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Found 15 results

  1. Hi! My recent build is Iraqi Hunter in 1/48 based on Airfix F.6 kit. Which avionics/communication antennas are appropriate for this export modification? For my understanding, all three antennas reproduced in the F.6 kit (triangle on the upper nose and belly, blade on spine) are not installed on the export version. Am I true? Possible other antennas? Thanks in advance
  2. Hi all, I made a little vignette set in IRAQ ... a soldier who take a little rest in the middle of the desert ... I hope you enjoy my work. 🙂 The AFV WIP can be found here: by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr by Rodolfo Masti, on Flickr
  3. Hi all. This here is a culmination of a Bradley kit I got years ago, probably early 2000s, that sat on a shelf as a relatively simple job for the best part of ten years. I sprayed it over with the Tamiya sand can back in the day, added the decals without gloss, and painted the odd bit of detail. No weathering at all. Instead of buying a new kit, I repurposed it. I removed the flaking decals, fully repainted with a more accurate colour. Glossed, applied decals from the original sheet that I retained, sealed and weathered. Crew were repainted, and additional figures from Trumpeter and Masterbox were added, in addition to some Miniart and Meng extras. The external stowage is mostly original, just repainted, weathered, and more accurately attached, with a few other bits based on reference images. Do wish I had a shot of the vehicle as it originally looked to show the change, but much like an M1A2 I have had on the go in a similar manner, forgot to take a picture, heh. Thanks for looking Gaz
  4. Hi, does anyone know if Iraqi Sea Furys carried underwing armament (RPs or bombs)? Perhaps unsurprisingly I am finding it difficult to find pics. Thanks
  5. Background The Second Battle of Fallujah—code-named Operation Al-Fajr (Arabic: الفجر "the dawn") and Operation Phantom Fury—was a joint American, Iraqi, and British offensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War. It was led by the U.S. Marines and U.S Army against the Iraqi insurgency stronghold in the city of Fallujah and was authorized by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Interim Government. The U.S. military called it "some of the heaviest urban combat U.S. Marines and Soldiers have been involved in since the Battle of Huế City in Vietnam in 1968. This operation was the second major operation in Fallujah. Earlier, in April 2004, coalition forces fought the First Battle of Fallujah in order to capture or eliminate insurgent elements considered responsible for the deaths of a Blackwater Security team. When coalition forces fought into the center of the city, the Iraqi government requested that the city's control be transferred to an Iraqi-run local security force, which then began stockpiling weapons and building complex defenses across the city through mid-2004. The second battle was the bloodiest battle of the entire Iraq War, and is notable for being the first major engagement of the Iraq War fought solely against insurgents rather than the forces of the former Ba'athist Iraqi government, which was deposed in 2003. Concept and construction Many other memorable points in military history have been captured in diorama's it is hard and often too soon or raw to recreate a combat scene. I do however think that we cannot let the past be forgotten. Through photos, articles, memorials and even dioramas that often adorn war museums its a tribute to our brothers in arms. I myself have served in the Infantry in Kosovo war and as Munitions Specialist in the Afghanistan war. Being a modeller as well I find it therapeutic as I build this diorama I reflect on my time in country the good and bad experiences. I consulted on my own photo references of (battle damage) as well as online to capture the architecture common to Fallujah and the effects/results of the many military campaigns. I started with something that would bring the flavor of the region forward a "mosque entrance" then expanding outwards to create adjoined buildings. My plan moving forward is to add U.S. troops FIBUA fighting in a built up area with light armored vehicles in support. Need to make an iron gate that will be a final detail. I am using condensed foam in two grades that I trialed to see how they would react to cutting, compacting, tearing, solvents and adhesives. I found that super glue works the best and will not melt the foam for