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  1. D8532 Mod.1950 German Traffic Tractor (24007) 1:24 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Tractors were a boon to farmers when they were introduced soon after the reliability of the motor car became a thing, as they were especially useful for lugging around heavy equipment around the farm, as well as the typical ploughing, sowing and reaping of crops. They also had power take-off points that could be used to drive other stationary machinery, further expanding their usefulness. Lanz were the leading maker of farm machinery in Germany, and their Bulldog range were the “hoover” of the tractor world in their country for many years. They were good quality and reliable, which led to them being copied by several countries, and as the initial 1921 model was improved the model number was increased until well into the 9,000s. One of the primary selling points of the vehicle was the simple “hot-bulb” single-cylinder engine that could be run on a variety of fuels and had very few moving parts, which made it easy to repair and maintain. They started off as 6L and grew to 10L engines, and their slow turnover high-torque output suited the tractor’s work very well. In 1956 they were sold to John Deere, and the name slowly fell out of use. There are still many working examples to be seen at country fairs and historic events, kept in splendid condition by their loving (some may say obsessed) owners. The Kit This is the second edition of MiniArt’s D8500 range of kits but in the larger de facto vehicle scale of 1:24, and you can expect many more if their 1:35 release schedule is repeated. The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box, and inside are eleven sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two tread parts for the big wheels on their own cruciform sprues, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles of the decal options on the rear covers, printed in an A5 format. Construction begins with the large cast metal chassis that is at the heart of the design, and is made up from two halves each end around a centre-plate, with lots of parts used to create its distinctive shape. The superstructure is roughly rectangular, having various filler caps on the top, radiator panels on the sides, a name-plate on the front, and a rectangular windscreen on this more modern variant. The driver’s foot pedals are long curved linkages to the underside of the chassis, and with these in place the driver’s tread-plated floor is installed and a big handbrake is fitted to the deck, with a stowage box under the lip at the left rear. The large cylindrical fairing in the centre of the chassis is filled with the clutch and drive-shaft on one side, and on the floor plate the driver’s modern comfortable seat is mounted on a sturdy frame, a couple of hand controls are inserted into depressions in the deck in front, then the large drive housing is mounted on the left side of the chassis, with a bell-housing and fly-wheel on the opposite side over the clutch, and two large fenders/sidewalls over where the rear wheels will be, plus a sturdy bumper-bar at the rear on diagonal cross-braces. The rear hubs have two additional layers inside for the brakes, ready to receive the large back wheels. Instead of the smoke stacks on the top of the vehicle, this version has an exhaust pipe that stems from a single large-bore manifold, down and to the rear into a cylindrical muffler, and out of the back in a straight pipe that would shame a 1980s Sierra Cosworth. The wheels on this tractor have heavy tread to plough through mud, which is built up by layering five parts together to make a tyre-sandwich at the front, and a six-part layer for the larger rear wheels, all with crisp and chunky tread on the rolling surfaces. The tyres have their hubs moulded-in, while the rears have additional rear hub ring added between the wheels and rear axles. The front axle has the hubs build-in, adding the steering arms, anti-roll bar and the linkage to the column, which is installed on the front underframe on a single pivot in preparation for the tyres. A pair of large clear-lensed headlamps on an oversized cross-member on the topside, based on the later front mudguards, which even have fixing bolts glued inside opposite the brackets. The fifth wheel is the steering wheel that is fitted atop the steering column after the windscreen clear panel is glued into position in the frame, and the supports for the curved roof, plus a solitary windscreen wiper finish off the build. Markings There are four schemes on the small decal sheet in civilian use, so comparatively colourful when new, but likely covered in mud and other gruesome fluids before too long in service. From the box you can build one of the following: British Occupation Zone, North Rhine-Westphalia, early 50s Belgium, early 50s American Occupation Zone, province of Hesse, early 50s Italy, 50s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Excellent detail is found all over the sprues, without the need for PE in this scale, and the extreme chunkiness and rugged design helps with its appeal of course, plus a few mod cons that were added over the years of production. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of [/url
  2. Wooden Crates (35651) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd We’ve been using wooden boxes to carry things around for a long time, allowing us to move bulky or numerous items around in larger quantities than we’d otherwise be able to. They are commonly used for fruit, bottles and other food products, to name but a few applications. This set supplies different varieties of crate or box, some of which are divided up internally to prevent the goods from rolling around during transit and becoming damaged or bruised. The set arrives in a figure-sized box with a painting of the contents on the front, and instructions on the rear. There is also a painting with colour and decal call-outs in the centre of the rear, making suggestions to guide you if you need it. Inside the box are twelve sprues of grey styrene, plus a small sheet of decals by Cartograf to portray the stencils often found on the sides of crates and boxes. From the box you can build the following: 2 x rectangular box with hand-holds & slatted base 2 x rectangular box with hand-holes & dividers inside 2 x narrow rectangular box with hand-holes and dividers in the bottom 2 x shallow crate with handles, slatted base and internal dividers 8 x shallow crates with slatted bases and overhangs at the ends 2 x square box with slatted sides, base, hand-holds and internal dividers The main parts all have wood-grain texture moulded into them as appropriate, and construction is straight-forward, comprising just a few parts per crate or box, with plenty of detail moulded-in. Painting and weathering the individual parts of the set will be key to achieving realistic results, and here the box artwork can be of use, showing some of the crates as careworn from a lifetime of hard work. Used sensibly in a manner sympathetic to the subject matter, they should bring extra detail and realism to your next model or diorama. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Cable Spools (49008) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Well this set's a load of bobbins! No, seriously, it really is, and yes I cracked that one on the 1:35 set review too. You often see cable spools lying beside tracks, in rail or engineering yards, even today, so this set is a handy one to have if you are planning any dioramas, or need to load up a truck or trailer. You could even have some soldiers having a tea party around one if you like! Arriving in a figure-sized box, the set contains four sprues in grey styrene, a sheet of decals and an instruction sheet. Each sprue contains the parts for a large and small bobbin/spool, measuring 37mm and 20mm respectively in real-world numbers. Each core is made from two halves that make up the cylinder, and two end caps, with wooden planking and texture on everything that will be seen after construction, plus screws/nails/bolts where appropriate. The decal sheet contains a raft of curved lettering, brand logos and various stencilling, depending on what's supposed to be on the reels. The rear of the box shows some typical colour schemes, and shows where and when these types were in use. On top of all these decals you also get a bonus of two "Kilroy was here!" decals with their big-nosed accompaniment. They go together easily like their larger siblings, although I think I would scribe the join-lines of the cylinder when the glue is dry, and the little pips that centre the parts are fiddly to register in the depressions due to the texture of the end-caps, but a little care gets you there in the end. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Bookshelves (35654) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Bookshelves seem to be de rigueur placed behind pundits being interviewed from home since the Covid lock-downs, but they’ve been around much longer, and before we gained access to the sum product of mankind’s intelligence (and stupidity, sadly), they were our primary knowledge base. If you’re a builder of dioramas or vignettes, you might occasionally have need to depict a room with such things as book shelves, something that is becoming less common in your average modern household. The Kit This boxed set from MiniArt contains bookshelves and their contents that are commonly known as books, and it arrives in an end-opening figure box that has a painting of the contents on the front, brief instructions on the rear and a painting guide if you need some inspiration for colour choice. Inside the box are fifteen sprues in grey styrene, twelve to make up the shelves and their support ladders, and three larger sprues that contain rows of books on end, aligned with their spines facing out, or in rough piles that are angled as if leaning over. Each shelf unit is made from two ladders and up to five shelves per unit, creating six in total, which can be populated with thirty-six straight blocks of books, and nine at an angle. Bear in mind however that the books have hollow backs, and the underneath is also absent to avoid sink marks from marring the detail that is engraved into the visible surfaces. The box art shows the shelves standing in an open room, but the illusion would be broken if they were seen from behind, so bear that in mind when choosing the set for your project. Markings There are no decals, and you can paint the shelves and books in any colour you should wish, adding some gilded detail on the spine by picking out the raised areas in gold. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. T-34/85 Plant 112, Spring 1944 (35379) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The T-34 was Stalin's mainstay medium tank that was produced in huge numbers by sometimes crude and expedient methods, to be thrown into the fray against the numerically inferior German tanks on the Eastern Front, sometimes before the paint was dry. The designers combined several important advances in design such as sloped frontal armour, wide tracks to spread the ground load, and the ability to cope with the harsh Russian winters without freezing to a halt, which was a problem that affected the Germans badly after the initial successes in the summer of Operation Barbarossa. The part count and cost of the tank was continuously reduced during production, with plants turning out up to 1,300 per month at the height of WWII. The initial cramped welded turret was replaced by a cast turret with more room, and later the 76mm gun was replaced by a more powerful 85mm main gun in the T-34/85 with an enlarged three-man turret, giving even the Tiger pause for thought. The T-34/85 with the composite turret was manufactured during the summer of 1944 at Krasnoye Sormova plant #112 on the Volga River, with a simplified gun in the turret in the shape of the ZiS-S-53, as well as some other changes. The Composite turret was fitted with a flat roof that had a pair of hatches and linked mushroom vents to the rear. There were some messy welds between the various castings, which gives them a rough look that belies their capability. The Kit This is another boxing of MiniArt’s new T-34 line, and is an exterior only kit, but the box is still loaded with sprues of all shapes and sizes. In total there are sixty-three sprues in grey styrene, two in clear, a Photo-Etch (PE) brass fret, a small decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles inside each of the front and back covers. Many of the sprues will be seen in various other boxings of the T-34, notably the Czech production and others that we reviewed here, which is the reason for their use of smaller sprues that make their kits so eminently modular. It makes the process easier and cheaper for them, and makes the likelihood of receiving many different options to choose from much more promising for us, which with the rate we’re receiving them for review seems to be the case. As always with MiniArt, the design, detail and crispness of moulding is excellent, and the inclusion of PE brass in the box is one less thing you need to fork out for. Unsurprisingly, construction begins with the lower hull. The floor is decked out with four tubular fittings for the suspension on each side and a lower escape hatch, then the engine firewall near the rear. The lower hull walls are next, with their Christie-style suspension springs contained in channels up the inside face, drilling a pair of holes near the final drive housing to mount a pair of pads later. The upper hull begins with the ball-mount and DT Machine gun for the bow, with a fixed stock for the gunner’s comfort. The gun is left to swivel inside the port, so be sparing with the glue when you complete this assembly. The glacis plate accepts the gun from inside after fitting of the armoured outer protection, and has a tubular external armoured cover to protect most of the barrel length from incoming rounds. The upper hull deck and sides are moulded as one, and the sides have several holes drilled out before they are applied to the hull, with a few nubs cut from the exterior on the way, then the glacis plate it fitted to the front, some armoured plates are fitted near the turret ring, and it is then glued to the lower hull. At the rear the engine bay is still exposed, which is next to be addressed by adding a frame around the rear bulkhead then attaching the large rear panel that has a circular inspection panel fixed in the centre, with a pair of armoured exhaust covers to the sides and short exhaust stubs filling the centres, inserted from inside. The engine deck is covered with vents and louvres that are added with a central inspection hatch, then it is fixed over the engine bay. Additional armoured covers with louvred grilles are fitted over the large flush louvres, then the suspension swing-arms and stub axles are installed under the sponsons, and the mudguards with PE detail parts are glued into place at the front, with more simplified flaps to the rear. Small parts, various pioneer tools, rails and stowage boxes are made up and fitted onto the sloped sides of the hull, with racks of winter track grousers attached to the flat portions of the side and external fuel tank cradles behind them. At this stage the driver’s hatch is also built with twin clear periscopes, hatch closures and external armoured cowls for the ‘scopes and hinges. Under the rear of the tank another set of loops, hooks and eyes are fitted into marked positions between the two final drive housings. A trio of smooth-surfaced cylindrical fuel tanks are installed on the sides and rear by using the curved brackets fitted earlier, and mixed PE and styrene straps holding them in place, with a large stowage box placed on the rear bulkhead between the exhausts, and two long boxes placed on the left fender, fixing a self-built tarpaulin on PE straps in the space where the fourth external tank would have been. Ten pairs of wheels with smooth tyres and separate hub caps are built with one of two styles of drive sprockets and idler wheels to complete the running gear. At the same time the main towing cables are made from styrene towing eyes, but you will need to supply two lengths of 93mm and 91mm braided cord or wire, so make sure you have some on hand when you begin.