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Review Content

Showing topics in Aircraft Reviews, Kits, Aftermarket (updates/conversions), Decals, Reference material, Armoured Fighting Vehicle Reviews, Kits, Aftermarket, Diorama & Accessory, Reference Material, Kits, Aftermarket, Reference Material, Vehicle Reviews, Sci-fi & Real Space Reviews, Figure Reviews, Locos, Trains & Layout Reviews and Tools & Paint Reviews posted in for the last 365 days.

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  1. Yesterday
  2. Dornier Do 17Z-2/3

    I had a peruse of these before they went off to Mike, and they're lovely little kits. The guys from Mark1 are also good blokes
  3. Dornier Do 17Z-2/3

    There is the possibility that some AM company may do a masking set, I've got one for Mark 1's Beaufighter which will make life a lot easier!
  4. MAN LKW 5t MIL GL Truck - Hobbyboss 1:35

    I have seen the revel kit and this one is better. Julien
  5. MAN LKW 5t MIL GL Truck - Hobbyboss 1:35

    Nice kit indeed, but I'm afraid to notice that Revell already issued the whole range of MAN LKWs, the 8x8 10ton, the 6x6 7t and even the 4x4 5t. They did each one both in 1/35 and 1/72 scale. In the meanwhile our hair is becoming graying waiting for a plastic kit of the ubiquitous U.S. M54 truck, at a decent price and in both scales. Just my two € cents :-) Luca
  6. Last week
  7. F-35A Lightning II Update Sets (for Meng) 1:48 Eduard Meng were a little late to the F-35A party, but a late appearance is better than none at all, with a nice kit being the result, as you can see here. Eduard's new range of sets are here to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Update Set (49864) Two frets are included, one nickel plated and pre-painted, the other in bare brass. A complete set of new layered instrument panels and side consoles are the primary parts on the painted set; ejection seat details; coaming instrumentation; rear deck and substantial canopy internal structure also supplied. On the airframe side, tie-downs and hubs are added to the wheels; details are added in the bays; a complex afterburner ring is inserted into the exhaust trunking, and a small number of panels are added to the area on the top of the fuselage where the wings blend with the intake trunking. Zoom! Set (FE865) This set contains a reduced subset of the interior, namely the pre-painted parts that are used to improve on the main aspects of the cockpit, as seen above. Whatever your motivations for wanting this set, it provides a welcome boost to detail, without being concerned with the structural elements. Seatbelts STEEL (FE865) In case you don't already know, these belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived extra depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. As well as the two sets of crew belts, you also get a set of the unusually placed pull-handles either side of the pilot's knees that gets him out of there in case of an emergency, plus the leg restraints that pull tight to prevent flail injuries. Masks (EX567) Supplied on a sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, with compound curved handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or offcuts from the background tape. In addition you get a set of hub/tyre masks for all the wheels (including the out-riggers), allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort, plus the faceted lenses of the sensor under the nose. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Dornier Do 17Z-2/3

    Dornier Do 17Z-2/3 Mark1 Models - 1:144 Scale The Dornier Do 17 was a twinned-engined light bomber which had a long narrow fuselage, giving it an outline that was often referred to as the "flying pencil". The initial requirement of this design was for a cargo or mail plane for Deutsche Luft Hansa [DLH] (no connection or legal association with the modern day Lufthansa) with the intent of expanding their airmail delivery service; there was also speculation that it could be utilised as a passenger plane with seating for four to six passengers; however, due to the long and narrow shape of the fuselage, it is highly improbable that this could ever have become a passenger aircraft for the airline. The initial prototype made its maiden flight on November 23rd 1934; however, Deutsche Luft Hansa rejected the design and it, with the other prototype Do 17's, was abandoned and stored in Dornier’s hangar. Few years later, a liaison officer from the German Air Ministry, who was a former test pilot with DLH , discovered that the prototypes still existed and, after test flying the aircraft, recommended that they should be purchased and modified to bomber standards for the military. One major modification was to replace the standard tail fin arrangement with double tail fins and rudders which, along with uprated engines, provided a top speed of 245 mph and matched any fighter speed at that time. Production of the Do.17 aircraft commenced in 1936, in time to be in service against Rupublican fighter aircraft during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939. German Luftwaffe units formally took operational service of the Do.17 from 1937 onwards and became heavily utilised in the Battle of Britain and early years of World War Two. By then, the aircraft was deemed vastly under powered when carrying a full payload, thus giving a very limited range, and was superceded by the more powerful Junkers Ju.88 and a higher spec. version which became the Dornier Do.217. The Kit: The kit comes in Mark1’s typical, and immediately recognisable, yellow box with end opening and a very nice box-art rendition of a Do.17Z 2/3 on the Eastern Front. The back of the box shows illustrations of four aircraft; two Do 17Z-2 and two Do 17z-3 versions in colour profile; any of which can be produced using the decals provided. Within the box are two see-through jiffy style zip-lock bags; the larger contains the kit sprues, instructions, decals and a smaller bag that contains the clear sprue. There are 67 components attached to the sprues; 11 are clear parts and 65 are grey pieces, although 2 of these are not required in this version. The grey sprues are of a fairly rigid plastic, not too soft but not brittle either, and should be easy to cut and glue the pieces together. Panel lines are engraved and distinct which should allow them to be visible under a coat of primer and top coats. Sprue A holds the main fuselage, lower main wings plus some of the engine and cowling parts. The definition of the panel lines are crisp as can be seen below: Sprue B has the remaining items, including the cockpit area, upper wing, tailplane and rudders, main and rear wheel assemblies and the twin-engine cowlings and propellers: The clear sprue has all the glazing elements; for the canopy and nose glazing, the bomb-aimers window and the underbelly gunners position. The nose glazing is a complex set of fittings and the designers at Mark1 appear to have made the assembly as simple as possible by providing it as three separate components to ease the fit. Having said that, I am not looking forward to masking up all those glass frames at this minute scale. An initial count shows up 55 individual glass panes, although there could be more! Decals: The decal sheet has been produced in-house by MKM Mark1 Models and, although the sheet measures only 10cm x 5.5cm, it is stuffed full of over 40 individual decals, including complete swastikas for the rudders. The registration and colour is good and each decal has minimal clear backing surrounding them. The whole package is completed with the inclusion of an eight-page set of instructions, colour markings and decal placement guides. The first page shows the components breakdown on each sprue and is followed by three pages of assembly instructions, which are in illustrative form only. Painting of parts before assembly or insertion into the fuselage etc., are described with RLM colours. The remaining four pages, which are printed on the other side of the same sheet, provide four full-colour plan and profile drawings; each depicting an aircraft that can be produced with the enclosed decals. Conclusion: This looks to be a nice little kit; the panel lines are nicely recessed and there all that glazing should allow for some additional detail to be added into the cockpit and bomb-aimers areas. Whether built out of the box or by adding extra detail, this lovely little kit should build up to a great model of the formidable 'Flying Pencil' of the Luftwaffe in WW2. Well done to Mark1 Models for producing a kit of this light bomber at 1:144 scale in plastic. Highly recommended. Mark1 Models can be purchased from mainstream model shops or on-line retailers. Review sample courtesy of:
  9. MAN LKW 5t MIL GL Truck - Hobbyboss 1:35

