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

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  1. Today
  2. Great Other (16202) 1:16 ICM via Hannants [WARNING: Mild Spoilers if you haven't yet seen the show] There is a fairly well-known show called Game of Thrones from HBO, and if you have heard of it you'll probably know what a White Walker is. They're a race of cold bluish people with shrivelled skin from beyond the Wall that at the beginning of the show hadn't been seen for thousands of years, but the first person to survive an encounter also inadvertently discovered how to kill them – Dragon Glass. They have the ability to reanimate the dead by touching them, which was a welcome aspect for me, as I'm quite partial to a Zombie movie, but that's not the main thrust of the show, although it becomes more relevant toward the end. We've already had the Night King from ICM here, and now we're back with one of his retinue, who usually isn't far behind his leader when more than one of them are seen on screen. The Kit This is a new tool from ICM and it arrives in one of ICM's usual smaller top-opening boxes with the captive internal flap, and inside is one sprue of grey styrene, a smaller black sprue and separate part for the base, plus a clear sprue containing just the staff. The instructions are on a single glossy sheet of A4 with a sprue diagram on the reverse, and you also get a glossy A4 print of the artwork that should be of assistance when it comes time to get the paint out. Construction is straight forward with separate head, long hair at the back, two-part torso, separate legs with individual feet joined at the instep, arms with moulded-in shoulder armour, and four sections of his leather "skirt" armour. His hands have separate fingers to allow him to grasp the clear staff/spear, and all the skin is moulded with the shrivelled, sunken flesh that's typical of their species. Because the leather skirt is made from strips, some part of his butt can be seen between the sections, so be warned that there are a couple of wrinkly cheeks to cope with, but this realism extends no further, leaving a featureless "Action Man" crotch at the front. The spear is clear (sorry about the rhyme) and differs from the box art and instructions which depict it as having a wooden or leather wrapped shaft. The part has the ice blade, but has a spiral groove running down the clear shaft, so check your references and if you feel the urge to wrap it with strips of leather (which is what it looks like to me) or replace it entirely, feel free to do so. The base is a sculpted oval affair, with separate top and bottom sections that you can either paint or add a little ground work to as you see fit. Markings There are no decals as you'd expect, and the instructions tell you to paint the body white and give him blue eyes. The "real" thing was actually a myriad of subtle shades of blue with translucent whitish highlights that will be taxing to replicate, but if done well will look exceptional. I'd seriously think about installing a couple of dim blue LEDs in the eye sockets too, as if you don't, someone else will. Conclusion If you ignore the somewhat clumsy and unsatisfactory ending of the show, GoT has a huge following, and this should appeal to the intersection of fans and figure painters on an imaginary Venn diagram. He's not dressed identically to the screen figure that he mostly resembles, but that's probably got a lot to do with licensing and plausible deniability. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Soviet Road Signs WWII (35601) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. If you're travelling unfamiliar roads you need a little help to find your way, which is where road signs come in, and with the size of Russia and the likelihood that most of their troops weren't used to being away from their home villages, it's hardly surprising that signs became more important once the Great Patriotic War began in earnest. This set is full of signs of this nature, and includes military signs to guide their troops to rally points, service areas and so forth as they didn't have the luxury of GPS and satnav back then. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting of the contents on the front and brief instructions on the rear. There are four medium-sized sprues in grey styrene in the box, plus a decal sheet on thick paper that contains all the painted descriptive fronts of the signs. As well as the signs themselves there are a number of posts on which to hang then, one of which is a two-part telegraph pole with a lamp on a decorative bracket and ceramic insulators on short metal arms from which you can hang wires loose as shown in the diagrams, or taut if you have something to attach them to. Each sign is either metal or moulded with a restrained wooden texture that will show through the decals if you use decal solution during drying. Some of the larger signs are also made from a few planks, so the joins will also show through the decal. On the sprue that contains the pole there are also additional undocumented parts for poles and such, which you could also press into service if you can figure out how to put them together. There are 50 signs so there will be a few decals left over, but it's entirely up to you how you lay them out. The instructions recommend painting the faces of the signs gloss white before you apply the decals so they obtain the maximum brightness, and in case you don't read Russian, there's a helpful translation graphic on their website, which we have reproduced for you below: Conclusion Dioramas rely on the minutiae of the background to give that "lived in" look to the terrain, and signage is essential for all but the straightest of roads. The addition of the telegraph pole gives extra depth to any road scene, and the painting guide helps with painting the plastic parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. AVRO Shackleton MR.3 (03873) 1:72 Revell The Avro Shackleton was a long-range maritime patrol, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft developed by Avro from the Lincoln (with a few elements borrowed from the Tudor), which in turn was developed from the wartime Lancaster bomber. Powered by four Rolls Royce Griffon engines driving contra-rotating propellers, the Shackleton possessed far greater range than its forebears, enabling it to stay airborne for over 14 hours, despite its higher gross weight. In the Maritime Reconnaissance role it began life as a tail-dragger that bore more of a resemblance to the old Lanc, which morphed from versions 1 to 2 with a longer nose and relocated radome, into the MR.3 that added a nose-wheel that brought it more in-line with the tricycle undercarriage sported by the rest of the fleet as it modernised. The MR.3 was further modified with additional equipment inside both to improve its abilities and enhance crew comfort (a little) on those long sorties, which were further extended by the fitting of wingtip fuel tanks. The twin 20mm cannon in the nose and the complement of stores in the bomb bay were key, and the Phase 3 had two viper turbojet engines added to the rear of the outboard nacelles to improve take-off performance when heavily loaded. The Kit Revell's new tool in 2016 was eagerly awaited by many, as modellers had waited over 40 years for a new kit of the Old Grey Lady, with the AEW.2 the first out of the gate. Now we have an MR.3 with changed parts to depict this quite different version of the much-loved Shack. Inside the large end-opening box are 209 parts spread over twelve sprues in grey styrene, two of clear parts, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour painting guide to the rear. The mouldings look excellent, with fine, engraved panel lines, recessed rivets and plenty of crisply rendered detail. A great deal of effort has gone into the tooling of this kit. As usual, construction starts with the cockpit. Whilst it doesn't feature a full interior, Revell have done a good job of representing the inside of the Shackleton. The cockpit itself features nicely detailed seats with separately moulded armrests, decal seatbelts, and control yokes, while the detail on parts such as the instrument panel is exquisite as you can see from the detail photo above. The rear crew stations aft of the bomb bay are also nicely represented. Crew seats are moulded separately and there is plenty of moulded-in detail. You can even finish the model with the rear door open in order to show off a little more of the inside. The fuselage itself is broken down into front and rear sections that we rightly assumed were hinting at further releases, and features a double wing spar fixed to the roof of the bomb bay which, just like the real thing lends a lot of structural strength to the model. Before sealing the fuselage halves together, don't forget to fix the small side windows in the fuselage from the inside beforehand. While we're on the subject of clear parts, those provided with the kit are excellent, being both very clear and nicely moulded. The bomb bay doors are split and can be finished in the open position if