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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Plastic Barrels & Cans (49010) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Plastic barrels are pretty useful, as they're light when empty, recyclable, can hold liquids that metal barrels can't and are often more resistant to impact without permanent damage. In addition, they don't use up much in the way of strategic materials and don't rust, so you're onto a winner. Civilians and military use them extensively, and wherever there is engineering going on, you'll usually find barrels dotted around. This set arrives in an end-opening figure box, and inside are four sprues in grey styrene plus a small decal sheet. There are four barrels and four cans on each sprue, and you can make eight large and eight small barrels with separate lids alongside the sixteen two-part cans by following the simple instructions on the rear of the box. The large barrels are made of two halves and a top, while the small barrels are built in the same manner, but have two handles moulded into the sides to facilitate handling. The cans are simple two-part assemblies with the nozzle moulded into the left side to reduce seams. Markings There is a handful of warning decals on the little sheet, and the back of the box also includes painting and decaling suggestions in various colours as well as the ubiquitous blue. 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 16 barrels in two sizes, and 16 cans. All in realistic plastic for you to paint and add to your projects. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. German Soldiers w/Fuel Drums Special Edition (35366) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd It’s a fact that an army marches on its stomach, so by extrapolation, a mechanised army rolls on its fuel supply, with fuel efficiency hardly a priority when creating gas-guzzling monsters such as tanks, heavy prime-movers and the trucks that move the fuel about, ironically. During WWII, Germany suffered from a shortage of fuel that drove the reasoning for some of their initial conquests to rectify this untenable situation for an aggressor. As they were driven back into their original territory, those sources of oil diminished, and fuel became scarce, contributing to some of their military failures, with some help from expert tactician Adolf Hitler, of course. Mass fuel transport was done by rail to distribution points (Allied fighters permitting), where trucks and manual handling took over. The Kit This set is a combined figure and fuel drums offering, providing five figures and eight fuel drums of two styles, plus some hand-pumps into the bargain. It arrives in an end-opening figure box, and inside are ten sprues of various sizes, although the figure sprue has cut in half in order to fit the box. A sheet of instructions for building the barrels is included, and the figures are shown on the back of the box, with paint codes and part numbers arrowed where appropriate. There are also some suggestions for the fuel drum colours on the back of the box, which we have expanded with some details that might prove useful in helping you choose. The five figures represent a work-group, consisting of four soldiers and an officer that is in command, a.k.a. not doing any hard work. The Officer is dressed in typical garb, with knee-length riding boots and trousers, a flat-topped cap, and is busily scribbling on a notepad, with a holstered pistol on his hip. The workers are split evenly between peaked and flat forage caps, wearing standard Wehrmacht uniforms and long boots. They are in various poses, including pulling on a rope, pushing with both hands and leaning into the action in two poses, and rolling a barrel whilst stooped forward. 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 sculptors and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. The drum sprues give you enough parts for six drums, and there are a further two on the figure sprue of a different type that have moulded-in ribs around the centre of the cylindrical forms, and have a couple of dents moulded in for realism. The other drums are made from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are added to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you cut off and drill out the cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself. You can depict the drums in any state from brand new to badly dented and completely rusted to bare metal, and the choice is entirely up to you. Conclusion If you’re looking for an activity for your latest German WWII truck model to undertake, this set will supply that, and a decent quantity of drums to fill the load bed with into the bargain. If you need more, MiniArt sell a separate set that is just barrels, which you can see here. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Fuel & Oil Drums 1930-50s (49007) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd There’s no escaping the fact that we as a society have been addicted to fossil fuels starting with coal during the first industrial revolution, and now oil and fuel in the 20th and 21st centuries. Drums are an easy way to store and transport relatively small quantities without spilling them, and they certainly beat a carrier bag any day of the week! The Kit Arriving in a shrink-wrapped figure-sized box, the set includes five sprues in grey styrene, plus a decal sheet, and instructions with painting guide on the back of the box. There are only two different sprue types included, but you get multiples that allow you to build up 18 barrels and 6 manual hand-pumps if you feel the urge to use them. There are three types of barrels, two of which have different types of ribbing moulded in, the third having thicker pairs of rings around them, moulded-in at this smaller scale. The tops and bottoms of the barrels are all fitted with filler caps and breather holes on the opposite side, while some have a concentric ring in the middle to add rigidity to the surface. The hand pumps have a long dip tube with crank handle moulded-in, and an applicator/dispenser wand that will need you to supply some hose or wire to complete. Markings The back of the box gives you brief instructions for construction and suggests paint schemes and decal locations for your edification. 