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  1. Leopard 2A6M+ (03342) 1:35 Carrera Revell The Leopard 2 is the successor to the earlier Leopard Main Battle Tank (MBT), and was developed in the 70s, entering service just before the turn of the decade. The initial design had a vertical faced turret front, while later editions had improved angled armour applied to the turret front that gives the tank a more aggressive look and provides much better protection from an increased likelihood of deflecting incoming rounds away. It has all the technical features of a modern MBT, including stabilised main gun for firing on the move, thermal imaging, and advanced composite armour, making it a world-class contender as one of the best tanks on the market. The original Leopard 2 variant entered service in 1979, but has been through several upgrades through its service life and the current production variant is the highly advanced 2A7+, with the 2A8 waiting in the wings. The 2A6 is still a powerful battlefield resource however, and likely to be so for some considerable time. It sports the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore gun with the barrel extended over the A5, which results in a higher muzzle velocity that improves its penetration power over its predecessor, allowing it to reach targets at a greater range and hit harder. It also has an armoured ammunition storage space in the turret that is engineered to blow outward in the event of a detonation of munitions, which again improves the crew survivability further. For close-in defence they are fitted with an MG3 machine gun, and the armour is installed to give it an arrow-head front profile to the turret, as well as several more subtle upgrades that follow on from the 2A5. Sales of the Leopard 2 have been good overseas because of its reputation, and Canada, Turkey, Spain and many Nordic countries use it as well as many other smaller operators. The 2A6M is a mine-protected variant for use in asymmetric combat and in the likelihood that IEDs or mines have been planted to destroy the heavy armour before it can roll over their lightly protected positions. These were upgraded in the mid-2010s to the 2A7 standard, but due to monetary constraints only fifty vehicles were converted, only using the + designation until the completion of the programme in 2017. The upgrades involved new comms systems that include a field telephone on the rear bulkhead, replacement of the potentially dangerous Halon fire extinguishing system with a more environmentally friendly chemical system, as well as new sights for the commander and gunner, bringing them up to modern standards. The Kit This is a new boxing of Revell's 2012 tooling of this type, as evidenced by the raised copyright lettering on the inside of the floor pan. It arrives in an end-opening box, with a painting of the Leopard wearing European camouflage while another big cat, the Eurocopter Tiger flies behind it. Inside are eight sprues in grey styrene, in a welcome move away from the green Revell used to use in their AFV kits. There are also four sprues of flexible black plastic, plus four runs of track in the same material, and a clear sheet of acetate (not pictured – it’s invisible) that is marked as "window sheet" on the instructions. A short length of wire (not pictured) is taped to the instruction booklet, and the ends are quite sharp, so avoid stabbing yourself like I once did some years back. The decal sheet is hidden away in the centre of the booklet, and is protected by a sheet of thin greaseproof paper, as is the clear acetate. The kit is clearly a modern heritage, and has some nice detail on the outer hull, including patches of anti-slip coating on the main surfaces. The large circular cooling fans on the rear decking are particularly nicely done as separate parts, and should look well once painted. The odd splitting of the track could cause some issues however, as each track is made up from two halves that must be glued together before they can be fitted to the tank, but won’t react to normal styrene glue, so would be best done with super glue or epoxy glue, which would require the joint to remain relatively straight, so positioning them in the middle of the top and bottom track runs would be beneficial. Construction begins with the hull, which is built up from separate sides, held in alignment by two perforated bulkheads that sit in slots in the floor plan. An insert is added to the right rear side, completing the lower hull by fixing the rear bulkhead in place. The upper hull is mated with the lower, fitting a hatch on the right side, and one of the two circular cooling vents on the engine deck. Suspension details such as bump-stops, swing-arms with stub axles detail the hull sides, after which seven road wheel pairs are slipped over the axles on each side, and four return rollers per side. The idler wheels are smaller than the road wheels, and the drive sprockets are built from two separate toothed parts each. An appliqué armour panel is added to the underside of the tank, which improves its mine resistance, although unusually it doesn’t have an angled keel to deflect the blast like most other anti-mine packages. As mentioned earlier, the tracks are of the rubber-band type with nice detail, and if you can live with the curving of the links around the drive sprockets and idler wheels they should suffice. Each length is made from two sections, which have a generous four-link overlap and two pins on each link to strengthen the join. You are instructed to glue them with ordinary plastic adhesive, and you are recommended to clamp them together and wait until they are properly cured before handling them, but you’ll be in for a long wait, as I tested liquid glue and it had no melting effect. The pins are flush to the track pads on the outer face, so filling or hiding them under the fenders and against the ground would be advisable once you have attached them to the vehicle. The rear bulkhead of the vehicle has a large radiator grille running along the full width, which is a little shallow, but with some black paint in the recesses, should suffice for most modellers. A couple of turnbuckles are glued to the lower edge, and under the ends hang the two flexible mudguards that are made from the same plastic as the tracks, and the field telephone box with handle in the centre. Two other panels are fixed to either side, one with a bracket that receives the convoy light shield, applying a decal or painting the white cross by hand if you prefer. Three towing shackles and the rear light clusters finish the rear of the vehicle for now, installing the flexible towing cables with styrene eyes later. A set of pioneer tools are added to the rear deck, gluing barrel cleaning rods to the front deck, and the afore-mentioned towing ropes are fitted. If you're not happy with a mould-line running down your tow-ropes, now would be the time to replace it with some braided wire or cord, using the kit parts as a length template. Moving to the glacis plate, spare track links on a palette with the front hazard lights are installed, along with the usual shackles and headlights, followed by the driver’s hatch, which has detail inserts fixed front and rear. The fenders are integral to the top hull, and only the side-skirts need to be added. These are made from two basic parts on each side with tapering forward sections, and overlaying thicker appliqué armour over the front two road wheel stations and idler, plus the rear sections that locate on a long guiding tab moulded into the back of the parts. The turret is a complex shape, and the base is made up from three parts, onto which the main gun is built up with a block in place of the breech. The barrel is supplied in two halves, split vertically lengthwise, and it has some nice moulded-in detail, so take care aligning the parts and again when cleaning up the seam. The barrel is tipped with a hollow muzzle, but this is a little shallow, so might be better drilled out once the glue is dry. The mantlet section that raises with the gun is built up around the base of the barrel in three parts, and this is then added to the lower turret, being locked in place by a pair of trunnions that permit the barrel to raise and lower. The top of the turret is a large part with only one two-layer panel in the rear right added along with the sighting system's lenses that are installed from inside. This is mated to the bottom of the turret, after which the side panels and bustle are added to complete the main part of the turret's construction. The angled panels that bolster the armour of the turret's arrow-head front are installed next, and here there are were some quite significant sink-marks in previous boxings that seem to have been almost totally eradicated in this boxing. A bustle stowage box is created from a four-sided part with separate roof, glued to the rear of the turret, then the roof of the turret is festooned with various small parts, including antenna bases, armoured surrounds over the vision blocks, the new sight in front of the commander’s cupola, which utilises two parts cut from the clear sheet for its lenses front and rear. Another sighting turret is installed behind and to the left of the commander’s cupola, and the TV sensor box at the front is outfitted with its doors, which you can pose open by cutting the part in half and gluing it to the outer edges of the box. Lifting eyes and two crew access hatches are made and installed in open or closed positions, fixing the gunner's MG3 to the edge of his hatch. Triangular mesh baskets are made from four parts each and installed on the angled rear corners of the bustle, and these styrene parts would be prime candidates for replacement by aftermarket mesh to give a more realistic appearance. The smoke grenade launchers are fitted to each side of the turret just forward of the baskets, and these are made up from individual barrels attached to a rail with supports moulded in. To create the aerials, the instructions tell you to cut and heat up one end of two 75mm lengths of wire before plunging them into the aerial mounts that were added earlier in the build. Whether super-glue would be a less hazardous option is up to you. Just be careful you don't stab or burn yourself at any stage. It hurts. The turret can then be added to the hull by twisting it into place to lock the bayonet lugs under the turret-ring flange. A pair of rear-view mirrors are added to the front of the tank, and the last part of the build is to decide whether to lock the barrel to the rear for transport, or leave it free with the transport-lock stowed between the two large fan grilles, one of which has been left off until this point, possibly to ensure that the base of the travel-lock that is moulded into the grille is correctly lined up. Markings There are two decal options included on the sheet, both of which are painted in NATO green, brown and black camouflage. You can build one of the following from the box: PzBtl 104, Pfreimd, 2018 PzBtl 414, Bergen-Lohheide, 2019 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 The Leopard 2 is an impressive and capable tank, and this kit should build up into a good rendition of it with a little care and attention to detail. Whether you want to replace the tracks or not depends on your priorities and budget, but the flexible tracks included are well-detailed for their type. Highly recommended. Carrera Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  2. M1A1 AIM(SA)/M1A2 Abrams (03346) 1:72 Carrera Revell