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Shar2

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Shar2 last won the day on October 13 2013

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About Shar2

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    Wibble!
  • Birthday 27/08/1965

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    Sunbury, Middx
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    Maritime and AFV modelling.
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  1. Greek Armoured Cruiser Georgios Averof Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Georgios Averof is a modified Pisa-class armoured cruiser built in Italy for the Royal Hellenic Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The ship served as the Greek flagship during most of the first half of the century. Although popularly known as a battleship in Greek, she is in fact an armoured cruiser the only ship of this type still in existence. The ship was initially ordered by the Italian Regia Marina, but budgetary constraints led Italy to offer it for sale to international customers. With the bequest of the wealthy benefactor George Averof as down payment, Greece acquired the ship in 1909. Launched in 1910, Averof arrived in Greece in September 1911. The most modern warship in the Aegean at the time, she served as the flagship of admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis in the First Balkan War, and played a major role in the establishment of Greek predominance over the Ottoman Navy and the incorporation of many Aegean islands to Greece. The ship continued to serve in World War I, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, and the interwar period, receiving a modernization in France in 1925 to 1927. Following the German invasion of Greece in April 1941, Averof participated in the exodus of the Greek fleet to Egypt. Hopelessly obsolete and prone to mechanical breakdowns, she nevertheless spent the next three years as a convoy escort and guard ship in the Indian Ocean and at the Suez Canal. In October 1944, she carried the Greek government in exile back to liberated Athens, after the withdrawal of the German army. In 1952, she was decommissioned, before being moved to Poros, where she was berthed from 1956 to 1983. From 1984 until the present day, she has been reinstated on active duty as museum ship in the Naval Tradition Park in Faliro. After maintenance in late 2017, she achieved seaworthiness state once again, allowing the ship to sail (towed) accompanied by Greek frigate Kountouriotis (F-462) to Thessaloniki Greece where she received more than 130,000 visitors over her 53-day stay. This is one of the few books in this burgeoning series where you can actually go and visit the ship in question. Some might question the fact that she is called the oldest armoured cruiser in existence, and point to the USS Olympia, but the Olympia is actually classed as a protected cruiser rather than armoured. As with the other books in the series there is a potted history of the ship, covering six pages including the following sections:- Overview Design Ships Propulsion Protection Armament Career The rest of the fifty nine pages are filled with the beautifully rendered 3D drawings we have got know so well in this series, covering every part of the ships structure, weapons, boats and sundry equipment. The drawings are really clear and perfect for the maritime modeller to see all the useful details that could help make that masterpiece that we all strive for. This release does include drawings for below the waterline, unlike a lot of other books in the series, so perfect for those of us who build full hull. An A1 folded sheet of line drawings is also included and this contains 3 views of the ship overall, in 1:300 scale, while on the reverse there are bow and stern drawings in 1:300, plus numerous detail drawings of equipment in various scales between 1:50 and 1:100, giving more detail to the information hungry modeller. Of particular interest are the distinctive radio aerials with their spreaders Conclusion Following the now tried and tested formula that Kagero have made their own, this book is superbly produced and with the subject matter being one of the most good looking battleships, it will become a must have for any maritime modellers. It will be interesting to see if anyone will release a kit of this interesting and long lived ship, surely a company like Combrig will give it a go at some point. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Shar2

    Bovington tank museum October 2018 show

    I was there with West Middlesex club. There seemed to far fewer clubs today, but thought members of the public were greater than February. Had a great day nonetheless.