` Now for the tracks. The T-34’s wide tracks were simple and easy to produce, as well as great at spreading the tank’s weight and helping prevent freezing of the drivetrain in cold weather, of which Russia has more than its fair share. There are two different track parts, one flat, the other with a guide horn in the centre, and both have exquisite casting details that includes the ID numbers on both parts and indeed both faces. They have four sprue gates on each link, attached on the curved hinge-points, making them easy to cut back flush and then sand smooth with a sanding stick, to ease assembly and gluing. I made up a short length as a test, and was finished in a few minutes with a little liquid glue thanks to their close tolerances that keep them together while you glue. Each side needs 72 links, which equates to 36 of each part, and once you get into a rhythm, it won’t take too long to complete the task, wrapping the still flexible links around the curved sections and holding them in place with tape and other clamps etc. to obtain the correct sag on the top run once the glue has cured. The detail is so good it’s almost a shame to weather them once painted. The turret starts as an almost complete shell with three sides moulded into it, which has inserts for the interior skin. The roof is separate and has a large cupola with clear vision blocks and binoculars built into the bi-fold hatch, plus a simpler hatch for the gunner, both of which are shown fitted closed. The roof is moulded-in and has two more periscopes under armoured shrouds, and two vents on the rear, which are covered by a linked armoured mushroom cover. Despite this not being an interior kit, the basic gun breech is present, with another 7.62mm DT machine gun mounted coaxially in the mantlet, before it is set to one side while the turret floor is completed. The floor part first has a lip inserted within the ring, then the inner mantlet support is prepared with the main gun’s mount, which is glued to the turret floor and has the breech slid in from behind and is joined by the coax DT with its mount. The gun tube, which is a single part is inserted into the socket on the inner mantlet and has the outer mantlet slide over it, and it has a hollow muzzle for extra detail. An aerial, a set of long grab handles and tie-down lugs are added around the rear and sides of the turret, then the turret is dropped into place in the hull to complete the build. Markings There are seven decal options in the box and they’re not all green, despite what you’d expect from a wartime example made in the early half of '45, with winter distemper and a dunkelgelb with mottled camouflage in brown and green for a captured or Beautpanzer. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt/gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The T-34 played a huge part in the Soviet response to Operation Barbarossa, albeit after a substantial delay caused by Stalin’s apparent indecision. It was a stalwart of their defence then offence, sweeping the Germans aside thanks to its sloped armour and sheer weight of numbers. This kit omits most of the interior, and yet keeps all the external goodies, so if interiors aren’t your thing it's a tempting option. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. EA-18G Growler (85814) 1:48 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The EA-18G is a development of the F/A-18F two seat Super Hornet that originally went into service in 1999, and with series manufacture beginning in 2007 of this type, it replaced the EA-6B in the carrier based electronic warfare role. It is a more capable platform due in part to the march of technology, and the fact that it is based on a more modern airframe, allowing it to keep pace with other Allied assets during any mission. The airframe has been adapted to better fit the role, especially the wings that have been revised to provide a smoother ride for the electronic modules, that was achieved by adding wing fences and other tweaks. It still shares over 90% of parts with a standard Super Hornet, so the commonality of parts is of great help toward keeping these key aircraft in service. The aircraft has nine weapons stations that are usually filled with electronics pods specific to its role, although it can also carry more weapons by necessity, but its wingtip stations that would normally carry Sidewinders are instead fitted with detection pods. It can carry two AIM-120 AMRAAM and/or AGM-88 HARM missiles for self-defence on multi-modal conformal fuselage stations, which are its only means of defence due to the removal of its cannon to house additional electronics. As with many complex aviation projects it has had its problems, including technical as well as political issues, such as the desire to slow down production to string out the contract for various reasons. The US will field under 100 airframes by the time the contract is completed, and Australia’s dozen airframes may well make the total closer to that number. Of course, the type is under constant development in order to improve its operation and to resolve any of the inevitable gremlins that occur, with new equipment likely to be fielded and slung under the Growler over the coming years. The Kit This is a concurrent reboxing of Hobby Boss’s F/A-18 new Super Hornet from 2021 with additional parts to depict the adaptations made to the base airframe to create the Growler. It arrives in a large top-opening box with an internal divider, and inside are sixteen sprues and two fuselage halves in grey styrene, two in clear, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), two decal sheets, two glossy colour printed sheets with decal and painting instruction, and the instruction booklet in Hobby Boss’s usual landscape greyscale style. Detail is excellent throughout, with some exceptionally well-moulded gear and equipment bays around the model, and the inclusion of a small sheet of PE to add belts to the cockpit that is behind crystal clear glazing, so will be seen whether you leave the lid down or not. Construction begins with the two seats, which have been slide-moulded to reduce the part count while keeping the detail high. They are both fitted with a set of PE crew belts, and have stencil decals applied to the headbox, which also has a separate drogue-chute on the top, and a back plane fitted before they are dropped into the tub. HOTAS controls are supplied for each of the crew, and additional instruments are applied to the faceted side consoles, with controllers added along with decals. The instrument panels also have decals for their MFD covered faces, and the rear IP has a coaming between it and the front cockpit. The sidewalls are fitted in between the two sections, hiding away the blank interior of the fuselage once installed. As with many modern jets, the nose gear bay is directly below the pilots, and that bay is made from individual sides plus a few small additional detail parts. The bay is attached to the bottom of the cockpit tub using a short I-beam to support the rear, after which the completed assembly is surrounded by the skin of the nose section, which also has a pair of equipment bays moulded-in with impressive detail. Moving quickly on, the upper fuselage is prepared by drilling out a number of holes in its surface, plus those of the lower wing halves that are added early in the build. An A-shaped apron under the Leading Edge Root Extensions (LERX) is also installed along with doors for the built-in crew ladder under the port side, then the nose is attached to the fuselage from below after which it is faired in. With the model righted, the rear ‘turtle-deck’ and insert in front of the coaming are installed, the HUD is made up from two PE parts, two clear parts and a sled that it sits on once fitted to the coaming. The windscreen can be glued in place now, although there is a very fine seam from manufacture that should ideally be sanded away and polished back to clarity. Both parts of the canopy are slightly ‘blown’, so are made using three mould sections, with the resulting seam down the middle on the outside only. The seams on this kit are relatively fine thanks to the reduction in tolerances over the years, and you could create a perfectly acceptable model without bothering to remove them if you don’t feel confident. The circular hole in the nose is filled with a four-part radome, which can be left visible by hingeing the nose cone open in the next step. This is achieved by changing the insert in the rear of the cone for one with the hinge projecting from the side, with a common insert in the top of the cone. There is plenty of space for nose weight in this area for either option, although with the nose closed over, the centre of mass will be that much further forward, so less weight will go further. Hobby Boss have a habit of creating kits with parts that will never be seen again, and this one is no exception, having a pair of engines on the sprues, when only some of the detail will be seen unless you cut away some panels. Each tubular assembly is made up from two sub-assemblies, one made from three sections, the other from two. With the glue dried, they are both wrapped in two-part rings and have further detail parts applied to the sides, and representations of the afterburner and engine faces at appropriate ends. The lower fuselage ‘torso’ is then made up from three larger sections that have the intake trunks made by adding additional surfaces and tiny PE vanes on the inner side walls. The completed engines and their exhausts are fixed into the rear of this assembly, then are joined by the square intake trunks that transition to round by the time they meet the front of the motors. It is then attached to the underside of the fuselage and the moulded-in bays are painted white. They are further detailed by a number of ribs, and small section of the fuselage side is installed next to the exhaust trunking, ready to support the elevons later on. The Super Hornet was (re)designed from the (2nd life) outset as a carrier aircraft, so has a chunky set of landing gear that are captured here in plastic, with the rugged nose gear first to be made from a single part to which the clear landing light and other detail parts are added, then the twin two-part wheels are fixed to the axles, plus a bay door glued to the trailing retraction jack. Using different parts you can pose the launch bar up or down, depending on what you have in mind. The main gear legs are made from halves that trap an L-shaped insert and have layers of jacks fitted over the main struts, with a single wheel on a stub-axle at the end. All bays have additional actuators for the doors added in preparation for a plethora of well-detailed parts, one of which has a PE insert, and others have stencil decals applied after painting. At the same stage, the two equipment bays on the sides of the nose are given doors and stays, with no option shown for posing them closed. The wings are simplistic stubs at this stage, which is remedied now by adding the full-width flaps, each with their actuators, which can be posed deployed or ‘clean’ at your whim. The leading-edge slats and flap spoilers are then added, after which the outer folding section of the wings are made up in a similar fashion, with either a straight or angled joint if you plan on posing your model with wings folded for below-decks. The three pylons per wing are all made from two halves, and are affixed to the wings with another on the centreline that slots into holes in the underside of the fuselage. At the rear you can pose the arrestor hook in either down or stowed positions, and there are also two exhaust petal types for open or closed pipes. On the topside, the wing joints are covered by panels, and fences are installed on the inner wings, plus a few antennae around the nose area. The twin tail fins have separate rudders that differ if the wings are folded, and has a pair of clear lights added to each one, with the elevons just a pair of single thin aerofoils with a peg to join them to the aft of the fuselage. If you recall the optional boarding ladder door fitted at the beginning of the build, the reason it is optional becomes clear right at the end, when you build up the ladder, with separate steps and a brace that rests against the fuselage. It’s not abundantly clear how the area looks when exposed, but there are plenty of photos available online if you’re unsure. The weapons sprues are largely unused other than the gas bags, equipment pods and of course the two types of missile that the Growler carries for self-defence, namely the AGM-88 and AIM-120 with adapter rails. Check your references for the typical load-outs for real-world mission profiles, or use the chart on the rear page of the instructions, although it refers to “fuol tanks”, but then we’re none of us perfect. Markings I’ve been critical of HB’s dearth of information and options for their kits in the past, and was pleased to see two changes with this kit. Firstly, there are a whopping SIX options, and secondly, each option is provided with at the very least an airframe code, and many are also given a date and ship the aircraft was embarked upon at the time. From the box you can build one of the following: VAQ-129 #169136 VAQ-135 #166941 NAS Whidbey Island, 2011 VAQ-135 #166940 NAS Whidbey Island, 2011 VAQ-130 #168268 ‘Zappers’ USS Harry S Truman, 2016 VAQ-141 #166928 ‘Shadowhawks’ USS George H W Bush, 2010 VAQ-132 #166894 ‘Scorpions’, 2010 One sheet of A4 shows the location of the stencils for all decal options, while the individual aircraft are on the other larger A3 sheet, covering both sides and having stencil locations and colours for the weapons/equipment at the bottom of the back page. As usual with HB printing, they’re made anonymously in China, but are of sufficient quality for most, although the red bars on the national insignia seem a little off-centre to me. Conclusion Hobby Boss have created a well-detailed and attractive series of models of the F/A-18 Super Hornet that should sell well for them. The Growler is an interesting off-shoot of the type, and they’re often colourfully painted, as you can see above. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. German Sd.Kfz.186 Jagdtiger Henschel (84562) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The King Tiger was a development of the original Tiger that itself terrified Allied troops, but its fatal weakness was further stressing the over-stretched drivetrain by piling on yet more weight without significant improvements to the capabilities in these important areas. While it worked, the King Tiger was a formidable foe, but too often it was to be found broken-down and abandoned, often because of something trivial, but impossible to fix in the field. This was of no use to the Germans, who were already short of tanks due to their complexity and losses on both fronts, and if the vehicle was abandoned in battle, the crew were more than likely to scuttle it if they were able, or the Allies would put a few rounds into it just to be sure. Adding yet more weight to the King Tiger by creating a heavy tank killer would not seem to be a bright idea without radical improvements to the running gear, but this is exactly what the German engineers did. They stripped off the upper hull, discarded the turret and installed a fixed casemate with a huge Krupp 128mm main gun that could defeat any tank of the day with a single shot from outside the range of most if not all Allied armour. The gun had some lateral travel for fine-tuning its aim, but any significant change in direction of its prey required the driver to reposition the vehicle, needing firm cooperation between driver and gunner to achieve good results. The usual two contenders for the project were Porsche and Henschel, although these differed mainly in the suspension area, with the Porsche suspension using eight wheel stations while the eventual successful bid from Henschel had nine, helping to spread the immense ground pressure a little wider. Only eleven of the Porsche design were made early on, the rest built by Henschel to their specification. With 250mm rolled-steel armour on the casemate that was almost invulnerable at the time, the added weight caused extreme stress on the Maybach engine, with a range of only 50 miles at low speed over rough ground on a full tank of fuel. As fuel supply was becoming difficult at that point in the war, this later became a more serious problem when the two recipient units of the type lost a fifth of their strength due to fuel-shortage related issues. The seemingly perennial issue with Nazi tanks was the complexity of their designs, which meant that fewer than 100 were produced before the end of the war, although there is some uncertainty on those numbers due to the breakdown of record keeping toward the end. After the war three intact vehicles were reserved for evaluation, and one of those still resides in the Tank Museum at Bovington. It is only after you have seen the vehicle from close range that you realise what a monster it is, and how terrifying its presence must have been to tankers and infantry alike. The Kit This is a reboxing with new parts from Hobby Boss, based upon their Porsche production variant from 2022 and sharing some parts with their King Tiger kits, so it’s a very modern kit. It arrives in a large but shallow top-opening box with eleven sprues in sand-coloured styrene plus two hull halves, six sprues of brown track links, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, decal sheet, instruction booklet in greyscale, and a separate A3 glossy sheet printed in colour on both sides that details the colour schemes and decal locations. Detail is good, and it has a subtle but appropriate rolled steel armour texture over the surface, sand cast texture on armoured exhaust covers and the mantlet, and torch-cut ends to the upper hull armour, with weld-lines included where they intersect and overlap. The torch-cut texture on the ends of the lower hull side panels is absent though, as we’ll discuss later. 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. Each track run is handed, and every link is made from two parts with twin guide horns as additional separate parts, and have the tread detail moulded-in, adding the next link, a process that continues until you have a run of 48 double links per side. The two link parts have four sprue gates on the hinge-points, while the guide-horns each have one sprue gate on the edge that is easily sliced away, so shouldn’t take long to prepare. There are two tiny, faintly recessed ejector-pin marks on the recessed parts of the exterior face that you could easily miss without magnification, but with paint and a little bit of mud they probably won’t be noticed, so ignore them at your leisure. Attention shifts to the rear bulkhead, which is detailed with twin exhausts in armoured shrouds, adding two track tools, Notek convoy light, jack-block and a large shackle between the exhausts that requires the removal of the inner bolts on the armoured shrouds. The bulkhead is slotted into the rear of the lower hull and has a pair of small PE loops added to the flat rear mud guards. The upper hull has the domed kugelblende armour fitted to the glacis from the outside, adding the pivot and socket from inside, taking care with the glue. To fill the hole in the ball-mount, the machine gun is made up with sighting and grip mechanisms, plus 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 precise movement, sliding a clear periscope from inside into the roof above. 