The M1 Abrams is at time of writing and likely to remain that way for some considerable time, the current Main Battle Tank employed by the armed forces of the USA. Named after General Creighton Abrams, Commander of US forces in Vietnam, the Abrams entered service with the US Army in 1980, gradually replacing the M60 MBT. Since then over 9,000 examples of the gas turbine-powered tank have been produced and it is now in service with the armed forces of Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as the US. The US Marines operated the M1A1 (HA), which utilised depleted uranium as part of its composite armour package, the M1A1(SA) Situational Awareness had improved armour and a forward-looking FLIR turret installed, while the M1A2 variant is an upgrade over the original M1A1, with enhanced targeting and armour capabilities. The Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK & TUSK II) are field-installable armour upgrades that incorporates various elements such as Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), a shallow V-keel underneath to deflect IED blasts away from the crew compartments, and armoured screens around the turret hatches, all of which were developed in response to experience acquired during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, particularly in urban environments. The Kit This is a reissue of a 1997 tooling, although some of the detail must have been quite impressive when it was originally released, including the anti-slip coating on the horizontal portions of the vehicle. It arrives in a small end-opening box, and inside are six sprues in light grey styrene, a small decal sheet, and the instruction booklet that is printed in colour, with profiles in the rear to assist with painting and decaling. As already mentioned, the detail is good, especially for the time, with individually moulded wheels that must be paired up, IFF ID panels, link-and-length tracks, turret basket framework and the exhausts for the gas turbine engine at the rear. Construction begins understandably with the lower hull, which is made from the floor, two side panels that have the wheel-stations moulded-in, plus the rear bulkhead that has heat-exchanging grilles moulded-in, with a gap for the hot exhaust from the engine. The road wheels are made up into pairs, the drive-sprockets are built from two halves with slightly simplified details on the outer face, then they are glued into position along with the two return rollers along the upper run. The tracks are link-and-length, as already mentioned, and are made up from two flat lengths on the horizontal, two short diagonal lengths at the ends of the run, and ten individual links to fit around the drive-sprocket and idler wheel, repeating it on the opposite side, painting the tracks when you feel it best. The exhaust insert has a choice of two styles, and a large towing hook underneath, then the upper hull is fitted with a pair of side-skirts, cutting off the rear curved section for the M1A1 option. The driver’s hatch and light clusters are glued to the shallow sloped upper glacis plate, then the top and bottom hull assemblies are mated. The turret is a single upper that needs four flashed-over holes drilling out before it is mated to the turret floor, adding stowage boxes to the sides and rear, located on recesses, and with the Vehicle Meteorological Sensor (VMS) mast on the rear. The commander’s cupola with thick hatch and machine gun mount, or a simplified alternative are glued into the right cut-out, then the turret baskets are fitted around the sides and rear, along with the towing cables with moulded-in eyes. Although the tubular frames of these are a little oversized through necessity, they’re not overly large, so don’t look out of place. The M1A1 and M1A2 turret fittings differ, so there are two pairs of steps dealing with those, then the mantlet with moulded-in coax machine gun is inserted into the front of the turret, adding the gun barrel into the hole, adding the other half of the fume extractor “hump” from midway down the barrel, which was moulded as an insert to avoid sink-marks. The crew-served weapons on the turret differ between versions, with differing mounts for the commander’s hatch, and a 7.62mm gun for the other hatch, all with ammo cans mated to their sides. The turret is then twisted into the hull to lock the bayonet lugs into position. The M1A1 has a pair of spare road wheels and a tubular part that may be a Manpad missile, although it’s hard to tell. The M1A2 has a large aircon unit in the bustle rack, the same tubular “thing”, spare road wheels and four ammo cans that are fixed to the back of the bustle rack. Both variants then have another spare road wheel mounted on the turret top that appears to block the view of the Gunner’s primary sight for the M1A2, so seems a bad idea. Markings There are two decal options on the sheet, and for a change there is an Australian option provided, rather than US only options. From the box you can build one of the following: M1A2 Abrams, 194th Brigade Task Force, 1-70 AR National Training Centre, Fort Irwing, California, 1995 M1A1 Abrams, Australian Army, Armoured Cavalry Regiment, B Squadron, 3 Troop, 1st Adelaide, South Australia, 2015 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 surprisingly well-detailed kit of this modern Main Battle Tank, which is still reasonably large in 1:72 scale. The camouflaged decal options add some individuality to the boxing, which is always a good thing. Highly recommended. Carrera Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  3. Chieftain Mk.10 (TS-051) British Main Battle Tank 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The Chieftain tank was Britain's first main battle tank to have composite armour added, in the shape of the well-known, but not so well known about Chobham armour. It was a development of the highly successful Centurion tank, and continued the work done by the Centurion in addressing the reputation for apparent under-armoured and under-armed WWII British tanks, shaking it conclusively once it reached service. The result was one of the most impressive tanks of its day, and when it reached trial service in small numbers in 1959 they began ironing out the wrinkles, which resulted in a steady increase in all-up weight as well as capability. As the design progressed beyond initial service with the Mark 2, further upgrades give rise of the Mark 3, then skipped Mark 4 to reach the final production variant, the Mark 5, which carried NBC gear in the form of an over-pressure system, and a more powerful engine. Further minor upgrades led to the Mark 10, which was the recipient of the Stillbrew up-armour package, which resulted in a much-altered turret profile and improved protection, particularly at the front. The Mark 11 was the last minor upgrade with the Thermal Observation and Gunnery System (TOGS) replacing the searchlight. Any further versions were cancelled in favour of the Challenger series of MBTs, which came on stream in the early 80s. The tank saw action in the Middle East only however, in the service of Jordan, Oman, Kuwait and Iran, who used it extensively in their long-duration war with Iraq. Kuwait's stocks of Chieftains were almost exhausted due to attrition during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, where they fared badly against more modern tanks for various reasons, confirming the validity of the British decision to leave the design behind in favour of the more capable Challenger and later Challenger II, which is still under development and is likely to be the final British manned MBT if the pundits are to believed, remaining in service for a long time. The Kit We waited for a long time for a new tool Chieftain to allow us to put the old Tamiya kit with its confused identity to the back of the stash. One popped out a few years back, and now we have another one from those talented designers at Meng Model. This is a brand-new tool from Meng and is in their appropriately name Tyrannosaurus range, because you can’t get much more aggressive and bitey than a Chieftain in full flow. It arrives in their usual satin-finished sturdy top-opener box, and inside are eleven sprues and three hull and turret parts in pale grey styrene, a small flexible sprue in a very similar colour, 195± individual track links in spruelets of two, a clear sprue with track jigs included, a large Photo-Etch (PE) sheet, six shiny springs, a tree of black poly-caps, decal sheet, instruction booklet, four pages of thick stock printed with history of the Mk.10 in four languages, and a glossy sheet advertising their ongoing competition. You probably already know I like Meng’s products, and if you have any of their kits, you’ll also know why. The detail is superb, with cast armour texture on the relevant parts of the vehicle, a spectacular cooling-jacket shrouded barrel, and judicious use of slide-moulding on almost every sprue to improve detail without increasing the part count. You’ll also be pleased to hear that one of the two decal options depicts a Chiefy in Berlin Brigade urban camo, which has to be the most iconic and impressive of the Chieftain’s garbs through its years of service. Construction begins sensibly with the task of building an AFV that I find to be the dullest, which is making up the road wheels. The paired idler and drive sprocket wheels are first, with separate tyres to ease the painting, and a poly-cap hidden between the two discs. Six pairs of return rollers are also made, then twelve pairs of road wheels are assembled with separate tyres again, and when the pairs are joined, each one has another poly-cap hidden within, allowing removal of the wheels any time you want during construction, and rotation after completion. The suspension units each have one of the real springs trapped between two scissor-like assemblies, which are then trapped between the halves of the units, allowing the axles to pivot and offer a representation of actual suspension. There are two types made up for each side, using up all six of the springs, and also acting as mounts for the return rollers. The completed units are then set to one side while the lower hull is put together. The lower hull is detailed with appliqué panels under the front and rear corners, then towing eyes, final drive housings and the idler axles are fixed in place. Inside the upper hull a pair of engine deck supports are located on internal U-brackets, then flipped over to fit the twin headlamps with clear lenses and protective cage in styrene, more towing and lifting eyes, the bow-wave deflector, bullet-splash deflector and the driver’s pivoting hatch with appliqué armour panels on each side. A turret-ring adaptor is fixed inside the aperture, which may hint at a Marksman variant in the future, but it might equally mean nothing. We shall see. The sides of the engine deck are built up with perforated upstands that have rubber bumpers on top, then the louvered deck is covered with mesh panels and a ton of lift handles around the appropriate edges. Shaped stowage boxes are added to each side, then the two hull halves are joined together, clipping into place neatly, even without glue on my example. The rear bulkhead and its towing lugs close up the back, covered up with the complex muffler box for the exhaust system, which has two L-shaped exit pipes with hollow tips. The fenders are first detailed with stowage boxes and wing mirrors, plus a few PE strips on the front mudguards depicting the attachment strips for the flexible rubber