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  1. Hi everyone. It is my first experience writing a building history of the scale model. And a small detail - I'm not from an English-speaking country. So if there will any mistakes in my story in English, please correct me. This is a great experience for me). Now the preface to the model. I wanted to make this model since it appeared in the Meng release. Box art is fantastically beautiful. The quality of the meng company is also good. But, I have started the project only now. And I am also planning a diorama for this model - I want to show Jagdpanther in full beauty Probably this story will not be as fast as possible, but it will be over and the result should be great. Materials that I will use: Meng TS-039 (Jagdpanther Ausf.G1) VoyagerModel PE 35955 Set of resin equipment from Aliexpress From this set (TS-039), you can build 4 different versions of jagdpanther. I immediately decided that I would build the fourth option. For some reason, I liked it the most. To begin with a nice photo of the construction set) : I hope, this story will be interesting.
  2. After the F/A-18E & F Super Hornet kits (ref. LS-012 & LS-013), Meng is to release a 1/48th Boeing EA-18G Growler kit - ref. LS-014 Source: https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404707474786615511 V.P.
  3. It's been five years since my last tank (Takom T-29E3) and I've been hankering to tackle another. That plus the very generous gift card from my wife for the excellent hobby shop near us (Hobby Sense) resulted in the acquisition of Meng's glorious 76mm armed Sherman. This is my first Meng kit and I don't think it'll be my last. Wow, I have never seen surface detail anything near what comes in this kit. The instruction booklet however, not so good. But man the kit itself is crazy cool. I picked it up a couple weeks ago and I've spent much of my free time since at the bench. I will admit that I'm not a Sherman expert. Far from it as this is only my third ever Sherman and my first in probably 25 years. So while I cant speak to the kits accuracy, it has blown my little mind at almost every step. I didn't intend to make a build log at first. I just wanted to build. But now that I'm a fair ways into the kit I figure why not. Though for now I'm keeping the blog process simple by only using my Samsung Galaxy phone for taking photos. I did pick up some foam board from the dollar store round the block from us so I could cobble together a simple photobooth for when I feel like putting in a little extra effort. 20220204_155548 First area I started with was building a short section of track. This kit is mostly track parts so I may as well get an idea for what I'm in for. 20220124_145417 20220124_175005 I'm going to build Lt Col. Abrams' Sherman "Thunderbolt VI" from the 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division as seen on the very lovely Meng boxart. I've read he had the habit of wearing out tanks so with that in mind it seemed appropriate to break out the dremel and weather the track pads. 20220124_145455 Trying to stay organized and not lose anything. 20220124_175001 Meng provides a handy little track assembly jig. 20220124_175136 20220124_175349 Each track pin gets a tiny dab of CA and then the excess material is trimmed away. 20220124_180324 And voila, a very short section of working track. It takes time but there's nothing particularly difficult about the process. Only patience is required. Oh and yes, there will be duckbills too. 20220124_181620 Next I thought I would start the bogeys. Again these are complex compared to the armour kits I've built in the past. But there's nothing hard about getting them together. Just take your time and you will be rewarded with fully functioning VVSS suspension and rolling wheels. The real volute springs are both fun and save you from having to sand any mold seams. 20220127_152424 20220127_155025 20220127_153234 One of the many small details I noticed. In any other tank I've built they would have the armoured filler caps. But never the caps underneath which this kit does provide. 20220129_102852 And even though it's almost invisible once the cover is in place, there is a photoetched grill for I think crew ventilation. 20220129_102857 20220129_103059 Moving to the turret I painted the back of the vision blocks a light gray/green then masked with a small rectangle of tape. 20220201_204903 I had considered purchasing an aftermarket aluminum barrel which had rifling. But I decided not too as shipping was a touch pricy. To my surprise, the kit barrel provides very nice rifling detail! That's not something I've seen in a plastic kit so I was quite happy to discover this feature! Good thing I didn't bother with the pricy aluminum barrel! 20220203_210341 Wasn't taking too many photos so we jump ahead a fair bit. Hull is complete and primed with major turret components assembled. The flat sections of armour have a beautifully subtle rolled steel texture to them. And the cast steel parts are also very nicely done. If you look along the lower hull dust guard mounts you can see hints of unbelievably tiny welds molded into the kit. 20220203_210150 There's a very nice gun breech in the turret. Though I will probably be including a commander figure in the turret which will completely obscure it. But we'll know it's there. 20220203_210254 I did cave and purchase the stunning brass antenna from Adlers Nest. I had no idea you could turn brass that small in diameter. The antenna base even has a piece of some kind of armature wire inside so if I bend it, the wire will hold that angle. Incredible! 20220128_180053 WWII Sherman antenna or miniature lightsaber kit? You be the judge. 20220128_180109 Each antenna section is of a slightly smaller diameter so they do assemble in a specific order. 20220128_180844 This will be so cool to add to the model later on. 20220128_180702 The .50 cal is a small kit unto itself. I used my new teeny tiny set of twist drills to hollow out the front sight. The barrel came already hollowed out at the front. 20220206_121540 The mount for the .50 cal comes in a left and right half. And I managed to lose the right half. Never was able to find it. Carpet monster won that round. Thankfully I keep my spare parts and the Takom T-29 I built a while back had an unused .50. cal MG. The mount was molded into the gun itself so I used my Dremel to grind away the unneeded plastic. A llittle plastic card was used to finish off my replacement. 20220206_121523 After looking over a fair few photos of Sherman turrets I learned that the surface of each one is quite unique. Not only the cast texture itself but also how each one is cut with a torch along the bottom. The molded in cast texture is very nice but it's too fine and uniform. I didn't have any Mr Surfacer 500 handy so I used some Tamiya White filler putty thinned down just a bit with a Tamiya lacquer thinner. A very mean looking bit in my Dremel was used to replicate the torch marks. Once the putty was dry I used a medium sanding stick to tone down the texture where needed. 20220206_172358 20220205_172334 20220206_172648 According what reference I've found the 2in smoke discharger in the turret should not be covered over for a WWII Sherman. So it was drilled out. And I'm not sure if it's some sort of turret aiming device or something else. But whatever that little L shaped bracket is in front of the commanders hatch, it should have several very small holes. This is understandably not possible with a plastic part. So I took out my very small twitst drills again and by hand, very slowly drilled out where appropriate. 20220206_120854 20220206_172352 The cast panel on the upper front hull and transmission cover also had their cast textures enhanced. 20220206_172747 More Vallejo gloss black primer went on to see how she's progressing. I don't think I'll be using Vallejo primer again. It does not dry into a very robust surface and is easily scratched. 20220207_185224 I think it looks pretty cool all in black. 20220207_185311 I've done more work since these last photos were taken. The commanders cupola is installed with vision blocks masked. The seam at the end of the main gun barrel has been filled and sanded. Retaining pins and associated chains added to the .50cal MG mount. It's good to be back and building again. See you all again soon. -Matt
  4. I going to be away house/dog sitting for a friend next week, I cant drag all the stuff I need for my main build with me, but I though I'd take a few basic tools & this little cutey with me to stave off boredom I can't upload any photos while I'm away, so you'll have to wait until I'm back home to see any progress. There aren't many parts & most of them just click together though, so there wont be much to show anyway. The parts come pre-coloured but I plan to paint it, adding some shading & scratches etc. It will still be pink & purple with cat decals though
  5. Hi, Having run into a bit of trouble with my first Meng F/A-18F, I'd like to try again with this one. I bought two Meng F/A-18F's and was always going to want to build VFA-103's new CAG-bird as well. I quite like the scheme that they did for it with the silhouettes of the previous types. Cheers, Stefan.