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 whole barrel of fun for your aircraft, vehicle or diorama base. Detailed, with decals to pretty them up, and a decent quantity that could last you a few models. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. German Tank Repair Crew Special Edition (35319) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Just like an ordinary motor vehicle, tanks break down, probably more frequently, as they drag around huge amounts of armour and armament, sometimes with an engine and transmission that isn’t up to the job, if not initially, then after upgrades that increase the all-up weight. German tanks invariably had this problem, especially the Tiger and King Tiger, both of which used a similar drive-train that was overloaded and prone to break-downs. This meant that in the field the crews had to become at least proficient in rudimentary maintenance and repair, which was often practiced during training so that they were prepared for the inevitable. The Kit This set contains five figures of German WWII tankers in the process of fixing their tank, much of which is relating to tracks that were quite easily thrown if transiting over rough ground, or the tension wasn’t 100% correct. They also suffered from damage due to incoming rounds and mines that could quickly disable even the well-armoured Tigers and King Tigers, for want of a few damaged track links and possibly the need for a replacement road wheel, which was why many tanks carried spare links and road wheels attached to the outside of their hull in case of this kind of damage. It also made acceptable appliqué armour in the meantime. Inside the figure-sized box are four sprues, although two are made from one cut-down sprue that wouldn’t otherwise fit in the box. This bisected sprue contains the figures, their headgear, sidearms and a few of the tools. The sprues are sectioned up with all the parts for one figure together in that portion, which makes identifying parts for clipping off a breeze. They are all standing, four of them hard at work levering with a bar, hammering, pulling on a cable, and pushing, while their commander eggs them on from a short distance so he doesn’t get too hot and sweaty. As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional, with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown, plus two sprues of extra tools to add some detail to their vicinity if you use them in a diorama. The multi-part tools have their part numbers and a drawing of how they should look on the back of the box, showing where they can be found on the sprues with the aid of a diagram on a small sheet of paper inside box. Conclusion A realistic and well-detailed tank crew or crews working on their vehicle to either get back to the fray, or get out of Dodge before the enemy overruns them. Poses, drape of clothing and detail is exceptional as ever. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Modern Oil Drums 200L (49009) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd We’ve been addicted to fossil fuels since coal was first burned, sparking (Sorry for the pun) the industrial revolution, and now oil and fuel in the 20th and 21st centuries. Drums are an easy way to store and transport relatively small quantities without spilling them, and they certainly beat a wicker basket or colander any day of the week! Arriving in a figure-sized box, the set includes five sprues in grey styrene, plus a small decal sheet, and instructions with colour painting guide on the back of the box. This allows you to build up 20 barrels of two styles and 5 manual hand-pumps if you feel the urge to use them. There are two types of barrels with different style of ribbing, all having two ribs either side of the centre, while one type has numerous smaller ribs in the top and bottom portions. The ends of the barrels are mostly flat with filler cap and vent, while a few have a ring near the centre. The hand pumps have a long dipping stick, a handle to crank, and an applicator that will need you to supply some hose or wire to complete. If you plan on inserting one into a barrel, you will need to drill out the cap in order to get it in there. Markings The back of the box gives you brief instructions for construction, suggested paint schemes and decal locations for your guidance. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A whole barrel of fun for your vehicle or diorama base! I’m sorry to reuse that yet again. They’re detailed, with decals to pretty them up, and a decent quantity that could last you a few models. Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
  17. Waiters (38052) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd War is hell, quite literally, and any break from hostilities is welcomed by soldiers and café owners, particularly since WWI and WWII when war became total, with little in the way of remission for the soldiers for weeks on end. During WWII and after D-Day, there were occasions when Allied soldiers had access to cafés in France and Belgium as they progressed toward Germany, liberating the people as they went, which allowed them to go back to some semblance of normality for short periods, within reason. When Paris was designated an open City by the Germans to avoid destruction of its many historic buildings and populace, the Allies suddenly had extended access to café life, and took to it like ducks to water. This meant more work for the local waiters, who were generally happy to serve their liberators, and the Allied customers were probably a lot more welcome than the previous goose-stepping occupants, as was the additional paid work during a difficult transition period. The Kit This set includes four waiter figures, and arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box, with four sprues inside, although in our example three were linked by a runner, which was discarded for the sake of ease of photography. Each sprue contains all the parts you will need for each figure, all of whom are males that are wearing typical waiter’s garb of the 30s-60s, including waistcoat, apron tied at the waist, and for one rather creepy-looking gentleman, a double-breasted chef’s jacket with cravat, who is toasting someone, probably an unlucky mademoiselle, holding up a cup of coffee and proffering a leering smile, all whilst sat on a stool, the parts for which are included. The real figure doesn’t look quite so creepy, happily. The other three gentlemen are hard at work, serving a dessert on a tray, pouring a bottle of wine over a cloth draped over his forearm, and offering a menu, whilst holding an empty tray behind his back. 