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  1. StuH.42 Ausf.G Mid Prod. Jul-Oct 1943 (35385) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd 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. The rounds were electrically fired, and it 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 limited availability of certain metals as the war continued to turn against the Nazis, thanks to the Allied bomber force bombing their industrial base into rubble on a 24/7 schedule. The Kit MiniArt have now released several toolings of the late StuG III and this minor retool to depict the howitzer equipped sub-variant is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes layered on changes during the final batches as the war ground to its ultimate conclusion. This boxing depicts a mid-production vehicle, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and decal profiles on one side. Inside the box are forty-three sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two large Photo-Etch (PE) frets of brass parts, decal sheet, and glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles in the front and rear. Detail is excellent throughout, which is just what we’ve come to expect from modern toolings by MiniArt, with so much detail crammed into every part of the model, including individual track links that are different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago. Construction begins with the floor, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t part of this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from substantial beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning lateral aim. The rear bulkhead is set against the engine mounts with its exhausts and towing eyes applied to the exterior later, and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued either side of a choice of three styles of front bulkhead, installing the engine firewall in the centre of the floor for structural strength. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhaust covers, towing lugs that have pins with PE chain-retainers and idler protection are added to the rear, and a radiator exhaust assembly with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some heat deflecting tinwork to the hull. Narrow bolted panels are added to the sides of the hull in preparation for the upper hull parts that are added next. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots and lifting eyes. The shape of the casemate is completed with the addition of the front wall, which has a large cut-out to receive the gun in due course. The front of the casemate is built out forward with a sloped front and some bolted appliqué armour, dropped over the front of the lower hull and joined by the breech assembly, which is covered by an armoured panel after armoured protectors to the mounting bolts have been glued over them. The commander’s cupola is built on a circular base into which seven clear periscopes are slipped, completing the task later with several protectors, PE details and a set of V-shaped binocular sighting glasses in the separate front section of the cupola that can be open or closed independently of the main hatch. Much of the gun breech detail is represented, and a large trunnion is fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse, and sighting gear is installed on the breech, although it’s unlikely to be seen as anything other than a dim shadow within, especially once the roof is in place. The roof-mounted MG34 has a separate breech cover and a drum mag, fitting on the roof in the ready-for-action post with the gunner’s hatch open behind it, and the gun slipped through the slot in the splinter shield. It can also be posed pushed down flat with the gun absent and the hatch closed for travel. The engine deck is built up with tapered sides and armoured intake louvres added outside them, drilling two holes for three of the decal options, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay. A length of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the fume extraction armour in the centre with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. two pairs of road wheels are carried on the deck on six pins welded to the rearmost pair of hatches, with a flat stowage box mounted between them on PE brackets. In reverse of many AFV kits, the hull sides are decorated with suspension parts, the idler wheels and final drive housings, adding three turrets on each side that carry the return-rollers later. A group of pioneer tools are dotted around the sides of the engine deck, including a fire extinguisher with PE frame, after which the paired wheels are fixed to the axles, with drive-sprockets at the front and idler wheels with PE rings at the rear, plus a trio of paired return rollers near the top of the hull sides. https://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/creative/miniart/kits35/35385-stuh.42.ausf.g.mid/sprue10.jpg https://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/creative/miniart/kits35/35385-stuh.42.ausf.g.mid/tracks.jpg The tracks are individual links that are friction-fitted, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus an occasional wisp of flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a length in short order, and the result is a very well-detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your model, and as they are a tight fit, they shouldn’t need glue, but I’d probably set them in position with liquid glue once I had them how I wanted them on the vehicle. Once they’re in place, one of two types of fenders are attached to the hull sides on small brackets, with mudguards and tiny PE fittings added once the glue has dried. More pioneer tools and stowage are added to these, as space was a premium on these vehicles, and every flat surface ended up with equipment on it. This includes a convoy light mounted in the centre of the glacis, and either the highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer on the rear left fender. Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, jack blocks and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the 107mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them and the tools in place on each side. The short howitzer barrel is a single part with hollow muzzle and two-part brake insert, sliding into the short sleeve via an end-cap, the sleeve moulded into the front of the inverted saukopf mantlet that is made from an additional two parts before it is slid over the recoil tubes and breech. A pair of aerials are installed on the corners of the casemate rear wall, and variations of additional track lengths as appliqué armour at the rear, under the glacis or on the armoured sides of the mantlet. Some decal options add the brackets for the Schürzen along the sides of the hull and fenders with a few small added outriggers, although two decal options don’t have them fitted. The four PE schürzen panels per side are detailed with additional rectangular panels on their upper surface, and once the glue between the two layers of PE has cured, you simply hang them on the hooks, gluing them in place if you wish. Markings There are six markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage based upon dunkelgelb with splotches or patterns of other colours to a greater or lesser extent. From the box you can build one of the following: 5.Komp. II. Abt. Pz.Reg. Hermann Göring, Italy, 1943 Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 3. Pz.Gren.Div. ‘Totenkopf’, Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 StuG. Abt. 237., Eastern Front, Elnya, Autumn, 1943 StuG. Abt. 276., Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 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 Whilst it might easily be mistaken for a StuG if you don’t notice the barrel, the StuH is just a little different from the usual, with its stubby barrel, the muzzle brake giving it a more aggressive look. The detail in the kit is excellent, and it will keep you busy for many a happy hour. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. M1A2 SEP Abrams Tusk II US Main Battle Tank (72-003) Meng via Creative Models Ltd The Abrams Main Battle Tank is the direct replacement to the M60, when it was realised that the venerable design was ill-suited to further modification to cope with emerging threats that were entering the battlespace. The new design entered limited service in 1980 and went on to become the main heavy tank in the Army and Marines branches of the American armed forces. It saw extensive action in the two Gulf Wars, where it fared extremely well against older Soviet designs with minimal damage inflicted in a tank-on-tank fight due to its composite armour and accuracy at extended range. It was developed further with the AIM programme, which upgraded the battle management systems and returned the vehicles to factory fresh condition. The A2 was improved again, giving the commander his own sighting system as well as other system changes. The SEP received additional changes to its armour and systems, with a remote weapons station added later. With the involvement of the Abrams in urban combat during the Afghanistan campaign, it became clear that the tank was vulnerable in close-quarters combat, where the top of the tank was open to attack from small arms fire, and RPGs could be used with relative safety of the firing team, who could pop up and disappear in between shots, giving the tank crews little indication of where the shot originated. The problems of IEDs buried under roads or in buildings also disabled several tanks in action, all of which led to the TUSK and improved TUSK II upgrade packages, which stands for Tank Urban Survival Kit. To counter IEDs a shallow V-shaped keel was added to the underside to deflect blast away from the hull, reactive armour blocks were added to the side skirts and turret, and bullet-resistant glass and metal cages were mounted around the crew hatches on the turret to provide protection for the crew during urban operations, or if they were called upon to use their weapons in combat. A combat telephone was also installed on the rear of the tank to allow better communication between accompanying troops and the tanks, as well as slat armour at the rear to protect the exhaust grilles of the gas turbine engine, the blast from which was directed upwards by a deflector panel that could be attached to the grille to avoid cooking the troops behind. The TUSK II kit improved on the original TUSK with shaped charges incorporated into the ERA blocks on the sides of the tank, and additional shields for the crew when exposed. Both kits were field-installable, which reduced the cost and time the vehicles spent out of commission. The A3 variant is intended to incorporate many weight-saving changes, such as internal fibre-optic data transmission, lightness of armour and gun, amongst many other improvements. This is still distant and far from guaranteed, given the changes already seen in planning that have included a totally new platform, so it looks like the A2 will be around for some time yet, possibly until 2050 while the politicians make up their minds. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Meng from their new 1:72 scale AFV range, and it arrives in a sturdy end-opening box that should be as hard to crush as any top-opener. Attractive box art is found on top, while painting details are on the back of the box, and inside are six sprues of light grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet, and a black and white instruction booklet in portrait A5, with a sprue diagram on the rear page. Detail is good, with link-and-length tracks, separate ERA blocks, raised weld-lines, and detailed road wheels that are moulded individually, rather than in a long run as with earlier kits from other manufacturers. In terms of detail, this could well become the de facto standard in this scale, based on what we have seen. Construction begins with sixteen paired road wheels and two drive sprockets, all of which are made from two halves, and are set to one side while the lower hull is made up from floor and two side panels that slot into the back of the suspension mounts moulded into the floor for a strong bond. The swing arms are moulded into the floor, save for the two forward wheel stations, which are linked together by a damper, and are formed from a separate part that is slotted into holes in the side walls along with two return rollers per side. The TUSK keel, front idler wheel and rear drive sprocket are then installed so that the tracks can be made up, built from two long runs top and bottom, two diagonal lengths under the ends, and a curved section of three links to fit around the ends of the road wheels. The Abrams doesn’t have much in the way of sag in the top track run, but these won’t be seen, so it’s a little accuracy hidden away, and it’s possible the top run could be omitted to save modelling time if you feel the urge. The upper hull has headlight clusters and the driver’s hatch fitted before the lower hull it given a rear bulkhead, which also has light clusters moulded into the rear in cylindrical projections, adding a field telephone box, towing hook and eye, plus the afore mentioned blast deflector for the hot exhaust. The two hull halves can then be mated, and the side-skirts installed, followed by the curved ERA panels over the top, locating them on four lugs in the surface of the skirts. The majority of the turret is moulded as a single part, with just the rear bulkhead a separate part with the crosswind sensor pole moulded-in, adding the gunner’s hatch, the binocular FLIR box on top with optional open doors to display the clear lenses, a spare ammo box for the pintle-mounted crew weapons, and the drum-shaped gunner’s primary sight to the roof. The gun is moulded as one part with the fume extractor hump and a separate muzzle with velocity sensor, after which it is plugged into the mantlet, with coax machine gun moulded-in, held in position by gluing the top and bottom turret halves together, taking care to keep the glue away from the pivots. Each side of the turret has a set of stowage boxes with IFF placards moulded-in, topped with a lid and separate ammo can, fitted in place with the smoke discharger packages at the front on their mounts. Armour plates and ERA blocks are applied over the front portions on both sides, leaving the IFF boards exposed, and installing the top of the mantlet on a tab, again being careful with the glue. The aircon unit is fixed to the floor of the stowage area at the rear of the turret, mounting the tubular frame, IED disruptor aerials, another tubular rack for more storage that includes a couple of jerry cans, and a separate IFF board hung on the rear. Crew protection is begun by installing a protective shroud around the left of the gunner’s hatch, creating the machine gun emplacement on a ring around which the heavily modified LMG is rotated, protected at the sides by two window panels that have clear panes in the centre, and for once the thickness of the glazing is suitable for the scale. A third glass panel is fitted to the right, with another without a window on the left, which usually faces the commander’s more complex cupola. An eight-block vision-block ring is inserted from under the cupola, which has a two-part hatch inserted into the centre, then the M2 .50cal with ammo box is slipped through the front splinter guard, which has two clear panes installed, adding a three-facet fixed set with individual windows on the right, and another two-part pair of windowed panels on the left, all of which fit into the top of the cupola on slots. As if there weren’t enough guns available, the remote .50cal mount over the mantlet is attached with an ammo box on a separate bracket. To finish the build, the turret is lowered onto the hull and twisted into position, locking on a pair of bayonet lugs moulded into the turret ring that correspond with notches in the hull ring. Markings There is only one decal option supplied in this boxing, the details of which are found on the rear of the box. It’s a desert vehicle from Iraq, painted a desert tan. From the box you can build the following: The decals are printed in China, and beyond that we don’t have any more information. Under magnification they are a little hazy, but once applied they should look fine to the Mk.1 eyeball, especially after a little weathering to the finished model. Don’t let it put you off, as everything looks worse under 3x magnification. Conclusion A well-detailed new tooling of the almost ubiquitous Abrams in smaller scale, which should put some of the older tools out to grass, and allow modellers to build a more detailed, modern US MBT out of the box, and at a pretty reasonable price in our inflation-soaked world. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Men with Wooden Barrels (38070) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Wooden barrels. You don't see so many of them these days without flowers sprouting from them, but before mass-produced metal and plastic barrels became the de facto standard, they would have been much more prevalent where large quantities of anything needed to be stored. Everyone’s thinking of beer right now, but they have been used for a great many things over the years, so they’re not only found in pubs and breweries. Barrels need someone or something to move them around, most of the hard work being done by wagons called drays that were pulled by cart horses fed on hay and grain, later to be moved around by internal combustion engined trucks. Moving them the last few yards was still usually a manual job, requiring strong folk to roll them around and take them to their final resting place, at least until they’re empty. The Kit It arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box with four sprues, plus a sheet of decals for stencilling of the ends of the barrels. There are four barrels of two types, one larger than the other, plus two figures to do the heavy lifting. It is worthy of note that the barrels have plank grooves inside, so an empty barrel without a lid is just as realistic, and there are supports to allow you to place the barrels horizontally, plus a spigot for a barrel that’s already been tapped. The two gentlemen doing the lifting are well-built types, one of a slighter stature that is wearing a shirt, apron and beret, with a pair of stout gloves tucked into his waist. The burly man is wearing a simple pair of denim dungarees and boots, wearing nothing on his exposed upper body save for the bib and braces over his shoulders. He is a muscular fellow from years of barrel wrangling, and you will need to fill the joints between his arms and torso as a result as the seam runs around his shoulders by necessity. The parts for each figure are found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed where possible along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. Markings The small decal sheet includes four stencils for the barrel ends, and the back of the box shows where to place them, and suggests some colours to paint the figures if you’re short on inspiration with paint codes from Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, plus generic names and swatches. 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 Great figures for any diorama with the need for some barrels and men to shift them. Put them in the background or front-and-centre of your next creation to add some human scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Cheese Sellers (38076) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Anyone for a wheel of cheese? It sounds a little strange referring to cheese that can be bought as a wheel, but that’s how cheese was originally made, either as a shallow cylindrical ‘wheel’, or a portion or wedge for those with a lesser appetite or budget. Up until relatively recently, that’s how it was sold, and could be purchased from a street vendor before we sullied the air with coal dust and other contaminants. This set arrives in an end-opening figure box, and contains two figures, a cheese cart, six shallow trays, a LOT of cheese of various shapes and sizes, plus a sack trolley for the larger cheese wheels if you wish to use it. Inside the box are twelve sprues in grey styrene of various sizes, a small decal sheet, and an instruction sheet for the cheese cart and trolley. The back of the box sports a highly detailed rendering of the cover art with the background removed, plus several small paintings that depict the various cheeses and the trolley, giving part numbers and colour suggestions for them all, including the figures, accompanied by a table that gives colour codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, and Tamiya. The parts for each figure are found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. One character is a lady in a skirt and blouse with an apron and pleated hat indicating she’s the seller, that and the fact that she’s wearing white gloves and is cutting into a wheel of cheese. The other person is a lady in a knee-length sleeveless dress, counting her change before putting it back in the bag hung over one arm. The thickness of the hem of the skirt has been slimmed down to give a more realistic effect, as is that of the cheese purveyor. The cheeses are found on four identical sprues, plus another two with smaller cheeses and some meat, some of the cheeses of the holey variety. There are also two sprues of trays, each containing parts for three, the planked bases having the longer sides moulded-in, adding separate ends with handles cut-out of the centre. The boxes are displayed on the cart, which has a planked base, two rails with stands and suspension moulded-in, and handles at the end, across which the axle fits along with two spoked wheels. The boxes are raised to an angle on a pair of stands that locate in holes in the cart’s deck. The trolley for the big cheeses is made from a ladder with a C-shaped bracket at the bottom, an axle and small wheels, plus short supports near the handle ends. Markings You are at liberty to paint the figures, cart and trolley any colour you like, but the cheeses are usually some variation between yellow and orange, with a few exceptions such as Edam with its waxy red covering. The decal sheet that is included with the model is printed with a plethora of labels for your painted cheeses, four of them larger, the rest in more moderate sizes, which should be enough to finish the cheeses included in the box, especially if you apply decals to only the top cheese of any stacks you make. Decals are screen-printed 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 Whilst people wouldn’t be selling cheese in the middle of a street battle, there are still plenty of opportunities to incorporate this set into your next diorama, vignette, or just build and paint it for the sake of having it on your shelf. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Milkmen (38468) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models We don’t know who it was that first decided that cow’s milk looked like it could be good to drink, or when we first started to drink it, but start we did, and we still do unless we’re vegan or lactose intolerant. Until very recently, milk was typically delivered to your door by a milkman, driving a cart around towns and villages in the wee small hours of the morning, ensuring that we have a fresh pint to pour over our cereal or in our tea when we awaken. This carried on throughout most of the 20th century, originally with a hand cart or horse-drawn wagon, but latterly in stealthy electric-powered floats that were early adopters of greener energy, but with gigantic lead-acid batteries instead of the modern lithium-Ion cells used by electric cars. The Kit Inside the figure-sized box are five sprues in grey styrene, two containing the figures, two full of parts for milk churns, the last containing crates to carry milk bottles that are on an additional clear sprue. There are two milkmen, the parts for each figure to be found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or other natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. There are four milk churns that have slide-moulded bodies to which the base and lid are added, some of which will need scratch-built handles across the tops, one with additional handles on the sides, two with single folding handles over the top, and one more with the fixed handles already moulded-in. The milk crate is built from four sides, adding the base with moulded-in dividers to accept the ten milk bottles that are found on the clear sprue. The instructions are found on the rear of the box, and there are also colour suggestions to assist you if you are unsure of a suitable scheme. Conclusion Milk delivery carried on throughout WWII on all sides, despite destruction of infrastructure, occupation and mortal danger at times, so a pair of milkmen laden down with their wares picking their way through rubble wasn’t an entirely unusual sight. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Wooden Barrels (49014) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Wooden barrels. You don't see so many of them these days without flowers in them, but before mass-produced metal and plastic barrels became the de facto standard, they were much more prevalent where large quantities of anything needed to be stored. Everyone’s probably thinking of beer right now, but they have been used for a great many things over the years, so they’re not only found in pubs and breweries. The set arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box with five identical sprues, and instructions printed on the rear of the box. It gives you a substantial quantity of styrene barrels in different sizes with various hoop patterns. It is worthy of note that the barrels also have plank grooves inside, so an empty barrel will be just as realistic to an intrepid viewer. Each barrel can be built as an ordinary barrel from two halves plus two end-caps, or with the addition of a spigot on one end, they can be mounted horizontally on a trestle that allows them to rest on their sides without them rolling away. There are four types of barrels on each sprue, so five of each can be made, and each one can be laid on a trestle if you wish, totalling twenty barrels in two sizes and two hoop styles for each size. Conclusion Barrels are an excellent cargo for vehicles, carts, or to fill empty spaces within a building. The detailed wooden texture can be brought out with careful painting or dry-brushing, adding patina to the metal banding for some contrast. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Tempo E400 Railway Maintenance Truck with Personnel (38063) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The A400 Lieferwagen was another of Hitler’s standard vehicles that is perhaps lesser known than the Beetle. It was originally designed as the E400 and produced by company Tempowerk Vidal & Sohn from 1938, and was joined by an identical Standard E-1 that was manufactured in another factory. It was one of the few factories that were permitted to carry on making civilian vehicles, although this permit was eventually withdrawn as the state of the war deteriorated for Germany. After WWII ended, the company began making the type under the original E400 name, and it had a different BMWesque twin panelled front grille. It continued in production until 1948 when it must have finally dawned on someone that one wheel at the front was a really bad idea, even if it was cheaper. A concept that lingered on in the UK much longer so old geezers with motorcycle licenses could scare other road users effectively, and by carrying a football in the boot, they could emulate a giant whistle. It’s an old joke, but it checks out. Unsurprisingly to anyone that watched that episode of Top Gear, the wagon was a little unstable in the corners due to its single front wheel, and the weight of its front-mounted engine probably made matters worse, with a chain drive from the motor to the wheel. The two-stroke 400cc engine in the A and E output 12 hp that gave it sluggish performance at best, which was probably just as well due to the front wheel instability. The driver was situated behind the front wheel and short cowling that hid the engine away, with a pair of side doors for entry and exit, and a single-panel windscreen that overlooked the bonnet/hood. The open load area was to the rear of the vehicle, with faired-in sides and rear tailgate for easy access to the contents. Construction begins with the small cab floor, which has a planked texture engraved on its surface, and is fitted out with foot pedals, a hand-brake lever and narrow cylindrical chassis rail, plus a battery attached to the floor on the left. The front bulkhead has a clear rounded windscreen popped in, a short steering column and a drooping lever, with the windscreen wiper motor cover added to the top of the screen’s frame, drilling two holes in the top corners, and fitting as small PE part on the bottom left of the firewall. The windscreen assembly is attached to the front of the floor with a pot for the washers and the conversion stub of the steering column, with a pair of PE wiper blades added in a boxed diagram, plus the bonnet latch in the centre. The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back is attached to the rear bulkhead that has two side hinge panels and a small clear window for later joining to the floor, and you’ll need to find some 0.3mm wire 24.6mm long to represent the linkage to the floor-mounted brake lever and the back of the cockpit. The steering wheel and rear bulkhead are glued in along with the roof, then the two crew doors a made up, having clear side windows plus winders and handles that are quite delicate for realism, then they are installed on the cab, remembering that they hinge rearward in the manner sometimes referred to as suicide doors, as if the three-wheeler wasn’t dangerous enough! The rear chassis is built around a tubular centreline member with the back axle and its triangular bearers slipping over it and adding hubs with brake discs at each end. A sturdy V-shaped brace is added between the ends of the axle and the other end of the cylindrical chassis rail, with a large jointing part between them. The rear wheels are made from a main part that includes the tyres and back of the hub, with a choice of two inserts slipped inside to represent two different hub cap styles, that are then fitted onto the axles on short pegs, with a brake-lines made from some more of your own 0.3mm wire and suspended from the frame on PE brackets that are folded over the wire, then glued to the frame with an etched-in rivet giving the impression that it is attached firmly to the chassis. The load bed floor is a single part, adding side panels, lights on a PE bracket, adding angle brackets to the front for attachment to the cab. The tailgate is fitted with a choice of two styles of PE number plate, adding rear arches to ridges on the side panels, then old-school swinging pegs that are fitted between the sides and tailgate. After the rear axle and chassis tube have been fitted under the load bed and mated with the cab, the slide-moulded cowling for the engine is fitted-out with two fine PE radiator meshes, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate under the grille, a pair of PE clasps on the lower rear edge of the bonnet, and a tiny hook on the top in between two rows of louvres that hooks onto the latch at the top of the windscreen. The little engine is one of the last assemblies, and is superbly detailed with a lot of parts representing the diminutive 400cc two-stroke motor and its ancillaries, including radiator, fuel tank, exhaust with silencer and chain-drive cover that leads to the front axle. The completed assembly comprises the motor, axle and the fork that attaches to the front of the cab and is wired in using more lengths of 0.3mm wire from your own stocks, which the instructions advise you makes you an “experienced modeller”. Isn’t that nice? After installing the front wheel and finishing the wiring, the cowling can be fixed in the open or closed position, when the little hook latches onto a clip on the roof over the windscreen, holding it up past vertical against the screen. A couple of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted on the sides of the cowling and a pair of wing mirrors on angled arms are glued to holes in the front of the bulkhead on each side, with a PE bracket giving the appearance that the etched rivets are what holds it in place. MiniArt have considerately included a handful of sprues of parts for you to add to the load bed of your newly-minted E400 wagen, including two track ties/sleepers, bucket, fire extinguisher, lantern, blowtorch, and various hand-tools for you to use at your whim, or load it up with a loose cargo, such as a big pile of ballast as seen in the profiles below. Figures Four figures and a collection of tools and accessories pertinent to their trades are included, in various poses to add a human scale to the model. There’s a man bending forward whilst lifting a shovel-load of aggregate, another oiling something (hopefully not the other fellow’s ear), and a chap holding a toolbag, oily rag, and a lantern, then a more smartly dressed gentleman who is either their boss, the lookout, or both. He’s holding a small trumpet to his lips as if to blow a warning note to get the crew off the lines. The two accessory sprues carry a tool bag and box, folio case, a large shovel, oil-can, lamp, lollipop, handheld torch, and a folded flag for the gang boss to wear on his hip for easy access. The parts for each figure are found in separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing, textures and accessories appropriate to the parts of the model. The painting guide on the rear of the instructions doubles as the construction guide, and if you look carefully you’ll see that you need to supply a length of wire for the small lamp that one of the figures is holding. You’ll also need to make up the ballast or whatever it is that the shovelling man is moving, but as you’re likely to be putting him into a backdrop with your own choice of groundworks, that shouldn’t present a problem. Paint colours are given as swatches in the codes of Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO and the colour name in English, so finding a suitable shade from your own stocks will be a doddle. Markings There are four decal options for the truck on the sheet, all painted in a solid colour and decorated with the markings of the operator. From the box you can build one of the following: Deutsche Reichbahn, Early 1940s Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD), Early 1940s Deutsche Reichsbahn, 1940s Deutsche Bundesbahn, 1950s Deutsche Reichsbahn, DDR, 1950s 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 It’s weird with a handful of quirky, so of course like it, and MiniArt have also done a great job with making an easy to build, well-detailed kit of this quirky little German grandfather to the Robin Reliant. I guaranteed there would be more of these coming, and I was right – I’ve lost count of how many we’ve had a look at now. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Field Workshop (49012) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd It's a constant in war or peace that equipment breaks and the mechanics/fitters must repair them, whether it's wear-and-tear, accidental damage, clumsiness, misuse or due to enemy action, it all ends up in the same place if it's deemed suitable for repair, providing it's not behind enemy lines or under heavy bombardment. From WWII onwards, fighting tended to be fast-moving, so transporting anything back to a bricks and mortar workshop well behind the lines is time-consuming, and sometimes impossible, not to mention highly impractical once the lines of communication stretch far enough, so the field workshop is used instead. This can be anything from a literal field to a large empty building that is commandeered by the "grease monkeys" so they can ply their trade. The Kit This set arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box with a detailed painting of the contents on the front, and a painting guide on the rear. Inside are six sprues of grey styrene, two small frets of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, and a double-sided sheet of instructions that guide you through building the more complex assemblies. There are four fuel barrels in two halves with interchangeable ends; a manual pump that you must provide the wire to depict the hose; a two-part anvil; two styles of bucket/pales with PE handles; a wood saw made from two laminations of PE parts; an open-topped wooden tool box with various tools; a bench vice with separate mounting plate; two trestle-style work benches; a clamp-on vice with PE winder; two three-part ‘dining’ chairs; a wooden step ladder built from three parts; a two-man saw made from three PE parts and styrene handles; a hack saw with PE blade; two three-part stools; two oxy-acetylene gas bottles with regulators and two spares with caps; a tubular trolley with space for two bottles and cast-iron wheels; an expanding metal tool box in the closed position with PE handle, plus another with the trays swung out that has tools moulded into the trays, the same PE handle and two PE open lid parts. Other parts that need less information or gluing are various hand tools such as various sized hammers, a pick-axe, two different axes, box plane, shovel & spade, pry bar, a pump, a welder’s torch and mask, blow-torch, G-clamp, belly-brace & bit, oil can and two spanners. You are provided with guidance on the colours of everything in the box on the rear, using swatches, colour names and paint codes from Vallejo, Mr.Color, AMMO, AK RealColor, Mission Models, and Tamiya, but other than the metal tool surfaces, most parts can be any colour you wish, within reason. Conclusion Detail is excellent, and is a perfect backdrop of a 1:48 diorama, providing items that have previously been unavailable separately or hard to find in styrene at this scale before. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. F-4E Phantom II (LS-017) 1:48 MENG Model via Creative Models Ltd The Phantom bears a familial resemblance to the F3H Demon due to the company of origin of the type, which was intended to be a Super Demon with a modular nose for different mission profiles, but in typical military procurement style the world over, the specification was changed completely at the last minute, and resulted in a two-seat, two-engined beast that could carry a substantial war load, a large, effective radar in the bulbous nose, and the workload spread between two crew members to prevent confusion of an overwhelmed pilot in the heat of battle. The type was adopted by the US Navy as the F-4A, and as the F-4C by the Air Force, with a confusing (to me) allocation of letters throughout its career, with more confusion (again for me) when it came to the British airframes, and don’t even mention the engines and other equipment. The F-4E was the most numerous of all the Phantom variants, with over a thousand produced for the US Air Force, and bringing the gun back to the gunfight by mounting an M61 Vulcan cannon that utilised the nose of an F-4C but with a smaller radar that allowed space for the cannon. Low-speed handling had been improved by the addition of leading-edge slats, which although it affected top-speed was a compromise that the designers felt was worth making. The engines were more powerful too, increasing the thrust available under afterburner, first flying in 1965 and reaching service soon after. Later in its career its avionics were upgraded to allow it to carry the AGM-65 Maverick missile that was a capable Air-to-Ground missile widely used in US and NATO forces. There were several sub-variants and upgrades to the most numerous variant, such as Israel, Turkey and Greece, who have all fielded enhanced versions of the E, and some US airframes were converted to the later G or ‘Wild Weasel’ variant that served in the Gulf War, eventually retiring from service in 1996. The Kit This is a minor variation on a brand-new tooling from Meng that was greeted with some happy faces when it was first announced. It arrives in a deep satin-finished top-opening box with a painting of the type carrying tanks and Sidewinders, showing off its dihedral outer wing panels and anhedral stabilisers to the rear. Inside are eight sprues in grey styrene plus six separate parts to build the airframe and wings, plus another twenty in the same colour for the weapons. The clear sprue is deeply recessed to accommodate the sliding moulds that depict the blown canopy profile, plus another seven smaller clear sprues for lenses and missile sensors. A small bag includes two Photo-Etch (PE) parts that have two swash-plates that have been etched without attachment lugs, so don’t need any clean-up, plus a turned aluminium pitot for the nose. The package is completed by a set of pre-cut and weeded masks on a piece of white paper, plus a large decal sheet and colourful instruction booklet printed on glossy paper with colour profiles in the rear. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from Meng, and the main assemblies that aren’t on sprues are impressive straight from the box, as they test clipped together without glue and the seams just blended-in, most of them running along carefully chosen panel lines, which are finely engraved with lots of variations of recessed and raised detail. Construction begins with the cockpit, which starts life as a blank tub that has detail inserts with decals added to depict the side consoles front and rear. A pair of rudder pedals are inserted into the front cockpit, and the two positions are separated by a bulkhead, with another at the rear, plus a floor insert with pedals in the rear ‘pit. Both crew members get an instrument panel and control column, the panels having numerous decals applied after painting according to diagrams nearby, to add realism to the raised and engraved details already present. At the rear of each cockpit a ladder-like launch rail is fitted and an insert is fixed to the right side of the RIO’s seat, although the other sidewalls don’t have any details added. The completed cockpit is inserted into the nose of the fuselage from beneath, then a boxed-in bay with contents is applied to the aperture in the left side of the nose. Moving aft, the lower tail insert is prepared by adding the slotted stabilisers, sliding their tabs through the PE swash-plates as they are applied, with an additional scrap diagram showing them from overhead. They are allowed to pivot by a semi-cylindrical block that fits into the space between the stabs without glue, so that when the insert is offered up to the fuselage and glued in place, they should remain mobile unless you were too frivolous with the glue. The auxiliary intakes and landing gear bays are made up from four and three parts respectively and inserted into the lower fuselage/wing part along with the nose gear bay from the inside, which is made from five parts and fixes inside the raised brackets within. The engine intake path is depicted as a pair of linked A-shaped halves that by necessity have a couple of ejector-pin marks on the interior surface, which are best dealt with before you have joined them together. Once together and the seams have been dealt with if you think they’ll be seen, the front engine faces with separate bullet are inserted into the rear end and the completed assembly is slotted into the lower fuselage on curved supports and circular turrets to hold them in position. The engines themselves are absent as they won’t be seen, but the exhaust trunking is visible, and it is made up from two halves plus the rear face of the engine and an afterburner ring. There is some nice ribbing moulded into the interior of the halves, and once complete they too are dropped into supports and rectangular turrets in preparation for closing the fuselage after the wing uppers have been joined to the moulded-in lowers. The dihedral of the outer wing panels is obtained thanks to the angled tab that fits into the lower, and it is also a single thickness part. With the outer panels in place, the inner panels are laid over them and these mount on circular turrets in the lower to ensure they locate accurately on the wing. The upper fuselage is then dropped over the lower, with a variety of pins and turrets plus a pair of rectangular tabs and slots moulded into the root of the upper wing panels, which is a neat design trick. The intakes either side of the cockpit are made up from two inner layers plus the outer skin, and they fix to the fuselage by two pins and turrets moulded into the splitter plates, and by two ledges that should hold the intake skins flush with the rest of the fuselage. A quick test-fit showed that the do, which is always nice. The wings have most of their flying surfaces as separate assemblies, starting with the flaps on the inner trailing edge, and the ailerons on the outer, both of which can be posed flush or dropped by cutting off a different set of tabs as per the additional drawings between the steps that show the two options. The arrestor hook is filled out by adding the other half of the housing, and it installs between the exhaust nozzles, which are each made up on a shallow ring to which four sections of exhaust petals are added, forming a slightly tapered cylindrical can with good detail. Above the tail, the fin and separate rudder has the base fillet and a small insert glued to it before it is fixed to the top of the fuselage on three pegs, plus an insert under the rudder and a fairing over the rearmost tip of the fuselage. The inner wing panels have retractable leading-edge slats, and these can be posed deployed or tucked away by inserting spacers under the slats or not, taking care to deal with any visible ejector-pin marks under the slats if they are deployed. Unusually, the inner main bay doors and auxiliary air intake doors are applied to the underside at this stage, the latter having retraction jacks, and remembering that the interior is painted red except for the oleo on the retraction jacks. Similarly, the air-brake panel just behind the main gear bays