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Found 7 results

  1. Republic P-43 Lancer (DW72027) 1:72 Dora Wings via Albion Alloys Ltd The P-43 Lancer was a work-in-progress in the mid-30s, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the pinnacle of its design, the P-47 Thunderbolt. Republic’s name was changed from Seversky, and it was their P-35 that was the jumping-off point for a number of designs in the period when it wasn’t yet certain that the US was going to join the war in Europe. The P-43 was one of the more successful designs, but it was an aircraft with some limitations, only performing at its best at higher altitudes where it was fast enough to catch and kill high flying reconnaissance aircraft. Lower down it wasn’t so great, so while it went into limited service with the US Air Force and other operators in small numbers it was soon obsolete thanks to the speed of technological progress during war. Some aircraft found their way to the AVG, flying against the Japanese before the US entered the war officially, where they were well-liked enough that when they were withdrawn, petitions were made by the Flying Tigers to keep them. They also served as high altitude reconnaissance with the RAAF who received a few airframes, and to intercept the aforementioned reconnaissance aircraft, but with only just under 300 built they were never destined for fame, and the P-44 Rocket that was to replace it didn’t even reach service, as the P-47 was just so good. The Kit This is a brand-new tool from our friends at Dora Wings, who have a short but interesting history of producing unusual subjects in various scales. I built their P-63E KingCobra kit when it was released, and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite a few trials, some of which were of my own making. Perusing the sprues of this kit gives me the impression that the moulding has moved on somewhat since then, and detail is good too, with decent transparencies, instrument panels with decals for each one, and a well-moulded engine, some PE parts with an alternate instrument panel and even some masks (not shown). That’s a pretty good package. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, with four sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small pre-cut vinyl mask sheet and a medium sized decal sheet, with the colour A5 instruction booklet that has painting and decaling instructions in the rear completing the package. Moulding is neat, with fine restrained pannel line, with no moulding issues that can be seen. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the instrument panel (IP), which can be either built with moulded-in dials and decal over the top, or with a flat panel to which you apply the decal then the PE panel to allow the decals to show through more realistically. Rudder pedals are fitted to the back of the IP, sidewalls are detailed with additional parts, then the sections are joined together on a floor panel and rear bulkhead, strengthened with the side panels and with the seat and PE belts glued in place and a short control column in front. The cockpit is put to the side while the firewall and engine mounts are made up, then the tail wheel bay, landing gear with 2-part tyres and separate scissor-links, and finally the engine. This is well-detailed, with both cylinder banks fully replicated with push-rods, reduction housing bell at the front, ignition harness and finally the close-fitting cowling added. The initial cowling comprises three parts plus a PE grille in the bottom, with the cowling lip added to the front and the PE cooling flaps inserted into the gap at the rear, giving a scale look and a view into the engine, so you’ve not wasted your time painting it. The prop is also made up, with all blades moulded together, a spinner at the front and a tiny ring at the rear. All of this makes for a very fast final assembly, and is akin to the process many modellers take when building a model. The cockpit and firewall are joined together first, then trapped between the fuselage halves along with the tail wheel bay, while the full-width lower wing has the two bay parts inserted then closed over with the upper wing halves, filling the gap in the middle with the fuselage. The ailerons are also separate parts, which is also the case with the tail feathers, giving you some options for a more candid pose. A clear gunsight, headrest and the rear canopy section are fitted first, then the rest of the canopy and windscreen are added to close it over, while the engine cowling assembly is glued to the front of the fuselage onto its mounts. Flipping the model over, the supercharger, cooling flap, pitot and wing guns are installed along with the prop, which you’ll probably leave off until later, then the main gear assemblies, bay doors and tail wheel with bay doors added while it is still inverted. Job done! Markings You get a generous four decal options in the box on a medium-sized decal sheet that is bright and colourful. From the box you can build one of the following: YP-43 Lancer, US Air Force, 1941 P-43A Lancer s/n 40-2920, 55th Pursuit Group, Portland Air Base, Jan 1942 P-43A Lancer s/n 41-6721, US Air Force 1942 P-43A Lancer s/n 41-31496, Aug 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. On the rear of the booklet is a colour table decoding the letter codes given throughout the instructions in Mr Hobby, Tamiya, AMMO, Hataka and Life Color codes, plus a key for the instruction icons that are also seen within. The vinyl masks are ready for application to the canopy, taking some of the work out of that aspect of the build, which is always welcome. Conclusion Dora Wings are to be lauded for their efforts to widen the subjects covered in all scales, and with the improvements they have made so far in their successive products, we’re going to be treated to many more interesting and esoteric kits in the future in differing scales. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors of