smaller piles of debris a spray adhesive common to craft stores or Mod-Podge works great and dries clear binding pieces. Here is a trial of the colour that the majority of the buildings will be painted in. I am working on some date pals to fall behind and a photo board for final back drop. I would appreciate comments and suggestions...more photos to upload as work progresses. Today working on more debris additional corrugated metal. I am sure this is an old technique but it works well using stipped down cardboard then giving it a light sanding and a coat of hardner before a metal finish to lay down the fibers. Also tried a dry fit of the background to make sure the debris field and perspective matches. I might lighten the backdrop it took a lot of searching to find a good perspective. A few nights ago I did some reserch on an idea l had to add a burnt out vehicle. What seemed to be common was the almost whiteish gray and black mottled appearance from intense heat. After the buildings are painted and weathered ill add a burn patch under the vehicle some smoke trails up the concrete and disintegrated tires melted off the rims. Stared the base layer of paint. June 15th 2019 I did some adjustment to the colours and switched from enamels to AK acrylics. The entire diorama was painted in CARC Tan 686 and highlighted with AK desert sand primer. Vallejo medium and dark grey wash was applied over the rubble to add depth and Vellejo weathering pencils for streaks on the concrete. I really wanted to capture the roll up metal garage doors that are a common feature in Iraq, also the spiderweb of downed power and service lines. The mosque gates and wooden door were handmade then primed and weathered a light mist of CARC tan was sprayed to give the effect of settling dust and sand. The rebar was painted with Vallejo metal-steel highlighted with a white weathering pencil then a mist of carc tan. So the diorama is pretty much done last touch is a airconditioner unit or water tank on top of the second roof. Next I am moving onto the US armored vecled and troop. I decided to do them in combat patrol/ house clearing advancing up the road with the Bradley in support. I did alot of research on the proper paint scheme and models of vehicles for 2004-2008 occupation. Although the M3A3 was introduced in Iraq March 2003 with the 4th Infantry Division the "BUSK" Bradley urban survivability kit was not in service until 2008 so I will probably forgo installing the system . I have ordered several upgrade kits from Live Resin for the SAG turret on the M1151. It will take me evenings until the winter to complete the diorama but I will keep posting the vehicle builds as I move forward.
  6. I know, bad joke, but it was one of the more amusing nicknames the Western press bestowed upon Saddam Hussein..... Here's completion number two for the year, Special Hobby's Mirage F.1EQ/ED kit built as the Iraqi Exocet-toting Dark Sea Grey over White EQ-5 option. Paints are Humbrol throughout - 125 over 130 for the main colours. Aftermarket used was a Master turned brass pitot tube with CMK providing the Mk-10 ejector seat, Remora ECM pod and Sycomor decoy pod. Peewit provided the masks for the canopy although I had to raid my leftover Eduard masking sets so I could cover the landing and refueling lights. The Exocet is included in the kit and I suspect it's actually the Eduard Brassin item although Special Hobby don't mention that. Other small alterations have been done using Miguel Garcia's excellent "Iraqi Mirages in Combat" book as reference. Now for the photos! You can see that I used the Magic-1 AAMs - the Iraqis never received the -2, so ignore what the instructions say and use the ones without the notch in the tail. Another thing that SH didn't mention is that for the EQ-5 and 6, you don't use resin part 8 (which represents the attachment for aligning the gyroscope from an external device). For the EQ-2 and 4, you do. The kit includes the intake for the elevator power control unit on the upper starboard rear fuselage - remove if building an EQ-2, otherwise keep for the EQ-4,5 and 6 This shows how deep the Exocet pylon is. The clearance must have been quite tight between the nose gear door and the nose of the missile during retraction and extension! If you look very closely, you can see that I added a second drainage outlet on the port side behind of the existing one - this is correct for the EQ-4,5 and 6. The EQ-2 only had one per side. CMK Martin Baker Mk-10: Remora Pod: Sycomor Pod: Comments welcome! Mike.