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 sculptor in this instance is Sergey Alekhino, as noted on the box front in small lettering. https://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/creative/miniart/figures35/38052-waiters/instructions.jpg The rear of the box shows the part numbers in black, and the suggested paint codes in blue boxes, with lines showing what each number relates to, and there is a table below that gives paint codes in swatches, Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission, AMMO, Tamiya, and generic colour names, as you can see below. Conclusion If you have a café that you’re looking to populate in 1:35, this set could be just what you’ve been waiting for, although we have seen at least three of the four figures in the Allied forces in cafés sets recently. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Liefer Pritschenwagen Typ 170V (38065) Furniture Transport Car 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 coachbuilders, 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 and Cheese Delivery vehicles (reviewed earlier), with the same base sprues and more new parts added to create the load for this 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 thirteen 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 brake hoses are shown in 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 a curved length leading forward to the engine. With the addition of the bumper-irons at the front, the lower body can be fixed to the chassis after drilling a single hole in one of the front wings and installing PE mudflaps under 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 integrated into the windscreen frame after being fitted with decals within the instrument housings, then covered over with clear faces for realism. There is also a nicely clear curved windscreen inserted before this is dropped over the firewall, joined by a rear cab panel that has a small rear window and the back of the bench seat applied before fitting. The base of the bench seat is also fitted on a riser moulded into the floor along with a couple of rear panels at the sides of the seats. 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 shallow sides are added 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. At this stage the front of the van needs finishing, a job that begins with the radiator with a PE grille and three-pointed star added to a 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, with two cross-braces reducing body flex along with a central rod that forms the hinge-point for the side folding hood. Small PE fittings are fixed first on the louvred side panels, then added to the top parts in either the open or closed position. 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 flatbed at the rear, with cut-outs underneath to clear the rear arches. A pair of combination PE and styrene wipers are added to the windscreen sweeping from the top, 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. To put the load into this wagon, there are two sprues of household parts and a multi-part upright piano to make up according to the last page of the instructions, which gives you a choice of open or closed cover on the keyboard, plus a radio, small side table, a globe in a hemispherical frame mounted on a pedestal, and a table lamp with conical shade, all of which can go in the back of the van once painted any colour you like. 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 three options depicted in the instructions, with plenty of colour suggestions for the various items in the back. From the box you can build one of the following: American Occupation Zone, Bavaria, 1946 Switzerland, 1950s British Occupation Zone, Niedersachsen, 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 van, and even if you’re not a vehicle modeller it would make great background fodder for a diorama, especially if a cheesy or beery 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
  19. US Stake Body Truck G506 (38067) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that were capable of carrying up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo or equipment. They were initially made under the 4100 code, then moved to the 7100 range, and usually had a standard enclosed cab, with a 3.9L straight-6 engine under the bonnet, with a four-speed “crash” (non-synchro) gearbox putting down a little over 80hp through all four axles. Under the new coding it rapidly became the Allies’ standard light truck, and served in substantial quantities with the Allies in the West, the Soviets in the East, and the forces fighting Japan in the Far East. There were a lot 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 under the Lend/Lease program. The civilian vehicles could be almost as varied in form as the military options with some obvious exceptions (civilians seldom have a need to launch rockets), and they were well-liked by their drivers and crews, carrying out cargo shipping duties before, during and after WWII. They benefitted from widely available spares and the know-how to repair and maintain them, often from ex-servicemen, and the truck served long after the end of WWII. The Kit This is a new civilian boxing of a recent tooling from MiniArt, one of a widening range that is to be found in your favourite model shop, and the term ‘Stake’ refers to the fact that there are removable sides to the load area consisting of posts or ‘stakes’ that slot into sockets in the load deck, adding flexibility to their use. It’s a full interior kit, with engine, cab and load area all included along with some very nice 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 seventeen modular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope, a decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. 