  2. T-72M2 Moderna Slovakian MBT (35A039) 1:35 Amusing Hobby via Albion Alloys The T-72 was the successor to the T-64, having a larger 125mm main gun and a more reliable auto-loader that gave it an advantage over its predecessor. It was improved further by fixing some niggling problems that were initially present, and was given the name T-72. Unfortunately, problems with production led to delays that required substantial investments in the factory before full volume could be reached, continuing with modifications until the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 90s. Export sales were robust, and overseas sales were designated with the suffix M. Initially the M was fitted with inferior armour and gun, but with the M1 those aspects were redressed to T-72A standards, and had smoke grenade dischargers added to the turret. Some of this type were also made in Czechoslovakia (now Czechia & Slovakia), and Poland, who were part of the Warsaw Pact at the time. The T-72M was produced under licence in the former Czechoslovakia. Units were split between both countries when they split. T-72M2 Moderna is a Slovakian modernization of the tank. It adds DYNAS reactive armour, an improved 2A46MS 125mm smoothbore cannon, modified S21U engine; and the most visual difference is the addition of two 30mm 2A42 cannon replacing the NSV-T machine gun. The upgraded MBT though received no orders and only a few units were built for evaluation Slovakia not being able to afford them. The Kit This is a new release following the completely new tooling T-72 from Amusing Hobby, and is one of their first ventures into real-world armour, their previous offerings tending to be more esoteric project tanks or of the “paper panzer” variety, which has been a boon to those that enjoy strange and unusual armour, even so this leans more to this being a non only a prototype. Unlike to the inital T-72 this is not a full interior kit. The detail is excellent, with judicious use of slide-moulding across the sprues. The tracks are also impressive, having individual links and separate track pins that can leave you with a very fancy workable track run that you don’t need to glue, thanks to its friction-fit nature. The lower hull is separate from the sprues, and has detail moulded into both sides, so there are necessarily some ejector-pin marks on the interior face, which might possibly need filling, but check the instructions to ensure you’re not wasting your time filling things that will be covered by equipment later – I suspect most if not all of them will. Like anyone else, I hate wasting precious modelling time. Construction begins with the lower hull, to which you add various suspension parts, bearings and return-rollers, plus idler-wheel axles and a three-part drive-sprocket that is held in place on the final drive housing by a long thick pin. Under the front glacis is an appliqué armour panel with fittings for the self-entrenching tool or mine-plough, four of which you need to remove with a sharp blade or sanding stick, then make good your handiwork. These are overlaid with hinge-points and rams in a scrap diagram, with the main drawing showing them already in-place, then it’s time to deal with the rear bulkhead. This begins as a flat panel, and has four curved brackets, some spare track-links and an unditching log, before it is attached by two lugs on the moulded-in aft bulkhead. The road wheels are made up from pairs of wheels with a central hub, as are the idlers, with twelve of the former and two of the latter. At this point two additional fuel tanks are built from a slide-moulded tube that has the strapping moulded-in with separate end-caps. These are set to the side until the wheels are dealt with, beginning with the long torsion-bar suspension units with swing-arms and axles at the tip slid into the hull slots, plus a couple of smaller dampers toward the front, following which the idlers and road wheels are glued to the stub axles. There is a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the damper arms in relation to the main swing-arms, which should help a lot. Inserts are added at the sides of the turret ring. It’s tracks time! Each run has 95 links, and the individual links are moulded in a tree of eight links, with tree sprue gates on each one. They’re easy to nip off and clean up as they are situated on the curved edges of the link, and were very easy to remove thanks to the slightly soft plastic. The jig that you can find on each of the pin sprues has a pair of tabs that allow you to build a much longer jig from it if you like, or you can build them up in runs of eight. With the flat side up, you drop the links into the jig with the guide-horns sliding through the holes, then you cut a set of four track-pins still fixed to their sprue (imagine a four-pronged pitchfork), and push them into the pin holes in the sides of the links. These push home snugly and you can see some of the receivers discolouring with stress-marks as this happens. After they are inserted, you simply cut them off neatly, and that’s your lot. I made up a test-run of sixteen links in a few minutes using just a pair of side-cutters, a thin sanding stick and some patience, and was very impressed with how easy it was to do. It makes sense to leave the sprue on the pins long to give you some room for handling them without pinging them off into the gaping maw of the carpet monster. It’s going to take a little time, but they’re among the best, most robust, flexible and easiest styrene tracks I’ve built. The glacis has a two-layer lamination, with added armour, then it’s a case of adding the light clusters with clear lenses and two-part cages. The two front mudguards are being attached to the front of the fenders with styrene springs added along the way, then a pair of triangular webs are fitted between the guards and the front lip of the glacis and a series of stiffeners in styrene and PE are fixed along the length of the fenders in preparation for the additional fuel tanks and stowage this is laid over it. The rear ends are finished off with more detail parts to close them over. The upper hull is formed from the forward section with the turret ring moulded in, to which equipment and vision blocks are added inside along with the driver’s hatch, then it is dropped into the hull along with two engine deck panels, which are first fitted out with mesh from the PE sheet and optional top covers. This completes the deck so that the flexible spring with wire run through the centre can be cut and glued into position to depict the hosing for the fuel tanks as per the accompanying diagram and a black & white photo from the engine deck. A tow cable is made up from 8.5cm of cord and two more towing eyes to drape over the rear, again as per the scrap diagram. The side skirts are then added. Lastly we move to the turret. The top insert is added to the upper casting with periscopes and hatches being added. The turret is covered in blocks of ERA with scrap diagrams showing where the more difficult ones go. Smoke discharger are fitted to the sides. Mounting points are added for the side 30mm guns. These can then be built up and added. A large ammunition locker is then added at the rear of the turret for these guns. To finish thing off the main gun is assembled and added. The turret can then go on the MBT. Markings There is very little in the way of marking except two small Slovakian flag for the sides of the turret. Strangely there are no clues as to the colour scheme used on the tank at all included with the kit even though MiG AMMO is mentioned on the box along with some colour views? this might though be because we received an early sample. Conclusion While this is a produced tank, although in very limited numbers it still fits neatly into the kind of thing we expect from Amusing Hobby. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK in most good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Bloch MB.152C.1 (72028) 1:72 Dora Wings via Albion Alloys The MB.152 stemmed from the MB.150 deign which lost out to the MS/406 in a 1934 competition to find a new fighter for the French Air Force. The MB.150 showed promise and that is why development was taken further. A new wing was designed and a more powerful engine was fitted. By the time WWII broke out about 120 were delivered, however they were not considered combat ready at the time. Problems with the tails had lead to them being stored pending modification. Despite these problems some aircraft were modified though they still demonstrated unfavourable flight characteristics. Although outmatched by Luftwaffe aircraft the MB.152 accounted for 188 aircraft for the loss of 86. The aircraft would subsequently be used be the Vichy Forces before being passed to the Romanian Air Force by the Germans. The only other Air Combat these would see was of the 9 sent to Greece (out of an order of 25). All of these would end up being destroyed though they did account for some German and Italian Aircraft in the defence of Greece. The Kit This is a new kit from Dora Wings and follows on from there MB.151C.1, The kit arrives on 4 plastic sprues, a clear sprue, a sheet of PE, canopy masks (not shown), and a sheet of decals. Panel lines are fine and engraved with some interior detail moulded into the fuselage. Construction begins as you would expect in the cockpit. The four part seat is built up and added to the cockpit floor, PE belts being provided also for the seat. The flight controls are then added. The two part instrument panel gets its gunsight and then this can be placed on the front art of the cockpit floor, Inside the main fuselage halves additional detail is then added to the cockpit sidewalls Once done the cockpit can be placed inside and everything closed up. Net we move to the main wing. This is a single part lower with left / right uppers. The main wheel well is built up inside the lower wing then the uppers can be added. Canon barrels are added and then the wing is mated to the fuselage. We then turn our attention to the engine. Two banks of cylinders attach to the rear part with the hub going on the front. The four part cowling then goes on. At the front the propeller is assembled and added. This can then be joined to the fuselage. Scrap diagrams show the correct mounting angle for this as its not straight. Next up the main landing gear is built up and added along with the main radiator and the tailplanes. To finish up the prop is added along with the struts for the tailplanes, pitot tubes, nav lights, main aerial anf finally the canopy. Only a closed canopy option is provided. Markings The decals are from Decograf, they look good with no issues, there are four decal options provided; MB.152 No.528, 1 Esc GC 1/8, Claye-Souilly June 1940 MB.152 No.236, 2 Esc GC 1/8, Velaine-en-Hayne, April 1940. MB.152 No.622, 3 Esc GC 11/6 Chateauroux-Cere June 1940 MB.152 No,672 GC 11/9 Aulnat 1942 (Vichy Markings on the nose and tail) Conclusion This is certainly a kit modellers of French Aircraft will welcome. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in most good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Caudron C.630 Simoun (48028) 1:48 Dora Wings via Albion Alloys The Caudron Company, or to give them their correct title The Société des Avions Caudron were one of the pioneers of aviation being formed in 1909 by brothers Gaston Caudron and René Caudron. They were acquired by Renault in 1933, the factories being taken over by the German during WWII until Allied bombing put them out of production. The remains of the company were then nationalised by the French Government. The C.630 Simoun was a four seat touring aircraft designed and produced in the 1930s. One of its main uses was as a mail plane. They were used as liaison aircraft during WWII. The Kit This is a new kit from Dora Wings, The kit arrives on 5 plastic sprues, a clear sprue, a sheet of PE, canopy masks (not shown), a resin rudder; and a sheet of decals. The first step is to build up the interior of the main cabin which for a four seat aircraft only has 3 seats? There is one for the pilot then two seats in the rear. The second seat back also has flight controls. The main instrument panel is made up from a combination of PE, decals and plastic parts. This is then attached to the front bulkhead. Next up the engine is constructed and added to the front side of the bulkhead. Inside the fuselage additional controls and parts are added with the main windows going in from the inside. To the left side the main cabin door is also fitted. The main cabin interior can then be fitted into the fuselage, and the fuselage closed up. Next up the tail wheel and propeller are constructed and put to one side for later. Work now moves to the main wings. There is a single part lower wing with left & right uppers. The ailerons are single part separate parts which can be added to the completed wing. The tasilpnaes are then completed, they are split into uppers and lowers with the flight control parts as single surfaces. The tailplanes can then be fitted to the fuselage and the single part resin rudder added on. The main wing can then be added along with the windscreen and engine cowl parts. The engine front fairing is also added at this stage. The fixed spatted undercarriage is then made up and fitted to the wing. The tailwheel and propeller from earlier are added with the wing mounted pitot tube the last item to go on. Markings The decals are from Decograf, they look good with no issues, there are four decal options provided; F-ANRY - Cream over red (as per box top). The was Antoine de Saint Exupéry aircraft for the 1935 long distance Paris-to-Saïgon air race, which he subsequently crashed in Egypt. F-ANCF - Silver over green. F-ANCC - Overall dark blue F-ANRO - Overall dark blue Conclusion This is certainly a kit modellers of civil aircraft have been waiting for, we dont get enough of them in a hobby which seems more devoted to military aircraft. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK in most good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  5. T-72M1 Russian Army Tank (35A038) 1:35 Amusing Hobby via Albion Alloys The T-72 was the successor to the T-64, having a larger 125mm main gun and a more reliable auto-loader that gave it an advantage over its predecessor. It was improved further by fixing some niggling problems that were initially present, and was given the name T-72. Unfortunately, problems with production led to delays that required substantial investments in the factory before full volume could be reached, continuing with modifications until the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 90s. Export sales were robust, and overseas sales were designated with the suffix M. Initially the M was fitted with inferior armour and gun, but with the M1 those aspects were redressed to T-72A standards, and had smoke grenade dischargers added to the turret. Some of this type were also made in Czechoslovakia (now Czechia & Slovakia), and Poland, who were part of the Warsaw Pact at the time. The subvariant M1K was a command tank, and the M1V had appliqué Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) fitted to improve survivability, and the later M1M that replaced the M1 was upgraded to T-72B standards with Arena Active Protection system protecting it from above by launching a rocket towards incoming threats to obliterate the incoming round or missile. The successor M1MS further benefited from much improved electronics that improved survivability further and raised situational awareness. As well as cast-offs from former Soviet inventory, many T-72Ms of various types are currently in service with Soviet and later Russian aligned nations, while the T-72 is also still in service in Russia either in later guises or as upgraded machines. The Kit This is a new release of a completely new tooling from Amusing Hobby, and is one of their first ventures into real-world in-service armour, their previous offerings tending to be more esoteric project tanks or of the “paper panzer” variety, which has been a boon to those that enjoy strange and unusual armour. The kit is of the full-interior variety, so the box is packed with plastic, grey for the interior, green for the exterior, which is fun – if you were a beginner and wanted to build your kit without paint, you could do so, especially as the tracks are moulded in brown styrene. The box is a top-opener with a nice painting of the kit on the front, and inside are eighteen sprues in grey, green and brown, twenty-eight ladders of track links in brown, a clear sprue, lower hull and turret in green, plus a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), decal sheet, a length of wire, a long coiled spring that looks like a tube from a distance, a two-part resin figure, instruction booklet and separate colour painting guide that has been penned by the artists at AMMO. The final inclusion is possibly only intended for the initial pressing, and it’s a nice print of the box artwork on thick A3 stock. The detail is excellent, especially the interior sprues, which have some lovely textures and shapes moulded-in, like the anti-spall lining in the turret roof, a small impeller inside the hull amongst many others, with judicious use of slide-moulding across the sprues. The tracks are also impressive, having individual links and separate track pins that can leave you with a very fancy workable track run that you don’t need to glue, thanks to its friction-fit nature. The lower hull is separate from the sprues, and has detail moulded into both sides, so there are necessarily some ejector-pin marks on the interior face, which might possibly need filling, but check the instructions to ensure you’re not wasting your time filling things that will be covered by equipment later – I suspect most if not all of them will. Like anyone else, I hate wasting precious modelling time. Construction begins with the lower hull, to which you add various suspension parts, bearings and return-rollers, plus idler-wheel axles and a three-part drive-sprocket that is held in place on the final drive housing by a long thick pin. Under the front glacis is an appliqué armour panel with fittings for the self-entrenching tool or mine-plough, four of which you need to remove with a sharp blade or sanding stick, then make good your handiwork. These are overlaid with hinge-points and rams in a scrap diagram, with the main drawing showing them already in-place, then it’s time to deal with the rear bulkhead. This begins as a flat panel, and has four curved brackets, some spare track-links and an unditching log, before it is attached by two lugs on the moulded-in aft bulkhead. The road wheels are made up from pairs of wheels with a central hub, as are the idlers, with twelve of the former and two of the latter. At this point two additional fuel tanks are built from a slide-moulded tube that has the strapping moulded-in with separate end-caps. These are set to the side until the wheels are dealt with, beginning with the long torsion-bar suspension units with swing-arms and axles at the tip slid into the hull slots, plus a couple of smaller dampers toward the front, following which the idlers and road wheels are glued to the stub axles. There is a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the damper arms in relation to the main swing-arms, which should help a lot. Inserts are added at the sides of the turret ring, and also the first interior parts at the front of the lower glacis plate, which includes the initial driver controls handling the gear shifter in a quadrant with two PE gates. The next step sees the foot pedals and a detailed chair for the driver’s comfort. We’re deep into the interior now, with more controls, what looks like a drinks cooler (it isn’t) just behind and to the left of the driver’s station, then the hull sides are made up by decking out the two panels with a host of detail parts, including an instrument panel that has some decals on the sheet, and a few small PE parts, plus some ready-rounds for the big auto-feeder that’s coming soon. More ready-rounds are fitted along with some other equipment boxes, then the crew compartment skin is dropped into the lower hull along with a firewall and another group of rounds stored nose-down. A two-part fence for the auto-loader is slotted into the floor, then it’s time to create the auto-loader from a circular base with upstands that have castor-like wheels on every third upstand. Then you make up the shell slots, which are cylindrical, and give you a choice of HE-Frag and HEAT shells. Six of each are made up to be placed within the 22 locations around the base, including 10 empty slots, and a few more ready-rounds. The completed carousel is inserted into the space made for it, and if you’re wondering at this stage when the assistance with painting