  3. T-55A MOD 1981 Soviet Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 Having reviewed the massed ranks of MiniArt’s T-54, we are now still in the T-55 zone. As with the other T-55’s there are many similarities and the MOD1981 adding to the more aggressive look that . As with MiniArt kits with interiors there are a lot of sprues, If counted individually, there are one hundred and thirty two, of grey styrene, plus one of clear, three sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. The very colourful box, quite a bit deeper than a standard tank kit box, has a nice painting of the tank on the front. On opening you are greeted by the mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone familiar with the old Krypton Factor will realise getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges! I failed when I had completed taking the photos. Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, complete with the full engine, which is a lovely model in its own right, and consisting of forty two parts if you include the engine mounting cradle. The lower hull is then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. The interior is then built up from the fighting compartment floor and includes all the pipe work, seats fire bottles, steering mechanism and internal bulkheads. The interior and exterior of the sidewalls are also covered with detail, including the large racks of shells for the main gun, with additional shells stored around the fighting compartment. The detailed sidewalls are then glued into place, as is the engine assembly, engine compartment firewall and other ancillary equipment. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers’ wishes. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. There are sixteen lengths of track links tracks are of the new individual link type, with the separate pins. Now while this step is ratehr fiddly, the tracks do really work and go together without too much fuss. The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes, fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames, as is the unditching beam and the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret is another new moulding, which has even more equipment in it than the earlier versions, due to the improved technology. New parts in this kit include the extra armour fitted to the interior of the turret and turret roof. The rest of the turret interior includes the full main gun breech, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment, but with additional sighting equipment for the main gun, and more spare ammunition boxes for the co-axial machine gun, which is just as detailed as before, consisting of sixteen parts, plus another eight for the new sighting system. Ready use shells are added to the inside of the upper turret along with a multitude of brackets and clamps. The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, a highly detailed KPV 14.5mm heavy machine gun, consisting of twenty nine parts, and the rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers. There are many more grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, not to mention brackets and clamps. Finally the driver's wet weather cover, that fits over his hatch can be posed stowed or in place. If you are stowing it, there are some PE straps to tie things down on the bustle. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller five options, showing the decline in usage of this vehicle in the 1980’s. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- T-55A – Of a limited contingent of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan (OKSVA), the 40trh Army of the Turkestan Military District, during the 1980’s. T-55A – Unidentified Marine Corps Unit of the USSR during the 1980’s. T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for desert backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for plant backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for snowy backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 Conclusion These beasts of tanks, and models are really coming thick and fast from the moulding machines of MiniArt and you really just can’t fault them. There is so much detail that it could overwhelm a modeller unless their mojo was really cranked up. But if you break the build into bite sized pieces as sub-assemblies, painting as you go, there shouldn’t be a problem. Not one for beginners or maybe even intermediate modellers, but there are versions being released, without interior, that would perhaps be more suited to their level to gain experience before tackling a full interior build. As bang for your buck goes, these have to be some of the best value kits around these days. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  4. Standard B “Liberty” Truck ICM 1:35 As America's war effort ramped up in 1917, there was a collective realization that the fleet of vehicles needed to support a semi-mechanized army needed some standardization. The Liberty truck was the solution. It was designed by the Motor Transport section of the Quartermaster Corps in cooperation with the members of the Society of Automotive Engineers. A group of leading automotive engineers was summoned to Washington in 1917 to design standardized trucks for the AEF. It took 50 men 69 days to design a 1-½ ton "A" model and the 3–5 ton "B" model. Production of the Liberty B began in the fall of 1917, and the first models were delivered to the secretary of war on 19 October. Of the almost 9,500 produced by 15 manufacturers, more than 7,500 were sent overseas. The Liberty's four-speed transmission coupled with its 52-hp engine gave the truck a top speed of