flaps. There’s one each side of course, and each one gets a tow-cable once installed, plus a pair of reflectors on the back ends. Another pair of stowage boxes, one with attached first-aid kit are made up and fixed to the gap on the left and right sides of the rear bulkhead, then the hull is flipped over and the suspension units are glued into position, closely followed by their respective road wheels. Now for the tracks. They’re individual links and each one only has one sprue gate, which is nice. Each link has two ejector pin marks however, but they don’t take much in the way of sanding to remove them, so it’s swings and roundabouts. I put together a short run for this review, clipped them into the two-part hinged clear jig, dropped the lid and pressed it home with a click, then nipped a set of six track-pins off the sprues and pushed them into the holes in the jig, ramming them firmly home into holes moulded into the links. The links have a peg moulded into the other end, and as long as you don’t snap any of those off, you should be good to go. What you end up with is a well detailed flexible track run that will look good on your model. It might be as well to freeze the links with a little glue once you have the final arrangement just to be sure, but there’s nothing stopping you from leaving them mobile. The tricky and time-consuming part will be to paint the tracks and each of the 95 track pads on each side. If you don’t fancy spending all that time on the tracks, you should know that straight after fitting, you install the side skirts over the running gear, rendering almost half of them invisible for the rest of eternity. The turret is started by gluing together the top and bottom parts around a pivot, then adding the mantlet and coax bags on the front, both of which are made from flexible styrene. The coax gun has a short muzzle added into the hole in its bag, and speaking of holes you could drill one into the barrel for realism, then the Stillbrew armour package is added to the front of the turret, locking into a recess moulded into the turret upper. Smoke launchers, vision blocks and laser sighting device are added along with another batch of lifting eyes (tanks are heavy), ammo boxes and the massive searchlight with twin clear lenses and a door glued onto the left side of the turret. The two lenses are for infrared and ordinary white light beams, and a pair of scrap diagrams show them laid out appropriately for each task. More sighting gear and hatches are added to the top of the turret along with a winch roll, tool boxes and more grenade launchers on the right side. The commander’s cupola is a complex arrangement of equipment on a rotating torus mount, including clear vision blocks and an inner hatch with domed door and closure mechanism, plus another smaller searchlight to the side of the inset front vision block. The completed assembly is then glued to the roof of the turret. The turret bustle hangs off the back of the turret, which begins with a flat plate that supports the NBC pack, and to the sides are fitted a pair of tubular-framed open stowage baskets with mesh bottoms and upstands, the latter being folded up around a jig part before fitting. The L7 AA gun, which is based upon the Belgian FN Mag machine gun is clamped between the mount halves, with extra detail parts and a large magazine box on the left side, which also has its own stencil decal. It is fixed to the roof in front of the commander’s hatch, with the final step involving the L11A5 120 mm rifled main gun that comprises two halves with lots of cooling-jacket detail moulded-in, and a hollow muzzle that shows off the barrel’s rifling nicely and gives a good impression of a completely hollow barrel. Markings There are two decal options on the sheet, one of which is the afore mentioned Berlin Brigade Urban scheme, the other in standard British Black/Green camo of the time. From the box you can build one of the following: Armoured Squadron, Berlin Infantry Brigade, British Army, West Germany, 1989 Armoured Unit, British Army, Exercise Fighting Herald, West Germany, 1988 The decals are printed in China, and under magnification are a bit fuzzy, although most of that could be cut off along the straight edges. The Union Jack is a bit messy, and the tiny badge on one of the front fenders has a simple black centre where there should be a logo. They should be suitable for purpose however, but I miss the days when Meng used to use Cartograf as a matter of course. Conclusion What a lovely kit. I’m British, and it’s a British tank, so I’m probably a little biased. I’m also a fan of Meng’s output with good reason. I do wish they’d spent a little more time and a few more pennies on the decals though. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Without too much babbling, here is the final product. Went with a traditional paint job to pay homage to the original camo seen shortly after 1994, and a slight wink at the BAE Systems upgraded Chally. Those who wish to see the build process (WIP) and my other challenger projects: Enjoy the Photos! Edit; some more photos with the chally in its natural habitat. Well its 35x bigger than this models habitat but nature is the best diorama in my opinion A giant car chasing the challenger about. The paint job looking more accurate in the more usual British weather as opposed to the sunny pictures as seen below.
  5. Hi guys, most of the time I´am into aircraft modelling but after more than ten years I gave another try to an tank. It´s the Trumpeter Strv 103C in 1/72 scale in typical swedish splinter camo. I was fascinated by the so called S-Tank since a long time because of his unusual design. The tank itself was built oob except the towing cable, the infantryman was converted from a modern Zvezda GI. The trees are my first attempt in building them from stranded wire, fleece and Noch-scatter-material. Edit 28.11. ...some more pics... I hope you like this little sidestep, some more will follow. Comments and criticism are appreciated.
  6. Leopard 1A5 1:35 Revell The Leopard project started back in the mid 1950s with the goal of producing a modern tank to replace the M47 and M48 tanks which where then in use by the recently reconstituted Bundesehr (German Army). The specification called for a tank weighing no more than 30 tonnes capable of surviving 20mm rapid fire cannon and having a power-to-weight ratio of 30hp per tonne. The tank had to be capable of surviving on a nuclear/chemical contaminated battlefield. Armament was to be the then standard NATO 105mm gun. For this design Mobility was the primary concern with firepower secondary, and armour being seen as low down the list as it was envisaged there was little possibility of standing up to modern hollow charge weapons. Three design teams competed for the Tank contract from Porsche, Rheinmetall and Borgward. The Porsche prototype was eventually selected as the winner. Production was set up with Krauss-Maffei in Munich and deliveries began in late 1965. In the 1980s research was done into upgrading the tank. The turrets were upgraded to store more ammunition, a new, and a new fire control system was fitted. Provision was made for bolt on Lexan armour, and the 120mm gun of the Leopard 2 (though this was never fitted) As well as the German Army the Leopard 1 would go on to serve with the Armies of Belgium, Holland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Canada, and Turkey. The A5 with Germany, Holland and Chilie. The Kit The kit is a welcome addition to the new tool from Revell of an important cold war tank.. The kit arrives on sprues of plastic, one set of rubber band type tracks and a length of aerial wire taped to the instruction booklet (Revell seem to do this for every kit now). Construction starts with the lower hull of the tank. The sides are built up, and an internal bulkhead is added along with the rear of the tank. The next area for construction are the suspension components. 7 top parts are added to each sides along with 7 torsion bar parts. The main road wheels of two parts each, along with the drive sprockets and idler wheels are made up. An additional 7 parts add to the original torsion bar parts at this stage. The single part top idler wheels are also added at this point. The kit instructions have the modeller add the tracks now, these are of the rubber band type with each side being one section. The drivers vision blocks are fitted to the upper hull and then this can be fitted to the lower hull. The track side skirts are then added. The side mounted engine cooling louvres can then be added to the hull along with side lockers and various hull fittings and tools. The rear of the tank then receives some attention. Various fittings, lights, mud guards and tools are added to the back, and the rear engine deck. The front of the top deck then receives the same attention with hull fittings dependant on the nationality of vehicle being built. Construction then moves to the turret. The bottom section is built up with the gun mounting area, the top of the turret is then added. Various fittings are then added to the turret including the mounts for the machine guns. The gun can then be assembled and added to the mantlet, this assembly is then added to the turret. The turret baskets are made up and added, machine guns added to their mounts; and smoke grenade discharges are added. The side armour panels go on. To finish of the turret the mantlet cover is added, the front mounted light is assembled, then added; and lastly grab rails are added. The completed turret can then be added to the hull, the last items to be added are a few parts on the engine deck, the travelling gun mount, and the drivers mirrors are added. Decals Markings are small and in some cases only consist of the vehicle number plates. Markings are provided for four German Army tanks. Decals are produced in Italy and up to the usual stands for these, they are crisp in register and have no colour issues. Conclusion It is good to see a new tool of an important first generation modern Main Battle Tank. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  7. Centurion Mk.V Main Battle Tank (35A028) 1:35 Amusing Hobby Pre WWII it can be kind to say Britain lagged behind in tank development and even at the end of WWII we have many US types still in service. The A41 was designated as Heavy Cruiser tank back as far as 1943 , this was further developed into the Centurion. The five wheel Comet chassis was developed by adding a sixth wheel with the spacing between the second and third wheels increased. The original Christie suspension was replaced by the Horstmann suspension. The hull had welded sloped armour and the turret was partially cast. The original main gun was the proven 17 pounder with a 20mm supporting weapon. The mark II quickly replaced the initial Mk I tanks and had thicker armour and a fully cast turret. The 20mm gun was also deleted in favour of a normal machine gun. The mark III brought about the introduction of the 20 pounder gun. The Mark V brought about the delegation of the rear turret hatch, fitment of browning machine guns a re-designed turret roof; and the addition of guide rollers in the track runs. first combat or the new tank was in the Korean War where they were praised with their ability to operate in the mountainous terrain. The last combat for British tanks were for AVRE vehicles which deployed to the Gulf War in 1991. The tank was an export success being supplied to Canada, Sweden, South Africa, Israel, Jordan, Switzerland, Denmark, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, New Zealand, Austria, Singapore,The Netherlands and Australia. The South Africans further developed the tank into the Olifant, the Jordanians into the Temsah APC, and the Israelis into Nagmachon APCs, Nakpadon ARVs or Puma CEVs many of which still serve to this day. The Kit This is a new tool from Amusing Hobby, who have a thing for British “almost” projects of late, and are filling in some gaps between the in-service tanks that will no doubt please the what-if modellers as well as those that enjoy building cancelled projects or just downright unusual vehicles. Inside the box are ten sprues of varying sizes in sand-coloured styrene, plus a single lower hull part in the same colour. There is also a bag of brown track-links, a bag of brass springs, a length of braided cable, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a diminutive decal sheet and the instruction booklet with a colour cover that has profiles on the rear. Detail is good throughout, the cast elements such as the final drive housing that has a light casting texture moulded-in. Construction begins with the assembly of the bogies that are built around the springs to give the suspension arms some real travel, providing you keep the glue away from the pivot points. There are three of these each side of the large hull tub, and each one carries four wheels in pairs on two axles each, held onto the axles with a central hub part. The tracks are wide, so the return rollers sit on projecting bases, and long stand-off brackets are added to support the side skirts later in the build. The huge final drive housing is layered up and topped with a toothed drive sprocket and a small roller that is probably there to prevent track shedding during turns. At the front is the idler wheel on an axle that pivots to give good track tension once you have made them up and wrapped them around the road wheels. The tracks are supplied free of any sprues and quite free of clean-up, especially if you are planning on dirtying them up later, so you can just start making them up there and then. Each side uses 102 links, and as they snap together they shouldn’t take too long to put together, which is nice. 12 links went together in a few minutes, and they do remain workable, although they aren’t as mobile as they could be. You might get the occasional one coming adrift, but in general they should be fairly easy to fit, and if you want to freeze them in place once you have them installed, a dab of glue to each link will do the trick, leaving you free to handle them more roughly during the painting process. Both runs of links are applied to the vehicles with the traction bar to the rear, so ensure you test-fit them properly before you put them in for the final time. The rear of the hull is constructed and added along with the engine deck. At the front the glacis plate is made up incorporating the front fenders. At the sides the track guards go on along with the lockers tools and exhaust. A thread tow cable is provided which is probably best dispensed with for a metal alternative. The last part of the vehicle to be constructed is the turret. The two sides go around the base with the gun mantlet at the front, The bins for the turret sides are made up and added along with the smoke dischargers. On the top the aerial mounts go on along with the commander hatch. The gun barrel is added to the mantle and on top a 30 cal machine gun is added. Spare track links can be added to the turret is wanted. Markings A small decal sheet provides markings for 10 Troop, C Sqn, 4th Royal Tank Regiment based in West Berlin in 1962. Conclusion A good looking model of one of the first true Main Battle Tanks. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Russian T-62 Mod 1960 (01546) 1:35 Trumpeter The T-62 was developed from the T-55, and to the uninitiated could be mistaken for one. On closer inspection there is 115mm main gun with a longer barrel and improved penetration, which required the turret to be enlarged and the chassis enlarged in turn to accommodate the larger turret ring. Despite family resemblance and an almost identical layout there is little commonality of major parts due to the size changes that propagated out due to the change of main armament, which was a world first in respect of the smooth bore, allowing it to launch shells at a substantially increased velocity. The interior equipment however was broadly similar to the T-55, so conversion between them wasn't over-difficult, and even though the vehicle is larger, the crew compartment is still horribly cramped for the four crew. The Mod 1960 was the initial production model that was preceded by five examples of the T-62A, which were stretched T-55s, and as such below par compared to the T-62. It was able to carry 40 rounds of ammunition for the 115mm Molot smooth bore gun, and 2,500 rounds of 7.62mm for the PKT coaxial machine gun. On the turret roof was an optional 12.7m "Dushka" anti-aircraft machine gun, which required the loader to expose his upper body in the hatchway in order to fire. Although not as numerous as the legendary T-55, the T-62 has seen numerous variants and license built "lite" copies made in North Korea, but most began life at the Ukrainian factory, with many seeing modifications at the hands of their purchasers at a later date. The Kit This kit and its box were included in the Hobby Boss kit (85513) of a KrAZ-6446 tractor and trailer as the load, but as it was also released a couple of years back as a stand-alone kit, I have split it out for expediency and to prevent the original review from getting too large. The box is typical Trumpeter with the cardboard corrugations showing through on the artwork, and a divider keeping the smaller parts from rattling around inside the box. There are seven sprues in light grey styrene, seven in brown styrene, four in black styrene, one in clear, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, a length of brass wire, a metal gun barrel, decal sheet, instruction booklet and separate painting and decaling guide. It is one of many kits of the T-62 from Trumpeter, so if you have seen any of them you stand a good chance of recognising at least some of the parts here. In the usual fashion construction begins with building up of the road wheels, which are made in pairs with separate black tyre parts that offer the possibility of painting the parts separately to avoid masking. The idler and drive sprocket are both made up of two parts, and each of the two types of road wheel pairings have hub cab parts added to the centre. The lower hull is fitted with a rear bulkhead, final drive housing and axles, then the wheels are glued onto them, with the track lengths created from the individual brown links on the seven sprues. Each link has four sprue gates and no ejector pins or sink marks to fill, with 96 links per side needed. Construction with liquid cement followed by draping and packing the lengths around the wheels while the adhesive is still malleable is your best recipe for success, and you may wish to build each run in two halves for ease of painting and installation. An unditching beam is fitted to the rear bulkhead along with final drive armour, and attention turns to the upper deck, which needs a number of flashed-over holes opening up for this mark. The deck includes the upper glacis, which is detailed with lights, mine roller mounts, and the driver's hatch, plus a bow wave deflector, while the engine deck is constructed separately in two sub-assemblies that include PE mesh parts. These are added later with the fenders, which have been prepared with stowage bins, fuel tanks and exhaust on the port fender before being glued to the hull using the long slots and tabs running along the sides. The prototypical fuel barrels attach to the rear of the hull by curved brackets, but no fuel hosing is included in the kit, which can easily be fabricated if you desire by checking your references. The towing cables are made up from styrene eyes and copper/brass braided wire for a realistic look, with lengths and attachment points marked on the instructions. The T-62's enlarged turret is supplied as an upper and lower part, with only a stub of the coaxial machine gun, mantlet cheek parts needing adding and some holes drilling out before it can be closed up. The holes are for the multiple grab-rails that encompass most of the turret, with the two hatches, shell-ejection port and various vision ports scattered around the roof, plus lifting eyes and a small searchlight next to the commander's low-rise cupola. The larger searchlight is fitted to a bracket next to the main gun, and the snorkel tube is attached to the back of the turret, after which you get to choose between adding a cover to the mantlet or leaving is bare. The main gun is turned aluminium, which is nice to see, but if you don't like these for any reason, you can use the plastic parts that are included, but you are in for a lot more preparation of seams if you go down this route. A delicate linkage between the gun and searchlight is the last task, other than dropping the turret into place on the hull. There are no bayonet lugs, so either glue it down, or remember to put a finger on top if you ever need to move or invert it. Markings Russian Green anyone? There is only one option included, and the designers aren't very forthcoming about where and when White 545 was stationed or saw deployment. The decal sheet includes lots of white numbers in two different styles, plus a pair of Soviet emblems, so if you have a different scheme in mind, this generic sheet may be of at least partial use. The registration of colours on the emblems is excellent, and the white seems sufficiently dense for the purpose, and everything is nice and sharply printed on my sample. Conclusion Another nice model from Trumpeter that will look good next to a T-55 on your display shelves. The exterior has been well done, but unless you plan to put crew in the hatches, you'll need to leave them closed to avoid displaying the empty interior. The part count is sensible, with only a few compromises in detail as a result, such as the exhaust that is slightly simplified and partially moulded into the fender. Overall though, a nice kit that would look super on the back of a tank transporter. Supplied as part of the KrAZ 6446 Tractor with MAZ/ChMZAP-5247G trailer kit 85513 Currently on sale with a deep 35% discount at Creative at time of writing
  9. Ex Iraqi Army Chinese Type 69 Medium Tank, Pictures from Bovington Tank Museum thanks to Dave Wardle
  10. Looks sweet, like the tracks with separate pads. http://www.themodellingnews.com/2015/09/chieftains-new-clothes-in-box-takoms.html#more looks like it will be a winner. Dan
  11. Hi All, I've been itching for this GB to start! I picked this up for less than a score online recently, complete with a Verlinden set However, I'm in two minds about using the resin so I have ordered a metal barrel from Poland. For info, the final build will have minimal Czech markings. Roll on Saturday!!! The decals that came with the kit are damaged so I purchased some new ones. I've noticed they are not 'handed' so I'll place the Czech markings on the front and left side of the turret when the time comes. This aftermarket kit was part of the package but I'm debating whether to use it or sell it on Picyure of metal barrel to follow once it arrives