is going to make an appearance, just flick to the rear of the booklet where you will find a set of colour 3D CGI renders with a legend to help out. There is a bulkhead with a fire extinguisher strapped to it inside the engine bay, plus ancillary equipment and some very nicely detailed final drive/brake cylinders that are made up from three parts for detail, plus the end-caps that slide inside an outer casing, with one each side of course. A large circular fan and tinwork is made up around the rear bulkhead along with more ancillaries and small parts in preparation to accept the power-pack. The engine is a V-46 V12-cylinder diesel that pumps out a lot of motive power to the drivetrain. The cylinder banks are each made up from four sides and the rocker cover plus a couple of small PE lifting eyes and exhaust manifold attached to each one in mirror-image. The engine block is built next with a gaggle of ancillaries at one end, then the cylinder banks are fitted into the top and joined in the central valley by the intake manifold with more ancillaries at the busy end, then a new detail insert for the blank end of the engine is constructed and joined with the main assembly. The rectangular air box has PE intake grilles around the three-part box, and the sub-assembly is joined to the engine via its thick input trunk, and two longer hoses that run down the side of the engine and attach to new components at the front of the engine. A scrap diagram of the engine shows how it looks from the side, for you to ensure that yours is set up correctly. The next box is a gearbox with drive-shaft that plugs into some pegs in the floor, then the engine is inserted into the bay, with a stiffening bar across the top, a couple of pots for fluids attached, and more gear added too. It’s tracks time! Each run has 95 links, and the individual links are moulded in a tree of eight links, with tree sprue gates on each one. They’re easy to nip off and clean up as they are situated on the curved edges of the link, and were very easy to remove thanks to the slightly soft plastic. The jig that you can find on each of the pin sprues has a pair of tabs that allow you to build a much longer jig from it if you like, or you can build them up in runs of eight. With the flat side up, you drop the links into the jig with the guide-horns sliding through the holes, then you cut a set of four track-pins still fixed to their sprue (imagine a four-pronged pitchfork), and push them into the pin holes in the sides of the links. These push home snugly and you can see some of the receivers discolouring with stress-marks as this happens. After they are inserted, you simply cut them off neatly, and that’s your lot. I made up a test-run of sixteen links in a few minutes using just a pair of side-cutters, a thin sanding stick and some patience, and was very impressed with how easy it was to do. It makes sense to leave the sprue on the pins long to give you some room for handling them without pinging them off into the gaping maw of the carpet monster. It’s going to take a little time, but they’re among the best, most robust, flexible and easiest styrene tracks I’ve built. You can build either a T-72M or T-72M1 from the box, and the upper glacis plate is subtly different between the two sub-types, so you have to make a choice now, as it isn’t possible to build the two side-by-side and choose later. The M has a two-layer lamination, while the M1 adds a third layer over the outer surface, which entails cutting off the four ribs in the top centre, and overlaying the additional layer that has just two raised ribs. That’s the main difference between them, then it’s a case of adding the light clusters with clear lenses and two-part cages, as well as the V-shaped bow-wash deflector. A tow cable is created from a section of the thread 8.5cm long and two styrene eyes, which is clipped to the deck on the glacis plate while the two front mudguards are being attached to the front of the fenders with styrene springs added along the way, then a pair of triangular webs are fitted between the guards and the front lip of the glacis and a series of stiffeners in styrene and PE are fixed along the length of the fenders in preparation for the additional fuel tanks and stowage this is laid over it. The rear ends are finished off with more detail parts to close them over. The upper hull is formed from the forward section with the turret ring moulded in, to which equipment and vision blocks are added inside along with the driver’s hatch, then it is dropped into the hull along with two engine deck panels, which are first fitted out with mesh from the PE sheet and optional top covers. This completes the deck so that the flexible spring with wire run through the centre can be cut and glued into position to depict the hosing for the fuel tanks as per the accompanying diagram and a black & white photo from the engine deck. Another tow cable is made up from 8.5cm of cord and two more towing eyes to drape over the rear, again as per the scrap diagram. The side skirts on a T-72 are made in part from thick flexible material, which is depicted in the kit by undulations moulded into the lower sections, with one part per side, and a tiny piece of PE at the front. Now we’re getting there, and can finally make up the 2A46(D-81) 125mm smooth bore cannon, the breech of which is shown assembled in the first drawing as reference. It is made up from breech halves split vertically, block parts that are split horizontally, and a two-part sliding portion of the block, plus a myriad of smaller parts on the breech as well as the breech safety frame and coax machine gun on a mount with ammo can that fits to the right side. The gunner’s station is then constructed with optical binocular sight in front of the gunner’s framework seat. This attaches to the underside of the turret rim with a large T-shaped support, and a number of equipment boxes and mechanisms dotted around the rim. Another seat is assembled and glued to the rim, then the turret upper is started. As with most turrets, the inside is substantially smaller than the exterior because of the thickness of the armour, so the interior skin has quite a confined feel to its quilted interior, which is the comfy, insulating side of the anti-spall liner. More equipment boxes are plastered to the walls on flat-spots, and a part of the auto-loader mechanism runs up the back wall where a curved insert is used to enclosed the wall fully. A periscope is attached to the outer roof, then the grey inner lining is inserted into the green turret along with the sizeable and detailed breech assembly. It’s a cabriolet turret at this stage, which will be rectified soon, but more detail is