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  1. US Armoured Bulldozer (35403) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Based upon the Caterpillar D7 Tractor that was designed in the 1930s, the US forces took them into service in large numbers when the attack on Pearl Harbour completed the inexorably journey into WWII. It was used as a pure ‘dozer in the safer rear areas, and where there was a likelihood of contact with the enemy it was up-armoured to protect the crew from injury. The important engine compartment was armoured to an extent in some variants, and in others it was totally enclosed for operation on the front line to protect the delicate ancillaries from damage that would immobilise the vehicle sooner or later. It was used to tow damaged armour out of the battlefield, and to clear away debris that would otherwise inhibit the forward movement of the Allied troops, such as the StuG shown on the boxtop, which its previous owners clearly tried to recover for their own use, judging by the tow cables still hanging from its shackles. The height of the dozer blade was cable-operated from a winch at the rear of the vehicle, the cables routed over the engine and cab area on a length of square profile conduit. The winch hung over the rear towing shackle, and must have been somewhat susceptible to damage when reversing using just the slit in the rear window, and the open cable at the front that operated the blade was exposed to enemy fire, although it was doubled-up to add redundancy. How well this worked is anyone’s guess. Armoured bulldozers are still used in combat zones today, and it can trace its heritage back to these early pioneers. The Kit This a reboxing with new parts of a tooling by MiniArt from 2015, and it seems that they are gradually working through the various up-armoured versions, with this the first to have a completely enclosed cab with armour to protect the crew. It arrives in a good-sized top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter that is busy pushing a StuG III off the road with Allied half-tracks waiting to pass once the job is done. Inside are thirty-six sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, a length of braided cord, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, decal sheet, and the instruction booklet printed on glossy paper in colour. If you hadn’t guessed already, the detail is excellent throughout the sprues. Construction begins with the engine, which takes up more than two pages of the instructions, creating the sump, block, transmission, and a host of ancillaries that would be about the size of a small car at full scale. The radiator is built and joined to the motor by a pair of hoses that lead into a header tank, and it is supported in front of the fan by a pair of stays and the larger hoses that lead directly to the cooling chambers within the engine block. The engine bearers are moulded into the end-plates of the power transfer housing, which is itself made up of nine parts, two of which remain unglued and are trapped inside the housing for later use in mounting the track sponsons. The motor is then lowered into position between the bearers and locked in place in three locations on each side, adding some additional plating and ancillaries, then building and installing the pedal box and other controls for the driver’s use, all of which are linked either with rods or in one case, a PE wire that has a bending template next to it. The forest of controls and linkages are boxed in on three sides that butt up against the forward bulkhead, and have a layer of tread-plate added over the front of the cab to create the floor, leaving the rear portion open for the time being. Under the centre of the chassis, a large two-layered twin leaf-spring is made up and installed on two pairs of notches moulded into the lower rails, fitting a towing arm to the bulky rear axle, and a pair of outriggers to widen the cab on each side, supported by three L-brackets that slot between rows of raised rivets that are moulded into the sides of the cab floor. The rest of the underside of the chassis is armoured with smoothly contoured sheets of steel to minimise hang-ups on terrain, a small plate crossing the gap under the suspension, and adding a rugged towing hook to the front under the radiator that is of more use on variants where the dozer blade isn’t fitted. Three sub-assemblies are made next, including a rectangular stowage box with lid, a cylindrical muffler for the top of the exhaust that bears a resemblance to one of those bottles on a water cooler. The largest assembly is the combined fuel tank and crew seat, which is more like a settee in shape, and must have made driving over rough ground very entertaining. The tank is the full width of the back of the seat, with a filler cap in the top centre, and a cushion attached to the front, with another squab on an upstand in front of it, adding the sides with grab-handles for access, and additional cushions for their delicate little elbows. It fits in place over the hole in the cab floor, hiding away the rest of the greeblies and linkages for eternity, or until some swine smashes your lovely model. At the rear, the towing arm has the shackle and further supports fixed to it to strengthen it further. The two track sponsons are completed in mirror image, sharing aspects such as road wheels that are made up from a stack of three or five discs on a short axle, interleaved between cross-members that hold the rails apart, and with two gigantic concentric springs running along the top of the sponson and covered over by curved armour panels once the multi-layer idler wheel and simpler drive sprocket have been built and installed, the latter held to the sponson by a large flat-topped peg that also holds the final drive housing against the inner face of the wheel. The completed assemblies