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 two 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 on the hull. The front hatches are usually moulded in an insert on most King Tiger and Jagdtiger kits, but Hobby Boss have elected to mould it into the upper hull with both, 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 and a mushroom vent on the right edge. As we don’t have a turret to build, the open rear of the casemate is made next, layering it up from two panels, fitting enormous armoured hinge covers each side, and the two clamshell doors that are also made from two layers to avoid sink-marks. Once in place without glue, the four hinges are clipped into position without glue, and a pair of grab-handles are installed to allow them to open and close, running a bar across the very bottom of the bulkhead before it is glued into position. The pioneer tools are installed all over the deck and side of the upper hull, the hand-tools having PE clasps, while the 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 instructions diverge here into two options, allowing you to choose whether to have spare track links all along the side of the casemate, or just at the ends. If opting for the latter, you should remove the very fine positioning lines from the surface of the casemate, which should be simple enough, using either a sharp blade to scrape them off, or very careful sanding. It also applies to the aerial base at the top middle of the sidewall. Returning to the lower hull, a large insert is placed upon the floor, locating it on two turrets that stand higher than the torsion bars in the floor, adding a curved raised section that guides the gun’s limited rotation. There is a depiction of the breech and block made up and mated to the first barrel portion that has the recoil tubes moulded-in, and an insert placed between them, fitting thirty-two small PE lugs around the circumference of the barrel, and a flat plate to the other end, onto which the breech assembly is glued. A protective frame around the breech is made from two parts, then it is pinned between two trunnions and mounted on the base that now resides in the lower hull, adding a periscope as you finish. The upper hull is placed over the gun onto the lower, gluing it in place and adding the frontal armour over the barrel stub. A gaggle of small parts are fixed to the front deck along with a pair of towing shackles that just clip onto the torch-cut ends of the lower side armour. The texture of torch-cut armour isn’t replicated here, 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. Between the two shackles is the travel lock A-frame for the main gun, which is built from five parts plus a pair of mounting pivots on each side that have markers on the glacis to help with locating them. The casemate roof is shown separately for both versions, consisting of the installation of periscopes with armoured protectors, the main hatch with hinged smaller forward portion, lifting eyes, and for one version, a small part on the edge of the roof. The fenders are moulded as single lengths on each side, and these have been tapered at the edges to give a more realistic look. The small rectangular mounting blocks are moulded into the hull, with corresponding recesses in the fenders so that you don’t have to remove them if using the fenders. If you cut sections of the fenders out to depict lost portions, you can leave the blocks in the missing area, and depending on whether you think that the area behind the fenders would be left in red primer, that gives some leeway for a little bit of fun 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 PE brackets to complete them. A mass of brackets are fitted to the sides of the casemate, enough for two or three rows of track links two deep, the links for which have small portions removed to depict them as individual links that are ready for action. The mantlet for the big gun is made from three layers, and completed by inserting the barrel, which is moulded in halves, so take care when joining them to minimise clean-up afterwards. Another pair of towing shackles are fixed on the rear, with a choice of two locations for the anti-aircraft MG42 machine gun on the rear deck. Markings Surprisingly, there are four decal options on the small sheet, but unsurprisingly there is no information given regarding the where or when, or even if these schemes were documented. There is a varied choice of late-war schemes however, and all look at least plausible, so you have a choice to check your references, or just plough on and have fun with your model. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are well-printed and suitable for the task, consisting of ‘balkenkreuz’ standard crosses, and four different vehicle numbers. The paint call-outs are given in Gunze Sangyo Mr Color codes, with conversion suggestions for their alternative Acrysion brand, plus Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol codes to help you if Mr Color isn’t available or your preferred brand. Conclusion It’s a well-detailed exterior model of Nazi Germany’s Hail Mary tank design, ignoring the Maus that may or may not have seen action in the last days of WWII. It should build up into a respectable replica of this type. Highly recommended. At time of writing, this kit is available from Creative at a healthy 30% over their standard price. Review sample courtesy of
  8. German Artillery Tractor T-60(r) with Crew Towing Pak40 7.5cm Gun (35395) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Pak40 As WWII loomed, Nazi high command got wind of new tank developments in Soviet Russia, and realised that their 3.7cm Pak36 was inadequate for the task ahead, starting work initially on the 5cm Pak38, which was abandoned in favour of a 7.5cm barrel once the rumours were confirmed. It was essentially a re-engineered Pak38, with everything enlarged to suit the bigger rounds, in development between 1939 and 41, with the name Pak40 given to it during its gestation. As Operation Barbarossa began, the project was given a higher priority, and early examples reached the Eastern Front in late 1941, becoming the Wehrmacht’s standard artillery piece from then on, with a total of over 23,000 built before the end of WWII. The success of the weapon was such that it was also re-developed into a main gun for use by tanks and other armoured vehicles, such as the StuG III and Panzer IV, as well as a relatively makeshift mount on the Marder series of self-propelled guns. It was an effective artillery piece, capable of penetrating the armour of everything the Allies fielded, from the Sherman to the Pershing in US service, and the IS heavy tanks that the Soviets operated. It was a heavy piece however, and that affected its mobility, particularly in bad weather where it was prone to bogging down in muddy terrain. It shared projectile with all German 7.5cm rounds, but was mounted in a larger brass cartridge casing that gave it more power and range than the smaller rounds fired by the KwK variant use in the armour installations. Other variations included the driver bands around the projectile and the method of initiating firing, using traditional percussion caps for the Pak40, and an electrical mechanism for the KwK. Three types of round were able to be used, an armour-piercing explosive round, an armour-piercing kinetic penetrator with a tungsten core, and the standard HEAT or High Explosive Anti-Tank round, each of which differed in shape and colour of the projectile, and were marked with stencils accordingly. Artillery Tractor T-60(r) The T-60 was originally a Soviet light tank design, and the Romanians pressed captured examples into service, hacking some about to create the TACAM Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun. The Germans also pressed many captured examples into service in various guises, using the suffix (r) to indicate the Russian origin of the type, often after heavy modifications, of which one such modification was into an Artillery Tractor to go where wheeled or half-track vehicles would find the going difficult. The turret was discarded entirely, leaving the turret ring as the main entry and exit to the vehicle, but leaving it open to the elements that must have made it difficult and unpleasant to crew in the winter months. It wasn’t meant to be a front-line vehicle per se, but it did have to take its charge to where the fighting was, so it was equipped with a bodged MG34 machine gun mounted on the deck in front of the turret ring for self-defence, and it was flanked by a pair of angled stowage boxes, one on each side. At the rear was a sturdy towing hook to couple its charge, its diminutive size making the artillery piece look quite large. The Kit This is a reboxing of three existing kits from the MiniArt range, the T-60(r) based upon a 2017 tooling that has been extended and augmented over the years, although only two previous boxings have had the turret removed and no other weapon installed instead. The Pak40 is a brand-new release, and highly detailed too, topped off by the inclusion of a figure set containing artillery crew in transit, this portion of the set originating in 2007 and lending itself nicely to this kit that wasn’t even contemplated at the time. The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box with a painting of the tractor towing its gun, and festooned with the crew of five that make the vehicle look even smaller. Where they all sat when the weather turned inclement, we can only guess at. There are forty-two sprues of grey styrene, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) and small decal sheet in a card envelope, and the instruction booklet with a glossy colour cover and profiles on the front and rear pages. Detail is excellent, and although the figures predate the other components by a decade or more, they are well-detailed because figures have always been MiniArt’s strong suit. We’ll deal with each component of the kit separately, and to save you clicking away, we’ll reproduce the review of the new Pak40 kit in its entirety, as apart from the PE fret being extended to encompass the rest of the model, it is identical to the included sprues. Artillery Tractor T-60(r) The PE sheet above includes parts for both the main models Construction begins with the floor of the hull, adding driver’s controls, seat and a comparatively small transmission unit offset to one side with clutch and flywheel plus linkages to the driver’s levers. The 70hp straight-6 GAZ engine is built up with ancillaries, fan belt, mounts and a small gearbox at one end, plus a two-part manifold that has a long exhaust added later, exiting near the front of the chassis after passing the driver, which must have been comfortable in the winter, but less so in the heat of the summer. The engine is also mounted offset to the right, and at the front left a pair of lead-acid batteries take up the rest of the space, adding more linkages to the engine, including one to the front bulkhead for manual starting. The side walls, rear bulkhead and the short front bulkhead with accessories are all placed on the floor, fitting a radiator on a bulkhead that runs across the vehicle behind the engine, then adding the coolant hoses to and from the core, and plenty of other small components. On the front and rear of the sides, the final drive housing and idler-wheel axle are installed respectively, adding a longitudinal bulkhead behind the radiator that strengthens the assembly further and sections off the radiator path. The road wheels are installed on short swing-arms, fitting an identical wheel to the idler, and a toothed drive sprocket on each side at the front. The hull roof is mostly made from a single part with the turret ring moulded-in, adding a large square access hatch over the transmission unit, then building up the driver’s hatch and enclosure, adding a hinged vision port with slit in the centre that has armoured hinges and a PE shade over the slot to deflect incoming rounds from some angles. A single headlamp is mounted on a folded-up PE bracket and fixed to the deck beside the driver’s hump, and at the rear the cooling louvres are slotted into the space in the rear deck, and each of these has a thicker armoured top edge, and a flange at the very rear. The space in the deck to right of the turret ring is filled by another cooling vent that has an armoured grille over the centre, and can be mounted on its two hinges without glue so that the engine can be exposed if you wish. The track links are small and finely detailed, with three sprue gates per link that are on the curved mating surfaces, so don’t take long to remove. You should to treat them gently though, as they are quite delicate, and you need eighty-six per side, fixing them together with liquid glue, then wrapping them around the road wheels while the glue is still flexible, holding the track run in position with clips, sponges and tape as you see fit. The large cooling louvres on the rear deck are covered by a fine PE mesh that has a further perimeter strip applied over it to hold it in place, adding nine tiny wingnuts down one side that allows it to be lifted for maintenance on the real vehicle. The fenders that run down each side of the tank have several small pips removed and have triangular fillets and a PE flange added to the front, with an axe that is held down by PE clamps, a series of rectangular and triangular profiled stowage boxes installed on both sides with a choice of two layouts, plus a selection of pioneer tools held in place by more PE clamps. The fenders are glued to the sides of the hull and have triangular PE supports added along their length, fitting more small brackets and couplings to the sloped glacis that secure them in place. The final sub-assembly for the tractor is the MG34, which has a separate breech top, a choice of deployed or stowed bi-pod, and a single drum magazine feeding it rounds. This is mounted for one decal option on the roof of the driver’s enclosure, completing the tractor. Pak40 75mm Field Gun This a new tool from MiniArt, and detail is exactly what we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with options to pose the model in transport mode or ready for action. You also get a few shells and wooden cases to dot around the gun if you intend to place it in a diorama. Construction begins with the chassis of the gun, on which the wheels and trails are installed, fixing many parts on it, adding brakes to the axles and a front fender, then cutting some lengths of wire from your own stock to link the brake cylinder to the pistons, with PE tie-downs holding them to the underside, and additional scrap diagrams showing the completed loom to help you with location. The trails are detailed with tools, grab-handles and spades at the rear, plus additional parts that differ depending on whether you are opening them up for combat, or ready for transport. They are mated to the chassis and locked in place by the top pivots, again changing some parts and their positions depending on the option you have chosen. A choice of two methods of attaching a shovel to the bottom plate are offered, one using a simple pair of PE clasps, the other creating a fully articulated retention clamp for the handle. The finished plate is fitted vertically for transport, but tipped up horizontally for action. There are actually three configurations for the gun, the traditional ready-for-action pose with the trails spread, plus two transport options, one for towing by a vehicle, the other for moving the gun off-road with a third wheel perched behind the trails, raising them off the ground for manual fine-tuning of position by the crew. The trails have a pair of cross-braces to hold them together during towing, with a split towing bar made from two halves connecting it to your choice of prime-mover. The wheels are laminated from three layers plus a central boss, making up two of these and a third without the boss that sits across the trails for the vehicle transport option, held in place on a sturdy bracket. For the manual transport option, the bracket is reused and fixed to the towing arm from underneath with the third wheel attached on an axle to raise the trails above the ground. The gun barrel is a single part with a keyed peg on each end, the thicker end inserting into the eight-part breech, which includes a sliding block if you leave it unglued. The barrel slide is made up from three sides and an end-cap, adding more details on the sides, and a cover on the front portion made from three sections. The barrel drops over the slide with the addition of a small PE crutch and is surrounded by a pair of pivots to the sides, the elevation arc-gear under the slide, and a few other detail parts, popping the pivots into the trunnions that glue to a detailed bottom plate, holding the gun in position from there. Dampers with corrugated gaiters are attached to the trunnions, with different parts for transport and combat positions, then the adjustment wheels and their actuators are fixed onto the left side, with a stubby axe on the right, again with PE socket and clasp on the handle. The sighting gear is also installed on the left, then it’s time to protect the crew from incoming fire. A U-shaped armour panel is built from two layers of styrene with a PE layer in between them, slotting it over the barrel from above and mounting on four supports, adding an additional link on each side using scrap diagrams to locate them properly. The cheek armour panels are also two layers per side, with cylindrical stowage items including a torch to the inner face before they are mated with the centre armour and braced by additional links to the sides of the trunnions, with an angled PE lip on the inside just below the top edge. There are three choices of muzzle-brake, each one made from similar but slightly different shaped parts, plus an optional part that is covered with a bag and PE ring to prevent debris ingress. The gun is then lowered onto the chassis, locating the pin in a corresponding hole in the top. To add detail around your model, a set of ten ready rounds are included on a sprue, with another four empty brass casings on another, plus a pair of 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. Stencils for the shells and boxes are included, as well as a full painting guide next to the colour chart that gives codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, as well as swatches and generic colour names. Figures The sprue containing the figures is actually a pair of sprues linked together, providing a driver figure with his hands out in front of him on the control levers, plus four seated crew that are relaxing on the deck as they move from one position to another. Each of them has a different pose, and all of them are wearing a standard Wehrmacht Field Grey uniform with calf-length jackboots and either a forage cap or peaked cap typical of the period. There are a selection of Stahlhelms on the sprues for a more battle-ready look, as well as a selection of Kar98 rifles, ammo pouches, canteens, and a single pistol in its holster. 