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Found 112 results

  1. BMP-2D Infantry Fighting Vehicle 1:35 Trumpeter History The BMP-2 is an infantry combat vehicle variant of the BMP-1 that incorporates a major armament change. It has an enlarged two-man turret which mounts a 30-mm automatic gun, model 2A42, with a long, thin tube and a double-baffle muzzle brake, along with a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun on its front. On top of the turret is an ATGM launcher. This launcher can employ either AT-4 SPIGOT or AT-5 SPANDREL missiles. Although it is the AT-5 SPANDREL canister normally seen mounted. The engine is an upgraded 300-hp, V-6 diesel. The vehicle commander now sits in the two-man turret, along with the gunner. Because of the enlarged turret, there is room for only two roof hatches in the rear fighting compartment, rather than the four of the BMP-1. The BMP-2 can accommodate one less passenger than the BMP-1; there also is one less firing port for an assault rifle on each side. BMP-2D, (the subject of this release), is a late production version of the BMP-2. This vehicle includes appliqué armour on the turret, provision for mounting mine clearing system under the nose of the vehicle, and spaced type appliqué armour fitted along either side of the hull. The downside is that this vehicle is no longer amphibious. Model The kit comes in the standard Trumpeter box with a depiction of the vehicle in what looks like a Middle Eastern environment. Inside, there are sixteen sprues of light grey styrene, two separate hull sections; one sprue of clear styrene, rather unusually in this day and age the kit comes with rubber band style tracks, and a small decal sheet. In a slight step backwards, along with the tracks, the kit does not include a metal barrel, unlike its predecessors. The moulding of the parts is well up to Trumpeters usual standards, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, lots of very fine detail, but quite a few moulding pips. Dry fitting of the upper and lower hull sections shows that it will be a very good fit and, most probably an easy and enjoyable build. Construction begins with the lower hull section, to which the lower front glacis plate is attached. The plate is fitted out with the various paraphernalia, such as the towing hooks, towing eyes, and brackets. The six return rollers are then attached to the hull, along with the bump stops, which have PE end caps, mud scrapers on the idler wheel end and the sprocket gear casings on the front. The idler wheel axle is fitted, followed by the torsion beam suspension units are then attached, with the front two and rearmost units fitted with shock absorbers. Each of the road wheels, and sprockets are made up from two halves, whilst the idlers are made up of two styrene hubs, between which five PE spacers are fitted. The wheels are then attached to their respective axles, and the rear end of the hull is fitted with two towing eyes and their mounting plates, a pair of grab handles and the rear track guards/mudflaps. The two rear doors are each assembled, made up form inner and outer skins, clear periscope, hinges, and door handles, before being fitted tot he lower hull. Since the vehicle comes with an interior, you may wish to pose the doors open, in which case you should probably leave this till nearer the end of the build to prevent them being knocked off as the build progresses. The interior is now built up with the six torsion beam covers and two rearmost slats glued to the inside of the lower hull. The large console fitted to the rear of the vehicle, between the two doors is made up form five parts, then glued into position, along with the two interior panels that fit on the outer sides. There are two seats, each made up form five parts that are fitted to the left of the engine compartment which is closed off by two bulkheads, There is a two piece storage box situated just behind the rearmost of the two seats. The front seat is for the driver, and this position is also provided with a nice instrument panel, for which there is a well printed decal used to represent the instruments, and a two piece steering arm. The troops carried in the back of the vehicle sit on two, three piece bench seats which are finished of with two end plates. The rubber band style tracks are fitted at this point in the instructions, although its probably best to leave these till after painting. Moving onto the upper hull, the large turret ring is fitted, along with the drivers clear periscopes, commanders sights, and troop periscopes and gun ports, fitted to the interior. On the exterior, the front glacis plate is fitted, along with the periscope covers and outer gun port hatches, and ventilator mushroom. These are followed by the front and rear lights, various brackets and straps, and the three slats that fit into the exhaust Now, although this type of BMP is not amphibious, it still has a splash guard fitted to the front glacis plate, and would be used for fording rivers and the like. The splash guard and its hinges on this kit can be posed either extended, with the addition of two gas struts or stowed away. Still on the upper hull, the PE exhaust grille is fitted into a tray like part and glued over the exhaust port. The drivers and commanders hatches are each or three parts and can be posed open or closed, as can the two, two piece troop hatches on the rear roof. A couple of pioneer tools are also fitted to the rear upper roof. The upper and lower hull assemblies are now joined together, followed by the two track guards which are fixed to the hull via the top of each guard and three stays per side. The appliqué armour is then attached to the hull sides, above the track guards. Onto the turret next, and, as with the hull, this is provided with a full interior. Firstly the main sight and targeting control panel are assembled and fitted to the inside of the turret, along with three clear periscopes and a further sight, I assume is for the AT-5 missile, with a pair of control handles. Each of the two hatches are built up from multiple parts, the gunners hatch ring has another missile sight fitted on the inside, along with a pair of periscopes, whilst on the outside is the sights protective cover, five piece infra red searchlight and three part hatch. The second hatch, presumably the missile man/loader, is a much simpler type, and is made up from just three parts. Naturally each hatch can be posed open or closed. The turret is then fitted to its base section, followed by the mantlet, main cannon and co-axial machine gun. There are quite a few grab handles, and the appliqué armour brackets fitted to the outside of the turret, as well as the two aerial bases, an additional sight for the loader and another searchlight. The appliqué armour sheet is then attached to the brackets on the rear of the turret, whilst the six smoke discharger tubes are fitted, three per side. The AT-5 tube is made up from two halves and two end pieces. The tube is then fitted to the tube locking mechanism, which, in turn is fitted to the four part launcher, before the whole assembly is attached to the roof of the turret. A third searchlight, made from three pieces, and probably another infra red light is fitted just to the right of the mantlet, low down on the turret. The turret cage is now assembled from the floor, two three piece seats, training motor housing/gearbox, turret control arm, two footplates, and four supports which connect the floor to the turret. The completed turret is then slid into the turret ring completing the build. Decals The small decal sheet provides markings for only one of the two vehicles depicted on the colour chart, neither of which are identified. One is obviously army, whilst the anchor on the turret could mean its Russian Marines of Naval Infantry, (if they still have such a unit). Both vehicles are in the same camouflage of light green, black and wood brown over sandy brown. Conclusion Trumpeter seem to be trying to produce every variant of Russian vehicle they can find, not that that is a bad thing, but it would be nice to see some other countries vehicles being modelled. That doesn’t make this kit bad, in fact it looks to be a very nice kit and, what with the interior, could be made into a great looking model, especially if the modeller added some small details such as personal weapons, small arms, water bottles etc. I tiwll also make for a good subject for a diorama, with all the doors open and some troops milling around. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  2. USS Texas, BB-35. 1:350

    USS Texas, BB-35 Trumpeter 1:350 USS Texas (BB-35), the second ship of the United States Navy named in honour of the U.S. state of Texas, is a New York-class battleship. The ship was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914. Soon after her commissioning, Texas saw action in Mexican waters following the "Tampico Incident" and made numerous sorties into the North Sea during World War I. When the United States formally entered World War II in 1941, Texas escorted war convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific Theatre late in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Texas was decommissioned in 1948, having earned a total of five battle stars for service in World War II, and is now a museum ship near Houston, Texas. Among the world's remaining battleships, Texas is notable for being the only remaining WW1 era dreadnought battleship, though she is not the oldest surviving battleship; Mikasa, a pre-dreadnought battleship ordered in 1898 by the Empire of Japan, is older than Texas. She is also noteworthy for being one of only six remaining ships to have served in both World Wars. Among US-built battleships, Texas is notable for her sizable number of firsts: the first US Navy vessel to house a permanently assigned contingent of US Marines, the first US battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns, the first US ship to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers (analogue forerunners of today's computers), the first US battleship to launch an aircraft, from a catapult on Turret 3, one of the first to receive the CXAM-1 version of CXAM production radar in the US Navy, the first US battleship to become a permanent museum ship, and the first battleship declared to be a US National Historic Landmark. The Model With the release of the USS New York maritime modeller knew that it wouldn’t be too long before Trumpeter released her sister ship the USS Texas. Well, here she is in all her glory. Fortunately Trumpeter haven’t just released the same parts as in the New York kit, which they could well have done knowing their haphazard research techniques, as the deck and superstructure parts are all new and from what I can see, correct for the era. Unfortunately, they haven’t done anything with the hull, which still sports the overlarge shelf along the top of the aft section of the armoured belt, which is a great shame as this is almost impossible to fix. The large, thick, hull plates are also still in evidence, but at least these can be sorted with a bit of judicious rubbing down with some wet ‘n’ dry. The kit comes in the standard top opening box that has a very nice rendition of the Texas at sea in line ahead with another battleship on the top. Inside there are eleven sheets of light grey styrene, two main deck parts and six loose superstructure parts, also in light grey styrene, two sprues of clear styrene, four sheets of etched brass and small decal sheet the large black styrene stand and a length of chain. All the parts are very nicely moulded with some very fine details, particularly on the deck and superstructure. The parts are all cleanly moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips, mainly on the small parts. The exceptions being on a couple of the loose parts, where they look like they have been quite roughly removed from a sprue, with large lugs that need to be removed and cleaned up. The instructions are well printed and very clearly mark the positioning of parts and sub-assemblies Construction begins with the fitting of the two hull halves between which are four bulkheads and two joining parts for the bow and stern. The main deck is provided in two sections, the joint of which is fortunately covered by the superstructure, so there’s no worry about filling an awkward seam. Turning the hull upside down the four keel strakes, two propeller shafts, A frame supports, and propellers plus the rudder are attached. Before moving on, several sub-assemblies and PE parts are constructed. These include the PE inclined ladders, PE floater baskets, forty two 20mm Oerlikon mounts with PE shields, two director towers with PE radar dish, twelve 5” gun mounts, and eight quad 40mm mountings with PE railings. Six of the 5” mounts are fitted just forward of amidships before the large deck 01 is attached. This needs several holes drilled through before the fitting as the ship is at a different mod state than the previously released sister ship USS New York. On either side of the hull, aligned with 01 deck, a section of what used to be the barbette emplacements is attached. The bridge area is now assembled, which includes 02 deck, armoured steering bridge, 03 deck and secondary bridge along with two lookout points. The bridge structure is then glued into position along with two ready use lockers, signal lamps, large and small and two binocular stands. The instructions also call for some of the railings, inclined ladders and floater nets to be fitted, but it may be prudent to leave these till nearer the end of the build. The underside of the upper bridge deck/mast is also fitted out with PE braces and struts before being turned over and fitted with the forward main director two rangefinders, two aldis lamps and six 20mm Oerlikons. The two inclined mast poles and underside deck supports are attached and the sub-assembly fitted above the bridge, followed by the mast pole which has two lookout tubs attached along with their roof. Once again the railings and inclined ladders are due to be fitted at this point. The upper spotting top is now assembled, with the PE support braces, yardarms and a very nice PE radar antenna. This is then fitted to the top of the mast structure along with two PE inclined access ladders. Attention is then quickly focused onto the foredeck, with the fitting of the PE anchor chains, hawse pipe gratings and styrene windlasses, cleats, bollards and Jackstaff. Moving aft, more ready use lockers are fitted round the bridge structure and mid AA gun deck. These are followed by several deckhouses, complete with attached carley floats, six quad 40mm mounts, six 5” mounts and four 20mm Oerlikons alongside B barbette, as well as a pair of small goose necked derricks. Aft of the forward superstructure all the way back to the quarterdeck, or fantail in this case, numerous ready use lockers, ventilation mushrooms, intakes, davits, and other ephemera are fitted. Four more deckhouse sub assemblies are then constructed and fitted with either Carley floats or 20mm Oerlikons and floater baskets, before being fitted into their respective positions, followed by four Quad 40mm mounts, two Mk 51 directors, four 5” mounts, a practice 5” loader and twenty 20mm Oerlikons. The funnel is assembled next; it comes in two halves and is fitted with a styrene and PE funnel cap and base. It’s completed with auxiliary steam pipes, PE funnel guards and railings before being fitted into position. The next sub assembly is what looks like an auxiliary bridge on top of a large intake trunk, capped with a small radar antenna. This is fitted just aft of the funnel along with four ships boats onto their respective cradles. More of the ships superstructure railings are now attached as well as the remainder of the floater baskets. The two cranes are assembled from a mixture of PE and styrene parts which should make them look really good once painted up. With these in place the build moves onto the five 14” main turrets. Each turret consists of the base, turret, and the two gun barrels, which whilst they are quite nicely done, they would be better replaced with turned metal items. The centre turret is fitted with a very nicely detailed PE catapult, complete with walkways and supports, whilst B and X turrets are each fitted with six 20mm Oerlikons, their splinter shields, ready use lockers and on the outside of the shields four floater baskets, plus Y turret has four Carley rafts attached the turret sides. With the build in its final stages the five turrets are fitted and the main mast is assembled from a series of decks, three mast poles, and fitted with the after main director, topped off with a pole mast on top of which is the large CXAM-1 radar array, which is made entirely of PE parts, although fitted to a styrene mounting, four 20mm Oerlikons, ready use lockers and railings before being attached to the ship. The kit comes complete with two OS2U Kingfisher aircraft on the two clear sprues. These are assembled from two fuselage halves, separate floats and propeller. Unfortunately there appears to be only room for one on the model and that would be attached to the catapult, as there isn’t a handling trolley for the other to sit on, although one of the aftermarket companies may rectify this. Last task is to fit all the upper deck railings and set the completed model onto the large stand provided. Decals The small decal sheet provides national markings and codes numbers for the ships aircraft, the ships name for the stern and her ID number for the Bows and stern quarters, the Stars and Stripes in plain and wavy form. For the colour scheme you will need to get into a blue period, as the horizontal surfaces are Deck Blue and all the vertical surfaces are Navy Blue. You will get some relief if you’re building full hull with the red anti-fouling and black boot topping, as even the aircraft are in a light blue/blue grey and white scheme. Conclusion As with the USS New York release this is Trumpeter at their best, mixing superb detail and moulding with some shocking inaccuracy with the hull. They really do have a problem when it comes to researching ships hulls as they rarely get the details right, even if the length and breadth is correct. That said, if you’re not a stickler for absolute accuracy this will build into an impressive model, after all, most people who will see it won’t know what’s wrong with it. So, for buildability and modelling enjoyment, alone, I can still quite happily recommend it. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  3. Soviet 122mm Howitzer M1938 (M-30) Trumpeter 1:35 History The 122 mm Howitzer M1938 (M-30) field guns were designed by F. F. Petrov of the design bureau of Motovilikha Plants in the late 1930s to replace the recently modernized 122-millimeter howitzers in the Russian arsenal that were of pre-WW1 designs. The design was accepted in Sep 1939 after defeating rival designs. The design addressed the shortcomings of the WW1-era predecessors directly: their advanced split trail carriages with leaf spring suspension systems and rubber tires greatly improved the towing capabilities, while the longer barrel increased the effective range. Mass production began in 1940 at Plant No. 9 in Sverdlovsk and after 1940 also in Plant No. 92 in Gorky, both in Russia. Barrels of this design were mounted on T-34 hulls to create the SU-122 self-propelled assault guns. Marshal G. F. Odintsov commented “Nothing can be better" after witnessing firing practices involving these guns. When Germany invaded Russia in Jun 1941, 1,667 122 mm M1938 field guns were in service, which was still a minority within the Russian forces. However, increased production meant that by 1943 they would become the most numerous howitzers of the Russian Army. They were mainly used as indirect fire weapons against troop concentrations and field fortifications, though when necessary they also fired directly against advancing German tanks after high explosive anti-tank shells were developed in 1943. A number of these guns were captured by the Germans, who pressed them into service with the designation 12.2 cm s.F.H.396® heavy howitzers. Finnish forces captured 41 guns of this type and employed them under the designation 122 H 38; Finnish troops reported great liking to these guns, and kept them in service until the mid-1980s. After WW2, Russia supplied 122 mm Howitzer M1938 (M-30) field guns to friendly nations such as Egypt and Syria. Communist China's Type 54 howitzers were reportedly a development of the M-30 design given to them by Russia. Between 1940 and 1945, a total of 17,526 122 mm M-30 field guns were built. An additional 1,740 were built between 1946 and 1955; bringing the grand total to 19,266. The Model With the massively increasing range of Soviet tanks well in the process of taking over the modelling world, Trumpeter are now doing the same with their increased production of Soviet artillery pieces. Although the kit comes in quite a small box, with a nice artists impression of the howitzer being readied for firing on the lid, it is packed with styrene. There are six sprues of light grey styrene, two separate trails, two sheets of etched brass, a metal barrel, four rubber tyres and small part, pressed from brass sheet and a small decal sheet. What is nice about this kit is that, although you don’t get any crew, you do get a nice limber included, that will be of great use within a diorama. As is typical of Trumpeter kits, the parts are all beautifully moulded, with no signs of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips and inserts that need to be removed and the areas cleaned up. The instructions are clearly laid out, although there are a couple of parts positioning that could be clearer, so take care when reading them. Construction begins with the assembly of the breech, which is made up from two halves, between which is the internal rear section of the barrel. The two halves of the breech section are moulded complete with the elevation gear, recuperator and buffer tubes, which not only reduces parts count but gives the modeller some awkward seams to sort out, so not necessarily a good thing, although the top mounted tube is covered for the most part by a PE part folded to fit. To the breech assembly several PE parts are added, some of which require careful bending to shape, for which there is a scrap side view showing how they should look. The breech cover and opening handle are added to the rear, along with the breech hinge. To the front of the section the slide cover is added, as are a couple of brackets. The two trunnion mounts are now fitted with their respective clamps for the elevation tubes and fitted, unglued, to the breech assembly with the rotating elevation gear axle sandwiched between them so that it meshes with the breech mounted elevation gear. The sight and controls mounted on the left hand side of the breech section is made up of no less than sixteen parts, most of which are very small, so will some fine tweezers and a steady hand. The small amount of traverse is controlled by a wheel, also on the left hand side, fitted just beneath the sight. The pinion mount is then attached to the underside of het breech section, along with a bracket and the travel lock pin. Each of the elevation shafts are mounted inside the two tubes, which are then fitted with end caps. The two tubes bases are then fitted into the clamp on the trunnion mounts with the movable top section attached to the sides the breech section, just forward of the breech itself. Trumpeter have produced a very nice slide moulded barrel for this kit, but for some, very pleasant reason, have also included a metal barrel, with the front section showing the nice rifling, so it’s up to the modeller which they use. If you do use the metal barrel, then you will need to fit it with the separate locating collar that is also been slide moulded. The upper section of the gun shield is a single piece unit, to which the various strengthening strips are added, along with the sighting door, two lower shield sections and storage box are attached. The left hand shield support is fitted with three PE parts and a styrene part to create a storage box and mounting bracket. Before fitting the gun shield, the six piece elevation gearbox and hand wheel are fitted to the right hand side trunnion mount. With the shield in place it is then fitted with a separate part, made of brass sheet, which is the sliding section of the shield, allowing the gun to be elevated. This brass part is fitted with four very small styrene bolt heads and attached to the barrel by two PE brackets. Each of the two wheels is made up of two halves, plus the central hub, the inner half is fitted with a rolled PE rim. With the two halves and hub joined together the outer half is fitted with three PE parts, including the tyre inflation valve and a couple of small brackets. The rubber/vinyl tyres are then slipped onto the rims and the brake drums attached. Note that the brake drums differ between right and left sides. The pinion mount, which also includes the axles and trail hinge pins is made up form ten parts, to which the leaf spring and its clamps are attached. Each to the two trails is fitted out with various items of kit, such as the gun cleaning rods, tool boxes, pioneer tools, end spade plates and the towing hitch which is fitted to the right hand trail, and can be fitted in firing or travelling positions. The trails are then fitted to their respective hinge points with the aid of a separate bottom section which clamps the two pins together. The wheels are then mounted to the axles and the trail handles are attached, these allow the trails to be folded or spread and can be fitted in either stowed or in use positions. The completed gun assembly is then fitted to the carriage assembly via the pinion hole. Another nice addition to the kit is two shell crates. Each crate is made up of nine parts, ten if you include the lid, and can be fitted out with two separate shells and two charge bags. Naturally, in a diorama these can be shown either closed up or open, full or empty, the choice is yours. The provision of the limber is a nice touch, the main box of which is made up from six parts including the internal divisions, and with the PE shelves it makes up into a nice representation, only once with the top fitted, nothing of the detail will be seen, so some research will be required on how the limber opens up. Turning the box section upside down, the suspension mounts are attached, along with the fixed part of the towing arm and the limber support, which can be posed stowed or propped positions. With the limber still upside down the leaf springs and axle are attached, along with two three piece footsteps and a storage box. Turning the limber right side up the slatted seat base is fitted, as are the seat back and shell carrier. Three pioneer tools are fitted to the limber sides and the towing hitch to the limbers rear panel. To finish the top the rear rail and two side mounted hand rails are fitted. The two wheels are made up form inner and outer hubs onto which the vinyl tyres are slipped on, after which the wheels are fitted to the axle. The limber is finished off with the fitting of the extendable towing arm, positioning pin, towing eye and pin, and the towing beam which is fitted to whichever vehicle you choose to tow the finished article. There is an alternative beam for use with a horse which would be an interesting sight in a diorama. For additional diorama addition is the inclusion of a bucket complete with separate handle. The small decal sheet contains just a pair of serial numbers and the firing chart. Conclusion As mentioned above, Trumpeters towed gun and howitzer range is growing at quite a considerable rate, and this release is a superb addition to the range. The provision of the limber, shell boxes and even the bucket means that this will make into a very interesting model. A bit of extra research will be required, and hopefully trumpeter will release a nice gun crew for it, which will be the icing for this very nice cake. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  4. T-10M Heavy Tank 1:35

    T-10M Heavy Tank 1:35 Trumpeter This monster was one of the last hurrahs of the heavy tank in Soviet service, partially to counter the immediate post-war projects from the Allies such as the British Conqueror and the American M103, but also because Soviet military doctrine was slow to change from WWII, even though the slow-moving heavies had trouble keeping up with the advance toward Germany. It was based roughly on the earlier IS-3 with a longer hull, more road-wheels and a larger gun and turret. To carry the extra weight of the armour and armament, the diesel engine was uprated to keep performance on a par, and the new 122mm gun benefitted from a fume extractor (or rather the crew did). After the initial version was introduced in the early 50s, stabilisation for the gun was added one plane at a time, and the M variant gained a slotted muzzle brake to counter recoil of the new main gun, and a new coaxially mounted machine gun instead of the unwieldy 14.5mm coax fitted to earlier versions. Infra-red optics and NBC protection were also added to keep pace with the perceived threats of the time. Faster, better armoured medium tanks that became Main Battle Tanks were showing their abilities in the minor skirmishes on the periphery of Soviet influence, which sounded the death knell of the heavy tank in the late 60s, although it took a long time to completely draw down stocks. The Kit Trumpeter are flooding the market with Soviet armour at the moment, including some of the less well-known types, which is great news for the armour builder, especially those that enjoy the quirky practicality that typifies their design ethos. It is noteworthy that a sticker has been added to the front of the instruction booklet thanking a Mr. Krill Koksharov from Chelyabinsk for his assistance with this project with measurement and drawing data. The kit arrives in a fairly standard Trumpeter box, with lots of individually bagged sprues of varying sizes within. There are sixteen sprues and two hull parts in mid-grey styrene, ten sprues in brown, three sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two lengths of braided copper wire, a decal sheet, the instruction booklet and a separate colour painting and marking guide with three decal options. First impressions are seldom anything less than good with Trumpeter armour, and this kit is rather well appointed in terms of detail, with only a metal barrel lacking. There doesn't yet seem to be one available, but you're looking for an M-62-T2 L/46, and you'll not have to wait too long, I'm sure. It's surprising the size of the hull, which you can test-fit together without any other parts, and although it is a large hull, the height isn't. It's the lower hull where the action starts with the addition of the suspension bump-stops, final drive housing and the bearing housings for the torsion bar suspension. The keyed swing-arms are next, with three per side having additional parts added, leaving four per side unadulterated. There are also sponson liners added to the hull sides, which I haven't seen in a new kit for quite a while. They slot into holes in the lower hull and have a raised line running their entire length. Thirty two road wheels are built up in pairs, and all have a nice cast texture on their surface, which is attention to detail that is good to see. Six return rollers are made up and installed on the return run, and the toothed drive sprockets are made up from two parts and added to the final drive axle. detail- The tracks are of the individual link type, and there are ten sprues of eighteen links from which the instructions advise you to make up runs of eighty eight links per side. The links have four sprue-gates each, but no ejector pin marks, and fit tightly together in a "sort-of" click-fit way, but they will need gluing to fit properly. Your best option is to build up a length of 88 links and quickly glue them using liquid glue. Then you can drape them around the road wheels and pack them into place to give the correct sag to the upper length, which was quite substantial. A little tape here and there should keep the links together while the glue sets up. The turret is made of upper and lower halves, and the upper has a nice cast texture moulded-in that should look good under paint. There is no breech detail added, just a simple T-shaped gun-mount, and an optional rear stowage bustle, which requires two slots in the rear of the turret opening up to accept the mating tabs. The gun mantlet fits to the mount, and the barrel of the KPVT coax 14.5mm machine gun projects from the right side. Various vision blocks, periscopes and of course a searchlight are added to the front of the turret, and the commander's cupola is built up and installed alongside the more simple gunner's hatch. A slide-moulded stowage box is added to the right of the turret, and held in place by PE straps. The barrel is split vertically along its length, with the seamline continuing through the muzzle brake, which has a two-part collar added at its base before being inserted into the mantlet. The lower hull is ostensibly complete, and is decked out with towing cable using the copper wire and styrene eyes, light clusters front and rear along with protective cages that are very well-moulded from a number of parts, and of course the driver's hatch. The inner flanges of the front fenders are added along with a couple of sections of deep wading upstands, with PE mudflap parts fitted to the front. The rear deck has a small flat section that is supplied as an insert, and this is covered with a total of four slide-moulded fuel-canisters, which are tied down by more PE straps. More stowage is added to the front and rear, with slide-moulding again reducing the part count and increasing detail, while the louvers in the deck are covered with fine PE grilles. Before the upper and lower hulls are mated, an unditching log is added to the right side of the hull, and held in place with PE tie-downs. The surface of the log is quite well done, but you might consider a little more distressing of it while you are removing the moulding seams. The turret-mounted DShK.M is quite a focus on the finished model, and is built up from a larger number of parts and has a slide-moulded muzzle that has been very nicely done. The mount closes up around the gun's detailed breech, and a choice of either styrene or PE ammo cans are provided, allowing an open can with ammo protruding if you go down the PE route. The final act involves adding the turret and twisting it to lock it in place on a bayonet mechanism, gluing the base of the DShK.M to the gunner's hatch front, and adding a pair of triangular panels to the front of the glacis plate. Markings As usual, it's Soviet green all the way for this deep Cold War warrior, with only a few differences between the marking options. From the box you can build one of the following: Soviet green with white stripes up the sides of the turret/hull and one leading back from the mantlet. Soviet green with red/yellow badge motif on the turret sides. Soviet green with white 202 on the turret sides, plus turret bustle stowage installed. The decals are fine, and consist almost totally of while turret codes to give you some additional options if you wanted to build a particular machine. Registration is a little squiffy on the wreath and red flag badge, but they are so small it probably won't notice under a little weathering. Conclusion The sheer size of Cold War heavy tanks is only really brought home by standing with them at 1:1, but this should dwarf your Shermans and Panzer IIIs. It's a well-detailed kit, but as always with the decal options you're left wondering which unit and era you are assigning your model to. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  5. Soviet 1K17 Szhatie 1:35