are offered up to the chassis, fixed in position by gluing the final drive housing to the corresponding inner half, adding two closed Y-supports to the inner face of the sponson and linking up the other end to the free-rotating cylinders within the transfer box, fitting the rear of the sponsons onto the ends of the leaf springs to complete the process. The armoured cab has a sloped lower section at the front, and two crew doors in the sides, first building up the sides, the front vertical surfaces, and the doors, which have handles inside and out, plus a grab handle next to them. The diagonal surface at the front of the cab is inserted over the air-box that projects through a hole in the roof, and has a mushroom vent and filter fitted to the top after installation. Short armoured panels are also added to the sides of the radiator, protecting it and the hoses from damage, although most of the rest of the engine is exposed on this variant. The twin spools of the winch are layered up along with the included cord, which isn’t cut to length at this stage, just attached at one end to the cover over the spool. Two long control arms snake over the back of the seat, allowing the driver to operate it simply by turning around, even after the rear armour is installed, as the bottom of the armour hangs free, which looks like a shot-trap, but hopefully wouldn’t have been an issue. The front cable support frame is braced by a pair of long struts mounted on the diagonal front of the cab, although they disappear in the next drawing for ease of viewing the top armour over the engine, which is a curved shield shape and has several holes in it to accept the exhaust and muffler, plus a hand-starter crank handle. Three flip-down armoured window covers with vision slots are fitted to the windows in the front and rear, adding their operating mechanism from behind, the part number depending on whether you are posing them open or closed. The roof with a square vent in one corner closes in the cab, and an initial armoured radiator grille wraps around the radiator to protect it from incoming rounds. A set of pulleys are made to fit to the top of the winch, including PE covers and plenty of plastic, and once in place it is depicted as transparent to help guiding the cord through the assembly and up to roof level where it passes through another pulley that is supported by a large A-frame, and the front square frame with diagonal supports holding the pulley firmly, adding a pair of floodlights onto the corners of the assembly, which is supported by the two diagonal out-riggers fitted earlier. Another layer of armour is attached to the front of the frame, spacing it from the initial layer so that cooler air can still reach the radiator core, although by a more circuitous route. The two pulleys are linked by the bottom of the conduit and the cable is laid over it to run through the pulley, leaving it free until later in the build. The tracks are individual links, each one consisting of two rollers and three verticals per side, all of which aren’t glued to the rollers, but are held together by the track plates, with thirty-six of these on each run. Each link has either three or four sprue gates, while the pins have just one, although these are sensibly placed and easy to clean up after removal. The focal point of any bulldozer is the blade, which in this case is made from two parts, has several brackets attached, plus side plates and two V-frames that have attachment eyes that are pinned in place between the brackets once the glue is dry. A massive U-frame that does all the heavy lifting is prepared by adding a central bracket above and below the frame, four brackets added to the top, and a larger finned bracket near the pivot-point, with a small PE part nearby. The bottom of the frame sits on a step within the upper, hiding the ejector-pin marks and saving some work. The reason for the brackets on the top of the frame becomes clear when joining the blade to the support, as it allows the modeller and operator to adjust the angle and direction of the blade by inserting the blade supports in the relevant bracket and securing it in place with an L-shaped pin, allowing it to be angled left, right or straight. Another pulley is layered up, leaving the rollers free to rotate, and this is woven into the cable path, then attached to the centre of the U-frame, pushing another pin through it to hold it in place once the completed assembly has the pivot-point completed and a pin pushed through into the side of the sponsons. The last job is to complete the conduit over the cable by gluing the C-profile part over the top of the run. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, all in olive green, one of which has a patchy coat of winter distemper over the top. From the box you can build one of the following: 103rd Engineering Combat Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, US Army, Europe, 1944-45 Unidentified Combat Engineer Battalion, US Army, Europe, Winter, 1944-45 Presumably 127th Combat Engineeer Battalion, 6tg US Army, Manila, Philippines, February 1945 17th Armoured Engineer battalion, 2nd Armoured Division, US Army, Germany, Spring 1945 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A highly detailed replica of this WWII workhorse that did sterling work on and near the battlefield. It’s also a great canvas for some interesting paint effects, weathering and diorama possibilities. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Giddey to all! Here is something big & heavy! The Caterpillar D8H from AMT. I bought the late version with the big ugly points decal for the engine front plate. So i have to make my own decal! I painted a transparent decal with the same yellow as for the bulldozer. than printed it with a laser printer on the painted decal. It is a easy way to add details. Cheers Andreas!