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. Markings There are two decal options included on the sheet, both on the Eastern Front, but different enough to give you some options. From the box you can build one of the following: Eastern Front 1943 Eastern Front 1943 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s worth it just for the superb new Pak40, and when you consider you’re also getting a T-60(r) and five figures that are all well-detailed, it’s an appealing offering. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. European Farm Cart (35642) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Farms move immense amounts of goods around, including fertiliser, produce, livestock and many other things that us townies wouldn’t have a clue about unless we’ve watched Clarkson’s Farm recently, and even then we probably don’t see it all. Before the advent of tractors there were horse-drawn carts, which were easily adapted to be pulled behind a tractor by removing the parallel traces, or shafts, and adding a simple A-frame to the steerable front axle. Ever cost-conscious, many of these carts had old-fashioned wooden spoked wheels with iron tyres, offering no bump-absorbing suspension to any poor soul doomed to travel on one with the hay. After WWII, metal-bodied trailers with pneumatic tyres and suspension started to creep in, replacing the old-fashioned wooden carts eventually in all but the most die-hard farms. The Kit This kit arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box, and inside are five sprues of grey styrene that will build up into a four-wheeled wooden farm cart of the type described above. The two larger sprues are supplied in pairs to obtain the requisite number of wheels, axles and sides to the cart, with full instructions printed on the rear of the box, and a realistic wooden texture moulded into most of the parts, along with a healthy quantity of bolts and bracketry that are holding it together. Construction begins with the steerable front axle, which first has a beam framework made, snipping off some small parts, with a circular ring added to the top. The front frame for the load bed has three cross-braces added to the front underside and another ring underneath those, while the rear frame has a fixed axle strapped to it with a pair of brackets on a flat plank that has slots in its top surface to accept the framework above it. The two halves of the chassis are joined end-to-end, adding the smaller spoked rear wheels that can remain mobile if you glue the caps on the axle carefully. The front axle assembly has a pair of wheels glued on in a similar manner, adding the A-frame towing arm, noting that the front wheels are noticeably larger than those at the rear. Interestingly, there is also an alternative pair of parallel traces on a curved frame that replaces the A-frame if you’d like to either put a horse in between them, or leaving it in a farmyard diorama. The load bed is similarly made from two flat planked sections that are joined together, then have the side walls with moulded-in outer framework, some small protrusions on the ends removed with a sharp blade. The back panel has a raised, curved centre plus some additional shackles near the bottom, and the front is a simple flat panel, all with framework moulded-in, which has caused some very faint sink-marks on the inside surfaces, but with some bales of hay, boxes or barrels placed in the bed they won’t notice. The last item to be made up is a little bench seat that is suspended between the walls near the front of the bed. It is made from two paired planks that are joined together by L-shaped brackets to create the angle between the seat and back rest. It sounds idyllic and bucolic, but your fillings won’t thank you after you take a ride in it. Maybe that’s why old farmers are portrayed in the media with terrible teeth? Markings There are no decals of course, and you can paint your cart any colour you like, with plenty of opportunity for weathered and distressed paintwork, plus options for rusty tyres, brackets and bolts all over it. Have fun and try some new techniques. The box art suggests a weary turquoise colour, but there are very few limits on what colour you choose. My view of what is turquoise is often at variance to my spouse’s, so don’t take my statement of the cart’s colour on the box too literally. Conclusion It took me forever to remember the word “bucolic”, so I’m going to used it again shortly. This cart can play a part in any rural, some might say bucolic, diorama, or it could be rotting in the back of a farmyard somewhere, or lying damaged in a field that has become a battleground. Just like the paint scheme, the choice is yours. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. StuH 42 Ausf.G Late Prod (35355) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Following WWI the German military had identified a weakness in their forces, in that their advancing troops often left behind the support of their artillery as they moved forward, leading to a call for the creation of Sturmartillerie, which was effectively a mobile artillery piece that could travel alongside their forces, providing valuable protection. By the time the Nazis were gearing up their economy and military for war more openly, a requirement for just such a vehicle was made official, mating the chassis of the then current Panzer III with a short-barrelled 75mm gun in a fixed armoured casemate with limited traverse, which gave the type a distinctive howitzer-style look. In the later variants a longer high-velocity gun, the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 replaced the shorter gun to give it an improved penetrating power that was more in alignment with the Tank Killer job that it had become used for. These vehicles were designated Ausf.F or G, and were amongst the most produced version of this almost ubiquitous WWII tank. A project to up-gun the StuG was instigated using an Ausf.F chassis and a 10.5cm leFH 18 howitzer, taking the name Sturmhaubitze 42 or StuH 42 for short. The rounds were electrically fired, and it was to be fitted with a muzzle-brake to bleed off some of the recoil, and a dozen of this type were made from repaired Ausf.F examples, then almost 1,300 built as infantry support that were based on the Ausf.G, some without their muzzle-brakes due to the limited availability of certain metals as the war continued to turn against the Nazis, thanks to the Allied bomber force bombing their industrial base into rubble on a 24/7 schedule. The Kit MiniArt have now released several toolings of the late StuG III and this minor retool to depict the howitzer equipped sub-variant is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes layered on changes during the final batches as the war ground to its ultimate conclusion. This boxing depicts a late production vehicle near the bitter end, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and decal profiles on one side. Inside the box are thirty-seven sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two good-sized Photo-Etch (PE) frets of brass parts, decal sheet, and glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles in the front and rear. Detail is excellent throughout, which is just what we’ve come to expect from modern toolings by MiniArt, with so much detail crammed into every part of the model, including individual track links that are different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago. Construction begins with the floor, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t part of this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from substantial beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning lateral aim. The rear bulkhead is set against the engine mounts with its exhausts applied to the exterior, and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued either side of the front bulkhead, installing the engine firewall for structural strength. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhaust covers, towing lugs and idler protection are added to the rear, and a radiator exhaust assembly with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some heat deflecting tinwork to the hull. Narrow bolted panels are added to the sides of the hull in preparation for the upper hull parts that are added next. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots, and lifting eyes. The shape of the casemate is completed with the addition of the front wall, which has a large cut-out to receive the gun in due course. The front of the casemate is built out forward with a sloped front and some appliqué armour, dropped over the front of the lower hull and joined by the breech assembly, which is covered by an armoured panel after armoured protectors to the mounting bolts have been glued over them. The commander’s cupola is built on a circular base into which seven clear periscopes are slipped, completing the task later with several protectors, PE 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 of the main hatch. Much of the gun breech detail is represented, and a large trunnion is fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse, and sighting gear is installed on the breech, although it’s unlikely to be seen as anything other than a dim shadow within, especially once the roof is in place. The engine deck is built up with tapered sides and armoured intake louvres added outside them, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay. A length of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the fume extraction armour in the centre with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. two pairs of road wheels are carried on the deck on the rearmost pair of hatches, with a field modification of a flat stowage box is mounted between them on PE brackets. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with the sharply-angled splinter shield just in front of it and a well-detailed MG34 machine gun with drum mag slotted into the centre. Just forward of the commander’s cupola, a contoured armour panel is inserted, alleviating the shot-trap that could rip the cupola from the roof. The short howitzer barrel is a single part with hollow muzzle and no brake, which slides into the sleeve via an end-cap, the sleeve moulded into the front of the inverted saukopf mantlet that is made from an additional two parts before it is slid over the recoil tubes and breech. 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. 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 with PE rings at the rear, plus a trio of paired return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides. The tracks are individual links that are friction-fitted, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus a wisp of flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a length in short order, and the result is a very well-detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your model, and as they are a tight fit, they shouldn’t need glue, but I’d probably set them in position with liquid glue once I had them how I wanted them on the vehicle. Once they’re in place, the fenders are attached to the hull sides on small brackets, 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 Notek convoy light mounted in the centre of the glacis, and either a highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer on the rear left fender. Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, jack blocks and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the 111mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them and the tools in place on each side. A pair of aerials and a PE ‘fence’ is installed around the edge of the engine deck that’s intended to hold in any stray stowage, finishing off the vehicle itself, adding the brackets for the Schürzen along the sides of the hull and fenders with a few small added outriggers, although one decal option doesn’t have them fitted. The four PE schürzen panels per side are detailed with additional PE brackets on their inner surface, and once the glue between the two layers of PE (or you could solder them for strength), you simply hang them on the triangular hooks, with a quartet of scrap diagrams along the bottom of the page showing the two methods you can use to hang the plates vertically, or sloped inward toward the bottom. Decal option two, or B as it appears below has two additional lengths of track used as appliqué armour, one run of four links on the small vertical panel to the left of the gun barrel as you look down it, and another run of fourteen links on the lower glacis that are held in place by a long PE bracket that runs the entire width of the hull. Markings There are five markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage based upon dunkelgelb with splotches of other colours, and some overpainted in water-soluble winter distemper to a greater or lesser extent. From the box you can build one of the following: 325 StuG Brigade, Hungary, Autumn 1944 Unidentified unit, Hungary, Winter 1944-45 StuG. Ers. und Ausb. Abt 500. Poznan, Poland, February 1945 301 StuG Brigade. Poland, Silesia, February 1945 Unidentified Unit, Belvedere, Italy 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 Whilst it might easily be mistaken for a StuG, the StuH is just a little different from the norm, with its stubby barrel, especially without the muzzle brake. The detail in the kit is excellent, and it will keep you busy for many a happy hour. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Oil & Petrol Cans 1930-40s (49006) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Cans, cans everywhere! If you're not able to fill your tank at a handy petrol/gas station when you're fighting the enemy, it's handy to carry additional supplies of these fluids vital to the ongoing ability to move your vehicles and equipment. Before the pilfering of the German design for the eponymous Jerry Can, there were many other designs used back in the day, in all shapes and sizes. The Set We reviewed the 1:35 set of these cans four years ago now, and MiniArt are now bringing us a set by the same name in the smaller 1:48 scale that has a growing following amongst armour modellers too. This set arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box, and inside are five identical sprues of grey styrene, a card envelope containing a set of decals and a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), plus a single sheet of instructions printed on one side, with the painting and decaling guide printed on the rear of the box in full colour. There are six styles of cans on the sprues, and from the five sprues you can make thirty-six in total, six of each for those that aren’t great at mathematics. The first can on the list is a large cylindrical one, made from two halves, plus a circular lid, and a PE handle that is folded to shape. A rectangular can is made up the same way minus the handle, which is instead moulded into the top. You could always sand that off and make your own out of wire if you’re feeling adventurous of course. The next can is a shorter rectangular assembly with more rounded edges, and ribbing running round the circumference. The most unusual of the set is a long prism-shaped can that is assembled from a centre section and two end-caps, joining together along a convenient rib that should hide the joint, which is a similar technique used with a short rectangular can that is made from two parts, again with rounded edges. The last design is another rectangular can, but with square sides and flanged edges around the top and bottom, which uses more of the PE handles on the top, diagonally across one end. Each sprue also contains a single funnel to help you reduce spillages, totalling five overall. Markings The small decal sheet contains a plethora of markings for the can faces, including BP, Shell, Castrol, Jurgens, Texaco, and some stencils for unbranded cans with the German for Flammable and Fuel written upon them to avoid confusion and misuse with possibly catastrophic consequences. 