required, but Revell provide no stores to put in there. The canopy and top hatch glazing are installed after the seams are dealt with, and here you'll need to be careful to get a good join to minimise clean up, although you have a much better chance of retaining all the rivets as they're recessed. If sanding starts to make them faint, you can always stop and deepen them with a bradawl or pin. The big nose cannon are fitted to the pivot from the inside and attached to the hole in the nose along with the curved canopy on top and a trapezoid bomb-aimer's window below. At the rear there is a clear stinger for observation purposes. The huge wings are split into upper and lower halves, with separately moulded ailerons and landing flaps which once assembled simply slide onto the wing spars to form a nice strong join. The rudders and elevators are all moulded separately too, so bonus marks go to Revell for including this useful extra feature, and the tip-tanks are separate with a clear lens added to the front of each one. The engine nacelles are very finely represented with superb moulded-in detail and separate cooling flaps, with the main landing gear bays sandwiched inside the inner engine pods. The landing gear is absolutely fine, but on the other hand you want to hang your Shackleton from the ceiling, you can close the landing gear bays up completely and save yourself the trouble of painting the wheels. There are also alternative outer nacelles with the exhaust for the Viper turbojets if you choose to model the Phase 3 example, which is good to see. Aside from adding a host of aerials and other small details such as the belly-mounted radome, all that remains to do is assemble and paint the propellers. This is no mean feat due to their sheer numbers – 32 tips in all. That's the bonus of contra-prop models, twice the props, twice the fun! Tackling this sub-assembly first might be wise as it is bound to be quite time consuming and could seem more of a chore if you're approaching burn-out at the end of the project. Markings There are two decal options supplied on the sheet, each one taking up two pages of the booklet, but you'll need to flip pages whilst decaling as they aren't pages that face each other even though there is a blank page at the back. Both options wear the same high demarcation white fuselage over dark grey scheme, and from the box you can build one of the following: Shackleton MR.3 (Phase 2) No.206 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Kinloss, Scotland, 1965 Shackleton MR.3 (Phase 3) No.42 Squadron, Royal Air Force, St Mawgan, Cornwall, 1970 Decals are printed for Revell by Zanetti, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. You can have a look at our Walkarounds by clicking on the buttons below for a bit more incitement if the pictures of crisp plastic detail aren't yet loosening your wallet. MR.3 (Phase 3) WR977 @ Newark Air Museum MR.3 (Phase 3) WR982 @ Gatwick Aviation Museum Conclusion It's hard to believe we've been blessed with two modern toolings of the Shackleton and now four variants are covered, with the Revell kit appearing to be free from what most would consider to be major potential oopsies. surface detail is superb, with its beautifully rendered panel line and rivet detail, making the competitors look a little soft by comparison. Overall a very pleasing effort for this variant from Revell that has tempted this 1:48 modeller. Very highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  5. Yesterday
  6. I-153 WWII China Guomindang AF Fighter ICM 1:48 (48099) The Polikarpov I-153 was the last of Nikolai Polikarpov's biplane fighter aircraft to enter service and despite being the most advanced entry in the series was already obsolete when it first entered service in 1939. The I-153 was developed as a result of a misreading of the results of the aerial combat during the Spanish Civil War. In July 1937 a meeting chaired by Stalin concluded that the Fiat CR.32 biplane was superior to the Polikarpov I-16 monoplane. The nimble Fiat fighter had achieved impressive results against the Soviet fighter, but partly because the I-16 pilots had attempted to dogfight rather than use their superior speed to break off combat. The successful introduction of the Bf 109 was ignored, and instead of focusing on producing a superior monoplane the Soviet authorities decided to work on an improved biplane. The new aircraft needed to maintain the manoeuvrability of the I-15 and I-152 while also increasing in speed. Work on the I-153 was officially approved on 11 October 1937. Polikarpov's main aim was to reduce drag and weight in an attempt to compensate for the weight of a heavier engine. He did this in two main ways - first by introducing a retractable undercarriage, and second by returning to the 'gull wing' configuration of the I-15, in which the upper wing was linked to the fuselage, eliminating its central section. This had worked on the I-15, but had been unpopular with some pilots and higher authorities, and had been removed from the I-152. As a result that aircraft had been less manoeuvrable than its predecessor. The 'gull wing' on the I-152 was an improved version of that on the I-15, with a bigger gap between the wing roots, which improved the pilot's forward view when landing and taking off. The fuselage and wings of the I-153 were similar to those of the I-15 and I-152, with a steel tube framework, covered by metal at the front of the fuselage and fabric elsewhere. The manually operated retractable undercarriage rotated through 90 degrees before folding backwards into the fuselage. The first prototype was powered by a 750hp M-25V engine. Its maiden flight is variously reported as having taken place in May or August 1938. Tests that began on 27 September are variously described as state acceptance or factory trials. These tests weren't entirely satisfactory and production was delayed while some of the problems were solved. In June-August 1939 state acceptance trials were conducted using an I-153 powered by the new Shvetsov M-62 engine, a version of the M-25V with a two-stage supercharger. These trials were not officially concluded until January 1941, long after the type had been superseded. Next in line was a version powered by the 900hp M-63, and this version passed its trials on 30 September 1939. Only a handful of aircraft were produced with the M-25 engine. The 800hp M-62 was used in the largest number of aircraft, around 3,018 in total. The 1,100hp (at take-off) M-63 was used in 409 aircraft. A total of 3,437 I-153s were produced, beginning in 1938. 1,011 aircraft had been completed by the end of 1939, and a massive 2,362 were built in 1940, at a time when the Soviet Union desperately needed more modern monoplanes. Production came to an end early in 1941 and only 64 aircraft were completed that year. The standard I-153 was armed with four ShKAS machine guns. The four under wing bomb racks could carry up to 441lb of bombs. In 1940 93 of these aircraft were delivered to the Chinese nationalists for their fight against the Japanese. They served until 1943. The Model This is a new boxing of the original kit from 2015, with decals for the Chinese Nationalist Forces and a small extra sprue with a new cowling. All the parts are superbly moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections and only a few noticeable moulding pips. Since the aircraft was mostly wood there are very few panel lines, as fabric was used in the construction, the kit shows the underlying structure, but in a nicely restrained way. Both the upper and lower wings are single parts so the thickness looks correct and there is no worrying join lines. Construction begins with the cockpit, the tubular frame is built up, the controls are added into this then it is attached to the cockpit floor and the seat is added. The complete section is then added onto the lower wing. Additional controls and other parts are then added to the inside of the fuselage halves. These can then be closed up and added to the lower wing. A template is provided for the front to drill the mounting holes for the engine. The upper wing and the interplane struts can then be added, followed by the tail planes. Moving on the the front of the aircraft the radial engine is built up. This has separate parts for the control rods, cylinders and exhausts this should build up into a convincing replica of the real thing. The cowling and propeller are then added and the engine mounted into the holes drilled earlier. The three part outer cowling (top & 2 sides) can be fixed or left off as needed. The Small clear canopy is then added. Moving to the underside the landing gear and door are made up and added. If required a number of light bombs can be built up and added. Rigging of the aircraft is fairly simple and an enclosed diagram shows how this can be done. Decals The decal sheet is printed by ICM themselves. The decals are quite glossy, well printed, in register and nicely opaque, particularly useful for the large white numbers. There are four different options for unknown aircraft from the Chinese Nationalist Air Force. Conclusion As with the I-16, this is a very cute and recognisable little aeroplane. The biplane design, whilst out of date, makes this aircraft look a nicer design then the I-16. It’s certainly great that ICM are catering to those aircraft. Available from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. In the UK Review sample courtesy of