  3. Hi all, I've previously built one of the Kotobukiya HMM Zoid kits (the Pteras) and was casting around for something to do recently so decided to start the Molga in my stash. The Molga (or Slitherzoid as we knew it in the UK) was one of my favourites as a kid. Silver and red! Hidden guns! Wiggly crawling action! This version doesn't go, but it's got nice details apart from one or two "phoned in" areas like the tail, and was really nice to build and paint. I painted it with Alclad Aluminium (I think White Aluminium) and highlighted the tops of the curves with Pale Burnt Metal. The flanks and lower areas are heavily shaded with Hotmetal Blue, normally I'm a bit too sparing but this time I wanted it to be really visible which I think has paid off - you can see the shading even after all the dust was applied. The red is a mix of Tamiya Hull Red and Bright Red, shaded with a Citadel Contrast mixture made from dark brown and cold red which created a lovely rich colour with some surface patina to keep things interesting. It's weathered with enamels (sparingly, I used acrylics for any panel lines and other wash-like tasks) and misted coats of Tamiya acrylics, plus a few pigments, lots of dry-brushing, the usual sorts of things. I was going to weather less, but I got the colours a little wrong and had to take it further to get everything to sit right on the base. Speaking of which, the base is a little piece of acacia sold as a sort of hipster serving platter. I built up the landscape with scraps of foamcard, and used slate, sand and CA to provide surface texture. The cracked earth on the roadway is one of the GW crackle paints, which work rather well if you put them on thickly enough. All in all, a relatively short project, but a fun one - the kit was well-behaved and the simple base was quick and satisfying to do. If I hadn't put the weathering off out of fear, I'd have been done at least a week or so sooner. If you're interested in the steps, the WIP thread has most of them, especially some step-by-step pics of the base. Thanks for looking! Will
  4. US Bulldozer (38022) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Bulldozers have been around in construction since the 1920s however the term Bulldozer came from the 30s as before that they were called Bullgraders. The Blade (the curved front piece) peels layers of earth of and pushes it forwards. Tracks were introduced really with the Caterpillar company. The Kit This kit is a Caterpillar D7, however there is no information in the instructions on this (probably for licencing), given the different types of jerrycan available I would hazard a guess also that its post war. The kit arrives on 36 sprues, a small PE fret and a small decal sheet. Construction begins with the engine which is the heart of the machine. As this is visible it is a small kit on its own with a large number of parts. The engine and its transmission take up the first 3 pages of the instruction booklet and complete with the radiator fit into the front part of the chassis which builds up around it. The left and right track roller assemblies are then built up with a complex assembly including the wheels and track tensioning system. Next the driver area is built up over the engine/transmission area and the roller assemblies are attached to each side. the radiator grill is then added at the front and the side plates for the operator entry are added. Next up the complicated looking winch arrangement which moves the blade is made up and added. This fits at the rear of the cab and goes over it, with the cab roof being added. The tracks are added at this stage each link has 4 parts! and there are 36 each side. The last stage is to construct the large bulldozer blade and it supporting structure. The blade can be fitted straight on or with an offset to the left or right as needed. Markings As it's a civilian vehicle very little in the way of markings are supplied. Taken from MiniArt's website Conclusion This is an important piece of US construction equipment which miniart have made an excellent kit of. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Hello everybody. The Caterpillar D9 heavy bulldozer in scale 1:35. Based on the fantastic kit of the armored Bulldozer of Meng Models. Several parts replaced, made new or modified. Plus metal tracks, etched parts, new decals, lights, .... I hope that you like it! Cheers Micha
  6. My build of MENG's Stegasaurus SS-002 D9R 'Doobi' Armoured Bulldozer IDF 603rd Combat Engineer Battalion, Second Lebanon War 2006 "IT'S A BLINDINGLY GOOD KIT! ....." What can you say about this Brute? It's BIG and menacing and it's the first real, true heavyweight from the MENG stable Started on Saturday 2nd April 2016 and Finished on 23rd August This one will at the big reveal at the Sutton Coldfield Show on Sunday 11th September. For anyone building this kit, I have a Vallejo Model Air colour match for Caterpillar Tractor yellow: 3 parts 71.026 US Flat Earth : 2 parts 71.078 Gold Yellow Views and comments welcome