  12. M60A1 Patton Main Battle Tank 1:35 AFV Club The M60 was one of a line of tanks to take the name Patton, partially because they were all related developments of the same basic principle. The M48 Patton was the basis for the M60, after the need was discovered for a larger gun that could penetrate the frontal armour of the Soviet tanks reaching the front line. The M48 was scaled up to accommodate the 105mm license built Royal Ordnance L7 gun, a re-designed turret and a fully cast hull, mounting aluminium road wheels to reduce weight in non-essential areas. It was the last US tank to use steel as its protection from penetration, and that served the crews well through its long service life. The M60A1 was the most produced version, and was an initial update with better suspension and improved armour, with a larger turret that allowed the crew a little more room. It also had a rudimentary stabilisation system fitted to the gun, although it wasn't capable of the fine control of modern systems, but did allow the gun to stay pointing in the same general direction when aimed. It was wide service during its long career that started in the 60s, both with the US and allied nations. It was sold to the Iranians before the revolution, so some of the remaining operational Pattons were pressed into service during the Iran/Iraq was in the 80s. It was finally retired after service in the First Gulf War, where the Marines used it exclusively for their part in the campaign before reluctantly dropping them in favour of the then new M1 Abrams MBT. While out of service with the US, it is still a potent tank, and is still in service with minor operators throughout the world. The Kit I always look forward to AFV Club kits, as they appeal to this modeller, and give the impression that they are passionate about what they produce. When this box landed on my cluttered desk I was keen to see inside, particularly as I had seen one in the flesh only the week before. Arriving in AFV Club's usual white themed box with a painting of an M60 on the way somewhere, the box is stuffed full of sprues, with nine in total moulded in an olive green styrene, plus the lower hull tub. There is also an M2 Machine Gun on a section of sprue, a substantial clear sprue, two rubber-band style tracks, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small bag of flexible styrene parts in olive and black, a spring, a bag of rubbery o-rings, a turned aluminium barrel, length of synthetic cord, decal sheet and of course the instructions. First inspection reveals lots of lovely casting detail on the hull and turrets, which is accompanied by raised welding-beads, casting serial numbers where appropriate, and very fine raised location point lines for parts that butt-fit to the main parts. The level of detail on the parts is excellent, with grilles, tiny welding beads between sections of parts and ultra-fine mouldings that push the limit of injection moulding technology. Once you've had a look at the sprues and perused the visual history of the different variants on the page before the instructions, it's time to start cutting parts off the sprues. The lower hull is moulded as a single part with casting texture moulded in, but as it has been done using sliding moulds, there are some small seams between the suspension mounting points, so scrape these off and make good with some stippled Mr Surfacer or your chosen texturing method. Then you can add the suspension mounts, bump-stops and the driver's lower escape hatch, followed by the torsion bars and swing-arms, plus the final-drive housings at the rear of the hull. Towing shackles, hitch and rear light-clusters are added to the rear bulkhead, and then it's time to do the running gear. There are fourteen pairs of road wheels, which are built up from two individual wheels glued together around a small O-ring as a change from poly-caps. The drive sprockets are made up from three parts, the central part of which is a complex moulding that stands well away from the rest of the parts of the hull to allow the sliding parts of the mould opportunity for movement. One of mine had come off within minutes of leaving the bag, and I found it on the workshop floor with a little crush damage, which was quickly repaired. They are the most easily knocked-off parts, and without them you'll be screwed, so keep an eye on them! The wheel sets press onto the axles for easy removal during the build, and are wrapped with the rubber-band tracks once the main parts of the upper hull has been finished, using the usual overlapping sections of track to make the joint. There are two links performing this function, and the outer halves are held on only by the centre link, which makes for a weak joint that could be damaged, leaving you with a need for replacement tracks, which Friul make marked ATL-142, with an alternative tread-pattern (lozenge shaped blocks) ATL-143. The driver's compartment is depicted in reasonably good detail in this kit, showing off his cramped space, which added to his limited ability to leave via the top hatch or through the main component, left him with the lower hatch as his primary means of escape. Not a prospect I'd relish under any circumstances. His station is complete with his controls, instruments, seat and various levers, plus vision blocks and more detail that are applied to the underside of the top deck, all of which has plenty of painting call-outs so you're not left floundering. The top deck includes the upper glacis and extends as far as the back of the turret ring, where you add the fuel filler-cap on the starboard corner, as well as the driver's vision blocks, which are made of clear styrene. The driver's top hatch is attached to the hull via a long hinge rod that flips it up toward the turret, requiring the gun to be at the rear for proper exit. The front deck is installed before the engine deck, which has a tapering arrangement of panels, surrounded by a large number of grilles to cool down the powerful Diesel powerplant. These are well-moulded, and have been split into five sections per side to preserve detail, plus another two large panels at the rear bulkhead. Separate grab-handles are added to each one when they're installed, adding to the realism over the usual moulded-in affairs. With the top deck ostensibly completed, the fenders are added, which are split in similar proportion to the deck, with curved flanges added to the rear. A bunch of stowage boxes are built up with separate handles, and are then dotted around the fenders along with some perforated stiffening brackets for good measure. The rear-mounted travel-lock can be built to move on its hinges, and the locking jaws can also be left loose for that occasional change of pose that we never get around to. Whilst at the rear, you have the choice of adding a small grille to the back of the tank, or replacing it with a cast panel and long intake extension tube that has some lovely welding beads moulded in. A pair of flexible styrene bracing "wires" can be added if you want, but these are optional. Adding the front mud-guards and light-clusters sees the hull complete. The turret starts with the gun, which has a turned metal barrel, which is inserted to a recoil mechanism that also carried the 7.62mm coax machine gun and its mount. The spring is loaded into the canister which is then closed over by a bolted lid, and the metal barrel is inserted through this to be glued onto the breech assembly. The inner mantlet/mount is made from two parts, and slides down the barrel and onto the coax MG, and is then installed within the turret body, with a short piston going between the lower breech and the turret ring to control elevation. The lower turret with moulded-in ring is then glued in place, and the either the rubberised mantlet cover and concertina sleeve or its uncovered alternative are placed over the barrel. The two-part bore evacuation system clamps around the barrel at a convenient ledge, an alternative muzzle tip is added (or not), and the turret body is then detailed with lifting eyes, clear vision blocks, stowage hooks, aerial bases and so forth. The towing cables are built up from styrene eyes and cord "cables", which are slung around the lower rear of the turret below the combined PE/styrene turret bustle stowage rack that wraps around the rear. The top of the commander's cupola is moulded in clear to for the multiple vision ports around its perimeter, and has a .50cal M85 machine gun in a mount that provides elevation, while the independent movement of the cupola provides the traverse. This allowed the commander to fire without exposing himself to incoming rounds, but the cupolas were known for their propensity to become detached when the tank was hit by a non-penetrating round, which could have serious ramifications for both the commander's health and the tank, which would be an open target into which grenades could be hurled. A large vision block is fitted to the roof of the cupola, and sighting equipment hangs down underneath it inside, with the full breech and mounting of the MG fully depicted. Careful masking of the interior and exterior will result in a rather good looking cupola. The mantlet of the commander's gun can be left uncovered or by the addition of the provided flexible styrene part it can be depicted covered. Early Cold War tanks all seemed to carry big searchlights on their guns, and the M60 was no exception, and it's a complex one. The body of the device is built from halves that fit around the back plate, plus two horizontal bars on which the mounting bracket fits. A reflector that is as large as the body fixes to the front with a black "thing" in the front, all of which is enclosed behind a clear lens. A couple of grab-rails and latches are dotted around the surface, and it is added to a bracket on the mantlet, with a long articulated rod leading back to an attachment point on the turret top. A couple of jerrycans with PE straps are added to the rear sides of the turret, and a couple of aerials are stretched from sprue, or better yet, from carbon fibre rod that you can obtain from eBay. The turret is a drop-fit to the hull, so remember to either glue it or don't turn it over to look at the underside. Markings A note of warning to begin with. As soon as you get your kit, remove the paper from the decals, as mine had already become quite fond of the decals, and tore a few times on removal, leaving fibres adhered to the decals. There are five options available from the box, and they are disparate enough to please most folks, which is always good. From the box you can build one of the following: Austrian Army – all over olive drab. IDF, Sinai Oct.1973 – All over sand yellow. US Army 3rd Battalion, 3rd Armoured Division, 1977 – Green/orange/black/off white camo. US Army 69th Armoured Regiment – Sand yellow/black/green camo. US Marine Corps – Green/khaki/black/off white camo with a white mantlet. The decals are of merchantable quality, but with fibres of the paper still clinging to the surface, they look a little older than they should. Registration is good, colour density appears so too, and sharpness is good enough. The carrier film is thin and glossy, but extends quite a way around the decals in place such as the serials and badges, which would be better cut away. Conclusion It's a rather nice kit of an important US Main Battle Tank that deserves the detail that has been lavished on it. The rubber tracks are about as good as they can get, but alternatives are available if you feel the need. The inclusion of PE and a turned barrel adds value to the package if you don't like moulded in grilles or sanding the seams of a styrene barrel (who does?), so what're you waiting for? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  13. Leopard 2A6/A6M 1:35 Revell The Leopard 2 is the successor to the earlier Leopard Main Battle Tank (MBT), and was developed in the 70s, entering service just before the turn of the decade. The original had a vertical turret front, while later editions had an improved angled armour applied to the front that gives the tank a more aggressive look and provides much better protection. It has all the trappings of a modern MBT, including stabilised main gun for firing on the move, thermal imaging and composite armour. The original Leopard 2 entered service in 1979, but has been through a number of upgrades through its service life and is currently at version 2A7+. The 2A6 is still current however, and likely to be so for some considerable time. It sports the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore gun and MG3 machine guns for close-in defence, and has the by-now familiar arrow-head front to the turret, as well as a number of more subtle upgrades that follow on from the 2A5. Sales of the Leopard 2 have been good overseas because of its reputation, and Canada, Turkey, Spain and most of the Nordic countries use it as well as many other smaller operators. The Kit The box is Revell's usual black end opening box with a painting of the Leopard wearing European camouflage while a disembodied head of a real leopard roars behind it. After the Puma's box art, I'm beginning to wonder whether they've hired a motorcycle airbrush artist to do their box top paintings. Inside are seven sprues in Revell's green styrene, which I wish they'd move away from personally. There are also four spruelets of wobbly black styrene/rubber, plus four runs of track in the same material, and a clear sheet of acetate that is marked as "window sheet" on the instructions. A short length of wire is taped to the instruction booklet, and the end is quite sharp – I managed to stab my finger tip when re-boxing this kit, so watch you don't shed any blood when handling it. The decal sheet is hidden away in the centre of the booklet, and is protected by a sheet of thin greaseproof paper. Looking past the dreary green styrene, the kit is clearly a modern tooling, and has some nice detail on the outer hull, including patches of anti-slip coating on the main surfaces. The large circular cooling fans on the rear decking are particularly nicely done as separate parts, and should look well once painted. The odd layout of the track could cause some problems however, as each track is made up from two halves that must be glued together before they can be added to the tank. The hull is built up from separate sides, which are held in alignment by two bulkheads that sit in the central are of the chassis. This should make construction a lot easier than wrangling lots of parts with no way of telling if you have the angles right. It would be wise to dry-fit the top of the hull to this assembly before the glue fully cures though, just in case any minor easement is required. After this, seven roadwheel axles are added to each side into keyed slots in the side of the hull, with additional drive and idler axles as well as extra suspension detail that is glued into place on the side of the hull. The roadhwheels are fitted to the axles in pairs, and have their rubber tyres moulded in place, as do the four return rollers on each side. The idler wheels are smaller than the roadwheels, and the drive sprockets are built from two separate parts each. If you have chosen to build the A6M variant, an additional applique armour part is added to the underside of the tank, which improves its mine resistance, hence the M designation. As mentioned earlier, the tracks are of the rubber-band type, although detail is nicely done, and if you can live with the curving of the tracks around the drive and idler wheels they should suffice perfectly well. Each length is made from two sections, which have a generous four-link overlap and two pins on each link to strengthen the join. They are supposed to be glued with ordinary plastic adhesive, and you are recommended to clamp them together and wait until they are properly cured before handling them. The pins protrude through the track pads on the outer face, so hiding them under the fenders and against the ground would be advisable once you have attached them to the vehicle, so that they don't show after painting. The rear bulkhead of the vehicle has a large radiator grille running along the full width, which is a little lacklustre, but should suffice for most purposes. Under it hang the two flexible mudguards that are made from the same plastic as the tracks, and various shackles, hitches, panels and the rear light clusters are added at this point. The top deck is supplied as a single part, and simply drops onto the lower hull, which should hopefully align neatly if you have been diligent with its construction. The two large cooling fan grilles are added, as is a small insert that must be specific to this version on the right side of the rear deck. Some pioneer tools are added to the rear deck, and the towing ropes are made up from flexible plastic rope attached to styrene towing eyes. If you're not happy with a moulding seam running down your tow-ropes, now would be the time to replace it with some braided wire from RB Model or similar. Moving to the glacis plate, spare track links plus the usual hitches and shackles are added, along with the front driving lights and the driver's hatch, which can be left to slide within the hull by careful gluing of the panel inserts to its front and rear. Whether this is worth the effort is moot, unless you plan on installing a driver figure into your Leopard. The fenders are integral to the top hull, and only the side-skirts need to be added. These are made from two basic parts on each side, with the thicker applique armour added over the front two roadwheels and idler, tipped by a triangular shaped block at the very front. The turret is a complex shape, and even the base is made up from three parts, onto which the main gun is built up. The barrel is supplied in two halves, split lengthwise, and has some nice moulded detail, so take care when cleaning up the seam. The barrel is tipped with a hollow muzzle, but this is a little shallow, so might be better drilled out once the glue is dry. The mantlet section that raises with the gun is built up around the large location pin, and this is then added to the underside of the turret, being locked in place by a pair of upstands that permit the barrel to raise and lower. The top of the turret is a larger single piece with only one panel in the rear right added along with the sighting system's lenses. This is added to the bottom of the turret, after which the side panels and bustle are added to complete the main part of the turret's construction. The side panels that bolster the armour of the turret's arrow-head shaped front are installed next, and here there are some quite significant sink-marks. Initially I suspected that they might be flexible panels, but from looking at photos of the real thing, they aren't, so will need filling until they are flat. This could be a bit tricky however, as there are bolt-heads moulded in that portray the mounting points for the applique armour. Once the main construction of the turret is complete, the various small parts are added, along with the two crew access hatches and additional sensors that festoon the commander's hatch. Both hatches have triple-layered doors that are laminated from separate parts, and they look ostensively the same, apart from the square cut-out on the gunner's hatch for the hinge. Triangular mesh baskets are installed on the angled rear corners of the bustle, and these styrene parts would be prime candidates for replacement by aftermarket mesh to give a more realistic appearance. The smoke grenade launchers are fitted to each side of the turret just forward of the baskets, and these are made up from individual barrels attached to a rail with supports moulded in. The gunner's MG3 is also added to the edge of his hatch, and you are told to heat up two 75mm lengths of wire before plunging them into the aerial mounts that were added earlier in the build. Whether super-glue would be a less dangerous option is up to you – just be careful you don't poke yourself with the wire at any stage. It hurts. The turret can then be added to the hull by twisting it into place to lock the wings under the turret-ring flange. A pair of rear-view mirrors are added to the front of the tank, and a small sensor is added to the recuperator bulge on the barrel in the final few steps, and the last part of the build is to decide whether to lock the barrel to the rear for transport, or leave it free with the transport-lock stowed between the two large fan grilles. The painting diagrams are included in the instruction booklet, and as there is only one scheme so far, this is given on the first page, consisting of bronze green, leather brown and tar black, or more correctly NATO green, brown and black. Four choices of markings are provided on the small decal sheet, as follows: 2.Zug/4. Kompanie/PzBtl 203, Augustdorf 1.Zug/3. Kompanie/PzBtl 203, Augustdorf 3.Zug/4. Kompanie/PzLehrBtl 93, Munster 1.Zug/4. Kompanie/PzLehrBtl 93, Munster The decals are in excellent register, have good colour density and minimal carrier film. Of note are the small scissor symbols printed next to some of the unit badges that are fixed to the rear baskets on the turret. This apparently means that you should cut the "paper picture" out an glue it to the baskets, which would result in a slightly unsatisfactory and likely wooly looking result. A better option would be to paint up some scrap styrene and apply the decals to that instead, glue the finished article to the turret baskets instead. Conclusion The Leopard 2 is an impressive and capable tank, and this kit is a good rendition of it on the whole. My only issue with it that will affect most modellers are those prominent sink-marks on the sides of the turret front, but I personally dislike rubber tracks and that dark green styrene that Revell continue to use - I promise I'll stop going on about it eventually, although I can't guarantee an exact date. Ignoring those gripes, and assuming you don't poke out an eye with the antennae, it should build up into an impressive model of this MBT, and with a little research and some scratch-building you could instead portray it as one of the many overseas operators - I would imagine that the Canadian machines would be quite an attractive option, as they loaned a number of them for service in the Middle East, and weren't allowed to make many modifications to them because they were expected to be handed back eventually. Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit
  14. source: https://www.facebook.com/Modelcollect/photos/a.153755038112938.33382.153752164779892/494021000753005/?type=1&theater
  15. Ok, here is my entry for this GB; A Trumpy 1/72 Challenger 1 Main battle Tank - bought for the princely sum of £5.99 in a wonderland sale just before xmas! Apologies for the photos - was using my phone at the time (new camera has now arrived but did not want to redo shots). Ugly box cover - no idea what they were thinking on this... Really sharp kit parts, not sure how accurate; I am more about the fun than the rivets! Tally ho....err....soon... Pete
  16. Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant M60 Patton Main Battle Tank. M60A3 pics thanks to Mike.
