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  1. Tempest Mk.V Resin & 3D Printed Update Sets (For Airfix) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Airfix released their Hawker Tempest Mk.V in 1:72 a few years ago, and it’s a great little kit, but as always you can improve on injected styrene with resin, either traditionally cast, or 3D printed for ultimate detail. CMK have created a host of new sets to allow the modeller to ramp-up the detail to extreme levels, working with parts that are almost drop-in, far from the origins of aftermarket that could sometimes be difficult to fit inside the constraints of the kit parts. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. The larger engine set is in a cardboard box, with the parts in Ziploc bags, padded out by the folded instruction booklet. Engine & Fuselage Tanks (P72008) This set consists of only eight parts of 3D printed resin, but don’t let that dissuade you. The engine is protected inside the boxed-in printing base, which can be simply opened with a razor saw or nippers along the lines shown by nicks in the vertical supports. The detail is phenomenal, especially the engine, which is printed as a single part, minus its exhaust stubs. The instructions show the upper cowling panels that should be removed in red, reducing the edges to give a more realistic look. The engine is prepped and painted before it is installed in the nose in front of the cockpit, with the tanks printed integrally along with the bulkheads and ribs, needing just the exhaust stubs slotted into the sides of the massive engine block. To hang the prop off the front, a drive-shaft is pushed into a hole in the front bulkhead, then the four cowling panels that are printed at a much more scale thickness with stiffening frames on the inner faces, to be left nearby as if the mechanics have just departed for a cuppa. Exhausts (P72011) If you want your Tempest in-flight or parked-up and prepared for take-off, this set includes just the exhaust stubs on a single print-base, which are a drop-in replacement for the kit parts once liberated from their base. The detail is far superior to the kit parts, with weld-seams and hollow lips to the exhausts that add realism to your model quickly and easily. Early Gun Barrels (P72009) Containing two inserts with a pair of cannon barrels each on a single print base, handed for each wing, these parts are a straight-forward drop-in replacement for the kit parts, depicting the earlier barrel shrouds. Gunsight & Seat Correction Set (P72010) Consisting of two parts, the seat is printed in incredible detail in orange resin, and the gunsight in clear resin that is loose in the blister pack, so could easily be lost. Take care when opening the package, as it’s a very small part. Wheels Early & Late (Q72413 & Q72414) These two sets both provide a pair of wheels with different hubs and tyres. The early wheels are treadless and have five spoked hubs, while the later set has block treaded tyres and four spoke hubs on different style bases, as they are traditionally cast. They add a ton of detail and are a drop-in replacement once you have cut them from their casting blocks on the contact patch where the tyre is slightly flattened by the weight of the aircraft. Early (Q72413) Late (Q72414) Tempest Pilot, Dog & Mechanic with Accumulator Trolley (F72402) To add a little human scale, this figure set includes two humans, a pilot and ground crew member, a dog, and an accumulator trolley that was a must-have to start your Tempest in a dispersal location. The figures are all 3D printed in one part each, while the accumulator is protected inside a box-like print base, which is easy to cut where there are pre-made weakening points on the vertical supports. The trolley and A-frame are printed as one, needing just the wheels fitting to the axles at the sides, but bear in mind that the towing eye is incredibly delicate due to its scale size, so take care handling it. Conclusion You can pick and choose which of these sets that you are interested in for your model, or you can push the boat out and fit them all, although you’ll have to decide of which wheels you want to use. The detail is excellent, especially the engine, which will blow the socks off your viewers once the model is complete. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hetzer/StuG IIIG (Late) Remote Controlled MG34 (P35020 for various manufacturers) 1:35 CMK by Special Hobby There are many StuG IIIG kits and a few Hetzer models out there in 1:35, which is great for AFV modellers, and this set is designed to add a remote controlled MG34 installation that was sometimes found on the roof of these tank killers, allowing the crew to defend against troops attacks without putting themselves in the way of incoming small-arms rounds. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. Photo-Etch (PE) when included is separated from the resin parts by a clear piece of acetate to prevent scratching and damage during transit. There are ten 3D printed parts on two bases in orange resin, which seems to blend two desired qualities of flexibility with strength to ease their use with your model. The MG34 is mounted on a circular base with mechanisms to elevate, fire and rotate the gun without crew being outside the vehicle, as well as giving them a sight-picture via a periscope that passes through the armoured roof. This is a single part, to which the gun mount is fitted, along with a short length of wire that you must source from your own stock, which operates the trigger under the weapon once it is installed. The gun is without a stock, but has a drum magazine fitted on to the left side of the breech, slotting into the mount on two locations. A clamp with turnbuckle holds it in place, and a short length of spent link is glued to the ejection port, drooping under gravity. If someone has to go outside to cock the weapon, clear a stoppage or swap the magazine, you have a choice of two styles of sharply raked splinter shields, one cut to fit the Hetzer’s roof, the other for the StuG, both of which attach to each other at the front, and four mounting pads that correspond to recesses on the bottom of the armour for a firm connection. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. P-39Q Airacobra Engine (7515 for Arma Hobby) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Model manufacturers Arma Hobby have created a welcome modern tooling of the Bell Airacobra recently, and this set is intended to upgrade the detail further on the P-39Q variant that we reviewed here, adding engine details. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. Inside the box are three cast grey resin components, plus a pair of 3D printed exhaust stacks on a single print base. The engine on the Airacobra is set back behind the cockpit, and is accessed by a large panel just behind the pilot’s door. To install the set, the first task is to remove the port panel, which is indicated by a diagram on the short instruction sheet. A boxed-in bay is installed in the space inside, which then receives the detailed portion of the engine block that will be seen through the hatch, adding the longer set of exhaust stubs with hollow tips to the recessed outer side of the engine. A shorter set is applied to the opposite fuselage half, which remains intact, as the panel is cut from only the port side. The final part is a replacement access panel, which can be left on the wing or nearby, having additional detail, a more scale thickness, and the added bonus of not having to be too careful with the section of fuselage that you must cut out, allowing you to cut it more accurately, leaving a margin around the edges that you can trim and sand to obtain a better fit. Painting of the new parts is up to you, but there is plenty of reference material out there, so it shouldn’t be too taxing. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Bactrian Camels x 2 (F72399) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby The camel, known colloquially as the ‘ship of the desert’, is a large mammal that is as cantankerous as it is capable, having a huge fatty water storage hump on its back that allows it to travel for up to 40 days without a proper drink, its long legs and large padded feet making it a capable of travelling vast distances without taking one step forward and two back on sand dunes. They’re still used everywhere there’s a desert, although 4x4 transport is taking over where the need arises. We have already reviewed a few more camels than we ever thought we would, and still they keep coming. This set from CMK is something like the 7th now, if we count both 1:48 and 1:72, and it’s highly likely that we’ll be updating this review with additional pictures to show the 1:48 Bactrian camel set, as they have a habit of arriving in pairs, much like the humps of this shaggier camel variant. Unlike the Dromedary, the Bactrian is also capable of enduring extreme cold and high altitudes, which along with their stamina and tolerance for meagre rations, were probably prime reasons for their use travelling the Silk Road in days of yore. The set is 3D printed in 1:72 for your next desert diorama, or one already built that simply needs more camels in it to achieve perfection, whether it’s in the background or playing a more central role. The set is supplied in the usual clamshell box with card header, with the small instruction sheet trapped in front of the header, all secured by a single staple. The instructions are simple, consisting of a line-drawn visual of the model with markings examples. There are two camels in different poses in the box, and they each still have supports attached to the underside, which are easy to clip off and sand the remaining pips back flush. One camel is sitting with its legs folded, while the other is in an ambiguous standing pose that could be walking or stopped to admire the view, and both have shaggier fur that is concentrated around the tops of their humps, necks and in a fringe around the top of their heads. Conclusion They’re camels, miserable spitty things that are lucky they’re good beasts of burden, or they wouldn’t be so numerous. CMK's designers have done a good job of replicating their look and the texture of their fur, then it's up to you to paint them as well as you can. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Army Zetor Tractor Driver and Mechanic (F72390) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby If you’ve seen the 1:72 Military Zetor Tractor (reviewed here) that was used heavily around Soviet era air fields to tow smaller aircraft around the base, you might be interested in this figure set. As usual with CMK's resin sets, it arrives in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. There are two resin figures in the box, each attached to a casting block by their feet, although the seated driver is also connected by the chair that is moulded into his behind. The driver and standing figure are both wearing the overalls of Soviet era mechanics and forage caps of the kind that fold flat. Both are looking to their right, presumably in the direction that they are intending to travel, perhaps the dispersal bay of the MiG-15 they are towing in the drawing, which isn’t included just in case it hadn’t dawned on you. They are well-moulded and sculpting is good, with realistic poses and fabric drape on their overalls. The moulded seat of the driver will allow you to glue him directly in position without worrying about locating him on the seat, as the original seat is left off the tractor. He has one hand on the wheel and the other on his lap, so locating him on the kit wheel should be easier after removing the supporting flash that has been used to improve moulding success, and can be scraped away quickly and easily. Adding human scale to any model is a great way to improve it, especially well-detailed figures like these, and transporting a shut-down MiG around the airfield was a common task during the Cold War and beyond. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Concrete Hedgehog WWII Anti-Tank Barrier (8066 & 2062) 1:48 & 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Tank barriers are important aspects of any defensive line of the 20th century onwards, and they are intended to stop tanks in their tracks to prevent their advance, and therefore leave any infantry without their mobile heavy weapons support, or render them immobile and vulnerable to artillery fire. Various designs have been used over the years, and we’re looking at the concrete type fielded during WWII, which was nicknamed Hedgehog for fairly obvious reasons, as it’s a prickly customer. Made from cast concrete with metal reinforcement within, forming a similar shape to a jack from the game of the same name, the lower ends dig into the ground under their own weight, and if a tank rubs up against it, there is a good chance it will become snagged on the obstacle, stopping it from advancing any further. The rebar projects from the ends of the arms in a pig-tail curl to accommodate barbed wire entanglements, which would make the chances of stopping the enemy even greater. Similar style obstacles are still in use today. Both sets arrive in clear-fronted vacformed boxes, with the header card and instructions at the rear, whilst the resin parts inside are safely stored inside a cocoon of dark grey foam. There are four Hedgehogs in the smaller 1:72 set, while the larger 1:48 set has two Hedgehogs due to the extra size, and they are all cast on individual blocks with narrow attachment supports reducing the amount of clean-up on the underside. You’ll need to find some wire to create the pig-tail curls at the ends of the arms, and there are pictures on the instructions that will help you in this regard. Concrete Hedgehog x 2 (8066) Concrete Hedgehog x 4 (2062) Conclusion These sets are great for the diorama modeller, and their level of detail is excellent, down to the fine concrete texture and the tiny holes to accept the wire tails. Minimal clean-up of the parts further sweetens the package. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Dromedary Camels x 2 (F72397 & F48398) 1:72 & 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby The camel, known colloquially as the ‘ship of the desert’, is a large mammal that is as cantankerous as it is capable, having a huge fat storage hump on its back that allows it to travel for up to 40 days without a proper drink, its long legs and large padded feet making it a capable of travelling vast distances without taking one step forward and two back on sand dunes. They’re still used everywhere there’s a desert, although 4x4 transport is taking over where the need arises. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when these sets arrived, as I’ve already reviewed a few more camels than I ever thought I would. I think the total is up to six now, and there are more coming. I’m not quite serious, but I seem to remember making a comment in the first review that I’d never reviewed a camel before, and likely never would again. I guess I was wrong… again. These two sets are 3D printed in two scales to go with your 1:72 or 1:48 desert diorama, whether it’s in the background or playing a more central role. Both sets are supplied in the usual clamshell box with card header, the colours and branding different by scale for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent. The instructions are simple, and are hidden between the resin part and the backing, consisting of a simple visual of the model with painting examples. There are two camels in different poses in each box, and they each still have supports attached to the underside, which are easy to clip off and sand the remaining pips back flush. 1:72 Dromedary (F72397) 1:48 Dromedary (F48398) With only a little work to do to remove the attachment pips on the underside, they should be ready for paint pretty quickly, and the detail is superb, even down to the recreation of the changing texture of the animal’s pelt, where it changes to a coarser consistency around the hump. One camel is sitting down with its legs folded underneath, as is their way, while the other is standing up with its legs in a pose that implies movement, but could also be used in a standing pose, as it isn’t a particularly dynamic stance – probably for that very reason. Markings There are no decals, although I suspect I didn’t really need to mention that, however a quick Google of camel pictures will come back with plenty of examples of their colouring to aid you with painting them. It might also see you put on some kind of esoteric register of camel fanciers, but it also might not. Conclusion Detail is fabulous, with every aspect of the camel carefully replicated, including the shaggy texture of the animal’s fur and its goofy face, however it looks a little too cheerful based on the camels I’ve met before. Camels are always ill-tempered and often spitty. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Dornier Do.17Z Wing Fuel Tank Panels & Filler Caps (4465 for ICM) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby A few years ago, ICM created a range of 1:48 kits of the German Bomber that began with the Dornier Do.17, and evolved during the war into several variants that were sometimes only recognisable by their similar design cues and skinny fuselage, which earned it the nickname “The Flying Pencil”. The kits are modern, well-detailed and readily available, but as I always say, you can always improve the detail. This set goes beyond adding detail to the visible areas of the kit, and delves into the equipment hidden beneath the aircraft’s skin, specifically the wings. The inner wing areas of the Do.17Z were filled with fuel tanks that fed the BMW Bramo Fafnir radial engines that were mounted in nacelles under the wings outboard of the tanks. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. Decals and Photo-Etch (PE) is separated from the resin parts by a clear piece of acetate to prevent scratching and damage during transit. The box includes fifteen grey resin parts, plus a fret of PE that provides the bay surrounds where the individual panels were secured to the airframe. The lower wing is where most of the preparation is made, cutting out the panels on either side of the wing that are marked in grey on the instructions, while on the upper wing the three filler caps are drilled out to the correct size, one on each wing, one in the centre. After preparation, two circular resin parts that portray the filler cap and surround are glued together and inserted into each of the holes from below, and the flat cover panels are left free as they would be on removal by the maintainers. The lower wing has the rectangular bay areas inserted from within, filling the bays with the resin fuel tanks, which should allow the ribbing detail on the sides of the bays to remain visible from outside. The PE surrounds with fastening holes etched into them are glued to the perimeter of the bays, slightly below the level of the wing’s skin. The replacement resin panels will have been removed by the mechanics and either laid on the ground, propped against the aircraft or placed somewhere else convenient for later reinstallation. The extra detail will look good on your model and bring additional interest to the wing area, although they will be more obvious from above in a diorama situation with mechanics and other crew in the vicinity. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. IAF Mirage IIICJ Pilot & Female Ground Crew (F72387 Special Hobby etc.) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Israel was a long-term operator of the Mirage III, and Special Hobby have created a series of kits in 1:72 that depict many variants, including those used by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Their figure sculptors have also been hard at work creating figures to go with these new kits, this set including both a pilot and female ground crew. This set arrives in Special Hobby’s yellow themed blister pack, with a header card and the instructions forming the slot-in back to the package, and holding the resin in place within the blister. The two figures inside are attached to their casting blocks by the soles of their shoes for minimal clean-up, plus a little fine flash between their legs, arms and other places where they will benefit from support during casting, especially the lady with her hands clasped behind her back, where they would have otherwise been the potential for bubble catchment areas. These fine areas of flash can be removed quickly and cleanly with a sharp blade, scraping or sanding away any residual flash until you are happy with the finish. The pilot is wearing a flying suit, boots and life vest, and is holding his helmet with mask and oxygen hose spilling over the edge, with both hands by his side, looking up and to one side as if admiring his aircraft or watching others from his squadron coming back in to land. The female ground crew operative is dressed smartly in a knee-length skirt and jacket, plus a cloth forage cap, and her hair pulled back into a short ponytail at the rear. Her hands are clasped behind her back as mentioned, and she is wearing a pair of low-heeled court shoes that might benefit from thinning of the soles to a more realistic height. Adding figures to a model or diorama brings that human scale to it, and these IAF crew are perfectly suited to the Mirage IIICJ in 1:72. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. A6M2 Zero Control Surface Correction Set (4464 for Academy) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby Academy released their new tooling of the Japanese Zero in 2022 as a Battle of Midway 80th Anniversary boxing, but the model’s control surfaces suffer a little from an overly deep representation of the ribbing, and have fixed elevators and rudder panel that can’t be posed deflected. This set arrives in Special Hobby’s yellow themed blister pack, with a header card and the instructions forming the slot-in back to the package, and holding the resin in place within the blister. There are seven parts in grey resin, all of which have separate casting blocks that are joined to the parts at the pivot-point that will be less visible if any mistakes are made. The elevators are drop-in replacements, but the elevators and rudder will require removal of the moulded-in flying surfaces from the kit parts before the new resin parts can be added. The instructions advise sanding a V-shaped bevelled edge on the cut lines to allow the rounded leading-edges of the flying surfaces to nestle closely to the hinge-points, which shouldn’t be too difficult, as the surfaces are all moulded as separate halves. A worthwhile upgrade to the realism of the model, doing away with the deep recesses in the kit flying services, which is particularly noticeable on the moulded-in rudder. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Bofors 40mm AA/AS Gun PT Boat Weapon Set #6 (N72044 for Revell) 1:72 CMK Navy Series by Special Hobby The American PT boat series were fast, agile and well-armed to deal with the Japanese enemy in the Pacific theatre for the most part. Revell’s kits of these famous sea-borne warriors are quite old now, so upgrades to the level of detail to modern standards is a worthwhile proposition. This set is number six of a growing series of sets that are now available for the basic kit, and it depicts the Bofors 40mm Anti-Aircraft cannon that saw extensive use both at sea and in the air during WWII, which was based upon a Swedish design that had been instigated as an improvement on previous Vickers designs. They were often seen mounted on the foredeck of PT boats on a substantial boxy installation, and the gun was used almost ubiquitously by WWII Allied Navies. The set arrives in a white cardboard box with a captive top flap and sticker showing the contents. Inside are three bags of parts, the traditional cast resin in grey, and the 3D printed parts in a bright orange colour. Additionally, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) provides more parts, and all this is protected by the instruction sheet and a few polystyrene foam peanuts to increase stability of the parts during transport and storage. The resin parts are attached to their casting and print bases in sensible locations to reduce clean-up work, and once the parts are liberated, they can be put to good use. Construction begins with the resin base, onto which the rotating floor and rear rails are added from the 3D parts, fitting PE foot rests and orange resin seats with PE backrests. A curved 3D profile is fixed to the rear of the floor, then the gun is built up based upon the breech, two of which are included, one for horizontal and one for elevated poses. Your choice of breech receives the barrel at the front, a resin ammo feeder that locates in a recess in the top of the breech, plus a PE twin ring-and-bead sight so that both crew members can sight the gun. It is mounted between two trunnions with PE elevation winder handles that should be glued in opposition to each other, adding twin elevation pistons under the front for the elevated option, and a curved resin part to the rear. The horizontal breech also has a choice of installing a covered ammo feeder instead of the open feeder that has rounds ready for firing. The base of the completed gun assembly is then plugged into a recess in the centre of the floor of the rotating portion to finish off, and a replacement stowage box has been included to improve details on the deck as a bonus. Markings There are no decals in the box, and no painting instructions are provided, as these will be found in the base Revell kit. Conclusion If your kit comes with a 40mm Bofors, this is a great way to upgrade the detail simply. If it doesn’t, you can install it on the front deck to add some individuality to your model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Hurricane Mk.I/II Main Wheels 4-Spoke (Q32412 for Revell) 1:32 CMK by Special Hobby We reviewed Revell’s new large-scale Hurricane early this year here, and now we have some brand-new resin wheels from CMK. The Revell kit wheels are in two halves with separate hub, which means you have the resultant joins to deal with, and have less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the hubs in this instance. That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument. They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are usually a drop-in replacement. This set has the same part count for the main wheels, but the tyres are cast as a single part with sidewall details and maker’s marks on the surface, and there are two separate hubs with a deep undercut dish at the rear to ease removal from their casting block. The outer hub is four-spoke with a separate resin roller in the centre, and has a cut-out on the rim for the valve, while the inner hub has concentric rings of ribs and bolts cast-in. The tail wheel is a single part rather than two, saving clean-up of seams. The wheels are attached to their casting block at the bottom where there is a flat-spot, so clean-up should be a breeze, and the weighting hasn’t been overdone. To build the main wheels, simply cut the parts free from their blocks, clean up, and glue the two hubs into their depressions, which have a key cast-in to ensure correct orientation. Resin wheels are a great way to increase detail and realism, and they also don’t break the bank. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. 3D Printed Small Arms (P350012/14/15/16/19) 1:35 Special Hobby 3D Print Guns are a central component in any military engagement. They’re everywhere, especially where there’s fighting. Special Hobby have taken to printing many of their upgrade and detail sets in attractive orange resin, and the detail is phenomenal. They’re bringing out a range of small arms as part of their range, for use in dioramas, to increase the detail of figures, and as personal items in or around AFVs and softskins. Each set arrives in a clear bubble pack with a cardboard header and instruction sheet at the rear. The 3D printed parts are secured in foam inserts that are cut to suit their shape, and there are small Photo-Etch (PE) frets of brass separated from the resin by a piece of clear acrylic, adding straps and other small parts to the models. This collection of sets is spread over different eras of warfare, and should be chosen for their suitability to the models you are making, not just because they look great, although it is tempting. MG42 German WWII Machine Gun Early (P35012) The basis for many modern machine guns, the MG42 was a development of the MG34, intended to reduce the cost and increase ease of production as the war progressed away from Germany’s favour. Its formidable rate of fire garnered the nickname ‘Hitler’s buzz-saw’ amongst others. There are two of these guns on the printed base that also contains four drum magazines and a pair of bipods. The PE sheet contains slings and a length of spent link that is glued to the open breech opposite the magazine. M1 Bazooka (P35014) The word Bazooka has become the generic name for any shoulder-mounted rocket launcher in some circles, and it was reverse-engineered by the Germans from captured weapons at the beginning of WWII to become the more effective Panzerschreck. It utilised a shaped-charge to punch above its weight, and was rocket-propelled from the tube, with a limited range but the capability of penetrating more than 70mm of rolled homogenous armour in use at the time. The set includes the bazooka as one part, plus two rounds, one with a pointed M6 warhead that was a little prone to ricocheting, and the alternative domed warhead that was designed to reduce ricochets. An additional set of fins is included in case you wanted to portray one “up the spout” hanging out of the rear of the tube. A PE sling is also included to complete the package, and the detail on the weapon is excellent, including the frame around the rear of the tube, which is a dangerous place to stand behind, which usually led to a quick look behind before pulling the trigger that electrically launched the rocket. 