    I would say so, yes.
  10. BTL-A4 Y-Wing Upgrade Set (01515 for Bandai) 1:72 GreenStrawberry Hot on the heels of the newly tooled X-Wing came the lesser known "Hurricane of the Death Star Battle", the Y-Wing, which to me is cooler than X-Wings in some ways. The Bandai kits are snap-together, but don't let that fool you. They are the pinnacle of the injection-moulded art, and you'd wonder initially how they could get any better with the addition of Photo-Etch (PE) parts. If you don't have one already, rectify that immediately! These sets from GreenStrawberry are engineered to appeal to the more advanced modeller who will end up painting their creation, and you WILL need Super Glue (CA) to attach the parts to your model. The sets arrive in a flat re-sealable pack, with a black themed backing card, a chunk of thick cardboard to keep the PE safe, a set of instructions (both of which are hidden within), and the sheet of PE brass on display in the front. They are designed to improve both detail, accuracy to the scale/CGI models, and add a scale-thickness to otherwise over-scale parts. The contents includes a fret of brass PE, a sheet of acetate with glazing and instrument panel details printed on it, and a sheet of white paper with the outlines of the panels and the instruments prints on it. The cockpit is first to see the improvements, with a choice of paper or acetate backing to the PE panel, and PE side consoles with paper underpinning that have more instruments printed on them. The three-part canopy is also completely replaced with PE parts that are folded into shape, have the aforementioned glazing acetate added, and then another skin added to hold everything in place. Additional details are then added to the roof panels. Externally, the nose gear bay door slides back like a Herc, and the interior is skinned with more detail and a pair of hinges are added, while the main gear bays on the engine nacelle are given a complete overhaul with a one-piece skin inserted, and the remaining wall detailed with another part. Moving aft, the interior of the exhaust is detailed with a single sheet of PE that is rolled to size and glued into the aperture, with a ring adding a neat edge to the job. The exhaust ejector is also removed and replaced by a new finer part with spokes and holes between, which lends itself nicely to lighting. The final parts are a choice of either a narrow crew ladder or a wide gantry, both of which are folded up from a single part each. Conclusion The upgrades lend themselves perfectly to lighting the cockpit, as the light will show through the instrument panels and the exhaust ejectors, but even if you don't plan on lighting the model, the detail improvement is well worth the effort, and having crew ladders is a boon to the diorama modeller. Review sample courtesy of
  11. MAN LKW 5t MIL GL Truck - Hobbyboss 1:35

    You say the cut corners are for standard flatbed trains... is that so they can fit through tunnels?
  12. Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Upgrade Set (02917 for Bandai) 1:72 GreenStrawberry One of the first of the new range of Star Wars kits from Bandai, this and its 1:48 scale sibling set the spanner amongst the pigeons, mainly as it wasn't easily available in Europe. The Bandai kits are snap-together, but don't let that fool you. They are the pinnacle of the injection-moulded art, and you'd wonder initially how they could get any better with the addition of Photo-Etch (PE) parts. If you don't have one already, rectify that immediately! These sets from GreenStrawberry are engineered to appeal to the more advanced modeller who will end up painting their creation, and you WILL need Super Glue (CA) to attach the parts to your model. The sets arrive in a flat re-sealable pack, with a black themed backing card, a chunk of thick cardboard to keep the PE safe, a set of instructions (both of which are hidden within), and the sheet of PE brass on display in the front. They are designed to improve both detail, accuracy to the scale/CGI models, and add a scale-thickness to otherwise over-scale parts. Oddly, the set starts off with the construction of a crew ladder, which has separate tread-plated steps and platform, plus a hand-rail on the top section, which sets the theme of the upgrade, namely opening up areas for diorama purposes. The cockpit has its moulded-in side console details and a portion of the instrument panel removed before being replaced by PE, and in the case of the instrument panel, a choice or two paper inserts that fit behind the panel and a decal for the instruments. The canopy is completely replaced by a PE sandwich that holds the pre-printed acetate parts between the layers, with both the opening and fixed sections included. It also has a pair of actuator rams that are made up of a triple lamination of parts each. The nose cone is also affected, with a fine cut made at the first panel line, leaving the small curved section at the rear attached to the spaceframe. The two cuts are given a rib-like skin to cover the edges, and a set of hinges and their actuators are added between them so that the nose cone can be folded up and over the fuselage. When installed, the moulded-in greeblies (radar?) will show through the aperture, and the additional detail on the side panel will be visible. A small drop-down panel on the side is also filled with a bay insert, with a ribbed door fitted to the top edge and folded up for access. Underneath the fuselage there is a stowage bay that is seen briefly in Empire as Luke is packing to go to Bespin, which requires the modeller to remove the moulded-in panel. Care must be taken here however, as the removed material will be reused as the door once the attachment points have been removed. A bay is folded up and slotted into the new hole, with an extra skin in the roof for additional detail. A framework takes up part of the rear of the bay, and an access ramp with triple-laminated actuator rams is attached to the bay floor that was cut out earlier, obtaining the correct angle by attaching the rams to the edges of the bay. The final parts are used provide extra depth to the engine intakes, and to augment the detail in the gear bays, providing actuators for the gear bay doors that are missing from the kit. Conclusion If you're planning a Dagobah or Rebel Base diorama or vignette, this set will be hugely useful. An in-flight model will leave some of the details in the bag, but the cockpit and engine details are still well-worth having, especially if you plan on lighting the cockpit, as the light will show through the instrument panels. Review sample courtesy of
  13. MAN LKW 5t MIL GL Truck Hobbyboss 1:35 In the 1960s the Bundeswher was looking to replace its fleet of vehicles which stemmed from the birth of the modern German Army. They wanted a fleet of 2, 3 & 4 axle vehicles in the 4 to 10 tonne payload range which had to be amphibious. As it was a large task it was suggested that bidding companies form a common development company for a unified project. This was set up under the leadership of MAN and included Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz, Bussins, Krup, and Henschel. The specification agreed was for a cross country capable, amphibious, all wheel drive, run flat tyres, steel cab, NBC protection, and a multifuel engine. In 1975 the German Army & MAN signed the contract to produce 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 vehicles. The 4x4 or KAT I & KAT I A1 vehicle is the type 452 (and 462 with fitted winch). They are powered by a V8 Deutz diesel engine and are mainly flatbed or covered type trucks. The distinctive cab with the cut away corners stems from the need for the vehciles to be rail transported on standard flat cars. Earlier trucks had fixed cabs but later ones tilting ones which made engine maintainance much easier. All vehicles feature a mount for a MG3 machine gun (basically an MG42!). The Kit The kit arrives on 12 sprues plus the drivers cab and the tyres, a nice inclusion is masks for the windows. For a standard 4x4 truck the box is packed with parts. Construction starts with the gear box and differentials for the transmission. These are made up and the suspension components (air bags & springs) are added. The tuck chassis is then made up from a surprising number of components and the gear box, differentials and drive shafts are then added. These are highly detailed and made up from a number of components. Once the chassis is finished the wheels can be built up, the tyres added and then they are attached to the chassis. Work then moves to the cab. The dash board is built up with some of the drivers foot controls added underneath it. The base plate of the cab has the gear controls and a few other parts added then the dash is fitted. Once this is in the drivers seat and steering wheel are added along with the bench seat for the passengers. This is then the lower part of the cab complete. Moving onto the upper part the windows added along with a couple of internal parts and the main rear bulkhead. The upper cab can then be attached to the floor. The spare wheel and carrier are completed and attached to the cab, followed by the main doors being completed and added. The rightside equipment locker is also built up and added. On the outside of the cab the front bumper is added along with the roof hatch, mirrors, wipers and parts for the engine hatch. The completed cab can then be added ot the chassis. After this is done the exhaust system is built up and added. Along with some additional parts under the cab. Next up the truck bed needs to built up. The side stanchions are added to the flat bed and the drop down side panels can then be added. The fixed head board is added along with the steps to access up the cab. If the seating for the rear bed is to be used this then must be made up, and added. Weapons racks can then be made up and attached to the head board if using the seating. Moving on to the underside of the truck bed supports are added along with the mud flaps and racking for ancillary equipment. This includes fuel cans, wheel chocks and equipment lockers. Hoops and the frame for the tilt covering for the flat bed can then be added if needed. If the modeller wants the rear to be covered then they will need to make their own covering. To be honest any plastic moulded one will not probably look great so in a way its good they left this off. Once the load bed is complete it can be added to the chassis and the truck is then complete. Decals Theses are minimal as the vehicles did not carry many markings. Decals are supplied for a UN attached truck in overall white and a KFOR deployed vehicle. Conclusion It is great to see a modern support vehicle being made available, this gives many diorama possibilities as well as a great stand alone model. The kit is nicely complex and should build up to be a great looking kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Target Saigon 1973-75 Volume 1 The Pretence of Peace ISBN : 9781911512349 Helion & Company via Casemate UK It was thought that following the signing of the Paris Peace accord in January 1973 would end the war in Vietnam. However the North Vietnamese had fallen short of their main objective of destroying the South Vietnamese Army and removing the regime from Saigon. The US had agreed to withdraw and exchange prisoners, however the leadership in the North were committed to the complete overthrow of the South and not just the peace which had been agreed. This books sets the scene of this time period. It examines the US withdrawal and how the North would continue to build up there forces and their logistics support from Russia & China; and the South Would build their forces with US Support. It then goes onto look as the fighting which not only returned but intensified. There is a wealth of photos of the ARVN forces, as well as the North Vietnamese forces; along with colour profiles of equipment. There are colour maps which show how the fighting progressed as well. The book is A4 softbound with 88 pages. Included in these are 150 black and white photos, 5 pages of maps and 18 profiles. Conclusion If you are interested in Vietnam War, then this final part has not been as extensively covered as the rest of the war, this series will redress that balance. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. The Mighty Vulcan Decals 1:72