about 15 miles per hour. The Model The model arrives in a strong box with a separate top sleeve with a nice artist’s representation of the vehicle on the front. Inside, within a large poly bag, are four sprues of medium grey styrene and, in a separate poly bag, one clear sprue. On initial inspection the parts are really well moulded, clean, with no sign of flash. There are a number of moulding pips, some of which are on quite fragile looking parts, so care should be taken when removing. The sprue gates attaching items like the tilt rails are also quite heavy and I can see these parts breaking if not careful. The build starts with the chassis, with each rail being fitted fore and aft leaf springs, each of two parts. Two of the cross-members are assembled from two parts each before being fitted to one of the chassis rails, along with three other single piece cross-members followed by the other rail. The radiator is then assembled from six parts before being glued into position at the front of the chassis. The single piece front axle is then glued to the front pair of leaf springs and a further cross-member is also glued into place. The rear differential is made up from fourteen parts which include the rear drum brakes. The front bumper beam and transfer box are also assembled and glued into position along witht eh drive shafts and three piece front mudguards. The front wheels and single piece items with a choice of separate hub caps, the rears being made up of inner and outer wheels with separate tyres and hub caps. The completed wheels are then attached to their respective axles. Work then begins on the engine, which is made up from eleven parts. Once assembled, it is fitted to the chassis along with the two piece exhaust pipe and silencer. The gearstick is then added to the gearbox and the engine fitted with two more parts. The cabin is then assembled from twenty one parts before being fitted to the chassis over the gearstick, followed by the outer radiator grille, and two piece bonnet, which could easily be made to be posed open to show off the engine, even though it’s not moulded that way. The next assembly is the truck bed, with the bed itself being fitted with the sides, rear, and front plank sections. On the underside, five lateral strengthening beams, and the sides with four vertical beams each. Two five piece storage boxes are assembled and fitted to the front underside of the bed before the whole assembly is attached to the chassis. There is a five piece searchlight and two piece horn attached to the cabin coaming and the steering wheel is also glued into place at this point. The pair of two piece headlights are attached to the front of the cabin bulkhead, while the bonnet latches, and grab handles, plus the cabin access handles are fitted, as is the starting handle. The cabin roof is fitted with left and right hand frames before being glue into place, and on the bed the modeller has the option of just fitting the five tilt rails, or the complete canvas cover which is made up from five parts, completing the build. Decals The small decal sheet gives the modeller just two options of vehicle, both in use by the US army in 1918, one with just unit badges and one with US Quartermaster Corps labelling on the tilt sides. The decals are nicely printed, clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. Conclusion It’s great to finally see a WW1 Liberty tuck being kitted, especially in this centenary year. ICM have not only provided us with a nice tribute to one of the lesser sung vehicles of the First World War, but a very nice truck to build too. It’s not overly complicated, which is good to see, even though the truck itself was pretty simple, and would be a great kit for any level of modeller. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Fairey Firefly Mk.1 detail sets Eduard 1:48 Eduard don’t seem to mind if the kit they are releasing sets for isn’t, shall we say, the best out there, as such. they have released four etched sets and a set of masks. The etched parts are for the interior, seatbelts, exterior and a smaller zoom set for the cockpit. At least the modeller can’t say they don’t have a choice of what to use on his model, or how much they want to add. Interior Set (49-913) This set contains three sheets of PE, one is unpainted and is of etched brass, the other two are of the etched steel variety and both are pre painted, one for each cockpit. Neither is particularly large, but there is plenty of parts, particularly on the first, and larger of the sheet. The pilots cockpit is provided with a new instrument panel with a backing plate that has the instrument sprinted on it, compass and a host of switches and levers. The cockpit floor is fitted with new footplates, having removed the spurious kit floor details. There is also replacement bracing for the rear bulkhead and sidewalls, which also receive a multitude of electrical boxes, frame work, and brackets. The starboard side additionally receives a new throttle quadrant, trim wheels, and what looks like a pistol case. The rear cockpit also gets plenty of new detail, in the form of new electrical and radio boxes, their support frames, a new shelf with additional electrical boxes, which are also provided for the port sidewall and port side canopy. Exterior set (48-959) Whilst not the largest single sheet set, its contents do cover some interesting areas. Namely the main undercarriage bays, with new sides and roof where the leg and actuator reside, plus new roof and accurate details for where the wheel sits, (which will require some very careful rolling to get to the correct shape). The side mounted oil cooler intakes are fitted