  7. Hi All Here's the Trumpeter T62 in Iraqi service with ERA. Easy and pleasant kit to build and came with a metal barrel. Painted with a cocktail of Vallejo acrylics as they seem to have a million derivatives of sand colour. The figure (badly painted) came from the Tamiya T55 Enigma; he's looking out for A-10s. Any comments and criticisms welcome Cheers David
  8. The Iran-Iraq War Volume 4: Forgotten Fronts by E.R. Hooton, Tom Cooper, Farzin Nadimi, published by Helion and Company On 16th January 1979 Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran for good. In doing so, he cemented the revolution that had sought to topple his failing regime and paved the way for foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Fearing that the Iranian Revolution would have a destabilising effect on Iraq, Saddam Hussein made the decision to invade, sparking the longest uninterrupted conventional conflict of the twentieth century. Although not etched on the conscience of the west to the extent of other conflicts of the period, the Iran-Iraq War was nevertheless one of the most important conflicts of the time. Apart from the significant loss of life and impact on civilians in the region, it was also an important stepping stone on the path to fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. This book, the last in a series of four, has been painstakingly compiled by authors with impressive credentials when it comes to defence matters in the Middle East. This volume examines the central and northern fronts, fought over difficult terrain and without either side able to muster numerical superiority. It also covers the Kurdish front and the horrors of the Iranian Air Force's chemical attack on Halabja, an attack which killed far more civilians than combatants. The book sets out the key engagements of the conflict in a clear and engaging way. The text is thoughtful and insightful throughout, leaving the reader with a good understanding of not only the military aspects of the conflict, but also the international political backdrop. While the book is not aimed directly at the modeller, it nevertheless contains a lot of valuable information for those interested in the hardware deployed in the conflict. The pages feature a typically eclectic mix of NATO and Warsaw Pact military hardware, a legacy of the imperial past clashing with the post-war rise of Soviet influence. The book is rich in illustrative material, containing over 140 photographs and 18 illustrations within its 80 pages. Plenty of information about the military inventories of the two sides is provided, alongside photographs and descriptions of locally modified armoured fighting vehicles. Conclusion This book is a valuable addition to the Middle East War series and deserves a place in the collection of anyone interested in the military conflicts of the region. Modellers will be rewarded with a valuable visual reference, as well as an inspiring read which will have you poking around in your stash, looking at your AFV kits in a different light. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Hi All - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Here's my Tamiya Challenger 2. Its straight out of the box bar some limited PE (I really struggle with any complex PE) and the anti slip made from spraying on Mr Surfacer 500 at 40psi. The kit goes together superbly and the tracks are fine for what you can see. For the time and effort I don't think you can really see the anti slip but each to his own i guess. Colour is just a mixture of Tamiya Desert Yellow and Flat Yellow. The direction of the Chevron marking on one side is wrong but I only noticed after Microsol,Microset and Flat Clear so just left it. Any comments questions welcomed - Thanks for looking
  10. Hello everyone and also hello 2014. Quick update: 2013 was the year I started modeling again after a 30 year hiatus. I managed five builds last year when Real Life reasserted itself. So this one was started last year, but is my first finished build for 2014, and my 6th build in total. Ooh! All those maths classes weren't wasted! Sadly, during the last 5 months Real Life meant I didn't have much time for poking my nose in here. Slacker I am! So here we have a Jaguer GR1, Johnny Fartpants, in my very vague approximation of its Op Granby scheme. Artistic license applied by me as usual. It's mostly an OOB build of the Italeri 1/72 Jaguar GR1 with the decals from Modeldecal. I actually bought this kit and decals about 15 years ago. Yes! I was actually going to start building 15 years ago and bought this in preparation, but life took over and I had to wait another 15 years before starting again. I think it was worth the wait as I wouldn't have access to all the hints and tips I do today and I don't think it would look quite the same. Hopefully I'll have the time to bang out another couple of kits this year coz, well, I kind of enjoy this thing we do. In the meantime I hope you enjoy this one. Thank you again for your attention. JaguarGR1_180114_04 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_05 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_07 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_08 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_10 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_11 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_02 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_01 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr JaguarGR1_180114_03 by IrritableRabbit, on Flickr