    Soviet 1K17 Szhatie 1:35 Trumpeter This one is truly from the Buck Rogers side of things, as it is a laser tank. I kid you not. It was a dead-end development by the Soviet bloc in the 1970s and 1980s that rides on the chassis of the 2S19 Msta 152mm self-propelled Howitzer, which is in turn based on a combination of a T-80 hull and a T-72's diesel engine, making the Szhatie a true mongrel. It was cancelled due to the immaturity of laser technology and the sheer cost of producing the laser units. Each one used a reflective spiral and a huge quantity of artificial rubies to focus the beam with enough energy to disable either incoming missiles, or enemy vehicles. Once the West found out about it, they assigned the code Stiletto, but on the collapse of the Soviet Union the project was abandoned with only two prototypes having been constructed. One was scrapped, and the other sent to a museum bereft of its expensive laser units. Twelve lasers were housed in the box-shaped turret, and their power was derived from an auxiliary generator as well as from a bank of batteries. For close-in work it was equipped with a turret mounted NSV machine-gun next to the top hatch. The Kit With the Msta already kitted by Trumpeter it makes sense to reuse the chassis component of the kit, and if you know Trumpeter, they are always ready to reap the benefits of reducing tooling outlay. With only two ever built, it was probably the only way it was going to happen, and that's got to be a good thing. The Szhatie (which means "Compression", or "pressure" in Russian) is an unusual vehicle, and on first look you would think it some kind of Multi-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) or missile launcher, but with the lens caps opened the reddish hue of the lenses gives more of a clue. The box is standard Trumpeter with a small divider glued inside to protect the hull and turret parts. There are fourteen sprues plus two hull and one turret part in mid-grey styrene, four sprues in brown for the tracks, a clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a length of braided wire, decal sheet and of course the instruction booklet with separate painting guide on glossy A4. The lower hull, suspension and drive units are constructed first, with a number of steps due to their complexity, after which the rear bulkhead and three part road wheels are added. The drive sprocket is made of three parts, and the idler wheel two, and these are added to the final drive housing and track adjustment axle respectively, while the self-entrenching tool slides into rails on the underside of the glacis plate. The upper hull is detailed with hatches, vision blocks, shackles and tie-downs, after which the fording bow-wave deflector, light-clusters and PE mesh grille covers on the engine deck are glued in place. The hull is joined together, while the fenders and side-skirts are built up as separate assemblies complete with copious storage boxes of various shapes. There is another pair of grilles added to the very rear of the vehicle overhanging the rear of the bulkhead above the two-part unditching log that is carried on two circular mounts. The fenders are added after the tracks have been created, using the supplied jigs that take up one side of each track sprue. The links are individual and have three sprue gates each that are placed on the link edges, so pretty easy to clean up. I've constructed a few as a test of the process, and the centre section is a definite weak point during clean-up, so watch how you go. Gluing the tracks together is also a bit of a delicate operation, as if you flood the links they will stick to the jig, which is of course made from the same material. The separate guide-horns are mated along a small surface, and it is important that you have a flat spot where they meet, or they will not sit well. Once glued they remain malleable for a period, so you'll need to wrap them round the wheels while they're still flexible and hold them in place with tape and packing until they set up. The turret is based on that of the Msta-S, so there is a degree of common parts, and there's even an unused barrel on one of the shared sprues. The turret body is different in shape and number of hatches, and where there was a mantlet on the other kit, there is box containing the lenses projecting forward from the turret. Additional skin parts are added to the turret's body, and the lenses are added from inside their surround in two rows of six and one with four additional lenses of various sizes. Separate covers are supplied for the banks of six that can be left open or closed, but the smaller row in the centre aren't shown in any state but closed. The 12.7mm NSV machine-gun and mount are built up on the front section of the circular hatch, with ammo box and searchlight on either side. Various grab handles are added all over the turret, as are the smoke dischargers, after which the turret is placed loosely on the hull ring. Markings Only one markings choice has been included with the kit, which is a green/sand/black camouflage similar to the NATO scheme. Almost all pictures show it in this colour, although there are couple online that show a single colour scheme that is likely Russian Green. The decal sheet contains a host of generic serials in white and red, with the actual 827 codes worn by the museum example printed as separate decals. The CCCP wreath & flag are also printed, but don't appear to be used in the scheme, all of which leaves the "what-if" potential wide open. Conclusion A niche subject that has come to pass because of the pre-existing Msta kit from Trumpeter's range. It's an unusual beast that will look good in your cabinet, and you'll need to think how best to portray those pink/red lenses best. I'd also give some thought to replacing the tracks with aftermarket items that are a little stronger, but that's perhaps down to my ham-fistedness or lack of skill. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  6. Mk.A Whippet Medium Tank 1:35

    Mk.A Whippet Medium Tank 1:35 Takom Arriving in 1917, the Whippet was engineered to complement the new heavy tanks that were making inroads into the German lines, on the basis that the faster, lighter tanks could exploit the openings made by the Mark IVs and Vs. They were equipped with two engines and whether this is a coincidence or not, had double the speed over the field than the heavies, at an eye-watering 8mph. Armed with a quartet of Hotchkiss .303 machine guns shared between the commander and gunner, they could technically cover all-round, but this involved a lot of multi-tasking and hot-seating, which must have been difficult within the cramped crew compartment, which was at the rear of the vehicle. The engines were set in the centre of the hull, with the fuel at the front in an armoured tank, which although exposed to enemy fire meant that there was a safety margin between the conflagration and the crew if it was hit. The Whippet's abilities were demonstrated well, even though it was late to the fray, but losses were quite high. There are a number of stories of derring-do by Whippet crews that demonstrate the British fighting spirit of the time as much as the tank's abilities, although it was of course vulnerable to shell fire due to the lack of heavy armour. After the war some were exported to Russia and Japan, and one even turned up in Germany as a mount for the Freikorps. The exported vehicles were reputed to still be in service in the 1930s. The Kit It's a long time since we've had a new kit of the Whippet in this scale, the only other being the old Emhar kit, which is fine as far as it goes, but suffers from "horrible track" syndrome and old-age. This is a complete new-tooling from Takom, following on from their Mark IV and Mark IV Tadpole kits that we reviewed recently. It carries on in the same vein providing a full exterior but no interior, and individual click-together track links, which should please most folks. It arrives in a slightly smaller box than the other kits, as you'd expect, and under the lid are seven sprues in mid-grey styrene, a small Photo-Etch (PE) brass fret, a bag of styrene track links in a mid-brown colour, small decal sheet, instruction booklet, and a separate concertina-fold painting & markings booklet that has been produced by Mig's AMMO for Takom. There is also a limited edition of 2025 boxes that includes a resin figure of a Japanese soldier saluting, a small sprue of Japanese machine guns, and some suitable decals. Where you'd get those from though, I have no idea, as the text around the pictorial information is all in Chinese/Japanese (I'm sorry I don't know the difference). As you'd expect the build begins with the running gear, which consists of a run of sixteen pairs of small wheels of four types, idler wheels and drive sprockets. The road wheels are built from two wheels with a short axle in between, while the rest are two-parts each. You will need to keep a watchful eye on each type to keep them separate during construction, and add them to the inner sponson part carefully, to ensure they're in the correct positions. They are glued in place, and are then joined by mud-shedding panels and the internal bulkheads top and bottom, plus a quartet of return rollers that are again paired wheels on a short axle. Before the glue sets on this assembly, you'd be wise to test-fit the outer sponson wall, as it will make any adjustments easier down the line. At this stage only the idler and drive sprocket will still spin in the sponson if you've been careful with the glue. The instructions then tell you to add ten small j-shaped hooks to the sides, but I'd leave those 'til later in case they get bent or lost. The same process is repeated in mirror image for the other side, with both hull sides having a line of track-grousers added, plus the engine louvers and exhausts for the engines. The floor panel and fuel tank are built up next, and added between the inner walls of the sponsons along with a rear armoured bulkhead panel. The angled roof on the engine compartment and the asymmetric lower plate for the superstructure are glued on, followed by the bulged port wall to the crew compartment and the rear deck. The Hotchkiss MGs and their ball mounts are fitted to the sides of the crew compartment, and another fits to a small panel in the front, while the final mount is in the rear crew door, which seems a little ungainly if you are trying to exit in a hurry. The roof is added with an angled section at the front, a crew hatch on the top, and a PE strip along a prominent join, with the whole assembly placed on the top, closing the empty interior save for the rear door that can be posed open or closed. Two open-topped stowage compartments are attached to the rear corners of the hull, with PE bracing wires added to an eye bolted to the hull. The final act of construction (sounds a little religious!) is the making up of the track runs and fixing them to the hull. Each link has the tail of a sprue gate on the raised edge, which should be easy to remove cleanly, and a single ejector pin mark in the centre of the inside surface. Unless you are modelling your Whippet in a "tracks peeled-back" diorama state, you'll not need to remove these as they won't be seen. Happy days! Once you realise that the styrene is quite flexible they go together quickly, but take your time and don't force it. Markings Takom are usually quite generous with their decal options, and this kit is no exception, having a rather impressive eight in total, or nine in the special boxing. There are four British options with a variation on overall green with red/white identification stripes, while the Russian tanks are plain green with the appropriate symbols. The captured "beutepanzer" wears a three colour scheme, and the Freikorps a plain grey. From the box you can build one of the following: British Whippet A321 near Acheiet-le-petit France, Aug 1918. British Whippet A326 Biefvillers France, Aug 1918. British Whippet A347 "Firefly" 6th Battalion Tank Corps. B Company, Amiens France, Aug 1918. British Whippet A378 "Golikell" Irish Civil War, Dublin, Jan 1919. German Beutepanzer A Repair No. 111 at Lieu-Saint-Armand training ground of the 17th Army, Sept 1918. German Whippet in Freikorps service, Berlin, Jan 1919. Russian Whippet in Red Army Service, 1920. Russian Whippet in 2nd Tank Platoon White Army Service, 1920. There is also the Japanese option if you're one of the lucky ones, but other than the code A3390, and a serial of 4637 the rest is unintelligible to this reviewer. The decals are printed in-house, have good register, colour density and sharpness, with a thin, matt carrier film cut closely to the decal edges where possible. Based on past experience with Takom decals they should go down just fine. Conclusion It's a welcome release to any WWI modeller, which gives you all you need in the box, save for an interior that some might look out for from the aftermarket folks. The individual tracks are a huge positive because these old clunkers really did have an exaggerated faceted effect round the track ends, so rubber bands just wouldn't have cut it. The detail on the skin is good, and a lot of care has gone into the design to make it simple to construct. Perhaps this might make a good introduction to the joys of WWI armour modelling if you've ever been tempted by their quirkiness? Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  7. Skoda PA-II Turtle 1:35

    Skoda PA-II Turtle 1:35 Takom This unusual looking inter-war four wheel drive armoured car was part of the Czechoslovak republic's development of an armoured car that would be used by the Czechoslovakian army, although this offshoot didn't do too well, and was used mainly by the Czechoslovakian police, and the Germans who pinched some when they marched in. The original PA-I was an angular beast, but had the same two drivers and ability to be driven just as well in forward or reverse. In fact, looking at the vehicle it is difficult to tell one end from another. The second version was an attempt to gain more room within the vehicle and keep the weight low, so it was fashioned from 5mm steel by panel beaters, which resulted in an organic look to the shell. It was bolted to the same chassis as the I using an angle-iron frame, and had four Schwarzlose machine guns with over 6,000 rounds on board, manned by two gunners. The final crew member was the commander, who had a little hatch in the roof through which he could pop out to direct operations. It must have been very cramped and hot in there with five men plus a large Praga RHP 6 litre engine dragging round the seven ton bulk of the vehicle. The Czechoslovakian army were unimpressed by the finished article, as although it had four-wheel drive, it had unsuitable suspension, low ground-clearance, and its wheels were thin and poorly suited to off-road driving. Add a top speed of just over 40mph on good roads, and they turned up their noses. The Czechoslovakian police had a few on strength, and the remaining few were soaked up by the army some years later – probably at a much reduced price too! When the Nazis arrived, they took a number of them, removed the guns and added a radio antennae "bed-frame" above the roof, with a three-man crew, which allegedly continued in service to the end of WWII. The Kit Previously only available in resin at this scale, the Turtle is an interesting organically shaped armoured car, and I was pleased when Takom announced its impending release, as I've wanted one for a while. It arrives in a small glossy box with its subject matter on the top, sporting a Czechoslovakian flag, and all the guns pointing skywards, presumably under the weight of their breeches. Inside are four sprues of grey styrene, a grey body shell, four rubbery wheels in black, a small clear sprue, decal sheet, instruction booklet in black & white, and of course the painting and markings booklet, which is in full colour and folds out to quite a width! The moulding of the body shell is super, although you'll need to scrape off a couple of seamlines around the body where the sliding mould components met, but that's the work of moments. There's no interior and no opening crew doors, but the top hatch can be left open by adjusting the hinges accordingly. The four sprues are actually two that are repeated, as the vehicle is so symmetrical that it is difficult to tell one end from the other, apart from a moulded-in hatch on the driver's area and small protuberance from the bonnet/hood area. It is a simple model and shouldn't take long to construct, especially compared to how long it'll take to mask off all those camouflage schemes! Construction begins with the transmission and suspension units, which are as you'd expect for the era, with rather skinny looking leaf springs. You make two of these assemblies, which are mated to half of the floor pan along with the swept ends of the chassis rail, before they are joined in the middle, such is the extent of the symmetry. There are mating tabs strengthening the joint, and three beams are added laterally, one of which runs across the seamline, so things should stay where they are, on balance. The wheels are added to each corner by way of the aforementioned rubberised styrene tyres that are sandwiched between the outer and inner hub parts, the inner one having an axle stub inserted before gluing so that the wheels will rotate once completed. Attention then shifts to the upper body, which is made up from four quadrants to form the cylindrical crew section that blends into the body. Four cups are added for the guns, which are made up from two parts with a ball-mount at one end, and the gun's muzzle at the other. The muzzle is not hollow, so get your mini-drills at the ready. The guns are just glued in place, so choose how you'd like to set them up, as they won't be moving once the glue sets. If you are modelling one of the German operated vehicles, the guns should be cut from the ball-mount and the centre hollowed out with a drill to show where they should slot in. The two hatches on the roof are hinged toward the centre of the "roof" under an armoured dome cover, and these are dropped in place and glued down unless you fancy altering them to have one or both lifted for crew figures. The light clusters are added to each end with clear lenses, an optional domed cover, and a single centre-mounted towing eye. The top and main body are then glued together, taking care to align everything to minimise seam filling, and the body is then flipped over to add the wheel-arch inner covers to prevent a see-through body. The chassis and body can then be clipped together, the body being held at the right height by ledges on the inner faces of the wheel well parts. If you are modelling the German variant with the armament removed, there is a bed-frame aerial assembly to add to the roof of the vehicle, although there is at least one picture I have seen where this isn't present, so it's up to you. That's it! You're done. Now to paint and weather the thing, which might take a little longer, depending on your markings choice. Markings Once you have opened the paper concertina that is the painting guide, you are presented with five markings choices, most of which are of the "crazy paving" school of camouflage. Only the German vehicle is in Panzer Grey, which I'm suspecting will result in a lot of German ones on the tables at shows! From the box you can build one of the following: Police HQ Moravska Ostrava, 1937 – five colour crazy paving scheme. Training Squadron of armoural (sic) cars, Milovice, 1932 - five colour crazy paving scheme, with larger patches. Assault Vehicles Regiment, Milovice 1925-1932 - five colour crazy paving scheme, largest patches. Assault Vehicle Regiment, Milovice, 1925-32 - five colour splinter scheme. Panzerspahwagen Skoda PA II (Fu) 4Rad, French Campaign, May 1940 – all over Panzer Grey. The camouflaged options have sand, grey, light khaki green and brown patches, and all bar the splinter pattern have dark green "grout" between each colour patch. It does lend itself to brush-painting, although it could also be done using very thin sausages of Blutak or similar. The decals are on a small sheet and have good register, colour density and sharpness, and a nice thin matt finish on the carrier film. You even get a couple of undocumented Czechoslovakian flags in case you feel like replicating the scene on the box top. Conclusion A great little kit of a horrifically weird-looking armoured car that I wouldn't have set foot in if you'd paid me! It's simple, so as long as you don't approach it expecting wonders such as interiors and opening body panels, you'll be fine. It'll certainly be an interesting talking point when it's on display. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  8. It's been quite a while since I've built a model, mainly due to chronic back pain and depression. But having reviewed this kit HERE, I felt a spark of interest, so today I've broken the tools and paints out and sorted out the modelling table ready to go. I also thought I'd do a WIP and build review while I'm at it. Gratuitous box shot.
  9. Roden news | 22.8.15

    Also new in this week are the latest releases from RODEN in Ukraine. In 1/48th scale is the Heinkel He 51, B.1 (code URO-452), and for Great War modellers a super release in 1/72nd scale of the FWD 4x4 B-type 3-tonner (code URO-733), an excellent addition to the WWI modelling scene. Order from your model shop. He 51 http://www.pocketbond.co.uk/Product.aspx?ID=4669 FWD http://www.pocketbond.co.uk/Product.aspx?ID=4670
  10. Takom news | 22.8.15

    It has been a busy week with lots of new models arriving! First up, from TAKOM, the Whippet WWI tank (1/35 scale, code TAK02025) and 21cm Mörser 10/16 made by Krupp as used by Germany in WWI and WWII (1/35 scale, code TAK02032). The Krupp artillery piece can be built two ways, with optional pedrail wheels and optional long & short gun barrels. Takom's new type of pre-cut track links are included with the Whippet. Takom Whippet http://www.pocketbond.co.uk/Product.aspx?ID=4614 Takom 21cm Mörser 10/16 http://www.pocketbond.co.uk/Product.aspx?ID=4615 See separate post for the Roden news!