  7. At the time of posting this kit is on offer with a 30% discount at Creative Models. Julien
  8. Spz Puma German Infantry Fighting Vehicle 1/35 HOBBYBOSS via Creative Models The German realised back in the 1970s that the Infantry needed a Fighting Vehicle as opposed to just a troop carrier and the Marder was developed for this purpose. It was then realised the Marder was getting long in the tooth so development began for a new vehicle. The Schutenpanzer of new IFV came through a process of looking for the replacement. The new vehicle feature modular composite armour, a 30mm auto canon and a Spike LR missile launcher with 2 missiles. The optics and sensor are fully upto date with thermal vision and low light capabilities as standard for the gunner and driver, these even feed into the passenger cabin to provide situational awareness for the troops being carried. The in a new feature the rear door can partially open to allow a couple of troops to scoot out without exposing the rear compartment. The German Army has ordered 350 units which should be delivered by 2020, and combat effective from 2024. Other countries are looking at the Puma though to date none have been ordered. The Kit This kit from HobbyBoss is a new tool. There are the main hull castings, 6 main sprues, a clear sprue, 7 sprues of track parts and two smaller casting for the turret and its gun. Construction starts with the suspension components being added to the main lower hull. The drive sprockets, idler wheels, main wheels and return rollers are all then added. The tracks are then made up and added, these are individual links to each two track pads need to be added for each link. There are 71 links per side. Once the tracks are on the rear door is fitted to the rear bulkhead and this is attached to the main body. Work then switched to the top hull. The roof hatches for the troop compartment are added along with vision blocks and other fittings. The top hull can then be joined to the lower one. The large armoured skirts can then be fitted to each side, and the exhaust louvres fitted. Additional hull parts are fitted at the front, and mud guards at the rear along with the convoy light and tow hooks. For the main hill various additional parts are fitted as well as what seems to be slat armour protection for the vehicle and counter measure systems. Moving onto the turret, the gun is first built up with the barrel being added into arm casing, and then this being attached to the main body of the turret. Sensors are added along with smoke dischargers. The completed turret can then be added to the vehicle. Decals A small decal sheet gives marking for three German Army vehicles. Conclusion This is a great looking kit from HobbyBoss of the latest German APC/IFV and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Andrew, I just had a quick look at the Church drawings of the WOT6 and it appears that the GS body was steel. Is that correct? I have the ICM issue of this kit and it seems that the only difference between it and the Revell one is the decals....no Ghurkas in the Revell. With regards to the tyres, no doubt there will be some resin ones along soon (I hope). John.
  10. Just be aware that although this is a very nice kit , it does contain a couple of errors , the body is that of a Machinery Truck , not a GS type, and the tyres are wrong for a war-time vehicle , having a post war tread. These are probably due to ICM having based the kit on a preserved vehicle , whilst not fatal flaws , they do prevent an accurate GS truck being built from the box .
  11. Last week
  12. Fordson WOT6 British WWII Truck (03282) 1:35 Revell During WWII, Ford UK built a great many vehicles for the British war effort, as well as some 34,000 Merlin engines for Spitfires, Lancasters and Hurricanes. The WOT.6 was a 4x4 light truck (3 ton capacity) with a short cab that housed a 3.6L V8 engine pumping out a fairly paltry 85hp that could get it to 75mph eventually. The engine's location under the cab gave the load bed plenty of space on the chassis rail, and also gave the truck a sit-up-and-beg look. The heat from the radiator had to be redirected by a fairing to prevent it being ingested by open windows, thereby cooking and possibly even poisoning the crew if it wasn't in the best of health. Over 30,000 were built in a number of configurations, and they were in service from 1942 to the end of the war, with those in good enough shape carrying on into the early 60s. The Kit This is new tooling from ICM, which has bow been reboxed by Revell The kit arrives in a small box with their usual top flap on the lower tray, and inside the outer clear foil bag are seven sprues in medium grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, four flexible black plastic tyres and a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, each in their own bags, plus a small decal sheet. The instruction booklet completes the package, and is printed on glossy white paper in colour, with black and red used for the diagrams throughout, and the decal options printed in colour at the rear. British WWII softskins aren't much of a priority for many companies, so it will be happily anticipated by many for that reason, and due to the vast improvement in ICM's tooling in recent years they will be pleased to see that they have packed in a lot of detail to this release, and you can almost bank on there being other versions forthcoming in time if this one sells well. Perusing the sprues shows plenty of detail all over, with the occasional ejector pin that's unavoidable if you're expecting top quality detail on both sides of parts. Common sense has prevailed however, and all the marks are in areas where they either won't be seen, or where they're relatively easy to make good. The construction phase begins with the chassis, which is made up from two main rails, with sub-rails and spacers holding things together, and front suspension moulded into the outer rails. With the chassis completed by adding the rear end, attention turns to the engine, which is a complete rendering, and made up from a good number of parts for detail, including the block, pulleys, transmission and a short drive-shaft that threads through the holes in the cross-members. The two long exhaust pipes with mufflers go under the chassis on each side, and the rear suspension is fitted, which is a substantial set of leaf-springs, then the axles and drive shafts are attached to the suspension and transfer box. Brake drums, fuel tanks, steering arms and struts are all installed before the wheels are built-up around the rubbery black tyres, which have tread details moulded-in, and are finished off by the addition of the hubs, which attach from both sides, and are then detailed with additional parts before they are slotted onto the axles. The undercarriage is almost done, and it's time for the upper surfaces, beginning with the engine bay, which has the front wheel-arches moulded in, and is then detailed with lights, front rail, radiator and some additional ancillaries to keep the engine running. You even get a pair of lower hoses for the radiator to mate it to the engine, and two more longer ones diving diagonally down into the topside of the engine from the top of the rad. There's going to be a bit of painting needed, as the engine can be seen from the underside, even though access is limited. The bay sides are planted, and are joined by internal covers and instrumentation on top, which have a few decals to detail them up. Some of the driver's controls are added on the right side (the correct side) of the engine, and a pair of seats are built up and added to the square bases installed earlier, then the front of the cab is detailed with clear parts and window actuators, before the sides are attached to the edges and lowered onto the chassis, then joined by the simple dash board and steering wheel on its spindly column. The doors are separate parts and have clear windows, handles and window winders added, then joined to the sides in either the open or closed position or any variation of the two. The cab is a bit draughty at the moment, until the rear panel and the roof are added, the latter having a pop-up cover on the co-driver's side, with a couple of PE grilles then added to the front radiator frames after being bent to shape. Now for the truck bed, beginning with the sides, which have two stiffeners added, then are covered with bumpers along the top and bottom edge of the outside face. The bed floor fits into a groove into the bottom, and is kept square by the addition of the front and rear sides. Under the bed are a number of stowage boxes and racks for additional fuel or water cans, which are happily also included, then they are joined by the two parts per wheel that form the wheel arch that are braced on