  17. Russian T-90A Main Battle Tank (for Meng) 1:35 ET Model Meng's new moulding of the T-90A is an excellent model and has been well received, but you can always improve on injection moulded styrene. This set from one of my favourite AFV aftermarket companies is designed to do just that, and arrives in their by now familiar heavy gauge flat packaging. Inside are two large frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass on a black backing card, three more smaller frets in a ziplok bag along with 16 resin grenade launcher parts and a resin antenna base in pale cream resin. A length of braided wire and three page instructions fill out the package. The first area of improvement is the replacement of the moulded in tie-downs on the port fenders, numbering 15 in total, and that requires the removal of the kit detail before applying the folded tie-downs, which have fully detailed buckles and ratchets where appropriate. The side-skirts are given improved detail in the shape of hinges between the panels, and replacement steps, plus the retaining strips holding the rubber guards in place. A number of loops, tie-downs and brackets are added, plus the wading bow-wave brake and the exhaust protector. The additional fuel drums at the rear are completely re-worked, retaining only the drums, and building the brackets and retaining straps from PE parts with all the additional detail that comes with that. A number of mesh grilles on the engine deck are added as well as detail on the aft bulkhead that is absent in the kit. The turret is similarly detailed with turnbuckles, antenna base made up from the resin part and four PE parts, additional ammunition boxes on the sides of the turret bustle, brackets for stowage on the sides and tie-downs for the tops of the side-mounted stowage bins. The commander's weapon is upgraded with a set of iron sights fore and aft, and the main gun has its moulded in straps removed and PE replacements added to hold the jacket in place. The resin smoke discharger units replace the kit parts, reducing clean-up and improving detail into the bargain. Conclusion Another excellent set, adding plenty of fine detail to the base kit. ET Model offer plenty of value for money too, including resin parts where appropriate to the task in hand. Highly recommended. Available from White Ensign Models in the UK. Review Sample courtesy of
  18. T-80 Main Battle Tank, Pics by Bootneck Mike
  19. We've just had the nod from Meng that they're issuing an "up-tooled" edition of their original Merkava 3D, including all of the updates applicable to the BAZ system, such as the electro-optics, enhanced ballistic protection etc. It also comes complete with the Nochri Dalet mine roller, which will make for a large and impressive looking finished model - wonder what it'll do to the size of the box? I'll ask them whether the one-piece tracks are in addition to the separate link type, or instead of, as I'd hate to see those go away - I for one much prefer the separate links. All-in-all great news for the IDF modeller Mike.
  20. Now that I've completed one build for 2011/2012 which is my Sea Vixen ( Pix still needed for RFI) i'm needing some time to think about what to build next, some friends have suggested that I finish my Airfix Buccaneer which has been on the shelf for 9 years. I'm thinking about finishing the Javelin that I've been given, so many decisions it's almost stressful So whilst I think about what to build/ finish I thought that the new Trumpeter T-64 might help me decide on the next big project. I bought this a few weeks ago and all I can say is that I'm impressed. The kit is a dream, goes together very well indeed and the new kit has given us a very important vehicle that's been missed off the radar by the main stream companies, I know about the Skif versions but they require big $$ and time to correct. Trumpeter have given us a new tool kit of the T-64 MBT and the only AM used so far is the track set brought out by Trumpeter. There is nothing wrong with the kit supplied link and length tracks but these AM tracks are molded slightly better and by the look of the detail I think that slide mold technology has been used. The track nuts are very well rendered indeed, these babies should be better and easier to paint and fit. In terms of accuracy.............. I couldn't tell you if this kit is 100% but its certainly better than the Skif kit. So here is the progress so fa, still in the rough but looking good. Enjoy Regards Dan
  21. T-62 Mod.1972 Value Package (for Trumpeter) 1:35 ET Model (S35-012) Trumpeter's T-62 is a bit of a tour de force, and this set is aimed squarely at the first edition, although most if not all of it could be applied to the kit with the ERA blocks added, which I'll incidentally be reviewing shortly. The "Value Package" from ET Model means exactly that, incorporating their Basic set, Stowage Bins set, Fender set, DShK Machinegun Set, Auxiliary Fuel Set, and DShK ammo can sets. Wow… that's quite a handful of sets in one! Arriving in ET Model's usual thick polythene outer with header card, the set contains three large card stiffener cards containing four sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass measuring 9.5cm x 14.5cm, 9.5cm x 17.5cm, 9.5cm x 7.1cm and 9.5cm x 6.2cm. In addition, there is a bag of nine (!!) smaller frets of PE brass, and one single piece of cream coloured resin. This is a very comprehensive set, and is not for the PE novice. You will need to be confident to bend pre-weakened shapes, as well as a limited amount of rolling, which although quite simple when you know how, or have the correct tools (Small Shop's Brass Assist being foremost in my mind), it can be a bit intimidating. The main set is intended for the basic model kit, and comprises of the two smaller of the large sheets, plus two of the small sheets, and the resin Antenna base. Work starts on the hatches, replacing the periscopes with entirely PE units that are hollow, as well as hinge, latch and edge detail, which extends to the hatch-mounted flood-light, for which you'll need a small supply of 0.5mm and 1.0mm rod to complete the job. Various assemblies, mounting brackets and tie-downs are then added to the turret, along with the antenna base, a plate that attaches to the top of the mantle cover, mount for the snorkel, and a mount for the coaxial flood-light. The DHsK ammo cans receive a set of PE tie-downs, and here you have the option of replacing or augmenting them with PE alternatives. The stowage boxes that sit on the fenders are then comprehensively accessorised, with additional retention plates between each one that attach to the small triangular bulkheads that separate them. The engine deck is covered with various mesh covers and detail parts, which transforms the look, improving it immensely. Aft of the deck are the two auxiliary fuel tanks, which are effectively a pair of large drums attached to the hull by strong brackets. Here you can either use the kit drums, or replace them entirely with the PE set, which you will need to roll into a cylinder and attach the end-caps to. These will take the knocks and dings that the real thing was subjected to mush easier, and will look more realistic if done well, but if you don't fancy the challenge, use the kit parts and just replace the shackles with the PE parts. The lashing points for the unditching beam that was often carried by the T-62 is also replaced with better looking PE parts, and the rear bulkhead is also spruced up with some scale-thickness brackets and detail parts, particularly those that hold a section of spare track link in place. Moving to the glacis plate, the driver's vision blocks are augmented with PE covers, the hatch is detailed with a bullet-splash lip and rotating hinge detail, while the running lights are all upgraded with detailed bracket parts, and bullet splash strip is added all around the base of the turret. The front mudguards are detailed with hinge parts, and a section of 0.5mm wire will be needed too, plus some 0.5mm rod to complete the job. The ancillary sets can be added to suit, and start with the stowage set, creating detailed bins to improve detail and give the option for damage and even open bins to the modeller. In total this covers six complete bins of varying shapes and sizes, with full latch and hinge detail, as well as mounting brackets. The fender set replaces the whole fender with PE parts, retaining only the exhaust section, which must have a 0.3mm extension at the rear to conform to the width of the fenders. Strengthening brackets are added down the length of each fender, and edging strips give the parts extra strength and realistic thickness. The final sets cover the DShK, adding a mass of tiny detail to the gun, its mount and replacing the kit ammo box with a more detailed and realistically thick PE assembly. There are enough parts on one sheet to make two boxes, and an extra sheet is included, permitting you to build up to four boxes, with ammo link that is folded over to produce a more three dimensional link, although that can't be bettered by available sets from Mission and others. Conclusion As mentioned earlier, this is certainly comprehensive, and what I've come to expect from ET. Their attention to detail is excellent, and only their instructions could really be improved by adding some clarity of what parts you're working on for inquisitive modellers like myself. Very highly recommended. Available soon from White Ensign Models in the UK Review Sample courtesy of