  7. D9R Armoured Bulldozer w/Slat Armour 1:35 Meng Models Based upon the successful Caterpillar D9 bulldozer chassis, the D9R is the latest incarnation of the armoured variant used extensively in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in the Combat Engineering Corps. It is heavily armoured with bullet-proof glazing, as well as protection for the hydraulic and electrical components, with The updated version sporting the new slat/bar armour to pre-detonate RPG rounds before reaching the cab area, a feature that was introduced in 2005. It has a crew of two, with the commander issuing the orders and manning the roof mounted M2 machine gun, and a driver living up to his job title. Its nickname in IDF service is Doobie, which is Hebrew for Teddy Bear, which I'm guessing is ironic. It is used for breaching barriers under fire, as well as creating or destroying earthworks, or making areas passable by heavier armour. They have also been used to clear landmines, make fortifications and clear areas of cover, preventing sneak attacks on their forces. They are so well armoured as to be impervious to all but the largest of explosives, and have been known to withstand direct hits from RPGs and IEDs up to half a tonne. So successful has the Doobie been that some have been purchased and used in US service for similar tasks. The Kit The original release was way back in 2013, reviewed here, and it has taken the best part of three years to tool the necessary parts to do the slat armoured version, although the "slats" are actually tubular bars, so the title bar armour would seem more appropriate if we were going to be pedantic. Inside the box are nineteen sprues in sand coloured styrene, three in black, two sprues in clear, one of which is truly clear, the other tinted bullet-proof glass green. A small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, seven chromed metal tubes of varying lengths, a length of flexible black tubing, four poly-caps plus of course the decal sheet and instruction booklet round out the very full package. The moulding has been adapted cleverly to incorporate the new parts, and construction is almost identical to the earlier model, so I won't go into vast detail about it, although some important upgrades have been added with the benefit of feedback from the modelling community. The first and most obvious upgrade is the inclusion of chrome tubing to replicate the finish on the hydraulic rams, along with a newly tooled end-caps and attachment eyes on the two new sprues to complete them. These are simple replacements for the plastic parts and should give a much more realistic finish to the area with a little careful masking of the metal. The second change is to the track links, which were a little fiddly in their previous incarnation. Instead of two inner links to marry up and glue to the traction plates, the two parts are supplied as one, ready to be glued directly to the plates. This will save a lot of time, glue and cursing, so Meng are to be applauded for expending the effort to improve them. The hangers for the slat armour panels are added around the top of the crew cab on armoured "pelmets" above the window that fit onto the wall panels. Additional brackets are spaced around the sides, with scrap diagrams showing the correct orientation of those that are difficult to see from one view only. The panels themselves are almost without exception single parts, very finely moulded to give a realistic depiction of the bars and slats that hold them together. There is however a tiny amount of flash here and there, but this can be quickly scraped off with a sharp #11 blade along with the moulding seams to give the correct look to the rods. A little tedious, but worth it to get it right. The sections are shaped to hug the contours of the cab, and separate parts are used to allow access to stowage areas, or to go around protrusions. It is very nice to see that the armour is left until last, which will suit the modeller down to the ground, allowing them to complete the kit as far as possible before painting, and at the same time they can paint the armour panels. Markings There are three markings options, but all vehicles are painted IDF Sand Grey, which is referred to as Hemp in the instructions, but as the likes of AK, AMMO and LifeColor have the correct IDF colours in their range, it shouldn't be a problem to convert the Vallejo colour call-outs if necessary. From the box you can build one of the following: Combat Engineers Battalion, 188th Barak (Lightning) Brigade, IDF, Golan Heights, October 2015 – coded 949642. Combat Engineers Battalion, 401st Brigade, IDF, Golan Heights, June 2014 – coded 949630. Un-named unit with a small stylised cat motif on the blade sides, with the digits 003 beneath it – coded 949669. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Another welcome release, and a nice easy way of building a slat-armoured Doobie without resorting to the expense of aftermarket PE sets. It's a Meng kit, so moulding quality and detail is first rate, and if you want to upgrade the rest of the detail, most of the aftermarket for the original release should fit just as well on this kit. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Hello, here is another project that started with the pictures found in the internet. Even the tires had to be built from the zero. The scale is 1:25 The project is half made in resin, although my models are mainly built in tinplate In this picture the tires are from the old project that I made years ago. In this picture the tires are from the new project that I made this month.
  9. Hi All, not sure whether this should be here or military vehicles, probably both.... Started my Miniart D7, and whilst having a break from the minute engine detail parts, had a little bash at the tracks. Have been struggling to get the microscopic pieces off the sprues in one piece, used sprue cutters which caused a lot of the small pieces to snap, requiring repair before even getting onto the model, and reverted to a mini saw but that really hasn't proved any better. Any ideas on removing these tiny pieces in one piece? Back to the tracks, again, similar problem, microscopic fragile parts, even one of the shoes snapped in half on me. I've had a look around the net, but haven't come across any AM tracks - anybody had more success or know of a manufacturer? Thanks
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