    Sorry for the bump but does anyone know if these are likely to be reissued or where a set could be sourced? The store for the link above suggests they’re out of production.
  16. USS Ranger, CV-4. 1:350

    Another fine and well informed review there Dave. I have to agree that I also thought this carrier would have been too indistinct a subject to be produced in 1:350 scale and especially as a plastic kit. Mike
  17. USS Ranger, CV-4. 1:350

    I agree, it's one of those ship's we never thought would be made into a plastic kit a few years ago. I'd like it in 1/700 , so we'd then have all the pre-Essex US carriers (Langley was an aircraft transport by WW2) available to model. thanks Mike
  18. USS Ranger, CV-4. 1:350

    USS Ranger, CV-4 Trumpeter 1:350 The USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first aircraft carrier for the US Navy to be specifically designed and built from the keel up. The previous three carriers were converted from existing ship designs and constituted the USS Langley, the USS Lexington and the USS Saratoga - the Langley (CV-1) being a converted collier while the Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3) were built from cancelled battle cruiser keels. In 1922, designs were requested by the United States Navy for an aircraft carrier having more speed and expanded storage for more aircraft than existing carriers in the fleet at the time. The USS Ranger had been planned to have a flat, unobstructed flight deck with no island superstructure and six smoke stacks (funnels) - three to each side - that were hinged to fold horizontally during air operations. An island superstructure was eventually added during construction. A pair of service cranes would facilitate the recovery of seaplanes. Construction was started in 1931 at the Norfolk Navy Yard with work being handled by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company for $2,160,000. The USS Ranger was named for the American colonial fighting men who knew the habits of the enemy and could effectively serve as scouts and combatants behind enemy lines. Ranger was smaller than the USS Saratoga and USS Lexington but, having been constructed from scratch as a dedicated aircraft carrier, she was engineered for maximum aircraft stowage. She displaced about 1/3 the tonnage of the larger ships but was able to carry almost the same complement of planes - 86 against 91 aircraft on the Saratoga and Lexington. She was 769 ft long (234.39m) and, her beam was 109.6ft (33.41m) while her draught was 22.5ft (6.86m). She was slower than the Lexington-class, with a maximum speed of 29.3kts (34mph), and had a range of 12,000 miles (19,312km). For air and sea defence she mounted 8 x 5-inch (130mm)/25 calibre Dual-Purpose (DP) cannons in single mountings and 40 x .50-inch (13mm) anti-aircraft machine guns placed in various positions around the flight deck. Her normal complement was 2,461 officers and men and, fully loaded, she weighed 17,859 tons. Ranger had six oil-fed boilers driving two steam turbines that delivered 53,500 shaft horsepower equating to 39,000kW connected to 2 shafts. The final planning decisions required Ranger's fire control system be cut down, ammunition storage space reduced, and torpedo planes would be eliminated along with their torpedoes due to the lack of room for their storage. Dive bomber aircraft would be used instead and on-deck catapults were to be cancelled as were aircraft booms and safety nets. The arresting gear system was reduced. Ranger was originally planned as a 13,800-ton aircraft carrier under the Washington Naval Treaty but she exceeded this by some 700 tons with her final displacement being 17,500 tons at full load. A major change to the design was made in 1932 that added the island superstructure along the starboard side of the deck forward of the three hinged smoke stacks. The hull was 730 feet in length and her flight deck extended her overall length to 769 feet. On September 26, 1931, Ranger's keel was officially laid. Seventeen months later, the ship was launched and she was subsequently commissioned on June 4th, 1934. The first aircraft landed on her deck - this on June 21st, 1934 - was a SBU-1 Biplane fighter piloted by LtCdr A.C. Davis. The Ranger also received Grumman J2F Duck Bi-Seaplanes. Ranger was more or less an experiment for the debate within the Navy Department as to whether carriers should be small or large based on the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty. The US Navy saw that the Japanese Navy had produced small carriers and thoughts were that smaller US carriers could be used for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), airborne reconnaissance and destruction of enemy shore strong points. However, during operations throughout the 1930s, the outcome prevailed that the US Navy should focus on larger, faster carriers. USS Ranger left Norfolk on June 21st, 1934 for her "shakedown" training cruise with her new crew and air wings. She cruised off the United States Virginia Capes and conducted standard drills for the crew and flight operations for her new squadrons. She continued south to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo, South America. Here she showed the flag and continued training and drills. On October 4th, 1934, she steamed back to Norfolk for the standard dry dock repairs. On April 1st, 1935 she sailed for the Pacific through the Panama Canal and, six days later, and arrived in port at San Diego, California on 15th. San Diego was her first assigned port and, for the next four years, she patrolled up and down the West Coast as far north as Alaska, as far south as Callao, Peru and as far west as Hawaii. She departed San Diego on January 4th, 1939 for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for fleet operations in the Caribbean. After the exercises were completed, she steamed back to Norfolk, arriving on April 20th, 1939. Ranger was then assigned to cruise the eastern seaboard out of Norfolk and into the Caribbean Sea as her normal patrol station. In the fall of 1939, after total war in Europe had broken out, she commenced Neutrality Patrol operations out of Bermuda along the trade routes of the middle Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard to Newfoundland. She was found to be lacking in sea keeping ability for she could not operate aircraft along her decks in heavy weather conditions. On December 7th, 1941, Ranger was returning to Norfolk from a patrol around Trinidad and Tobago when the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor. Ranger arrived at Norfolk on December 8th where she was resupplied and took on normal scheduled personnel replacements. She sailed on the 21st for patrol in the South Atlantic and re-entered the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs on March 21th 1942. Ranger was one of fourteen US Navy ships to receive the early RCA CXAM-1 radar system and also took on the new Grumman Wildcat fighter squadrons to replace her outmoded SBD-1 biplanes. Ranger served as flagship of Rear Admiral A. B. Cook, Commander, Carriers, Atlantic Fleet. She was ordered to Quonset Point, Rhode Island and was loaded with sixty-eight US Army Curtiss P-40 Warhawk pursuit fighters along with their pilots and ground crews of the Army's 33d Pursuit Squadron. Ranger put to sea on April 22nd and made landfall on May 10th at Aeera on the Gold Coast of Africa where she launched the Army P-40 squadron. This was the first time US Army planes were launched from a carrier flight deck. She returned to Quonset Point, Rhode Island on May 28th, 1942, and was loaded with seventy-two more Army P-40 pursuit planes, again destined for Aeera, Africa, finally arriving there and launching aircraft on the 19th. Upon returning to Norfolk, she trained with four escort carriers that had been converted from exiting tankers. The escorts had new crews and Ranger gave valuable training on all phases of carrier operations. The escorts were brought online to help in convoy protection in the Atlantic crossing from German Navy attacks. Ranger was the biggest aircraft carrier in Atlantic waters and was assigned four Sangomon-class escort carriers for defence - each fielding 25 to 34 aircraft. This task force was to provide air cover for the upcoming amphibious invasion of German-controlled French Morocco on November 8th, 1942. Ranger and her task force was 30 miles north of Casablanca and launched her aircraft at 0615 hours, attacking Rabat airfields and destroying 21 enemy aircraft on the ground and strafing the French headquarters without any losses. Additional planes from Ranger's force destroyed another seven enemy planes on the Port Lyautey airfield while others strafed four French destroyers in Casablanca Harbor. The operation lasted three days and Ranger's task force launched a total of 496 sorties in support of the three-pronged landing. The French destroyer Albatros was bombed twice on her forward deck area causing 300 casualties. The French cruiser Primaugut was attacked and damaged as she sorted from Casablanca Harbor. Aircraft dropped depth charges on two submarines and destroyed coastal defences and anti-aircraft batteries. Ranger's pilots reported 21 light enemy tanks were attacked with many destroyed along with 86 military vehicles. Overall, Allied planes destroyed 70+ enemy planes on the ground and shot down 15 in aerial combat. Ranger's task force lost 16 aircraft. Casablanca surrendered to the Allied Forces on November 11th, 1942 to which Ranger departed the Moroccan coast the next day and steamed into Norfolk, Virginia on the 23rd. Ranger stayed in the Norfolk Navy Yard for needed repairs and aircraft replacement from December 16th, 1942 to February 7th, 1943. Returning to her ferrying role, she was loaded with seventy-five P-40-L Army pursuit planes headed to Casablanca, Africa, arriving there on February 23th, 1943. Returning to Norfolk, she patrolled the East Coast of America and steamed with the British Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland on August 19th, helping to patrol the sea approaches to the British Isles. The new mission was to attack German shipping in Norwegian waters. On October 2nd, she sailed and attacked a small convoy, sinking two ships and damaging a pair of merchantmen in the process. Further combat sorties destroyed a freighter and damaged another two ships. Air combat shot down two German planes with three Ranger Wildcats lost. Ranger and her squadron returned to Scapa Flow on October 6th, 1943 and she