with new grilles, while the main radiator intake is fitted with a new back plate and outlet door. The instructions also show where the intake needs to be modified to make it more accurate in shape, at least for the interior. The sheet also contains a full set of undercarriage bay doors with their respective strengthening ribs and brackets. Interior Zoom Set (FE913) This zoom set contains only the pre-painted sheet for the front cockpit and seems a bit of strange release as it is lacking all the detail needed in the rear cockpit, so should have at least contained both the pre-painted sets, to be honest. Seatbelts (FE914) This small single sheet set contains a complete and comprehensive set of seat belts, buckles and clasps for both cockpits. The belts look to be quite simplified when compared with previous sets, but will look great when fitted. The seat belts are pre-painted so no need for some fiddly painting, just a slightly darker wash to tone them down a bit. Masks (EX607) Supplied on a sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for both the front and rear canopies and windscreen, with compound curved handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or off-cuts from the background tape. In addition you get a number of masks for the main wheels, allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort. Conclusion There is a saying that you can’t polish something nasty, but at Eduard they do give it a good try. While the kit isn’t the most accurate of the Firefly, people will still buy it and some of them will want to add more detail to it. Therefore these sets are just for them. They will certainly Improve the look of the final build, and the masks will be particularly useful for that rear canopy with all of it’s panes. Review sample courtesy of
  6. USS Astoria Kagero Top Drawings The USS Astoria (CL/CA-34) was the lead ship of the Astoria-class of heavy cruisers (later renamed the New Orleans-class) of the United States Navy that participated in both the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, but was then sunk in August 1942, at the Battle of Savo Island. Kagero have just released this book in their Top Drawing series. The softback book has just two pages containing the history and specifications of the Astoria, with a further fifteen pages of line drawings covering the whole ship from stem to stern. Each sheet contains detailed drawings of various parts of the ships structure, weapons systems, radars, aircraft and other, smaller parts. Each drawing is beautifully done with some fine detail that would normally have been missed in other titles. The drawings have obviously been done from some excellent references which have resulted in a very useful book for the detail addict. Most the drawings are in 1:200 scale with a few in 1:50 for larger detail information, making it perfect for those contemplating a scratchbuild, or super detailing the Trumpeter 1:700 kit. Also included with the book are two A2 sheets of plans. The first sheet has on one side a three view of the ships as she was in 1934, while on the other side is another three view, but as she was in 1942. The second sheet contains views of the hull, main and upper decks and a side view with annotations on where the armament was located, on the reverse side is yet another three view of the ship as she was in 1942, but in full colour. Conclusion While this is a rather slim tome, it is still a useful reference book to have in the library. It is certainly an interesting subject to choose, especially as most of the class were either sunk or damaged during the battle of Savo Island. While there isn’t currently a kit available in my favoured scale, I’m sure it will be useful for those with the Trumpeter kit. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Spitfire Mk.IX wheel sets for Tamiya Eduard 1:32 The Tamiya 1:32 Spitfire Mk.IX is a beautiful kit throughout, but there are always ways of improving even a Tamiya uber kit, or at least that’s how Eduard think. These two sets provide the modeller the option for fitting different styles of tyres to their model. Both sets include a full set of wheel, including the tail wheel, which is a one for one replacement. The main wheels are split into three parts, the wheel and tyre, plus the inner and outer hubs, the inners having well produced brake detail. They also both feature the five spoke pattern wheels, the differences are the tyres themselves. Set 632 127 features smooth tyres, while set 632-128 features a treaded pattern tyre. All the parts are very nicely moulded, with correctly spelt sidewall deatil and are easily removed from the moulding blocks due to the thin webs holding them to said block. A quick clean up after removal and you’re ready to glue the hubs in place, paint and glue to the kit undercarriage legs and your work is done. For ease of painting the sets also come with a sheet of masks to help give that clean paint job. Smooth Tyres 632-127 Pattern Tyres 632-128 Conclusion As with any modelling it is best to check your references and build your Spitfire accordingly. With these sets you now have the option of building your model with the correct tyres if the ones in the kit aren’t suitable. The masks are a very handy addition to the sets, just to make life that little bit easier. Review sample courtesy of