  6. Rolls Royce Armoured Car 1914/1920 Pattern Meng's new RR armoured car, a kit that I've been looking forward to since it was first announced. I'm hoping to get the build underway later tonight but, in the meantime, I'll post some sprue shots so you can get an idea of what's in the (rather small) box. It's by no means a complex kit, with only four main sprues, two of which are duplicates, a small clear sprue for the light lenses and a couple of separate mouldings for the body and turret. You do get photo-etch but only for the wheel spokes on the 1914 pattern wheels. Everything looks clean and well detailed so I'm not foreseeing any major issues with the build. Sprue A Chassis parts, mudguards, exhaust etc. This is a non-interior kit, so no engine as such, but you get the bottom of the sump moulded onto the chassis along with a basic transmission. Sprue B Turret parts, including the armament. Also, the wooden tool boxes and decking for the back of the body, none of which feature any moulded grain texture, which is fine by me as I'd rather create my own if needed. Sprue C (x2) Wheels for the 1920 pattern and tyres for the 1914 pattern, along with various other bits and pieces. For some reason, Meng have moulded some of the 1914 tyres as a single piece and some in two halves. I can't see any other difference between them. The single piece tyres go on the back while the two-part ones are for the front and the spares. Sprue T Clear sprue for the lights Main body moulding Turret part 1920 pattern tyres and poly-caps. No sidewall detail on the tyres, but the tread looks to be well done, and only a very slight seam line to clean up. PE for the 1914 pattern spoked wheels. There's no plastic option for these, and they'll need to be dished slightly but you don't get any kind of jig for that. The decals are okay, but not spectacular. The edges of the roundels are a little ragged, but they'd probably look better sprayed anyway, so not a huge problem. The remaining codes and other lettering look fine. Which leads us on to the marking options. You get two schemes for each version which offer a nice range of finishes. The Admiralty Grey option for the 1914 pattern would make a good companion to the CSM Lanchester, but I think I'll be going with the Caunter on the 1920 pattern. So that's what's in the box. The build should get underway very soon. Andy
  7. Hi Pals, For this somewhat Soviet occasion, it is the MENG brand T10M, a bit modern for my taste, but still "tank-shaped" ... lol It is my first kit of this brand, and already quite an expensive one (to be 1/35 and without interiors), although I got it at a "reasonable" price. I have waited until I have more skill and materials, trying not to spoil a quality kit and not an "oldie" (not that I like that, of course ...). It really is a very good kit compared to others that I have already made, even the tracks, without being made of metal, are very interesting, with their assembly system (thank goodness that specific parts are included for it). Although they are obviously quite delicate, and once finished, it was very difficult for me not to "open" somewhere ... The suspension is also "functional", the detail is very cool ... For me the instructions are somewhat confusing in very small parts, which makes you have to use a magnifying glass to study well how that piece is going and where exactly, nothing like Tamiya's (IMHO, the best for me). For the rest, it is a very simple kit to assemble, since its fit is very good, I do not remember big problems. At the time of painting, I saw finished models before, and I tried some shades of green, but it was darkening terribly, and when the weathering was done ... the result was not going to be very striking. Once clean (I don't remember if it was once or twice), I opted for a lighter base color, to be able to work on color modulation and subsequent weathering, trying to make the previous work visible and not look too dark. I opted for a weathering that can be "seen", because although it seems that these tanks only entered "action" when Prague, their optional career has been very long, so although they have not entered real combat, the maneuvers must have been numerous and constant throughout all that time ... I include some photos of real vehicles, in which you can see what I comment, vehicles in maneuvers, and in "dirty" and "dusty" terrain, which will undoubtedly make the vehicle look well "wehathered" before going to the maintenance workshop ...LOL I hope you like it, and thank you very much for watching and commenting as always. Cheers and TC Francis. REAL PICS: (Only for info purpose) WHITE BACKGROUND: BLACK BACKGROUND:
  8. Hi, All. Another kit and, gasp, it's another Warrior. This time the Meng version and it's a commission! One of the Lads wanted a Warrior model, as he used to Command one, so I made a deal that if he buys it I'll build it. He buys, I get the enjoyment of building it and I don't have to worry about finding room on the shelf afterwards. First things first, ALL HAIL THE CARPET MONSTER!!!!! Thence to some track bashing. They are individual links that come in pairs and have to be separated. Six join together and you sandwich into the clear contraption and force in the pins (on the combs looking sprues). I must confess I didn't find it as easy as some, but that could be me being cack-handed. After a couple of hours in front of the TV I managed to get a track and a half done. Tonight I started the main build. It falls together with minimal flash. One unusual thing - the PE is pre-cut so all you have to do is peel it off and glue it down. A couple of hours later and it is starting to look like a Warrior I obviously didn't wash the sprues well enough as one of the return rollers pinged off....and landed in the bin . After emptying it out I eventually found it. That's when I decided to call it a night. Bill
  9. 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
  10. PLA ZTQ15 Light Tank (TS-048) Chinese Light Tank 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The catchily titled ZTQ15 Light Tank has been developed by the PLA for what they call Plateau Operations. The tank is light enough to be transported by air but still has a 105mm main gun able to fire a diverse selection of rounds. The engine is specifically developed for a high altitude low oxygen environment where a second stage turbo charger will kick in if needed. The tank features newly designed reactive armour with the ability to add on other armour if needed. Crew is reduced by the use of an auto loader, The tank is fitted with an electroptical countermeasures system and a radar warning system. An export version the VT-5 has been ordered by Bangladesh where no doubt the low ground weight is seen as an advantage in the country. The Kit This is a new kit from Meng of this new PLA light Tank. As well as the two hull parts and the turret there are 3 major sprues, and 1 smaller clear one, and a flexible part for the gun cover. There are a set of poly caps for the suspension and a set of rubber band tracks. Construction starts with the running gear. 12 pairs of road wheels, two drive sprockets; and two idler wheels. Each is in two halves with a polycap going in between. We can then move to the lower hull with 6 torsion bars going in from each side. At the front the mud guards are added. Other parts for the suspension are added along with the gearbox housings, return rollers, and tow hooks. All the wheels can now be added to the lower hull, and at the front the lower armour is fitted. Next on the upper hull the engine deck is added along with the drivers vision blocks. The upper and lower hulls can now be joined. Next up the tracks are added. At the rear the bulkhead is constructed and added to the hull. The side armour pates can now be added. If wanted the rear mounted extra fuel drums can be made up ad fitted. Pioneer tools and additional hull fittings can then be added. Work now moves to the turret. The vision blocks for the commanders hatch go in followed by the gun mount. The upper and lower turret parts can be joined with the rear and side armour plates being fitted. Sensor parts are added along with the AA gun copula. The flexible gun mantlet cover goes on followed by the 7 part gun barrel To both sides of the turret supports for additional spaced armour are fitted followed by the armour. Smoke dischargers and turret baskets are fitted to both sides at the rear of the turret. Additional top armour and the crew hatches are added to the turret. The last item to be built up added is the 12.7mm Anti Aircraft gun, once this is on the turret can be mounted to the hull. Markings A small decal sheet printed in China is enclosed. This gives marking for the digi camo vehicle shown on the box art at the 70th Anv of the founding of the PLA parade Oct 2019, and a 3 colour camo vehicle as used in Tibet. Conclusion This is an usual Tank fielded by the PLA for a specific use, it will make an interesting addition to any collection of modern armour. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. KM Bismarck 1:700 Meng Laid down in July 1936 by Blohm and Voss of Hamburg, the Bismarck was one of the largest and most powerful battleships to see action during the Second World War. She, along with her sister ship Tirpitz, represented the epitome of German warship technology. Weighing in at 50,900 tons deep load, the Bismarck’s design prioritised stability and protection over firepower; her broad beam of 118ft making her a very stable gun platform even in heavy seas. On 21 May 1941, Bismarck left the Kjorsfjord in Norway to embark on her first raiding sortie, accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and three destroyers. Three days later she sighted and engaged the Royal Navy warships HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales, sinking the Hood and damaging the Prince of Wales. Having suffered damage herself in the engagement, Bismarck disengaged and attempted to make for St Nazaire. Eventually spotted by a Catalina flying boat, her rudder was then jammed by torpedoes launched from the Swordfish of HMS Ark Royal. Left unable to manoeuvre, she was battered by HMS Rodney and HMS King George V and was soon reduced to a burning hulk by their heavy guns. She was finally sunk by torpedoes from HMS Dorsetshire before she could be scuttled. Pretty much every major manufacturer of warship kits has produced a Bismarck at some point. Aoshima, Revell and Trumpeter have all produced kits of the famous warship in this scale, but none have been as colourful as Meng's new kit. The kit has been moulded from styrene in four different tones, each appropriate to the parts represented. The lower hull is moulded from dark red plastic, the deck is moulded in teak-coloured plastic and the rest of the kit, save for a few parts moulded in black, is moulded from battleship grey plastic. The kit is well packed into a sturdy box adorned with evocative artwork. All of the plastic parts are nicely moulded, but the big difference between this and other kits of the Bismarck is the fact that the parts are all snap-fit. In line with this simplified approach to construction, stickers are included instead of decals. Construction of the kit is fairly conventional, notwithstanding the fact that the parts snap together rather than requiring glue. Bearing this in mind, I would advise against test fitting the parts prior to final construction, as snap together rarely means snap apart again - at least not in the same shape! The build begins with the lower hull and fitting the propeller shafts, propellers and rudders. The hull itself is made up of three parts, although you can omit the lower section if you wish to finish the kit in waterline configuration. Once the hull is complete, construction moves on to the deck. The, er, deck coloured parts fit onto a grey part which contains a number of structural parts such as the bases for the turrets. This means you don't need to worry about painting a lot of fiddly deck features, even if you intend to pain the parts anyway. The decks themselves are nicely detailed, with chains and planking moulded in place. The rest of the build is completely conventional, save for the fact that you don't need to use glue (although I suppose you can if you want to make sure the parts are properly welded together). The superstructures, funnels, masts and rangefinders all look just as good as any other conventional kit of the Bismarck. Perhaps the only compromise is the small calibre weapons, which are pretty basic compared to what you get in a Trumpeter kit. Even the ships boats are good enough to pass muster in this scale. Construction of the main turrets is fairly straightforward. While the eight 15 inch guns are not independently posable,they do at least have blast bags moulded in place. Finishing details include the secondary armament, masts and anchors. The display stand will be handy if you wish to finish your model in full hull configuration, although my personal preference would be for the waterline option. The colour scheme is printed in black and white and shows the ship as she appeared at the time of her engagement in the North Atlantic. AK paints are recommended by Meng, in what appears to be a commercial arrangement (their logo is emblazoned on the side of the box). The aforementioned stickers can be used if desired, but I can't imagine many enthusiast modelles will chose to use them. Conclusion While the level of detail is pretty good and the multi-coloured plastic is appealing, I can't say this is the best kit of the Bismark in this scale. It isn't the cheapest either, which is curious given the snap together nature of the kit. There's no doubt that snap together kits have their place, but they don't normally cost north of £30. It's not that the kit is a bad option for those wanted to build a Bismarck, but I'm struggling to see why it would be a better option than the Trumpeter or Revell kits. Nevertheless it is a nice thing and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to review it. Review sample courtesy of
  12. So, finished at last. A pleasant build, love this aircraft. The only thong i'm not really satisfied with is the mud splashes. Should have been smaller specks, but I might give it another go or two. Happy modelling! /Torbjörn
  13. Hi, This is the Meng F/A-18F. I'll be building it as BuNo 166620, VFA-103's CAG-bird during many years. I'll pick this particular option from the Furball decal sheet for several reasons: Ensign Jack Ernie's name is on the canopy sill and I think this particular paint job has the biggest size "skull and bones" that has ever been applied. 166620 was already the CAG-bird during VFA-103's first Super Hornet cruise back in 2006-2007. On that first cruise targets in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan were hit. The aircraft stayed VFA-103's CAG-bird for a good 10 years. I have not taken the kit out of the box yet, but I know that the Meng kit allows for a choice of bard stacks or heat blankets. 166620 received the bard stacks at one time in those 10 years. I think this had already been done in 2012, but I'm not 100 % sure. I'll look into it if it's possible to buid the kit without glueing the bard stacks in place, so that the option remains to change it back to heat blankets. Cheers, Stefan;
  14. I really liked building the 1/32 Fokker Dr.1 Triplane, so why not give the 1/24 a go? So far I really like the kit. Excellent fit, good engineering and good mouldings. No flash, no sink marks. Here are some pictures for you. First, this is how I paint leather. Primed with a light tan base, then a dark oil colour applied with a sponge. The stark contrast will be toned down with the subsequent layer of, in this case, quite heavily thinned uniform brown. The final result. I wanted it to be pretty pristine and not worn. For a worn look you go easier on the last coat of paint. Here's the cockpit, as you can see. I read that the seat belts are very fiddly, and they are, but not that taxing. The glue on the back is a bit annoying, as it sticks to the tweezers more than it sticks to the places it should stick to. But the result is very convincing, me thinks. This is quite a fast build, so I got around to the engine as well. I like the colour of copper, and saw a picture on the internet where some parts (I have no idea whatsoever what they are called) were made of copper, so that's what I opted for. Here are some of the separate parts, with a light weathering with fresh motor oil. The wires to the spark plugs are made of copper wire. And put together, front ... ... and back. Just a little putty needed on the dorsal side of the fuselage. And as a preparation for the rigging I had to make some turnbuckles. I was sure I had some in my stash, but obviously not. I think these turned (pun not intended) out well. That's copper wire and heat stretched plastic tubes. You can do it with stretched Q tips, but the environmental friendly ones are now made of paper (and that's a good thing!). Here they are assembled on the tail fin and the struts. I also try a new way of doing the rigging. It's always very fiddly to attach the rigging when everything is in place, and I've never quite come to terms with EZ Line. If you make a mistake they are very unforgiving. When in contact with CA glue they often curl, and it's hard to get a good stretch. And when the glue doesn't set properly ... you have to start over. So for this project I use fishing line painted black with a permanent marker. This is the upper wing before painting. The line will probably get stuck in the paint, but I'll get to that hurdle soon enough. Hopefully I'll be able to do some serious airbrushing in the next couple of days. Stay healthy! Get the vaccine if you haven't already, so you can keep on modelling. /Torbjörn