the outside with two small struts. Then it's the fun part! Adding the bed to the chassis, which is kept in the correct place by two ridges under the bed that mate with grooves in the chassis rail. At the front, two light-hoods are fitted above the lights, and the prominent pedestrian unfriendly hood that deflects the rain and hopefully redirects the engine heat from being sucked back into the open front windows on a hot day. The cab is detailed with additional lights, horn, wing mirrors, grab-handles and even some pioneer tools, then the windscreen wipers. Moving backwards, the four c-shaped hoops that support the canvas tilt are applied to the outside of the bed sides, reaching roughly half-way down the sides to obtain a strong join in both 1:1 and 1:35. The final act is to add seven rods along the length of the roof section of the tilt frame, which will need some careful alignment to ensure all the hoops are vertical and correctly spaced. Now you can paint it, but you've probably got a lot of that done already in truth. Markings The decal sheet is pretty small, but it's also quite colourful due to the unit markings that are included. From the box you can build one of the following: Royal Army Service Corps, attached 7th Armoured Brigade, Hamburg 1945 Royal Artillery, attached the 50th Northumbrian Infantry Division, Holland 1944 Decals are printed by Cartograf in Italy looking at the sheets number, so there will be no issues with them. Conclusion As soon as I saw this in the box I thought it was an interesting subject, and it looks like ICM have made a nice little replica here. Plenty of detail, some PE parts, and some rubbery tyres for those that don't want to have to paint them. Very highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  13. Type AG 1910 Paris Taxi (24030) 1:24 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The Renault built Type AG Taxi de la Marne got its name after a fleet of these vehicles were pressed into service transporting French troops to the First Battle of the Marne in WWI. It was very popular as it was one of the first taxis to be able to automatically calculate the fare due to the inclusion of a meter in the interior, which you can just make out in th picture above. As well as service during the early war it was also popular in Paris and London in the early 1900s The Kit This is a new tool in the predominant vehicle model scale from our friends at ICM, and depicts a colourful rendition of the vehicle in civilian service. It arrives in ICM's standard top-opening box with a captive inner lid, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a single clear sprue, two flexible sprues with black tyres plus the spare, decal sheet and instruction manual. It is a full detail kit with 10hp engine and detailed underside plus crystal clear glazing panels for the enclosed passenger cab. Construction begins with the chassis rails with moulded-in rear leaf-springs and two cross-members that are then added to the lower bodywork along with brackets for the running boards on both sides. The little engine is made up of six parts and its transmission from a further three, with both assemblies brought together on a sub-frame at which point the exhaust stub is fitted then it is inserted into the main chassis from below. Flipping it over the firewall and the pedals are slotted in between the front fenders, and this section is set aside while the coachwork is made up from individual panels, starting with the stepped floor. The divide between driver and passenger has two flat panes of glass to keep the weather out, and curved sides reminiscent of the carriages from which they descended. The driver's floor, rear parcel area and the comfortable passenger seat are inserted, and the carriage-style roof is made up with a small rear window. The doors are each made up from two layers with the glass between them, and once fitted with handles they can be posed open or closed, hinging back in suicide door style. The driver has a more utilitarian bench seat with padded backrest attached to the bulkhead behind him, then the chassis and coachwork are joined, the rear suspension, exhaust and steering column are added from below. A sump guard and front axle are added later along with the driveshaft and rear axle while it is upside down, and once righted, the sloping bonnet and less-than-generous side rails that intended to prevent the driver from falling out are installed either side of his seat. There is also an elongated S-shaped "folding mechanism" attached to the side of the passenger hood, which still persists today in some American limousine and hearse designs as a purely cosmetic homage to the original coachwork. The wheels are all spoked and have separate flexible black plastic tyres that slip over the rims. Detail here is good with bolts, rivets and the air valve for these early pneumatic tyres all moulded into the hubs, while the tyres have a faint pattern moulded into them. The spare wheel is mounted on a rim on the right running board, and also has a flexible tyre provided in the box, then it's a case of adding the steering wheel, horn, gear shift and the driver's folding awning that fixes to the front of the coachwork with a short frame inside that allows the real one to fold back if desired. The final items are the two lamps with clear three-sided lenses and the taxi's major innovation, the meter, complete with little flag-shaped arm. Markings One rather colourful scheme is provided in the instructions with a choice of three number plates for front and back, the word "Libre" in white and again on a red background, plus another decal for the front of the meter. The chassis and wheels are painted yellow with yellow accents around the bonnet, and the bodywork is predominantly red with black hood and seat cushions as per the box top. Conclusion The Type AG was quite an important advance in Taxis for the day with the innovative meter, plus the smoothing of the ride quality thanks to pneumatic tyres, which must have been a luxury back then. Not my usual scale, but a nice model none-the-less. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Me.262A-1/A-2 (03875) 1:32 Revell The shark-like profile of the Messerschmitt Me.262 Schwalbe and its almost matchless abilities at the time have given it a high profile despite its lack of practical effect on the outcome of WWII. If Der Fuhrer had been a little less prone to meddling however, the effect of its presence may have been felt more by the bomber streams than it was. That's if they could have solved the metallurgy of the engines to obtain sufficient time before they burned themselves to oblivion. That's a lot of ifs, but if we concentrate on the actual performance of it, it's still an impressive aircraft that was superior to the British Meteor in many respects, using axial flow jet engines and swept outer wing panels together with an efficient aerodynamic shape. It first flew with a prop in the nose and dummy engines, dragging its tail along the ground until airborne, but this was changed once the engines were live as the thrust from both engines would have played havoc with their landing strips. The delays were caused partly by Hitler's insistence that the airframe should be able to carry bombs, which it eventually could under its nose, but as usual their efforts were spread too thin by trying to make the Schwalbe a workhorse with many variants, all of which took valuable engineers and strategic materials away from the fighters that were to be the most use in the defence of the Reich. The huge speed differential between the 262 and its bomber stream targets meant that zoom attacks were necessary that gave precious little time for the pilot to take careful aim due to the high rate of closure. The aircraft were also vulnerable during take-off and landing due to the slow spooling-up of all early jet engines, which the Allies took full advantage of to reduce the fleet further with intensive maintenance whittling away at the available airframes even further. It was a case of too little too late in terms of numbers and even with their speed advantage a few were shot down by piston-engined Allied aircraft due in part to the extensive experience that the Allied crews had gained during the invasion and the comparative lack of experienced German pilots by that stage of the war. As the Allies rolled through Germany they captured airbases and research establishments with many variants that didn't see combat found and hoovered up by US Operation Paperclip and similar operations by the other Allied governments. The Kit This is a fork of the 2016 tooling in this scale of the Me.262B-1/U-1 two-seater with new parts to depict the single seat fighter. This was made easier by the sensible decision by Revell to tool the engines and other common parts to ensure they could be used for other variants, so it's a case of new fuselage parts on the otherwise identical sprue, new clear parts, a new single-part cockpit and of course the bombs that the fighter was supposed to carry. Inside the deep end-opening box are thirteen sprues in their usual light grey styrene, two