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 Useful personalisation items and diorama fodder for any 1:48 modeller, whether you use them in aviation, armour, or civilian settings, or for another purpose not mentioned. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. German Panzer Crew France 1944 (35364) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII, German tank crews usually consisted of four, sometimes five men, led by their commander, who was generally dressed differently from the other men, and had the lofty seat in the cupola on top of the vehicle, communicating with the rest of the crew and others in their unit by radio with a wired throat-mic, and over-ear headphones. In the early part of the war, the crews were usually dressed in black uniforms with a large beret, but as the war progressed, they transitioned toward camouflaged uniforms to make them at least a little less visible when they were outside the comparative safety of their tank. The set arrives in an end-opening figure box, and inside are four sprues in grey styrene in a heat-sealed bag to prevent chaffing during shipping and in storage. The painting on the front of the box shows the poses of the figures inside, and on the rear of the box there is a reproduction of each of the figures, separated out from each other and covered with arrows that lead to part numbers on the relevant sprue, and to blue number codes that correspond to a table that gives paint codes for Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK Realcolor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, as well as the colour names and a small swatch of the colour by way of example. There is also a square of camouflage on the rear with paint codes as a guide to painting the uniforms. Sculpting is up to MiniArt’s usual high standard, with high levels of detail as well as realistic texture and drape of clothing, topped off with naturalistic poses. Parts breakdown is also sensibly along natural seamlines where possible, with separate heads, torso, arms and legs, plus flat-topped heads to accommodate hats, and boot soles moulded separately for better detail on the seated character where they're visible. Conclusion Another finely sculpted figure set from MiniArt that will improve any situation that they are placed in. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. US Armoured Bulldozer (35403) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Based upon the Caterpillar D7 Tractor that was designed in the 1930s, the US forces took them into service in large numbers when the attack on Pearl Harbour completed the inexorably journey into WWII. It was used as a pure ‘dozer in the safer rear areas, and where there was a likelihood of contact with the enemy it was up-armoured to protect the crew from injury. The important engine compartment was armoured to an extent in some variants, and in others it was totally enclosed for operation on the front line to protect the delicate ancillaries from damage that would immobilise the vehicle sooner or later. It was used to tow damaged armour out of the battlefield, and to clear away debris that would otherwise inhibit the forward movement of the Allied troops, such as the StuG shown on the boxtop, which its previous owners clearly tried to recover for their own use, judging by the tow cables still hanging from its shackles. The height of the dozer blade was cable-operated from a winch at the rear of the vehicle, the cables routed over the engine and cab area on a length of square profile conduit. The winch hung over the rear towing shackle, and must have been somewhat susceptible to damage when reversing using just the slit in the rear window, and the open cable at the front that operated the blade was exposed to enemy fire, although it was doubled-up to add redundancy. How well this worked is anyone’s guess. Armoured bulldozers are still used in combat zones today, and it can trace its heritage back to these early pioneers. The Kit This a reboxing with new parts of a tooling by MiniArt from 2015, and it seems that they are gradually working through the various up-armoured versions, with this the first to have a completely enclosed cab with armour to protect the crew. It arrives in a good-sized top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter that is busy pushing a StuG III off the road with Allied half-tracks waiting to pass once the job is done. Inside are thirty-six sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, a length of braided cord, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, decal sheet, and the instruction booklet printed on glossy paper in colour. If you hadn’t guessed already, the detail is excellent throughout the sprues. Construction begins with the engine, which takes up more than two pages of the instructions, creating the sump, block, transmission, and a host of ancillaries that would be about the size of a small car at full scale. The radiator is built and joined to the motor by a pair of hoses that lead into a header tank, and it is supported in front of the fan by a pair of stays and the larger hoses that lead directly to the cooling chambers within the engine block. The engine bearers are moulded into the end-plates of the power transfer housing, which is itself made up of nine parts, two of which remain unglued and are trapped inside the housing for later use in mounting the track sponsons. The motor is then lowered into position between the bearers and locked in place in three locations on each side, adding some additional plating and ancillaries, then building and installing the pedal box and other controls for the driver’s use, all of which are linked either with rods or in one case, a PE wire that has a bending template next to it. The forest of controls and linkages are boxed in on three sides that butt up against the forward bulkhead, and have a layer of tread-plate added over the front of the cab to create the floor, leaving the rear portion open for the time being. Under the centre of the chassis, a large two-layered twin leaf-spring is made up and installed on two pairs of notches moulded into the lower rails, fitting a towing arm to the bulky rear axle, and a pair of outriggers to widen the cab on each side, supported by three L-brackets that slot between rows of raised rivets that are moulded into the sides of the cab floor. The rest of the underside of the chassis is armoured with smoothly contoured sheets of steel to minimise hang-ups on terrain, a small plate crossing the gap under the suspension, and adding a rugged towing hook to the front under the radiator that is of more use on variants where the dozer blade isn’t fitted. Three sub-assemblies are made next, including a rectangular stowage box with lid, a cylindrical muffler for the top of the exhaust that bears a resemblance to one of those bottles on a water cooler. The largest assembly is the combined fuel tank and crew seat, which is more like a settee in shape, and must have made driving over rough ground very entertaining. The tank is the full width of the back of the seat, with a filler cap in the top centre, and a cushion attached to the front, with another squab on an upstand in front of it, adding the sides with grab-handles for access, and additional cushions for their delicate little elbows. It fits in place over the hole in the cab floor, hiding away the rest of the greeblies and linkages for eternity, or until some swine smashes your lovely model. At the rear, the towing arm has the shackle and further supports fixed to it to strengthen it further. The two track sponsons are completed in mirror image, sharing aspects such as road wheels that are made up from a stack of three or five discs on a short axle, interleaved between cross-members that hold the rails apart, and with two gigantic concentric springs running along the top of the sponson and covered over by curved armour panels once the multi-layer idler wheel and simpler drive sprocket have been built and installed, the latter held to the sponson by a large flat-topped peg that also holds the final drive housing against the inner face of the wheel. The completed assemblies are offered up to the chassis, fixed in position by gluing the final drive housing to the corresponding inner half, adding two closed Y-supports to the inner face of the sponson and linking up the other end to the free-rotating cylinders within the transfer box, fitting the rear of the sponsons onto the ends of the leaf springs to complete the process. The armoured cab has a sloped lower section at the front, and two crew doors in the sides, first building up the sides, the front vertical surfaces, and the doors, which have handles inside and out, plus a grab handle next to them. The diagonal surface at the front of the cab is inserted over the air-box that projects through a hole in the roof, and has a mushroom vent and filter fitted to the top after installation. Short armoured panels are also added to the sides of the radiator, protecting it and the hoses from damage, although most of the rest of the engine is exposed on this variant. The twin spools of the winch are layered up along with the included cord, which isn’t cut to length at this stage, just attached at one end to the cover over the spool. Two long control arms snake over the back of the seat, allowing the driver to operate it simply by turning around, even after the rear armour is installed, as the bottom of the armour hangs free, which looks like a shot-trap, but hopefully wouldn’t have been an issue. The front cable support frame is braced by a pair of long struts mounted on the diagonal front of the cab, although they disappear in the next drawing for ease of viewing the top armour over the engine, which is a curved shield shape and has several holes in it to accept the exhaust and muffler, plus a hand-starter crank handle. Three flip-down armoured window covers with vision slots are fitted to the windows in the front and rear, adding their operating mechanism from behind, the part number depending on whether you are posing them open or closed. The roof with a square vent in one corner closes in the cab, and an initial armoured radiator grille wraps around the radiator to protect it from incoming rounds. A set of pulleys are made to fit to the top of the winch, including PE covers and plenty of plastic, and once in place it is depicted as transparent to help guiding the cord through the assembly and up to roof level where it passes through another pulley that is supported by a large A-frame, and the front square frame with diagonal supports holding the pulley firmly, adding a pair of floodlights onto the corners of the assembly, which is supported by the two diagonal out-riggers fitted earlier. Another layer of armour is attached to the front of the frame, spacing it from the initial layer so that cooler air can still reach the radiator core, although by a more circuitous route. The two pulleys are linked by the bottom of the conduit and the cable is laid over it to run through the pulley, leaving it free until later in the build. The tracks are individual links, each one consisting of two rollers and three verticals per side, all of which aren’t glued to the rollers, but are held together by the track plates, with thirty-six of these on each run. Each link has either three or four sprue gates, while the pins have just one, although these are sensibly placed and easy to clean up after removal. The focal point of any bulldozer is the blade, which in this case is made from two parts, has several brackets attached, plus side plates and two V-frames that have attachment eyes that are pinned in place between the brackets once the glue is dry. A massive U-frame that does all the heavy lifting is prepared by adding a central bracket above and below the frame, four brackets added to the top, and a larger finned bracket near the pivot-point, with a small PE part nearby. The bottom of the frame sits on a step within the upper, hiding the ejector-pin marks and saving some work. The reason for the brackets on the top of the frame becomes clear when joining the blade to the support, as it allows the modeller and operator to adjust the angle and direction of the blade by inserting the blade supports in the relevant bracket and securing it in place with an L-shaped pin, allowing it to be angled left, right or straight. Another pulley is layered up, leaving the rollers free to rotate, and this is woven into the cable path, then attached to the centre of the U-frame, pushing another pin through it to hold it in place once the completed assembly has the pivot-point completed and a pin pushed through into the side of the sponsons. The last job is to complete the conduit over the cable by gluing the C-profile part over the top of the run. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, all in olive green, one of which has a patchy coat of winter distemper over the top. From the box you can build one of the following: 103rd Engineering Combat Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, US Army, Europe, 1944-45 Unidentified Combat Engineer Battalion, US Army, Europe, Winter, 1944-45 Presumably 127th Combat Engineeer Battalion, 6tg US Army, Manila, Philippines, February 1945 17th Armoured Engineer battalion, 2nd Armoured Division, US Army, Germany, Spring 1945 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A highly detailed replica of this WWII workhorse that did sterling work on and near the battlefield. It’s also a great canvas for some interesting paint effects, weathering and diorama possibilities. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Tempo E400 Hochlader Pritche 3-Wheel Truck (35371) 1:35 MiniArt Via Creative Models Ltd The A400 Lieferwagen was another of Hitler’s standard vehicles that is perhaps lesser known than the Beetle. It was originally designed as the E400 and produced by company Tempowerk Vidal & Sohn from 1938, and was joined by an identical Standard E-1 that was manufactured in another factory. It was one of the few factories that were permitted to carry on making civilian vehicles, although this permit was eventually withdrawn as the state of the war deteriorated for Germany. After WWII ended, the company began making the type under the original E400 name, and it had a different BMWesque twin panelled front grille. It continued in production until 1948 when it must have dawned on someone that one wheel at the front was a really bad idea, even if it was cheaper. A concept that lingered on in the UK much longer so old geezers with motorcycle licenses could scare other road users effectively, and by carrying a football in the boot, they could emulate a giant whistle. It’s an old joke, but it checks out. Unsurprisingly to anyone that watched that episode of Top Gear, the wagon was a little unstable in the corners due to its single front wheel, and the weight of its front-mounted engine probably made matters worse, with a short chain drive from the motor to the wheel. The two-stroke 400cc engine in the A and E output 12 hp that gave it sluggish performance at best, which was probably just as well due to that front wheel instability. The driver was situated behind the front wheel and short cowling that hid the engine away, with a pair of side doors for entry and exit, and a single-panel windscreen that overlooked the bonnet/hood. The open load area was to the rear of the vehicle, with drop-down sides and rear tailgate for easy access to the contents. The Kit This is a new boxing of a recent tooling from MiniArt, and was released at the same time as the more militaristic A400, to give the modeller some choice. This unusual little vehicle arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are six sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet on glossy paper with colour profiles on the rear pages. It’s a full-body model even though that body is small, so you’ll get to build all the internal parts and during the process possibly learn a little about how it works – I did. Detail is as good as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a lot of it and what there is well-finessed. 