  11. T-62 Mod 1975 with Mine Plow 1:35 Trumpeter Intended as a replacement for the T-55 in the early 60s, the T-62 was an evolution of its forebear, with an uprated 115mm smooth-bore cannon that could fire kinetic penetrator rounds, a new larger turret and ring, which in itself required a re-designed larger hull. Additional armour was incorporated in the re-design, but this was concentrated in the upper hull at the expense of the lower hull and roof area. Once in service the tank underwent a seemingly endless upgrade process, of which the Mod.1975 was one that had a laser range-finder fitted to the roof of the turret in an armoured box as well as other modifications from earlier changes. It was successful in the export market too, with many friends of the Soviet Union using them to this day. The later T-62M is still in service with the Russian army, although it has a very different look to it than the early variants. The Kit The range of T-62s from Trumpeter just keeps on getting larger, and there are plenty more to go if they are going to make the most of the basic tooling, because there were a lot of variants, especially if you include the overseas operators. The box is standard for Trumpeter, and inside is a small divider to keep the hull and some smaller parts safe, and the following: Lower hull 10 sprues in mid grey styrene 7 sprues in mid brown styrene 4 sprues in black styrene 1 clear sprue 2 Photo-Etch (PE) sheets Metal barrel Braided copper wire Decal sheet Instruction booklet Colour painting & decaling guide It's quite a full box as a consequence, and a well-rounded package with separate black styrene tyres for the road wheels, a metal barrel, PE and towing cables adding value. Detail is very good, and the casting texture on the turret is nicely done. The mine plow (sic) gives it a little variance from other marks too, and the inclusion of individual links adds realism to the track runs, although I fully appreciate that not everyone likes them. The build begins with the road wheels, which are supplied with separate black styrene tyres, which you can paint separately if you're so inclined, and even leave black if you're going for a parade ground or factory fresh finish. Each wheel is paired with another plus a central cap, with a total of ten made up of two types. The idler wheels are made up from two opposing crown-shaped parts, and the drive sprocket is three parts, which of course you make two of. The lower hull is complete save for the rear bulkhead, which has a couple of holes reamed out for small parts before being attached to the hull. Swing-arms, dampers and final drive housings are added, and the lower glacis plate is skinned with a detail panel that has the mounts for the plough moulded-in, the bolts protruding from which must be cut off to accommodate the mount later on. The wheels are glued in place on the axle stubs, and the tracks can then be made up from 97 links per side if the pictorial representation is accurate. Each link is separate and held on the brown sprues with three sprue gates, which are all placed on the curved edges of the tracks for ease of clean-up and hiding of any mistakes. Use liquid glue to make up a run, then drape them round the wheels while the glue is still soft, holding the runs in place using tape or compressible foam to get the correct sag so the track touches the tops of some of the road wheels and not others. In-service machines seem to exhibit this configuration, but museum articles are often seen with poorly adjusted tracks that are either too tight and don't touch any/many of the roadwheels, or far too loose with noticeable sags. At this stage an unditching is added to the rear, with the aft segment of the final drive housing placed beneath. The top deck is a large part consisting of the glacis plate, driver's hatch deck, turret ring, and the sides of the engine deck, which needs a few holes poking through from underneath before you start covering it with detail. Personally I'd add the main parts of the deck to the lower hull before doing most of the detailing work. But the instructions would have you adding the hatch, light clusters, grab handles, bow-wave deflector etc. beforehand, then adding the engine deck panels with their PE grilles after. They also show the fenders being detailed before installation with stowage, but as these items are quite robust they should stand up to handling. They attach to the hull via a pair of long tabs and slots on the sides. At the rear are two external fuel drums that consist of four parts each and are supported by two curved brackets that slot into holes in the rear bulkhead, plus two towing cables made up from the braided wire and styrene eyes draped around the rear and front decks. The turret is next, and this builds up in the usual manner with top and bottom halves joined early on, and no breech detail included. Hatches, vision blocks, grab rails the obligatory searchlights and sensors are added, along with a rear mounted deep wading tube stowed on the bustle. The gun is then built up from either the turned aluminium barrel plus some small PE and styrene adornment, or a three stage styrene barrel, the end of which is a single part to give a hollow muzzle. Whichever you choose, you can then also choose to have a canvas covered mantlet or a bare one by swapping parts, after which the multi-part laser range-finder box is mounted to the mantlet shroud and plugs into a hole in the top of the turret next to the largest of the searchlights so typical of Cold War tanks. The turret is a drop-fit onto the ring, so take the usual precautions when handling, or glue it in place. The mine plow/plough is a complex assembly that uses up quite a few parts, and is actually a pair of handed assemblies, one for each track-path. With careful use of glue you can leave it capable of movement, or take the easy way out and glue it in position. The assemblies fix to the lower glacis plate on the two rows of raised bolts you shaved the heads off earlier in the build. I'd consider pinning them in position with brass rod, as the contact patch doesn't inspire confidence to carry the weight or resist much handling. Markings Russian green is about all you need to know for this kit, as that's all that is shown on the colour markings guide. No decals are shown on the guide, but there is a sheet of serials in white and Soviet/Russian badges in yellow and red for you to use after doing a bit of research on an individual machine, or picking a number you like. I find that a little lazy, as there are plenty of interesting schemes out there, but in the age of the internet it's not difficult to pull down reams of photos at the click of a button. I'd have preferred there to be an easy option though, and citing of a few specific schemes and vehicles would have been better. The decals are nicely done though, with good register, a dense white, and closely cropped glossy carrier film. Conclusion The mine-plough equipped T-62 has a rather aggressive look that is appealing to this reviewer, and overall the kit has good detail, a comprehensive package that lacks only some decent decal subjects. I like Trumpeter armour for those reasons, and they have a generally good reputation in 1:35. Highly recommended. Go and research some paint schemes while you wait for it to arrive though. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  12. 128mm Flak 40 Zwilling. 1:35

    128mm Flak 40 Zwilling Takom 1:35 History The 12.8 cm, (128mm if using si units), FlaK 40 was a German anti-aircraft gun used in World War II. Although it was not produced in great numbers, it was one of the most effective heavy AA guns of its era. Development of the gun began in 1936, with the contract being awarded to Rheinmetall Borsig; the first prototype gun was delivered for testing in late 1937 and completed testing successfully. The gun weighed nearly 12 tonnes in its firing position, with the result that its barrel had to be removed for transport. Limited service testing showed this was impractical, so in 1938 other solutions were considered. The eventual solution was to simplify the firing platform, based on the assumption it would always be securely bolted into concrete. The total weight of the system reached 26.5 tonnes, making it practically impossible to tow cross-country. In the end this mattered little, since by the time the gun entered production in 1942, it was used in primary static defensive applications. There were four twin mounts on the fortified anti-aircraft Zoo Tower, and they were also on other flak towers protecting Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna. Approximately 200 were mounted on railcars, providing limited mobility. The gun fired a 27.9 kg (57.2-pound) shell at 880 m/s (2,890 ft/s) to a maximum ceiling of 14,800 m (48,556 ft). Compared with the 88mm FlaK 18 & 36, the 128mm used a powder charge four times as great which resulted in a shell flight time only one-third as long. This meant that it could be used more accurately against fast moving targets. The Model Whilst it is great to see this kit released, I do feel for the resin manufacturers who seem to be having the rug pulled from under them by the injection moulding companies, in that subjects that would normally only be produced in resin are now being picked up to be produced in styrene. Its a great time for the modeller, but I still feel for the cottage industry that has served us well for many years. Still, its a kit Ive always fancied and now we have one that is not only easily accessible, but relatively cheap. The kit comes in quite a large portrait orientated box with an atmospheric depiction of the guns in a night setting. Inside, there are six sprues of light grey styrene, a separate base and turntable, a small sheet of etched bras and a small decal sheet. As there are two guns, the sprues that contain them have been doubled up and the build sequence is the same for both. All the parts are well moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections and only a few moulding pips. The kit has been designed so that any ejection pin marks are on the insides/undersides so there is little additional clean up required other than for the sprue gates. The instructions are very clear and easy to read, in fact they have to some of the clearest instructions Ive seen in a while. Construction begins with the first of the two guns, in particular the slide, which comes in four parts, left and right halves, top panel and a small crosspiece. To this the elevation quadrant is attached, along with two fixing to the rear of the slide underside. The slide piston end cap is then attached to the front, whilst four mount fixings are fitted to the rear. Each barrel is made up of nine parts, with the rear section of the barrel, including the breech and the front section each in two halves split longitudinally. The end of the rifled barrel is sandwiched at the breech end between the two halves and the curved section of breech is attached to the left half. With the front barrel section assembled, the front and rear sections can be joined together via a single piece transition joint. The completed barrel is then slid into the previously assembled slide. The breech is then detailed with the hinged breech block, breech opening ram and associated cogs and the breech block itself, made from three parts. The recuperator tube is now assembled, from two halves to which the end cap, valve and shaft are fitted, this is then fitted to the top of the barrel and connected, by two rods, to the slide. Each of the two trunnions are made up of five parts, to which a pad, and grab handle are fitted to the left hand unit, while the right hand unit is fitted with a four piece elevation gearbox housing. The eight piece shell cradle is then attached to the rear of the slide along with a three piece connecting beam. To the top of the gun there is a complex series of fifteen parts the function of which I cannot find, other than it looks like they make up into something to do with the recoil and spent cartridge removal. The two elevation springs are assembled next, each one consists of the inner shaft, outer cylinder and three piece end cap, and they are then fitted to the underside of the gun. With both the guns assembled its on to the mounting and the assembly of the middle trunnion mount, which consists of five parts. This is followed by the upper gun mounting base unit which consists of a single piece base, to which the elevation shafts, with added cogs and poly caps are fitted after which the shaft cover is attached. At the front of the base are to storage boxes and two cover plates. Before fitting the guns to the base four hinges need to be affixed to the lower ends of the elevation spring tubes, these are not to be glued, only snapped into position. The inside trunnions are then slid into the central trunnion mount and the whole assembled fixed to the base. Each gun is then fitted with what looks like an elevation motor and a fuse setting to the outside trunnion mount panel which are fitted before these assemblies are attached.. Each elevation motor is made up of nine styrene and two PE parts, whilst the fuse setter machines are each made up of sixteen parts. The lower base unit is fitted with and end plate, on which there is a small three piece platform with associated PE grating. Each side of the base is fitted with the fighting platforms with handrails and inner edge parts plus two four piece tread steps, each with additional PE mesh grating. Each side is fitted with a crew station consisting of a seat, foot pedals and associated support frame, the right hand side station is also fitted with the training gearbox casing and control wheel. With all the platforms attached the lower base unit is attached to the underside of the upper base section. The modeller is given a choice on how to mount the zwilling, either on the hexagonal base, via a small turntable, for a fixed gun battery, or a smaller round base, also via the small turntable, which can be used on a flatbed rail wagon or the like. Takom do provide a couple of shells to display with the guns, but, unfortunately no crew. Decals The small decal sheet has markings for three guns although none are exactly covered in them with just the Hamburg gun being provided with anything different such as the kill markings on the barrels. They are well printed and quite thin, with little carrier film to worry about. The three options are:- G-Tower, Caesar gun position, Tiregarten, (zoo), Berlin 1945 in overall Panzer Grey. G-Tower, Anton gun position, Stiftskaserne, Wien, 1945, in Panzer Grey with yellow squiggles all over. G-Tower, Caeser gun position, Heiligengeistfeld, Hamburg 1945 in either overall Panzer Grey or overall Olive Green. Conclusion As I said at the beginning of this review, I do feel for the Cottage Industry and their fabulous creations, but to actually get a subject like this in injection moulding is quite incredible and something that I never thought would happen. I love big guns so was thrilled to hear of the impending release, and the wait has been worth it. There is nothing to difficult with the build, just a bit repetitive with two of everything except the base. It will certainly look great in any collection. The only downside is that, once again we are given a great gun system, but no crew to man it, perhaps it is here that the resin guys can come to the rescue. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  13. M60A1 Tank Commander Figure 1:35 HobbyFan/AFV Club This Hobby Fan resin figure is released to coincide with the release of AFV Club's new M60A1 kit reviewed earlier here, and should fit the hatch perfectly, as shown on the boxtop. It arrives in a large card box with the contents pictured on the front fully built and painted to guide you, while the resin parts are cocooned in a long length of bubble-wrap around a Ziploc bag. The figure is split into four parts, with the body having moulded-in legs and a pistol strapped to his chest over his uniform. The arms are separate, as is the head, which sports a "bone-dome" of the period with build-in comms evidenced by the slightly bulged ear covers and boom mic against his cheek. All parts are very well moulded in a cream coloured resin, and have sensible mounting points to their casting blocks that will mean minimal clean-up before construction. Each part has a long pin that fits into corresponding holes in the torso, which should obtain a good joint with a little test-fitting before gluing, but as is always the case with figures, you might need a little filler to reduce the appearance of the joints, even if they occur on natural seams such as the shoulders. A neck scarf/t-shirt helps to hide the join between the head and body, which is useful, and the shoulder joints are aligned with seams as alluded to earlier. Don't forget to wash the parts in warm soapy water to remove the excess mould release agent, as my sample was rather greasy to the touch, and this could affect paint adhesion in a major way. Conclusion A really nicely sculpted figure that has been tailored to fit the new kit from AFV Club, filling the cupola well, and without any of the tedium of adapting the pose to suit its intended resting place. The price is about right for the individual figure these days too. Can we have a driver figure too please? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  14. Czech T-72M4CZ MBT 1:35

    Czech T-72M4CZ MBT 1:35 Trumpeter The T-72 on which this variant is based was a mainstay tank design of the former Soviet Union, designed to bear the brunt of fighting and being produced in volume in much the same manner as the T-34 of WWII. It has been upgraded extensively since its introduction in the 1970s, and in Czech service has been taken from the original M, M1 and M2 designation from former Czechoslovakia, to the M4 via an aborted M3 that didn't see service. In total thirty tanks have been upgraded with addition ERA explosive appliqué armour plus new forward facing blocks either side of the main gun, a new Firing Control System (FCS) and a powerful 1000hp engine and improved gearbox. Smoke dischargers are fixed to the turret, which overall has increased the vehicle's weight by some four tonnes. The Kit Although we've not yet reviewed any of this range of T-72s, they're turning into another of Trumpeter's comprehensive ranges of variants, with this being the third in the line. If you extrapolate this along the same lines as their T-62 range, which has eight kits so far, we're in for a fair few more! This variant is fairly niche, with only thirty examples converted from earlier M variants, but it is quite unusual in the looks department, with large ERA blocks sitting on the front of the turret, so it is well worth a look. It should also please the huge number of talented Czech modellers, as who wouldn't want a new and detailed model of your own country's armed forces? Due to the modular nature of these kits, if you already have another mark you'll probably recognise some of the sprues, as there is commonality across the range, although some of the common parts will be buried under layers of armour along the way. There are ten sprues in light grey styrene, two in similarly coloured flexible styrene, hull and turret parts in the same grey, plus seven sprues in brown containing the track links. A clear sprue, a ladder of poly-caps, a length of braided copper wire, a double sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet, plus the instruction booklet and separate colour painting guide round out the package, making for quite a full box, even after removal of the poly bags. As usual with Trumpeter AFV kits, detail is excellent, and use of slide-moulding has been made to improve this further, with the turret surface detail being particularly nicely done, having a restrained casting texture moulded into every facet. The lower hull is very highly detailed, as are the road wheels, of which there are plenty. Construction starts with these road wheels, as you might expect, with twelve pairs built up with a poly-cap in between. The same can be said for the two idler wheels, and the drive sprockets have a flat circular plate between the halves, plus the poly-cap that makes adding and removing wheels during construction so much easier. The idler wheel's axle and the final drive housing for the drive sprockets are added to the sides of the hull, as are the bearing points for the return rollers and a number of smaller suspension parts. The lower glacis skin is installed on the blank plate at the front, and additional mounting lugs are added for the self-entrenching dozer blade that is added later along with its actuating rams. The sides of the turret basket flare out at the top of the lower hull, and these are portrayed by a pair of curved armour panels, which have large fasteners moulded in. The suspension arms and dampers are added to keyed holes in the side of the hull, which obtains the correct ride-height for a stationery vehicle on flat ground, but if you are building for a diorama, you'll need to adjust this for any lumps or bumps on the surface. All the road wheels can then be added to be held in place by the friction-fit of the poly-caps, and removed at will during painting. The upper hull is moulded with a separate engine deck, and immediately has a raft