clear sprues, decal sheet and the new-style instruction booklet with painting guide printed at the rear in colour. Construction of this variant is broadly similar to the original, beginning with the cockpit and its sidewalls. These are made up with levers and some decals, then the centre section of the cockpit floor is added along with the power breaker panel that is prominent on the pilot's right. The instrument panel has cylindrical backs moulded in with a separate add-on section depending upon whether the airframe is to carry rockets or bombs. Decals for the instruments are supplied, and the panel is attached to the forward end of the side consoles by two tabs, with the rudder pedals fitted under them, then joined by the front bulkhead. The pilot's seat is well-moulded and you'll leave another on the sprues as a left-over from the 2-seat variant. You can use the decal seatbelts directly on the seat, or add these to foil to give them a bit of depth if you don't want to go for PE or those awesome HGW belts that I'm always going on about. The cockpit's cylindrical "tub" is added in two parts around the assembly, then it is set aside for a while to build up the combined gun bay and nose-gear bay on opposite sides of the tapering floor part. The two walls of the bay are added with the stub of the nose gear leg, the rest of which is added later, then the top side is fitted out with ammo guides before a pack of four Mk.108 cannons and their supportive bulkhead are slipped into place past the ammo feeds. The remaining upper feeds are then laid over the installation, and two braces are added between the two bulkheads, which will all be visible if you elect to leave open the bay doors. In the fuselage halves, the ammo chutes are placed inside depicting the rectangular outlets for the spent brass, then the bay is glued into the port side and the fuselage is closed up. One handy feature of the 262 is that in most scales the majority of kits allow you to insert the cockpit from below before the wings are attached. The cockpits sills are inserted into the aperture from above along with the canopy rail, then the cockpit with aft bulkhead are fitted from below and ancillary equipment that will be visible through the gear bays are added to finish off. Speaking of the gear bays, the main spars that pass through the main bay are next to be built, beginning with the front section that is joined to the rear by three ribs and the stubs of the main gear legs. These are placed in the centre lower wing section which has the outer panels added that use overlapping tabs to strengthen their joints. The two flap sections are added to each lower wing, then after fitting the upper wing panels the two-part ailerons are installed with their actuators and fairings. The 262 had gravity operated slats along the leading edge of the wing, so on the ground and at low speed they will be deployed by default, and this is depicted by the separate surfaces that are joined to the wing by six points moulded into the upper wing section. If you are posing your model with the gear up, the slat tabs are cut off and the slats fitted flush to the wing. This completes the wings, and they are added to the lower fuselage, taking care to align the lower panel and its fairings front and rear to minimise any clean-up. Now work begins on the engines, which are depicted in their entirety (externally) from intake to exhaust with separate handed nacelles added to turn them into port and starboard units. The intake and its inner trunk are joined one inside the other, with the bullet and front face of the engine added from behind, with a similar method used for the exhaust with its stator vanes and the rear of the engine just visible through them. The mid-section of the engine body is made of five parts and its various colours are picked out as you go. The intakes and exhausts are added, more ancillaries are fitted around the middle, and then the two units are slipped within their two-part nacelles that fit port and starboard after adding the compound curves of the fairings front and rear that fit neatly onto the leading edge of the wing first and are then glued along their length. It's looking a lot like a Schwalbe now, but needs its tail-feathers. The fin is moulded into the fuselage halves with a separate rudder and trim-tab, and the elevators are made up from two part fins and a single elevator unit for each that can be posed at an angle if desired. These are fitted into the slots in the tail and should be at 90o to the fin and monitored as the glue sets. For the landed option, the gear needs making up next, with a choice of design of four-part nose wheels and standard two-part main wheels with a zig-zag tread. The struts are single parts each, the nose leg having a single armed yoke, while the main gear have separate scissor-links added to the fronts of their struts and the wheels fitted to a stub axle that sits roughly perpendicular to the leg. If you're going wheels up the nose gear bay is closed up by a single part after cutting off the hinge points. The main gear bay is provided with a single piece that spans both bays. If you are using the gear, the nose bay door is cut into two sections and posed with one piece attached to the side, and the other part captive to the front of the leg. The main gear bays take three parts each, with two attached to the leg, and the inner section affixed to a central brace between the bays and fitted with two retraction jacks each. In order to fit the canopy the gun-sight has to be made up first on a cruciform bracket with the clear gun-sight fitted to one leg and the lenses left clear while the rest of the sight is painted. The windscreen has its bullet-proof internal screen attached from the inside before the completed gun-sight is fitted into the inside edges of the screen then glued into position at the front of the cockpit aperture. The opening canopy has its head-armour fitted and can be glued into place open using the two moulded-in tabs, or closed by removing the tabs before installation. The aft section of the canopy is usually seen in position, but can be shown open using the tabs provided although there's not much to be seen under it. The engine cowlings can be left off to display some of the detail, as can the nose bay to show off the cannons just by cutting the cover into three sections, one part of which is glued across the centre and the other two fitted gull-wing style with props supplied on the sprues. The nose cone and cannon troughs are glued to the front, with a tiny clear light on the tip of the nose. The 262 could carry either two drop-tanks to extend its range, or a pair of bombs in the fighter-bomber role, or rockets under the wings. The drop tanks are each two parts split top and bottom at a natural seamline and share the same pylons as the bombs. The bombs supplied are 250KG or 500KG and use the same construction method of two parts with a separate nose-cone, two fins and an exterior ring at the rear on the 500KG unit, and braces for the smaller units. The rockets are moulded as one part and are attached to their racks that are conformal to the underside of the wings. The model is completed by clear wingtip lights, D/F loop on the spine, pitot probe on the port wingtip and aerial under the wing. Markings There are two decal options included in the box, each one spanning two pages of the booklet and printed in full colour. They are sufficiently different to please many, and from the box you can build one of the following: Me.262A-1a Wk.Nr. 130017, Erprob.Kdo 262, Lechfeld, 1944 Me.262A-2a WkNr. 170122, 2./KG 51 "Edelweiss" Rheine, 1944 Decals are printed for Revell by Zanetti, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Grab one of these if 262s and 1:32 are your thing and you'll be well-pleased. There is a lot of detail moulded-in, and if you want more there will be enough aftermarket to sink a ship in due course. With Revell's distribution network they'll be pretty easy to find too. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  15. Standard B Liberty Truck with WWI US Infantry (35652) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The Liberty truck was a collaboration between the major US manufacturers and the Quartermasters Corps to reduce the need to carry spare parts for every weird and wacky truck that might find its way into service. The aim was to cut down on the breadth of inventory they needed to keep in stock to maintain the vehicles, and to reduce the training needed for their mechanics who only needed to be familiar with one main design. Production began in mid 1917 as American was becoming more involved in the Great War and with very few alterations over 9,000 were made before the ending of hostilities. The vehicle's engine was also a collaboration and pushed out a staggering 52hp linked to a 4-speed box that drove all wheels, propelling the truck to a break-neck 15mph on a good road, drinking a gallon every seven miles at best, which with a 22 gallon tank gave it a fairly short range. The Kit This isn't a brand new tooling, but was released in 2018 so it's barely out of the "new" range. This reboxing contains an additional set of US WWI Soldiers with their distinctive "mountie" hats from the era. It is a high quality kit with a lot of detail that provides a full interior, erected tilt and bare frame options and engine. The kit arrives in a standard ICM box with four sprues for the truck and two more for the soldiers, plus a clear sprue and decal sheet between the pages of the instruction booklet. Two additional sheets of instructions are included for the soldiers and their accessory sprue. Construction begins with the chassis with leaf suspension fore and aft, then spacer rails to join them together, radiator, axles and steering gear. The rear axle is a substantial chunk and has large drum brakes with a drive-shaft leading to a central transfer box in the middle of the chassis. Front mud guards, bumper bar with rebound springs are added, then it's time to add the wheels with two singles at the front, and two pairs at the rear all with spoked hubs and moulded-in solid rubber tyres around the rim. There is a choice of hub caps on the front wheels, then the engine is made up from 11 parts and dropped in place on the chassis behind the radiator along with a two-part manifold and short exhaust pipe that you'll have to take a small drill to if you want it hollow. The connection to the radiator from the block sprouts from the top of the engine, and at this early stage the gear shifter is installed on the top of the box, ready for the crew cab later. The cab is formed on an stepped floor part that has tread-plate moulded in, to which the sides, full-width bench seat and the firewall with dashboard and fuel tank are attached. Two foldable crew steps are stowed under the floor, and the steering column inserts almost vertically into a hole in the floor, then the assembly is added behind the engine allowing the cowling to be fitted together with a perforated grille that sits forward of the cowling by a few scale inches. The hand brake attaches to the side of the transmission hump, and then it's time for the load bed. The floor is stiffened by five lateral ribs and the front wall is added and braced by the side panels, which also have 4 stiffeners, then two stowage boxes are glued in place under the floor at the front. The tailgate is made up from two thicknesses and is added at whatever variation of open or closed you fancy, then the whole bed is fitted to the chassis on tabs and depressions to get the correct location. Back in the cab the steering wheel, searchlight with clear lens and horn are all fitted, the last two on the top of the dash, and two headlamps again with clear lenses are attached to the outside front of the cab. The area is then decorated with a multitude of grab handles, closures and two towing hooks at the front of the chassis rail. A starter handle is inserted into the front, and the cab's tilt is made up from three styrene parts with two clear portholes and it too is fitted to the cab. The cover for the cargo bed can be modelled either hidden away with just the framework visible, or with the canvas draped over for a bit of variety. The framework option is quite delicate, so care will be needed when taking the frames off the sprues to avoid breakage. There are five of them and they fit at intervals to the sides with a substantial overlap for strength. The covered parts comprise front section, two sides with the exposed parts of the frames sticking down, a rolled-up rear cover, and separate roof section. All have realistic drape and creases moulded in, and your only task is to hide the seams before you apply paint, whilst avoiding breaking off the ends of the frames that hang down. The Figures Four soldiers are supplied on one sprue with their equipment on another sprue. They are all standing with one taking a photo of the others on a box-brownie type camera, while the others walk along, only one of which is acknowledging the camera with a wave. They are broken down into separate heads, hats, torsos, legs and arms, with the arms broken down further where sensible, and the walkers each have a large kit bag that is slung over both their shoulders with rucksack type straps, and over that are their rifles, the slings for which you'll have to make yourself from foil or tape. The accessory sprue contains a plethora of weapons and accessories, most of which you either won't use or can be dotted around this and any other models of the period you may make, including battle bowlers, pistols, pouches, tools, a Lewis gun and other oddities. The instructions show the part locations for each sprue and a combined assembly and painting diagram that is covered in little arrows, with the remaining sheet showing construction of the accessories, their painting and even the names of each item on the sprue, which is very helpful. Markings There are two decal options for the truck, both of which are the same colour, olive green for the body, and khaki for the canvas areas. The sheet is small and includes a few stencils, divisional badges and a warning to carry no more than 3 tons. Conclusion A beautifully detailed kit of an early truck from WWI with the bonus of some very nicely moulded US soldiers into the bargain. Highly recommended. Available from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. In the UK Review sample courtesy of
  16. They're Foxhounds, bought to replace Snatch Land Rovers. Andy
  17. Great pic!! What are those vehicles right behind the Huskies? Alex
  18. Had my eye on this kit for a while, great review. I think the dark green colour scheme looks cool
  19. Leopard 2A7+ German Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models Like many modern weapons system the Leopard 2A7 is not a brand new system but a continuing development of the Leopard 2 family. These are converted ex Dutch A6NL tanks. Using lessons learnt for the Peace support programme, and combat operations in Afghanistan. While retaining the same 120mm smooth bore gun of the earlier variants the 2A7 is able to fire the latest programmable High explosive rounds. The tanks armour has been upgraded with modular armour with frontal protection being improved as well with passive armour and underneath armour for enhanced IED protection. Internally there have been upgrades to the air conditioning system and power systems. More modern sights/thermal systems/rangefinder have been added. The German Army has ordered at present 20 units. With now talk of a Leopard 3, there was talk the 2A7 could be the last of the line. However the 2A7+ has been developed. This MBT has been developed to operate in both low and high intensity conflicts. Additional modular armour has been added similar to that used by Canada on its tanks in Afghanistan. This gives extra protection from mines and RPGs. The main gun can now fire High Explosive rounds. The most obvious difference is the remote weapons station which has been added to the turret roof. This FLW200 system can be fitted with a 12.7mm/0.5 cal heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher. There is a colour camera system with x10 magnification which also has a thermal imaging system. The FLW can also carry additional smoke grenade dischargers. To date the 2A7+ has been ordered by Qatar and Hungary. The Kit Following the 2A7 from Meng a couple of years ago this was sure to be on the Horizon, The box arrives packed, though the lid now fits unlike the 2A7 ! Construction starts with the lower hull. Holes must be drilled in the lower hull before construction starts in order to add the additional underside protective plates. The driver and idler wheels are built up along with 14 main road wheels. The suspension components plus the return rollers then need adding to the main lower hull. The rear armour assembly is constructed and added to the lower hull. Next up the bars for the working torsion bar system are added, these slot through from each side and end plates are attached to them. The wheels can now be added, and as the hull is upside down the additional armour plate can be added on the man hull. Additional protection for the engine compartment are also added at this time. Next up are the tracks.. Unlike other Meng kits, and like the Meng Leopard 2A4 the tracks come as individual links on sprues. Each link has 3 parts; the main track, the connecting rods with end caps, and the track pads. Meng provide a jig to enable 6 links to be put together at the same time. There are 84 links to be joined for each side. Once the tracks are on construction moves to the upper hull. The additional armour is mounted on the front, then Mirrors, spare tack, headlights etc are added. At the rear air filter covers, tools and the tow cable are added. The tow cable supplied in the kit is poor and really needs replacing with a suitable aftermarket one, a shame as the rest of the kit is well above standard. The Cooling fan housings for the rear deck are constructed from the included photo-etch. The top hull can now be joined to the lower one and the armoured side skirts added. Next up is the turret and gun. The gun barrel is a two part one and the muzzle brake one part which