  15. Hi, I'm looking to do a collection of 1/700 ships and i see that the Missouri exist by many companies (Tamiya, Meng, Trumpeter, VEE ...) Who's the best in 1/700 ? Scalemates proposed lot of kits and accessories. Thanks for your answer. SPang
  16. Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (LS-013) 1:48 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The original Hornet design lost the Lightweight Fighter battle with what became the F-16, but after some re-designing and tweaking, it won the contract for the US Navy’s do-it-all fighter to replace the Tomcats, Corsairs et al, becoming the multi-role F/A-18 Hornet. When more capabilities were required, a further re-design that was more of a total do-over but retained the same general shape and designation, only about a third larger for reasons best left unsaid, but probably budget related, and a way to get around possible restrictions or pitfalls barring a new type. This much larger aircraft became the Super Hornet, with the two-seater designated F/A-18F, and the single-seat variant E, both of which began production in the late 90s, entering service just before the new millennium. With the withdrawal of the F-14 Tomcat in 2006 they became the primary carrier-borne fighter of the US Navy and Marines, serving alongside the original Hornet for a while, but all of the “legacy” Hornets have now left US service, although they remain on the books of some foreign operators. You can easily tell them apart without a size reference by checking the intakes. Oval = Hornet, Rectangular = Super Hornet. The enlargement of the wing area, lengthening on the fuselage and installation of more powerful GE engines changed the characteristics of the airframe markedly, giving it more speed, weapons capability and range, with even more tankage hung from the wings, and buddy-pods allowing same-type refuelling operations without having a vulnerable dedicated tanker on station. There have been various upgrades over the years, and the Super Hornet has a wide range of munitions to choose from, making it a capable all-round war-fighter that is still nowhere near the end of its service life, although trials with pilotless carrier-based aircraft are underway. In addition to the E and F variants, the G, or Growler is a heavily modified two-seater with a huge quantity of Electronic Warfare equipment carried both internally and externally on pylons. The Kit This is brand-new kit from Meng that is based on their recent single-seat F/A-18E, but with new parts to give us the two-seater. We have come to expect great things from Meng, as they have impressive technical skills and a penchant for high levels of detail in their kits. It arrives in one of their standard satin-sheened deep boxes with a painting of the aircraft on the front, and a host of goodies inside. Opening the box reveals nineteen sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two fuselage halves in the same plastic, five small sprues in clear, plus the canopy (all wrapped in protective self-cling plastic), three sets of small poly-caps, a Ziploc bag containing ten flat-headed pins, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) metal, two sheets of decals, a clear plastic sheet with pre-cut kabuki tape masks, the instruction booklet with colour profiles in the rear, four sheets of card with information about the F/A-18 in four languages, and a similarly multi-lingual competition flyer to win cash prizes, apparently. Everything is separately bagged with mildly annoying staples closing them up, and once you have found your way past these you see the high quality of the parts within. Detail is right up there with the best, and has finely engraved panel lines, with raised detail where appropriate and slide-moulding used to improve quality further without creating more parts that make some people sweat profusely. Construction begins reassuringly conventionally with the cockpit, with the new twin-seat tub having the sidewalls installed next to the detailed side consoles, a large control column part in the front and a smaller one in the rear, chunky HOTAS-style throttles, and a pair of well-appointed instrument panels, which have a number of individual decals supplied for both it and the side consoles, the numbers for which are called out in scrap diagrams. The rudder pedals are moulded into the floor and could do with some more detail if you intend to shine a light in there, and you can see them in the shadows of the detail photos above. The nose gear bay is made up from a roof, shallow sides, front bulkhead and some thick trunking/hoses snaking through the bay. Those two subassemblies are mated then trapped between the forward lower fuselage halves, with the top half moulded-into the rest of the new upper fuselage, to be brought together later. In the meantime, the upper fuselage is prepared by fitting the wing lowers with a choice of folded or straight wing-hinge supports, and choice of ECS ram air exhaust types, the multi-tubular type having some impressive moulding. The F-18 runs two GE F414 turbofans, with long intakes to keep the rapidly rotating fans away from the prying eyes of enemy radar beams. The trunking is made from two halves, and has a few ejector-pin marks inside, but cleaning those up before joining the halves should make the task easier. The rear is covered by a representation of the engine front, then the completed trunks are attached to the appropriate main gear bay boxes, which are made from three parts, and have more highly impressive detail moulded-in, as shown above. The two subassemblies are inserted into the lower fuselage from within, and splitter plates are attached to the sides of the fuselage on two slots, with some fine detail moulded-in. The rectangular sides of the intake trunking and lower fuselage sides fit around the assembly, then a pair of pivots are slotted into the rear fuselage with poly-caps allowing them to rotate without suffering from modeller’s droop. The lower nose clips into the lower fuselage, then the upper fuselage is lowered over it, mating snugly even without glue from a quick test fit I made. She’s looking like an aircraft now, but the cockpit is unfinished and she’s got no nose. The coaming is first, and has the HUD sides added and a circular projector lens in the bottom. The two clear panels are inserted between the supports one over the other, with a scrap diagram showing the correct position, then it can be glued in place and the windscreen fixed over the top. The coaming between the pilots is also inserted, and a shortened turtle-deck behind the rear seat is made up from two detailed parts, followed by the nose cone and insert with the muzzle cover for the M61A2 Vulcan cannon at the top, joined to the fuselage with a stepped ridge helping to improve fit. The Hornet’s upper wings are moulded into the fuselage, but the slats and flaps are separate paired parts, the slats capable of being modelled deployed, or by cutting off the nubs in the leading edge, retracted. The flaps can also be depicted cleaned-up with one set of straight actuator fairings, or fully deployed