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, PE rear bumper irons folded around a styrene jig, and axles installed, 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 pulleys and fan at the front, and the spare tyre on an angled bracket. The engine and substantial front bumper iron are fitted to the chassis, and at the rear a short additional chassis rail is attached to the frame at the rear behind the fuel tank, adding the final drive shaft to the transfer box in the centre of the chassis. The exhaust and its manifold slip into the underside of the chassis from below later, with linkages and axle brackets fitted to the rails. The additional chassis rails are secured to the main rails via six clamps that have long bolts holding the two halves together from above and below, each one made of two halves. The crew cab is next, beginning with the firewall and forward sidewalls. The roof and windscreen frame are moulded as one, with a headliner insert and rear-view mirror that are inserted within, and the three-part radiator housing is made to be used later. The firewall and roof are joined with some of the dash pots fixed to the engine side of the firewall, while the doors and their interior cards are assembled with their handles and window winders, plus the clear window glass that can be posed open or closed at your whim. The dashboard inserts into the front bulkhead with seven decals for the instruments and stencils on the glove box. The diagonal kick panel is joined with the firewall and decked out with three foot pedals, a stud and the steering wheel on a long column that slides through a hole in between two of the pedals. The driver and co-driver share a bench seat that is made up on the floor from back, cushion and a C-shaped surround that fits round the rear of the cab back wall, with small ovalised window and optional PE mesh grille fitted later. The roof and firewall assembly are fitted to the floor, with the doors installed within the frame in the open or closed position. The windscreen is two panes of clear in a styrene frame fitted to the front of the cab open or closed, and below it on the scuttle is a ventilator panel that is posed open or closed later as you like it. The cab and radiator are both placed on the chassis with spacer rods applied, and a choice of engine cowling side panels fit between them with front wing/fender included that incorporates the running boards under the doors. The windscreen 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. 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 obtaining 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, and another small curved section is added to the left of the grille as it is glued in place with the help of some CA. 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. The hood/bonnet can be fitted open or closed with two clasps and in the open option a PE stay is provided, attaching the clasps upside down. A number plate holder is fitted offset to the right at the front next to a pair of large hooks, and the rear lights are mounted on PE brackets at the sides of the PE bumpers fitted earlier. The load bed floor is a single moulding with four cross-ribs glued to the underside, and the two sides made up with slatted gates inserted that have PE furniture, and simple slatted front and rear sides that glue onto the bed and are clipped together with more interlocking PE brackets at the corners. The load bed is joined to the chassis along with the fuel filler’s PE clamp, and exhaust that is added on PE brackets and has an optional PE skin to the muffler. It’s time for the rest of the wheels to be made up, with singles at the front, each made from two parts each, and twin wheels at the rear, made up much earlier in the instructions for some reason. Each wheel slips over its respective axle, with the hub projecting through the central hole, with a pair of rear mudflaps behind the back wheels, and an additional carrier for the spare wheel under the body. Markings There are four colourful markings options on the decal sheet from various parts of the US that were operating in the 1940s. From the box you can build one of the following: Connecticut, 1940s Idaho, 1940s North Dakota, 1940s Texas, 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 We seem to be blessed with many new kits of the Chevrolet G506/G7107 truck in 1:35 of late, which was ubiquitous during WWII and equally at home lugging goods of all types around the USA and beyond in the decades following. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. 1.5t 4x4 G506 Cargo Truck (38064) 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. Following the end of WWII, many were mothballed, or sold off into civilian service, where they went on to give good service over an extended period. Those equipped with a load bed was a workhorse in America and other countries after WWII, when money was tight, so second hand or former military equipment was just the ticket for the cash-strapped hauliers and long-distance transport companies. As time went by, they gradually wore out, repair became more expensive, and newer more effective vehicles came to market that permitted the carrying of larger loads over greater distances for less. Some still survive of course, and can be seen at historic vehicle rallies and get-togethers of like-minded enthusiasts. The Kit This is a new boxing of a recent 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 twenty-two modular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope, a short length of shiny metal chain, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. 