is painted red inside, while the jack is white and the oleo metallic. The main gear struts have the two-part wheels and captive bay door fitted before they are installed with their retraction jacks and additional outboard bay door, the bay doors painted white to match the bays. The nose gear leg has a two-part scissor-link and a cylinder fitted plus two smaller wheels, then it is inserted into the bay and supported by a retraction jack, adding a combined cross-member with door actuator in the centre, which links to the bay door on that side. The bay door on the starboard side is made from two layers to match the contours of the fairing under the nose, and has a blade antenna fixed at the rear. The front door hinges forward, and is made from five parts with clear lenses for the landing light and its pass-through window, and a U-shaped actuator that links it to the strut. The bay on the port side is covered over by its door if like me you have no idea what is in there, then the fairing under the nose is installed, fitting just about perfectly into the recess on two pegs after gluing three small parts near the front. The nose cone over the radar is clipped into the front of the nose, with an oval insert on the hinge-point, adding a small flat intake under the starboard side, locating it using a peg that fits into a socket in the fuselage. You may have noticed that the cockpit wasn’t quite finished earlier, and the pilots don’t yet have anywhere to sit. The seats are made from two halves to create the shell, into which the L-shaped cushion and horse-shoe top cushion are installed, adding a top to the headbox that also incorporates the twin loops that instigate the ejection sequence in an emergency. Once painted they are slipped into the cockpit on the front of their launch rails, and the pilot’s coaming is fitted with a HUD frame and clear lens with reflector so that it can be inserted in front of the pilot and covered by the windscreen, adding few clear parts on the spine behind the cockpit. The windscreen and the rest of the canopy parts are moulded with a realistic ‘blown’ profile by using a sliding mould, so the outer surface has a fine seamline along the line of flight, which you can either ignore or sand away and polish back to clarity for additional realism. The centre-section of the canopy has a styrene part added to the front that the front canopy is hung on and a clear part behind, then the two canopy openers are joined to their styrene frames. The canopies can be fixed closed or open by adding actuator jacks into the rear, which is given a little extra realism by including the crew access ladder that is made from three parts and hooks into the port side of the front cockpit. The last task is probably best left until the very end, and it involves a choice of styrene or metal pitot applied to the tip of the nose cone. The styrene pitot is a single part that fixes directly into the radome, but if using the metal probe, there is a conical styrene adapter that fits into a 0.5mm hole drilled into the tip of the radome, into which the metal pitot slides, using CA to fix it in place. The quantity of weapons included in the box is generous, and they are shown being made up before the rest of the model is finished, possibly in the hope you won’t get bored and leave them in the box. There are three fuel tanks included, two for under the wings and one under the centreline, the two types having different styles of pylon. There are two large pylons under the inner wing, and these are augmented with strakes and defensive countermeasures dispensers to the rear on both sides, plus anti-sway braces to accept a choice of either a pair of AIM-9M or NPs with separate fins and adapter rail, a pair of AGM-65s that have separate fins, mounting pads and clear seeker head, fixed to the twin rail, or replaced by a pair of GBU-10s with separate fins, seeker heads and two mounting holes drilled out. An AN/ALQ-131 pod can be carried under the nose, or it is ousted by an AIM-7M, with another three carried semi-conformally in the depressions under the fuselage. There isn’t a traditional diagram giving the locations for the stores, instead there is a diagram showing the underside of the aircraft with various arrows and alternatives that are a little confusing to this easily confused modeller. All the weapons, tanks and pods have painting and decaling instructions after the main painting pages that should make the process relatively tedium and confusion free. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, and there is enough variation in era to appeal to many modellers out of the gate. From the box you can build one of the following: 480th Tactical Fighter Sqn., 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing, USAF Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, June 1986 3rd Tactical Fighter Sqn., 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, USAF Clark Air Base, Philippines, May 1991 flown by LTC Mike Livingston & Weapons System Operator Maj Jim Miyamoto 152nd Sqn., 17th Fighter Wing, ROKAF, Cheongju Airport, North Chungcheong Province, ROK, October 2012 Decals are 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. There are a lot of stencils included for the airframe as well as the weapons, but knowing how covered with stencils the Phantom was, it’s hardly surprising. The back page of the instructions shows the location for all the masks that are included in the box, which have been pre-cut on a backing sheet of clear paper and weeded so that they stand out, but not in pictures as you can see above. The canopy sections with compound curves are handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved areas should be in-filled with either liquid mask or additional tape from your own stock. In addition, you get a set of hub/tyre masks for the wheels, allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort, plus masks for the landing light and the see-through panel in the bay door it is mounted on. The inside cover contains a printed table of colour references that include the colour names in four languages including English and Japanese, plus a Cyrillic and another Far Eastern language that I’m not familiar with. Conclusion The MENG Phantoms are by far the most impressive to date as far as moulding is concerned from my perspective, although the absolute Phantom fanatic may find some issues if they look hard. The detail is phenomenal, and the styrene engineering techniques on show are just as impressive. It is so tempting to break open the liquid glue, but I have other builds to finish at some point before this. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. D8506 German Tractor with Roof (24010) 1:24 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Tractors were a boon to farmers when they were introduced after the reliability of the motor car was proven, as they were especially useful for lugging heavy equipment around the farm, as well as the typical ploughing, sowing, reaping and transporting of crops. They also had power take-off points that could be used to drive other stationary machinery, further expanding their usefulness to that of a portable power-plant. Lanz were the leading maker of farm machinery in Germany, and their Bulldog range were the “hoover” of the tractor world in their country for many years. They were good quality and reliable, which led to them being copied by several countries, and as the initial 1921 model was improved the model number was increased until well into the 9,000s. One of the primary selling points of the vehicle was the simple “hot-bulb” single-cylinder engine that could be run on a variety of fuels and had very few moving parts, which made it easy to repair and maintain. They started off as 6L and grew to 10L engines, and their slow turnover high-torque output suited the tractor’s work very well. In 1956 they were sold to John Deere, and the name slowly fell out of use. There are still many working examples to be seen at county fairs and historic events, kept in splendid working condition by their loving (some may say obsessed) owners. The Kit This is new edition of MiniArt’s D8500 range of kits but in the larger de facto vehicle scale of 1:24, and you can still expect some more to come if their 1:35 release schedule of this series is repeated. The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box, and inside are eleven sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two cylindrical tread parts for the rear wheels on their own cruciform sprues, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles of the decal options on the front and rear covers. Construction begins with the large cast metal chassis that is made up from two halves each end around a cylindrical centre-plate, with lots of parts used to create its distinctive shape. The superstructure above the chassis where the engine and ancillaries are found is roughly rectangular, having various filler caps on the top, radiator panels and louvres on the sides, plus a name-plate on the front. The driver’s foot pedals are long curved linkages to the underside of the chassis, and with these in place the driver’s tread-plated floor is installed and a big handbrake is fitted to the deck, plus a stowage box under the lip at the left rear. The windscreen frame is moulded into the rear bulkhead of the engine compartment, slotting the clear windscreen into position. The large cylindrical assembly in the centre of the chassis is filled with the clutch and drive-shaft on one side, and on the floor plate the driver’s seat is mounted on a sturdy spring, a couple of hand controls are inserted into depressions in the deck in front, then the large drive housing is mounted on the left side of the chassis, with a bell-housing and fly-wheel on the opposite side over the clutch, and two large fenders/sidewalls over where the rear wheels will be, plus a sturdy bumper-bar at the rear on diagonal cross-braces. The rear hubs have two additional layers inside for the drum brakes, ready to receive the large back wheels. The front axle has the hubs moulded-in, adding the steering arms, anti-roll bars and the linkage to the column, which is installed on the front underframe on a single pivot in preparation for the tyres. The wheels on this tractor have heavy tread to plough through mud, which are built up by layering five parts together to make a tyre-sandwich at the front, and a three-part layer for the larger rear wheels, all with crisp and chunky tread on the rolling surfaces. The tyres have their hubs moulded-in, while the rears have an additional rear hub ring added between the wheels and rear axles. The front fenders are mounted on a pair of cross-members that run under the chassis, the front support fitting under the fenders, the rearmost ones attaching to the rear. Both the attachment points have styrene nuts cut from one of the runners of Sprue A and applied to the location on the opposite side to the bolts moulded into the supports. There are seventeen nuts supplied on the sprue, so you can afford to lose a few, and there are another eight on Sprue Ea. Two large exhausts are made up from various odd-shaped parts attaching to the left side of the chassis either side of the bell-housing, with a pair of clear-lensed headlamps on an oversized cross-member on the topside. A pair of bolted supports are fitted to the sides of the windscreen frame and another pair to the rear fenders at the back of the cab in preparation for the roof, then four more sprue-based bolts are applied to the rear bumper iron where it intersects with the fenders. The curved roof panel is fitted atop the mounts, and a styrene wiper blade is hung from the top rail, then you have a choice of installing the steering wheel on the column in the cab with a cover over the power take-off point, or cut the column away in the cab, gluing the steering wheel on a rod that inserts into the centre of the take-off, with the cover flipped down for access. I understand this was for manually starting the engine, but don’t quote me on that. The steering wheel or column surgery would probably be best done before the roof and supports are fixed in place to give you more room to work. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, and the suggested paint schemes vary from garish yellow to a dull grey with red fenders. From the box you can build one of the following: Regierungs Bezirk Leipzig, 1930-40s Oberdonau, Oesterreich, Early 1940s British Occupation Zone, 1940-50s 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 variation on a tractor that was once ubiquitous in and around German farms, and this one even keeps the driver dry providing the rain isn’t horizontal. These kits are also great to show off your weathering skills, or test them out, and if you're a car modeller, they'll be in scale with the rest of your cabinet. Highly recommended. It’s currently available with a generous 35% discount at Creative Models, so act fast. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Liefer Pritschenwagen Typ 170V w/Canvas (38072) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Mercedes 170 was based upon their W15 chassis, which was their first with all-round independent suspension, and was available as a bare chassis for coach-builders, as a saloon, cabriolet or as a light van, debuting in the early 30s with sales affected by the worldwide depression that started in Wall Street in 1930. Sales picked up after the recession eased, and later versions had internal boot space and sleeker lines, moving with the times. As well as sharing a chassis with the saloon, the van was essentially identical in the forward section and inside the crew cab. The bodywork from the doors backward were designed with the same ethos but differed due to the practical but boxy load area behind the drivers. These vehicles were often used for years after their original purchase passing through the ownership of several operators for dwindling sums of money, especially after the war years where funds were sometimes short following the devastation in Europe. The Kit This is a reboxing of a partial re-tool of the original 2012 saloon and subsequent Beer, Furniture and Cheese Delivery vehicles (reviewed earlier), with the same base sprues and another sprue added to create the tilt for this covered flatbed variant. The original kit is highly detailed, and this one is no different, showing just how far MiniArt have come in their design and moulding technology. There is superb detail throughout, with delicate framing, realistic-looking fabric door pockets as well as a full engine and interior to the cab. Inside the box are twelve sprues of grey styrene, one in clear, a decal sheet and a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass for finer details, protected in a card envelope. Construction begins with the 1700cc engine and transmission, which is made up from a substantial number of parts that just need a little wiring to do it full justice, and in fact the various hoses are shown in 1:1 and 3:1 diagrams to ensure that you obtain the correct bends, but you’ll need to find your own 0.2mm wire to begin with. The curved X-shaped chassis is prepped with a few mounts and PE brackets, then the rear axle, differential and driveshafts are fitted on a pair of very realistic styrene springs that have hollow centres and individual coils thanks to some clever sliding moulds. Drum brakes, straps and brackets finish off the rear axle assembly, then the completed engine and drive-shaft are installed in the front to be joined by a pair of full-width leaf-springs from above and below with a stub-axle and drum brake at each end. The exhaust is made up with an impressively neatly designed four-part muffler, a pair of PE mounts, straight exit pipe and an angled length leading forward to the engine. With the addition of the bumper-irons and number plate at the front, plus the supports for the front fenders, the lower body can be fixed to the chassis and PE mudflaps fixed under the rear of the front arches. The front firewall is next to be made up, and the pedal box is installed one side, with a set of tools and another neatly designed cylinder, this time the fuel tank, which is curiously situated in the rear of the engine bay. This fits over the transmission tunnel that is moulded into the floor, with more driver controls such as the gear lever, hand brake and steering column with PE horn-ring added at the same time. The dashboard is inserted below the windscreen frame after being fitted with decals within the instrument housings, then covered over with clear dial faces for realism, and three blowers attached to the roll-top. There is also a nicely clear curved windscreen with PE rear-view mirror and windscreen wiper motor housing fitted before it is inserted into the firewall, joined by a rear cab panel that has a small window and the back of the bench seat applied before fitting, plus two strips with upper hinges for the doors inserted into the edges of the rear frame. The base of the bench seat is also fitted on a riser moulded into the floor along with a couple of half-height body panels that links the cab to the rear fenders. Vehicles need wheels, and this one runs on four. Each wheel is made from a lamination of two central sections to create the tread around the circumference, and two outer faces that depict the sidewalls and shoulder tread of the tyres, with maker’s mark and data panel moulded into them. The hubs are inserted into the centres of the tyres, with a cap finishing off the assemblies in handed pairs. The flat floor for the load area is a single piece to which headboard and tailgate that hinges on PE brackets are fitted, followed by shallow sides with moulded-in rails and cross-braces running underneath, and PE brackets for the number plate and rear light clusters added beneath the tailgate made from PE and styrene elements. The tailgate retention clips are PE, as are their latches that extend into the corners of the tailgate to strengthen it. At this stage the front of the van needs finishing, a job that begins with the radiator that has a PE grille and three-pointed star added to a styrene surround, then the radiator core and slam-panel with filler cap at the rear. This is put in place at the front of the body at an angle, locating on a feeder tube to the radiator, with two cross-braces reducing body flex along with a central rod that forms the hinge-point for the side folding hood. A pair of combination PE and styrene wipers are added to the windscreen sweeping from the top, adding reflectors on the rear arches. The front doors are handed of course, and have separate door cards with handle and window winders added, and a piece of clear styrene playing the part of the window, which is first fitted to the door card before it is added to the door skin. Both doors can be posed open or closed as you wish, and are of the rearward opening "suicide door" type, and these are joined on the vehicle by the rear cab hinges. To complete the bonnet, small PE fittings are fixed first on the louvred side panels in open or closed options, then they are glued to the top parts in either the open or closed position, inserting the open clasps to the front of the compartment for the open variant. A pair of clear-lensed headlamps, a choice of two styles of wing mirrors on the A pillar or the wing finish off the build of the van, leaving just the canvas tilt to be made. The tilt is on the new sprue, and can be built with the canvas at the rear open or closed. To close it, a single part covers the open rear end, adding PE clips along the lower sides for both open or closed options. To portray the canvas rear tied open, the curved header part is glued into the open end, then is partially covered by the rolled canvas in styrene, which has two PE straps added to the synch-points that are moulded-in. Three PE straps are applied to both sides of the opening to stop it flapping in the wind, and different PE parts with the buckles visible are used for the closed option, while the parts for the open cover have no buckles and should just hang loose. The buckles on the real tilt will be rolled up inside the canvas, so won’t be seen. The last task is to mate the tilt to the raised sides of the load area. Markings These were commercial vehicles during peacetime, so they were designed to attract attention with more colourful liveries, although the hardship of post war Europe shows a little wear and tear evident on the profiles. There are four options depicted in the instructions, and from the box you can build one of the following: American Occupation Zone, Bavaria, late 1940s British Occupation Zone, Late 1940s Bavaria, Munich, Early 1950s French Occupation Zone, Early 1950s 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 This is another well-detailed kit of an old Merc commercial van, and even if you’re not a vehicle modeller it would make a great background subject for a diorama, especially if a cheesy, furniture-y or boozy version doesn’t suit your needs, possibly with post-war Allied or Soviet armour making its way through town. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. G-518 US 1T Cargo Trailer ‘Ben Hur’ (35436) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII, the US used two small two-wheeled trailers for transporting additional equipment and other essential stores around the battlefield, towed by trucks and other vehicles that had at least a ¾ ton payload carried internally. There were two major variants, one for carrying many types of equipment and designated as G-518, the other a specialist water carrier that was given the catalogue designation G-527. The main contractor was Ben-Hur Manufacturing Co., which garnered it the nickname ‘Ben-Hur Trailer’, and its 1-ton load capacity in 3.2m3 volume meant that it saw a lot of action, mostly ignored by war historians and modellers alike, as it was a transport and not as interesting as the things that went bang. Nevertheless, there were over a quarter of a million built, and many of them spent their days dutifully following a Chevrolet truck around the roads and tracks of Europe and the Far East. The Kit This is a new tooling from MiniArt, launched just after the G-527 Water Buffalo we reviewed recently here, this kit is ripe for filling with useful gear that a squad may find helpful on the battlefield, or to make themselves comfortable before or after action. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter on the front by the prolific Volodymyr Booth, and inside are six sprues of grey styrene, a card envelope that contains a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a length of chain, adding a small sheet of decals and the glossy instruction booklet to complete the package, the latter having painting and decaling profiles on the rearmost pages. Detail is excellent as usual with MiniArt, including a full chassis, well-rendered chunky treaded tyres, and even a set of slat extensions to the sides of the structure with moulded-in wooden texture. Construction begins with the bodywork, starting with the two sides that have leaf springs moulded-in, which have the axle retention bolts added to both sides, PE tie-down loops down the sides, and the light cluster that is fitted on a PE bracket next to the rear suspension mount. A choice of external framework to the sides with or without the extension slats is glued to the sides, including small PE brackets at both ends of the slatted sections. The wheels are built from two parts, the larger having the outer hub, tyre carcass and the tread moulded as one, the smaller having the opposite sidewall details moulded-in. They are then put to one side while you build up the rest of the load area. The two sides are mated with the floor part, adding brake actuators underneath and on the side, and bringing in the ends to create the load box, with more PE brackets and foot stirrups to aid entry. While the chassis is upside down, the two-part inner hubs are fitted to the ends of the axles, adding a short length of 0.5mm wire to each one, and another length to a bracket under the floor. The towing frame is made from two converging lengths, which are fixed under the front of the floor on a pair of U-bolts, while a pair of mudguards are mounted on the chassis sides on pegs, inserting the wheels into their wells. The front and rear slat sections are glued to brackets on the sides, then four curved roof supports are fixed to the sides that are used when a tilt is fitted during poor weather. The tailgate is completed by adding the PE retaining pins on chains at floor level, then the two-part towing eye is mounted atop the front of the A-frame, and a jockey-wheel is built from two halves plus a yoke and pivot, with an alternate all-steel wheel if you prefer. This can be fitted under the hitch in either horizontal position for travel, or vertically for a parked trailer, locking it in place between two halves of the pivot. Another longer length of wire is fitted under the left chassis rail and hitch frame, dangling the end down over the hitch, adding a plug for the electronics, which has a hole moulded-in for the wire. The safety chains are cut to length, and are each trapped between two halves of their bracket, adding the hook on the loose end after drilling a hole in the part first. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, with a choice of camouflage that dictates the fitment of slatted sides and/or steel jockey wheel, so take care during construction if you have a particular scheme in mind. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Army Corps (7th Army), US Army, Italy, Autumn, 1943 US Army, Europe, 1944-45 2nd Australian Corps., Bougainville Island, January 1945 US Navy, 1940s 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 trailer might not be one of the most charismatic of military vehicles, but its importance from a strategic point of view can’t be underestimated, as an army without supplies isn’t going very far, as has often been illustrated in extended campaigns throughout history. MiniArt have done a great job tooling this kit, and it will make an interesting addition behind your next softskin project, or as part of a diorama. This version has been so popular that Creative Models are currently out of stock, even though we’ve only had our sample a few days. Keep checking back though, as I’m certain they’ll be getting a restock just as soon as they can. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. BMW Z4 M40i (CS-005) 1:24 MENG model via Creative Models Ltd BMW have a reputation as a luxury and performance car company that has been building over the years with plenty of awesome and stylish vehicles coming from their stables. The Z4 is a two-door convertible coupé, and there have been three generations of the type that first entered production in 2003. Some of the designs have been an acquired taste to some, but they’re generally considered to be a pretty desirable sports car if you’re in the market for one and have the funds. The latest iteration of the design was launched in 2018 and has reverted back to using the soft top of the original design after the second version introduced a retractable hard-top. That may not appeal to all potential customers, but they have managed to halve the time for deployment to a pretty spritely 10 seconds from start to finish. It was designed and manufactured in Austria, and shares its floorpan with the Toyota Supra that is also built at the Magna Steyr factory there, as part of a cooperation with Toyota. There were initially three models starting with the M20i, the M30i and the range-topping M40i, which has a 3.0 litre straight-six petrol engine that outputs 335bhp and carries the terrified driver and solitary passenger from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds. The design is angular and modern, giving the impression of speed even when parked up, and as well as looking good it also has a five-star crash rating, just in case you can’t keep it on the road or someone T-bones you. It is full of impressive electronics that manages the engine and the driver’s experience with a large Multi-Function Display (MFD) in the centre console that is updated over the air and a Heads-Up Display (HUD) for the driver to make him or her feel like a fighter pilot as they break the speed of sound (or national speed limit if they’re unwise). In line with a lot of modern premium designs, the car can be unlocked and even started with a mobile phone, although that’s a good way of having your car stolen if you’re out of sight or otherwise distracted. Production suffered from a brief halt due to the situation in Ukraine, but has since resumed, although it is scheduled to reach a natural conclusion in 2024 as the Z-series is brought to an end, presumably due to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars going the way of the dinosaur in the coming years. The Kit This is a brand-new tool from MENG, and forms part of their non-dinosaur related Car Series, and is predictably number five in that series. The kit arrives in their usual satin-finished top-opening box that has a handsome painting of the subject on the front, plus a holographic BMW authorised product sticker with the twin-grille emblem in the centre. On the sides are two side profiles of the car in blue and red, plus a little extra information and some QR codes to MENG’s social media sites. Inside are three sprues and four separate parts in light grey styrene, a clear sprue, four low-profile flexible black tyres, a short tree of four polycaps, a sheet of shiny stickers for the mirrors, a tiny Photo-Etch (PE) sheet for the seatbelt buckles, a sheet containing two material seatbelts, two small sheets of self-adhesive masks for the clear parts, a small sheet of decals, a smaller sheet of decals for the emblems that have raised chrome areas that don’t scan well, plus of course the instruction booklet that is sub-A4 and printed in colour on glossy paper with colour profiles of the two choices provided on the back pages. Detail is exceptional and includes deep detail using both traditional and slide-moulding techniques to create the illusion of reality. The grilles, lights and exhausts are particularly impressive, and when painted sympathetically, should look highly realistic. The model is a kerbside kit, so doesn’t include detail in the engine compartment, but because of the high level of aerodynamic fairings around the underside it shouldn’t be missed. The detail on the interior, wheels and brakes more than make up for that. Construction begins with the aforementioned underside, into which the front suspension units and coil-over shocks are inserted, allowing the front wheels to be steered in unison. The brake discs are made up from two layers to depict the cooling vents between front and rear surfaces, and this mounts to the hub with a polycap hidden inside, then it is placed into the wheel well, flex-fitting into place to remain mobile. The holes in the underside are filled with two inserts, and a three-part rendition of the rear of the gearbox, which is the only part of the engine visible after the build is finished. At the rear a substantial double-H sub-frame is applied to the sockets, joined by another pair of discs that are made up in the same manner, with the transmission and drive-shafts linking them and holding them in place in the wheel wells until the rest of the suspension swing-arms and coiled shocks are added over the top, which both have curved shields that are engraved with directional and handing arrows for your ease. The exhaust system is made from only two parts, but depicts the transverse muffler at the rear and catalytic converter where the single down pipe bifurcates very well, with a separate part depicting the end of the down pipe from the manifold. More suspension ironwork is applied over the exhaust, then it’s time to put the wheels on. The tyres for this kit are depicted by four flexible black circles with a suitably skinny profile and handed treads, much like the real thing, so ensure you put the right hand on the right side, as per the scrap diagrams. The tyres slide over the rims, which have five double spokes each with detailed centres showing the five studs holding them onto the hubs. These ones however have a single pin that snugs into the polycaps hidden in each brake disc, allowing test fitting and suitable BRMMM! Noises during the build process. The interior is formed from a twin tub that has a rear wall added with moulded-in speaker grilles to finalise the shape, to which the accelerator pedal is glued into the left foot well, and a short-throw gear lever is added to the centre console. The two seats are formed from the separate seat parts that are found in the bodyshell bag initially, and have their backs and belt guides added from the parts on B sprue before they’re dropped into the interior, after which the seatbelts are created from the fabric that is provided in the box, which are threaded onto the PE buckles before they’re glued in place, with a scrap diagram showing where they should fit. If you’re circumspect with the fabric sheet, you could also have some material left for other projects if you keep it on hand. The dashboard is well-detailed and has two decals provided for the central MFD and digital binnacle, under which the steering column with separate stalk ring and detailed wheel is slotted, with the brake pedal descending from the underside of the dash. The finished assembly then attaches to the interior on a C-shaped mounting at the front of the central console. The tub is completed by the two door cards, which have separate handles and a detailed painting guide in a small scrap diagram, then the whole assembly is glued onto the floorpan, locating on a number of raised shapes moulded into the top side. There is a rear shelf behind the seats, which has a pair of headrests made up from front and rear portions, and a clear wind-deflector between them that has masks for both sides, plugging into the shelf part, which fits on two tabs behind the seats, and is completed by a waffle-textured load area part that mounts on two turrets moulded into the rear wheel arches. Preparation of the bodyshell is started by removing the S-shaped sprue from the opening, then inserting the backing behind the front bumper/fender, and making up the two headlight clusters with a styrene reflector that is painted silver and black according to the key, with a clear bulb part slotting into the centre. These are glued in from behind and covered over by the clear lenses later on with the two grille sections at the front, which have exceptionally well-moulded detail within the surround. A number plate holder is supplied with two pegs on the back for the front bumper too, and a pair of inserts make up the vent detail on the sides of the front wings. The windscreen frame is moulded separately from the bodyshell, and has the clear glazing glued in along with a central rear-view mirror that is supplied with a mirrored sticker to give it a realistic look, plus a pair of well-crafted windscreen wipers that plug into the scuttle from the outside, attaching to the bodyshell from the inside, locating on three mounting pegs. The wing mirrors are moulded on triangular sections, and have clear indicator repeaters glued into the front of the shell, and more mirrored stickers to simulate the glass, inserting into the angled space between the door and windscreen frame, while the door handles are fixed into the recesses in the door skins near the rear edge. At the rear the brake cluster insert is painted silver then covered over with the clear lens, which you paint clear red and orange to depict the lights, plus another insert and lens mounted into the two vertical grooves in the bumper corners, and the central brake light is inserted in the integral spoiler in the boot lid. Under the boot lid another number plate is attached on a pair of pegs, then the bodyshell can be mated with the floorpan, inserting a pair of wide T-shaped clear parts in the back of the door cards if you are depicting the roof down to portray the tops of the retracted windows. The stowed roof is a single part that covers the load area behind the seats, which finishes the model unless you are putting the roof up. The soft top is moulded as a single part with a small interior detail section, plus the clear rear window, which has the heated screen element moulded into it, then it is placed over the interior after adding the two corner parts and the door windows if you plan on showing them rolled up. There are also masks included for the windscreen and rear window that allow you to paint the black lines around them where they join the bodywork. Markings There aren’t a lot of decals in this kit, as it’s a car afterall, not a Spitfire. There are two decals for the number plates that say “BMW Z4”, and two that are used to create the screens on the dashboard. On a separate sheet are a number of small BMW logos and name badges that are printed in relief and with a chrome finish where appropriate on most of them. The detail and shine on the decals is stunningly realistic and should look great with a quality paint job. Sadly, the scan of that sheet doesn’t show off the realistic shine of the chrome very well. It's perfect in real life. The painting instructions show the vehicle in either San Francisco Red Metallic or Misano Blue Metallic, but the Meng/AK and Gunze Acrysion codes show the use of non-metallic colours, so if you want to be truer to the real colours, you may need to check out some of the specialist paint manufacturers that cater to car modellers that want accurate paint for their models. Conclusion This is a gorgeous model of a stylish car, and really looks the part. The stamp of approval from BMW adds confidence, and the extras that are included in the box will really help with realism. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. G-527 250gal Water Trailer ‘Water Buffalo’ (35458) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII, the US used two small two-wheeled trailers for transporting additional equipment and other essential stores around the battlefield, towed by trucks and other vehicles that had at least a ¾ ton payload carried internally. There were two major variants, one for carrying many types of equipment and designated as G-518, the other a specialist water carrier that was given the catalogue designation G-527. Its nickname was the Water Buffalo, and it was capable of carrying up to 200 gallons of water, which is an essential commodity for the health of troops, vehicles and has so many other uses it would take up far too much space in this review. In total, over a quarter of a million of all types were made, and they were the most used small trailers by US forces through the war. The main contractor was Ben-Hur Manufacturing Co., which garnered it another nickname, one that was primarily used for the other variants, as ‘Water Buffalo’ is far cooler. The Kit This is a new tool from MiniArt, who are creating new kits at an astounding rate, considering what’s been going on in Ukraine this last year or so. It is accompanied by its stable-mate, and we’ll be reviewing that in due course, but first we have the Water Buffalo that’s closer to the top of the queue. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter on the front, from the equally prolific Volodymyr Booth, and inside are six sprues of grey styrene, a card envelope that contains a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a length of chain, adding decals and the glossy instruction booklet to complete the package, the latter having painting and decaling profiles on the rearmost pages. Detail is excellent as usual with MiniArt, including a full chassis, well-rendered chunky treaded tyres, and even a pair of safety retention hooks that use the chain mentioned above. Construction begins with the chassis, the two side rails having leaf-spring suspension moulded-in, which have the axle retention bolts added to both sides, and the light cluster is fitted on a PE bracket next to the rear suspension mount. The rails are glued to the floor section, which has a large cut-out in the centre, then the shorter front and rear rails are fitted to the floor. Turning the assembly over, the square axle with the lower retention plates moulded-in is laid across the suspension, adding two diagonal I-beams to brackets at the front to create the structure of the towing frame. It is further strengthened by fitting U-bolts under the front of the floor, adding stirrups to the underside of the rear, and a two-part brake mechanism on the right side. The wheels are built from two parts, the larger having the outer hub, tyre carcass and the tread moulded together, the smaller having the opposite sidewall moulded-in. They are put to one side while you build up the water tank. The oval tank is made from top and bottom halves plus front and rear end caps, fitting a hatch with closures and a multi-part hand-pump to the forward end, then lowering the assembly into place on the chassis, where it is supported by sloped risers around the edges of the cut-out. There is a T-shaped set of plumbing with three spigots per side under the front of the chassis, covered by two L-shaped assemblies that mount under the leading-edge, with three bog-standard taps or faucets as our American friends would call them on each side. While the chassis is upside down, the two-part inner hubs are fitted to the ends of the axles, adding a short length of 0.5mm wire to each one, and another length to a bracket under the tank. A pair of mudguards are mounted on the chassis sides on pegs, and a reeled-up hose with separate link to the pump is fixed on the slatted deck in front of the tank. Boxed covers are fitted over the tap block in open or closed position, locking them in place with a long PE hook for the open option that locates in a PE eye that is used on both options. The two-part towing eye is mounted atop the front of the A-frame, and a jockey-wheel is built from two halves plus a yoke and pivot, with an alternate all-steel wheel if you prefer. This can be fitted under the hitch in either horizontal position for travel, or vertically for a parked trailer, locking it in place between two halves of the pivot. Another longer length of wire is fitted along the left chassis rail and hitch frame, dangling down over the hitch, adding a plug for the electronics, which has a hole moulded-in. The safety chains are cut to length, and are each trapped between two halves of their bracket, adding the hook on the loose end after drilling a hole in the part first. Markings There are five decal options on the sheet, and from the box you can build one of the following: US Military Air Transport Service, Andrews Air Force Base, Hawaii, 1949 Unknown US Army Unit, North Africa – Italy, 1943 Unknown US Army Unit, Europe, 1944-45 Unknown Unit, Medical Department US Army, 1942/45 834th Engineer Aviation Battalion of the 9th (US) Engineer Command, Further, Germany, 1950 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 Whilst it might not be one of the most charismatic of military vehicles, its importance from a strategic point of view can’t be underestimated, as an army without water won’t march very far or last long. MiniArt have done a grand job tooling this kit, and it will make an interesting addition behind your next softskin project, or as part of a diorama. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. US Army G7105 4x4 1.5T Panel Delivery Truck (35405) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that could carry up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo, men or equipment. They were initially made under the 4100 code, then were renamed as the 7100 series, and usually had a standard enclosed cab, with a 3.9L straight-6 engine under the bonnet, and a four-speed “crash” (non-synchromesh) gearbox putting out a little over 80hp through all four wheels. It rapidly became the Allies’ standard light truck, and served in substantial quantities on the Western Front, with the Soviets on the Eastern Front, and the forces fighting Japan in the Far East. There were plenty of variants, some in US Army service, others in USAAF service, with almost 50,000 of two specific types, the G7107 and G7117 sent over to the Soviets in large numbers under the Lend/Lease program. The G7105 variant was a fully-enclosed van bodied truck that had a full metal bodyshell to protect the contents, and thanks to its twin wheeled rear axle, it was capable of carrying the same load as its open-topped siblings. They were used extensively by the Signal Corps, but are relatively rare in the overall panoply of chassis types for this series. Their low production quantities and participation in WWII trimmed their numbers further, so they are quite rare compared to others of the type, but some still survive of course, and can be seen occasionally at historic vehicle rallies and get-togethers of like-minded enthusiasts. The Kit This is a new boxing of a recent G506 tooling from MiniArt, and is one of an expanding range that is to be found in your favourite model shop. It’s a full interior kit, with engine, cab and load area all included along with some appealing moulding and detail, particularly in the cab and those chunky tyres. It arrives in one of MiniArt’s medium-sized top-opening boxes, and inside are fourteen modular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. Detail is excellent, and well up to MiniArt’s usual standards, using PE parts to enhance the model, and finely moulded details of the chassis, running gear, cab and interior areas. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which has leaf-springs fore and aft, cross-braces and rear towing eye fitted to create the structure, then has the fuel tank with PE retention bands, PE rear bumper irons folded around a styrene jig, and axles installed on leaf springs, before the brake drums/hubs, battery and external brackets are added to the chassis rails. The transfer box and drive-shaft join the two axles together, and a steering linkage and box are inserted into the front of the chassis, then the engine is built up based on the straight six-cylinder block, with carburettor, dynamo and transmission added, plus the serpentine pulleys and fan at the front. The engine and substantial front bumper iron are fitted to the chassis, assembling the exhaust and its muffler, which slip into the underside of the chassis from below, held in position on PE brackets at the exit. The wheels are made up with singles at the front, made from two parts each, and with twin wheels at the rear, again with separate outer sidewalls. Each wheel slips over its respective axle, with the hub projecting through the central hole. The three-part radiator housing is layered, with the rear part having a hole that allows the air from the fan to cool the radiator when stationary, mounting on the front of the chassis and mating to the input and outlet pipes already in position. The crew cab is next, beginning with the firewall and forward sidewalls. The firewall is detailed with dash pots fixed to the forward side, and is set aside until it is needed toward the end of building the bodyshell, which is next. The sides of the van have a separate ribbing insert on the insides, to be joined to the floor after the raised platform for the crew seats is installed, fixing two four-part seats on top, and a small forest of levers in the centre of the floor. The rear light clusters are mounted on PE brackets on the rear of the side panels, one per side, and as is often the case with instruction steps, they may be better left of until after main painting. The floor is inverted to install the sidewalls, putting a short fuel filler tube on the outside that matches up with the extension within that leads to the tank. The rear valance plugs into the floor on two pins, joining the two side panels together on the lower edge. The rear doors and their interior cards are assembled with their handles, locking mechanism in a fairing with a flat PE surround, plus handles on both sides of the right door, and clear window glass with rounded corners. The dashboard inserts into the A-pillars that are moulded into the roof, with seven decals for the instruments and stencils on the glove box, plus two more on the headliner by the rear-view mirror, which installs into the front of the roof panel. The steering column is joined to the underside of the dash, adding a courtesy light and six curved ribs to the inside of the roof in grooves. The crew doors and their interior cards are assembled with handles and window winders, plus the clear window glass that can be posed open or closed at your whim. The windscreen frame has the two clear panes fitted, and has a pair of PE brackets and styrene wingnuts that are installed either vertically for closed, or at an angle for open, with a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the various parts, and below it on the scuttle is a ventilator panel that can be posed open or closed as you prefer. The steering wheel is fixed to the top of the column, the diagonal kick panel is joined with the firewall and fitted out with three foot pedals, and a button that I think is the parking brake. The roof and firewall assembly are fitted to the growing bodyshell assembly, while the rear doors are installed within the frame in the open or closed position if you prefer, adding a short stay from wire of your own stock. Two rear arches are fitted under the floor into recesses, projecting past the line of the bodywork to encompass the twin rear wheels, then with the body righted, a pair of wing mirrors are glued onto the cab in front of the doors at handle-height on long struts with PE brackets at the bottom, posing the doors open or closed again as you wish. The body and chassis are mated, and a choice of cowling panels fit to the sides of the engine compartment after adding a V-brace under the bonnet, then fitting the front wings that incorporate the section of running boards under the doors that joins up with the rear boards. The front of the vehicle has its headlights with clear lenses plus sidelights fitted to the wings, and PE windscreen wiper blades are hung from the top of the frame on styrene arms, then the front grille is built. You may have noticed that this appears on the sprues too for a simpler build process, but a more detailed and realistic grille can be fabricated from the PE parts on the fret. It is constructed completely from PE, and two styrene jigs are included on the sprues to assist with accurately creating the correct shape. The lower rail, light cages and curved side panels are made up on one jig from a single piece of PE, while the centre panel is folded up on another, then they’re joined together ready to be attached to the front of the engine bay. There are two PE brackets stretched across the front of the radiator, but if you elected to use the styrene grille, this process is condensed down to nipping the part from the sprue, cleaning the sprue gates, and gluing it to the front of your truck, removing a small curved section from the left of the styrene grille for one decal option as it is glued in place. The bonnet can be fitted open or closed with a PE stay that is provided in the centre of the panel for the open option. The spare tyre is built from two parts like the rest of the wheels, and is mounted on a two-part bracket, the bottom tubular end gluing into a hole in the left side of the bodywork. Markings There are five decal options on the sheet, most in green, one in Navy grey, and from the box you can build one of the following: 15th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit, Guadalcanal, 1943 US Navy, 1945 161st Sig. Photo Corps, US Army, Fort Bennig, 1942 1st Signal Company, 1st Infantry Division, US Army, ETO, 1945 French Army, French Indochina, Late 1940s 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 This is an interesting variant of the G506 chassis, and looks substantially different from its siblings, which with the detail that MiniArt pack into all their kits, it’s a very tempting offering. Get one quick before creative run out! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Bakers (38074) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Mankind has been cultivating crops for thousands of years, and some bright spark decided to grind grain into flour, so a baker must be one of the very earliest professions, alongside the oft quoted oldest one, but hopefully separated by physical distance for hygiene’s sake. A baker was allegedly responsible for the Great Fire of London, and someone must have baked the loaves that went with the fishes, so there’s a lot of history there. This figure set includes two bakers that are dressed in early to mid 20th century style, but could be more modern depending on context. It also includes a mobile stall/cart that the bakers could use to transport their wares to market, or sell them on the move as they pass potential customers on the street. Although the roadside stall used to be commonplace in most towns and villages in the West they have all but gone now, however they can still be seen in many other parts of the world. The cart is finely balanced so that a single person can walk with it in front or behind them, and it has a weather cover and racks for displaying boxes containing produce at an angle that makes it easier for the potential customers to see. Inside the figure-sized box are eleven sprues of various sizes in grey styrene, four filled with different varieties of bread and pastries, two containing shallow wooden boxes with open tops and hand-holds in the short ends. Three other sprues contain the parts for the afore-mentioned cart, and the last two sprues are where you will find the figures. The largest figure is wearing a tall chef’s hat with flared top section, white shirt and black trousers under an apron, finished off with a bow-tie and voluminous moustache. The baker’s assistant is similarly dressed except for a white jacket and his headgear, which is a close-fitting brimless cap, and he is carrying a tray on his shoulder. The parts for each figure are found in separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. The building and painting instructions are found on the rear of the box, the parts called out in alpha-numeric codes that correspond to the sprues, while colour call-outs are in numbers in green boxes, which can be converted to Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya or colour names by using the table in the top right of the area. Conclusion Yet more exceptionally well-rendered figures from MiniArt to add character (and characters) to your next project, or as the centre-piece as you see fit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt BasicKit (48009) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Thunderbolt developed from a series of less-than-successful earlier designs that saw Seversky aviation change to Republic, and the project designation from P-35, to P-43 and P-44, each with its own aggressive sounding name. After a realisation that their work so far wasn't going to cut it in the skies over war-torn Europe, they went back to the drawing board and produced the P-47A that was larger, heavier and sported the new Pratt & Whitney R-2800 18-cylinder radial that would also power the B-26 Marauder, P-61 Black Widow and F4U Corsair. With it they added eight .50cal Browning machine guns aligned along the axis of flight in the wing leading edge. The P-47A was still a small aircraft, and was initially ordered without military equipment to allow faster completion, but it was considered inferior to the competition then available, so an extensive re-design was ordered that resulted in the much larger P-47B, firing up to 100 rounds per second from the eight .50cal wing guns, and with a maximum speed of over 400mph, leaving just the fuel load slightly short of requirements. It first flew mid-1941, and despite being a heavy-weight, its performance was still excellent, and the crash of the prototype didn’t affect the order for over 700 airframes, which were fitted with a more powerful version of the R-2800 and a sliding canopy that made ingress and egress more streamlined, particularly when bailing out of a doomed aircraft. Minor re-designs to early production airframes resulted in a change to the P-47C, which meant that fewer than 200 Bs were made, the C benefitting from improved radio, oxygen systems, and a metal rudder to prevent flutter that had been affecting control at certain points in the performance envelope. A quick way to spot a B is the forward raked aerial mast behind the cockpit, as this was changed to vertical on the C and beyond. The production from a new factory that had been opened to keep up with demand led to the use of the D suffix, although they were initially identical to the C, but the cowling flaps were amended later, making it easier to differentiate. Of course, the later bubble-canopy P-47s were far easier to tell apart from earlier marks, and constant improvement in reliability, performance and fuel load was added along the way. The P-47D-25 carried more fuel for extended range, including piping for jettisonable tanks on the bomb racks for even more fuel. Taking a cue from the British designers, the bubble-top was developed and that improved all-round visibility markedly, although like the later mark Spitfires, later models incorporated a fin extension to counter the yaw issues that resulted. Its weight, firepower and seemingly unstoppable character led to the nickname ‘Juggernaut’, which was inevitably shortened to ‘Jug’ and led to many, many off-colour jokes during and after the war. Jokes that are still soldiering on to this day, despite being eligible for a pensioner’s bus pass. The Jug was used extensively in the European theatre as an escort fighter, where it performed well in its ideal high-altitude environment. Later in the war when the Luftwaffe was a spent force, it also went on to become a highly successful ground attack fighter, strafing and bombing targets of opportunity, and eschewing camouflaged paintwork to add some extra speed with a smooth (and shiny) bare metal finish. As well as flying with the US forces, many P-47s were flown by the other Allies, including the British, Russians, and after the war many other countries as the remainder were sold off as war surplus. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from MiniArt, and from my point of view, they’ve picked an excellent subject to bring their talents to bear upon. The kit arrives in one of their sturdy top-opening boxes with a dramatic painting of the subject on the front, and profiles of the decal options on one side, reserving the other side for practical details and text. Inside the box are twenty-one sprues in grey styrene, although in our sample many of the sprues were handily still connected by their runners, which simplified photography. There is also a clear sprue, two sheets of decals, and the instruction booklet, which is printed on glossy paper in colour, with profiles for the decal options on the rear pages, plus detailed painting and decaling information on the weapons and tanks on the back page. Detail is phenomenal, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt in the last several years, with fine engraved panel lines, recessed rivets, plus raised and recessed features where appropriate, as well as fine detail in the cockpit, wheel bays and engine. If you’ve seen their AFV kits you’ll know what to expect, but this is pretty awesome in this reviewer’s humble opinion. Construction begins with the highly detailed cockpit, starting by putting the seat together from base, back and two side parts, which have elements of the seatbelts moulded-in, and are finished off by putting the remainder of the lap belts on the seat pan. A pair of support are inserted into recesses in the back of the seat, then it is installed on the ribbed floor, which has control column, plus seat-adjuster, and two other levers inserted, after which the rear bulkhead, one of the cockpit sidewalls and the front bulkhead are added, trapping the rudder bar with moulded-in pedals between them. The starboard sidewall has a hose added, and a scrap diagram shows the detail painting as well as the location of the decals that need to be applied. The head cushion is applied to the head armour, then the other sidewall is detailed with four controls, numerous decals and more detail painting, so that it can be inserted along with the instrument panel and auxiliary panel, both of which have decals for the dials, with a choice of two for the main panel. The tail wheel is made up in preparation for closing the fuselage, building a four-part strut that holds the wheel on a one-sided yoke, then adding a small curved bulkhead with sprung bumper at the front, or an alternative assembly can be made from four different parts plus wheel, which is less detailed as the mechanism is hidden by a canvas cover. The fuselage halves are prepared by adding two extra detail parts to the short sill panels that have ribbing moulded-in, and should be painted to match the cockpit. At the rear on the underside, the supercharger fairing is slotted into the starboard fuselage along with the tail gear bay, and at the front, a cooling vent and an insert are added to the underside, fitting another vent to the port fuselage half in the same place. The fuselage can then be closed around the cockpit, adding the aerial mast into a slot in the starboard spine, although whether that will remain there until the end of the building and painting is a moot point, and I’d be tempted to nip it off at the base, gluing the base in to act as a socket for the aerial after the heavy work is over. There is a fuselage insert in front of the cockpit, and that has the two-part gunsight with clear lens added to the centre, and another equipment box on the port side before it is inserted and joined by a firewall that closes the front of the fuselage. The engine is created by joining the two highly-detailed banks of pistons together by a keyed peg, adding the push-rod assembly to the front, the ends of which mate with a circular support that is the frame onto which the cowling panels are added later. The reduction-housing bell is detailed with magnetos and other parts, plus a collet at the centre where the prop-shaft would be. This is joined to the front of the engine as it is mounted to a bulkhead at the rear, again on a keyed ring. The intake trunking at the bottom of the nose cowling is made from five parts and installed in the lower panel, and you have a choice of open or closed vents on the sides of the fuselage by using the appropriate parts, and in the same step, the rudder is completed by adding an insert at its widest point (the bottom), to avoid sink marks, and it is mated to the fin on three hinges, allowing deflection if you wish. Going back to the engine, the finished assembly is enclosed by four segments of cowling, and at the rear you have a choice of open or closed cooling gills, using different parts to achieve the look you want. Under the tail, your choice of wheel assembly is inserted in the bay, with doors on each side, or if you are building your model in flight, a closed pair of doors is supplied as a single part, adding a small outlet further forward under the fuselage. The upper wing halves have well-defined ribbing detail moulded-in, which is augmented by fitting an insert, two rib sections, front and rear walls, and an additional structure that has a retraction jack pushed through hole in one of the wall segments. The flaps are made from two sides, plus a pair of hinges and these are glued into the trailing edge of the wing with the ailerons, the remaining details of the gear bay, which includes another retraction jack, the gun barrels on a carrier to achieve the correct stepped installation, plus a pitot probe, and the wingtip light, which can be fitted now because the complete tip is moulded into the upper wing so that it can be portrayed as scale thickness. A scrap diagram of the lower wing shows the location of the flashed-over holes that you can drill out for rocket tubes or pylons, then it can be glued to the upper, along with two inserts at the tip and to the rear of the gear bay, which includes a flush landing light. The same process is then carried out in mirror-image for the other wing, omitting the pitot and landing light, after which the wheels and their struts are made up, each wheel made from two halves plus a choice of three hub types, and two styles of wheels are also provided, one without a flat-spot, the other under load on the ground, leaving it to your taste which you prefer. The struts are detailed with separate oleo scissor-links and stencil decals, and are mated with their wheels, plus the captive gear bay doors, the lower door made from two layers, again to avoid sink-marks. The wings are glued to the fuselage with a stepped joint making for a stronger bond, and the elevator panels are each slotted into the tail, and have separate flying surfaces that can be posed deflected, each one a single part. If you are building your model with the gear down, the inner gear bay doors are fitted to the fuselage, which contains the inner edge of the main gear bays, so remember to paint that while you are doing the bays. The engine assembly is also mated to the firewall, locating on a pair of alignment pins. If you plan on making an in-flight model, there are two single parts that depict the closed main bays, or you can insert the two struts with their wheels for the grounded aircraft. The four centreline supports are fitted between the main bays for some decal options, then the model can be flipped over to stand on its own wheels so that the canopy can be installed, gluing the windscreen at the front, and deciding whether pose the blown canopy open or closed. The prop is also fitted, and this is made up from two parts, each holding two blades in opposition, and the spinner is moulded into the front section. The Jug could carry quite a load, whether it was extra fuel, rockets or bombs, and all these are included in the box, starting with the two-part pylons, which can be depicted as empty by inserting a cover over the business end. You have a choice of four styles of tank, a 108gal compressed paper tank with a ribbed nose and tail, a 200gal wide and flat tank, the third 150gal streamlined tank with flat mating surface, and the last one slightly smaller at 75gal. All but the third option has a pair of sway-braces between them and the pylon, which fit into slots in the pylons. They are built in pairs to fit under the wings, but the first two options can also be used solo on the centreline support. The bombs use the same pylons, and can be built in 1,000lb, 500lb or 250lb variants, each one made from two halves for the body and two parts for the square tails, and mated to the pylon by a pair of sway-braces that varies depending on size. There is also a smoke generator that looks like a drop-tank with a spout on the rear, which would be used to lay smoke for the Allied troops below to cover their actions, at least temporarily. The final option is a pair of three-tubed rocket pods, which are made from two halves, plus inserts front and rear, which have their mounts moulded-in, and attach directly to holes drilled earlier under the wings. A large diagram shows the correct location for all the pylons and their loads, and you are advised that drop-tanks weren’t carried under the wings with the rocket packs, which seems sensible. No-one likes to fly home without wings, after all. Markings There are two decal options on the sheet, and the first page shows the location of all the many stencils on a set of grey-scale profiles to avoid cluttering the main profiles. From the box you can build one of the following: ‘Hairless Joe’, 62nd Fighter Squadron, 56th Flighter Group, 8th Air Force, August 1944 – pilot: Col. David Schilling 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, Duxford, Summer 1944 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 There are a few other kits of this fighter on the market in this scale, but I have a feeling that this will soon become the de facto standard in due course when a few more variants are released. The detail is exceptional, and the moniker “BasicKit” seems undeserved, and makes one wonder what delights the upcoming Advanced Kit will have in store for us. VERY highly recommended. Currently out of stock at Creative, but you can bet another order is on the way from Ukraine. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H Nibelungenwerk Late Prod, Sept-Oct 1943 (35346) 1:35 via Creative Models Ltd Unlike the later Tiger and Panther tanks, the Panzer IV had been designed in the years leading up to the outbreak of WWII, and was intended for a different role than it eventually played, which was as a form of infantry support tank with the mobile artillery function rolled into one. It was a heavier tank than the previous numbered types, and was well-designed, although it did suffer from the typical WWII German over-engineering that made them complex, expensive and slow to build, as well as difficult to maintain. The type went through several successive variants including enhancements such as a more powerful engine to give better performance, improved armour thickness for survivability, and latterly the provision of a larger gun with a longer high-velocity barrel that was based upon the Pak.40, but with shortened recoil mechanism and an enlarged muzzle-brake that helped contain the powerful recoil from the 75mm round. The new gun was a direct reaction to the first encounter with the T-34 in Soviet hands, an incident that shocked the German tankers and their superiors, as they knew very little of its existence until they had to fight it, and didn’t like the way their shots were prone to ricocheting off the sloped glacis. The Ausf.G and H were the later mainstream variants of the Pz.IV, and were made from early 1942 until 1944 with over 4,000 made, some of which were manufactured at Vomag, Krupp-Gruson, and Nibelungenwerk, one of the largest factories in the German area of influence, based in St Valentin, Austria. By the war’s end Nibelungenwerk was the home of the Panzer IV, and as such was bombed heavily, strangling production of the last variant, the Ausf.J as the Allied bombers took their toll. The Kit This is another new boxing of the recently tooled model of the Panzer IV from MiniArt, with a mixture of parts from other boxings plus some new sprues. It is an exterior kit with enough detail included to keep most modeller happily beavering away at their hobby for a good while. The kit arrives in a top-opening box, and inside are forty-two sprues in grey styrene of various sizes, a clear sprue, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles for the decal options on the inside covers. It has individual link tracks included and the level of detail is excellent, which is something we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s output. Construction begins with the shell of the lower hull, which is made up on a main floor with cross-braces, sidewalls and bulkheads, then the lower glacis around the location of the transmission and final drive, transmission access hatches being fitted into the apertures before installation. The final drive housing, towing eyes with PE retention chains, suspension bump-stops, return roller cones and fuel filler caps are glued into place on the hull sides, and two lengths of track made up to be attached to the glacis plates, held in place by PE clamps and a length of your own rod on the top side, and a bracket on the lower glacis. The upper hull is created in a similar manner to the lower, with the top deck accepting side panels after making some small holes, the engine bay area is fitted out with the side vents for the radiators and a flat rear panel that closes the area in. The rear bulkhead is detailed with armoured covers for the track tensioner arms, stiffener plates and access hatches, including a manual starter slot. The fenders can now be slotted into position at the top of the hull sides, both of which are covered in a delicate tread-plate pattern where appropriate. At the front the bow machine gun barrel is inserted from the outside, together with the armoured slot for the driver, and at the rear, shutters for the radiator louvres, covers, front hatches with handles, along with the jack-block in its bracket that has another PE chain, or the empty bracket showing the lightening holes if you choose. A radio antenna and base are mounted on the rear left of the upper on a bracket moulded into one of the radiator covers, which has another filler cap and grab handle nearby. The hull halves can be joined now, which involves adding the PE cooling louvres and side-mounted air filters that are attached to the hull sides with input trunk disappearing within the engine compartment, not to be confused with the exhaust round the back, and building up the detailed jack for later integration on the fenders with the rest of the pioneer tools. Under the hull, armoured plates are fitted around the various suspension parts on both sides to protect against mines, and explosives we’d now call IEDs. The big towing eye and its supports are applied to the bottom of the rear bulkhead, with the option of an alternative simplified towing eye, and after fitting another full-width plate, the big exhaust muffler is attached to the rear, made from a combination of shaped styrene parts then braced to the bulkhead by PE straps. The kit supplies a set of four towing cable eyes, but you’re responsible for providing the braided cable, which should be 152mm long and 0.75mm thick, times two. These are wrapped around two hooks on the rear in a figure-of-eight pattern, with more spare track links taking up some place on the left of the rear bulkhead. Now it’s pioneer tool time, with barrel cleaning rods, spanner, shovel, the afore mentioned jack, plus a set of four spare road wheels in an open-topped box that are held in place by a rod, with spanners strapped to the sides. The rear mudguards and front splash-guards are applied now, and the prominent external fire extinguisher with PE frame (and alternative styrene one if you don’t feel up to wrangling the PE) is fitted to the fender with a pair of wire-cutters and a pry-bar, all of which have optional empty mounts for missing tools. Just when you think you’ve finished the tools, there’s a crank for the engine, track-tools, a choice of two fittings for the axe, plus some styrene springs and PE brackets to allow you to show the front guards in the up position. We’re getting closer to the tracks now, but there’s still a lot of wheels that need to be made. They are mounted in pairs on twin bogies with a leaf-spring slowing the rebound of the twin swing-arms. There are two types of outer casting with two axles (for working or fixed suspension) that the swing-arms slot onto, and are then closed in by a cover, which you also have a choice of two designs for. Finally, the twin wheels with their hubcap slide onto the axles, and a small oiler reservoir is glued to the side of the assembly. You make four for the left side and a mirrored set of four for the right, plus two-part idler, a choice of two-part drive sprockets and eight paired return-rollers that fit onto the posts on the sides of the hull. The suspension units have slotted mounting points that strengthen their join, and once you’re done, you can begin the tracks. The tracks are individual links, and each link has three sprue gates that are small, easy to nip off and clean up, so the runs shouldn’t take too long to make up, although it won’t be a five minute job because there are a lot of parts. There are 101 links per track run, and the result is fabulously detailed, having a cast steel texture and some fine raised and recessed textures and features, particularly on the grousers. All decal options have schürzen fitted, and first you must add the styrene brackets on each side along with the brackets to support them, the pairs of triangular shapes on the top of the rails allow the hooking on of the schürzen panels, which consist of five PE panels per side, with diagonally tapered front and rear lower edges to reduce the likelihood of them digging into the ground and being ripped off. Each panel has a set of handles that slot over the triangular parts of the rails, plus longer handles that are fixed below them, presumably to help the crews to man-handle them. Bear in mind that these panels were subject to the rigours of battle so were often bent, damaged or even missing entirely. Use your references or imagination to decide whether you wish to depict a fresh set, or a set that have been in the field for a while. Finally, we get to the turret, which begins with the ring and minimalist “floor”, to which some equipment and a drop-seat are fixed. The internal mantlet is fixed to the floor after having the pivot installed, with the newly assembled breech glued into the rear once it has its breech block and closure mechanism fixed in place. The breech is then surrounded by the protective tubular frame, and the stubs of the coax machine gun and sighting gear are slid in through holes in the inner mantlet, as is a vision block and its armoured cover. A basket for spent casings is attached under the breech, the sighting tube and adjustment mechanism are put in place along with the coax machine gun breech. The turret roof is detailed with bracketry and an extractor fan, then has the other facets added, and outer mushroom cover over the fan included. The side hatches are the clamshell type, and can be posed open, closed or anywhere in-between, with latches, well-detailed vision blocks, plus handles, and grab-handles over the top to ease exit, that would be especially useful in an emergency, but those doors are also a weak-point of the turret’s design. The commander’s cupola is a complex raised part with five clear periscopes around it, and a choice of open or closed outer shields holding the clear lenses in place, sliding into the ring like the real thing. A ring of cushioned pads cover the interstices, and stirrup-shaped parts are fixed under each lens, covered by a single circular hatch with three latches glued into the underside in open or closed versions, hinging rearwards rather than the earlier two-part clamshell hatch, reducing the part count for the over-stretched factories. A PE blade-sight is sited at the front of the cupola with a machine-gun ring around the base and an optional MG34 gun on pintle-mount on top, and the bustle basket with optional open lid added to the rear. The gun has a choice of two types of flattened faceted sleeve made up, and the muzzle brake gives you a choice of two styles that differ slightly from each other if you look closely. Pick the one suitable for your decal choice, and you can begin to put the gun tube together. The outer mantlet section with the sleeve slotting into the front is applied along with a choice of two coax installations, and a single-part styrene barrel fitting into the front with a key ensuring correct orientation, plus the muzzle-brake having the same feature. The turret has curved metal sheets applied to the styrene brackets that glue to the roof and sides, that has a gap for the side hatches that are filled by a pair of hinged doors for more complete protection, and if you were wondering, you get open or closed variants with PE latches. Because of the complexity and realism of the turret and its ring, it drop-fits into position as the final act, and bayonet lugs aren’t present in the real thing, so remember not to invert the model once completed. The remaining two steps show some personalisation between the different decal options, starting with three short lengths of spare track on the vertical glacis panel in between the bow machine gun and driver’s slot. The third decal option is the only one that uses the MG34 on the commander’s cupola, which is shown being fitted along with the length of link between the material magazine bag that hangs down from the mount. Markings There are three decal options included on the sheet, and all are wearing late war schemes with red-brown and green camouflage over a base coat of dunkelgelb, or dark yellow in English. From the box you can build one of the following: II./Pz-Lehr.Rgt.130, 130.Panzer-Lehr-Division, Hungary, Outskirts of Budapest, March 1944 II./Pz.Rgt.25, 7.Panzer-Division, Eastern Front, Belarus, Summer 1944 7./Pz-Rgt.3, 3.Panzer-Division ‘Totenkopf’, Warsaw Uprising, 1944 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 This is a well-detailed exterior kit that should keep you occupied for a good number of hours. Careful painting will bring it to life, and leaving some turret hatches open won’t leave your viewers looking at a totally empty space if you omit crew figures. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Pz.Kpfw.VI Sd.Kfz.182 Tiger II Henschel 105mm (84559) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The King Tiger needs little introduction to most armour aficionados, as it became one of WWII's truly iconic AFVs, even though it saw only limited action in the closing months of the war, and had serious flaws that were never fully resolved due to its short time in service before the factories and then the Reich were over-run. As with any new equipment, Hitler was insistent that he was involved and always wanted bigger (compensating much?), which resulted in a heavily armoured tank with a massively powerful gun, but weight problems that put undue strain on its engine and transmission, resulting in a high preventative maintenance burden and frequent breakdowns on the battlefield. It has been said that more King Tigers were lost by crews having to abandon and scuttle a broken-down vehicle during a fight than were knocked out in battle. The design was complex, and although the simpler later turret design was chosen over the alternative and more complicated early offering to ease construction, it still took far too much time and valuable resources to create one, especially when compared to the comparatively rustic T-34s that the Soviets were churning out in huge numbers. The initial turret design was more complex to produce, and can be identified by their curved sides to accommodate the commander’s cupola, which was difficult to produce as it demanded high levels of accuracy in shaping thick armour-grade steel. This is the turret we usually call the “Porsche Turret”. They were fitted to the first tanks off the production line, and as such the later simplified design that we call the “Henschel turret” should by rights be the "second production turret", as the initial turret design was a common element of both Porsche and Henschel designs. Upgrades were proposed to solve some of the more pressing issues with the type, which included a replacement fuel-injected engine that would add around 100hp to the power available, although a new gearbox and transmission unit was discarded due to negative experiences during testing. The main armament was also to be upgraded to a 105mm KwK L/68 unit, but the army had not yet accepted the design, so it would have been a risky upgrade. As it happened however, events conspired against the Nazis and the war ended before any significant improvements could be made to the already impressive capabilities of the Königstiger, which we interpret literally as King Tiger, but actually refers to the Bengal Tiger in German. It took bravery on the part of Allied tankers to tackle a King Tiger, as they had to get well inside the killing zone of the mighty 88mm gun in order to penetrate the frontal armour, and even the flanks weren't easy to breach, having 80mm of sloped armour on the hull and turret sides. The Allied tankers developed a technique whereby a squad of tanks would attack a KT from various directions, hoping that in the confusion one or more would be able to flank their target and get close enough to penetrate the side armour, while the others dodged incoming rounds from the devastating main gun. This task was made a little easier by the introduction of the ‘Jumbo’ Sherman with high velocity gun, and the Pershing heavy tank, although these were also only available in limited numbers before the war ended. The Kit This is a new boxing of the base kit from 2018 with additional parts to depict the larger gun, building on their well-detailed rendition of the behemoth. The kit arrives in a large top-opening box with a painting of the 105mm equipped KT that is presumably rolling through the debris of Berlin in a last-ditch attempt to stave off defeat. Whether any up-gunned KTs were taken from the testing ground into action we’ll probably never know for certain, although that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The fact that one of the decal options has a red primer covered turret certainly implies that the designers of the kit think they did, but I can’t remember seeing any evidence in my wanderings. Inside the box is a small divide to keep the sprues from moving about unnecessarily, and there are plenty of them to be kept still. There are fourteen sprues of grey styrene, ten in brown, a single clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) in a small bag with the decal sheet and a card backing, the instruction booklet that is printed in black and white, and a single sheet of glossy A4 printed in colour that depicts the two markings options. Detail is very good, especially on the armoured areas of the tank, where there is a nicely restrained depiction of the texture common to rolled armour-grade steel of the era. The sand-cast texture on areas such as the exhaust armour and the mantlet is present, although it would probably benefit from being accentuated by stippling with liquid glue or Mr Surfacer and an old brush to ensure it doesn’t disappear under paint. Construction begins with the lower hull, adding the armour covers to the front of the final drive housings, then threading the swing-arms and torsion bars through the hull from both sides, followed by the road wheels, which must be applied in the correct order to achieve the interleaved effect. The four-part idler wheels and two-part drive sprockets with the final drive bell-housing incorporated are made up in a confusing flurry with arrows everywhere, then they too are installed along with long and short caps to the centres of the road wheel stacks. The tracks come next, and they’re an interesting part of the model as they have good detail, and with a little care can be made up to be workable. Each track run is handed, and every link is made from the main part that has the tread detail moulded-in, and has an insert added to the inner face, with another overhanging behind it un-glued. This then forms the insert for the next link, with another insert added to the rear, a process that continues until you have a run of 92 links per side. The main link has two sprue gates on the hinge-points, while the inserts each have two sprue gates on edges that are easily sliced away, so shouldn’t take long to prepare. There are also three tiny recessed ejector-pin marks on the exterior face, but with paint and a little bit of mud they probably won’t be noticed, so fill them if you’re inclined or hide them later. Attention shifts to the rear bulkhead, which is detailed with twin exhausts in armoured shrouds, adding two track tools, Notek convoy light and a large shackle between the exhausts, which is something I’ve not seen before. The bulkhead is slotted into the rear of the lower hull and has a pair of towing shackles clipped on with no glue, allowing gravity to do its work. The upper hull has the domed kugelblende armour fitted to the glacis from the outside, adding the pivot and socket from inside, and a clear periscope through a slot in the front deck. To fill the hole in the ball-mount, the machine gun is made up with sighting and grip mechanisms, plus a twin saddlebag magazine, and a domed cap on the left that allows the top of the gunner’s head to take some of the weight of the breech and assist with movement. The rear of the upper hull is open at this stage, with just two rails joining the front to the back, which will help support the engine deck insert when it is completed. Work starts on this by adding the large maintenance hatch in the centre with triple mushroom vents mounted on top, then detailing it with lifting hooks, more mushroom vents and hinge-covers, applying PE meshes over the grilles to prevent debris and grenades getting into the engine bay, followed by mounting it over the bay. The front hatches are usually moulded in an insert on King Tiger kits, but Hobby Boss have elected to mould it into the upper hull, having a small insert with a clear periscope in front of the driver’s hatch, fitting armoured covers over it and the other periscope that was installed earlier, plus simple hatches. The pioneer tools are installed all over the deck and side of the upper hull, the hand-tools having PE clasps, while the fully styrene towing cables with moulded-in barrel-cleaning rods are mounted on pegs on the sloped hull sides, surrounded by more pioneer tools with PE clasps. At the front, a cyclopean headlight is mounted on a central bracket on the glacis, with the wiring snaking away aft, adding some PE details for effect. The fenders are moulded as single lengths on each side, and these have been thinned at the edges to give a more realistic look. At first glance, the instructions seem to imply that adding the fenders should be done over the small rectangular PE mounting blocks, but a short text to the side states (using mostly part numbers) that you either fit the fenders or the mounting blocks. If you cut sections of the fenders out to depict lost portions, you can apply the blocks in the missing area, and depending on whether you think that the area behind the fenders would be left in primer, that gives some leeway for a little bit of fancy painting. In action, these fenders were often casualties of incautious or hurried manoeuvring, and were bent, mangled, or even torn from their mounts, as evidenced by many photos of the type. A pair of front mudguards of the later type are pushed onto rectangular holes at the front of the hull, adding separate sloped sides, and two more towing shackles are clipped over the torch-cut ends of the hull sides below. The texture of torch-cut armour isn’t replicated at the front or rear, so check your references and have a go at recreating that if you wish. It’s not too difficult, and can be achieved with a file or sharp blade. Speaking of the rear, simple sloped panel mudguards are fixed to the rear, with small PE eyelets added to the mounting point. Turret time! The turret build starts with some of the ancillaries, first of which is the commander’s cupola, which has seven vision blocks inserted into the two-part surround, with seven frames glued to the interior, plus six armoured covers and one that has a pin moulded into the top, attaching the three-part hatch with a long pin from below so that it can raise and turn to open, adding a PE backup sight to the front of one periscope. The mantlet shroud is next, which is specific to this variant, made from three interlinked cylinders of varying sizes and lengths, plus a PE part folded and glued on top of the widest section. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler radiused rectangular affair, having grab-handles inside and out, plus a locking wheel in the centre and a curved hinge-guide on the underside. The rear turret hatch is built from two layers that trap another part in between, then a pistol-port is inserted into the centre from both sides (I thought these were deleted on later production?), adding grab-handles and hinge-points, which are partly covered by either a styrene inner layer, or alternatively, a PE part that is bent to the curve shown next to it in the instructions. The outside also has a grab-handle fixed to the top edge. The larger 105mm barrel is particular to this variant, and is made from a full-length section that has the wider portion fleshed out by adding the other half of the cylinder to the hollow half, fitting a four-part muzzle brake to the dangerous end. With careful fitting and sanding of the mould seams, no-one will know it isn’t made from turned aluminium. As it’s an exterior kit, the turret interior is absent, the gun pivot made by fixing a short cylindrical socket to the two-part floor by a pair of trunnions, using no glue on the pegs if you want to pose the gun later, or just leave it mobile "for reasons". The upper turret is slide-moulded as a single part minus the front, adding two bent PE parts to the forward roof, positioning them with the aid of two scrap diagrams nearby. More detail is fitted to the roof in the shape of mushroom vents, a shell ejection port and some lifting eyes, then inserting the two-part mantlet in the open front from both sides. Surprisingly, there are detail parts inside the roof of the turret, carrying the external details inside, and adding a periscope and more details just in case humanity gains the ability to see round corners later in our species’ evolution. The gunner’s hatch, commander’s cupola and yet more details are installed over the following steps, including multiple cleats on which to hang spare track links, adding three to the rear and two to the front of the side armour. All the location points for these small parts are marked on the hull texture as very fine, almost invisible shapes to help you, which also extends to the strange blister-shapes that are applied to the top edges of the turret sides. I must find out what those are, as I’ve not seen them before. The spare track links have small portions removed because they are hung individually rather than as a run, showing where to cut in more scrap diagrams. The gun shroud slots over the tube projecting from the mantlet, and that accepts the rest of the barrel, adding the rear hatch at the same time. Incidentally, this was the only way the gun could be removed from the turret after completion of the real thing, which explains its presence and comparatively large size, as well as the fact that it can hinge almost flat against the deck. The completed turret drops into position on the hull, and as it doesn't have the usual bayonet fitting to hold it in place, you'll need to remember that if you ever turn it upside down. Markings There are two options on the profile sheet, and as usual Hobby Boss’s designers aren’t forthcoming with information on their veracity or otherwise, but as this particular variant wasn’t officially involved in combat, you can take them with as many pinches of salt as you wish, or just go your own way and paint it how you see fit. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are printed in China, and have decent register etc., but as none appear to be used on the profiles, they’re only there in case you’d like to use them. The shaping of some of the blue-on-white digits is unusual and would probably send a font-designer into apoplexy, but the vehicle codes were often hand-painted by crew members, and could be pretty amateur. Conclusion I have a fair few Tigers and KTs in my stash, and this appears to be a decent model of the beast that terrified Allied tankers whenever it turned up on the battlefield. It’s unusual because of the gun, and detail is good all over, even down to the texture on the hull parts. The tracks will be time-consuming, but that’s tracks for you, plus there’s the easy get-out of slapping some muck on them to hide any seam lines or ejector-pin marks you didn’t get round to. Highly recommended. At time of writing these kits are on heavy discount with 30% off their usual price at Creative Review sample courtesy of