by using a separate cranked set, with the gap between the sections filled by the upper surface inserts. If you chose the unfolded wing joint earlier, it’s simply a matter of applying the top and bottom sections to the link, adding the spacer, then fitting the appropriate flap actuator fairings for the flaps, and the slats in extended or retracted positions, again by removing the nubs on the leading edge. The folded wingtips are made up with retracted flaps and slats plus straight fairings before they are inserted into the L-shaped fold with a different set of spacers. The two vertical fins have a T-shaped pivot point inserted under a small separate section of the rudder, then the completed rudder is trapped between the two halves of the fin without glue so it can pivot later. A nav light is inserted into the outer side, and the other fin is a near mirror image. The fins fit into slots in the rear fuselage, and the elevators push into the poly-caps hidden within the fuselage sides later on. The twin exhausts start with a cylinder that has the rear of the engine moulded-in, a PE afterburner ring, then a two-part length of trunking with a corrugated interior. A choice of exhaust petal types finishes off the rear, one set having straight petals, the other with cranked rear sections, and after painting they’re inserted into the two apertures in the rear of the fuselage. The rugged nose gear of the Super Hornet has to be sturdy to withstand repeated carrier launches followed by spirited arrestor-hook landings, and you have a choice of setting the catapult bar in the up position for parked, or down for an aircraft ready to launch. A landing light and a number of stencil placards are applied to the leg after painting it white, and the twin wheels fit either side of the transverse axle. Additional parts are fitted in and around the nose gear bay when inserting the gear leg, then gear bay doors are fixed around the bay, causing much perspiration when you have to add the red edges to each one. The main gear legs also have a number of placards added after painting, and the wheels are made up from two parts each. These too have additional parts added during fitting into the bays, closely followed by the red-rimmed bay doors and their actuators. Just in case you wanted to catch an arrestor wire, the hook nestles between the two exhaust fairings on a long lug. The instructions have you making up the munitions for a break before completing the model, but we’ll cover that later. The ejection seat is made up from a series of very well detailed parts, and although it doesn’t have seatbelts for absent pilots, there are stencils for the headbox sides and rear. They are installed in the cockpit, optionally along with the individually posed pilot figures that come on the sprues, which have separate arms, a wrap-around flotation vest and separate helmeted head with O2 hose. The new longer canopy part is crystal clear with an external seam over the top that you can either leave there (it’s pretty fine), or sand flush and polish back to clarity. There is a frame insert to fit within the canopy, and a choice of two canopy openers, depending on whether you wish to pose the canopy open or closed. A blade antenna in the centre of spine finishes off the top of your model. Under the port Leading Edge Root Extension (LERX), the integral crew ladder is stored (on the real thing), and it can be posed open by adding the ladder with its two supports and the open door to the bay, or if you want to pose it closed, put the long narrow part over the shallow recess to represent one edge of the ladder. Back to the weapons. This is where the rest of the pins and tiny poly-caps come into play, allowing you to switch and change your load-out whenever you want on some of the pylons. Most of the pylon types have the pins trapped between them, four of type-A, two of type-B, and one of type-C. Type-B also has an adapter rail fitted instead of pins, which is also made from two parts, and these fit on the outer wing stations, while the four identical pylons fit on the two inner stations per wing, and the solitary Type-C attaches to the centreline. A pair of wingtip rails are made up with spacer plates, then you can choose which of the supplied weapon types to hang from them. This boxing includes a pair of AGM-65 Mavericks (accidental Top Gun reference) with clear seeker-heads, separate tails and detailed adapter rails. Two GBU-16s are built from halves, with the fins in the front and rear separate parts, and there is a clear “droopy” seeker-head, with the poly-caps inserted into chambers in the bomb halves. The AIM-9Xs have clear seeker-heads and exhausts, plus adapter rails, while the three AIM-120Cs are each moulded complete, with a slim adapter rail. The two AIM-9Ms have a clear seeker, and eight separate fins, then the AN/ASQ-228 targeting pod is made from two halves, a two-part rotating sensor mounting with mask, and tubular rear fairing, which is mounted on a concave pylon that fits to the port of the underside fuselage. Scrap diagrams show the correct location of the missiles on their rails, as well as the targeting pod, while another larger diagram shows which options can be placed on which pylons. It’s always best to look at some real-world photos for examples for demonstrable and practical load-outs. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, and you also get a set of canopy masks that are pre-cut from kabuki tape. From the box you can build one of the following: VFA-103 Jolly Rogers Strike Fighter Sqn., USS Harry S Truman, 2015 VFA-41 Black Aces Strike Fighter Sqn., USS Nimitz, 2006 VFA-41 Black Aces Strike Fighter Sqn., Carrier Air Wing nine, USS Nimitz, 2007 United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, 2019 (aka Maverick from Top Gun 2) Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The main sheet includes all the markings for the airframe, while the smaller sheet contains the stencils for the pylons and the weapons, of which there are many on a modern jet. The colours are called out in Meng/AK codes, as well as Gunze’s recent water-based Acrysion paints, which don’t seem to be prominently available in the UK. The masks on the clear sheet have been pre-weeded so you only get the masks, without all the surrounding tape. There are masks for all the wheels, the landing light, one for the window of the AN/ASQ-228 targeting pod, and frame-hugging masks for the canopy and windscreen. You are advised to fill in the highly curved centres of the canopy and screen with liquid mask or small sections of tape cut to length with some angles cut where necessary. Unfortunately, I managed to ruck-up the edge of one of my canopy masks, as it wasn’t protected from things brushing over it by the usual background tape. Conclusion Meng have brought their own particular set of skills to the party with both the E and F variants now, and there's also an EA-18G Growler on the way, which I personally can’t wait for. They have produced a highly detailed model of both single-seat and now two-seat variants, with some excellent moulding and markings to create a model that is excellent out of the box, without the necessity of aftermarket. I feel the need… The need for speed. There. I said it. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Fokker Dr.1 Triplane 1:32 Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd Entering service in the latter few months of 1917, the Fokker DR.1 hardly needs any introduction, as it probably the most famous German aircraft of the Great War. Manfred Von Richthofens overall red machine is instantly recognisable and is probably the most famous pilot/aircraft combination ever. It achieved a fame out of all proportion to the number built (320) and length of service (c6 months). It wasn't particularly fast, but was highly maneuverable and had an impressive rate of climb.In the hands of a skilled pilot it could be highly effective, and became the favoured mount of many aces until the superior Fokker D.VII replaced it from April 1918. The kit was due to be released earlier this year by Wingnut Wings, and was thus developed to their uncompromising standards. Unfortunately they shut down without any warning in April and laid off all their staff. Mystery surrounds the reasons for this, but speculation abounds so I'll refrain from comment other than to say I was very saddened by the closure. They were producing kits to a standard not equaled by any other manufacturer, and will be sorely missed. The Fokker Dr.1 kit was in the final stages of approval, and I was one of many who eagerly examined the test sprues displayed at Telford 2019. It seems that Meng were contracted to produce the moulds, and with the demise of Wingnut Wings have rebranded and released the kit under their own name. Packaged in a sturdy top opening box, the artwork features Manfred von Richthofens well known all red 425/17, having shot down a Bristol F2.b fighter. Inside are five light grey sprue frames of varying sizes, one small clear frame, a sheet of decals, a small sheet of etched brass, and the instruction booklet. All are individually wrapped in their own clear plastic bags. It is immediately apparent that the mouldings are in Wingnut Wings style, from the layout of parts and their quality. The plastic is the same light grey type favoured by WnW, and the customary superb detailing is all there. It is obvious that this is all the work of the Wingnut Wings master designers. The instruction booklet is simpler than the superb examples that Wingnut Wings used to supply, but adequately and clearly shows the construction stages. Naturally enough this begins with the cockpit, most parts of which are found on sprue A. The mouldings are well defined, with sharp detail. The seat/bulkhead, floor, and ammunition tank are fitted between two side frames, which then accurately position the whole assembly inside each fuselage half by locating a circular cutout over a raised ring. This sprue also contains all the parts that were fitted to the main production DR.1, as opposed to the early pre-production F.1. Sprue B holds all three wings and the fuselage halves. The fabric effect and rib tapes are nicely done, but there are a couple of issues with the wings themselves. They are all solid single piece mouldings, and there is a slight upward curvature along the span of all three, which should not be there. I saw comment on this on various internet forums from people who managed to get hold of this kit early on, so it is not unique to this example. Apparently it is easily solved by immersing the parts in hot water, taking them out and gently bending straight between thumb and forefinger. Also reported by others is a breakage on the cockpit fairing moulded integrally with the middle wing, part B6. Again this is also present on the review kit, and again should be simple to rectify. Attaching it to the fuselage side when fitting the middle wing in stage 10 should ensure a strong joint. Two propellers are also provided, part 3 is an Axial, the classic fit for an Oberursel powered DR.1. Sprue C holds four clear parts, of which C3 and C4 are optional windscreens. Part C1 is an early reflector gun sight, and an interesting option to have been included. It is only for the all red Richthofen machine. Part C2 is not mentioned in the instructions and is thus not required. The axle wing, late type cowling, late type control column, and alternate propeller are on sprue D. The propeller is not named, but looks to me more like an allied one that would probably have been paired with the Clerget engine. Sprue E is the engine, which is provided with alternate front faces for the Le Rhone 9J (Part E1) and Oberursel UR.II (Part E7), The Oberursel being a licence built Le Rhone. Many German pilots considered the Oberursel to be inferior to the original French built engines and fitted captured examples to their aircraft. Identifying which powerplants were fitted to particular DR.1s is a bit of a minefield, as captured Clerget engines were also used. At least we have two choices here! Option B, Werner Voss's aircraft is a prototype F.1 rather than a production DR.1, and was fitted with a captured Le Rhone. Sprue F holds all the alternate parts for the F.1. These are ailerons with larger mass balances, different shape rudder, curve edged tailplane, smaller wheels, and different cowling. The F.1 also did not have the wingtip skids fitted, so the locating holes in the lower wing will need filling. The etched fret offers jackets for the LMG08/15 machine guns, which need to be rolled into a cylindrical shape and attached to the injection moulded bodies. If you do not feel confident doing this, then fully injection moulded alternatives are also offered. A four point harness is provided for the seat, along with round or square inspection panels for the front fuselage. These were field modifications, so check your references if not choosing one of the kit supplied markings. Decals are printed by Meng and look very sharp with minimal carrier film, and an overall matt finish. It consists mostly of various forms of black crosses, with instrument decals and various serial numbers. There are few individual markings needed for the options, but unfortunately the 'face' for the Voss option doesn't look particularly accurate, so it may be better to hand paint it. Four options are provided, one F.1 and three DR.1's. Of course one of them is Manfred von Richthofen's all red version, which is a good choice by Meng as it is so famous and the box art will attract interest from potential buyers. For those of us who like the less obvious, the other three provide good alternatives. It wouldn't be that difficult to make Richthofen's earlier machine with the Fokker 'streaky' finish, and a red top wing, rear fuselage, wheels and cowling. By cutting out some of the serial numbers from the other options, you can make up the '152/17' it needs. Option A. DR.1, 425/17. Manfred Von Richthofen, JG1, March 1918. Option B. F.1, 103/17. Werner Voss, Jasta 10, September 1917. Option C. DR.1 206/17. Herman Goering, Jasts 27, May 1918. Option D. RD.1, Walter Gottsch, Jasta 19, February 1918. Instructions. The instructions are supplied as a neat little 20 page booklet showing all assembly sequences clearly, and unambiguously pointing out which parts are appropriate for which of the finishing options. There is a parts map and colour reference at the end, but I am not familiar with any of the paint manufacturers quoted. Fortunately each colour is named so you can select from your own preferred range. It is not to the same exemplary standard that Wingnut Wings presented their instructions, but is still very good. There are also a set of A4 sized cards, mostly in Chinese, but with some English translation explaining the types history. Conclusion. The sudden closure of Wingnut Wings was a real shock to the modelling community, the Fokker DR.1 was right on the cusp of being released and suddenly it was gone. This eagerly awaited kit was due to be released in 'Early' and 'Late' versions, and it seemed unlikely we would ever be able to get hold of them. Fortunately Meng had been contracted to produce the moulds,and were able to release the kit under their own name with all the parts for the 'Early and 'Late' versions in one box. It is a lovely kit, despite the minor issues with the breakage on the wing/cockpit part and a slight wing warp. Both are easily solved and it seems that it may have been sorted out by now as other modellers are reporting that their kits are free of this issue. It is in any case the best kit of the DR.1 in any scale. Not surprisingly Wingnut Wings kits sold out everywhere and are now like gold dust, fetching silly prices. At least we now have the opportunity to purchase this kit with Wingnut Wings DNA running through it, and at a sensible price. The aftermarket decal producers are already offering alternate finishing options for it, including the Fokker 'streaky' camouflage if you don't want to paint it. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. My entry is Meng's 1/35 Renault FT-17 Light Tank (Cast Turret). Plan is to finish it as a tank that saw service in 1940, to sit along side my Tamiya B1. Looks a cracking little kit, includes a interior & engine.
  19. After the F/A-18E (link), Meng is to release a 1/48th Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet - ref. LS-013 Sources: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=4175061422607150&id=195290177250981 http://www.moxingfans.com/new/news/2021/0707/9354.html https://www.luckymodel.com/scale.aspx?item_no=MG-LS-013 V.P.