  11. AuF1 Self-Propelled Howitzer 1:35 Meng Models Developed from the successful AMX-30 Main Battle Tank, the AuF1 is a 155mm howitzer that as well as being rather heavy (over 41 tonnes), is also fast and manoeuvrable, as well as having an automatic loading system giving it a high sustained fire rate of 6 rounds per minute, and burst mode of 8 RPM on a good day. Because the vehicle has sufficient room inside for the whole 4-man crew to travel inside the cab, it has quite a high profile, but because it has a range of almost 24km it has little need for stealth, and is in fact only lightly armoured to a thickness of 20mm to withstand small arms fire. The AuF1 is used by the French army, all of which are now upgraded to the AuF2 spec, as well as the Saudis who have over 50 units on strength. Iraq had 85 that saw action during the Iran/Iraq war, but following the first Gulf War, some remained intact, possibly because they were unable to take part in operations due to a lack of spares caused by the years of arms embargoes in the run up to the conflict. There were rows of abandoned machines at a former Republican Guard base that made for quite an impressive sight. The Kit Following Meng's launch of the AMX-30 recently, it made sense from a tooling point of view to create the parts to complete this imposing, although lesser-known howitzer, and fans of French armour will rejoice that there is now a kit of this beast in styrene with a modern tooling. I'd not heard of the vehicle before its announcement, but it has quite an impressive look, and should look good on the shelf next to the American M109 and the British AS90. The kit arrives in Meng's by now familiar matt finish top opening box, so your Meng kits will stack nicely together, which is a bit of a bonus when you have a large number in the stash. Opening the box reveals eleven mid-green sprues, plus five in brown styrene, a clear sprue, separate lower hull, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small sprue of poly-caps, a decal sheet, and the instruction booklet. All but the roadwheel and track sprues are individually bagged to prevent chaffing. Construction of the lower hull is identical to the AMX-30, as you'd expect, with paired drive wheels attached to the suspension arms by friction fit of the poly-caps, and full-length torsion bars mimicking the real suspension. The upper hull is ostensively the same too, with the same hatches on the glacis plate at the front, side pioneer tool panels, and the rear bulkhead/radiator/exhaust assemblies. The main difference, such as it is concerns the long bar that rests on the rear of the engine deck on the Auf-1, but on the rear bulkhead on the AMX-30. The light clusters, spare fuel cans and external telephone are all present, as are the PE grilles that cover the hot exhausts. The front mounted tool box assemblies differ in the equipment that is fastened to them, and an additional panel is attached at the front of the glacis plate to make this section symmetrical, and a more robust set of headlamp covers are included. The tow ropes are consigned to the port side panels with the pioneer tools. The tracks are of course identical, with the ingenious part C10 providing us with a template for building up the individual click-together track links, 80 parts per run. Now the kit starts to deviate from the earlier AMX-30 kit, as the turret is a far different beast from the streamlined AMX-30's. The first thing to note is that there is a rendition of the full gun, with breech detail, plus a complete interior to the turret that can be seen through the large opening doors on the sides. Work begins with the breech, which is made up from 10 styrene parts, and two poly-caps to make the barrel posable. The recoil mechanism is next, with four recuperators installed along with the base of the barrel, mating with the breech assembly on either side of the mantlet, with some large lifting lugs added to the sides of the bolt-studded mantlet. The base of the turret is a single part onto which the crew seats are installed, all of which fold up or down into the deck to give extra room with the turret at busy times. A PE grille is placed into a styrene frame to act as the breech fence, onto which the commander's seat and some controls are added, before it is placed vertically on the edge of the turret ring, with another to the right containing more controls and instrument panels. Sighting equipment is installed in the front right of the turret floor, and a large shell containment system is inserted into the rear of the turret. It comprises a closed front and a detailed rear, showing the back of the shells and the powder charges, with the top row further detailed having the full shells and bags moulded in, giving the impression of a full magazine. The roof interior is covered with equipment boxes and a depiction of the inside of the commander's cupola vision-blocks, which are supplied in green styrene, with the blocks painted a clear blue. The sidewalls have more equipment installed on them, including a rack with a single FAMAS bullpup rifle, right next to the side-door location on the right-side. The mantlet is installed at the front of the turret, and is joined by the sides, then the frame of the rear wall, and finally the roof. The roof has a couple of lugs removed (possibly for an AUF-2?) and some boxes, smok dischargers and various lifting lugs are added around the turret before the large side doors are constructed from an inner skin joined to the outer, with a clear vision port and internal handle to improve the detail. These can be posed open or closed on the moulded-in hinges, and the top hatches are left loose