of ERA blocks added to the glacis in front of the driver's central hatch, with more added either side for good measure. His hatch is made up from two parts, and is added along with the light clusters to the cut-outs in the ERA panel at the front, after which it is added to the lower hull. The rear bulkhead is built up separately with spare track links, towing lugs and two mounting tie-downs for an unditching log, which is made of flexible styrene, probably to ease removal from the moulds. It is lashed in place by a pair of PE tie-downs, or those same tie-downs can be left loose on the mounts if a log isn't being carried. This too is then added to the lower hull, held in the correct place by a pair of slots and lugs at the edges. The engine deck is then built up from a pair of panels, to which seven PE grille covers are added, along with other small parts. This is then dropped into the remaining hole in the upper deck to complete the main deck. The tracks are supplied on seven sprues of twenty-three links, and are the same as you will find in the T-62 boxes, as can be seen from the markings on the sprues. They have three attachment points that are all on the curved interlinking parts of the track, and once you get in the groove, they shouldn't take too long to prepare, as they don't have any ejector pin marks to worry about. Ninety five links per side are required, and can be glued in a run using liquid glue, then draped around the wheels while still soft, and held in place with tape and soft packing to obtain the correct shape. The ends of the track-pins are a little simplified, having no end-bolt heads within a cylindrical hole, but once they are muddied up, that should hardly notice. The tread pattern is spot-on however, although much of this will be lost during the aforementioned weathering. After the tracks are in place, the fenders and side-skirts can be built up. The main fender is a one-piece length that has a number of carriers added along its length, plus a pair of PE straps on the additional stowage that top the centre part of each track. The side-skirts are also one-piece, but have five rectangular ERA blocks and one triangular one, plus a few small PE parts added along the way. The port fender is slightly different, having the engine exhaust coming out over the top of the fender, breaking the run of stowage in two, and having a cover bridging the gap, and preventing the tankers from burning themselves on the hot exhaust. These are added to the sides of the hull with more PE straps, which are well-detailed and go together just like the real things. At the rear of the hull the two towing cables are made up from 80mm lengths of wire, and two towing eyes per cable, with a scrap diagram showing their correct fitting on the rear bulkhead. Work on the turret begins with the construction of the special forward facing ERA blocks that are ranked around the front of the turret either side of the main gun. There are five on the starboard and six on the port side, with additional standard box-shaped ERA blocks dotted around filling in gaps, and covering the roof. The main gun's fabric mantlet cover is portrayed by a flexible styrene part that has a small PE ring at the front, but make sure you choose the correct one, as there are three on the flexible sprues. Various sensors and targeting devices are added to the roof, along with the grenade launchers, which have been relocated to the roof due to the siting of the new ERA blocks. The bustle is built up around a large stowage box, which has two lids added and four ammo boxes on each side for the commander's machine gun. On top is a tubular container for wading gear, and the rear of the stowage area is detailed with a trio of closures, which have to be bent to shape to match the profile of the box. The commander's gun is well detailed with a slide-moulded flash-hider, a large ammo canister, and a thirteen part mount. The hatch is also made up from a substantial number of parts, so that it can hinge open and rotate if you are careful with the glue. A remote operation turret is added to the front of the cupola, and this has a clear part for the lens, as well as a PE part that is bent to fit. A side stowage bin and an angled PE rack are added between the appliqué armour and bustle, and the main sighting optics are installed on the roof in a box that will be familiar to anyone interested in modern MBTs. The barrel is produced in styrene, and the main part is split horizontally, which might induce a bit of moaning initially, but as it has a thermal jacket, this isn't really a problem, as the seams have been kept away from the joints, and the muzzle has been tooled as a separate part that gives the barrel a hollow tip. With this in place, the turret is finished, and the model is completed by dropping the turret into the turret ring, which in this case doesn't have the usual bayonet latching mechanism, so you'll need to either glue it down, or be careful when handling the completed model. Markings Only two markings options are supplied with the kit, with only one colour scheme between them, consisting of black, dark green and green camouflage. Vehicles 007 and 021 are depicted with Czech roundels on the turret sides, but three lines of 0-9 in white are included so that you can model any others if you wish. The decal sheet is simple, consisting almost completely of white markings, but the Czech roundel is in register, with just the hint of pixelation around the edges of the coloured portion that is only really visible on close inspection. Otherwise the decals are thin, appear to have good colour density, with a thin glossy carrier film. Conclusion Another Soviet era MBT that has been upgraded with the times, and survives in service today. Trumpeter excel at this type of subject, and this one is just more of the same, with lots of detail from the box, with more appeal due to the unusual ERA system and niche operator (in terms of numbers). Highly recommended and available from all good model shops now. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  15. British X-Craft Merit International 1:35 Known individually as X-Craft, these vessels were designed to be towed to their intended area of operations by a full-size 'mother' submarine - (usually one of the T class or S class) - with a passage crew on board, the operational crew being transferred from the towing submarine to the X-Craft by dinghy when the operational area was reached, the passage crew returning with the dinghy to the towing submarine. Once the attack was over, the X-Craft would rendezvous with the towing submarine and then be towed home. Range was limited primarily by the endurance and determination of their crews, but was thought to be up to 14 days in the craft or 1,500 miles (2,400 km) distance after suitable training. Actual range of the X-Craft itself was 500 miles (930 km) surfaced and 82 miles (152 km) at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged. A number of development craft were built before it was felt that a realistic weapon had been produced. The first operational craft was HMS X3 (or HM S/M X.3), launched on the night of March 15, 1942. Training with the craft began in September 1942, with HMS X4 arriving in October. In December 1942 and January 1943 six of the "5-10" class began to arrive, identical externally but with a completely reworked interior. Their first deployment was Operation Source in September, 1943, an attempt to neutralise the heavy German warships based in Northern Norway. Six X-Craft were used, but only 2 successfully laid charges (under the German battleship Tirpitz); the rest were lost, scuttled or returned to base. Tirpitz was badly damaged and out of action until April 1944. This was the only multiple X-craft attack. The lost craft were replaced early in 1944 with X20 to X25 and six training-only craft. On April 15, 1944 HMS X24 attacked the Laksevåg floating dock at Bergen. X22 was intended for the mission, but had been accidentally rammed during training and sunk with all hands. The X24 made the approach and escaped successfully, but the charges were placed under Bärenfels, a 7,500 ton merchant-vessel along the dock, which was sunk; the dock suffered only minor damage. On September 11, 1944, the operation was repeated by X24, with a new crew; this time the dock was sunk. X-Craft were involved in the preparatory work for Overlord. Operation Postage Able was planned to take surveys of the landing beaches with HMS X20, commanded by Lt KR Hudspeth, spending four days off the French coast. Periscope reconnaissance of the shoreline and echo-soundings were performed during daytime. Each night, X20 would approach the beach and 2 divers would swim ashore. Soil samples were collected in condoms. The divers went ashore on two nights to survey the beaches at Vierville-sur-Mer, Moulins St Laurent and Colleville-sur-Mer in what became the American Omaha Beach. On the third night, they were due to go ashore off the Orne Estuary (Sword Beach), but by this stage fatigue (the crew and divers had been living on little more than benzedrine tablets) and the worsening weather caused Hudspeth to shorten the operation, returning to Dolphin on 21 January 1944. Hudspeth received a bar to his DSC. During D-Day itself X20 and X23 acted as lightships to help the invasion fleet land on the correct beaches (Operation Gambit), as part of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP). The craft was about 51 feet (15.5 m) long, 5.5 feet (1.68 m) in maximum diameter and displaced 27 tons surfaced and 30 tons submerged. Propulsion was by a 4-cylinder Gardner 42 hp diesel engine, converted from a type used in London buses, and a 30 hp electric motor, giving a maximum surface speed of 6.5 knots (12 km/h), and a submerged speed of 5.5 knots (10.1 km/h). The crew initially numbered threecommander, pilot and ERA (Engine Room Artificer, i.e. engineer) but soon a specialist diver was added, for which an airlock, known as a wet and dry compartment, was provided. The ERA, usually a Navy Chief Petty Officer, operated most of, and maintained all of, the machinery in the vessel. The weapons on the "X-Craft" were two side-cargoes - explosive charges held on opposite sides of the hull with two tons of amatol in each. The intention was to drop these on the sea bed underneath the target and then escape. The charges were detonated by a time fuse. The crews also had a number of limpet mines which were attached to a ships hull by frogmen and it was these mines that were used in the last attack by an X-Craft against the Japanese heavy cruiser Takao in Selatar harbour, Singapore The Model After the disappointment of the disappearance of the proposed Italeri kit of the X-Craft it was great to see Merit International taking up the mantle and releasing one instead. The kit comes in a very attractive and sturdy top opening box with a picture of an X-Craft in its element. Inside there are five sprues of medium grey styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a small decal sheet. The moulding is really very nice. With lots of well formed surface detail and even large indents where required. There is no sign of flash, (always a good thing in a new release), but there are a lot of moulding pips, especially on the smaller parts, so care will be required when removing them. Although it is classed as a mini-submarine, the kit still measures out at around 18 inches long, (448.5mm) and just over 3 inches, (77.2) wide. Unusually the two hull halves are not symmetrical, as the starboard halve comes moulded complete with the main deck attached. This mean there is little or no seam to worry about. Construction begins with the inner entrance hatch linings being fitted to the insides of the hatch openings, before the two hull halves are closed up and two strakes, one forward and one aft attached. Next up is the attachment of the front section of what passes for the superstructure, followed by the propeller, (which does appear to be rather undersize), but will need to do some more research before making a definitive judgement. On initial release there was some argument on whether the rudders and rear dive plane were incorrect. But, thanks to the research by a BM member, it has been proven that the kit is in fact correct and it appears that the example held in the museum at Duxford has been rebuilt incorrectly. With the rudders and dive plane in position the two rear fins are fitted. Along with the support tie rods, control rod horns, the control rods themselves and the protective guards that cover the points where the rods exit the hull. With hull now virtually complete its on with the more fiddly parts, these included the release mechanisms for the external charges, bow and stern mounted bull rings, and superstructure anti wire guide. The two hatches are made up of six parts, the inner and outer hatch sections, a grab handle and three parts to the hinge. These assemblies are then fitted to the superstructure. The keel sides are then fitted with the charge fitting rods and their respective clamps, along with the PE gratings. The charges themselves are single piece mouldings, onto which the seven filling ports are attached to the side and the attachment fixings to the top. There are some photos of the charges that show the filling ports were also covered with a teak rubbing strake, but this isnt present in the kit, but could easily be scratch built should you wish. The rest of the build includes the fitting of the multi-part towing eye on the bow and the release lever, but unfortunately now of the prominent cabling is provided, so its out with the research to add your own. Finally the air induction mast, snorkel, attack periscope and what I believe is an observation port, each being fitted with their respective guards. Two stands are included in the kit to display the completed model on along with a nameplate. Decals The small decal sheet contains just two large White Ensigns, one flat, the other in a fluttering style. The ensigns were very rarely used, with the most noted exception being one of the X-Craft used to mark the lanes for the D-Day invasion. They are nicely printed and the flat Ensign would probably be best used on the plinth this model could be mounted on. Conclusion At last, we have a model of an X-Craft, and in a good sized scale too. Although some of us maritime modellers were bitterly disappointed with the Italeri kit suddenly being removed from all new mould news, but this release has turned disappointment into joy. Its not quite perfect and will need some additional details provided by the modeller, but its a very good basis to start with. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  16. AEC Matador. 1:35

    AEC Matador AFV Club 1:35 History The AEC Matador was an artillery tractor built by the Associated Equipment Company for British and Commonwealth forces during the Second World War. The Matador was distinctive with its flat fronted cab with gently curved roof, wheels at the corners and a flat load carrying area covered by a canvas or tarpaulin tilt. The cab was made from ash and clad in steel. It was equipped with a winch (7-ton load in its case) like all artillery tractors. About 9,000 Matadors were built, some going to the Royal Air Force (RAF). For the British Army it fulfilled a role between field artillery tractors (FATs) such as the Morris C8 Quad, which towed smaller guns such as the 25-pounder gun-howitzer, and the Scammell Pioneer, used for towing the 7.2-inch howitzer. It was commonly used to tow the 5.5-inch medium gun and the QF 3.7-inch AA gun. The Matador was found to be a generally useful vehicle and was adapted for other roles including carrying a 25-pounder gun.The Canadian Army also used the Matador during the Second World War. The RAF used Matadors in the flat bed form for load carrying. The 6-wheeler Matador Type A was used as a refueling tanker, capable of carrying 2,500 Imperial gallons of fuel and also for towing ashore Short Sunderland flying boats at their stations. In 1942/43 for the North African campaign some Matadors mounted the 6-pounder anti-tank gun to give the AEC Mk1 Gun Carrier "Deacon". Post war the Matador was found in civilian use as a recovery truck, a showman’s vehicle, and general contractor use. It was also useful for forestry work because of its good off-road performance for which some examples are still in use today. The Model This kit has been out for a little while now but is no less welcome here, and comes in the rather stark looking box that AFV Club have become known for, with an artistic impression of the vehicle on the front. Inside there are twelve sprues of dark yellow/caramel coloured styrene, two of clear, a small etched brass fret, a small decal sheet and a length of plastic wire. The moulding of the parts is very clean, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but with quite a lot of moulding pips, particularly on the small parts, of which there are plenty, and will require some care when removing and cleaning up. The instructions aren’t the clearest I’ve seen and since there are quite a few parts this is a case where you definitely need to read them first and work out exactly what goes where. As with most truck kits, the build begins with the engine, only fortunately this kit only comes with the lower sump area to which the eleven piece gearbox is attached. Before work can begin on the chassis, the winch is built up. This consists of a two piece drum, to which the plastic wire is wound. To the drum the six piece motor is attached. The two chassis rails are then joined together by six crossbeams, the engine/gearbox, and the winch. To the rear of the chassis the three suspension arms are attached, each arm made up of three to five pieces. Three cable wheels are assembled from upper and lower hubs and attached to the rear cross-member followed by two cable rollers, one at the winch and one two thirds along the chassis. At the rear, a third roller is fitted and the winch cable threaded through this and the cable wheels, and then terminated with a hook. The air cylinder is assembled from seven parts including the accumulator bulb. This is mounted on the left hand chassis rail, whilst on the right hand rail the five piece fuel tank is fitted with its two cradles. The four leaf spring assemblies are glued into position, along with the front and rear compression springs onto which the two hooks are fitted. Still with the chassis, the rear differentials is assembled from four parts, if you include the universal joint, and fitted to the rear leaf springs. The front differential is slightly more complicated as it includes the two drive shafts, slid through the two ball joints before being attached to the front leaf springs. Along with the anti roll links and steering rack. The transfer case is made up of three parts to which the front and rear universal joints attached, then fitted to the centre of the chassis. The front and rear differentials are then joined to the transfer box by two driveshafts. The exhaust is fitted next and is made up of a two part silencer with the long pipe leading to the engine and the short pipe angled into the chassis. Each of the four wheels are built up from the single piece hub, onto which the rubber tyre is fitted, followed by a three piece brake drum for the rears and a two piece drum for the fronts. The wheels are finished off with the fitting of the hub centre. The chassis is finished off with the fitting of the two piece headlights to the front of the two rails, for which the modeller can chose whether to fit the clear lens of the styrene hood. Moving onto the truck bed, the large moulded bed section is fitted on the underside with five cross-beams, each of which is fitted with four strengthening “L” shaped channels. Keeping to the underside, the pioneer toold are attached, along with the end beam and two angled plated at the rear. The side panels are each fitted with a footstep, grab handle, and eighteen tilt brackets. The spare wheel is also assembled at this point, and consists of the rubber tyre plus the single piece rim. Three storage boxes, each of two parts are also fitted to the underside of the bed, along with the Jerry can rack, which is made up of six parts, and loaded with two, five part cans. The rear wheelarches are also attached to the underside, aqlong with their associated support brackets and mudguards. Turning the bed over the two side panels are attached, with the right hand panel fitted with the spare wheel. Each of the two batteries are made up from two parts, joined together by the battery cables and fitted in the forward bench mount. Whilst this is a nice touch and could be useful for a diorama scenario, once the associated benh seat fitted, the batteries cannot be seen at all. They could be left out and put in the spares box as I’m sure they will come in useful one day. The bench seat are each made up of the frame, which includes the backrests and two part seat. There are two outrigger seats that can be attached to the main seats or folded out of the way and are made up in the same fashion as the main seats. The rear flap of the bed is fitted with two lengths of cable, (made from the plastic wire provided), which are kept to the board by three straps. The single piece front board is moulded with a window opening, for