festooned around the outside of the turret, including the rear stowage bustle boxes, smoke grenade tubes, spare ammo cans, search light, and the outer part of the periscope. An overhead view of the turret is given to show the correct orientation of the grenade launchers, with four on the right, and six on the left. The two roof panels are mated next and detailed accordingly, including the round commander’s cupola and the D-shaped gunner’s hatch, both of which have handles, vision blocks and even another searchlight on the commander’s more luxurious hatch. He also gets a DShK (colloquially pronounced “Dooshka”) 12.7mm machine gun mount, which is a huge piece of equipment that is made up from a substantial number of parts, and mounts on the rear of the cupola with an ammo box, and the folding hatch. There is an intermediate stage to the auto-loader that has a stepped circular platform that prevents the turret crew from getting mashed legs, and is filled with a large number of parts that on first inspection resembles a jumble of cylinders and boxes, plus a few ready-rounds strapped to the top – a total trip hazard! The turret is slotted into the hull after dropping the platform on top of the lower feed mechanism of the loader, and the completed roof panel is also glued in place at this time. You may wonder where the barrel is, but it’s deliberate and remedied now, with the gun tube made from two halves split horizontally, and a separate muzzle section to give it a hollow tip, with a circular bolted PE part fitted between the shroud and the barrel. A turned metal barrel would have been almost impossible due to the cooling jacket that is strapped around the gun tube, so take the time to align the halves well to minimise clean-up once the glue has set. The Figure If you’re reading this next year, there might not be a figure in your boxing, as I suspect it’s a limited thing, but those of us buying the first boxing get a nice resin figure, a representation of whom can be seen on the far left of the box art. A Soviet Military Policeman (MP). It is cast in light grey resin in two parts. The largest part is the body, which has everything moulded-in but the figure’s hands and baton behind his back. The hands are on a separate pouring block, and should fit well into the gap between his cuffs. He looks quite tall on his casting block, but when measured with callipers he scales out to be around 6’1”, which is fairly tall, but not unreasonably so – this might be an optical effect due to the long casting blocks under his boots. Casting, sculpting and detail are all excellent, as you can see below, and you can take your colour cues from the box top or check your references. Markings As well as the interior 3D renders on the last two pages of the instructions, there is a separate tri-folded A4 glossy colour painting guide with six tanks under the ownership of various states, as follows: T-72M DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik – East Germany) T-72M Finnish T-72M Hungarian T-72M Syrian T-72M Armenian T-72M Czech Army The decals are printed in China and are in good register with enough sharpness to get the job done, although you can see some very slight dithering of the Finnish blue roundels under 2.5x magnification. It’s all but invisible to the naked eye however. The profiles have been penned by AMMO and use their codes for the paint shades, with the names next to the swatches, and below each profile there is a suggestion list of AMMO weathering products to add a little depth and realism to the finished model if you wish. Conclusion This is the first interior AFV kit I have seen from Amusing Hobby, and I’m impressed. It offers a substantial level of detail in a sensible, straight-forward build that should keep you busy modelling for many an hour. The inclusion of a resin figure is a nice bonus, and the 3D renders of the interior will help with painting immensely, as will the 5-vew profiles of the decal options. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK in most good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.G/Sturmhaubitze 42 w/Zimmerit (DW35021) 1:35 Das Werk via Albion Alloys Following WWI the German military had identified a weakness in their forces, in that their advancing troops often left behind the support of their artillery as they moved forward, leading to a call for the creation of Sturmartillerie, which was effectively a mobile artillery piece that could travel alongside their forces, providing valuable protection. By the time the Nazis were gearing up their economy and military for war more openly, a requirement for just such a vehicle was made official, mating the chassis of the then current Panzer III with a short-barrelled 75mm gun in a fixed armoured casemate with limited traverse, which gave the type a distinctive howitzer-style look. In the later variants a longer high-velocity gun, the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 replaced the shorter gun to give it an improved penetrating power that was more in alignment with the Tank Killer job that it had become used for. These vehicles were designated Ausf.F or G, and were amongst the most produced version of this almost ubiquitous WWII tank. A project to up-gun the StuG was instigated using an Ausf.F chassis and a 10.5cm leFH 18 howitzer, taking the name Sturmhaubitze 42 or StuH 42 for short. It was electrically fired, and was to be fitted with a muzzle-brake to bleed off some of the recoil, and a dozen of this type were made from repaired Ausf.F examples, then almost 1,300 built as infantry support that were based on the Ausf.G, some without their muzzle-brakes due to the poor availability of metal as the war continued to turn against the Nazis, thanks to the Allied bomber force battering their industrial base into dust on a 24/7 schedule. The Kit If you’ve been wondering where Dragon have gone in the AFV world, you should know that this kit is a reboxing of their 2007 kit that they released regularly as different variants over the years. This boxing has waffle-texture zimmerit applied to its upper surfaces and hull sides, which is extremely well-executed, and was ahead of its time when it was originally moulded, and still looking good under 2020's high-definition gaze. The kit arrives in a nicely appointed box with Das Werk’s branding and artwork printed on the box lid, and inside are fifteen sprues and the lower hull in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a Photo-Etch (PE) fret, small decal sheet, a length of braided wire, and a new instruction booklet with full-colour printing on glossy paper that has a simulated aged patina, and even includes a coffee ring on one of the pages, and a sketch of a couple