to be posed open or closed at will. Grab-handles, an antenna base, along with two sets of barrel cleaning rods (oone on each side of the turret) are added, and a short-jacketed 50cal weapon with mount and ammo-box is added to the left-hand hatch. The rear magazine doors can be posed open or closed, just needing the hinges removed if you opt to close them, and installation of a pair of stays on each one if you leave them open. The final parts are the main length of the gun, which is supplied as separate halves, with a small detail section added to the aft of the muzzle brake. Once complete and the seams hidden, this just slots into the hole between the recuperators, and could even be left loose for ease of transport, as it is a little on the long side! There are a number of loose shells supplied on one of the sprues, as follows: 4 x Extended range base-bleed shell 3 x HE shell 3 x White phosphorous Incendiary 10 x cartridge cases These can be used in diorama settings, or as part of a loading vignette. The second PE fret is of a heavier gauge to the main sheet, and contains four masks for the roadwheels, to allow painting of the hubs after the rubber tyres have been painted. There is a recess on one face to allow easier centring of the wheels within the mask, and as they are brass, they can be cleaned between shots in a pot of thinner, to avoid build-up marring your finish. The other part on the fret is long part with oblong cut-outs that is a mask for painting the rubber track-pads, which although they are not square like the mask, by the time you have added dust and rust to weather them, little over-spray would be visible. Markings The scheme on the box is the only one supplied on the decal sheet, in the tri-colour NATO scheme, although the small decal sheet has two other number plates, plus three "IFOR" and two "Mont Igman 1995" insignias, and a couple of stencils, intimating at least one other choice was considered, but never made it to the decal sheet. The AUF-1 has been seen in white UN colours, as well as desert colours, and it wouldn't need much in the way of decals for whatever option you fancied. Some of the abandoned vehicles from Iraq with their slogans and markings spray-painted on their hulls would also make for a little different subjects. The decals are well printed, with good register, colour density and crisp demarcations. The colour profiles cover every side of the vehicle, so there will be no guess work on where the various colour splodges start and finish, which make a nice change from recent experiences with other manufacturers. Conclusion An imposing and well tooled kit that brings French armour a little well-deserved prominence. The inclusion of a full interior, Photo-Etch parts, masks and working track-links makes for a well-rounded package that should please most purchasers. The fact that the whole underside of the vehicle from the fenders down is just black rather than camouflaged eases painting, and that huge barrel is just great! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. US Anti-IED Devices & Antennae 1:35 ET Model Due to the conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq, US vehicles have had to be retro-fitted with a group of sensors that are designed to counter IEDs that are triggered remotely either by RF frequencies, or even mobile phone signals. These are mounted on vehicles on booms held out in front, or antennas mounted on a high-point such as the roof or top of the turret. This set includes a full complement of the various types and should be sufficient to upgrade a complete vehicle or more if spread about. The parts arrive in ET Model's usual thick gauge polythene bag, and inside are two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, plus a bag containing three more bags with 12 resin parts spread between them, a length of copper chain and two tiny springs. Construction of the antennae is relatively involved, and uses both brass and resin parts to complete most assemblies. A large panel antenna with a short mounting bracket is built up first, and here you will need a little 0.5mm rod to mount a small cylindrical sensor on top. You will also need some thin wire, of approximately 0.3mm diameter, more of which will be needed later. The "flag" style antenna that is often seen on booms at the front of a HUMVEE is next, and this is constructed almost entirely of PE parts, needing some careful and accurate folding of the parts, especially the beam that anchors it to the front of the vehicle. All of the bend lines are pre-etched to make the task easier, but care will be the order of the day. Two vertical pole antennae are supplied as resin parts with PE mounts, and here you will need one of the springs to simulate the flexible mounting base, and you should back that up with a piece of brass rod up the centre, drilled into the base of the resin. This is shown in the instructions, with a hand symbol next to it, which translates to "make it yourself", which made me chuckle. There is a spare pole included, which I guess is just in case you manage to snap one? Another long antenna is made up mostly from an 8cm length of rod that you must supply yourself, top and tailed with resin parts, mounted on a spring, and then on a small PE bracket. The third antenna is a thicker type, with a separate resin base and cylindrical resin top. This also has a PE base, which is the same part as used on the two others. The last antenna is reminiscent of an old TV aerial, having a central rod of 0.3mm (which you must source yourself) that has six dipoles along its length, the rear two