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, 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, and at the rear a short additional chassis rail is attached to the frame at the rear behind the fuel tank, with a stowage area that had an open rear and top at this stage. The exhaust and its manifold slip into the underside of the chassis from below later, with linkages and axle brackets fitted to the rails. A spare tyre mounts on a large bracket on the left outer of the chassis, with the inner face a separate part to achieve correct thickness and detail. A set of additional chassis straps trap the additional rails to the lower rail, the real ones cinched up by long threaded coach-bolts. The crew cab is next, beginning with the firewall and forward sidewalls. The roof and windscreen frame are moulded as one, with a headliner insert and rear-view mirror that are inserted within, and the three-part radiator housing is made to be used later. The firewall and roof are joined with some of the dash pots fixed to the forward side of the firewall, while the doors and their interior cards are assembled with their handles and window winders, plus the clear window glass that can be posed open or closed at your whim. The dashboard inserts into the front bulkhead with seven decals for the instruments and stencils on the glove box, plus two more on the headliner by the rear-view mirror. The diagonal kick panel is joined with the firewall and fitted out with three foot pedals, a button and the steering wheel on a long column that slides through a hole between two of the pedals. The driver and co-driver share a bench seat that is made up on the floor from back, cushion and a C-shaped two-layer rear wall that fits round the rear of the floor, with small ovalised window and optional PE mesh grille fitted later, adding four levers in front of the seats at the same time. The roof and firewall assembly are fitted to the floor, while the doors are installed within the frame in the open or closed position. The windscreen comprises two clear panes in a styrene frame fitted to the front of the cab open or closed, and below it on the scuttle is a ventilator panel that can be posed open or closed as you prefer. A pair of wing mirrors are glued onto the cab in front of the doors at handle-height. The cab and radiator are both placed on the chassis with spacer rods applied, and a choice of engine cowling side panels fit between them with front wing/fender included that incorporates the running boards under the doors. The windscreen 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. 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 obtaining 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, and another small curved section is added to the left of the grille as it is glued in place with the help of some CA. 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. The hood/bonnet can be fitted open or closed with two clasps and in the open option a PE stay is provided, attaching the clasps upside down. The load bed floor is a single moulding with a planked texture on the underside, a slim rear section with moulded-in reflectors, and separate rear lights mounted to the chassis. The shallow sides and taller header board are separate frames with some PE furniture applied along the way, while the underside is strengthened by four cross-braces. The load bed sides are extended by a set of verticals with twin planked top panels, and these too have PE furniture installed, many of which will require some simple folding. The rear rail has a pair of towel-rail hinges and PE brackets fixed to it during the assembly of the bed, and underneath is the door to the stowage area built earlier, which gets a PE shackle and padlock to keep it secure. A run of planked bench seats is fitted along each side of the load bed for passenger transport, and these can either be built deployed on diagonal brackets, or stowed away with the brackets and seats stored vertically against the side wall to maximise load area. The rear gate has a pair of PE stirrups, hinges, and a couple of hooks, and their latches have their pins linked to the vehicle by lengths of chain so that it doesn’t get lost by careless loaders or drivers. A scrap diagram shows exactly where it should be mounted. The tailgate can be posed open or closed, and the latches fitted accordingly. The completed bed is joined to the chassis along with a pair of mudguards and their braces, and a strip of PE rolled around the pipe links the exhaust to the back of the mudflap, sliding over the exhaust with the position shown in a scrap diagram. There are two locations for each PE number plate holder, as shown in the last diagrams. The wheels are made up along the way in the instructions, with singles at the front, each 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. Markings There are five markings options on the decal sheet from the 40s, in various regions where the type was operating. From the box you can build one of the following: Czechoslovakia, Late 1940s Poland, Late 1940s Kyiv Region, Ukraine, Late 1940s Latvia, Late 1940s Germany, Soviet Occupation Zone, Late 1940s Decals have been screen printed by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion We seem to be blessed with new kits of the Chevrolet G506/G7107 truck in 1:35 recently, which was ubiquitous during WWII and beyond, perfectly at home lugging goods of all types around the world, or as this boxing portrays, around Eruope. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. StuG III Ausf.G Mar 1943 Alkett Prod. (35336) 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 based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removed the turret and front deck, replacing it with an armoured casemate with a lower profile that mounted a 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, where it could be deadly. 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 end of WWII. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and while equipped with guns 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 improvements in armour to increase survivability prospects for the crew. Many of the complicated aspects of the earlier models that made them time-consuming and expensive to produce were removed and simplified by that time, which led to a number of 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 often welded or bolted to the surface to give it enhanced protection from the Allied tanks and artillery. The Kit MiniArt have finally managed to get their production running again after the shock of the invasion on the 24th of February 2022 forced them to up-sticks wholesale to escape from the horror. Well, they’re back and we’re all very happy for them, and wish them the best with their business and hope they can return to normality at the earliest convenience. We’re all behind you! Just before the aforementioned event, MiniArt had released a new tooling of the late StuG III and this is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes laid over changes during the final batches. This boxing is another Alkett factory example from March 1943 and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and profiles on the side. Inside the box are forty-five sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, a good-sized Photo-Etch (PE) fret of brass parts, decal sheet and glossy-covered 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 individual track links that different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago. Construction begins with the floor panel, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t included in this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from some 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 and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued to the front next to the two-layer front bulkhead. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhausts, towing lugs and idler protection are added to the bottom section of the rear, and a radiator exhaust panel with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some 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. 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. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots, smoke grenade dispensers 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 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. A bridge over the top of the insert encloses the breech, then it’s time to prepare the roof with some details before covering up the interior, then making a choice of how to finish the commander’s cupola in either open or closed pose. It has a number 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. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with the machine gun shield just in front of it and a well-detailed MG34 machine gun with drum mag slotted through the centre. This hatch can also be posed open or closed, and the MG shield can be posed in the flat position for travel. The engine deck is built up with short sides and armoured intake louvres on the sides, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay. Two types of rear appliqué parts can be added to the slope at the rear of the deck, then armoured cover to the fume extraction fan is added to the back of the casemate. A rail of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. A pair of road wheels are carried on the deck with long pins through their holes that attach them to the rearmost pair of hatches. One decal option also has a field modification of a large stowage box mounted on the centre of the rear deck, with the other options mounting a much shallower box in the same place on PE brackets. As yet the StuG has no wheels, so the addition of the swing-arms with stub axles is needed, adding the highly detailed final drive housings under the front, plus additional suspension parts that improves damping further. The idler adjuster is covered with armoured parts, and a group of 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 idler wheels at the rear, plus a trio of return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides. The tracks are individual links that are held together by pins, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus a little flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a short length in fairly short order, coupling them together, 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, the fenders are attached to the hull sides, with integrated 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 and either a highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer. Shovels, pry bars, 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 110mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them in place on each side. The barrel of the gun has a large bulky 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 look. It slides over the recoil tubes of the breech, closing up the interior, and the last parts of the kit are two whip antennae on the rear of the casemate, and optionally another pair of road wheels on both front fenders for one of the decal options. Markings There are five markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage from bare dunkelgelb to predominantly green with splotches of other colours. From the box you can build one of the following: 201 Stg. Abt., Greece, Summer 1943 322 Stg.Abt., Eastern Front, Summer 1943 1st Company Pz. Abt. ‘Rhodos’, Rhodos, Autumn 1943 Bulgarian 1st Assault Gun Battalion, Autumn 1943 10th SS Panzer Div. ‘Frundsberg’, Pomerania, March 1945 Decals are by Decograph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A good-looking, well-detailed model of an important WWII German tank destroyer that saw action the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. German Soldiers in Café (35396) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd War is hell, quite literally, and any break from hostilities is welcomed with glee by soldiers, particularly those of WWI and WWII when war was without end, with little in the way of respite for weeks, sometimes months on end. During WWII until shortly after D-Day, German soldiers were frequent, if unwelcome guests in cafés across Europe, served through gritted teeth and with false bonhomie by wait staff who probably took every opportunity to contaminate their occupier’s food or drink as some small act of defiance, although that carried grave risks if they were caught. Inside the figure-sized box are eight sprues, four containing the figures, two containing a pair of tables and four chairs, and two small sprues with translucent brown bottles and clear glasses. As usual with MiniArt figures the sculpting of each of the four characters is exceptional, with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown plus extras in the shape of the clear bottles and glasses to add some detail to their vicinity. The poses are all seated of course, in various levels of relaxation. Two are without head covering, and only one has his on the table in front