  8. RM Littorio Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Littorio was the lead ship of her class of battleship; she served in the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy) during World War II. She was named after the Lictor ("Littorio" in Italian), in ancient times the bearer of the Roman fasces, which was adopted as the symbol of Italian Fascism. Littorio and her sister Vittorio Veneto were built in response to the French battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg. They were Italy's first modern battleships, and the first 35,000-ton capital ships of any nation to be laid down under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. Littorio was laid down in October 1934, launched in August 1937, and completed in May 1940. Shortly after her commissioning, Littorio was badly damaged during the British air raid on Taranto on 11 November 1940, which put her out of action until the following March. Littorio thereafter took part in several sorties to catch the British Mediterranean Fleet, most of which failed to result in any action, the notable exception being the Second Battle of Sirte in March 1942, where she damaged several British warships. Littorio was renamed Italia in July 1943 after the fall of the Fascist government. On 9 September 1943, the Italian fleet was attacked by German bombers while it was on its way to internment. During this action, which saw the destruction of her sister Roma, Italia herself was hit by a Fritz X radio-controlled bomb, causing significant damage to her bow. As part of the armistice agreement, Italia was interned at Malta, Alexandria, and finally in the Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal, where she remained until 1947. Italia was awarded to the United States as a war prize and scrapped at La Spezia in 1952–54. With their ever increasing series of books in the 3D format, Kagero never fails to deliver. This particular publication on the Italian battleship not only provides a superb history of the ship, another one which I knew only a little, if anything about before reviewing this book. The first ten pages cover the history of the battleship in specific sections. The sections are:- Overview Design Armour Propulsion Security systems Underwater protection Armament Conning tower Service Conclusion The rest of the eighty three pages are filled with the beautifully rendered 3D drawings we have got know so well in this series, covering every part of the ships structure, weapons, boats and sundry equipment. The drawings are really clear and perfect for the maritime modeller to see all the useful details that could help make that masterpiece that we all strive for. This release does include drawings for below the waterline, unlike a lot of other books in the series, so perfect for those of us who build full hull. An A2 folded sheet of line drawings is also included and this contains 3 views of the ship overall, in 1:350 scale, while on the reverse there are bow and stern drawings in 1:350, plus numerous detail drawings of equipment in various scales between 1:50 and 1:200, giving more detail to the information hungry modeller. Conclusion Following the now tried and tested formula that Kagero have made their own, this book is superbly produced and with the subject matter being one of the most good looking battleships, it will become a must have for any maritime modellers. With the future release of the Littorio in 1:350, by Trumpeter, this book couldn’t have been released at a better time for the modeller to start collecting their references. Review sample courtesy of
  9. USS Enterprise CVN-65 Eduard 1:350 The Tamiya 1:350 CVN-65 USS Enterprise was released as far back as 1984. It was the first aircraft carrier in 1:350 I had seen, so had to buy it, only a week after it was released, the first model I used an airbrush, and I still have it, although in a rather poor condition, this was also the year I joined the Royal Navy, and it became the centrepiece for many a Captains rounds, distracting the inspecting party from doing any actual inspecting. For some reason it has been ignored by Eduard, but they have finally released the first of a number of sets for the venerable old kit. As usual, there are many small parts and a number of kit details that will need to be removed before the PE parts can be added. Ships Boats and Liferafts, (53-223). This single sheet set contains an awful lot of parts, but for only a couple of areas, namely all the emergency liferaft canisters that are hung around the edges of the flightdeck and the ships boats. The Liferafts in the kit come as runs of anything between two and five rafts, these will need to be separated and cleaned up of the joints. The racks are then folded to shape and glued to separate backing plates, before the liferafts can be added and the whole assembly attached to the model. The backing plates are joined together by a thin length of PE and come in sections of two, three, four and five plates. With the number of liferafts in the kit, this could get rather laborious, and certainly time consuming; but the effect will be worth it. The ships open boat will need to have its centre section hollowed out carefully before the new engine casing, control lectern and wheel can be added, as well as the waist thwart that goes around the inside of the boat, followed by the fore and aft decking, and gunwhales, which are as one piece, is attached. The pinnace is also modified, with eh removal of all the top hamper, then opened up, the new, carefully folded PE is then glued into place and additional details such as the railings, windshield, propeller skeg, propeller and rudder are attached. Conclusion It’s about time this fabulous kit got the Eduard treatment, I know other companies have released etch for it, mostly before I even knew PE existed, but I find some companies PE rather too fragile and thin. I look forward to the next releases as they might give me the impetuous to take my old kit and give it a good refurbishing, and hope the skills I have learnt in the intervening years will be put to good use. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Pre- Painted Instrument panels Eduard LOOK 1:32 Continuing their line of LOOK series of instrument panels, Eduard have released two more sets. These are for the Tamiya Spitfire Mk.IX Early, and Hasegawa Fw 190A-5, both in 1:32 scale. As with the previously released sets, the modeller is provided with the main panel, side panels and centre panels as required. Each set also includes a sheet of etched steel for the seat belts. The panels have all the correct markings and placards painted on them and the faces of each instrument is glazed, making them look very realistic, particularly with a bit of weathering to get away from that newly built look. Spitfire Mk.IX Fw 190A-5 Conclusion This new series is a great resource for those of us who are unable to replicate all the markings on a panel, all in one easy package. They are certainly a great and innovative idea from the masters of aftermarket. Review sample courtesy of
  11. USS Saratoga Big Ed Set Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 USS Saratoga has been out for a fairly long time now, in fact it was first released in 2005. So it seems rather strange that Eduard has only just decided to release some etched sets for it. This being the BigEd set, it comes in a stiff cardboard sleeve pack. Inside there are three sheets of relief etched brass and a set of flags in etched steel, each in their own separate packs. The set is up to the usual standard set by Eduard and as such is full of very small parts, where a good pick-up pencil wouldn’t go amiss. Some of the kit parts need to be modified or removed by the modeller before the etched parts can be fitted. Sheet 1, (53-216) This sheet contains parts for the island and funnel, and includes new skins as well as complete replacement parts for the various decks and island sections. The new platforms and mast mounted control position. All the platforms are provided with quite complex support structures and/or individual braces. The rear of the bridge deck is fitted with replacement flag lockers and supports, while the mast receives new yardarms, and what looks like an anemometer arm. The funnel is fitted out with new vertical ladders, walkways, inclined ladders, funnel inserts and caps. The superstructures for and aft of the funnel are replaced with PE parts and yet more support structures. All the decks for the bridge and funnel sections are provided with railings. Sheet 2, (53-217) This sheet contains parts which are used mainly to enhance the four 8” gun-houses. Each turret receives new front plate, access doors, access platforms, vertical ladders, sight boxes, roof railings and numerous other parts that I cannot identify without having the kit instructions in front of me. There is a new rangefinder/main armament director, saluting guns, and railings. The 5” guns are provided with ne trunnion mounts, railings, mounting plates, elevation hand wheels, traversing hand wheels, crew seats, elevation arc and sights. The mountings are also provided with ready use lockers for each position as well as access ladders to the flight deck. The ships crane is fitted with a completely new jib, cable wheels, cables, hook, and weather vane. Lastly the boat deck along the starboard side of the island is provided with new railings, davits, and cable reels, Sheet 3, (53-218) This sheet contains what looks like a lot of parts, but they are mostly for the ships railings and deck edge netting. All the moulded netting needs to be removed first, and the areas cleaned up in preparation for the etched parts to be glued into position. The railings are for all the weather deck openings, gun positions and catwalks. There are also a few railings that are fitted at flightdeck level when not at flying stations, including one just forward of the round-down at the stern and on the very bow section of the flightdeck. There are also a few platforms and inclined ladders that allow the crew to vacate the flightdeck and enter the hull on 2 deck through a side mounted watertight door. The rest of the sheet is dedicated to details for the ships boats. The four standard motor boats are fitted with replacement engine covers, new thwarts and gunwhales, new gratings, rear mounted railings, rudder and propeller, these boats are then mounted on new etched cradles. The smaller motor boats are also fitted with new gunwhales, rudder, complete with tiller and new propeller. They are the hung on replacement davits which are also fitted with new eye clamps which affix to the hull. Lastly there are three pinnaces, and these are detailed with the addition of new railings fore and aft, rudder, skeg, propeller and hatch. These boats are also provided with new cradles for them to sit on. (53209) US Ensigns WWII – Another single sheet with three very large pre-painted US Ensigns, so large in fact I had to check they weren’t 1:200 scale. Probably to be used on Battleships, Fleet Carriers and perhaps Large Cruisers. Conclusion You either love or hate brass etched detail sets, but for me they are almost vital, if you wish to produce as detailed a model as possible. Eduard are pretty much the kings of mainstream maritime etch at the moment and their release schedule seems inexhaustible, even though they seem rather late to the parade with this, big set for the old Saratoga. This set will certainly give the old kit a new lease of life with some great looking details. If you have the kit lounging around in your stash, get it out and start building, as the etched parts will make a great addition to your build.