patrolled with the Home Fleet once more before reaching Boston on December 4th, 1943. Soon after her return she began training but soon was ordered to Staten Island, New York to pick up seventy-six P-38 fighter aircraft along with US Army and Navy and French Naval personnel. Casablanca, again, was the destination to which she arrived there on May 4th, 1944. After Ranger unloaded her inventory, damaged US Army aircraft were loaded aboard for stateside repairs. Also, a number of military passengers were taken aboard for their return to New York. Arriving at New York on May 16th, Ranger returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs and new equipment. The flight deck was strengthened for installation of a new catapult and the radar was upgraded. Arresting gear was installed that provided her with a capacity for night fighter interceptor training. On July 11th, 1944 Ranger departed Norfolk for San Diego, arriving there July 25th. She received the men and aircraft of Night Fighting Squadron 102 and a thousand US Marines. Ranger trained in Hawaiian waters for the next three months, conducting night carrier training operations. On October 18th, Ranger departed Pearl Harbor for San Diego to train air groups and squadrons along the California coast until the end of the war. On September 30th, 1945 she steamed for New Orleans for Navy Day scheduled for October 19th to which she then headed for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on November 18th for an overhaul. She was decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on October 18th, 1946, struck from the Navy Register on October 29th, 1946 and sold for scrapping to Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company of Chester, Pennsylvania on January 28th, 1947. During World War 2, US Ranger served mostly in escort carrier roles for convoy escort, aircraft transport and amphibious support for she lacked sufficient speed or capacity to operate as a fleet carrier during her tenure. Of the eight pre-war U.S. aircraft carriers, these being CV-1 through CV-8, USS Ranger was one of only three to survive all of World War 2. The others became the USS Enterprise and the USS Saratoga. The USS Ranger received two battle stars for her service in the conflict and most of her operations were centred in the Atlantic. Departing San Diego on 30 September 1945, she embarked civilian and military passengers at Balboa and then steamed for New Orleans, Louisiana, arriving on 18 October. Following Navy Day celebrations there, she sailed on 30 October for brief operations at Pensacola, Florida as a training carrier, later relieved in that role by Saipan. After calling at Norfolk, she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 19 November for overhaul. She remained on the eastern seaboard until decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 18 October 1946. Struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 29 October, she was sold for scrap to Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania on 31 January 1947 The Model It’s great to see Trumpeter continuing to release new ships, and aircraft carriers in particular. Whilst not one of the most famous ships in the US Navy, USS Ranger was still important in her own right, not only being the first US carrier built from the ground up, but also showing that restricting the build to such a relatively small size didn’t really work, especially in the Pacific where the Fleet carriers really came into their own. The kit comes in an attractive top opening box with an artist’s rendition of the ship at sea. In the box there is a protected area which contains the single piece hull moulding, the hanger deck and flight deck. These and ten other sprues are all in a light grey plastic. There are fifteen sprues for the aircraft in a combination of black, grey and clear plastic, along with three etched brass sheets, a large decal sheet and a length of chain. All the plastic parts are beautifully moulded with no sign of flash of other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips. Considering the size of some of the mouldings it’s surprising there aren’t any sink marks, and is a testament to Trumpeters designers and mould makers. From the research I’ve been able to do, online and reference books, the shape of the hull is pretty accurate, as is the bridge structure and flight deck. Construction begins with the hull upside down and the fitting of the propeller shafts, A frame shaft supports, propellers and the single rudder. The hull is then turned upright and the hanger deck glued into place, with three bulkheads glued to the deck around the aft lift well. The side bulkheads are then glued into place around the aft hull, with optionally opened/closed shutters. There are three large intakes either side aft as well as three flight deck supports. Two more bulkheads are fitted around the aft lift well. The six funnels are each assembled from ten plastic and a PE funnel cap. They have been designed to be movable but you could also glue them in the position you want to keep them. Three of the funnel assemblies are then glued into their respective positions on the port side. The foredeck is also fitted at this point and another of the side bulkheads. More sub-assemblies are built up, these include 47 two piece 20mm Oerlikons, six, five piece quad 40mm Bofors, and eight, nine piece 5” mountings. The side bulkheads around the port side forward hull are now glued into position, again with optionally open/closed shutters, but being two and three bay shutters you will have cut them apart if you don’t want them all open. Fifteen, four piece carley float ramps are then assembled, as well as the beautiful PE floatplane handling cranes. These are then glued into position, along with more flightdeck supports bulkhead mounted structures and the railings. The Oerlikon galleries for the port side are then attached amidships and aft, along with the internal lift support columns on the inside of the bulkhead. The starboard side bulkhead is fitted with several platforms and supports before being glued into place. The two main battery directors are each made from four plastic and seven PE parts. The radars array of each needs to be carefully rolled and bent to shape, so pay close attention to the instructions diagram. The bridge is made up from only nine main parts, but is then detailed with two saluting guns, vertical and inclined ladders, the two director assemblies, eight piece mast assembly, two more radars, two PE wind deflectors, and the various railings. The completed assembly is then put to one side. The starboard side funnel position is assembled a fitted to the deck, along with three intakes and the three remaining funnels. These are then followed by the starboard side aft bulkheads being glued into position, along with the flightdeck supports, railings, crane, and Oerlikon galleries. Two, two piece ships boats are then assembled and fitted to their cradles, before being glued into position in the open bays either side of the ship. Two boat booms are then attached; two per side aft, while two bulkhead are glued to the forward hanger area. The Oerlikon galleries are then fitted with the Oerlikon assemblies, along with more railings, the 5” gun platforms and the two accommodation ladders. The stern and quarterdeck is detailed with platform, ventilators, railings, gas bottles, inclined ladders, two Oerlikons and a quad 40mm, while the aft 5” mounts are fitted to their platforms, two per side. Right forward, the 5” mounting platforms are attached, while the complex lattice of the flightdeck support beams are assembled and glued to the centre section of the hanger. The fo’c’sle is fitted with cleats, bollards, capstans, anchor chains, and railings. The anchors are glued into place, as are the 40mm mounting platforms just aft of the 5” platforms. The four flight deck supports are also fitted to the fo’c’sle, as is a Quad 40mm mount, 40mm director platform and a large deck house. The 5” mounts are fitted to their platforms, as are the side mounted quad 40’s and yet more railing. Before the flightdeck is fitted, the lattice structure fore and aft needs to be glued into position as are the foreward Oerlikon galleries. With the deck in place, the Oerlikons are fitted, as are the PE arrester wires, lifts and folding deck flaps for the funnels. Two more quad 40mm mountings are assembled and fitted with the guns, before being fitted fore and aft of the island, which is also glued into place, as is a 40mm director tower, just foreward of the island, completing the ship build. There are however, fifteen aircraft to assemble, five SBD-3 Dauntless, five TBF-1 Avenger, and five F6F-3 Hellcats. Each aircraft is built up much like a larger scale aircraft, with separate fuselage sides, horizontal tailplanes, canopies, cowlings propellers and undercarriage. The F6F and TBF both have the option of folding wings. Note however, that you should research the period for which you are building the Ranger, as early in her career, she didn’t carry torpedo bombers, only dive bombers and fighters. Decals The very large decal sheet, is very well printed. There are a full range of markings for the flightdeck, including the lift surrounds and three dotted lines that extend the full length of the deck. The large flightdeck id numbers are at least the correct colour for the period, being black, whereas in other carrier kits they were white. There are also examples of the Stars and Stripes in wave or straight forms. Each of the aircraft is provided with a full set of national insignia, but no individual squadron codes are provided. The decals look suitably thin, so great care will be needed when laying the flightdeck stripes down, they appear in good register and nicely opaque. Conclusion Well, what can I say, being ex-FAA, I naturally love aircraft carriers, no matter what nation or era, so it’s great to see another one released. Ok, it’s not eh biggest, or the most well known, but this doesn’t make it any less important, particularly for the US fleet. To see the USS Ranger being released in this scale is a joy to see, and something I wouldn’t have thought ever happening in my modelling life. Having pretty much everything in the box, It would be difficult to imagine how the aftermarket companies can improve on the kit, other than some nice detail for the hanger and perhaps some deck handling vehicles. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  19. Sukhoi Su-22M3/M4 Fitter-F (Sic) KH80146