of him, but it must be glued brim-down, as the interior is solid. Similarly, if you wanted to adapt that figure to be wearing his hat, he’d need to go in for an emergency craniectomy to remove the top portion of his head. The angles of the markings on the figures’ shoulder boards is acute, which makes it difficult to tell which branch of the German forces they are from, although experts could probably identify them from their clothing alone. The one that is easy to tell from the others is the mariner, dressed in a double-breasted jacket with brass buttons and braiding. He is also wearing a beard, which is unusual for non-mariners at that stage of the war. We’ve seen the seats and tables before in the Allied café sets, but this time everything is doubled-up due to the increase in seated figures to four, and no waiters included. The four chairs are all made from front and back legs with half of the seat moulded-into each part, joining together and strengthened by adding an extra ring on top, then placing the cushion over the top to complete it. The tables have a simple top with a cruciform mounting bracket moulded-in, adding the central leg and cast-iron base that spreads out to stabilise them. Moulding of the weighted base is excellent, and reminiscent of the type seen in cafés everywhere, even today. Conclusion As usual, the sculpting, poses and material drape is highly realistic, and the parts breakdown sensibly placed along natural lines or seams to reduce the amount of clean-up or joint filling. The inclusion of glasses and bottles in the sets add realism, as do the accessories and furniture. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. RMS Titanic (PS-008) 1:700 MENG via Creative Models Ltd There can’t be many people that haven’t heard of the appalling and unnecessary loss of life that happened when the Titanic’s maiden voyage route intersected with an iceberg, causing huge rips down the ship’s side and overwhelming the safety measures that led many to believe that she was unsinkable. At the end of the day on 14th April 1912 she hit that fateful iceberg and began taking on substantial quantities of water. Less than three hours later she broke up and slipped beneath the surface with many of the passengers still aboard, and many more forced to jump into the almost freezing water. Over 1,500 souls were lost that day thanks to the hubris of the designers and impatience of the supervising crew, but many lessons were learned from this tragedy that are still applicable today, and many lives have subsequently been saved as a result. The 1997 blockbuster release of the film The Titanic brought the story to the public consciousness again after the wreck had been found over 13 miles from her expected location some years earlier. She was found lying upright and in two major parts, both of which had hit the sea bed at a considerable speed, badly buckling the underside. She has since been thoroughly inspected, and some of the knowledge gleaned from those expeditions was incorporated into the fictionalised plot of the James Cameron helmed film. Which itself has become part of modern vernacular, with phrases such as “paint me like one of your French girls” raising the occasional titter. The Kit This is a new tool from MENG, and it’s quite an interesting and unusual proposition, as it is moulded in pre-coloured styrene, comes with a wood-effect plinth and gold-painted ferrules to stand the model on, and what’s more fun is that it also has a lighting system included with a battery box hidden in the base, plus a touch-sensitive button out of sight to turn the lights on and off. Neato! The kit arrives in a slender box in MENG’s usual style with a painting of the titular ship on the front, overhead and side views on the sides, and a number of QR code links to their social media sites for good measure. Inside the box are four loose white parts plus a sprue in white styrene, a tan sprue, a brown sprue, an orange/brown sprue, a small brick red sprue and lower hull part, a black sprue and upper hull part, and the afore mentioned wood effect base and brass/gold painted supports on a sprue that was originally moulded in brown. In addition, there is a black and silver name plate for the plinth, a length of flexible LED strip with a lead and socket on one end, plus a battery box with circular PCB holding the touch switch and terminated with a socket for the plug. The instructions are quite unusual in their layout, taking the form of three concertina sheets that extend to 90cm once unfolded. The first sheet is single-sided and has the history of the Titanic in four languages including English, plus a short advisory section in the same four languages. The second and third sheets contain the instructions and optional painting guide, including the electronics. Detail is excellent for the scale as we expect from MENG, and although the “proper” modeller will want to throw some paint at the kit, you don’t have to, or if you’ve bought the model for a child, everything should go together without glue or paint and still look good, especially when you tap the invisible switch and the lights come on! Construction begins with the decks fore and aft (pointy and blunt ends if you’re uninitiated), which are moulded in tan and have a black insert and the white tops of the hull that have a representation of the railings moulded-in. The main superstructure has tan decking inserts added at both ends, and has another upstand and walls in white, on top of which more tan decking parts are fitted, then some white superstructure parts and another partial layer of decking. The hull is next, and begins with adding the three props, which are moulded in tan and insert into brick red fairings that slot in under the stern on three pegs each, with the centre prop fitting in front of the sole rudder, which made turning the ship a slow process. The black upper hull has the LED strip stuck between two raised grooves using the self-adhesive tape on the back of it, threading the wires through a hole in the rear before adding the bow and stern decks over it. The main superstructure is pushed into the upper hull, and the upper hull is pushed into the lower hull to make it look more like a ship. On the bow