  20. Tempo A400 Lieferwagen Milk Delivery Van (38057) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The A/E400 Lieferwagen was another of Hitler’s standard vehicles that is perhaps lesser known than the Beetle. It was produced by company Tempowerk Vidal & Sohn from 1938, and was joined by an identical Standard E-1 that was manufactured in another factory. It was one of the few factories that were permitted to carry on making civilian vehicles, although this permit was eventually withdrawn as the state of the war deteriorated for Germany. The wagon was a little unstable in the corners due to its single front wheel, and it had a front-mounted engine that probably made matters worse, with a chain drive from the motor to the wheel. The two-stroke 400cc engine in the standard E1 output 12 hp that gave it sluggish performance to say the least, which was probably just as well due to that front wheel. The milk delivery driver was situated behind the front wheel, with a pair of side doors for entry and exit, and a single-panel windscreen that overlooked the short, tapered bonnet/hood. The load area was to the rear of the vehicle that was integrated into the cab for this variant, with a single door on the side, and another pair of doors at the back to keep the contents safe and another load area on the roof inside a railed in portion, and with several other rear bodyshell designs available. The covered van was common, although flatbeds and other designs were available. The Kit This is a new variant of the recent tool from MiniArt, broadening the choice of body styles and uses again for the modeller. This unusual little vehicle arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are ten sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, eight sprues of clear bottles, eight sprues of milk crate parts in an orange styrene, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a large and a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet on glossy paper with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. It’s a full-body model that shares its panels with the cab, so you’ll get to build all the internal parts and during the process possibly learn a little about how it works – I did when the first boxings came in. Detail is as good as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a lot of it and it’s all very well-defined. Well considered use of slide-moulding also improves the detail without increasing the part count, and makes parts like the forward cowling a feast for the eyes. Construction begins with the small cab floor, which has a planked texture engraved on its surface, and is fitted out with foot pedals, a hand-brake lever and narrow cylindrical chassis rail down the centre, plus a battery attached to the floor on the left. The front bulkhead has a clear windscreen with rounded corners popped in with a small sliver of PE at the bottom, a short steering column and a L-shaped lever, with the windscreen wiper motor cover added to the top of the screen frame, cutting off the two bunny-ear indicators because they aren’t needed here for this version. The windscreen/bulkhead assembly is attached to the front of the floor with a pot for the washers and the conversion stub of the steering column, with a pair of PE wiper blades added in a boxed diagram later along with the latching-point for the bonnet. The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back is attached to the rear bulkhead that is joined to the floor, and you’ll need to find some 0.3mm wire 24.6mm long to represent the linkage to the floor-mounted brake lever and the back of the cockpit. The steering wheel and rear bulkhead are glued in, then the two crew doors a made up, having clear side windows plus winders and handles that are quite delicate for realism, making up the rear door with locking mechanism and handle ready for the building of the load area. This starts with the two side panels that have the aft door pillars moulded into the front and the mudguards for the rear wheels, plus a pair of bunny-ear indicators that are mounted on the B-pillar for this variant. The rear chassis is built around a cylindrical centreline rail with the back axle and its triangular bearers slipping over it and hubs with brake drums added at each end. A sturdy V-shaped brace is added between the ends of the axle and the other end of the cylindrical chassis rail, with a large retainer locating in a recess between them. The rear wheels are made from a main part that includes the contact surface of the tyres and back of the hub, with a choice of two inserts to represent two hub cap styles, that are then fitted onto the axles on short pegs, with a brake-line made from some more of your own 0.3mm wire and suspended from the frame on PE brackets that are folded over the wire and are closed up then glued to the frame with an etched-in rivet giving the impression that it is attached firmly to the chassis. The load bed floor is a single part with more planking and fixings engraved into both surfaces, adding clear lights into recesses in a rear valance and a number plate in the central recess. The floor is mated to the rear bulkhead of the cab, fixing an interior skin to the back of the bulkhead during the process. The load area sides have already been fitted with mudguards, and have a pair of interior skins added with supports for the racks moulded-in. As the two sides are glued to the edged of the floor, a set of optional rack stops are glued across between them, on the rear frame of the side entrance door. A shelf is slotted into the middle rack of the three, and another is inserted through the side door dropping the roof in from above, and fixing the pre-prepared back door and its single-part counterpart at the rear in open or closed positions, doing the same for the side door, which has the same locking mechanism and handle added, and the two rearward-hinging crew doors to the cab. The little engine is superbly detailed with a lot of parts representing the diminutive 400cc two-stroke motor and its ancillaries, including radiator, fuel tank, exhaust with silencer and chain-drive cover that leads to the front axle. The completed assembly comprises the motor, axle and the fork that attaches to the front of the cab and is wired in using three more lengths of 0.3mm wire from your own stocks, which the instructions advise you again makes you an experienced modeller. An easy way to earn that badge. After the rear axle and chassis tube have been fitted under the load bed and plugged into the rear of the cab, the slide-moulded cowling for the engine is fitted-out with a choice of two fine PE radiator meshes with layered Tempo badge, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate, a pair of PE clasps on the lower rear edge of the bonnet, and a tiny hook on the top in between two rows of louvres. The cowling can be fixed in the closed position or depicted open to show off the engine, when the little hook latches onto the clip on the roof’s drip-rail, holding it up past vertical against the windscreen, as per the scrap diagram over the page. A pair of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted below the windscreen and a solitary wing mirror on an angled arm is glued to a hole in the front of the bulkhead below the windscreen frame, with a PE bracket giving the appearance of that the etched rivets are what holds it in place. The last job for the model itself is to fit the PE frame around the strengthened portion of the roof, bending the legs outward and locating them in small C-shaped cut-outs marked around the edges. This is a milk wagon, and parts are included to create eight narrow milk crates with a fine wooden texture engraved in the parts, and each one can accommodate ten bottles from the clear sprues, which depict empties unless you plan on painting some of them with creamy-white paint to portray milk in the bottles. There are also four different styles of milk churn included on the sprues, taking advantage of sliding moulds to create the body of the churns as one part each. Each one has a base fitted to the bottom, lid with PE handle on three of them, and moulded-in carry handles for one churn, adding different types to the others using separate parts. The milk crates are shown perched on the roof of the vehicle, with the churns invisible, but you can put them wherever you like, as it's your model. Markings There are six decal options from the sheet, all painted in one or more solid colours with a lot of white (it’s a milk wagon after all), and decorated with the markings of the owner’s brand, one having the large smiling face of a child drinking a glass of milk while a caption extolls its virtues. The painted logos, some of them realistically painted, are the main reason for the decals being screen-printed to achieve the depth of colour, especially for the child drinking a glass of milk, those being sited on the small additional sheet. From the box you can build one of the following: Provinz Westfalen, Late 1930s Austria, Late 1930s Berlin, Early 1940s Saarbrücken, 1950s Netherland, Early 1960s West Germany, Early 1960s All the decals are screen printed 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 These little three-wheelers must have been prolific in post-war Europe, and we must now have half-a-dozen boxings of the different variants now. This is the most modern-looking bodyshell, and the detail is excellent as usual. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. US Tank Crew NW Europe Special Edition (35399) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models During WWII, once the American war machine had been roused to war footing by the cowardly attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese, American Tanks were a common sight in Europe, Africa and the Pacific. North West Europe suffers from cold weather in the winter, so after the D-Day landings in the summer of ‘44, the weather began to cool off rapidly in preparation for one the worst winters in a long time. Cold weather gear was the norm during the 44/45 winter, and this also applied to the tankers, as their engines and heaters could only keep them warm whilst inside their vehicle, and most tankers only battened down the hatches when action was expected, to escape from the claustrophobic conditions and any fume leakage, plus the chance to stretch their legs away from the confines of the tank. The Kit Inside the end-opening figure-sized box are five sprues in grey styrene, two containing the figures and three their helmets, weapons and accessories, plus a sheet of instructions for the accessories, and a small decal sheet. The parts for each figure are found in separate areas of the sprue for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. Three of the figures are standing casually, one with his hands in his pockets, and another with a steel helmet and pair of glasses, as if he is checking something out. Of the remaining two, one is standing in the tank leaning on the surround of his hatch, while the other is sitting on a sloped corner of the hull, which looks like the glacis plate of a Sherman, which were the most common US tank during the majority of WWII, although there were plenty of variants to choose from. They are all wearing similar trousers, and have leather spats over their boots, and differ mainly whether they are wearing just their overalls, a short tanker jacket, or hip length BDU jacket in the case of the observer wearing the steel helm with captain’s bars on the front. The accessories include three four-part tanker helmets, eight M1 helmets, four of which are bare, two have fabric covers, and two more with net covers. The accessories include various pistols in and out of holsters, M3 grease-guns with separate sliding stocks, goggles and pouches for ammo. Entrenching tools, two styles of bag, water bottles, hand grenades, bayonets in and out of scabbards complete the range of accessories available to personalise the figures. Markings Decals? For a figure set you say? Absolutely, and I couldn’t be happier, as this is a feature that I’ve been longing for from major figure manufacturers for a while. The small decal sheet contains rank and unit insignia, a few stencils for the accessories, and the Captain’s bars for the helmeted figure. 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 set of figures to crew your latest WWII US AFV, and the addition of decals to the package make the offering even better than usual. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Czechoslovakian Traffic Signs (35655) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII Czechoslovakia was under the control of Nazi Germany who had overrun their country early in the war. The Soviet forces fought their way through the country on their way to Berlin, and stayed there in body or in spirit for many years until the break-up of the Soviet Union. This set is full of signs from Czechoslovakia from the 30s and 40s, all of which are civilian in nature and some of the names might be familiar if you’ve been there. The Kit These signs relate to Czechoslovakian civilian roads, and the set arrives in end-opening, figure-sized box with a painting of what’s in the box on the front, and a set of instructions on the rear. There are six sprues of styrene parts, plus a large decal sheet with the sign fronts to complete the set. There are 24 signs, and although there are cruciform signs included on the sprues, there don't have any decals, presumably as the type was either unused or seldom used in their country. The posts are of a standard narrow format, and would have been easily bent or uprooted in the event of an accident. The posts are either straight box-section, or circular style, some with slightly wider bases and a round ferrule on the tip, which can be removed with a blade for some of the signs. The sign boards have cleats on the rear surface to attach them to the poles, with the straps moulded into the posts to guide you in marrying up the two parts. 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. Under the instructions on the rear of the box is a paint chart that gives colour swatches plus Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya codes, and generic colour names to assist you in choosing the correct paints for your model. It seems that the Czechoslovakian sign post poles were almost universally bare metal, giving you plenty of scope for weathering and rust on the posts, as illustrated by the paintings. Conclusion Great diorama fodder, as the devil’s in the details. The printed decal signs are also so much better than most of us could do with a paint brush, and will add a little extra realism to any diorama or vignette. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. GAZ-AAA with Quad Maxim AA Gun (84571) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd Based on the license-built Ford AA Truck, the predecessor to the Triple-A was named the AA, and was the GAZ factory’s first truck, built at their Gorky plant, which was renamed in the 90s to Nizhny Novgorod. The AA was however, an upgraded version of the original Ford truck, built from more robust steel and with similarly improved suspension to cope with the rigors of Soviet era Russia’s “roads”, which were sometimes little more than muddy tracks in the winter, and dusty, rutted trails during the summer once the mud had solidified. By 1938 almost a million had been produced, and the AAA is a three-axle variant, with just under 37,000 built between 1936 and 43, many of which were pressed into military service, with a substantial number of those fitted with a pedestal that mounted a four-gun arrangement of Maxim 7.62mm machine guns, arranged four-abreast, with a single ring and bead sight that would be used by the gunner to aim his weapon. Its load capacity of 1.5 tonnes allowed it to carry plenty of ammunition to feed the hungry Maxims, which could fire up to 600 round per minute, per gun, a rate that would rapidly deplete any stores during an extended air raid. The truck’s design was supremely oblivious to aerodynamics, mounting a vertical windscreen and grille, only the tapering engine compartment giving any concession to the concept of wind resistance. Fitted with a pair of frog-eye headlights in front of the GAZ 3.3 litre engine that put down its 50hp of power through a four-speed gearbox reaching a maximum speed of just under 50mph, although how often the roads were suitable for such speed is unknown. As well as being used to carry four Maxims, two other single-barrelled weapons could be fitted instead, using the 12.7mm DShK “Dooshka” or a 25mm 72-K autocannon that must have really shaken the truck’s chassis and crew. The Kit This is a reboxing of Hobby Boss’s 2016 release of the basic AAA truck, but with the quad Maxim installation on the truck bed, and ammo storage added behind the headboard. It arrives in a standard top-opening box with the corrugations showing slightly through the box art, which is well painted. Inside are thirteen sprues in sand-coloured styrene, two sprues of clear parts, ten flexible black tyres, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret, a sheet of pre-cut masks (not pictured), decal sheet, the black & white instruction booklet, and a separate painting and decaling guide that is printed in colour on both sides of a sheet of glossy A4 paper. Detail is good, with a full chassis, engine and bay, plus the cab interior and load area with gun mount. The inclusion of masks for both sides of the cab is useful, although the cut edges are very hard to see on the sheet, which is one of the reasons we didn’t photograph it. flexing the sheet between your fingers should reveal them though, and referring to the sprue map should help further. Construction begins with the chassis, installing the cross-braces between the individual rails, the rearmost rails made from three parts each. The rear axle is a model in its own right, including leaf-springs, differential housings, cleats and the drive-shafts that link the two axles together. The finished assembly is fixed to the tubular cross-brace at the rear, adding another brace in the mid-chassis, and a stowage box, possibly for the battery on one rail forward of the centre. The engine is then built from a prodigious part-count, including block, transmission, ancillaries, serpentine belt that runs the fan and dynamo, adding hosing, other ancillaries and two of the driver’s foot-pedals on the left of the gearbox, after which is it mounted on the chassis, along with a pair of long control rods that lead to the rear axles. The front axle is built on an A-frame, with a single leaf-spring across the top, adding the drum brakes and steering linkages that forces the wheels to move in unison in the same direction. A clutch plate and short exhaust pipe with muffler are fitted at the same time as the front axle is installed, fixing another thick tubular linking rod between the pivot-point of the rear axle assembly. Drop-links are added to the front axle, and the power is brought to the rear axles by way of another drive-shaft, completing the assembly by fitting dampers and another pair of leaf-springs to the rear axles. The front wheels are made from single-part hubs and have their tyres stretched over them, while the rear wheels are assembled in the same manner using different hubs that are then joined together to create the paired wheels, four of which are mounted to the ends of the rear axles. The tread detail moulded into the tyres should react well to flooding with pigment, and the raised manufacturer’s details and specification is nice to see. Between the front and rear wheels, two dropped brackets are installed on the rails to support the running boards that are moulded into the front wings, adding a pair of outward-curving brackets for the bumper at the front, fixing the engine firewall and some dash-pots, as well as the two chunky chassis rails to