    Even the internet is a lot of photos Su-17M-3 with engine R-29 in the Soviet aviation. Initially was lack of engines AI-21, nothing strange in a communist economy. Red 50 from the KH is once with the R-29 engine.But camo is brown and green not only green. Send me your email.
  20. Star Wars Star Destroyer Update Sets (for Zvezda/Revell) 1:2700 GreenStrawberry The massive Star Destroyer kit popped out of Zvezda's marketing department with a flourish last year, and caused quite a stir because for a start it wasn't from the usual license holders (until Revell reboxed it), and that it was humongous! At that scale it is around 60cm long, which of course lends itself to super-detailing and of course lighting! The kit detail can be best described as adequate, but there are areas that really do need something extra. Along comes GreenStrawberry, who if you hadn't worked it out already really like Star Wars, with a couple of sets that will go a long way toward improving the detail. These sets from GreenStrawberry are engineered to appeal to the more advanced modeller who will end up painting their creation, and you WILL need Super Glue (CA) to attach the parts to your model. The PE set arrives in a flat re-sealable pack, with a black themed backing card, a chunk of thick cardboard to keep the PE safe, a set of instructions (both of which are hidden within), and the sheet of PE brass on display in the front. The resin/PE set is supplied in a box, with the contents encased in carbonite Ziplok bags for extra security. Both are designed to improve both detail, accuracy to the scale/CGI models, and add a scale-thickness to otherwise over-scale parts. Star Destroyer Upgrade Set (03517) Supplied on two frets, work starts with the blanked over garbage disposal port that is first seen in SW:TESB is folded up into a box, with an octagonal insert completing the shape, which then slides in through the aperture that the modeller must first remove. Two more small launch bays on the sides of the hull are also cut out and lined with a boxed out bay part, which has detail skins lid in on the ides. The returns on either side of the bay are also skinned with detail parts to complete the look. These "returns" are present in two other places in the trenches on side of the hull, and they too are skinned with new parts. The SD's most visible armament is found in rows on either sides of the superstructure, with re-used anti-aircraft emplacements from ship models playing the part. Two detail parts are supplied for all eight of these at the front and rear of the emplacements. Moving onto the superstructure, the central "array" sensor between the shield generator balls on the bridge is upgraded with additional detail parts to turn a rather bland part into one with much more visual interest, , while below it a little kit detail is removed from the bridge face at the centre to add a trapezoid bridge part with etched-out windows, as seen from the interior shots in the films. If you wanted to detail the interior however, that's down to you! Speaking of the shield generator orbs, all the kit supports and the little overscale antennae on the top are removed, and a new base is fabricated from a base with individual legs glued into marked pads on it, with new antennae on the top of the orb, and more straight supports added to the bottom. These fit over the top of the kit bases, and next to them small ladder-shaped parts are added to the bases of the sensor. The final act is to add a few missing parts to the grab in the main hangar bay, but if you're going for the excellent 3D printed main hangar bay off Shapeways, you may not need this. Resin Engine Bells (03417) The kit bells are a bit lacklustre if you're going to stare at them for any length of time, so it makes sense to busy-up this important area of the model with some more detailed parts. This set includes the three large sub-light engine bells (in three parts each with PE baffles), plus the four smaller light-speed engines that are positioned either side of the centre bell in pairs. Once liberated from their casting blocks the main bells have a cylindrical lip added, and a trio of baffles added to the lip in turn, which are formed from a double-layer baffle and two triple-layered actuators for each one, requiring nine in total. The light-speed engines are two parts fitted concentrically for maximum detail, and a scrap diagram at the bottom of the instructions show the correct orientation for each bell, as the details aren't symmetrical. Conclusion Given the sheer size of these kits, it seems churlish not to make the most of the build, and these two sets allow you to do just that in spades. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Upgrade Sets(for Bandai) 1:144 GreenStrawberry The Millennium Falcon is perhaps the best known and most recognised of any spacecraft real or imaginary, with a number of kits popping up over the years in different scales. Bandai's recent release of a raft of new kits has been great for anyone wanting to build a collection of Star Wars related models in a couple of consistent scales, rather than box-scale as seems to be the way with Revell, the main European license holder of late. The Bandai kits are snap-together, but don't let that fool you. They are the pinnacle of the injection-moulded art, and you'd wonder initially how they could get any better with the addition of Photo-Etch (PE) parts. These sets from GreenStrawberry are engineered to appeal to the more advanced modeller who will end up painting their creation, and you WILL need Super Glue (CA) to attach the parts to your model. The sets arrive in a flat re-sealable pack, with a black themed backing card, a chunk of thick cardboard to keep the PE safe, a set of instructions (both of which are hidden within), and the sheet of PE brass on display in the front. They are designed to improve both detail, accuracy to the scale/CGI models, and add a scale-thickness to otherwise over-scale parts. Millennium Falcon Upgrade Set (01616 for Bandai) The main set includes a large sheet of brass PE, plus a small set of instrument panel parts that are printed on sticky-backed paper, to give your interiors a huge lift in detail. It provides a welcome lift to the interior of the cockpit and the gun ports on the top and bottom, as well as some structural parts. It begins with a complex replacement of the mount for the prominent oblong dish that now adorns the Falcon's topside, replacing all the thick bracketry with more delicate parts instead. The base of the dish is also augmented, and the two assemblies are then brought together into one. The kit has a simple plug-in seat with controls for the gun turrets, which is slimmed down and has its lugs removed top accept a new control column/trigger, which is then placed inside the compartment that is folded up from brass parts, with stickers providing the instrument panel detail on the various facets of the walls. These are further enhanced by relief panels added within, and the finished assembly is fitted to the rear of the glazing with a flange around the outside. This is of course repeated for the other turret, giving you two in total. The main asymmetrical cockpit is also upgraded in a similar way, removing the kit instruments from the main panel and roof along with the three lugs that hold the top to the bottom. The canopy has a skin with insulation quilting etched into it, and all the panels are replaced with new ones that have stickers applied with instruments. The roof has a faceted liner folded up, with additional panels and stickers added, which is added to the lower cockpit along with the new replacement rear cockpit bulkhead that is so often visible in cockpit shots from the movie. This is a lamination of three parts onto which the