  20. A quick build (after a long haul with a Tomcat). Builds very well, a sheer joy to build ... and gives you the opportunity to go all in on the weathering. Built OOB, with just a few pipes added. I really recommend this little gem. /Torbjörn
  21. Fokker Dr.1 Triplane 1:24 Meng (QS-003) One of the most recognisable aircraft of the Great War, the Fokker Dr.1 triplane achieved a reputation well beyond the small number actually built. It was in service for not much more than six months from late 1917, until early summer 1918. It needed an experienced pilot to get the best from it, as it was slow but highly manoeuvrable. The all red aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen is the most famous of the Dr.1’s but several other aces also flew them. It seems that Wingnut Wings may have been working on producing aircraft in 1:24 scale, as the appearance and layout of all the sprues are very much in their style. Even down to the clear parts being sprue ‘C’, and the engine sprue ‘E’ which was always what they did in their 1:32 kits. Even the box art is by Steve Anderson, who did all the Wingnut Wings box art . I don’t suppose we will find out for sure, but circumstantial evidence suggests that Wingnut Wings DNA runs through this kit. That said, this is not a scaled up version of the 1:32nd Meng Dr.1 kit. The sprues and breakdown of the parts is completely different, as befits a larger model. Lifting the lid reveals seven polythene bags containing individually wrapped sprues (double in the case of sprue ‘D’) , six of which are in Meng’s usual light grey plastic, and one in clear. An A5 sized instruction booklet, four multi lingual cards outlining a brief history, a sheet of decals, a small sheet of fabric, and a little box of etched brass completes the package. Unusually construction begins with the assembly of the four-point harness, which is composed of pre-cut fabric straps and etched brass buckles. This is a ‘first’ in being supplied in a mainstream kit as far as I know, and should look extremely effective draped over the pilots seat. I’ve used aftermarket fabric seat belts in the past, they do look better than their etched metal equivalents, and I’d say that in this large scale they are essential. Construction then moves on to the rest of the cockpit, which is fully fitted out with a tubular structure, floor, seat, ammo box, instruments, and control items. This all builds up into a box structure, which is then fitted between the fuselage halves. Again, it is telling that it uses Wingnut Wings location method of an open hole in each side of the cockpit ‘module’ that locates over a raised circle moulded in the fuselage side. The inner fuselage halves themselves feature the long triangular plywood fairing that runs down the inside of the fuselage, and is such a feature of the Dr.1 cockpit. All the parts are beautifully moulded with no flash and very fine detail. The wrinkled fabric effect on the ‘Bulkhead’ behind the seat is a very nice touch, as is the provision of a couple of flare pistols. The fuselage underside has a moulded strip of stitching to apply in the same way as on Wingnut Wings 1/32 Fokker D.VII kits Looking at the wealth of finely detailed parts on this sprue, it is apparent how well suited 1/24 scale is. Everything is large enough to have strength, yet fine enough to appear exactly in scale, something that the smaller scales can struggle with. Externally the forward fuselage has a choice of square or circular inspection panels, the colour profiles at the end of the instruction booklet show which ones are appropriate for the particular options. The cockpit/midwing fairing is a large single piece that fits over the mid wing and onto the fuselage. The twin LMG 08/15 Spandau machine guns sit atop this fairing, with the choice of either solid plastic barrels, or some stunning fretted brass cooling jackets. I don’t know how they have been done, but the cooling jackets are finely etched (or milled) brass tubes, ready to slide over the plastic body and barrels of the basic machine gun mouldings. They couldn’t be simpler and will surely make into an amazing centre point of the completed model. Fine detail on the ammunition rounds and belt feed into the sides of each Spandau will enhance it further. Again, like the fabric seat belts this is the first time I have seen these pre-fretted brass tubes supplied in a mainstream kit. The wings are all provided as upper and lower halves, with internal ribs and spars moulded in to add strength. This ensures that there won’t be any repeat of the incidents of the slight warp that was found on the solid moulded wings in some of the 1/32 kits. All three wings are assembled the same way, with a drawing in the instruction book showing to open up flashed over holes in the leading edge to fit the stacking pads. Check which version you are building and follow the instructions to open up the correct pair. Two ‘Axle wings’ are provided for the undercarriage the main difference being short and long chord, and again it is pointed out in the instructions which one goes with which version. Interestingly there are two complete pairs of main wheels on the sprue D’s. D8 and D9 are the ones used by all four variants in the kit. The slightly smaller diameter D14 and D15’s are appropriate to the prototype Fokker F.1 as flown by Werner Voss and Manfred von Richthofen. In addition the F1 ailerons are present on sprue D, so I expect Meng will release a kit of this at some point. It won’t be possible to create an F.1 from this boxing as it only has the straight edged tailplane appropriate to the Dr.1. The 9 cylinder Oberursel UR.II was an almost identical copy of the French Le Rhone 9J, and was the standard engine fitted to the DR.1 at the factory. Some were retro fitted with captured Clerget 9B engines so be careful if choosing aftermarket decals. Here in the kit we have a very nicely moulded Oberursel, made up of few parts, but with separate cylinder caps and valves. All that the modeller needs to add is fine ignition wires running out to each spark plug. Most Oberursel powered Dr.1’s were fitted with the Axial propeller, although a Heine can sometimes be seen in contemporary photographs. The choice is yours as both types are provided in the kit, along with two further props that are not needed. The clear parts consist of several items, of which only one windscreen and the inspection panel cover are used. Interestingly an early reflector gunsight is included but not marked for use, as it is in the 1:32 kit. Etched parts. These come in their own little box, packed in a sponge 'wallet' with a lift off lid. Also in the protective sponge are the two beautiful Spandau cooling jackets mentioned earlier. The brass fret has no connection points to the individual components, instead all is held in place by a thin film of plastic. I really like this as it means you don't have to cut each part from the brass sheet, and clean up the inevitable 'nubs' on the parts. The two barrel ends and sights are provided, but most of the parts are buckles and connectors for threading on to the fabric seat belts. Options, Four are provided, but if you leave off the ‘LO’ text from option A it will make Ltn Hans Kirschstein's Jasta 6 586/17.This was passed on to Udet in May 1918, when his usual 'LO' marking applied over the black and white fuselage stripes. A. 586/17 Ltn Ernst Udet, Jasta 4, 1918. B. 152/17, Manfred von Richthofen, JG 1, March 1918. C. 577/17, Rudolf Klimke, Jasta 27, May 1918. D. 213/17, Ltn Kempf, Jasta 2, February 1918. Decals. The decals appear to be Mengs own production. They are neatly printed with on a sheet close to A4 size, covering all the various German crosses (Eisenkruez and Balkenkreuz) needed to complete any of the four options. The carrier film is minimal around the crosses, and naturally a little more extensive around the ‘LO’, ‘KEMPF’, and ‘kennscht mi noch’ texts, and also the anchors. The finish is overall matt, and everything appears to be in good register. Conclusion. An unexpected and surprise release this one. It is a beautifully designed and moulded kit, and should build into a very impressive model. Hopefully there will be more releases on the way, as its appeal will be increased if it can be displayed with a Camel, Se5a, Albatros DV, or Fokker D.VII to the same scale. The whole package is of very high quality, and a completely new kit that has nothing in common with Meng's smaller 1:32 scale release of the same aircraft. If you like early aircraft but are afraid of rigging, then this one is an ideal starter as it only has four very simple rigging lines to apply, and they can be easily done with stretched sprue or wire. And there is no complicated strut work either! Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. After the 1/32nd kit "inherited" from late WnW, Meng is to release a 1/24th Fokker Dr.1 kits - ref. QS003 - Fokker Dr.1 - ref. QS003s - Fokker Dr.1 + Blue Max Medal Sources: http://www.meng-model.com/en/contents/59/330.html http://www.meng-model.com/en/contents/59/334.html https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3743795272400436&id=195290177250981 V.P.