of German tankers poring over a map in the corner of another page. You can still see the Dragon logo on the sprues, with most of them also bearing the StuG III G or StuG III G w/zim logos, while one is marked as Heuschrecke IVb, from which you only take the barrel and breech parts for the StuH 42. This is heyday Dragon, so the detail is excellent, as you can see in the pictures. Construction begins with the lower hull, which has a full set of torsion-bars linked to the swing arms fitted along with a damper on the front wheel, and armoured drive-sprocket fairing at the very front of the chassis. The rear bulkhead has the twin exhausts, towing shackles and torch-cut armoured brackets installed, plus a Zimmerit covered lower glacis plate. The road wheels are made up in pairs, as are the smaller return-rollers, while the drive-sprocket has the final drive bell-housing attached to the rear, and the idler wheels have two PE rings between them, a central cap on the outside, with the idler axle and adjustment mechanism at the rear. There are 12 pairs of road wheels, six pairs of return-rollers, and two each of the idlers and drive sprockets. The rear bulkhead is mounted under the back lip of the hull, with a PE mesh above it, and armoured panels and ducting around it, plus an armoured access hatch for the manual starter. The fenders are separate from the body in this kit, and they are shown being covered with pioneer tools, including a highly detailed jack, plus a pair of towing cables made from styrene eyes and a braided metal cable, which seems to have gone missing in my box, but was quickly replaced by Albion’s excellent customer service. Just give them a call if anything is missing and the model shop you bought it from can't help. Attention turns to the casemate now, with the commander’s cupola first on the agenda, made up from a circular base with seven clear vision blocks inserted from below, an armoured cover above, a PE insert and the hatch. A bracket extends inside the hull to support the commander’s sighting periscope, then it is put aside while other details are installed on the waffle-textured armoured panels. The vertical appliqué armour to each side of the gun is attached, including the driver’s vision port and armoured glass, some cheek detail panels with Zimmerit are fitted, and at the rear an extractor fan with armoured cover and two aerial bases are fixed to the outside. Inside the casemate the radio gear is built up in two packs, and ledged upon the inside lip of the sponson, with another set of shelves on the other. The roof panel goes on with the cupola, and the two simple hatches with optional flat armoured splinter-shield in front, which could also be posed hinged upright with an MG34 machine gun poking through the shield, although somewhere along the line the numbers given in that step (step 10) seem to have come adrift from what's on the sprues, as there’s no part 31 on sprue F. Part 27 is an MG34 however, and it has a hollow muzzle thanks to a little sliding mould. Moving to the engine deck, the four vents all have raised armoured covers to prevent ingress of dirt, grenades and plunging fire. Around these there are several pioneer tools added, plus radiator boxes on each side, which have mesh covers for the same reasons. A couple of spare road wheel pairs are made up, fitted to custom axles, which are bolted to the rearmost two armoured covers on the deck, and have six spare track pins inserted into the lightening holes on each one. On the glacis plate the two clamshell maintenance hatches and their chunky latches are slotted into the plate, a large bullet-splash upstand in front of the driver’s viewport, and a central convoy light are all fitted in place, making up yet another sub-assembly that will form the upper hull later on. Unusually, the interior of the fighting compartment is made up and inserted into the upper hull from inside, with the floor made up first with central raised section below the breech, which is built up with either the breech-block for the 10.5cm StuH, or the 7.5cm StuK guns, depending on which you have decided upon. The sighting, traverse and elevation gear are added to the gun supports with seats for the gunner on the left, then you build up whichever of the two barrels you have chosen. The 10.5cm barrel is shorter and has a single muzzle-brake insert, while the longer 7.5cm gun has two inserts added to a separate muzzle-brake, which keys into the tip of the single-part gun tube, with both sliding inside the gun sleeve and into the heavy trapezoid mantlet. The breech and gun supports are mated with the interior, and is slipped into the upper hull from below, which has the engine deck, fenders and glacis plate joined up and your choice of barrel slotted into position before it is put to the side while you make up the tracks on the lower hull. The tracks are well detailed link-and-length, and have a jig that helps to obtain the correct sag on the top run. The top run is made from four lengths with a single link between each one to assist with the sag, then nine links go round either end of the running gear, with another length and single link joined together with a long final length under the road wheels. The instructions advise that although you can flex the tracks to help with the sag, they will eventually break, so take it easy and work carefully. The part numbers for the other side are given in brackets, and each link as two raised ejector-pin marks on their inner face, which can be shaved off with a sharp blade and then sanded flush with the rest of the run. It shouldn’t take too long, and it depends how dirty you’re going to make your tracks. With the tracks finished and in position, the upper hull is joined to the lower, and that’s your lot! Markings There are a generous five decal options from the kit’s decal sheet, with lots of different camouflage options to choose from. Each vehicle is shown in three views, with one having a scrap diagram next to it for an alternative marking on the glacis. From the box you can build one of the following: Gebirgs-Panzerjägerabteilung 95, Hungary, late 1944 StuG Brigade 277 (StuG Brig. 277), Lithuania, between Vilnius and Kaunas, July 1944 StuG Abteilung 261, Eastern front, late October 1943 StuG Brigade 322 (StuG Brig. 322), Kovel, Russia, June 1944 StuG Brigade 202, (StuG Brig. 202), Kurland 1945 The decals aren’t marked as such, but on the box you can see that they are printed by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion If you’ve been missing the Dragon StuG.III, or wanted to make the less common StuH, this kit will be just what the doctor ordered. It comes from Dragon’s premiere division days, with excellent detail throughout, especially the waffle-textured Zimmerit on the outer panels. It has just the right level of irregularity about it that makes it look much more realistic than serried ranks of perfectly executed shapes. The paste was applied by hand, afterall. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK in good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Republic P-43 Lancer (DW48029) 1:48 Dora Wings via Albion Alloys Ltd The P-43 Lancer was a work-in-progress in the mid-30s, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the pinnacle of its design, the P-47 Thunderbolt. Republic’s name was changed from Seversky, and it was their P-35 that was the jumping-off point for a number of designs in the period when it wasn’t yet certain that the US was going to join the war in Europe. The P-43 was one of the more successful designs, but it was an aircraft with some limitations, only performing at its best at higher altitudes where it was fast enough to catch and kill high flying reconnaissance aircraft. Lower down it wasn’t so great, so while it went into limited service with the US Air Force and other operators in small numbers it was soon obsolete thanks to the speed of technological progress during war. Some aircraft found their way to the AVG, flying against the Japanese before the US entered the war officially, where they were well-liked enough that when they were withdrawn, petitions were made by the Flying Tigers to keep them. They also served as high altitude reconnaissance with the RAAF who received a few airframes, and to intercept the aforementioned reconnaissance aircraft, but with only just under 300 built they were never destined for fame, and the P-44 Rocket that was to replace it didn’t even reach service, as the P-47 was just so good. The Kit This is a brand-new tool from our friends at Dora Wings, who have a short but interesting history of producing unusual subjects in various scales. I built their P-63E KingCobra kit when it was released, and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite a few trials, some of which were of my own making. Perusing the sprues of this kit gives me the impression that the moulding has moved on somewhat since then, and detail is good too, with decent transparencies, instrument panels with decals for each one, and a well-moulded engine, some PE parts with an alternate instrument panel and even some masks. That’s a pretty good package. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, with six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small pre-cut vinyl mask sheet and a medium sized decal sheet, with the colour A5 instruction booklet that has painting and decaling instructions in the rear completing the package. Moulding is neat, and while there are loads of sink marks on the sprues, there aren't any visible on the parts, although there is a small amount of flash on the parts that make up the supercharger, but that won't take more than a few scrapes to remove - the logo on the photo covers it nicely though Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the instrument panel (IP), which can be either built with moulded-in dials and decal over the top, or with a flat panel to which you apply the decal then the PE panel to allow the decals to show through more realistically. Rudder pedals are fitted to the back of the IP, sidewalls are detailed with additional parts, then the sections are joined together on a floor panel and rear bulkhead, strengthened with the side panels and with the seat and PE belts glued in place and a short control column in front. The cockpit is put to the side while the firewall and engine mounts are made up, then the tail wheel bay, supercharger assembly, landing gear with 2-part tyres and separate scissor-links, and finally the engine. This is well-detailed, with both cylinder banks fully replicated with push-rods, reduction housing bell at the front, ignition harness and finally the close-fitting cowling added. The initial cowling comprises three parts plus a PE grille in the bottom, with the cowling lip added to the front and the PE cooling flaps inserted into the gap at the rear, giving a scale look and a view into the engine, so you’ve not wasted your time painting it. The prop is also made up, with all blades moulded together, a spinner at the front and a tiny ring at the rear. All of this makes for a very fast final assembly, and is akin to the process many modellers take when building a model – you can tell Eugen and friends are modellers first and foremost. The cockpit and firewall are joined together first, then trapped between the fuselage halves along with the tail wheel bay, while the full-width lower wing has the two bay parts inserted then closed over with the upper wing halves, filling the gap in the middle with the fuselage. The ailerons are also separate parts, which is also the case with the tail feathers, giving you some options for a more candid pose. A clear gunsight, headrest and the rear canopy section are fitted first, then the rest of the canopy and windscreen are added to close it over, while the engine cowling assembly is glued to the front of the fuselage onto its mounts. Flipping the model over, the supercharger, cooling flap, pitot and wing guns are installed along with the prop, which you’ll probably leave off until later, then the main gear assemblies, bay doors and tail wheel with bay doors added while it is still inverted. Job done! Markings You get a generous four decal options in the box on a medium-sized decal sheet that is bright and colourful. From the box you can build one of the following: YP-43 Lancer, US Air Force, 1941 P-43A Lancer s/n 40-2920, 55th Pursuit Group, Portland Air Base, Jan 1942 P-43A Lancer s/n 41-6721, US Air Force 1942 P-43A Lancer s/n 41-31496, Aug 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. On the rear of the booklet is a colour table decoding the letter codes given throughout the instructions in Mr Hobby, Tamiya, AMMO, Hataka and Life Color codes, plus a key for the instruction icons that are also seen within. The vinyl masks are ready for application to the canopy, taking some of the work out of that aspect of the build, which is always welcome. Conclusion Dora Wings are to be lauded for their efforts to widen the subjects covered in all scales, and with the improvements they have made so far in their successive products, we’re going to be treated to many more interesting and esoteric kits in the future in differing scales, and I really like this one, which will look great next to my old Academy P-47D I built a number of years back. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors of
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