appropriate stickers are fixed after painting, with two location holes included to register the part on the rear of the cockpit assembly. The rear seats are provided with headboxes that are missing from the kit parts, and the front of the cockpit roof is finished off with a "hoop" that bridges the space between the curved wall of the kit and the faceted inner skin. As a point of interest, you can see that all the instrument panels are perforated where there are usually lights on the various boards, which will show through the stickers if you position some LEDs behind them, making for easy lighting of the busy areas in the various cockpits. The landing gear for the SW:TFA Falcon has the now-standard five legs of two types, both of which get new scale-faithful doors to replace the chunky kit parts moulded into the legs, and the struts themselves are fitted with the perforated circular frames that can be only approximated in styrene. The final job is to fold up the insert that shows at the end of the entry ramp, requiring you to remove the blanking plate moulded into the lower hull. This and another part in the roof will add to the look of the area. Millennium Falcon Grilles (01715 for Bandai) The Falcon's prominent exhausts on the top deck are part of what makes it what it is, and this set provides six new mesh grilles to detail this area. Each circular grille is made up from a bottom hoop, a sheet of louvers, then a sheet of framework, with the top layer a frame around the outer edge with details etched in relief. Alignment is key, and there are two styles of top frame, with a distinct forward direction marked on the assembly diagrams. Four of the siz are identical, with the two leftmost (from behind) having a different pattern on the framing, all of which is explained on the last two instruction steps, as well as showing that "forward" in this context actually points toward the centre of the ship in a fan shape that matches the general shape of the engine deck area. Conclusion Another superb pair of sets to upgrade these Star Wars gems, just remember they're only suitable if you're planning on painting your model. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Soviet Self-Propelled Gun SU-85 w/Interior MiniArt 1:35 History Early in World War II, Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1 had adequate firepower to defeat any of the German tanks then available. By the fall of 1942, Soviet forces began to encounter the new German Tiger tank, with armour too thick to be penetrated by the 76.2 mm guns used in the T-34 and KV tanks at a safe range. The Soviet command also had reports of the Panther tank, that was in development then and possessed thicker armour than the Tiger; both represented an advance in German tank design. Although the Panther was not seen in combat until July 1943, the new generation of German vehicles meant the Red Army would need a new, more powerful main gun for their armoured formations. In May 1943, work was begun on a new anti-tank gun. Military planners directed the design bureaus of both Gen. Vasiliy Grabin and Gen. Fyodor Petrov to modify the 85mm anti-aircraft gun for use as an anti-tank weapon. Petrov's bureau developed the D-5 85mm gun. Though much too large for the T-34 or KV-1 turret, it was thought the gun could be mounted upon the chassis of the SU-122 self-propelled gun to give the weapon mobility. The version of this gun intended to be mounted upon the SU-85 was called the D-5S, with the "S" standing for self-propelled. Initially the production factory at Uralmash rejected the proposed design. Nevertheless, the administrators at Uralmash were persuaded to proceed, and the new design was put into production. The weapon was later modified to include a telescopic sight and a new ball gun mantlet. This vehicle was renamed the SU-85-II. The SU-85 was a modification of the earlier SU-122 self-propelled howitzer, essentially replacing the 122 mm M-30S howitzer of the SU-122 with a D-5T high-velocity 85 mm antitank gun. The D-5T was capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 1000 m. The vehicle had a low profile and excellent mobility. Initially given an armoured commander's cap on the first batch, the SU-85's observational optics were improved by the introduction of a standard commander's cupola - the same as on the T-34-76 model 1942, along with the already existing prismatic observation sights installed in left side and rear. On later vehicles, the same optics were added, almost allowing all-around observation The SU-85 entered combat in August 1943. It saw active service across the Eastern Front until the end of the war. Though a capable weapon, it was found that its 85 mm weapon was not adequate to penetrate the armour of the larger German armoured fighting vehicles. It was replaced by the SU-100. The SU-85 was withdrawn from Soviet service soon after the war, and was exported to many Soviet client states in Europe and elsewhere. Some SU-85s were converted to use as command and recovery vehicles. In places such as North Korea and Vietnam, it remained in service for many years’ The Model This kit is the latest iteration of MiniArt’s SU-85 and is the Mod 1943 Mid Production version, and has the added interest of having a full interior. MiniArt really are going great guns these days, with a new website and new style boxes for their kits, very nice they are too. The kits too are getting better and better. The new colourful boxes are very sturdy, and they have to be as they are filled to the brim with parts. The numerous sprues are all contained in a large poly bag, inside of which the various combinations of sprues are in other poly bags, not quite separate, but in bunches. Now, the way MiniArt mould their sprues means that there are in fact seventy six in total. The reason for so many sprues and parts, as mentioned above, this kit has a full, and I mean FULL interior. Even with so many sprues, the parts are all moulded beautifully, with no sign of imperfections, short shots, surprisingly few moulding pips, and certainly no flash. Seeing as there are literally hundreds of small parts it’s nice to note that the sprue gates are small and the parts look like they will be easy to remove and clean up. The only really awkward parts are the suspension springs, which will be trickier to clean as the gates are on the spring sections themselves and the track links, but more on those later. So, where the heck do you start with building? Some modellers will construct the various sub-assemblies in their own way before adding them all at the end. This would certainly aid with the painting and weathering, but if you go by the instruction booklet, which is surprisingly clear to read, the modeller needs to start with the engine. As with most things in the kit this is a very complex part, and is assembled just as a real engine would be. Every parts is included, all you‘d have to add are the ignition harness and some of the hoses. The assembly begins with the eleven piece block, onto which the two, six piece cylinder heads are attached before being finished off with the starter motor, coolant hoses, exhaust manifolds and the four piece engine mounting box. Each of the two large radiators are made up from three parts, glued to the sides of the engine assembly, and then connected up with five hoses. The gearbox/transfer box is next, with the main section requiring fourteen parts, before being glued to the aft end of the tank floor. The drives for the sprockets, each made up from four parts and fitted with a PE brake band are then attached to the gearbox, supported by two five piece brake linkage cradles. The four piece, impellor style, flywheel is then attached to the rear of the gearbox. With the gearbox attached, the floor is then detailed