the top of the basic chassis, with notches to accept the load bed later. The cab floor is fitted directly to the chassis with the gear stick, mode-change lever, handbrake lever, and third pedal, then the bench seat part is mounted at the rear of the floor. At the same time, a set of U-bolts are used to join the two chassis rails together, and a towing hitch is fixed to the rearmost cross-brace. The dash board with instrument panel and decals is glued against the firewall, adding a three-part steering column and wheel underneath, then creating the back wall of the cab by inserting the rear window and masking it, and adding a lip around the sides and roof, the reason for which will become apparent later. A three-part cow-catcher is made and inserted under the front of the vehicle, then the windscreen and tapering forward cab section is made from several parts including a clear windscreen, covering the dash and stopping just over the firewall. A pair of support rods are fitted between the bulkhead and front of the engine, and another pot is fixed to the bulkhead, a little out of sequence, so it’s worth noting and gluing on earlier before you paint the firewall. Incidentally, the windscreen has masks for both sides, which is great news for the modern modeller. A pair of busy diagrams see the doors being fitted with windows that also have double-sided masks, the cowling panels and radiator grille, then the two top cowlings, which offer the possibility of posing one or both open, and finally the roof, closing the cab if you have chosen to leave the doors closed. A cross-bar that links the wings has a horn fixed on the left side, and a headlight with clear lens at either end, radiator cap, PE badge, twin-rail bumper with number plate, and a single wing mirror finish off the plastic parts of the cab, leaving PE drip-rails above the door cut-outs, and handles to the lower panels of the bonnet. A scrap diagram from overhead shows where the radiator cap and another filler cap should be on the cowling for some reason. The planked truck bed is made in short order, adding four shallow sides to the bed, then flipping it over to install two substantial cross-beams, and a stowage area between two more beams, plus six hooks under the lips of the sides for securing tilt tie-downs. Turning the bed over again, a winding wheel is mounted to a panel on the inside of the bed, and a PE latch is added to the tailgate. A full width storage box contains eighteen individual ammo cans, with a slightly smaller flat box sat on top, and a door folded down to access the boxes within, which is fixed on a pair of pegs to the front of the load bed. The bed is then mounted on the rear of the chassis, the cross-beams lining up with the recesses in the top chassis rail, and two PE strips are folded into two sides of a triangle, and fixed to the tailgate, probably a job for after main painting. There are three holes left in the load floor, which will locate the gun mount. The mounting frame for the Maxim has them laid four abreast, fitting the firing lever across the back of the frame, then mounting each of the four guns and their redundant twin-handles across the frame, and securing them at the front with a swooping hose that leads nowhere, possibly the feed for the cooling jacket around the barrel, although there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reservoir anywhere nearby. A pair of curved tubular frames are fitted beneath the main frame, and the rack for three ammo cans is made up from several parts, adding feeds to the underside of the guns, which initially seems odd, as there are four guns in total. The last ammo supply is fixed directly to the gun from the side of the frame, and it’s that way because all the guns have their ammo feeds from the right side of the breech. A pair of receiver hooks on the top of the ammo supply assembly supports the underside of the gun frame, then a traversing mechanism is placed on the conical mount, which has a three-pointed base and is further supported by three rods. The gun frame slots into a hole in the top, and the last ammo feed is glued to the right-most gun so that the completed assembly can be fitted into the load bed floor on three pins. Markings There are two decal options portrayed on the sheet, and as is usual with Hobby Boss, there is no information given about where and when they served, but you do get drawings from all sides in full colour. From the box you can build one of the following: Hobby Boss’s decals are usually functional, although they’re not their strongest suit. This small sheet includes number plates that are repeated as stencils on the tailgate and doors of the vehicle in black and white, plus the dials in the cab, a couple of red and white stars, and an all-white roundel for the tailgate. They’re all printed well enough to be used, have good register, and although you can see some stepping on the stars at magnification, they should be sufficient for the task at hand. Conclusion The GAZ-AAA is an unusual-looking vehicle with a gaping space under the load bed, but even though it is based upon a Ford design, it is quintessentially Russian in looks, accentuated by the quad Maxim mount in the back. A couple of crew figures would have been nice, especially a gunner with hands aligned to the gun mechanism. I’m sure someone will oblige in due course though. I’ll wait. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. StuG.III Ausf.G MIAG Production Dec’44 – Mar’45 (35357) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The StuG is a popular German WWII AFV, and the more you learn about it, the more obvious it becomes why. The SturmGeschutz III was engineered based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removing the turret and front deck of its progenitor, replacing it with an armoured casemate that mounted a semi-fixed gun with limited traverse. It was originally intended to be used as infantry support, using its (then) superior armour to advance on the enemy as a mobile blockhouse, but it soon found other uses as an ambush predator, and was employed as a tank destroyer, hiding in wait for Allied forces to stumble haplessly into its path. With the advances in sloped armour employed by the Soviets, the original low velocity 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon was replaced by higher velocity unit that was also used in the Panzer IV for tank-on-tank combat, extending the type’s viable career to the bitter end of WWII. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and they while they were equipped with guns, they were unsuitable for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield, being withdrawn in '41-42. By this time the StuG.III had progressed to the Ausf.G, which was based on the later Panzer III Ausf.M, with a widened upper hull and thicker armour to improve survivability for the crew. Many of the complex aspects of the earlier models that made them time-consuming and expensive to produce were removed and simplified to ease production bottlenecks, which led to several specific differences in some of the external fitments around the gun, such as the Saukopf mantlet protector. The Ausf.G was the last and most numerous version, and was used until the end of the war with additional armour plates or lengths of track often welded or bolted to the surface to give it enhanced protection from the Allied tanks and artillery, especially the Sherman Firefly with its devastatingly effective main gun. The Kit This is a new boxing of MiniArt’s recently tooled StuG.III kit, this time depicting production from the MIAG (Mühlenbau und Industrie Aktiengesellschaft) factory in Germany, who were involved in the production of StuGs later in the war. The model arrives in a standard top-opening box in the usual MiniArt style, with attractive artwork on the front and profiles on the side. Inside the box are fifty-four sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two large frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass parts, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear covers. Detail is excellent throughout, which is just what we’ve come to expect from modern toolings by MiniArt, with so much detail crammed into every part of the model, which includes the complete interior and individual track links. Construction begins with the interior, which is built up on the floor panel, receiving the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine, and a covering part that makes moving around less of a trip hazard for the crew, while carrying the support structure for the gun, which is made up from some substantial I-beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning aim. The rear bulkhead panels are set against the engine mounts to give them the correct angle, then the firewall bulkhead is made up with small drawers and various other details added before it is fitted into the floor. The driver’s seat is built from numerous parts on a shaped base, and controls are placed within easy reach of his feet and hands, with the option of adding a linkage for the hand controls from your own wire or rod stocks. Attention shifts to the transmission that distributes the engine’s power to the drive-wheels, diverting the engine’s output 90° into the drive sprockets at either side of the front of the vehicle. It is made up from many finely detailed parts, with gear housings and their retaining bolts on each side, moving out to the brakes and clutches, then rearwards to the drive-shaft that leads back under the gun mount then into the engine compartment. It is set into the front of the vehicle, crowding the driver, but leaving space on the floor for two shell storage boxes that have holes for the individual shells to be inserted after painting and application of their stencil decals, as per the accompanying diagrams. The engine is then built up from many more parts, resulting in a highly detailed replica of the Maybach power pack, including all the ancillaries and pulleys that you could wish for. The engine bay is detailed with extra parts in preparation for the installation of the block to make it sit neatly on the mounts, with a large airbox to one side with a battery pack on top. The sides of the hull need to be made up in order to finish the engine bay, and these two inserts are outfitted with final drive mountings, strapped-on boxes, gas-mask canisters, pipework and the outer parts of the brake housings, complete with the spring-loaded shoes straight out of a 70s Austin Maxi. Unsurprisingly, another big box of shells is made up and placed on the wall, and in the engine compartment a large fuel tank is attached to the side, with a fire extinguisher placed next to it. These two highly detailed assemblies are offered up to the hull along with the front bulkhead, which has been detailed beforehand with various parts, and the glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches that are given a similar treatment, including an instrument panel for the driver’s use that comes with dial decals to improve realism. A few other parts are inserted into the front of the hull to integrate the sides with the other parts, and the glacis is laid across the front, supported on three sides, adding a bullet splash deflector near the aft edge. Tank engines are under immense strain pulling the huge weight of the vehicle and its armour, so they need an effective cooling system in order to cope. Two radiator baths with mesh detail engraved are built up and attached to a hosing network, with a fan housing on the top and more hosing across the top, plus take-off pulleys and belts providing motive power for the twin fans inserted into the top of the assembly, with even more hoses and other details added before the completed system is inserted into the rapidly dwindling space within the engine compartment. On the top of the engine a pair of small canisters are attached to depressions on each side of the apex, and these appear to be air cleaners, as they resemble compact versions of the Fiefel units seen on the rear of early Tigers. Moving forward, the transmission inspection hatches are fitted with a choice of open or closed, as is only fair for such a highly detailed model. The rear bulkhead is detailed with towing eyes and exhaust mufflers with short pipes fixed to the outer sides. An overhanging frame is made up at the rear and has a PE mesh part applied along with a covered port for manual starting of the engine, and this is installed mesh-side-down on the top side of the bulkhead, with a pair of thick pipes slotted into place between the mufflers and manifolds once the glue is dry. Additional thin air guides are later placed under the overhang, with an overhead diagram showing how the assembly and rear of the vehicle should look once completed. The auxiliary towing eyes on the edges of the rear bulkhead have pins threaded through, with PE retaining chains added before the lower hull is put to one side for a while. The gun is represented in full, with a complex breech, safety cage and cloth-effect brass-catching basket present, plus a large pivot fitted onto the trunnions on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse, coaxial MG34 and sighting gear are installed on the breech, with a small seat for the gunner on the left side to keep him stable while aiming at his next target. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are encrusted with yet more detail, including a pair of MP40 machine guns with ammo pouches, equipment and stencil decals on the rear panel with a round extraction fan in the centre of the wall. The detailed radio gear is bracketed to a shelf that is installed on one sidewall, with more boxes and stencils adding to the chaos of the area, plus the option of adding wiring from your own stocks to improve the detail even more, helpfully noting lengths and diameters you should use. The other side is also decked out with boxes that require more wiring, all of which is documented in scrap diagrams where necessary to help in increasing the authenticity of your model, which is all joined into the shape of the casemate with the addition of the front wall that is detailed on both sides, and has a large cut-out to receive the gun in due course. The front of the casemate is built out forward with a sloped frontage and some appliqué armour, then the commander’s cupola is prepared with seven clear vision blocks, lenses and PE detail parts, set to the side for later, while the casemate is dropped over the front of the lower hull and joined by the breech assembly, which is covered by a mantlet after armoured protectors to the mounting bolts have been glued over them. A choice of bridge insert over the top of the barrel encloses the breech, then it’s time to prepare the roof with some interior details before encasing it, then making a choice of how to finish the commander’s cupola in either open or closed pose, but you just know you’re going to leave it open to show off all your hard work. It has a profusion of PE latches and a set of V-shaped binocular sighting glasses in the separate front section of the cupola that can be open or closed independently to the main hatch to allow the commander to stay within the casemate during battle whilst still able to use the glasses. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with a handle added to the inside. This hatch can also be closed, but why would you? The engine is still hanging out at the back, which is corrected next, building up the engine deck with short sides and armoured intake louvers on the sides, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay, allowing the viewer to see plenty of engine detail through the four access hatches. A piece of appliqué armour is added to the slope at the rear of the deck, then an armoured cover to the extraction fan is added to the back of the casemate, with short lengths of track to each side as extra armour and spares in the event of damage. The tracks are held in place by a long bar that stretches across most of the rear of the casemate. Under these are sited the barrel cleaning rods, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents, and all of these can be posed open or closed as you wish. Currently the StuG has no wheels, so the addition of the swing-arms with stub axles are next, adding the highly detailed final drive bell-housings under the front, plus additional suspension parts that improve damping further. The idler adjuster is covered with armoured parts, and more pioneer tools are dotted around the sides of the engine deck, after which the paired wheels are fixed to the axles, with drive-sprockets at the front and spoked idler wheels at the rear that have PE outer rings, plus a trio of twin return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides. A pair of road wheels are made up, and long pins are pushed through their holes that attach them to the rear pair of hatches on the engine deck. An optional top-mounted MG34 is provided to fit onto an alternate cover on the top of the casemate, which has a base and sharply angled splinter shields attached to the sides, plus a small drum magazine, separate breech cover, and PE mounting bracket, with a lever to mount and dismount it on the base. The barrel of the gun has a bulky inverted trapezoid Saukopf mantlet cover, which is made up from three parts with a barrel sleeve moulded into the front, which the single-part barrel slots into, tipped with a detailed three-part muzzle brake to give it the correct hollow muzzle. It slides over the recoil tubes of the gun, closing the last unintended view of the interior. The tracks are individual links that are held together by friction, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, with zero flash to deal with. It’s probably best to set them in position with liquid glue once they are correctly arranged on the vehicle’s wheels for safety’s sake. Once they’re in place, the fenders are attached to the hull sides, with L-brackets, the mudguards and PE fittings added once the glue has dried. More pioneer tools and stowage are added to these, as space was a premium on these vehicles, and every flat surface ended up with equipment on it. This includes a convoy light and either a highly detailed PE wrapped fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer. Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, jack block and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the cable material yourself, with a pair of PE tie-downs holding them in place on each side. One decal option also has a field modification of PE railings around the rear of the deck, the rear rail optionally adorned with another run of spare track links that seem like an attempt to protect the engine deck from enemy fire. A pair of antennae mount on the rear of the casemate, and for two other decal options there are runs of track either side of the main gun on the casemate front, or across the lower glacis on a PE rail. Another option has more track on the casemate sides that are again secured by PE rails. Another option for two of the decal choices is the addition of the Schürzen or side skirts that pre-detonate shaped-charge rounds to weaken their penetrating power. These are made from four PE sheets with angled front parts to prevent digging into the ground, onto which the hanging brackets are glued, again using PE parts for scale fidelity. They fit on triangular upstands that are moulded into the mounting rails, which have three additional support brackets fixed to each one before installation, the schürzen panels just relying on gravity to hold them in place, which is probably why many of them were either mangled or lost altogether when travelling or fighting over rough ground. Annealing the sheets with a flame and letting them cool naturally will soften the brass and enable easier bending of the parts if you wish to replicate this on your model. Some scrap diagrams show how the panels are mounted to assist you with correct placement on the rails, and they can be fitted vertically, or angled inward toward the bottom. Markings There are five decal options in this boxing, and from the sheet you can build one of the following: Unknown Unit, Luxembourg, Winter 1944/45 11 Panzer Division, Germany, February 1945 Unknown Unit, Hungary, Spring 1945 346 Infanterie-Division, Netherlands, Spring 1945 346 Infanterie-Division, Netherlands, 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 stunning model of an impressive tank destroyer that saw action the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. There’s enough detail for the most ardent adherent to dig into and spend many hours painting and weathering the interior and exterior. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. German Tank Riders. Winter Uniform 1944-45 (35370) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Getting a lift on a tank was a treat for the foot-soldier that occasionally turned sour if their lift came under fire from an enemy tank, especially if the turret started to rotate and the crew began using the main gun. Sometimes they’d ride into battle on the back of a tank, using the turret as temporary cover until it came time to dismount, usually off the rear avoiding the exhausts, other times it was a case of sitting somewhere flat on the hull of the tank for a well-earned rest, and saving some shoe-leather whilst still getting from A to Battle. During winter periods, especially in the freezing cold of the Eastern Front, a seat on the warm engine deck would be prime real-estate, helping to defend against the biting cold that required heavy uniforms and great-coats, of which the Nazi invaders were woefully short. The Set This set arrives in a figure-sized box with a painting of the four figures that are depicted on the front, and annotated portions of the painting with part numbers and colour call-outs added to facilitate construction and painting of the figures. Inside the box are eight sprues in grey styrene, the sprues having a little flash here and there, although very little encroaches on the parts themselves. The parts for each figure are found in separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. There are three sprues that are devoted completely to a substantial quantities of accessories that include Small Arms, Stahlhem helmets, pistols in and out of holsters, ammo pouches, bags, satchels and map cases, water bottles ribbed cylindrical gas mask canisters, entrenching tools and bayonets in and out of scabbards. The weapons range from MP40s, an STG44, an FG42, Karabiner 98ks, MP28, Erma EMP-35, Gewehr 41, Walther P38, and of course a Luger P-08. The colour call-outs on the rear of the box are given in Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, plus swatches and colour names to assist with choosing your colours. These refer to the green colour numbers on the paintings above the chart. Conclusion Another realistic set of figures for your AFV projects, with so many accessories you’ll be spoilt for choice. Detail and sculpting is first rate, and what we’ve come to expect from MiniArt. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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