3rd degree burns tend not to be popular with comrades. M1A1 Bazooka (P35015) The M1 Bazooka wasn’t perfect, so the engineers went back to the drawing board and improved it, working on the electrical systems, removing the blocky front handgrip, adding a blow-back diffusing ‘colander’ at the muzzle, and improving the rounds to achieve more kills. The revised Bazooka is printed as a single part, with two of the diffusers on the enlarged PE sheet with the sling, and a pair of conical grey resin jigs that are hidden in the rear to bend the part to the correct shape quickly and easily, taking all the worry out of the process. It would be good practice to anneal the part carefully over a flame to soften the brass, but being careful not to overdo it, as the part is etched to half thickness and could be melted or even burned away by too much heat. M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle (P35016) The M18 was a portable 57mm rifle that was designed during WWII and saw limited service at the very end of the war, going on to fight in the Korean and Vietnam wars before it was retired. It could penetrate around the same thickness of armour as the initial Bazooka rounds, and in Europe it was only capable of causing damage to vulnerable parts such as the turret ring, vision blocks, armour seams or running gear, unless the operator was able to get to the rear where the armour was thinner. In the Pacific however, it was a resounding success, as the Japanese tanks were lightly armoured and armed. The set includes three display options for this unusual weapon, the first being low to the ground, using the extending foregrip as a bipod, and the shoulder rest split in two to provide two more points of balance for the prone operator. The best mounting platform was the tripod from a Browning 1917 machine gun, which explains why I did a double-take when perusing the instructions. The weapon and breech are printed as a single part, the prone mount having the stands fitted as separate parts, along with the breech operation mechanism and sighting mechanism. The man-portable version can also be made by using different parts for the monopod/grip and shoulder pad, using the same parts for the breech and sight. The most impressive option is the tripod-mounted rifle, which involves trapping two printed parts between PE frames, adding an adjustment wheel and locking lever on one side, and the stud on the other, then mounting it on the three legs with the base in the centre, plus adjustment and locking levers from PE and resin. A PE strap is affixed to one leg to secure them for transport, then the rifle is built with breech mechanism, sight and foregrip, after which it is lowered onto the tripod locating it on a pin behind the foregrip. There are three of the 57mm rounds included on the print-base, which employed an ingenious method to reduce recoil to almost zero. The casing was perforated, with a protective plastic inner sleeve keeping the weather out and propellant in, plus a ring that has grooves machined into it to engage in the rifling, reducing friction and giving it a high muzzle velocity that increased penetration. For painting the rounds, just Google it, as there are plenty of pics around on the ‘net. AK-74MN Russian Assault Rifle Laminated Stock (P35019) This was the standard rifle with the Soviets and is still in service with their Russian Federation successors, plus many of their Allies, former satellite states and other customers. There are two rifles in a side-by-side protective printing base, and they are complete save for their slings, which can be found on the PE fret in the box. Conclusion 3D printing came of age after a surprisingly short gestation period, and it really shows in these weapons sets. Whichever one you choose for your next project, you won’t be disappointed, just remember to anneal the PE slings and straps carefully so they bend more naturally. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. German WWII Aircraft Maintenance Toolkit (5145 & P72006) 1:32 & 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby It’s no secret that aircraft are high-maintenance, much of it preventative because bailing out of an aircraft that has broken down is dangerous, and the resulting crash is expensive at the very least. Ground Crew are tasked with always keeping the aircraft in a state of readiness, or at least as much as humanly possible. Their toolkit is extensive, but a simple kit was the base for most repair or maintenance activities, resorting to the big tools when necessary. During WWII all sides had their toolkits, and this pair of sets depicts a typical German kit. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. German WWII Aircraft Maintenance Toolkit 1:32 (5145) This set includes five toolboxes, two of which are opened up to display the tools in their scissor-linked trays, with another open-topped box for which you’ll need to supply a piece of wire or rod to create the carry-handle. Two other boxes also need rod for their handles, as does the kettle, which is supplied in addition along with an oil can with precision applicator and a small rectangular can that completes the set. The two opened boxes have separate lids, and two of the other boxes have rounded resin handles, while all the tools are cast into the trays, with extreme detail and excellent definition that look highly realistic. German WWII Aircraft Maintenance Toolkit 1:72 (P72006) Containing the same elements as the larger set above, this set is instead directly 3D printed on two printing bases, with each toolbox complete apart from the lids that are printed vertically around the other parts. There is no need for any wire, as all the handles have been precision printed, even down to the kettle, which makes life a little easier. The parts are all attached to their bases by fine tendril-like supports, and due to the orange resin that is used this shouldn’t be a problem, as it combines strength with flexibility – two very desirable features when 3D printing. On my sample there were a couple of small depressions in the top of one of the closed boxes, but a little filler will solve that issue in short order. Conclusion A pair of highly-detailed sets that will add candid detail to any maintenance diorama or vignette in your chosen scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. SBD Dauntless Control Surfaces & Dinghy (4463 & 4462 for Acc.Min & Academy) 1:48 Special Hobby The Accurate Miniatures SBD Dauntless in 1:48 was originally tooled in the late 90s, and was well-received at the time, being well-detailed and researched. It has since been reboxed by many manufacturers, including Academy, Monogram and Revell, the latter seeing an outing as an SBD-5 in 2021, which we reviewed here. It’s still very much a modern-looking kit, despite its 25+ year history, but a few aspects could stand some upgrades. Special Hobby have created these two resin sets to assist in this manner. The sets arrive in Special Hobby’s yellow themed blister pack, with a header card and the instructions forming the slot-in back to the package, and holding the resin in place within the blister, whilst remaining visible to the prospective purchaser. Control Surfaces (4463) This set includes seven control surfaces on their own casting blocks, plus six small hinge parts on another block. The new flying surfaces include replacement ailerons for those that are moulded into the kit wings, new elevators and their stabilising fins, plus a new rudder panel to replace the moulded-in original. The detail on the new parts is substantially better than