with numerous parts, most of which I don’t recognise, not being au fait with the intimate details of tank internals. What I can identify, are the control sticks and brake pedals, and their associated linkages, oh, and the fighting compartment floor. The seven piece driver’s seat is next, followed by various covers for the drivers control links. The engine is then attached to the dividing bulkhead, between it and the gearbox, and the fitting of the two air intake pipes and their filters. The whole engine assembly is then fitted to the floor and the gearbox mounted universal joint. On each side of the floor there are four, seven piece spring dampers for the suspension, the rear pair of which are joined together with two PE straps, which do look a little awkward to fit, seeing that the radiators are in the way, so dig out your finest tweezers for the job. The fighting compartment and driver’s compartment are then fitted out with a number of spare shells, shell racks, control boxes and the idler axle fittings. The lower hull sides are fitted out internally with crew seats, fire bottles, fuel tanks, radios, escape hatches, and various other unidentifiable items. The sides are then attached to the hull floor. On the outside, the sprocket gear covers are attached, followed by the torsion spring suspension/axles are fitted, these also attach to the spring dampers. There more shells fitted to the rear of the fighting compartment, ten in fact, each of two parts and kept in place by a long beam. The front armour plate is fitted on the interior with various sights, hatches, hatch fittings and two large springs, which I presume are part of recoil system to prevent the plate from cracking when the gun fires. The completed plate is then attached to the hull, along with the lower glacis plate, and rear mounted drive cover. The main gun is assembled from separate slides, barrel, recuperator, and breech block before being fitted to the two trunnion mounts, complete with elevation wheel. The recoil guard is then attached, along with the elevation spring units, seven piece sight, and sight mounting frame. Nineteen more shells are then assembled and fitted to their storage rack, which is then fitted with a supporting beam and three cordite bags. The gun assembly is then slotted into position in the front plate, which is also fitted with the lower gun recess. The bulkhead separating the fighting compartment and engine compartment is then glued into position, followed by the shell stowage assembly and rear hull bulkhead and its attachment frame. The gun barrel is then attached, along with the inner mantlet and the six piece outer mantlet. The fighting compartment side panels are fitted out with more cordite bags, pistol ports, vents, and stowage boxes, whilst on the outside they are fitted with pioneer tools, air filters, and a single headlight. The completed panels are then glued into position. The roof panel is similarly fitted out, with a selection of ports, vents, sights, and the main hatch With the model slowly looking more like the vehicle it portends to be, the sprockets, twin road wheels and idler wheels are assembled and attached to their associated axles. The exhaust pipes are fitted to the rear bulkhead along with their covers, and the engine deck intake gills are each assembled from four parts. The main engine deck, complete with track guards, is fitted with spare track links, the two engine intake grills, before being fitted to the hull, along with the fighting compartment roof panel and the numerous shackles, lifting eyes, engine hatch, and stowage boxes. The tracks are each made from seventy two links, with each link held onto the sprue by four gates, so there will be quite a lot of cleaning up required. Looking at the links, they are rather plain, particularly on the inside, but having checked out a few images on the internet, they are accurate. Looking at the links closely, the ones with guide horns have small pins, whilst the plain ones are moulded with corresponding holes, so they “should” just click into place. The pins do seem rather fragile, so whether this works in practice is another thing. It’ll probably be best to run some glue on the joints once the tracks are fitted, just to make sure they don’t fall apart. With the kit almost complete, it’s just a matter of fitting the front and rear mud guards, rear mounted rolled tarpaulin with its PE straps. The fighting compartment rear panel is then attached; along with the various grab handles, spare fuel tank supports, four fuel tanks, their associated PE straps, and the PE straps for the spare track links. Lastly the aerial is glued into position. Decals Whilst the decal sheet contains markings for two depicted vehicles, there are a complete set of individual numbers in both red and white. The decals themselves have been printed by MiniArt and although looking rather matt, they are well printed, in register and with good colour density. The two options are:- SU-85 number 214 from an unidentified unit Red Army, Winter 1943-1944. SU-85 under the name of the Czech hero – “Kapitan Otacar Jaros”, of the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade Conclusion This is yet another superb kit from the burgeoning catalogue from MiniArt and another for the detail nuts, with the full interior, the options of having the hatches open and everything on view would be too much to resist. With the amount of parts and the amount of time it will take to build, it must make this kit one of the best value for money kits around. Review courtesy of
  23. Special Forces Equipment - British Parachutes ISBN : 9782352504429 Histoire & Collections via Casemate UK At first sight a book on British Parachutes for Special Forces from WWII would not seem an engaging subject. I must confess a little bias as one of my relatives made parachutes during WWII as her part towards the total effort. WWII saw the first major use of parachutes to drop troops, special forces, and supplies. The book is 141 pages long, medium format (slightly smaller than A4). The quality of the printing is excellent with colour and black & white pictures throughout. The book covers a wide range of parachute types in use, as well as other jump equipment such as weapons bags and kit bags. There are pictures of kit owned by known operatives and some detail on post war equipment and that used by the French forces in Indochina. The wealth of pictures will enable any figure modeller, or diorama modeller to get things looking right. Conclusion If you are interested in Special Forces, their equipment; parachutes, or parachute operations; or even general military history from WWII then this book is highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Another good, and nicely detailed, review Dave. I shall have to get this book as I have the 1:200 Yamato kit languishing in the shed, just waiting for something like this to come along. The details about the later uprated armaments is very interesting and has got me thinking to finish my model as the Musashi now. cheers Mike
  25. I am looking forwards to the new book from Osprey publishing regarding scale drawings Yamato/Musashi.