  12. Russian T-34/76 for Academy 1:35 Eduard Eduard are really churning out the etched detail sets, trying to keep up with the number of releases that the various manufacturers are putting out, plus issuing sets for older kits. This set is for the Academy 1:35 T-34/76 Russian medium tank. The relief etched sheets are up to the usual standards as Eduard seem to have good quality control on their releases. Coming in the usual sleeve packaging with card inserts to protect the brass there is one set for the exterior and one for the interior. [36395] This set is contained on one medium sized sheet of brass. Apart from the usual brackets and clamps that most of these sets include, particularly for the pioneer tools there are also upper suspension plates, grab handles, complete replacement horn and hatch fittings. The front and rear mudguards are also completely replaced, and will require some careful folding and rolling to get the shapes right. The engine intake and exhaust grilles are replaced, along with their attachment frames. The stowage boxes are fitted with replacement lids, hinges and carrying handles. There is also a new armoured plate that covers the top of the manlet. Conclusion Even Academys T-34 can do with some extra detailing, and this set provides enough to make the difference without going overboard. It’s not a huge set, and with care and patience the parts should be ok to be used by all but the pure novice but still be slightly challenging in areas.
  13. German KFZ-70 truck with 7.62cm F.K 39 gun MiniArt 1:35 The Mercedes-Benz L1500 was actually a redesigned version of the pre-war 1500 commercial vehicle. While the 1500 model had a cabin which provided seating for, the A model received a body to allow transport for up to seven and for carrying shovels, ammo and other equipment. A few chassis were completed as lorries. However, most of these chassis were used to make personnel carriers. These vehicles were extremely durable. The Mercedes-Benz types L1500A and L1500 can easily be differentiated from the predecessors by the design of the front section. The chassis frame was visible below the radiator mask on the predecessor model L1500 but the radiator cowl of the L1500S/A reached over the bumper and covered the chassis. L1500A 4x4 and L1500S 4x2 trucks were developed by Mercedes-Benz Company in 1941. The basic type of body was designated Kfz.70 and vehicles were also built by Steyr and Horch with this designation on their own chassis. The vehicle was widely used, frequently as heavy staff cars. Also, different bodies were built on L1500A and L1500S chassis, particularly fire trucks, radio cars and ambulances. The radio cars and ambulances mostly used the 4x2 L1500S chassis. The L1500A was produced from June of 1941 until July 1943, with 4900 being made. It became the vehicle of choice for the German infantry. In bad weather conditions, the body was equipped with foldable top and canvas panels, which could be attached to the doors and sides. They were powered by a 6-cylinder, 3-litre petrol engine giving a top speed of 52 mph. The type contained in the kit is that of the 4-wheel drive version which had an unladen weight of 5269 lbs and a gross weight limit of 8995 lbs. The model is contained within a very attractive, bright and colourful box that MiniArt have made their standard. Inside, there are twenty three sprues in grey styrene, two of clear, three sheets of etch brass and a smallish decal sheet. Once again, MiniArt have included, another kit, in the form of a 76.2mm F.K. 39 gun. The truck itself was actually first released in 2012, but it’s still a great kit even though it is quite complex, especially with the running gear. All the parts are beautifully moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but quite a few moulding pips that will ensure extra clean-up time will be required. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe. The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two chassis rails are fitted with four cross-members, silencer, rear mounted tow hook, and a four piece engine mounting frame. The four leaf springs are then attached via their support hangers. The transfer box is assembled from ten parts and put to one side. The front differentials/axle is made up from twenty one parts, whilst the rear consists of only thirteen. The four piece front bumper and six piece radiator grille are also assembled at this point. The engine, front bumper, radiator grille, axles and transfer box assemblies are then fitted to the chassis, along with the drive shafts and exhaust tubing. The four wheels are each made up from inner and outer hubs, the outers having the tyres