Try The Motor Pool ( for a good selection of all price ranges.

Not exactly what you’re after but they have a good range and relatively cheap. Still need to construct and paint. But you can often buy painted minis on eBay.