which a rolled up screen is fitted. The tilt roof is then fitted with twelve vertical stays. The right hand middle stays are then fitted with the rifle rack, made up of the beam and ten eyes. AFV Club have been quite clever with the tilt, in that you can either have the individual side flaps depicted rolled up or lowered, complete with clear “windows” on the mid, and front flaps. This is put to one side to dry properly as we move onto the cab assembly. The cab assembly begins with the interior floor, which includes the engine covers. To this, the brake, clutch and accelerator pedals and fitted, along with the steering column, steering wheel, hand brake and gear column. The drivers seat is then made up from the under seat storage box, seat base, two piece frame, squab base and squab, it even comes with a small handle to raise or lower the seat, well, it would if it was real. With the seat in position, there are a number of fittings attached to the rear bulkhead, along with an electrical box, winch controls and sliding doors for the rear window. The co-drivers seat is much simpler and consists of a base that’s shaped to fit over the wheelarch, and seat pad. Under this seat is a large air filter unit. The underside of the cab floor is then fitted with the two wheelarches and their associated support brackets. The interior of the cab front is fitted with the instrument binnacle, door support brackets, and electrical coil like unit. The quaterlights are then fitted, along with the optionally positioned front air vents. The two windscreen panels are also optionally positioned, either r open or closed and have support arms for use when opened. Each panel is also fitted with a windscreen wiper motor on the inside and the associated windscreen wipers on the outside. The cab front, (ensure you use the right one as there are two in the kit, each for different build periods), is then attached to the main cab assembly and finished off with the roof. The radiator front is then attached to the front and detailed with PE grilles and a filler cap. The sidelights and indicators are then fitted each side of the cab, whilst here is a platform with two supports fitted to the right hand side front. Each door is assembled from one styrene and one clear part, with an optional clear part if the model is to be displayed with the side windows lowered. The doors are then fitted to the cab, either opened or closed, with the cab finished off with the two wing mirrors. The cab and tilt assemblies are then attached to the chassis assembly completing the build. Decals The small decal sheet has markings for four vehicles, three in various variants of khaki and dark earth camouflage and one in Luftwaffe use in a German Grey scheme. The decals include stencils for around the vehicle as well as unit markings for 79th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, Scotland May 1941, and one from an unknown unit from 1940. Conclusion It’s great to see a kit of this vehicle in production, alongside it’s mid-production brother kit. As is their want, AFV Clubs tuck kits are really well detailed and quite complex to build, but with a little effort and concentration they can turn out to be stunning models. All we need now is for someone to release a nice 5.5” gun to go with it, or a conversion set for the Deacon 6 Pounder vehicle. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  17. DB-3F/IL-4/IL-4T Soviet Long Range Bomber 1:48 Xuntong Ilyushin began work on this twin engined long-range bomber long before the outbreak of WWII, and it was initially given the code DB-4 from the Russian for Long-Range Bomber. The designed was warmed over from one previously entered for another competition, and through constant changes to the structure, engines and other equipment it morphed into the DB-3F, which was re-designated as the IL-4, which benefitted from more improvements that resulted in a stronger, lighter aircraft that could carry more fuel, and with a lengthened fuselage it became more streamlined, further extending its range. With new engines the designers added extra armament, hoping one would offset the other, which of course it didn't, resulting in a slower top speed. This didn't seem to stop the Soviets from ordering more, and by the end of production in 1944, over 5,000 had been built. It was robust and could carry a substantial bomb load, which although bombing wasn't a high priority for the Soviets in WWII, meant that it was well used. It was also adapted to carry torpedoes, and used by the Navy for attacks on enemy shipping. As a footnote, it later gained the comical NATO reporting code of "Bob", which really tickles this reviewer for some reason. The Kit Xuntong have a liking for the lesser known Russian twins, which appears to be turning into their niche in our hobby with this release. They previously kitted the Tupolev Tu-2 was well received, and Bob seems to be getting the same response. Due to the slow-boat from China, Eduard have already released some aftermarket for this kit, which you can have a look at from the link at the bottom of the review. The box is fairly large, and is well stocked with parts on five large sprues of mid grey styrene, one of clear parts, and a large decal sheet. The instruction booklet is oversize A4 in portrait format, but on my issue at least is a little pale, with grey text and drawings. The fuselage is a large moulding with the frames for the glazed nose moulded in, and a good degree of internal structure such as ribs and frames moulded in, but with some ejector pin marks in between. The outer skin has a matt finish, and panel lines are engraved perhaps a little wide for some tastes. It is of standard construction, but with some useful twists (excuse the pun) such as the mid-upper turret that has a bayonet connector to facilitate installation after painting is completed by rotating it aft. The instructions are busy, with little text, but plenty of scratch diagrams to compensate. The build begins at the nose, with the installation of the cockpit sidewalls and side glazing, and it is interesting to note that the single glazing part has raised frames on the inside face, so you can pre-paint those before insertion to give a more realistic finish to the area. There are a lot of small parts added to the cockpit sidewalls, and this is continued onto the floor that is added later. The pilot's seat and armour panel, side consoles, rudder pedals, control column and oxygen bottles should make for a busy cockpit. Keeping with the theme of the crewed areas, the top turret is next, with a choice of armament. The first option is the 12.7mm UBT machine gun, which is well represented, complete with ammo feed and mount, with a leather strop across the base of the turret for the gunner to sit on. An ammo can is added along with a rear panel, and the finished turret lower is then encased in a three-part glazed dome, which has an alternative part with different framing as an option. The smaller option mounts a 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun with telescopic sight, and apart from the mount construction follows a similar path, with both ending up with a pair of swept "bunny ears" added to the top. Scrap diagrams show the correct positioning of the parts on the turret rings to reduce margins for error, which is always good to see. Attention then turns to the underside of the centre wing, which is a single part and needs a number of holes drilled, depending on which variant you plan on building, and what it will be carrying. Choose wisely and stick to your choice as changing once the wings are together would be tricky to say the least. If you can't decide things like this at outset though, you could always open them all, then close the unwanted holes later with some styrene rod and glue. The lower engine nacelle rears are moulded into the lower wing, and they have basic rib detail moulded into the area, on top of which the gear bay rooves are added, with a little extra detail added before they are fixed in place. Two scrap diagrams show how the parts should look once completed. The short upper wing panels are prepared next, with their leading and trailing root fairings added from separate parts, taking care to leave a 0.2mm gap to portray the panel lines between the parts. With these complete, they are added to the lower wing section to complete the assembly, which is then put aside for more work on the fuselage. The dorsal gunner must have had a torrid time in his position, as he was suspended on a tubular framework to which his gun was added. This is built up in a number of steps, and is added under the fuselage just before the two halves are closed up. There is a short section of wooden floor included forward of his position, plus a tubular rack that presumably carries his spare ammo. This is described much earlier in the instructions however, and just appears complete at this stage, as does the floor section for the nose. The cockpit floor is also added to the fuselage side, and a single part is added to the instrument coaming for one of the schemes. A scrap diagram again shows how all the assemblies should sit within the fuselage, so you can glue them together with confidence. The nose gunner/bomb aimer's seat is inserted just before the glazing is added, but you can install this earlier to save forgetting it if you feel the urge. The flying surfaces are standard fare with two halves for each outer wing, plus separate two-part ailerons and a pair of formation lights above and below the wingtip. The starboard wing has a small grille and landing light inserted on the leading edge, while the port does not. The elevators are built in the same fashion with trim-tab actuators added for extra detail. These and the separate rudder are added later after the inner wing panel has been installed and the engines completed. Xuntong have put a lot of effort and parts into the engines, which are a full-depth representation with collector rings and exhaust present, and ancillary parts such as the reduction gear, push-rods and mounting ring depicted. There is one engine installation for the IL-4, and an earlier engine set for the DB-3. They are mounted on a conical section that slips inside the open or closed cooling flap section, and again scrap diagrams abound to ensure you get it right, as alignment is critical in this close-fitting area. The cowlings are built from two halves, with the front a single part for reduced clean-up. An optional fan sits in the front of the cowling, and here the build diverges depending on which aircraft you are building. For the IL-4 a pair of small panel inserts are fitted around the exhaust stubs before being glued, and an intake is added to the top of the cowling, both of which are handed. The instructions for the DB-3F are separated by a page of instructions where the canopy is installed, and are broadly similar to the IL-4, but with different intakes and a few small parts added around the cowling. The canopy of the Bob sits on top of the fuselage, and has separate windscreen, canopy and aerodynamic teardrop rear sections. A different rear section is supplied for the DB-3F, and an additional part is added for the Naval version of the IL-4. The top of the nose is closed by adding an insert that has another glazing insert and a removable access hatch added before it is glued to the nose after removing four location pegs that must have been deemed unnecessary after moulding. The tip of the nose glazing has a single ShKAS machine gun added in a ball-mount, and it is then glued to the front of the fuselage, enclosing the operator's seat that you didn't forget to install beforehand. Landing gear is covered next, and the tail wheel is fitted to an insert on the underside of the tail for the DB-3F, which was removed for the later models, presumably to save weight. The main gear can be fitted in the retracted mode by assembling the twin legs and four-part tyres, then gluing them in place using an alternative horizontal hole in the bay, after which the two gear bay doors have their location points removed and are fitted to the bay margin. Fitting them in the deployed state involves adding the retraction mechanism which consists of two V-frames and a piston, the locations of which are made clear on another pair of scrap diagrams. The bay doors are fitted on their hinge tabs, and it's job done. The underside nose access hatch, exhaust extensions and addition of the props are buried in between installation of the munitions, as are the three sets of probes and aerials that are appropriate for the various marks. It seems a little confusing to do so, but as there is likely to be some handling of the almost finished aircraft in order to build the weapon mounts, it is understandable. Weapons! Bombs or torpedoes will be dictated by which decal option you are going for, but they are all suspended on fairly fragile mounts, to which the torpedo has an extension due to its length. The hole diagram earlier in the instruction will have you scratching your head a little, so check it twice, take notes and make sure you are fitting the correct mounts for your weapons choice. In the box you have the following: 2 x FAB-500 bomb 2 x FAB-1000 bomb 1 x 45-36-AVA/AN/AM Torpedo 1 x AMG-1 Sea Min 6 x RS-132 Rocket Each item is made up from a surprisingly large number of parts, which results in good detail. The torpedoes start with the same basic body, to which different rear sections are added. The mount can be improved by the addition of short lengths of wire to represent the steel cable that holds it in place for additional realism, although this is not included. If your head is still spinning about what mountings to use for your chosen weapon, check the diagrams on pages 24 and 25, as they give some additional side and head-on views that should prove helpful. Markings Xuntong have been generous with the decals, providing a surprising eleven options for you to choose from. Each option is depicted by a single side profile, plus upper and lower view for the placement of camouflage demarcations of the various fleets and schemes. From the box you can build one of the following: Baltic Frleet, 1st Guards Maritime Torpedo Aviation Regiment, summer-fall 1944. Black Sea Fleet, 2nd Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1941. Northern Fleet, 9th Guards Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, May 1943. Black Sea Fleet 119th Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1943 Black Sea Fleet 5th Guards Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, March 1944. 18th Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, Poland 1944. Northern Fleet, 2nd Guards Red Banner Aviation Regiment, 1944-45. Baltic Fleet, 1st Guards Torpedo Aviation Regiment, summer 1943. 3rd Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, March 1943. 3rd Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, March 1945. 10th Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1st Detachment, March 1941. The decals are printed anonymously, but are have good register, colour density and sharpness overall, but with some slight stepping visible on the stars under magnification. The density of the patriotic slogans is particularly important due to their size, and they look to have been double-printed to achieve the required level of opacity. A separate smaller sheet includes just a few red stripes that are applied to some of the decal options. Conclusion It's a niche subject partially due to the previous lack of kits available in the mainstream, but with this release and the distribution network it has achieved, that no longer applies, so what do we think of the kit? It's very nice overall, with plenty of detail, although some of the small parts will need a little clean-up due to some flash creeping in. If you fancy a little something that isn't grey or Spitfire shaped, this will certainly fit the bill. Construction should be fairly straight forward once you've got your head round the slightly confusing (to me at least) instructions, and the resulting model will be well detailed and fairly large in your cabinet. If you want to go all out with the build, you should have a squint at the Eduard sets that we reviewed a while back here. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  18. Takom news | 29.7.15

    Ask your model shop or dealer for these two great new model kits just in from TAKOM!
  19. Junkers Ju-87G-2 Stuka Trumpeter 1:32 History Even before the Battle of Stalingrad, German concern about the large quantity of Soviet mobile armour on the Eastern Front during 1942 resulted in the formation of an experimental air-to-ground anti-tank unit. Tests showed that arming the Junkers Ju87 Stuka with a 37mm cannon under each wing promised the optimal tank-busting weapon. This Ju87 variant was designated the Junkers Ju87G Kanonenvogel (cannon-bird). The Ju87G-2 was developed from the long-wing Ju87D-5 Stuka dive bomber. It was a rugged design powered by a single Junkers Jumo 211J-1 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. The type displayed outstanding qualities as a tool for precision ground attack. However, in the air the Ju87G-2 was both cumbersome and slow. Defensive armament was limited to 7.9 mm Mauser MG 81Z twin-mounted machine guns at the rear of the large glasshouse canopy. A total of 174 G-2s were built before production of all Ju 87 variants ceased in October 1944. The Ju87G began its career in February 1943 in the battles for the Kuban peninsula in Southern Russia. It was at this time that Oberstleutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel began tank-busting operations, having recently become the first Luftwaffe pilot to fly 1000 operational missions. Later, in July 1943, Rudel took part in the epic tank battle for the Kursk salient. More than 350 Ju87's participated in these operations, including a handful of production Ju87Gs. Rudel went on to fly no fewer than 2,530 sorties and notched up a total of 2,000 targets destroyed; including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery pieces, a destroyer, 2 cruisers, the Soviet battleship Marat, 70 landing craft, 4 armoured trains, several bridges and 9 aircraft. Given the shortcomings of the Ju87G in terms of its speed, agility and defensive capability this speaks volumes for the piloting skills of Rudel himself and the marksmanship of his rear gunners. Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the most decorated serviceman of all the fighting arms of the German forces. He was the only recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. Unswervingly dedicated to waging war against the enemies of the Third Reich, Rudel continued in active service following injuries sustained in February 1945 that resulted in a leg amputation. Such was his prowess and notoriety, that the Soviets placed a significant bounty on his head. Wisely deciding to evade capture at Russian hands, in a final act Rudel led three Ju87s and four Focke-Wulf FW 190s westward from Bohemia. He surrendered to U.S. forces, on 8 May 1945. The Model This is probably my favourite variant of the Stuka, what with the rakish lines of the canopy and the huge cannon in their winged pods, it just looks the business. So, it was with great news on hearing that Trumpeter where going to release one. The kit comes in one of Trumpeters standard top opening boxes with a very attractive piece of artwork on the front showing the aircraft in action over the Eastern Front. Inside there are fourteen sprues of medium grey styrene, two of clear, two small sheets of etched brass, three rubber tyres and the decal sheet. All the parts are well moulded with no sign of flash or other imperfections and only a few moulding pips, so cleaning up should be nice and easy once the parts are removed from the sprues. The kit comes with lots of lovely detail along with options for various weapons loads to be fitted in addition to the cannon pods. Construction begins with the assembly of the Junkers Jumo engine. This consists of the three piece engine block to which the sump, crankcase, propshaft, rocker covers, oil tank, exhaust and intake manifolds, coolant tank and the four part fuel unit. The rear of the engine is fitted with the auxiliary pack with ancillaries such as the generators, pulleys, fuel pump and turbo intake. Once the exhaust plates have been added the two engine bearers can be fitted. The completed engine is then attached to the firewall, along with four other fittings before the two halves of the cowling are fitted around the engine with the large radiator sandwiched between them. Since there are no loose panels you will see very little, if anything of the completed engine unless the modeller carries out a bit of surgery, which is a bit of a shame as it looks very nice. The front fuselage is completed with the addition of the radiator grille, exhausts and propeller, which is made up of the backplate, three separate blades, hub and spinner. This section can now be places to one side as construction moves to the cockpit. The nicely detailed cockpit consists of a single piece floor to which the pilots seat, (made up of three parts, six if you include the headrest and armour), gunners seat, (made up of three base supports and the seat itself), are fitted. The radio sets are fitted to the mid mounted dwarf bulkhead and fitted just forward of the gunners seat. Beneath the bulkhead mounted radios another set, made up from two parts is glued to the floor. Additional parts, such as the rudder bar, joystick, two oxygen regulators and the rear gun mount, with its two ammunition tanks, are also fitted. The cockpit sidewalls are fitted out with various control boxes, throttle quadrant and trim wheels before being glued to the cockpit floor, producing a nice sturdy tub. The completed cockpit is then sandwiched between the two fuselage halves, followed by the fitting of the rear cockpit panel, complete with clear circular cover and the pilots coaming, with added instrument panel and crash bar. At this point the horizontal tailplanes are fitted, along with the elevators, associated control horns and the end caps, followed by the rudder with separate tail light. The construction of the wings begins with the assembly of the centre section. The centre panel is fitted with the lower viewing tunnel with clear parts at each end, followed by the front and rear spars, and completed with the two upper panels. Each outer wing panel is fitted with a machine gun bay. Each bay consists of four parts into which the three part machine gun, complete with ammunition feed, is mounted and covered with the optionally posed door. Before gluing the upper and lower wing halves together, ensure you have opened the correct holes for the weapons option you have chosen. With the wings closed up they are finished off with the separate wing tips and navigation lights. At this point, the instructions call for the fitting of the cockpit windscreen and canopies. There is a choice of windscreen and pilots canopy depending on the model being built, along with a couple of panels that can be posed open or closed on the sliding section. The windscreen, no matter which type is fitted with two grab handles, a clinometer and aiming bar. The rearmost canopy is fitted with the twin machine gun mount, which comes with separate barrels and a two part hanger mechanism. The wing centre section is then glued to the fuselage, before being fitted with the two outer wing panels, followed by the front fuselage/engine section. On the undersides of the wings the prominent flaps are fitted to the trailing along with the actuator rods. There is no option to display them in drooped, unless surgery is carried out. Whilst the model is upside down the two radiators are glued into position along with their covers. The main undercarriage is also attached, each made up of a two part wheel, two part oleo all sandwiched between the two halves of the spats. The tailwheel comes as a four part sub-assembly, including the two part wheel, the oleo and yoke half. Now it’s on to the weaponry build. The main 37mm cannon are used in all options and consist of six part mount, including separate crutches, to which the cannon fairing is attached, followed by the barrel. Each of the two “wings” are made up from folded PE, which are then glued to the fairing sides. Each wing has two blocks of shells slid into them, although since you won’t be able to see much of them you could just display them separately. The completed cannon are then glued into position just outboard of the wheel spats. The other weapons included in the kit are the centre mounted 500kg bomb, made up form two halves with two parts to complete the fins, plus the separate fin cross members and the bomb cradle/swing arm. The mountings are the same for the twin 50kg bombs, (each bomb comes as four parts and can be fitted with optional fuse extenders), drop tanks, Each from two halves, four mounting bolts and a PE strap), or what I can only describe as a six barrelled machine gun pod, (with four parts to each pod, plus three twin barrels. There is also the option of mounting two sets of five smaller bombs all mounted on a single cradle, making up what could be construed as a cluster bomb. I wish Trumpeter would label what things were. With the various weapons loaded the build is complete. Decals The single decal sheet provides options for two aircraft, and comes complete with stencils for one. The decals are very nicely printed, with good colour density, in register and with very little in the way of carrier film, and what there is, is very thin. The Balkenkreuz do appear to have a bit of mottling on them as if they had stuck slightly to something. I would have thought that once on and covered in gloss/matt varnish this will disappear. The swastikas are each cut in half at the centre, and should cause too many problems when positioning them. The two aircraft options are:- Junkers Ju-87G-2, Stab/SG 2 <-+-, W.Nr. 484110 Junkers Ju-87G-2, Stab/SG 2 <-+-, W.Nr. 494193 Conclusion As I said above, this has to be my favourite version of the Ju-87, with perhaps the slightly odd looking Ju-87A being a close second. The kit does come with quite a lot of detail, and should build nicely straight out of the box, but there is quite a bit of room, particularly in the cockpit to add more, so it should appeal to those who like to take to the next level. It’s a bit of shame to have a well detailed engine covered up and not even have the option to show it off, but I’m sure the aftermarket companies will be all over this soon. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  20. KRAZ-6322 Heavy Utility Truck Takom 1:35 History The KrAZ-6322 heavy utility truck was developed by the Ukrainian AvtoKrAZ. This military truck evolved from the previous KrAZ-255 and 260 models, but has been upgraded to meet today's standards. It is a reliable and proven design. Vehicle is produced since 1999. It is in service with Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Yemen. A large number of these military trucks were ordered by the US Government for the new Iraqi Army. It is also in service with Iran and possibly some other countries. The KrAZ-6322 has a payload capacity of over 10 t. Vehicle can tow a trailer with a maximum weight of up to 30 t on hard surface roads. It can also tow aircraft with a maximum weight of up to 75 t on the airfields. This heavy-duty military truck is intended for different loads and troop transportation. Basic design can accept a wide variety of body types. The standard body is fitted with drop sides and a removable tarpaulin with bows. Wooden bench seats may be fitted for troop transportation. Vehicle can carry up to 24 troops. A three-person cab is standard across the range. It is very similar to that of the earlier KrAZ-260. The KrAZ-6322 is powered by Russian YaMZ-238D (EURO 0) turbocharged diesel engine, developing 330 hp. This engine is fitted as standard, however this truck is also offered with improved YaMZ-238DE2 (EURO II) diesel engine. Other engine options are available, including Cummins, Deutz, Volvo or others, to suit customer requirements. This military truck has considerable cross-country mobility. Centralized tyre inflation system and 12 t capacity self-recovery winch are optional. The KrAZ-6322 is proposed in a number of variants, including KrAZ-6135V6 long wheelbase version, repair and recovery vehicle, BM-21U multiple launch rocket system, fitted with Grad launcher, KrAZ-6446 tractor truck and other specialized vehicles. Another interesting variant is a KrAZ-6322 Raptor truck, fitted with local armour protection and armoured cargo module. This variant was jointly developed by Ukrainian AvtoKrAZ and Canadian Streit Armoured Group. It was revealed in 2007. Vehicle can carry 20 fully equipped troops and provides protection against 7.62-mm rounds, landmines and IEDs. Troops use a number of vision blocks and firing ports. Raptor has a payload capacity of 6 tonne. If necessary, the armoured cargo module can be removed. The Model The kit comes in a sturdy top opening box with a artistic impression of the vehicle in use in a battlefield environment. Opening the box reveals eight sprues of green styrene, two sprues of clear styrene, two small photo etched brass sheets, seven vinyl tyres and a small decal sheet. The mouldings for all the parts are superb, with no sign of flash imperfections and very few moulding pips. As with most truck kits there are a lot of parts that will probably never be seen, particularly the very detailed chassis, suspension and engine, but in my view it’s better to have them than not. The build begins with the assembly of the gearbox, which is provided in two halves, and then finished off with a sump plate; this is followed by the two part engine block to which the gearbox is attached. Since the truck is powered by a V8 diesel there are two cylinder heads to assemble, again each of two halves, to which the injector rails and coils are attached. These are then fitted to the engine block, followed by the alternator, water pump pulley and fuel filter. The exhaust manifolds are next, followed by the CDR valve and oil filter. The turbocharger is assembled from three parts, the turbine housing, compressor housing and attachment plate; the assembly is then fitted with the outlet pipes. The completed sub-assembly is then fitted to the engine with each outlet pipe being attached to the intake manifolds and the turbo intake to the exhaust manifold. The oil cooler is then fitted to the engine block, along with the fan, accessory belt pulley and the exhaust pipe, to which a two part silencer section is fitted to the end, is attached to the turbo. To enhance the engine further the modeller could/should add the ignition/electrical harness and the auxiliary drive belts. The next part of the build is the assembly of the chassis. This consists of the two long chassis rails, to which the engine assembly is fitted at the front along with the radiator, whilst two thirds to the rear a cross member is attached. The front differential gear housing is assembled from two halves, to which a two part gear cover and universal joint are attached. Each wheel hub is made up of an inner and outer steering ball joint, hub backing plate, inner axle, and brake drum. These are then fitted to the ends of the differential along with the brake accumulators and steering rack. The two leaf spring parts are then fitted via four U bolts and clamps, much like the real parts. The front axle is then fitted to the chassis, as are the shock absorbers, front crossbeam, made up of four parts including the front towing eye, radiator fans housing and grille. There is a cable drum affixed between two crossbeams and fitted with a motor and control lever, this is then fitted to the rear of the chassis along with a curved crossbeam further forward. The transfer box is assembled and fitted just aft of the front axle and connected to the engine and front differential with two drive shafts. The rear suspension is now assembled from two suspension plates, two leaf springs, four U bolts and clamps. To this the two part rear differentials, which are 90o opposed when compared with the front, are fitted, along with their associated gear housings each made up of four parts, drive shafts, with separate universal joints, and suspension bump stops. The rear wheel hubs are much simpler affairs, made up of only an inner and outer brake drum and an internal axle. Once these are fitted to the differentials the completed rear suspension is attached to the rear chassis. The next stage includes the building of a number of sub-assemblies; these include the twelve part spare wheel cage which is attached to the six part generator housing, two seven part accumulator bottles and racks, two five part fuel tanks, six part oil tank and its rack, plus the three part cab foot step and six part tool box. These are then attached to their respective positions on the chassis along with the rear towing hook and end plate, reflectors and their outriggers and the rear lower crossbeam. With the chassis and suspension complete the build moves onto the truck bed. This is made up from the main bed, back panel and two side panels and rear panel. On the underside there are seven structural braces fitted, whilst on the back and sides there are twenty four tilt ties. Also on the underside the four mudflaps are attached, two forward of the rear wheels and two aft each with their support rods. The front mudguards are styrene whilst the rears are PE bent to shape. The completed bed is then fitted to the top of the chassis and the spare wheel, made up of a vinyl tyre plus inner and out hubs is slid into its cage on the right hand side. The last major assembly, the cab and bonnet begins with the windscreen frame/front bulkhead is fitted with the two windscreens, and wipers. On the inside of the bulkhead the inner panel/instrument binnacle is attached and fitted with the steering column, steering wheel, and pedal plate. The doors are then assembled from the door frame, “glass” and separate door card, whilst the rear bulkhead is fitted with the rear screen. The front and rear bulkheads plus the doors are then joined together before the roof, with its associated light fittings is attached. The interior floor is then fitted out with the bench like passenger seat, made up of separate squab and back which is then fitted to the base via the seat frame. The drivers seat which consists of the frame, squab, back and adjustment lever is fitted to the floor via a five piece spring like framework. The interior is completed with the fitting of the gearstick and the whole assembly is glued to the to the cab assembly, which is finished off with the addition of the two wing mirrors and their mounting supports. The bonnet wings are glued to the grille and fitted with the separate front bumper which includes the light clusters pre-moulded,, but requires the fitting of the three footplates, light lenses and front ID plate holder. The completed assembly is then fitted to the front of the vehicle and finished off with the fitting of the bonnet. If you wish to have the bonnet raised to show off the engine you will have to scratchbuild your own hinges and gas struts. The finishing touches are the assembly of the six wheels, each with a vinyl tyre, inner and outer hubs, which are then fitted to the axles. Each of the vinyl tyres is very well moulded and look realistically chunky, but they do have a cross shaped section that needs to be cut away before the hubs can be fitted, but it shouldn’t take too much to clean them up, especially as the hub rims will cover the areas concerned. Decals The small decal sheet provides decals for five different colour schemes. Whilst there aren’t any external placards other than the number plates, the instrument faces are provided. The decal sheet is beautifully printed, with the colours appearing ultra vibrant and yet in register with excellent colour density and little visible carrier film. The camouflage choices are:- Ukraine National Guard in a three colour scheme of green, grey and black Ukrainian Army, (ATO), in green overall and white identification stripes on the doors, bonnet creating a cross on the roof. Ukrainian Army, (ATO), in dark green, light green, and black, with one thick and two thin white stripes over the bonnet, cab roof and rear turck bed panels. Georgian Army, in dark green, yellow grey, and grey. Donetsk Peoples Republic, (DNR) in overall dark green. Conclusion This is great looking kit, and with the choice of several different colours schemes it will certainly be an interesting addition to a collection. It could also be used in a variety of diorama situations. The truck bed is crying out for a load to be added, perhaps with a tarpaulin or camouflage net included. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  21. Soviet 52-K 85mm Air Defence Gun Trumpeter 1:35 History The 85 mm air defence gun M1939 (52-K) was an 85-mm Soviet air defence gun, developed under guidance of leading Soviet designers M. N. Loginov and G. D. Dorokhin. This gun was successfully used throughout the German-Soviet War against level bombers and other high and medium altitude targets. In emergencies they were utilized as powerful anti-tank weapons. The barrel of the 52-K was the basis for the family of 85-mm Soviet tank guns. Crews of 85-mm AD guns shot down 4,047 Axis aircraft. The mean quantity of 85-mm ammunition required to shoot down one enemy plane was 598 rounds. After the war some 52-Ks were refitted for peaceful purposes as anti-avalanche guns in mountainous terrain. Virtually every country behind the Iron Curtain received this gun after World War II for their air defence. In the Soviet Union itself, these guns were largely superseded by the 100 and 130 mm guns. The Model The kit comes in Trumpeters standard style top opening box, and although quite small it has very good artistic representation of the gun in action. Inside there are eight standard sprues, plus six tiny sprues of beige coloured styrene, almost the colour of a Caramac candy bar, a small sprue of clear styrene. There are also a set of four rubber tyres, the main base frame, and a small sheet of etched brass. The parts are really well moulded with no flash and only a few moulding pips needing removal. As with other kits of this type the rubber tyres are nicely done with finely moulded details on both the tread and the sidewalls. The build starts with the construction of the long barrel, which comes in four parts, left and right halves of the barrel and the left and right halves of the fluted muzzle brake. Whilst with care this can look pretty good, I would have preferred a single slide moulded barrel, and hopefully one of the aftermarket companies will provide a nice metal one. The right and left sides of the trunnions, complete with top mounted recuperator, are joined together with the barrel in the middle and fitted with the half round elevation cog. The single piece breech is fitted with the three piece breech block and end cover. This assembly is then attached to the rear of the barrel and finished off with the breech block lever, breech block locking leer and travel lock. The trunnion mounts are then assembled, each side being fitted out with the two piece recoil springs, gear box and centrally mounted elevation cog, beneath which is the traversing block. With the trunnion mounts fitted to the trunnions/barrel the seven piece firing solutions computer is assembled and fitted to the right mount whilst the five piece sighting unit is fitted to the port mount, which is also fitted with the clinometers, complete with the PE pointers. The ends of the recuperator and recoil slide are fitted with caps. A second firing solutions computer is assembled and fitted to the left hand mount along with the five piece elevation gearbox. The gunners seats and foot rests are then attached, along with the elevation and traversing hand wheels. The main mounting frame is fitted with its separate base, followed by two slit spades which can either be mounted in the trail position or pushed through the holes at the ends of the folding trails arms to make it a steadier gun platform. The two curved gunners platforms are each fitted with a small storage box on the underside before being attached to the base frame. There is another storage box sited on the front right of the frame, whilst end of the frame is fitted with a gearbox for lowering the front and rear steadying pads. Each axle is made up of no less than fifteen parts, and once assembled are fitted to each side at the ends of the frame, followed by the four wheels, the fronts with a two piece hub whilst the rear hubs are made up of three pieces. The folding trails are made up of upper and lower sections which, when joined together, sandwich the pivots on the base frame. The towing eye is attached to the end of the towing bean, which, in turn, is slotted into the pivot point on the frame. At the other end there is an optional barrel clamp and frame which can be posed either up in travel mode or folded down for firing. The model is finished off with the addition of two more steadying pads, at each end of the folding trails, and the gun assembly which slots onto the top of the coned mounting point on the frame. The small sprues mentioned at the beginning of this review each contain two shells for a total of twelve69, which is nice. If only it hand some crew to handle them. Conclusion This gun does have a passing resemblance to the mighty German 88mm and could be considered a contemporary. It is certainly an interesting weapon and would look great in a diorama, although since no crew are included you will have to source or scratchbuild them yourselves. Alternatively, you might be like me and just have a collection of artillery pieces into which this will fit very nicely. It’s got quite a few small parts, but should cause too many problems in the build, just be aware of them and read the instructions carefully. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  22. Russian Navy Battleship Tsesarevich 1904 Trumpeter 1:350 History Tsesarevich was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the Imperial Russian Navy, built in France at the end of the 19th century. The ship's design formed the basis of the Russian-built Borodino-class battleships. She was based at Port Arthur, Manchuria after entering service and fought in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. Tsesarevich was the flagship of Admiral Wilgelm Vitgeft in the Battle of the Yellow Sea and was interned in Tsingtau after the battle. At the end of the Russo-Japanese war, the ship was transferred to the Baltic in early 1906 and helped to suppress the Sveaborg Rebellion later that year. Around 1906, her fighting top was removed and her superstructure was cut down. The 75 mm guns in the superstructure were apparently removed as well. Tsesarevich made regular winter cruises to the Mediterranean before World War I and aided survivors of the Messina earthquake in December 1908. In 1909–10 the ship's machinery was overhauled and her amidships casemated 75 mm guns were removed and plated over four years later. Tsesarevich was not very active during the early part of World War I and she reportedly received two 37 mm anti-aircraft guns during the war. Because of her inactivity her bored sailors joined the general mutiny of the Baltic Fleet in early 1917. She was renamed Grazhdanin on 13 April 1917 after the February Revolution. The ship took part in the Battle of Moon Sound in October 1917. During the climatic part of the battle, Grazhdanin engaged the German minesweepers on 17 October with little effect while Slava engaged the German dreadnoughts König and Kronprinz. The latter fired at Grazhdanin and hit her twice, killing one and wounding four crewmen, although neither hit caused significant damage. The German dreadnoughts outranged Grazhdanin and she was forced to retreat and abandon Moon Sound in the face of German pressure. By December the ship was in Kronstadt where she came under the control of the Bolsheviks and she was hulked there in May 1918. Grazhdanin was scrapped beginning in 1924, although she was not officially stricken from the Navy List until 21 November 1925 The ship was ordered as part of the "Programme for the Needs of the Far East", authorised by Tsar Nicholas II in 1898 to defend Russia's newly acquired ice-free port of Port Arthur in Manchuria. Russian shipyards were already at full capacity so the Naval Ministry decided to order ships from abroad. Specifications were issued on 14 June 1898 and a few days later the chief designer of the French shipyard Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée proposed a design based on that of the French battleship Jauréguiberry. The Naval Technical Committee approved the design with a few changes to which the French readily agreed. The General Admiral, Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich selected the French design over a competing proposal from the Baltic Works. A contract was signed on 20 July 1898 at a cost of 30.28 million francs (11.355 million rubles) for delivery in 42 months. Tsesarevich 's most obvious design feature was her tumblehome hull. This had several advantages because it allowed greater freeboard since the narrow upper decks reduced the structural weight of the vessel's hull, it increased the field of fire of guns mounted on the sides, and it reduced the ship's roll in heavy seas. Its great disadvantage was that it reduced buoyancy and stability which contributed to excessive heel during turns. During the Battle of the Yellow Sea in August 1904, Imperial Japanese Navy observers thought the Tsesarevich was going to capsize when she suddenly turned out of the battleline. Tsesarevich was 118.5 metres (388 ft 9 in) long overall, had a beam of 23.2 metres (76 ft 1 in) and a draught of 7.92 metres (26 ft 0 in). The ship displaced 13,105 tonnes (12,898 long tons). Her crew consisted of 28–29 officers and 750 enlisted men. The Model Having released the Tsesarevich in her 1917 guise last year, Trumpeter have now released a kit of her as she was when first completed. The kit comes a top opening box with a very nice artists impression of the ship, anchored at the head of the battle line. On opening, the modeller is confronted with the two hull halves, whose bow and stern sections are given extra foam protection, eight sprues of medium grey styrene, three sub-sprues, five sheets of etched brass, a length of brass chain and a small decal sheet. The sprues are clear of flash and other imperfections and there are fewer moulding pips than normally found on Trumpeters ship kits. The moulded on detail is very nicely done and it appears that the unusual tumblehome shape of the hull has been moulded with all the right curves, although as I don’t have any plans I can’t tell if it’s totally correct, but it certainly looks the part. With the amount of etch contained in the kit it really can be made straight out of the box without the need of any additional aftermarket sets, although this probably won’t deter the aftermarket companies from releasing them. Before construction proper can begin, the modeller needs to open up quite a few holes, both on the hull sides and the main decks. These are clearly marked in the instructions and on the parts themselves where the holes have been flashed over. The build begins with the construction of several sub-assemblies. These include the six secondary turrets, each made up of the two barrels which are slid unglued onto the trunnion which in turn is glued to the trunnion pivots which are glued to the turret base. The turret itself is then slid over the barrels and glued to the base before being finished off with the addition of a PE rail on the turret roof. The two main turrets are constructed in a similar fashion, but without a roof rail. Next up are the eleven maxim machine guns, made from two styrene parts, (the gun and shield), along with the PE base folded to shape. The six single 75mm guns are all styrene, and consist of the barrel, shield, swivel mount and base, whilst the twelve 47mm cannon come as a single piece barrel/mount requiring only the shield to be fitted. The modeller then has to assemble four cable reels, each with PE stands, PE drum ends and styrene drum, along with six two piece deck mounted bitts. There are another twelve 75mm guns in casemates along the hull and these are glued to three internal bases per side and slid through their firing ports from the inside. With these fitted the hull halves are joined together with the rudder sandwiched between the halves, along with two sturdy bulkheads. The side mounts for the twin 6” secondary turrets are fitted, one per side, near the top of the hull sides. The quarterdeck and bilge keels are also glued into their respective positions. The main deck is the attached along with the quarterdeck/main deck bulkhead, followed by the upper side pieces and lower bridge wings. The large windlass, made up of eight styrene and four PE parts is assembled and positioned at the rear of the foredeck. From the bow, the foredeck is then fitted out with the jack staff, cleats, bitts, ventilators and the splinter shields for the port and starboard 6” turrets. Moving admidships there are three deckhouses fitted, the front one being the base of the bridge. Before attaching the next level of the bridge structure, six supports and the base of the foremast need to be glued into position. With these in place the bridge piece, which has been fitted with the armoured control tower to the underside, can be slid over the mast section and glued into position, followed by the two 6” turrets and two capstains. The bridge is slowly built up with the upper section of the tower, the bridge itself and a further deck with additional deckhouses and deck supports. Four of the 75mm guns are fitted two per side, just aft of the bridge. One deck up an there is a complicated bit of bending required to fit the railing, which you will need to be careful not to knock off as you fit the six 47mm guns, binnacle and rangefinder to the deck. Moving aft the fore-funnel is assembled from two halves and fitted with two PE blocks to the rear, a PE vertical ladder for each side, plus a PE funnel cap, the completed funnel is then fitted to its position just aft of the bridge structure along with a pair of PE inclined ladders. Meanwhile back to the foredeck, and the fitting of the four anchors, plus a pair of booms, one port and one starboard between each pair of anchors. The foretop is then assembled with the main styrene part being fitted with PE angled supports on the underside, whilst on the topside four 47mm guns are fitted, along with PE window frames fore and after and finished off with the roof. This assembly is then attached to the top of the lower foremast section. Between the funnels there are two boat cradle decks, each made up of both styrene and PE parts and glued into their respective positions, one aft of the fore-funnel and one foreward of the aft funnel. On the foretop roof there is a small gun station fitted out with three maxim machine guns with another section of foremast glued to the centre. Just aft of the rear funnel there is another winch unit, this one made up of seven parts. The front main 12” turret can now be fitted along with the two side mounted 6” turrets, whilst the foremast is fitted off with anotehr platform on which another section of mast is fitted along with a searchlight. The previously attached boat decks are fitted with PE cradles onto which the four large cutters are mounted, each cutter also having a two piece whale boat cradled on their thwarts. The aft boat deck is for the steam launches, with each of the four launches, two large and two smaller are each made up of the hull, deck, funnel, gun mount, gun, searchlight, ventilators and propeller, with the smaller ones also having a rear mounted maxim and a torpedo. With the boats fitted the rear funnel can be assembled, this consists of two funnel halves, PE vertical ladders, PE blocks, PE funnel cap and a PE derrick complete with hook. The completed funnel is then glued into position. At the centre of the foreward boat deck there is a searchlight tower made from a PE tower structure, PE railings, PE ladder and styrene searchlight. The aft superstructure supports are attached, along with the aft pair of 6” turrets, the aft mounted main 12” turret along with two decklights, inclined ladders, aft mounted anchor, spare anchor just aft of the rear boat deck, a pair of derricks each side, the boat booms, bitts, cleats and ensign staff. The after superstructure deck is fitted with a deckhouse and angled supports glued to the underside, before being fitted onto the previously attached supports between the two aft 6” turrets. The four piece steam launch derrick is assembled and fitted to the rear of the aft superstructure deck along with another deckhouse and further deck supports, onto which another deck is fitted. This upper deck is fitted with six 47mm guns and another complex railing which will require careful bending to shape. Both the foremast and mainmast are finished off with the addition of the mast tops and various length yards and platforms along with each having a pair of searchlights fitted. The foreward boat deck is then fitted with a pair of large davits complete with PE downfalls, whilst the two convoluted, (to cope with the weird tumblehome shape of the hull), PE accommodation ladders are assembled and glued one per side aft of the steam launch deck. Another pair of whale boats are attached to the derricks previously fitted to the ships sides. To finish the kit of it’s only a matter of fitting the two propeller shafts, propellers and assembling the stand supplied, complete with a nice plaque with the ships name on. Decals The small decal sheet contains two sizes of ships crest, the Russian and Ensign, in both flat and wavey form. For what it is, it is very nicely printed, although the blue cross on the wavey ensign appears to be quite a bit out of register. Conclusion I just love the look of these ships in which you can clearly see the French influences. They look so wrong that they’re right, if you know what I mean. This is a very interesting kit and will make a nice, different addition to any maritime collection. Without any plans I cannot say definitively how accurate it is, but it looks pretty good when compared with the published photographs, although the kit seems to be a little undergunned in the tertiary department as the details show that she actually was armed with a few more 47mm and additional 37mm cannon. Otherwise it is a very nice kit and can recommend it quite highly. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  23. Chinese PLA Type 59 130mm Towed Field Gun Trumpeter 1:35 History The PLA Type 59 is a licensed built copy of the Soviet M-46 gun which was developed from the M-36 130 mm naval gun used on ships and for coast defence. It is a true gun, being unable to fire much above 45° and having a long barrel and a single propelling charge. It has a 52 calibre barrel with a tied jaw horizontal sliding block breach and ‘pepperpot’ muzzle brake. The latter is not notably efficient, but subjective reports suggest that it is quite effective in reducing muzzle flash. The hydro-pneumatic recoil system comprises a buffer below the barrel and a recuperator above the barrel. The long barrel enables a substantial propelling charge by providing more length in which to achieve ‘all-burnt’ and hence projectile acceleration space and thus achieve its 930 m/s muzzle velocity. The barrel is mounted on a split-trail carriage, with deep box section trails and foam filled road wheels on the ground when firing and 50° of top traverse. The small shield protects little more than the sights, possible including from the effects of muzzle blast, and some protection from machine gun fire in anti-tank engagements. The gun has long and robust trails to provide stability when firing, a large detachable spade is fitted to the end of each when the gun is brought into action. Non-reciprocating sights are standard Soviet pattern, designed for one-man laying. Included are a direct fire anti-tank telescope, a panoramic periscopic indirect-fire sight (a dial sight) in a reciprocating mounting, an angle of sight scale, and a range drum engraved with the range (distance) scale, coupled to a mounted elevation levelling bubble. The range drum enables the standard Soviet technique of semi-direct fire when the piece is laid visually on the target and the range set on the range drum. An APN-3 was later provided for direct fire at night in place of the day telescope. For travel, the gun is towed via a two-wheeled limber fitted to the end of the closed trails, with the spades removed and carried on each trail. Simple jacks on the trails just behind the main wheels are used to lift and support the closed trails so that the limber can be connected. The barrel and recuperator are pulled back between the closed trails and locked in a travelling position. There is a large bicycle chain arrangement on the right trail for this, and a compressed air cylinder, charged by the gun firing, is used to bring the barrel forward when the gun is brought back into action. It takes about four minutes to bring the gun into action; the normal detachment is eight strong. Propelling charges are in metal cartridge cases and loaded separately from the projectile. Projectiles originally included HE fragmentation, Armour Piercing solid shot, and smoke, illuminating and chemical. HE shells weigh some 33 kg. Illuminating shells have a substantially lower muzzle velocity. APHE and extended range shells were introduced later. Maximum rate of fire is probably 6-7 rounds/minute, and about 70 rounds/hour. The Model The kit comes in Trumpeters standard top opening, and quite attractive box, with an artistic representation of the gun in action. Inside there are eight sprues of beige coloured styrene, almost the colour of a Caramac candy bar. There are also a set of two rubber tyres, two separate trail legs, a small etch sheet and a small decal sheet. The parts are really well moulded with no flash and only a few moulding pips needing removal. Although not to everyones taste, the rubber tyres are nicely done with finely moulded details on both the tread and the sidewalls. The build begins with the heart of the mount, the central casting, onto which the two axles, base, ancillary hydraulic unit, various hooks, handles, and other fittings attached to it. On the underside the turntable is attached to the casting by a large pivot and a couple of connecting arms with the turntable also being fitted with a couple of handles. This assembly is put to one side whilst the gun is put together. The rear of the barrel is assembled from upper and lower halves and fitted with the elevating ratchet mechanism, to this the three piece breech block is assembled and slid into the breech part, which is then completed with the addition of three outer plates before being attached to the rear barrel section. The recuperator mounts are then fitted to the front of the breech and the rear of the barrel. Each of the two recuperators are then attached to their mounts, followed by the breech handle and protective plate. Next up is the complex sight, which is made up of no less than thirteen parts. This is then attached to the left side of the breech/rear barrel assembly along with the recuperators protective top cover and left hand breech panel. The barrel, which seems disproportionally long, is also provided in upper and lower halves, to which the two part muzzle brake is attached before the barrel is fitted to the breech assembly. Turning the barrel assembly upside down the two elevation springs are attached, before turning the barrel right side up and fitting the trunnion with moulded on sprocket, and trunnion mounts which are in turn attached to the central casting and fitted out with numerous unidentifiable fixtures and fittings. The two, two piece trails are fitted out with barrel cleaning rods, pioneer tools, clamps, hooks, handles and the five piece jockey wheels and, on the right hand trail the towing eye. The trails are then fitted with their top plate so that the two parts slide over the top and bottom pivots on the central casting. The two spades that fit to the rear of the trails are fitted with a selection of handles and attachments with the option of positioning them in the traveling position. The wheels are then assembled from the rubber tyres plus inner and outer hubs, (the inner hubs are fitted with a brake accumulators, pipework and linkages), before being fitted to the axles. Before fitting the two splinter shields, of which there are optional styles to choose from, they need to be fitted with the binocular and map boxes, support arms, sighting/viewing port doors and three PE handles, before being attached to he front of the gun mount.Finally the elevation wheel is attached, along with a couple of locking handles at the end of the trails, completing the build. If you wish to build this kit as part of a diorama Trumpeter have included a small fret which contains a wooden shell box with separate lid and PE corner protectors, plus a separate shell and charge case The small decal sheet provides just two decals, one showing the elevation/range chart is positioned on the left hand side of the breech, whilst the other appears to show the gun arrangement and is positioned near the top of the right hand splinter shield. Conclusion I really like these field guns from Trumpeter and this one is just great. There is plenty of detail and from the quick bit of research it looks pretty accurate. Whether it’s used in firing or travel mode this will look great in a diorama although it will need a suitable tractor to go with it. The only disappointment is that the gun crew aren’t included, although I’m sure Trumpeter will release a separate set of troops at some point. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  24. Trumpeter news | 17.7.15

    Trumpeter new releases are coming thick and fast! In the Russian heavy tank department are the T-10M, and Indian Army T-90S, scale 1/35. The T-10M is a new tool, and includes individual track links + wheels from the JS-4. The parts breakdown reveals two further variants, yet to be announced. Watch this space! The Indian T-90S comes with a new cast turret and new mantlet. Trumpeter's 1/35 scale GAZ-66 is now offered with a tank on the rear. The parts for the tank are all new tooled. The Chinese army is not overlooked, new is the PLZ-83A, which is an updated version of the Type 83 (kit no TM00305) with a new tooled turret and 12.7mm AA gun from the Hobby Boss ZTZ-96. The next A-3 Skywarrior variant is the Electronic Warfare EA-3B. This features a complete new fuselage plus new clear canopy parts, and a mega decal sheet full of serial numbers - very handy for the spares box! For maritime modellers Trumpeter brings you USS Tennessee in 1944 configuration. The lower hull and waterline plate are from Colorado; the fore and aft decks and gun deck are all new. Lastly, in 1/48 scale, two superb P-40s from Easy Model, prebuilt and prepainted. To achieve a consistently high standard of finish Easy Models are mask sprayed, and the markings are pad printed. It can take up to four separate print processes to produce one roundel! As an importer/distributor we sell direct to the trade only. Support your usual model shop or dealer and ask them for Trumpeter and Easy Model. More from Trumpeter next month.
  25. Xuntong news | 13.7.15

    New in from Xuntong Model of China. The DB-3F was the most widely used variant of the DB-3 series. The DB-3F was put into production in 1940 and in March 1942 its designation was changed to Il-4, the torpedo version being Il-4T. Order now from your usual stockist or dealer.
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