deck a number of black and brown inserts are pushed into holes in the deck, including cranes, a task that is repeated at the stern with more cranes, and a helpful purple arrow advising you where the bow is. Fixtures and fittings are inserted into the decks on the main superstructure next, including the lifeboats, of which there were too few of course. The four funnels are each made out of two orange halves with moulded-in raised riveting, a black top, and an insert that slips into the top of each stack, the rearmost one having a different insert, as it was mostly used to vent exhaust from the galleys, machinery and ventilation, rather than belching smoke and steam from the boilers. The masts are found on the brown sprue, with one each placed fore and aft. The plinth has a very believable wooden texture painted over the brown styrene, with a raised frame ready to receive the self-adhesive nameplate, and two holes for the hull supports, which have been painted gold at the factory. Flipping the stand over, the battery pack sticks inside a marked area on its self-adhesive tape, and the switch is similarly stuck into a raised circular bracket shape near one of the supports, with the wire fed through the hollow centre of the support. The box takes two AAA batteries that aren’t included, the ones shown in the photos being from my battery drawer. The lower hull has two holes to receive the supports, and the wire dangling from one of them mates with the socket sticking out of the plinth, allowing you to turn the lights on and off by tapping on the plastic over where the switch resides. The rest of the instructions are taken up with a colour chart that gives you codes for MENG’s collaboration with AK Interactive, and Gunze’s new(ish) Acrysion paint system, which is starting to be more readily available in the UK. Markings The Titanic only wore one paint scheme during her short life, and as the styrene is pre-coloured already, it’s not strictly necessary to put any paint on the model once complete. In case you want to however, there are two views of the ship from the side and overhead with the colours called out in MENG/AK Interactive and Gunze Acrysion codes. Conclusion This is a very well-detailed model regardless of whether you want to treat it as a true model or snap it together for a nice table model over the course of the afternoon. Detail is excellent, and the addition of the lights gives it extra appeal. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. 7.5cm PaK40 Ammo Boxes with Shells Set 2 (35402) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd We reviewed MiniArt’s fabulous new Pak.40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun here, and it contained a few sprues of shells and boxes to scatter some ready rounds nearby, but you can always use more if you plan on depicting a well-stocked battery that’s prepared for a long battle, and this is the second set we’ve had in, with different containers and shell type. This set includes seven sprues, two box sprues, two canister sprues, two shell sprues that are the same as in the PaK40 kit, and one spent shell casing sprue that have hollow necks, as do the canisters, thanks to some slide moulding magic. It also includes a sheet of decals to stencil the shells and their containers once they’re painted and before you begin the weathering process. A set of twenty ready rounds are included, with another four empty brass casings, plus four light-weight planked boxes that have slots for three shells each, and are made from individual perforated upper and lower, solid sides, ends, plus handles, and can be posed open or closed if you wish, although with these you will need to place shells inside if you expect your audience to believe they are full, as the contents can be seen through the slots, even when closed. The two sprues of cylindrical wicker single shell cases have separate caps and fluted sides for strength, which have an open end if you want to display them discarded after use with their lids open. Markings The back of the box has instructions, sprue diagrams and colour information printed on it, including a chart that gives codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, as well as colour swatches and generic colour names. 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 If you have a PaK.40 from any manufacturer at this scale in the stash already, or intend to get one (which should be the MiniArt kit – it’s gorgeous), this set will add a healthy stack of shells in super detail with all the stencils you could need to complete the task to the best of your ability, along with some of the more unusual metal cases to provide some individuality. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. 7.5cm PaK40 Ammo Boxes with Shells Part 1 (35398) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd We reviewed MiniArt’s fabulous new Pak.40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun in here, and it contained a few sprues of shells and boxes to scatter some ready rounds nearby, but you can always use more if you plan on depicting a well-stocked battery that’s prepared for a long battle. This set includes six sprues, three box sprues, two shell sprues, and one spent shell casing sprue that have hollow necks thanks to some slide moulding magic. It also includes a sheet of decals to stencil the shells and their boxes once they’re painted and before you begin the weathering process. A set of twenty ready rounds are included, with another four empty brass casings, plus six shell boxes that have slots for three shells each, and are made from individual sides, bottom and lid plus handles, and can be posed open or closed if you wish. The back of the box has instructions, sprue diagrams and colour information printed on it, including a chart that gives codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, as well as colour swatches and generic colour names. Conclusion If you have a PaK.40 from any manufacturer at this scale, this set will add a healthy stack of shells in super detail with all the stencils you could need to complete the task to the best of your ability. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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