  22. AMX 30B French Main Battle Tank 1:35 Meng Models After dabbling with home-grown and US purchased M47 Patton tanks following WWII, and then attempting to collaborate with other nations to produce a suitable modern Main Battle Tank (MBT), France decided to go-it-alone after the nations couldn't agree on a common set of requirements (nothing new there). The result was the AMX-30, which was a non-standard solution for the time, sacrificing armour in the name of size and manoeuvrability, the thinking being that the weight of armour needed to survive a direct hit from modern weapons of the time would result in a large ponderous tank that would present an easy target. The AMX-30 weighed in at 36 tonnes, and was faster than its competition due to its lighter weight and powerful 700+hp diesel engine. Its transmission turned out to be a weak point however, so was soon upgraded to cope with the power of the engine. It was an export success, with orders from Cyprus, Qatar, Saudi and Chile amongst others, with a total of over 3,500 produced over its long life span. The new Leclerc sounded the death knell for the AMX-30 with the French army, with drawdown beginning in the late 90s. Qatari and French forces last used them in the first Gulf War, with their force placed strategically to avoid the more modern T-72s that the Iraqis had on strength. They achieved their aim, destroying several tanks, and various soft skinned vehicles during their mission. The AMX-30B was the first variant into service, but a basic AMX-30 was produced for export, along with a bridge-layer, recovery vehicle, Anti-Aircraft vehicle, and even a nuclear missile launcher, which was a curious looking beast with a rectangular missile tube that housed only the rear of the Pluton short-range missile. 30 of this type were used by the French during the cold war, and each one had a small drone that could be used to obtain up-to-date information on targets before launch. The Kit News of the AMX-30B was announced flamboyantly at Scale Model World 2012 by Meng, who as well as sponsoring a hall, arranged for an AMX-30B to be present next to their stand. The size of the beast was evident to all, and although it dominated the stand, it was evidently a compact MBT. The box is typical Meng - top-opening, satin finished and with a nice painting of the tank in front of a French flag. Inside the box is quite a lot of styrene, including seven sprues in a dark olive-green styrene, five in a dark brown styrene, the hull and upper turret parts, clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) brass fret, a sprue of flexible poly-caps, and a single flexible "rubber" flap that attaches to the mantlet. The usual glossy covered instruction booklet completes the package with nice clear instructions in black and white. A fold out page to the rear gives a sprue layout and painting charts. Detail is excellent throughout, as we've come to expect from Meng, and one sprue even includes a multi-purpose PE bending and track making guide that is almost unheard of in my experience. There is quite a lot of mould release agent adhering to the parts, which gives them a somewhat shiny appearance, so it would be a good idea to wash them before you begin. It's nice to see that slide-moulding has been used to give us hollow machine-gun barrels, and some complex shaped wire baskets, all of which ease the job of the modeller. Construction of a tank usually starts with the roadwheels, and this kit is no exception. This time we get poly-caps to fit within the twin wheels, and of course the rubber tyres will need painting, although you might get away with it if you're planning on doing the NATO scheme, which has an all-black lower hull and wheels. The idler wheels and drive sprockets are similarly fitted with poly-caps to ease installation later. The underside of the main hull is faceted, and has a keel-like shape, with the suspension torsion-bars exiting in armoured fairings. To the hull sides are added shock absorbers and bump-stops, as well as the bell-housing for the final drive and idler wheel plate. Then the torsion bars are threaded through their housings to the other side, where their opposite end-part is glued on, taking care not to spread glue onto the shaft. A scrap diagram shows how the parts should sit within the hull floor. Pushing on the roadwheels and installing a scattering of return rollers completes the running gear, and focus then turns toward the upper hull. The majority of the upper hull is provided in a single part, with various holes for other detail parts to install within/on. There are a pair of skins for the angled sides that hold the pioneer tools, and these simply glue to the hull, with two shallow tabs making for a firm location. The front facets of the glacis plate are then detailed with hatches, vision blocks and a bullet-splash guard for the driver's hatch, which could accommodate a driver figure if you can source one. A large portion of the rear deck is then installed with a central circular vent that drops into a corresponding hole. The rear bulkhead is made up from two parts that interlink and cover the hole in the rear, while a pair of mudguards with optional raised parts are installed at the rear of the fenders. A double-layer pair of radiators attach to the side of a recess in the rear of the deck, which later receive the large exhaust mufflers, which have hinged non-return flaps at the end of the short exit pipes which again have alternative parts should you wish to pose them open. They attach via three raised location points, and are then hemmed in by an angular brace toward the rear. Then a set of angled mesh covers are installed, which is where we first meet the ingenious folding template, part C10. The end of this chunk of styrene is perfectly The rear bulkhead is festooned with more pioneer tools, towing points, infantry telephone box, plus a choice of two different styles of rear light cluster and fire extinguisher bottle. Similar mudguards are applied to the front of the fenders, and front light-clusters are built up, with optional parts for one of the lights. A couple of antennae mast bases affix to the sloped sides, and a pair of stowage boxes with more fire extinguishers sit on the front of the fenders. A couple of protective hoops are added over the front lights, along with some towing shackles and the towing cable, which is moulded in styrene on this occasion. A couple of separate towing eyes are also included however, if you feel like making your own out of braided steel wire. The next task before building the turret is the construction of the track links into runs of track. The excellent C10 template part comes in handy again here, with a 7cm construction bed with sloped run-off to ease the construction. The tracks are designed to be workable after completion, so careful gluing is needed. The instructions advise 80 links per run, which are each made up from an inner and outer layer. The outer layer with the track pad on are placed into the template, and then the inner layer with the guide-horns is glued into place, located by three pins on each one. Once the section is done, place the last link in the first link on the template and carry on. Each outer part has three sprue gates, while the inner part has only two, so you're in for a fair amount of clean-up, although the few ejector pin marks are on the mating faces between the two parts - Good thinking on behalf of the Meng tooling designers. You are provided with 180 complete links, so have up to 20 spares if you stuff up a few. Turret construction starts with the mantlet, which has the elevation gear installed within the rear, and the movable part of the mantlet attaches to the front. Mediating the attachment are a trio of poly-caps that should also prevent "floppy-barrel" syndrome, allowing the barrel to be posed raised without resorting to glue. A scrap diagram shows how the parts align to complete the job, and the rubber mantlet cover attaches to the upper portion of the mantlet. You are advised to only use acrylic paint on the flexible rubber, as I guess enamel or lacquer would render it a mushy black mess. Remember here that some primers are lacquer based, and plan accordingly. The gun is made from two halves, split horizontally, as the underside has a number of small holes moulded in, as does the real thing. The muzzle is a separate part to obtain a hollow end, and a pair of shroud parts clamp around the rear of the barrel, split vertically. This slots through the mantlet and mates with the breech, which is a painted mixture of olive drab and white. How much of it will be seen is a question best answered during the build though. The turret top is a very attractive moulding, and makes up all but the bottom portion of the turret, due to some slide-moulding. You'll need to scrape away the hair-line seams before painting, which is easy enough with a curved blade. The mantlet slips under the front of the turret part, while the rubber shroud is lifted clear to avoid trapping it, and then the lower traps it all in place. The small gunner's hatch is added, and this can be posed open or closed using some alternative parts if you have some crew figures to put inside. A choice of blanking plates or three antenna bases plus cages, plus a set of smoke discharger units are added, then the large turret bustle and white-light/infrared searchlight are built up from their components to be added to the rear and side of the mantlet respectively. The template C10 comes in handy again for bending the bracket that attaches to the top of a cylindrical sensor, which is mirrored on the other side of the turret minus the bracket. The commander's machine gun is applied to a chunky looking mount that has a built in search-light and ammo feed, and then that and the periscope is added to the large glazed commander's cupola that slots onto the top of the turret over the cylindrical window part. The windows and sensor windows will all need washing with clear blue/green to give them the correct hue of bullet-proof glass, but most colour ranges include some clear colours these days, so that shouldn't be difficult. The final act is to add the large and delicate stowage baskets that run from the front to the back of the turret. These parts are provided as a single part each due to some fancy (slide) moulding, and with a little care should slot straight into their mounting holes. A movable cover for the sight is added to the mantlet along with a rail along the top, and the job is done. The turret twists onto the hull with the usual wings and slots, and it's over to painting. The Decals Two schemes are supplied on the small kit decal sheet, which is printed by Cartograf and sealed in its own little bag, safe from harm and moisture. As usual with AFVs, there's not much on the sheet other than number plates, a couple of stencils and unit markings. Needless to say, the decals are well printed and in good register, with minimal carrier film. The two schemes are either all over olive drab with the marking "Cassel 1677" on the side of the turret and 221 on the bustle, or a NATO green/brown/black camouflaged machine. This option has only the number plates and a couple of decals on the side of the turret, but does offer some more interesting tonal options for weathering. Conclusion It was a bit of a surprise when announced, but having seen it soon after the announcement I was pleased with what I saw. Now I've handled the parts and given it the once over, I'm sure that fans of French armour will be over the moon, and even those that haven't built any French AFVs in their life will be intrigued, even if just for the quality of the kit. It's easy to recommend this one, and I hope that some of the variants make it to market - that weird looking missile launcher option would be rather fun! Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. GIAT (Groupement des Industries de l'Armée de Terre) AMX-30 Main Battle Tank. Pics thanks to Dave.
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