moulded on, and an inner ring. Once assembled the wheels are glued onto their respective axles. The engine bay bulkhead is very well detailed with a large number of fixtures and fittings, such as oil can, air filters etc. This goes for the cabin side of the bulkhead too, with steering column, pedals, stowage box. The cabin floor is fitted with a box girder frame on the underside. The two steps are also assembled at this point and fitted with a storage box one side and a fourteen piece jack. The interior is then fitted to the floor, this includes the rear bulkhead and parcel shelf, five piece fuel tank, driver and passenger seats for the front and two bench seats for the rear. More details are added in the form of the gear stick, hand brake, a nie piece heater, four rifles, each of four parts, and the spare wheel. The cabin sides are then attached and four more rifles added. On the underside of the cabin, two large stowage racks are fitted along with two steps. The front mudguards are fitted with lights, reflectors and corner marking poles while the windscreen is also assembled from ten parts. The engine bulkhead is then fitted, as is the two piece dashboard, followed by the windscreen assembly and steering wheel. The doors are all multipart, with separate windows, handles and hinges. The rear window, frame and side panels are then attached to the body, followed by the door assemblies and roof with a rather fragile looking three piece frame. Alternatively, you can build the vehicle with the roof folded down in a single piece attached to the rear of the parcel shelf. The body assembly is then glued to the chassis, along with the radiate grille assembly, pioneer tools, step assemblies, front mudguard assemblies, and additional lights. The bonnet panels are then fitted, and these can be posed open or closed, as can the door assemblies which are also fitted at this point. This completes the build of the truck. The gun is built up next, with the assembly of the two trail arms. Each is made up from two pieces, which are then fitted out with numerous detail parts, such as the trail blades, which consist of eight parts each, gun cleaning rods, grab handles and PE brackets. The trails can be posed in either firing position or towing position. The gun mounting, which includes the axles for the wheels, is made up from thirty parts alone. The trails are then glued to their hinge points on the mounting. Each wheel is made up from four parts, which when assembled are glued to the axles. The gun itself is assembled from nine parts, whilst the slide is made up from fourteen parts. The right and left trunnion mounts are built up from six and thirteen parts respectively, these are fitted to the mounting, with seven further parts that represent the elevation tubes and hand wheel. The gun assembly is fitted between the trunnion mounts and in turn is fitted with a four piece middle splinter shield. The main shield is fitted with a multitude of parts, both inside and out before being fitted to the the gun mounting via two support arms. If the gun is to be posed int eh towing position, then the gun locking arm needs to be fitted across both trails and the towing eye positioned onto the truck hook, with a locking pin that is attached to the truck with a PE chain, which may be best replaced with real chain. In addition, MiniArt have included two ammunition boxes, complete with two types of shell and some empty cases, for use in a diorama with the gun in the firing position. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller just two options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The names of the different companies are included, as well as their respective registration plates and insignia. The options:- KFZ-70 of the Wehrmacht from 1943 to 1945 in an overall dunklegelb with a dark khaki roof and window frames. KFZ-70 of the Wehrmacht, based in Ukraine during the winter of 1943 – 1944, in overall German Grey whitewashed with the gun in dunklegelb, which has also been whitewashed. Conclusion I just love these trucks from MiniArt, they are so well produced and can be used in so many situations. This set will look good on its own or as part of a diorama with the inclusion of some of MiniArt’s fine troop sets, either in the transport of firing poses. It is not a kit though for the beginner, or even an intermediate modeller as it is quite complex as mentioned above including plenty of small PE and plastic parts. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  14. Shar2

    V-22 as COD for the new QEII Carrier?

    Yeah, but they still aren't working properly.
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