at 45o to the forward four. It is backed by an umbrella shaped rear, and sits on a small tripod. This section will also require some lengths of 1mm diameter rod, so make sure you have some available. A "black box" control unit is also built up from PE, and linked to the antenna by some more wire that you must source yourself. Conclusion A very nicely done set, but there are lots of bits that you need to supply yourself, so be prepared. You could argue that these should have been supplied, but that would have only increased the price, and as these items are readily available elsewhere, it's little hardship, particularly if you're like me and have scratch building "stuff" on hand at all times. The small piece of copper chain isn't mentioned at all in the instructions, so either look upon it as a bonus for another project, or check your references to see if it is sometimes used in anti-IED setups. Highly recommended. Available soon from White Ensign Models in the UK Review Sample courtesy of
  13. British Forces Infantry Patrol 1:48 Airfix A set of 1:48 figures from Airfix is a nice surprise, especially when they are modern British Army, another rarity in injection styrene. This set is an accompaniment to the Operation Herrick series that is being released by Airfix to include the WMIK & Snatch Land Rovers, Lynx and the forthcoming Merlin helicopters, as well as a couple of nifty resin buildings to complete the diorama potential. The set includes eight figures in various poses, and on opening the end of the standard figure sized box, you are confronted with an unusual looking sprue with flat edges reminiscent of the "olden days". The parts aren't at all retro in their moulding though, and are well sculpted, with a good portrayal of the Osprey body armour used by the Army, including MOLLE loops for attaching pouches to the front, sides and rear of the vest. The Mk.6 kevlar helmet is similarly well moulded, and a number of the figures have knee pads that are often worn in-theatre these days. One chap is sporting only the one as is sometimes the case, to protect the favoured kneeling knee, whilst sparing the other from the chaffing of the straps of non-integrated pads. Radios, pouches and backpacks are similarly well done, and of course the ubiquitous L98A-2, sporting the newer RIS railed handguard and foregrip, with two of the older type with smooth handgrip. A pair of LSW (Light Support Weapon) machine guns complete the weapons supply, and one is usually carried by a member of a patrol for support of the squad. From the box, you can build five walking soldiers, and three crouching, one of whom has a hand raised in the "stop" signal to the rest of the troop. Construction is straightforward, with separate arms, heads and appropriate legs where moulding dictates. Backpacks and weapons are also separate parts, allowing some degree of customisation if you wish. Each soldier is supplied with oval base, which is probably supplied for the younger modeller to play with after construction. There are no decals in the set, but the full-colour painting diagram gives all of the colours necessary to paint the camouflage uniforms, including samples of Desert DPM, which is being phased out in favour of the newer Multicam based European MTP pattern. A sample of the traditional European DPM is also given if you plan on painting your troop in service outside the desert environment. Conclusion Moulding is good, as is the sculpting of the figures, so don't be put off by the chunky sprues. This is every inch a modern set, and with careful painting should really look the part. Painting the camo pattern convincingly will be the hardest part to tackle, and if some enterprising decal manufacturer were to provide some sheets of the various patterns, similar to the ones sometimes found in Trumpeter figure sets, I'm sure the job would be made easier. Full marks to Airfix for providing us with this set. A set to crew a Merlin, including sitting soldiers, medics etc. would make a good addition, as would standing soldiers about to board or just disembarked from a Merlin or Chinook. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Middle Easterners 1:35 Meng Models Following on from their highly successful and high quality Pick-up Trucks, Meng have released this set of rather handy and topics figures dressed in typical middle-eastern clothing. The set contains four very well sculpted figures, all of which are in multiple parts to improve detail and facilitate moulding, including: Man standing and leaning against "something". Wearing a jacket and knitted hat and sporting a beard Female youth/child carrying a bag of produce on her head with a long smock dress and open-heeled shoes Woman in long robes and sandals with her lower face and hair covered Boy in open jacket and sandals Moulding is first-rate, especially for a company's first figure set, and a slide-mould has been used to give the woman figure a realistic overhanging hem to her long robes. The facial sculpting is excellent, and the female faces look distinctly female, while the males have a middle-eastern look without being caricatures of the region's people. Both male figures have separate legs to enable moulding of the creases in their trousers to go fully around the leg, and the women have separate feet that glue to the recessed bottom of their dresses. A painting guide is included on the construction diagram on the back of the box, with call-outs in Gunze Sangyo colour codes. A list of paint colours without reference codes is given on the side of the box, but in reality the world is your oyster. Check your references for the colours typically worn, and don't forget that sometimes dust and dirt makes its way onto people's clothes no matter how they try to stay clean. Conclusion Given the military activity in the Middle East during the last decade, these figures are both topical and useful in any diorama or vignette. They are well sculped, and with careful construction and painting should look very well, especially in conjunction with one of the Pick-Up Trucks I mentioned earlier. A little filling of joints will be necessary, but that's standard fare with figure construction. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. WMIK Land Rover & Snatch Land Rover 1:48 Airfix The WMIK is militarised Land Rover, and has been in service with the British Army for what seems like forever in various guises. The WMIK moniker actually refers to the Weapons Mount Installation Kit, which gives the basic chassis teeth, and widens its use in combat situations. It has seen service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has been criticised for lacking crew protection, which is perhaps a little unfair, as it was never designed to be used in an IED environment. The Snatch Land Rover is again based on the civilian Defender 110 with a light armour kit installed (VPK), which was originally designed for operations in Northern Ireland, where it got the nickname from being used in operations to take suspects into custody. The nickname stuck, and even found its way into official references to the vehicle, relegating the official designation of Truck Utility Medium (TUM) redundant. Military Land Rovers have been somewhat neglected in the modelling world, with only a small number of kits in any scale. These new kits from Airfix in 1:48 are designed to compliment their growing range of modern helicopter kits in that scale, giving modellers plenty of scope for Iraq or Afghanistan themed dioramas. They are also a welcome boost to the 1:48 armour range, which tends to concentrate on the more familiar subjects of WWII. The kit arrives in a long top opening box in Airfix red, and inside are four sprues of grey styrene, a clear sprue, a set of decals, and a 20 page instruction and painting booklet. All of the sprues except the clear sprue are bagged together, while the decals are loose in the box, and the first thing that strikes you on opening it is that there are quite a lot of parts for these two small (in this scale) kits. Detail seems good, although the backsides of some parts look a little agricultural, but that's probably because they won't be seen once the build is complete. Construction is broken down by vehicle, with the Snatch first to be built. A basic engine is included, but it's a little chunky in places, with the more detailed top section added later, presumably for clearance of the wing portions. A little careful painting and detailing work would be needed if you're planning on posing the bonnet/hood open. The engine fixes to the one-piece ladder chassis, and the running gear is built up onto that, starting with axles and suspension, drive-shafts and anti-roll bars. Detail here is quite nice for the scale, and includes some nicely moulded, if a little chunky, coil springs on each corner. The wheels are installed next, and have a separate inner hub, with a key moulded in to ensure correct orientation. The seam is relegated to the inner face of the tyre, and the attachment of the axle is also keyed, which takes all the work out of aligning the slight flat on the tyres with the ground. The tread on the tyres is well done for the scale, although a more accurate block pattern is sure to be forthcoming from the aftermarket providers. They should be suitable for most people's tastes out of the box however, and once weathered it's moot whether the detail will be seen anyway. The floor pan is next, with the fuel tank and towing hitch added to the underside. The interior floor has moulded in ribbing which is nicely done, and a few ejector pin marks are confined to the raised "arch" area, which receives a quartet of crew seats later in the build to hide them. In the forward part of the floor, the driver's hand-brake is installed and his pedal box fixed to the forward bulkhead along with the dashboard, which also has a decal for the instrument panel. Of course, it's all right-hand driver, as this is Her Majesty's Armed Forces! The front bulkhead has the windscreen and a raised cable-cutter moulded in, which will be very easy to knock off during construction, so take care here. The gear-stick, stowage bin and crew seats are installed next, with the seats able to be positioned anywhere along their installation slots to give the impression of different driver and passenger heights/driving positions. The bulkhead between forward and aft compartments is festooned with equipment/stowage, and will need a little fettling to remove the flash that is present on the finer parts. The rear crew seats affix over the aforementioned ejector pin marks, and a roll-over hoop is glued to the rear of the vehicle floor. The outer body consists of a number of slabs, broken down in a similar way to the real thing. The sides include the curved transition to the roof panel, which is installed at the same time, and extends to cover the driver's cab. A large ventilation panel (I hesitate to say sun-roof) installs next, and can be left loose to slide back and forth to add a little visual interest. This can be replaced by an armoured glass "emplacement", although this isn't entirely clear until later in the build. The thick rear panels install to the