fits to the front. The gun then fits into a five part mantlet. I have read on the web that the gun is a slightly weak point of the kit, the fume extractor being a little skinny and short. It is noticeable that the fume extractor on some vehicles has a fibreglass texture to it, Meng have tried to replicate this, but as the part is split down the middle this will no doubt be lost sanding any seams down. The vision blocks can be added to the upper turret and then the two parts can be joined making sure the gun seats properly between them. The upper surface of the turret has sections which feature a rough texture for walking on and Meng have reproduced this on the part. There are then additional plates and fittings to add to the turret. Once the turret is together work can start on adding all of the additional armour pieces to it. These are V shaped and fit to the front. The base plates are made up along with the armour parts. The base plates being fitted first, followed by the armour. Grab handles are then added to the outside. Large side armour plates are then added. For the rest of the turret the commanders periscope is made up and added, along with the gunners hatch and machine gun. Smoke dischargers are added to both sides along with antenna mounts and the gunners sighting system. To the rear of the turret the large AC system and main stowage boxes are added, along with additional stowage boxes at each side. The last part to be fitted on top of the turret is the remote weapons station. This is a small kit in its own right. Decals As there are still none of these in service there are some small decals provided for the German test one, two schemes are suggested of normal NATO tricolor and a dessert tricolor similar to that German vehicles have used in Afghanistan. Conclusion This is a great looking kit from Meng and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. M3 Lee Full Interior Kit (35206) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models In the years before WWII America realised that they were lagging behind in respect of armour, a fact that became especially clear when Germany came out from under the Versailles treaty to show off and then use their new tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics. The M3 Lee was conceived in 1940 as a medium tank carrying a powerful 75mm gun, partly for manning by their own crews, but also because Britain had requested a large number of tanks to make good their losses from Dunkirk. The Lee was a decent tank but suffered from a high silhouette and limited traverse of the sponson-mounted 75mm gun, but was still widely used. In British service it was known as the Lee if it was fitted with the original American turret, or the Grant when using the lower-profiled British specification turrets. The Lee was used primarily in Africa and the Pacific theatres where the 2nd line equipment seemed to be fielded (for the most part) by the enemy, and against the Japanese who were far behind with their tank designs and tactics. It underwent some substantial changes including cast, welded and back to riveted hulls plus changes in the power pack and loss of the side doors to stiffen the hull. The riveted hulls suffered from rivets popping off and becoming projectiles when hit, which could be just as lethal as a penetrating round and was never fully eliminated. The Kit MiniArt began 2019 with a new tooling of the M3 Lee and are expanded their range by adding new parts as they go along. We've come to expect great things from MiniArt's new kits and of course this one is no different with a ton of detail included both externally and internally, as it is a full-interior kit with the increased part count that comes with that. The box is standard MiniArt fare with an attractive picture from their usual artist, and inside are a huge number of sprues of varying sizes with 60 sprues in grey styrene, a single sprue in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and the instruction booklet with painting guide at the front and rear completing the package. Construction begins with the vehicle floor onto which the transmission and final drive assemblies are fixed along with a long drive shaft. The front crew stations are installed around the final drive, and in the centre is the ammo storage with a tread-plated top with the engine firewall behind it. The ammo bin can be posed open or closed using the same door parts, exposing the striking plates moulded into the assembly, and more shells are added to the firewall in racks. Just in case the tank isn't quite flammable enough, a spare fuel can is strapped to the firewall, as are a couple of radiators which I'm hoping can be switched off or redirected in the desert! Moving to the lower sidewalls, these are separate parts and are fitted out with equipment such as fire extinguishers, ammo and a Thompson machine gun with drum mags with the bow gunner's bench seat added to the starboard side as they are joined and the sponson floor fitted at right-angles using slots and tabs. Take care here to clamp them firmly against the bottom of the firewall to prevent them from drooping while setting, which would open up a world of pain if they set out of position. The rolled lower glacis part is also added, and the final drive bell housings that are incorporated into the sidewalls mate with these to complete the shape of that area. The Lee/Grant and to an extent the Sherman were powered by radial engines that sat vertically in the hull and can be blamed for their slightly tall hull shapes. This is provided in detail with the kit with all the cylinders, push-rods and exhaust tubing, plus the tin-work that helps cool the engine all mounted to a sturdy lateral mount that goes around the ancillaries at the rear. Two cheek parts are added into the engine compartment first, and the engine rests on the brackets protruding from the walls. Various tanks and reservoirs are squeezed into the remaining space along with piping for the twin airboxes and the general "spaghetti" that's seen on this kind of engine. The supports for the engine cover are fitted to the sides and the aft bulkhead with access hatch and twin exhaust stacks close in much of the hard work, with twin doors (open or closed) at the back and a PE mesh grille completing the top of the area, allowing the rising heat to escape. The lower hull is finished off with a pair of short arches over the drive wheels and a host of additional equipment filling up the interior with more shell storage, tanks and auxiliary generator. The big 75mm gun and substantial casemate are built up next for fitting into the hull front and the curved splinter shield that allows 14o of traverse to either side to counter any errors in position from the driver or enemy movement. The breech is surrounded by a shield and has the manual traverse wheel and other driver controls plus his seat and sighting gear included, as well as another box containing the 75mm shells peculiar to his gun. Before it can be installed the super-structure must be built up to accommodate it, including the sidewalls, the curved surround and the angled front panels of the glacis. The various hatches can be posed open or closed, and an instrument panel is fitted to the inside of the glacis. The bow machine gun is actually a twin mount with two .30 cal M1919s firing through a hatch near the port sponson. The rest of the hull is then built up in much the same manner as the real thing, but with glue and the rivets only there for show. Fuel caps and another Thompson are added along the way, and when we reach the engine deck there are two large panels, the smaller of them having PE grilles and more filler caps, with both of them covered in small PE tie-down lugs. The rear of the deck overhangs the hull and a small armoured "skirt" protects the tops of the exhausts from stray rounds where PE brackets are used to hang the aft lights. The completed deck is then covered with pioneer tools and their PE tie-downs, plus the towing cables that you need to source yourself to go with the plastic eyes at each end. A scrap diagram shows their location and how to fix the PE straps to the tie-downs and eyes, with a length of 145mm suggested. At this stage the majority of the hull is built, but it is likely to fill with rain until the roof is fitted. Before that the surround to the turret basket is completed with stowage space for six canteens moulded into the parts. The stiffening plates to the lower glacis are also glued to the hull and then the roof is made up from a large main part that is stiffened with a number of ribs, and an extra section is attached to the side with a small periscope in the middle. The three square access doors for the crew can all be posed open or closed with latches and small viewing hatches within that can also be posed open. After fitting the armoured cover to the main gun's periscope and a few grab handles, you get to build up the running gear. Aren't you lucky? The Lee's suspension is very similar to the Sherman's with two fat wheels on a bogie with a return roller at the top, and there are three of these assemblies per