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, plus a battery attached to the floor on the left. The front bulkhead has a clear rounded windscreen popped in, a short steering column and a droopy lever, with the windscreen wiper motor cover added to the top of the screen frame, leaving the two bunny-ear indicators intact because they are suitable for this version. The windscreen assembly is attached to the front of the floor with a pot for the washers and the conversion stub of the steering column, with a pair of PE wiper blades added in a boxed scrap diagram below. The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back is attached to the rear bulkhead that has two side parts and a small clear window for later joining to the floor, and you’ll need to find some 0.3mm wire 24.6mm long to represent the linkage to the floor-mounted brake lever and the back of the cab. The steering wheel and rear bulkhead are glued in and held up by the addition of the roof, then the two crew doors a made up, having clear side windows plus winders and handles that are quite delicate for realism, then they are installed on the cab, remembering that they hinge rearward in the manner sometimes referred to as suicide doors. The rear chassis is built around a cylindrical centreline part with the back axle and its triangular bearers slipping over it and having hubs with brake discs 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 joint between them. The rear wheels are made from a main part that includes the tyres and back of the hub, with a choice of two inserts slipped inside to represent two different hub cap styles, that are then fitted onto the axles on short pegs, with a brake-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 is a single part with more planking engraved into both surfaces, adding two support rails, PE hinges, lights and a PE numberplate frame fixed on brackets before the upstands are made. The flatbed sides are able to be posed upright, or folded down in the open position, typically for oversized loads or during unloading. Small clasps are included for the corners, and the peg should be cut off for the closed option, fitting the tall front with the peaked top to the bed. The little engine is one of the last assemblies, and is superbly detailed with a lot of parts representing the diminutive 400cc two-stroke motor and its ancillaries, including radiator, fuel tank, exhaust with silencer and chain-drive cover that leads to the front axle. The completed assembly comprises the motor, axle and the fork that attaches to the front of the cab and is wired in using three more lengths of 0.3mm wire from your own stocks, which the instructions advise you 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 mated with the cab, the slide-moulded cowling for the engine is fitted-out with two fine PE radiator meshes, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate for some decal options, 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, when the little hook latches onto a clip on the roof’s drip-rail, holding it up past vertical against the windscreen. A couple of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted on the sides of the cowling and a pair of wing mirrors on an angled arm are glued to holes in the front of the bulkhead on each side, with a PE bracket giving the appearance of that the etched rivets are what holds it in place. At the front between the radiator grilles, a convoy light is installed on a PE bracket for some decal options that are in military service. MiniArt have considerately included a whole sprue of parts for you to add a deployed canvas tilt to the load bed of your newly-minted E400 wagen, including the internal rails and PE stowing buckles along the bottom edges of the tilt. Markings There are four decal options from the sheet, all painted in relatively drab colours due to their military of paramilitary service, one having been overpainted with brushed-on camouflage in the same dark yellow as the truck body. From the box you can build one of the following: Junkers Technical Services, Late 1930s Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD), Early 1940s Unidentified Flak Unit, Germany, Summer 1942 Unidentified Flak Unit, Germany, 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 MiniArt have also done a great job with making this unusual truck an easy to build, well-detailed kit of the German grandfather to the Robin Reliant. I said there will be more of these coming soon, and I was right (for a change). Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. German Tank Riders Set 2 (35377) 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 cover until it came time to dismount, other times it was a case of sitting somewhere flat on the hull of the tank, saving a quantity of shoe-leather getting from A to Battle. The set arrives in an end-opening figure box, and inside are seven sprues in grey styrene, three of which were linked within the box on arrival, but were removed for ease of photography. Each figure has a separate sprue, and there are three larger sprues of accessories that will provide plenty of additional fodder for other projects or the spares box. The figures are broken down sensibly into torso, separate arms, legs and heads, with additional breaks where detail and moulding requirements dictate, especially in the hands where fingers are separated to grip weapons, and where the bottom of the feet would be visible, the sole has been moulded separately in order to depict the tread. Two soldiers are sitting cradling their rifles, while one is kneeling and holding his MP44 in both hands as if he is a little wary of possible enemy contact. The final figure is crouched on his haunches with an MP40 in his hands, leaning forward and alert, as if he is also concerned about what it coming down the road. Someone ought to tell the other two, as they seem totally unaware. The three accessory sprues are filled with various weapons that include Kar98 rifles, MP40s, MP44s, MP38s, an FG42, and various pistols in and out of holsters. Ammo pouches, map bags, ammo boxes, water bottles, gas mask cylinders, day bags, entrenching tools, bayonets in and out of scabbards, a row of seven Stahlhelms that use sliding moulds to create the distinctive peak and rear brim of the helmets, as well as an open kit box with hollow interior, lid, and a hollow cup. The last bit of slide-moulding is used to provide the recessed lenses for a pair of field glasses. There are a few items on the sprues where the uses are not immediately clear, but as they’re in a tiny minority and shouldn’t be needed for this set, it’s not an issue. As always with MiniArt figure sets, the sculpting, poses and fabric drape of the individuals is first-rate, with construction eased by the join lines of the parts being along the natural seams or bends of the various limbs, which extends to the accessories in equal measure. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. British, US Soldiers & French Civilians in Café (35392, 35406 & 38062) 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 total, with little in the way of remission 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, 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 group of similarly themed figure sets each arrive in standard end-opening figure-sized boxes, and all sets contain three figures, which includes one waiter and two customers. The two sets containing soldiers are clearly intended for wartime dioramas, while the French civilians could be included in dioramas from 1930-40s, as you see fit. The sets also include a pair of chairs and a table, so could conceivably be used in one single diorama at the same café as a suite of furniture. The two 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 this to complete it. The table has a simple top with a cruciform mounting bracket moulded-in, adding the central leg and cast-iron base that spreads out to stabilise it. British Soldiers in Café (35392) Inside the box are five sprues of grey styrene, plus a clear sprue that contains nine glasses of three sizes and styles, all with hollow centres that should allow you to place some contents in there for added realism. The two soldiers are seated, one supporting his Lee Enfield rifle vertically on the ground, while the other turns round from his beer to watch something that has attracted both their attention. The waiter is half sitting on a bar stool sipping from a tasse de café with a wry grin on his face, and his free hand resting at the top of his apron-covered thigh. The weapons sprue has numerous spare rifles and ammo pouches for you to use, and the soldiers both have a beret, which the box art shows painted red with the winged emblem of the Parachute regiment. US Soldiers in Café (35406) Consisting of five sprues in grey styrene, one of clear styrene and another in clear green, this set has two US soldiers, one resting his M1 Carbine between his knees whilst toasting his buddy with a bottle of what looks like red wine. The other GI is returning the toast with a glass, with his other hand engaged in holding the cigar resting over his crossed leg. The moustachioed waiter is standing with his tray held behind his back, proffering a menu to his clientele. The clear sprue contains three spirit glasses and two shaped bottles, while the green sprue is full of sixteen wine bottles, some of which could be used elsewhere. Again, the weapons sprue carries two additional rifles, one with a folding stock, plus several sets of ammo pouches. French Civilians in Café (38062) There are four sprues in grey styrene and two of clear parts in the box, sufficient to build a man and woman sitting at a table chatting, him nursing an umbrella, while she dangles one shoe from her foot as she talks from under a wide-brimmed hat. The waiter is bringing a confection to the table on a plate, whilst leaning slightly forward in dramatic fashion with a cloth draped over his forearm to enhance the drama. The clear sprues contain spirit glasses, bottles and various other glasses that are also seen in the other sets, again with hollow bowls for liquid/paint. 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
  17. Cheese Delivery Car Liefer Pritschenwagen Type 170V (38046) 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/trunk-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 Delivery vehicle (reviewed earlier), with the some of the same new sprues and more new parts added to create the necessary changes 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 fifteen 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 layer-cake of two central sections to create the tread around the circumference, and two outer faces that depict the sidewalls of the tyres, with maker’s mark and data panel moulded into the sides. 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 with shallow sides with two moulded-in rails running underneath, and PE brackets for the number plate and rear light clusters added beneath the rear, with closure mechanism on the fold-down 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 rear 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, wing mirrors and indicator stalks on the A-pillars finish off the build of the van. To put the cheese into this delivery wagon, there are three sprues of cheese parts and trays to make up and paint, according to the bottom of the last page of the instructions, which covers part numbers and paint codes that correspond to the paint table on the first inside page of the booklet. There are also decals for the cheese labels, and these too are shown on the same page using yellow numbered bubbles to refer to the numbers on the sheet. Markings Get your (slightly) more colourful shades out for these decal options. These were commercial vehicles during peacetime, so they were designed to attract attention, although the hardship of post war Europe shows in the wear and tear evident on the profiles. There are three options depicted in the instructions, with plenty of decals devoted to the branding on the sides and the cheeses. From the box you can build one of the following: West Berlin, late 1940s France, early 1950s Nederland, early 1950s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is another well-detailed kit of an old Merc van, and even if you’re not a vehicle modeller it would make for great background fodder for a diorama, especially a cheesy one, possibly with post-war Allied or Soviet armour making its way through town. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Allied jerry Cans WWII (49003) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd There’s no such thing as too much fuel on the battlefield unless the enemy is firing incendiaries. This is especially true if you’re planning a long journey through hostile territory. Driving around with a bowser playing tag isn’t always practical or safe, so canned fuel has been the go-to option since the internal combustion engine and war first met. A particularly efficient design was of German origin, and became known by the Allies as the Jerry Can, with the design extensively copied, tweaked and propagated around the world over the years. This set arrives in a figure-shaped end-opening box, and inside are five identical sprues in grey styrene, a sheet of decals and a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), plus a single-sided instruction sheet that walks you through building the four types of can included on each fret. The rectangular can is marked with the War Department (WD) logo on the sides, and is made from two halves plus top and bottom, with enough parts for ten of the type. It also has a moulded-in fold-flat wire carry-handle that you can cut away and replace with real wire if you’re feeling adventurous. There are ten each of a standard Jerry can design that have separate handles and filler caps, one design with the British War Department logo, the other the American Quarter Masters Corps (QMC) stamped into it. Each one has the familiar triple handle, while the stamped stiffener designs on the sides differs between them. The last type is a two-part rectangular can with moulded-in filler cap, which has a separate PE handle on the fret. For a change, you can make twenty of these, with only a little PE folding to create the shape of the handles. Each sprue also includes a small funnel to assist in filling the cans, totalling five. Markings The cans can be painted any colour real or imaginary, and as they usually had a hard life, you could go mad with chipping, dribbles, stains and even engrave some dents into them with a motor tool or narrow sanding stick. To help with realism, a sheet of decals is included that contains logos for Shell and BP, plus generic Petrol, Gas and Oil stencils to mark out the cans for their intended use. 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 super set of diorama fodder that includes fifty cans, rather than the forty-five noted on the box. Detail is excellent, and it’s always nice to get more than you thought you would, isn’t it? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Living Room Interior (35646) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Living room, lounge, sitting room. Call it what you want, but it’s the place where we spend most of our awake time when we’re home, and possibly a growing amount of sleeping time as we get older too. Unless you’re some kind of recluse or an unusual religious sect, you’ll have furniture in that room too, in order to make your life comfortable. That’s where this set comes in. It’s not modern furniture of course, but more suitable for the 1930s-50s before technology really took over, dominating our living spaces with the goggle-box. The Kit Arriving in a figure-shaped end-opening box with a painting of the finished contents on the front, and a painting guide on the rear, there are eight sprues of grey styrene, a clear sprue, small decal sheet and instruction booklet inside. The instructions also have sixteen paintings and a couple of rugs printed on the inside back page, which you can cut out and insert into the frames, and for the rugs, lay on the floor after running a suitably coloured pen or brush around the edges to hide the white paper. The instructions show how to build each of the pieces of furniture, starting with the grandfather clock, which has a detailed base, the weights and pendulum moulded into the rear of the carcass, and a decorated door that includes two pieces of glazing, one for the decal on the clock face, the other for the large window on the pendulum. A floor-standing lamp is inserted into a weighted base with five candle-bulbs under a recurved shade, then the sitting room is given seats in the shape of two single seats and a two-seat sofa, which have the traditional latticework under the cushions, separate backs, sides, and extra centre feet on the sofa. A wind-up gramophone is built from four decorative sides and the top, which includes the platter and winding handle, completed by making up a two-part horn-shaped speaker, which you can perch on the table, which has four separate legs, or another table with a set of draws under the top, which are decorative in this instance. The empty table can also be the repository for the two-part radio that’s included, after which you have three picture frames, one oval, one square and one oblong, with a choice of pictures to place in each one. Markings The three decals are intended for the clock, the radio dial, and the badge on the front of the gramophone, after which you can choose to paint the furniture any way you want to. There are suggestions on the back of the box however in case your muse is absent, and the colours are given in the codes of Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, and Tamiya, plus a swatch showing the colour, and its name at the right edge of the table. Decals are well-printed in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion If you’re a diorama builder these sets are just the job, and would look great regardless of whether the walls of the room have been blown out or not. The paint scheme and level of dust/debris might have to vary a little of course. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. D8506 Mod.1937 German Tractor (24003) 1:24 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Tractors were a boon to farmers when they were introduced soon after the reliability of the motor car became a thing, as they were especially useful for lugging around heavy equipment around the farm, as well as the typical ploughing, sowing and reaping of crops. They also had power take-off points that could be used to drive other stationary machinery, further expanding their usefulness. Lanz were the leading maker of farm machinery in Germany, and their Bulldog range were the “hoover” of the tractor world in their country for many years. They were good quality and reliable, which led to them being copied by several countries, and as the initial 1921 model was improved the model number was increased until well into the 9,000s. One of the primary selling points of the vehicle was the simple “hot-bulb” single-cylinder engine that could be run on a variety of fuels and had very few moving parts, which made it easy to repair and maintain. They started off as 6L and grew to 10L engines, and their slow turnover high-torque output suited the tractor’s work very well. In 1956 they were sold to John Deere, and the name slowly fell out of use. There are still many working examples to be seen at country fairs and historic events, kept in splendid condition by their loving (some may say obsessed) owners. The Kit This is new edition of MiniArt’s D8500 range of kits but in the larger de facto vehicle scale of 1:24, and you can expect many more if their 1:35 release schedule is repeated. The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box, and inside are ten sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two tread parts for the big wheels on their own cruciform sprues, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles of the decal options on the rear covers. Construction begins with the large cast metal chassis that is made up from two halves each end around a centre-plate, with lots of parts used to create its distinctive shape. The superstructure is roughly rectangular, having various filler caps on the top, radiator panels on the sides, and a name-plate on the front. The driver’s foot pedals are long curved linkages to the underside of the chassis, and with these in place the driver’s tread-plated floor is installed and a big handbrake is fitted to the deck, with a stowage box under the lip at the left rear. The large cylindrical fairing in the centre of the chassis is filled with the clutch and drive-shaft on one side, and on the floor plate the driver’s seat is mounted on a sturdy spring, a couple of hand controls are inserted into depressions in the deck in front, then the large drive housing is mounted on the left side of the chassis, with a bell-housing and fly-wheel on the opposite side over the clutch, and two large fenders/sidewalls over where the rear wheels will be, plus a sturdy bumper-bar at the rear on diagonal cross-braces. The rear hubs have two additional layers inside for the drum brakes, ready to receive the large back wheels. The wheels on this tractor have heavy tread to plough through mud, which is built up by layering five parts together to make a tyre-sandwich at the front, and a three-part layer for the larger rear wheels, all with crisp and chunky tread on the rolling surfaces. The tyres have their hubs moulded-in, while the rears have additional rear hub ring added between the wheels and rear axles. The front axle has the hubs moulded-in, adding the steering arms, anti-roll bars and the linkage to the column, which is installed on the front underframe on a single pivot in preparation for the tyres. Two large exhausts are made up from various odd-shaped parts attaching to the left side of the chassis either side of the bell-housing, with a pair of large clear-lensed headlamps on an oversized cross-member on the topside. The fifth wheel is the steering wheel, which can be fitted atop the steering column as you’d expect, or detached and used on a shaft to manually start the vehicle via the input shaft hidden behind a cover in the centre of the right-hand bell-housing. Markings There are two schemes on the small decal sheet in civilian use, so comparatively colourful when new, but likely covered in mud and other gruesome fluids before too long in service. From the box you can build one of the following: Gelderland Province, Netherlands 1939-51 East Prussia, 1938-45 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 Exceptional detail is all over the sprues, without the need for PE in this scale, and the extreme chunkiness and rugged design helps with its appeal of course. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Tempo E400 Kastenwagen 3-Wheel Delivery Box Truck (38047) 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 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, with a single door at the back to keep the contents safe and cool, 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 version of the recent tool from MiniArt, and has been released in parallel with the more militaristic A400, to give the modeller some choice. This unusual little vehicle arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are seven sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, 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 even though that body is small, so you’ll get to build all the internal parts and during the process possibly learn a little about how it works – I did. Detail is as good as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a lot of it and what there is 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, plus a battery attached to the floor on the left. The front bulkhead has a clear rounded windscreen popped in with a small sliver of PE at the bottom, a short steering column and a droopy 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 suitable 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 shackle 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 has two side parts and a small clear window for later joining to the floor, and you’ll need to find some 0.3mm wire 24.6mm long to represent the linkage to the floor-mounted brake lever and the back of the cockpit. The steering wheel and rear bulkhead are glued in, then the two crew doors a made up, having clear side windows plus winders and handles that are quite delicate for realism, then they are installed on the cab under the roof, remembering that they hinge rearward in the manner sometimes referred to as suicide doors. The rear chassis is built around a cylindrical centreline part 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 joint between them. The rear wheels are made from a main part that includes the tyres and back of the hub, with a choice of two inserts slipped inside to represent two different hub cap styles, that are then fitted onto the axles on short pegs, with a brake-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, which makes you an advanced modeller. The load bed is a single part with more planking engraved into both surfaces, adding lights on a PE bracket before the box is made. 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! The box is built up on the load bed floor, starting with the sides, then adding the ends and the curved roof, attaching the mudguards to the ribs on the sides, and a choice of number plate designs that fit on the back door, which has a handle opposite the hinges, as does the smaller side door on the right. After the rear axle and chassis tube have been fitted under the load bed and mated with the cab, the slide-moulded cowling for the engine is fitted-out with two fine PE radiator meshes, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate, 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 nearby. A couple of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted on the sides of the cowling and a solitary wing mirror on an angled arm is glued to hole in the front of the bulkhead above the windscreen frame, with a PE bracket giving the appearance of that the etched rivets are what holds it in place. Markings There are four decal options from the sheet, all painted in one or more solid colours and decorated with the markings of the brand of the owner, one having a large smiling face pointing to a pack of ersatz butter. From the box you can build one of the following: Nordland Schwarze Zigaretten, Germany, Stuttgart 1940s Bahlsen Keks, Germany, Hannover 1940s Fanella, Germany, Leipzig 1940s Scho-Ka-Kola, Germany, Berlin 1940s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s weird, so of course like it, but MiniArt have also done a great job with making an easy to build, well-detailed kit of this quirky little German grandfather to the Robin Reliant. I guarantee there will be more of these coming soon. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. British B-Type Armoured Lorry (39006) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Born in Manchester, Charles Samson was a Naval aviator (stay with me) who saw action commanding an RNAS squadron by the beginning of WWI, but due to a frustrating lack of functional aircraft to fly against the enemy, he and his cohorts took it upon themselves to take the fight to the Germans using their personal vehicles that they had shipped across from Blighty, initially arming them with machine guns, then shipping more vehicles across the Channel that had been up-armoured with steel plate in the Royal Navy workshops. The shipment included a few trucks that had been similarly hardened and fitted with loupes that permitted the crew to fire on the enemy from the relative safety of the vehicle. This was the beginning of the RNAS Armoured Car Squadron, and they were nicknamed Samson’s Motor Bandits, a typically WWII-style name, reminiscent of a character from Biggles. They were shipped Type-B buses as part of their consignment, which had been stripped of their civilian bodywork and fitted with an armoured cab and a similarly armoured open-topped load-bed that had sloped sides with a recurved lip to deflect any rounds striking the vehicle’s sides, leaving the gunners without an additional nostril. The solid tyres could handle hits from small-rounds too, and the driver was protected by a frontal panel, part of which could fold back to afford him a better view when the precipitation didn’t include lead. Speaking of precipitation, the top of both compartments were open to the elements, but also grenades, so keeping moving was key to their survival. As the Germans became more used to these raiders visiting them around the Dunkirk and Antwerp areas, they deployed light field guns where they were expected, which led to the fitting of at least one Type-B with a cannon to counter them, also adding heavier fire support to their raids. The Kit Sharing a few sprues with the original Type-B Omnibus on which it was based, this is a predominantly new tooling from MiniArt, depicting these brave and reckless lunatics from WWI. The kit arrives in a top-opening box with a painting of the subject on the front, and inside are nine sprues in various sizes in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE), decal sheet, and the usual A4 instruction booklet, printed in colour on glossy paper, with a full colour painting guide on the rear page. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a smattering of slide-moulding going on to improve detail without increasing the part-count unduly. The kit is also a full rendering of the vehicle, including chassis, engine and both crew and passenger compartments. Construction begins with the engine, which is typically Heath-Robinson in accordance with style of the era, depicting the cylinder block, sump, paired cylinders that have tappit springs running down the outsides, plus a surprisingly spindly exhaust manifold, and the usual accessories that make things work. There are also diagrams for the advanced modeller to add wiring from the cylinder heads to the ‘sandwich box’ that is more likely some kind of predecessor to a distributor. A large fly-wheel and clutch assembly is made up and added to the first-motion shaft at one end of the motor, building a transfer box and short drive-shaft for later use. The chassis is made from two outer rails with a surprising ten cross-members and two side-mounted L-beams to the topside of the rails where the engine is to be installed next. It fixes to two of the cross-members on lugs, then has the fan and its belt inserted on one of the beams with an A-frame holding it above the chassis. The chassis is kept inverted for the time-being, adding leaf-springs beside the motor, and two more at the rear with a pair of suspension cones outside the rails. An armoured surround is mounted around the fly-wheel, and after righting the chassis, the three-part steering box is mated with the right rail next to the fly-wheel. The armoured bulkhead and front cab wall are fixed to the chassis with a choice of open or closed driver vision-ports, then the radiator is built up, starting with the two-part core, plus top, bottom and side covers, closing it up with a curved header and filler-cap assembly. The mounting brackets are added to the sides, and a set of protective railings are glued to the front, installing it at the front of the engine bay, linking the feeder hose from the top of the cylinder head. Beneath the chassis, the rear axle is built with a differential bulge at the centre, fitting three linkages to brackets on the chassis once it is in place on the rear leaf-springs. The front axle with steering arm is installed on the front springs, with a pair of linkages threaded through the rails after it is in place. The transfer box made earlier is mounted in the centre of the chassis on two cross-members, linking the rear axle to the back of it with another drive-shaft and protecting it with an armoured cover. A double linkage is made up and inserted between two members, with two diagrams showing how it should look from both ends. The steering wheel is mounted on a long column and slipped into the steering box, adding the horn and gear-shifter to the bulkhead, another lever in the floor and two pedals in the floor after it has been glued to the chassis behind the bulkhead. The centre support is added between the radiator and bulkhead, supporting the two-part cowlings on the side, which have optional plaques or vehicle numbers on the PE sheet. These can be glued closed or open by following one of the two diagram choices, and you can mix and match open and/or closed as you like it. Inverting the chassis again, the exhaust downpipe, muffler and exit pipe are joined together with PE rings between the parts, fitting it in place on the cross-rails, and mounting the hand-brake for the front and rear axles to the right rail on the outside, with a linkage included for the rear brake. On the left side a foot-step is installed on a bracket, and a fire extinguisher that does a creditable impression of a milk churn is mounted on the bulkhead on a platform and held in place by a PE belt. The rest of the cab is built with asymmetrical sides to include an access door, and a bench seat with stowage box underneath, adding the rear armour before fixing it to the chassis, with a dropped front armour plate below the radiator that allows a pass-through hand-cranking handle. More armoured sheet in the shape of a plough is installed to protect the radiator, with the option of folding up the lower front portion to increase ventilation to the radiator that is held in place by a pair of PE clips. The passenger compartment is built on a flat wooden planked floor, adding trapezoid front and rear bulkheads, and sloped side armour, then fixing U-shaped supports for the three bench seats to the insides of each side, which can then drop into position, securing them with glue if you want. Five cross-braces are installed under the floor, and when it is glued onto the chassis, the twin bolts are topped off with straps in a similar manner as U-bolts. A curved fender is fitted to the sides of the engine compartment by a pair of brackets, to which a highly-detailed lamp on a Y-shaped bracket with a PE top and clear lens in the front, attached to the front of the cab by a PE bracket. The wheels are spoked, although the rear wheels are twin-wheeled to take the extra weight, and made from stronger designs that give them a more modern ‘Lamborghini’ appearance (if you squint). The front rims have two wheel halves assembled around them, while the rear wheels have fatter double tyres and a large two-part boss inserted into the centre, all of which slides onto the axles. The vehicle is finished off by adding grab handles on the sides and rear of the fighting compartment, plus three short ladders hanging down below the floor for easy access. Markings This was a very niche vehicle type, and as a result only one scheme is provided, which is a neutral, possibly Admiralty Grey, the codes for which are given in Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and generic colour names to assist you in picking the correct shade. From the box you can depict the following vehicle: 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 An interesting conversion of a Type-B bus into an early armoured car used to carry out some seat-of-the-pants derring-do by this larger-than-life character and his cohorts during WWI. The kit is well-detailed, and all those grey panels are begging to be weathered and splattered with mud. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. StuG III Ausf.G 1945 Alkett Prod. (35388) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The StuG is a German WWII AFV that is popular with modern modellers, 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 a Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and while 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 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 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 that 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 now have production well-and-truly running again after the shock of the invasion on the 24th of February 2022 forced them to up-sticks to escape from the bombardments, and they are now back in full flow. We’re all still firmly behind you! MiniArt have now released several toolings of the late StuG III and this is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes layered on changes during the final batches as the war ground to its ultimate conclusion. This boxing is another Alkett factory example from 1945 near the bitter end, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and decal profiles on one side. Inside the box are thirty-seven sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two good-sized Photo-Etch (PE) frets 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, including individual track links that are different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some while back. 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 substantial beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning lateral aim. The rear bulkhead is set against the engine mounts with its exhausts applied to the exterior, and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued to the front next to the front bulkhead. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhaust covers, towing lugs and idler protection are added to the rear, and a radiator exhaust panel with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some heat deflecting tinwork to the hull. Narrow bolted panels are added to the sides of the hull in preparation for the upper hull parts that are added next. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots, 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. The commander’s cupola is built on a circular base into which seven clear periscopes are slipped, completing the task later with several protectors, PE 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. Much of the gun breech detail is represented, and a large trunnion is fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse, and sighting gear is installed on the breech, although it’s unlikely to be seen as anything other than a dim shadow within. Then it’s time to prepare the inner face of the Saukopf mantlet armour with four blocks and hooks to assist with attachment to the mantlet later, on similar blocks at the ends of the serpentine hooks, after which a bridge over the top encloses the breech and the Saukopf. The roof with some details added along with the commander’s cupola covers up the interior. 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. A length of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the fume extraction armour in the centre with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. two pairs of road wheels are carried on the deck with long pins through their holes that attach them to the rearmost pair of hatches. A field modification of a flat stowage box is mounted on the centre of the rear deck on PE brackets. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with the sharply-angled machine gun shield just in front of it and a well-detailed MG34 machine gun with drum mag slotted through the centre. 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. 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 with PE outer rings 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 wisp of flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a short length in short order, and the result is a very well-detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your model, and as they are a tight fit, they shouldn’t need glue, but I’d probably set them in position with liquid glue once I had them how I wanted them on the vehicle. Once they’re in place, the fenders are attached to the hull sides on small brackets, 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 Notek convoy light and either a highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer. Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, jack blocks and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the 110mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them and the tools in place on each side. The barrel of the gun slides through the bulky Saukopf mantlet cover, tipped with a detailed three-part muzzle brake to give it the correct hollow look. A pair of aerials and a PE ‘fence’ around the edge of the engine deck that’s intended to hold in any stray stowage finishes off the vehicle itself, adding the brackets for the Schürzen along the sides of the hull and fenders with a few small added outriggers. The four PE schürzen panels per side are detailed with additional PE brackets on the rear sides, and once the glue between the two layers of PE (or you could solder them for strength), you simply hang them on the hooks, with a quartet of scrap diagrams along the bottom of the page showing the two methods you can use to hang the plates vertically, or sloped inward toward the bottom. Markings There are six markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage based upon dunkelgelb with splotches of other colours. From the box you can build one of the following: 9th Panzer Div. ‘Hohenstaufen’, Hungary, Balaton Area, Spring 1945 9th Panzer Div. ‘Hohenstaufen’, Hungary, Balaton Area, Spring 1945 Unidentified Unit, Germany, Zweibrücken, Spring 1945 Unidentified Unit, Germany, Bitburg, Spring 1945 Unidentified Unit, Germany, Spring 1945 Unidentified Unit, Germany, Spring 1945 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas that will all-but disappear once applied. Conclusion A good-looking, well-detailed model of an important WWII German tank destroyer that saw action until the dire end of the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Cobblestone Road with Tramline (36065) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Before tarmac, blacktop, asphalt, metalled roads, or whatever name by which you know modern road surfaces became predominant, cobbled roads were more common, as they were hard-wearing, produced little or no dust, wouldn’t rut in winter, and lasted a long time. They were cheap and easy to maintain by removing any damaged sections piecemeal and replacing it with new cobbles, or the old cobbles reseated on replacement substrate, which was often compressed ash. My father was a bit of an expert cobbler (and talks it to this very day) before he retired, and tells me that it’s very hard on your knees, but not all that difficult to do if you have the right tools and someone wheeling the next load of cobbles into reach. The Kit This set is a quick and easy way of creating a diorama, typically around WWII or earlier, and it arrives in a top-opening box with a painting of the finished model, and inside are two large sheets of injection-moulded cobblestone paving, plus two sprues of furniture to decorate the road with catenary supports for an electric tram to draw power from. Historically, MiniArt diorama bases have been vacuum-formed from thick grey plastic, but this base is full injection-moulded in grey plastic with a crisp form and no clean-up needed before you can begin building. It also presents a firm and heavy base on which to place your model or models. Construction begins with deciding on how you would like to arrange the two base plates, or you could use them separately with two dioramas if you wish. The most obvious arrangement would be to run them end-to-end to depict a single tram line, but you can rotate one 180° and put them side-by-side to depict a short run of twin rails close to each other or at opposite sides of the base. You could strengthen the joint by drilling some brass pins through the mated bases if you wish, or flood the join with liquid glue and give it plenty of time to cure. The two posts are made up identically, starting with the fluted base and vertical post that are both made from two halves each, then adding a single narrower upper post with a ferruled top. The outrigger fixes close to the top of the narrower vertical, adding a tensioner at each end on brackets, strung with wire from your own stocks, with another bracing wire leading from the end of the outrigger to the top of the pole, with a choice or plain or fancy designs on the sprues. The thicker overhead conductor wire is strung between the two tensioner wires, and although it isn’t mentioned on the instruction sheet, it is prominent on the box artwork. Markings There aren’t any, and there are no painting guides either, just the box art to act as a suggestion. In reality, the world is your oyster, as streets could have cobbles of a different shade to the one down the road, and tram companies may paint their catenary poles in any colour they choose. If you wish to paint your street accurately, a little research will be required to establish the correct colours for the posts at least. The cobbles are quick to paint with various shades of grey, adding an earthy or ash-coloured pigment to the interstices, wiping the excess from the top surface when dry, fixing the pigment in place with your preferred method. The addition of some rust on the rails and a few spills or puddles should make the whole thing come alive. Conclusion As a diorama-phobic myself, these kits are a boon and allow the modeller a quick and easy route to an attractive and realistic looking backdrop for your models. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. German 7.5cm Anti-Tank Gun Pak40 Early Prod. (35394) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd As WWII loomed, the Nazi high command got wind of new tank developments in Soviet Russia, and realised that their 3.7cm Pak36 was inadequate for the task ahead, starting work initially on the 5cm Pak38, which was abandoned in favour of a 7.5cm barrel once the rumours were confirmed. It was essentially a re-engineered Pak38, with everything enlarged to suit the bigger rounds, in development between 1939 and 41, with the name Pak40 given to it during its gestation. As Operation Barbarossa began, the project was given a higher priority, and early examples reached the Eastern Front in late 1941, becoming the Wehrmacht’s standard artillery piece from then on, with a total of over 23,000 built before the end of WWII. The success of the weapon was such that it was also re-developed into a main gun for use by tanks and other armoured vehicles, such as the StuG III and Panzer IV, as well as a relatively makeshift mount on the Marder series of self-propelled guns. It was an effective artillery piece, capable of penetrating the armour of everything the Allies fielded, from the Sherman to the Pershing in US service, and the IS heavy tanks that the Soviets operated. It was a heavy piece however, and that affected its mobility, particularly in bad weather where it was prone to bogging down in muddy terrain. It shared projectile with all German 7.5cm rounds, but was mounted in a larger brass cartridge casing that gave it more power and range than the smaller rounds fired by the KwK variant use in the armour installations. Other variations included the driver bands around the projectile and the method of initiating firing, using traditional percussion caps for the Pak40, and an electrical mechanism for the KwK. Three types of round were able to be used, an armour-piercing explosive round, an armour-piercing kinetic penetrator with a tungsten core, and the standard HEAT or High Explosive Anti-Tank round, each of which differed in shape and colour of the projectile, and were marked with stencils accordingly. The Kit This a new tool from MiniArt, who seem to have recovered well from their production hiatus that began in February 2022. The kit arrives in a modest top-opening box, and inside are ten sprues of various sizes in medium grey styrene, a cardboard envelope that contains a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) and the decals, plus a glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles printed on front and rear covers. Detail is exactly what we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, and is excellent throughout, and with options to pose the model in transport mode or ready for action. You also get a few shells and wooden cases to dot around the gun if you intend to place it in a diorama. Construction begins with the chassis of the gun, on which the wheels and trails are installed, fixing many parts on it, adding brakes to the axles and a front fender, then cutting some lengths of wire from your own stock to link the brake cylinder to the pistons, with PE tie-downs holding them to the underside, and additional scrap diagrams showing the completed loom to help you with location. The trails are detailed with tools, grab-handles and spades at the rear, plus additional parts that differ depending on whether you are opening them up for combat, or ready for transport. They are mated to the chassis and locked in place by the top pivots, again changing some parts and their positions depending on the option you have chosen. A choice of two methods of attaching a shovel to the bottom plate are offered, one using a simple pair of PE clasps, the other creating a fully articulated retention clamp for the handle. The finished plate is fitted vertically for transport, but tipped up horizontally for action. There are actually three configurations for the gun, the traditional ready-for-action pose with the trails spread, plus two transport options, one for towing by a vehicle, the other for moving the gun off-road with a third wheel perched behind the trails, raising them off the ground for manual fine-tuning of position by the crew. The trails have a pair of cross-braces to hold them together during towing, with a split towing bar made from two halves connecting it to your choice of prime-mover. The wheels are laminated from three layers plus a central boss, making up two of these and a third without the boss that sits across the trails for the vehicle transport option, held in place on a sturdy bracket. For the manual transport option, the bracket is reused and fixed to the towing arm from underneath with the third wheel attached on an axle to raise the trails above the ground. The gun barrel is a single part with a keyed peg on each end, the thicker end inserting into the eight-part breech, which includes a sliding block if you leave it unglued. The barrel slide is made up from three sides and an end-cap, adding more details on the sides, and a cover on the front portion made from three sections. The barrel drops over the slide with the addition of a small PE crutch and is surrounded by a pair of pivots to the sides, the elevation arc-gear under the slide, and a few other detail parts, popping the pivots into the trunnions that glue to a detailed bottom plate, holding the gun in position from there. Dampers with corrugated gaiters are attached to the trunnions, with different parts for transport and combat positions, then the adjustment wheels and their actuators are fixed onto the left side, with a stubby axe on the right, again with PE socket and clasp on the handle. The sighting gear is also installed on the left, then it’s time to protect the crew from incoming fire. A U-shaped armour panel is built from two layers of styrene with a PE layer in between them, slotting it over the barrel from above and mounting on four supports, adding an additional link on each side using scrap diagrams to locate them properly. The cheek armour panels are also two layers per side, with cylindrical stowage items including a torch to the inner face before they are mated with the centre armour and braced by additional links to the sides of the trunnions, with an angled PE lip on the inside just below the top edge. There are three choices of muzzle-brake, each one made from similar but slightly different shaped parts, plus an optional part that is covered with a bag and PE ring to prevent debris ingress. The gun is then lowered onto the chassis, locating the pin in a corresponding hole in the top. To add detail around your model, a set of ten ready rounds are included on a sprue, with another four empty brass casings on another, plus a pair of 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. Stencils for the shells and boxes are included, as well as a full painting guide next to the colour chart that gives codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, as well as swatches and generic colour names. Markings There are a generous six options included on the glossy pages of the instruction booklet, with a number of different colour schemes relating to their service location. From the box you can build one of the following: Infanterie-Division, Heeresgruppe ‘Süd’ Eastern Front, 1942 Armée, Heeresgruppe ‘Don’, Stalingrad, late 1942 Deutches Afrikakorps, North Africa 1942-43 camouflaged with mud Deutches Afrikakorps, North Africa 1942-43 Unknown unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-3 Unknown unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1943 Note that the paint options have been rearranged on the profiles and list for tidiness’s sake. Options D and E are the opposite way around on the kit instruction sheet. 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 incredibly well-detailed kit of an important German artillery piece that ruined many an Allied tanker’s day, with full options for transport and combat. All it needs now is a crew. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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