the originals, with crisp panel lines, raised ribs, a fine trim-tab actuator on the rudder, and rounded leading edges to add realism. The elevators are drop-in replacements that can be posed deflected once the small hinge-points are installed, while the rudder and ailerons need their locations clearing by cutting away the originals along the pivot-line. The instructions suggest thinning and bevelling the edges of the wing at the cut to allow the curved noses of the resin parts to fit snugly into position in a realistic manner. The rudder also needs two more hinge-points gluing to the kit fin, marking their location by using the rudder as a template. When complete, it should add extra detail and a more individual look to the model. Dinghy (4462) Consisting of four small parts, the set includes the cylindrical bay for the dinghy, a stowed dinghy pack that slots inside, and a choice of two styles of door, so when cutting away the round panel on the port side of the fuselage you don’t need to worry about keeping the styrene part in one piece. It’s worth noting that on many decal options this panel appears under where one of the fuselage markings will be, so it is wise to plan ahead, and it might also be a good idea to consider masks for the affected markings, so that matching the colour won’t be an issue. If you are careful however, you could cut the decal once you have placed it, and apply the cut-out section to the door, touching in any damage or blemishes that were likely to happen on the real aircraft around a bay that was often opened for checking by crew and maintainers. Conclusion These sets will make a good model better, and the increase in the detail will be noticeable to all but the most oblivious of viewers. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Sow with 3 Piglets (F48394 & F72393) 1:48 & 1:72 Special Hobby It seems Special Hobby are slowly creating a resin menagerie, which could possibly end with the creation of a huge resin ark to put them in two-by-two? Of course, I’m being silly, but we’ve had a profusion of camels from them, and now we have a mother pig with her piglets in two scales, ready to help you with any countryside or agricultural diorama you might have in mind. These sets arrive in the usual yellow themed blister pack with card hanger on the rear and the instructions sandwiched between the two parts. Inside are the resin parts, cocooned by a block of dark grey foam that has been cut out in the centre to accommodate the contents. Each set includes the sow and three piglets, all on the same printing base, supported by fine tendrils in their signature orange resin that combines strength with flexibility, which are desirable traits in 3D printed resin. You will notice that both sets have visible layers on the tops of the animals where the surface is curving very slowly over the back of the animals. At 1:1 scale these layers are almost invisible, and will disappear under a coat of primer, with encouragement from a very light sanding if they persist. It’s a feature of 3D printing, and as the layer height has reduced over the successive generations of printers, so the stepping has become less of an issue. The animals are all in individual, realistic poses, and are supported under their bellies and chins to avoid damage to any of the more visible details, although the pips that remain after removal are minimal due to their clever design, so no detail should be lost. You can see one of the piglets has separated from the larger 1:48 set during transit, which shows off the pose and the few supports that need removing. Sow with Piglets 1:48 (F48394) Sow with Piglets 1:48 (F48394) Conclusion Oink! If you need some pre-bacon for your next project, or really wanted some for your recent diorama, now you can. The two sets are identical in design, just differ in scale, so pick the one you need, and put your trotter on the “add to basket” button. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. P-51B/C Mustang Control Surfaces (7514 for Arma Hobby) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Many models arrive from the manufacturer with their flying surfaces moulded into the wings and tail, regardless of scale. For those amongst us that wish to add some individuality to their models by depicting the flying surfaces either deflected as if they have just been left by the pilot, or performing a manoeuvre in-flight, the task of cutting out the kit surfaces and repairing or replacing them so they can be offset one direction or another is a fairly complex task that can put many modellers off. This set is intended to simplify the process, providing replacement surfaces that lets you remove the kit areas without worrying how much you cut away. This set arrives in CMK’s yellow themed blister pack, with a header card and the instructions forming the slot-in rear of the package, and holding the resin in place within the blister, using a sheet of clear acetate to separate the Photo-Etch (PE) parts to the rear when applicable. Consisting of nine grey resin parts in total on six casting blocks, there is a complete replacement for the kit tail in either filleted or unfilleted forms, to which the attach the fin and rudder panel, the former into two pin-holes, the latter down the groove in the fin. The elevators are separate, and attach to the rear of the stablisers, nestling into the rear, and bear in mind that the elevators move as one, so should be at the same angle unless battle damage has severed the linkage. Moving forward, the ailerons are the only parts that require surgery to the wings, cutting the trailing edge of upper and lower halves, being careful to leave the delicate wingtip at the very end. You can probably get away with bevelling the edges of the wing skins to depict the pivot surface, so scrape and test-fit as you go along, setting the two surfaces in opposition, remembering that the authority of the raised aileron is stronger, so less deflection is typically shown than on the lowered aileron. Check your references for evidence particular to the Mustang, just to be sure. Conclusion Detail is excellent on the exterior of the parts, and should blend in with the kit nicely. Helpfully, they are all attached to their casting blocks along hidden edges, so you should be able to score them through with a sharp blade if you don’t have a razor saw, with the possible exception of the stabilisers, which have the tail root moulded-in. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. B-25 Mitchell Wheels – Circumferential & Cross Tread Patterns (4461 & 4466) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby Kit wheels are generally moulded in two halves, which means you have the resultant joins to deal with, possible mould-slip issues on single part wheels, and sometimes less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the tread department. That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument. They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are generally a drop-in replacement. These two sets are for any 1:48 Mitchell, whether it’s from Accurate Miniatures, Academy, Italeri or Revell boxings, and both sets arrive in clear-fronted vacformed boxes, with the header card and instructions at the rear, whilst the resin parts inside are safely stored inside. Circumferential Tread (4461) This box contains ten resin parts on six casting blocks, containing two main wheels with a pair of hub fronts each, and one nose wheel with three hubs, one flat, the other two with spokes, allowing a choice of spoked or flat outer hub. The tyres have circumferential tread, the main wheels having cross-marks on the shoulders, with manufacturer’s mark and specification on the sidewalls. All wheels have restrained flat-spots at the bottom to give the impression of weight, and that’s where they are attached to the casting block to ease removal with a razor saw or motor tool. The hubs are all flat-cast, so will need to be careful removed ensuring you keep the blade level. Cross Tread (4466) This set has ten parts on six casting blocks, with the hubs cast vertically with the same choice of flat or spoked hubs for the nose wheel. The tyres are all cross-tread, with diamonds across the contact patch, while the nose wheel diamonds have depressions in the centres, with flat-spots chosen for the ease of removal of the casting blocks. Conclusion Resin wheels are a great way to add realism to your model without breaking the bank or complicating the build unduly. The detail is excellent, just remember that tyres are never black, always a shade of brownish grey or even very brown if they’re dirty or dusty. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Czech Hedgehog WWII Anti-Tank Barrier (P72007 & P48008) 1:72 & 1:48 Special Hobby Tank barriers are important aspects of any defensive line of the 20th century onwards, and they are intended to stop tanks in their tracks to prevent their advance, and therefore leave any infantry without their mobile heavy weapons support. Various designs have been used over the years, and we’re looking at the type fielded by the Czechs during WWII, which was nicknamed Hedgehog, or rozsocháč in Czech, for fairly obvious reasons, as it’s a prickly customer. Made from large metal angle beams that are bolted together at right-angles, forming a similar shape to a jack from the game of the same name. The lower ends dig into the ground under their own weight, and if a tank rubs up against it, there is a good chance it will become snagged on the obstacle, stopping it from advancing any further. There were notches near the ends of the arms to accommodate barbed wire entanglements, which would make the chances of stopping the enemy even greater. Similar style obstacles are still in use today. Both sets arrive in clear-fronted vacformed boxes, with the header card and instructions at the rear, whilst the 3D printed orange resin parts inside are safely stored inside a cocoon of dark grey foam. There are four Hedgehogs in the smaller 1:72 set, while the larger 1:48 set has two Hedgehogs due to the extra size, and they are all printed very close together, supported by fine tendril-like supports that are simple to cut away. 1:72 (P72007) 1:48 (P48008) Conclusion The detail is excellent, and will be a boon to anyone building dioramas in smaller-scales. Once removed from their printing bases, all you need to do is apply some metallic or rusty paint shades. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. F4F-4 Wildcat Gun Bay & Dinghy Sets (7512 & 7513 for Arma Hobby) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Arma Hobby have released several boxings of their excellent 1:72 Wildcat, with the most recent we’ve seen here in the Cactus Air Force boxing along with an P-39 Airacobra for good measure. Detail is excellent, but some aspects of the aircraft aren’t depicted, leaving space for CMK to create these two sets of upgrade components that can be used for a maintenance scenario, or just to have all the bits hanging out on this pugilistic little fighter. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. Open Gun Bays (7512) Containing twenty-four resin parts on six pour blocks, the first task will be to open the kit upper wing panels as shown in the instructions, and thin down the corresponding area inside the lower wing half to match. This is best done with either a motor tool, or by scraping with a curved scalpel, checking your work against a bright light to see whether you are getting close to going through. With the preparation done, the bay carcasses are loaded with the three gun breeches per side, plus short ammo feeds, then they are offered up to the new openings in the upper wings. A small triangular web is placed across the inner front corner, and the forward bay doors are placed near vertical along the front of each bay, with the others loose on the wing or somewhere conveniently nearby. Test fitting the bays in the wing will be key aspect of a successful completion, so take your time, and test, test test! Conclusion With only seven parts on two casting blocks, this set needs a small section removing from the spine of your model, as show in the instructions. A floor panel is inserted to span the gap, with a front and rear bulkhead joined by a rib along the line of the spine. The resin dinghy pack is shaped to fit the space, and two clamshell doors are fixed to the lower edges of the bay for the earlier mark, and for later airframes, only one door opens to the starboard side. Conclusion A pair of simple sets that will increase the detail further on what is already a great kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. PT Boat Weapons Set 2, 3 & 5 (N72031, N72032 & N72042 for Revell) Twin 12.7mm AA Brownings, 37mm M3 Gun & 37mm M4 Autocannon 1:72 CMK Navy Series by Special Hobby The American PT boat series were fast, agile and well-armed to deal with the Japanese enemy vessels in the Pacific theatre for the most part. Revell’s kits of these famous sea-borne warriors are quite old now, so upgrades to the level of detail to modern standards is a worthwhile proposition. We reviewed sets 1 Mk.4 20mm Oerlikon and 4 Mk.50 Rocket Launcher out of order, and now these three sets seem to complete the weapons upgrades… along with the other sets we’ve reviewed here and here that weren’t numbered. The smaller sets arrive in blue-themed blister packs with the resin cocooned inside, separated from the Photo-Etch (PE) by a clear acetate sheet, and protected at the rear by a sheet of dark grey foam, with the instructions flat against the card header. The larger set, #5 is supplied in a cardboard box that has the resin and PE separated in their own bags, plus a few foam peanuts and the folded instructions helping to keep the parts safe. Set 2 – Twin 12.7mm AA Brownings (N72031) This set contains two twin anti-aircraft mounts in protective frames, plus lengths of ammunition link for each of them on the PE sheet, four in total, one for each gun in both paired mounts. The guns are 3D printed, and the detail is exceptional, down to the perforations in the cooling jacket and the cocking handles. Care must be taken when removing the parts from their print-base and surround, but the orange resin that SH are using is both strong and flexible, which is good news all round, especially for ham-fisted modellers like me. Set 3 - 37mm Gun M3 (N72032) Containing the gun’s barrel with integral breech, plus the perforated breech guard on the PE sheet, this set is engineered to replace the kit part while utilising the rest of the kit parts for the trunnions and adjustment gear. Set 5 – 37mm M4 Autocannon (N72042) The largest set of the three contains five resin parts and one PE part to create the autocannon version of the 37mm cannon, including the large deck plate with cut-out, the tapering riser with pinion, plus the D-shaped magazine of 37mm shells that feeds the breech with rounds, fitting above the breech, augmented by adding a PE deflector grille vertically down the centre of the D, locating in a groove marked into the resin. The model is completed by fitting the two grips on a cross-beam at the rear of the breech. Conclusion The rear of the instruction sheet for the autocannon shows the full range of upgrades for the base kit, which is extensive and the kit will be immensely improved for their addition. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Afrikakorps Soldier Riding Camel (F72388 & F48389) 1:72 & 1:48 CMK from Special Hobby During WWII in the African theatre of operations, both sides used the tools available to them to fight and transport themselves to the next battle, so naturally the camel featured at some point. The camel, known colloquially as the ‘ship of the desert’, is a large mammal that is as cantankerous as it is capable, having a huge fat storage hump on its back that allows it to travel for up to 40 days without a proper drink, its long legs and feet making it a capable of travelling vast distances without taking one step forward and two back in sand dunes. They’re still used everywhere there’s a desert, although 4x4 transport is taking over where the need arises. These two sets are 3D printed in both main aviation scales to go with your Afrikakorps or Luftwaffe desert diorama, whether it’s in the background or playing a primary role. Both sets are supplied in the usual clamshell box with card header, the colours and branding different by scale for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent. The instructions are simple, and are hidden between the resin part and the backing, consisting of a simple visual of the model with painting examples. The 1:72 camel still has many supports attached to the underside, as well as a separate back to the seat, which plugs into a slot behind the driver, who is wearing a pith helmet (hold the jokes, please). With only a little work to do in order to remove the attachment pips on the underside, it should be ready for paint pretty quickly, and the detail is superb, even down to the recreation of the harness controlling the animal’s movement, as well as it can be at least. F72388 1:72 F48389 1:48 Conclusion Detail is fabulous, with every aspect of the rider and camel carefully replicated, including the shaggy texture of the animal’s fur and its goofy face, however it looks a little too even-tempered based on the camels I’ve met before. Camels are never happy. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Dear fellow Britmodellers, this is the 1/72 Orange Hobby SdKfz 7 (early) with figures from Milicast and stowage from Blackdog & CMK. Photos by Wolfgang Rabel. I painted the model with Mr.Hobby acrylics (H32) and weathered with artist oils and pastels. The limiting rods are resin add-ons from JK resin - the kit only provides flat etched pieces which I didn't like. The figurines were brush-painted with Vallejo acyrlics and good old Humbrol enamels. Thank you for your interest!
  24. Zetor 25 Military Tractor w/Towbar for MiG-15/17 (8063) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby Following the end of WWII, many companies returned to create civilian products, and in Czechoslovakia (as was) the Zetor company was created in 1946 to manufacture tractors and farm machinery under the watchful eye of the government, with its first product being the Zetor 25 tractor that was designed before the brand-name was even registered. A year later they had produced almost 3,500 units, when it was joined by the 15, and later by improved versions of the 25 that were made until the early 1960s when it was replaced by the more modern 35. The 25 saw extensive service in the military as a ground-handling tractor, towing MiG-15s and MiG-17s around the airfield once the engines were shut down. Fitted with a custom towing bar, they were a common sight chugging around the perry tracks, in-and-out of hangars on Soviet era military bases until they were replaced by more modern, capable designs as technology improved and the aircraft became heavier. The Kit This is a reboxing of a 2022 tooling of the agricultural version of this common tractor in resin, with new parts to reflect its military service, plus the tow-bar to enable its use on an airfield. It arrives in a rectangular yellow cardboard box, and inside are fifty-eight grey resin parts, six orange 3D printed resin parts, two clear resin parts, two small frets of Photo-Etch (PE), a small decal sheet, and the instruction sheet, printed in colour on a folded sheet of A4. Detail is excellent, and once the parts have been removed from the casting blocks and cleaned-up, it should go together like an injection-moulded kit, but with the parts first washed in warm soapy water to remove any moulding residue, and super glue or epoxy resin used to build the model. Construction begins with the chassis, which is built up from a large number of parts, including the engine, transmission, axles and a bench seat for the driver, with a long steering column topped with a four-spoked wheel. Various PE and resin small parts are installed on the assembly from both sides, then the top cowling and grille are applied over the engine, adding a simple instrument panel in front of the driver, linking the exhaust to the engine with a resin downpipe, and a short length of wire from your own stock passing behind it, another piece of wire bent to create a grab-rail behind the seat, and another short length bent to an L-shape to form the peg that holds the towbar to the 3D printed hitch. A V-strut supports the front axle from behind, adding the small wheels to it, and the larger rear wheels under the driver’s position whilst adding the arches that prevent mud splatter between the chassis and the wheels. There are a pair of optional number plate holders and accompanying decals to give your model an identity. The towbar comprises a main part, adding the eye and compression gaiter to the front, then creating a stabilising wire from your own stock that is tipped at each end with PE eyes from the fret that attach to the main gear legs of your chosen MiG, and wrapping around a pulley printed integrally to the main towbar part, which adjusted position as the vehicle turned corners. The yoke at the rear of the bar attaches to each side of the aircraft’s nose wheel hub, and the towing eye of course connects to the hitch at the back of the tractor. Markings For the most part these beasts of burden were painted a khaki green, with little to differentiate them from each other except for their number plate and the state of their paint-job. This is reflected in the profiles, with just the two red and white decals for the Zetor 25 badges on the sides of the cowling, and the optional number plate decals. The decals appear to be printed using the same digital processes as Eduard are now using, and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. I mention Eduard because from 2021, the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Even though this feature will only be visible on the cowling logos, it’s a focal area of the model, so still good to have. Conclusion I’ve been envious of the 1:72 modellers and their CMK Zetor tractors for a while, and now we 1:48 modellers can tow our early jet MiGs too. The kit has plenty of detail, and don’t let the fact it’s resin put you off. It’s not all that hard with a little patience and a razor saw. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Czech Master's Kits (CMK) is to release in February 2020 a 1/48th MD-3 Ground Power Unit (GPU) kit - ref. 129-8058 Source: https://www.specialhobby.eu/en/our-own-production/cmk-kits/md-3-ground-power-unit.html V.P.
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