bodywork leaving space for the doors to be added later, and a few additional parts are added to complete the main build of the rear body. Attention then turns to the engine compartment with the installation of the wings, which are each provided with separate arch extensions, while the starboard part also has the various fluid containers added. Only after the wings are attached is the top portion of the engine installed, and here detail is better than the cylinder block itself, which is good because of its prominent position. The grille is made up from two parts, with the radiator at the rear, and lights added later in the build. The bonnet/hood attaches to the engine compartment by two lugs that allow it to be posed open or closed, with a stay included for just such purposes. An optional deep water wading snorkel can be attached to the starboard wing, or the opening blocked with a cover part that is also supplied. The windscreen is made up from one clear part, so will need to be installed before painting to ensure continuous cover of the moulded in framing. A set of windscreen wipers is supplied, and a fold-down clear part is supplied for the windscreen protector, which can be posed in either position, and has mesh decals that can be applied later. Moving back to the rear of the vehicle, the light clusters are done in an interesting way, which should prove effective. The lights are moulded into the body, and should be painted before installation of the hollow glazing parts, which should give a good impression of the real thing. The armoured glass rear panels fit into the cut-outs in the rear panel, and the two heavy doors can be fitted open or closed by using different parts that have suitably positioned hinges. The side doors are done in the same way, having different parts fitted if the doors are to be open. Headlights, spare tyre, wing mirrors and sensor fit finished the build, although a Gimpy light machine gun can be posed on the open roof emplacement. Painting and decal instruction follow straight after the pages dealing with construction, giving a general sand-coloured vehicle with optional "greater than" Allied markings, and a host of wire-mesh decals for the windows, light clusters etc. These will only be effective if applied to a perfect gloss finish, as any silvering will ruin the effect, so take care at this stage. The WMIK is a different beast altogether, although a lot of the chassis parts are identical and the build follows a similar pattern until the crew compartment floor is added. Instead of ribbed steel, it has an armoured base, bolted to the original panels for crew protection. Another angled armour panel affixes to the underside of the chassis, directing blast away from the interior in the event of an IED strike. The cab is first up with this build, with a more cluttered look to both the dashboard and the interior. The front bulkhead has no windscreen, but does have a pair of wing mirrors built in, which again would be easy to knock off. The majority of the upper bodywork is made up from tube steel, and doors are foregone in favour of a cross-brace of steel that is low enough to leap over. The rear compartment has cut-down sides topped with more steel-work, with a pair of tubular all-terrain seats for the gunners/crew and a pair of steps to the rear that can be used as additional crew seats. On top of the steel-work sits the turret ring, to which more support is added fore and aft, with the driver/co-driver seat brackets added to the front ready for the two contoured seats to be installed. The steering wheel, crew weapons and front roll-bar are then added, with the same wing and engine installation as the Snatch. The sides of the main crew compartment are optionally covered with an armoured panel, as is the driver's position from above. The bonnet attaches in the same way as before, and then the ring mounted .50cal crew-served weapon attaches to the turret ring. Additional equipment and sensors/aerials affix to the wings, and a pair of armoured cut-down doors cover the front doors, with a pintle-mounted Gimpy overhanging the co-driver's door. On the driver's side the wading snorkel is attached, and the spare wheel is mounted on the port side, along with some PSP planking for un-ditching the vehicle if it gets stuck in the desert. To the rear is an optional clear window, presumably to cut down on wind buffeting, and a large open stowage bin, which presumably hinges to admit the crew. Painting and decaling is ostensively the same as the Snatch, with just the addition of a sky blue call-out for the Gimpy's ammo box. Decals are in good register, have good colour density and appear to be nicely printed. There is no printer's name on the sheet, but it looks typical of Cartograf quality. Conclusion A nice pair of vehicles to pose with the forthcoming Merlin kit in the same scale, but some aspects have been moulded quite chunky through necessity of the moulding process and will benefit from replacing. A couple of crew figures would have been nice, as the new Infantry Patrol set that accompanies these kits doesn't have any suitable figures to fit the job. These vehicles, especially the Snatch, are often decked out with Barracuda camo material, which has a 3D look to it, which always reminds this modeller of Pringles scattered on a sheet. This isn't included with the kit, but it shouldn't be long before an enterprising aftermarket provider creates either resin replacement panels, or a sheet that does the job. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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