side. The wheels with their moulded-in tyres are attached to the bogies via swing-arms that pivot inside the cast bogie with an additional arm linked to the compressible rubber towers. Before the front of the bogie is fitted the return roller is installed so it is trapped between its two bearings. Repeat that six times and then make up the idler wheels, which have PE edges and separate hub caps. The bogies are attached to the sides of the hull on their mounting plates, and two stiffeners are added to the top of each one, while the idler wheels are attached to their axles on the adjustable tensioners. At the front the drive sprockets are made up from two parts with an internal collar allowing them to remain mobile if you're sparing with the glue. A short break has you fitting the driver's hatch and optional clear window with a PE wiper blade, plus a couple of towing eyes with shackles under the glacis and some truly tiny parts in plastic and PE between them. Tracks. Love 'em or loathe 'em, they're a necessary part of most tanks and you have to do them eventually. There are 79 track links per side, and each link is made up from four parts. The pads are split to accommodate the links between them, and this is a little fiddly. I built my test section up on a flattened piece of blutak to hold them in place, but if you have a commercial or self-made track-making jig that you've purchased separately you might find it a little quicker. That said, each link is good looking with fine detail at the ends, and they are flexing nicely as per the real thing. It'll take some time to complete them, but they will be excellent as long as you're careful with preparation and the glue. The rest of the pioneer tools are bracketed to the hull along with the front headlights and their PE protective cages, the former having PE tie-downs and brackets holding them down. You will need to find some thin wire to link the headlamps to the gland that takes the cable inside the hull. Now you can start the turret, most of which is held within the upper part, and that has some very nice casting texture moulded into it that should look great under a few coats of paint. The frames for the small hatches are first to be added, then the hatches themselves are fitted in the open or closed position with small stays holding them at the correct angle for the former. The sighting equipment, racks, and fume extraction equipment are then fitted before the breech is built up and fitted, making adding parts after more fiddly. The breech is started by joining the two main parts together, adding the surround, the coax machine gun, then setting it aside while the mantlet and elevation mechanisms are made up. This all fits in the back of the riveted mantlet cover and includes a periscope next door to protect the viewer from being injured by direct small arms fire. The breech is slid into the mantlet and an ammo box is attached to the starboard side then the completed assembly is inserted into the turret from the outside. More equipment is fitted into the lower areas of the upper turret and into the lower turret part, including the increasingly important radio gear and their aerials once the two halves are joined. The little machine-gun turret has its internal structure added along with some PE vents then the upper gun with its tiny mount, vision port and a short length of ammo on a top hopper is made up and inserted from the inside into its slot, then closed in by the turret ring underneath, and on top the bi-fold hatch, which can be posed open or closed. A pair of armoured covers for the PE vents can be posed open or closed on the outside, completing the assembly. The turret basket is bucket-shaped with a cut-out to one side to allow entry and exit, plus stowage space for more ammo for the guns and the machine guns, fire extinguisher and small button-seats for the crew. Additionally there is an opening door to the basket that widens the aperture and contains a pair of tanks for the electro-hydraulic rotation equipment. A studded bezel is installed in the top rim and the rest of the traverse equipment is put in place along with a bit more wire that you'll need to provide, then one more seat on a pedestal is put in the centre of the basket which is then dropped into the turret ring in the top of the hull with the MG turret on top to complete the build. Markings There are a generous eight options provided for the modeller on the decal sheet, all but one of them in green, the other still being green but overpainted with a coat of white distemper winter camouflage. Considering this is an armour kit the sheet is relatively large due to the number of options, use of roundels and various personalisations of their tank by the crews depicted in the kit. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Armoured Division US Army, military manoeuvres, State of California, Nov 1941 2nd Armoured Division US Army, Fort Benning (Georgia), early 1942 Canadian Army, training armoured divisions, Great Britain, 1942 Red Army, supposedly 192nd Tank Brigade, 61st Army, Bryansk Front, district north of Bolkhov (Oryol region), Jul 1942 Red Army, supposedly 192nd Tank Brigade, 61st Army, Bryansk Front, district north of Bolkhov (Oryol region), Jul 1942 German Army Wehrmacht captured unit, Mzensk, Feb 1943 German Army Wehrmacht captured unit, Eastern Front, 1943 Red Army, 5th Guards Tank Army, Steppe Front, Kursk, Jul 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a wonderfully detailed kit of the Lee as it was supplied to the US, Canadian and Red Army, plus a couple the Germans pinched. The detail incorporated in styrene is phenomenal and the addition of the PE parts gives the modeller all the shackles for their pioneer tools, which are usually included in aftermarket PE sets. A really impressive piece of plastic engineering that's going to be echoed with the Grants and further Lees very soon. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Really nice! Thanks for the review! I was wondering how realistic a non-sand colour scheme would actually be... What could that look like?
  22. Nice! I did slightly improve on a regular beetle some time ago here on BM nice memories Just ordered a red campervan yesterday....
  23. Flashpoint Russia - Russia Air Power Capabilities & Structure ISBN : 9780997309270 Harpia Publishing via Casemate UK In recent time the state of the Russian Air Force has undergone something of a revival. From the darker days following the collapse of Communism. Due mainly to the price of oil and Russia's exports in the field since 2009 they have invested in modern military equipment, and modernisation of existing assets. Today's VKS (Russian Aerospace Forces) were created as a result of the absorption of the Air Defence Troops (VPVO) by the Air Force (VVS) in 1998, and then a merger of the Air Force with the Aerospace Defence Troops (VVKO) in 2015. This book which is the froth in Harpia's series on Russia examines the capabilities and structure which are now present in the VKS. The book is 143 pages long, soft back and colour throughout. The VKS is broken down into the different regional commands, as well as those of a central nature. The book is illustrated throughout by colour maps, tables and many colour photos of current VKS Assets. Conclusion Despite being the forth title in the series on Russia this book does work as a stand alone reference on the current order of battle of the Aerospace Forces (VKS) and other operators of military aircraft in Russia. Recommended for fans of modern Russian Aviation. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Plastic Barrels & Cans (35590) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Plastic barrels are pretty useful, as they're light when empty, recyclable, can hold liquids that metal barrels can't and are often more resistant to impact without permanent damage. In addition they don't use up much in the way of strategic materials, so you're onto a winner. Civilians and military use them extensively, and wherever there is engineering going on, you'll usually find barrels dotted around. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box, and inside are twelve sprues in grey styrene plus a small decal sheet. There are six sprues of barrels and six of cans, and you can make two sizes of barrels from six of them, and two cans from the other six by following the simple instructions on the rear of the box. The large barrels are made of two sides and a top, while the small barrels have two additional clasps on the sides to facilitate carrying. The cans are simple two-part assemblies with the nozzle moulded into the left side to reduce seams. Markings There are a bunch of warning decals on the little sheet that is printed by DecoGraph with good register, clarity and sharpness. The back of the box also includes painting and decaling suggestions in various colours as well as the ubiquitous blue. Conclusion 12 barrels in two sizes, and 12 cans. All in realistic plastic for you to paint and add to your projects. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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