  26. IJN Super Battleship Musashi Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Musashi, the second of two Yamato-class battleships, shared the honor with lead ship Yamato as the largest battleship ever constructed in naval history. During construction of the codenamed Battleship Number 2, special floating cranes of 150 and 350 metric ton capacities were purposely built at Number 2 slipway for this project. Utmost secrecy was maintained during her construction; the entire length of the ship was camouflaged by rope against aerial photography, and urban legend had it that the roofing had consumed the entire supply of rope in Japan. The cover-up was so successful that the Americans were unaware of the construction even though the United States consulate office was essentially just across the bay. The Russians, however, almost discovered it by accident. On 20 May 1938, six Russian-manned TB-3 bombers with Chinese markings flew over Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Sasebo to drop propaganda leaflets and to take pictures; Battleship Number 2 was actually photographed, but the photograph, even after the Americans reviewed it, did not arouse the alarm that the world's largest battleship should have had. Battleship Number 2 was launched on 1 Nov 1940 in a secret ceremony attended only by a few top naval officials. As soon as she was put into the water, Kasuga Maru (later to be converted to the escort carrier Taiyo) was towed to block Battleship Number 2 from view. She spent the following 18 months fitting out. On 15 Sep 1941, she was under the command of the chief equipping officer Captain Kaoru Arima. On 5 Aug 1942, she was commissioned as the Battleship Musashi, and Arima remained on board as her commanding officer, who would be promoted to the rank of rear admiral shortly after the commissioning. Her commissioning was three months behind schedule due to last-minute requirements for additional communications gear. After post-shakedown fitting out at Kure, Musashi sailed for Truk in the Caroline Islands on 18 Jan 1943 where she was named Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's flagship; this assignment was the reason why the additional communications gear was required during fitting out. She officially became Yamamoto's flagship on 11 Feb 1943, relieving her sister ship, Yamato. On 23 Apr 1943, ashes of Yamamoto, who was struck down by US Army Air Corps fighters several days prior, were secretly brought aboard via a flying boat. Two days later, Admiral Mineichi Koga came aboard under the pretence of an inspection to take over command of the Combined Fleet. On 17 May 1943, Musashi arrived at Yokosuka in response to the Americans' operations in the Aleutian Islands; the voyage also brought home Yamamoto's ashes. Upon return to Japan, Captain, later Rear Admiral on 1 Nov 1943, Keizo Komura was given command of the ship after Arima was transferred to the Etajima Naval Academy. After a day of preparations in Yokosuka on 23 Jun 1943, Musashi hosted Emperor Showa and his staff on an inspection on 24 Jun 1943. Between 1 and 8 Jul 1943, at Kure, four Type 22 fire control radars were installed on the bridge. Between 5 Aug 1943 and 10 Feb 1944, Musashi remained mostly in port at Truk; the only sortie she embarked upon was the Oct 1943 movement to Brown Island, Eniwetok Atoll, and Marshall Islands in response to a possible American invasion of Wake Island and raids against the Gilbert Islands. On 7 Dec 1943, Captain Bunji Asakura assumed command after Komura was transferred to the Third Fleet. Between 15 and 24 Feb 1944, Musashi was used as a transport to carry one Army battalion, one Special Naval Landing Force battalion, munitions, fuel, and vehicles from Yokosuka to the Palau Islands; en route, the task force encountered a typhoon, and as a result most of the deck load of munitions was lost. The task force arrived at Palau Islands on 29 Feb. On 28 Mar 1944, Admiral Koga moved his flag to land, relieving Musashi of flagship status; this was done due to air raid threats. She departed Palau Islands under the cover of darkness on 29 Mar 1944, but was discovered by American submarine USS Tunny, which damaged her port bow with one of six torpedoes fired at 1744. The hit tore a 19-foot diameter hole, causing minor flooding and killing seven men. Fearful of a follow-up air raid, Musashi continued to sail for Japan at a reduced speed, reaching Kure on 3 Apr. While being repaired at Kure, she was also refitted with heavier anti-aircraft defences, replacing six of her large 155-mm secondary guns with a large quantity of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns. At this time, her anti-aircraft weaponry included 35x3x25-mm guns and 25x1x25mm guns. In May 1944, Asakura was promoted to the rank of rear admiral. On 10 Jun, Asakura took Musashi on Operation Kon aimed at relieving Biak off New Guinea, which was abandoned shortly after due to the American invasion of the Mariana Islands. On 18 Jul 1944, Musashi arrived at Lingga near Singapore and joined the Mobile Fleet. On 12 Aug 1944, Captain Toshihira Inoguchi was given command of Musashi. Like his predecessors, Inoguchi was promoted to the rank of rear admiral after the assignment. In Sep, Inoguchi ordered Musashi painted a dark colour; the paint might have been Royal Navy in origin. On 18 Oct, her deck was blackened with soot. The camouflaging attempts were all made because of the upcoming Operation Sho-Go which resulted in the naval battles in the area of Leyte Gulf. On 18 Oct, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita engaged in Operation Sho-Go by taking a powerful surface fleet that included both of the Yamato-class battleships. The fleet sailed into the Sibuyan Sea west of Leyte of the Philippine Islands, aiming to hit the vulnerable American transports on the other side of the island. At 0810 on 24 Oct 1944, an aircraft from carrier USS Intrepid spotted the fleet. By 1018, Musashi's lookouts reported about 30 incoming hostile aircraft. At 1027, the battle began. By chance, most American aircraft focused on Musashi, whose guns fired in combat for the first time. Because the air cover was inadequate, the Japanese ships were left to fend for themselves. Musashi's anti-aircraft weapons helped setting up an intense umbrella of flak above the fleet, while her 18-in guns fired into the water to make huge geysers aimed at knocking down American torpedo bombers. Without adequate air cover, however, powerful Musashi was, she was helpless against multiple waves of attacking aircraft. After the final attack ended at 1530, she suffered hits by twenty torpedoes, seventeen bombs, and eighteen near misses. Efforts to correct the worsening list failed, and Inoguchi gave the order to "standby to abandon ship" at 1915; by this time, the list was at 15 degrees. Immediately after this order, Inoguchi retired to his cabin with the intention to go down with the ship; he was never seen again. At 1930, the list to port reached 30 degrees, and abandon ship order was given. At 1936, Musashi capsized and sank. 1,023 lives aboard Musashi were lost on that day. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Design Armour Armament Fire Control and Sensor Aircraft Launching Service The rest of the seventy five pages are filled with the now well known style of beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with. I particularly like the renderings of the huge bridge structure and the myriad of AA turrets. Considering the size of the ship she was of a surprisingly clean design, I guess because any superfluous top hamper and fittings would have been damaged by the huge blast of the main guns. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, unusually in 1:400, with additional drawings of the ships fittings, such as the light AA weapons, main and secondary turrets, ships crane, main rangefinders and searchlights, in scales ranging from 1:50 to 1:200 plus bow and stern views in 1:350. Conclusion This is another superb book in the series and a great addition to any maritime modeller’s library. This series is a boon to any ship modeller and is turning into a magnificent collection of titles. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the beautiful Tamiya 1:350 scale kit. Review sample courtesy of
  27. USS Alaska CB-1. 1:350

    Oops! Thanks Mick. Sorted.
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