  23. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.A Early Zimmerit Decal (SPS-077) 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd If you're not sure what Zimmerit was, it was an anti-magnetic coating applied to the exterior of German AFVs from the end of 1943 to the 9th September 1944 in the factories and a little later in the field. It took the form of a thick fibrous paste with a greyish hue, and the application was usually ridged to give it a larger effective thickness without adding too much weight. It was water-based and applied to all vertical or near vertical surfaces over primer with a comb-like tool or stamp, and drying was then accelerated by using blow-torches over the application. There were a number of patterns used at certain factories, so it can be a minefield debating whether the vehicle had Zimmerit, which pattern it was, and how you would apply your own rendition to your model. Originally you were left to your own devices to use putty and a screw-driver tip, or later-on Photo-Etch (PE) sheets, which was a little regimented and inflexible. Now with the advances in decal technology, Meng and a few others have begun creating 3D decals that when applied give the appearance of this rough coating. The sheet arrives in thick plastic bag with a card header, a sheet of visual instructions and a sheet of Zimmerit decal protected by a thick piece of waxy paper. The instructions are simple diagrams showing where each part fits on the hull and turret, including such niceties as shaped parts for the mantlet, kugelblende and even the area under the side-skirts where a brave (foolhardy) man could slap a magnetic shaped-charge. A small note at the bottom in three languages indicates that if any edges begin to peel away from your model, you can re-glue them with super-glue (CA) or modelling glue. The decals are even printed in a similar grey shade to the real thing, so chipping a little paint could be used to depict exposed Zimmerit. This set is patterned for their newly released kit that you can see our review of here, which will be of use for any of the four decal options included with the kit, sold separately to give the modeller the option of either not bothering, doing it yourself, or adding these decals to your shopping cart. The pattern for this set is reminiscent of an oversized waffle-pattern, consisting of large roughly applied squares with small gaps between each one, and the distinct impression that they have been applied by hand, possibly by someone in a rush or who didn’t care about it being too tidy. That’s likely to be the case, as slave labour was commonly used in German WWII factories, particularly during the period that Zimmerit was being applied, and if they weren’t slaves they would have been employees under the cosh from management to keep the production-line moving quickly, as these tanks already took far too long to complete when compared to Shermans or T-34s. Conclusion You can of course apply Zimmerit yourself using whichever of the other techniques that you prefer, but this is likely to be the quickest and easiest method that should also be the most realistic once painted and weathered. It will also be easy to chip and abrade away to give the impression of a careworn coating. It also helps that it’s quite reasonably priced. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.A Early (TS-046) 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The Panther was Nazi Germany's answer to the surprise appearance of the Russian T-34 after the Soviet behemoth finally reacted to Operation Barbarossa, when Hitler unexpectedly broke their non-aggression pact, much to Stalin’s surprise. Although the project had been in gestation some time before, they took some design cues from the T-34 in the shape of the sloped armour, resulting in the Panther that was intended to fill the gap between the Panzer.IV and the (then) new Panzer VI Tiger. It was eventually supposed to replace both the Pz.IV and the earlier Pz.III that was really showing its age, but in reality it often fought alongside the Panzer IV, which was upgraded to be more resilient. It was planned as a lighter, more manoeuvrable tank than the Tiger, and was fitted with a high velocity gun from the outset, which gave it enormous penetrating power that was only equalled by the British 17-pounder fitted to the Sherman that became known as the Firefly. The sloped frontal armour gave it an increased effective armour thickness, but this was not so true of the side armour, which was comparatively weak, and this area became the preferred target of allied tank commanders, especially in urban combat where this was a telling issue. Like most German WWII tanks it was complex to manufacture, so suffered in terms of volume produced, and this led to it being rushed into service with quite a to-do list of issues still to resolve. Later production solved most of these initial gremlins, but loses in the interim were high with many being abandoned after failing mechanically during combat. Curiously, the Ausf.D was the first to enter production, with the Ausf.A following later in 1943, replacing attrition of the less reliable Ausf.Ds until they themselves were superseded by the Ausf.G, which became the final major variant with increased ammo storage, simplified design to ease production, and further improvements to reliability, although this was never fully remedied with a high rate of attrition due to mechanical issues, some of which resulted in catastrophic fires. The Early Ausf.As had a number of overly complex aspects of the design that were later altered or removed entirely, such as the commander’s cupola that was redesigned for better protection, as was the shell ejection port, which was reduced in size. A Panther II was planned, which retained much of the look of the original Panther, while improving armour and suspension. They got as far as creating a pair of prototypes before the war ended, and a destroyed but still substantial chunk of the Schmallturm (smaller turret) can be seen at Bovington. The Kit This is a reboxing of the initial tooling from our friends at Meng, now with two additional sprues to depict early variant parts, and moulded in a more neutral grey styrene instead of the sand or red-brown of the earlier releases. The box is typical Meng, with an attractive painting of a Zimmerit encrusted Panther on the front, with profiles, colour codes and information on the sides. Inside are individually bagged sprues to minimise chaffing during transport, and plenty of parts. There are thirteen sprues in light grey styrene, one in clear, plus three frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two of which are nickel plated, a decal sheet, two lengths of braided wire for the tow ropes, two strips of poly-caps, instruction booklet, and a pair of thick card information sheets in Russian, English and Japanese (I think?), which has become common with Meng releases of late. First impressions are excellent. The parts breakdown is sensible, the detail is superb, and the casting texture on parts like the mantlet (of which there are four in this boxing) is well done, while the wooden texture on the unditching block also worth a look. The instructions are typical Meng, offering crisp isometric views of the build with an uncluttered style that still manages to get the point across. You are informed that there are four decal options at the beginning, and advised that this will affect your choice of parts, so you should choose now. Construction begins with the road wheels, all of which are moulded with early rubber tyres before its scarcity forced the change to all-metal wheels, and they have a poly-cap fitted between the two dished wheels. The three-part drive sprockets and four-part idler wheels also have poly-caps at their heart, so that wheels can be added and removed as needed throughout the build. The lower hull is made up from two sides and one floor part, with two bracing double-crossed T shaped parts holding everything rigid inside, and two small holes drilled in the floor. The rear bulkhead, final drive housing and the many suspension arms are inserted into the hull sides, and the towing shackles are also clipped onto the torch-cut ends of the side plates at this stage. The pre-prepared road wheels, idlers and drive sprockets are all slid into place on the stub-axles, and an optional tow hook can be fitted under the rear of the vehicle directly below the jack, which is also installed now between the armoured single-tube exhausts. Either side of these the distinctive stowage boxes are added, with separate tops in case you wanted to leave them open or ajar. The tracks are individual parts that are glued into track runs and draped around the wheels until they set up, and here Meng have helpfully included a jig that will allow you to make up a length of tracks at the correct slope and sag for the return run from the drive sprocket to the second road wheel, which forms a gentle curve and would be tricky to achieve without help from the jig. Each track link is free from ejector-pin marks, and has a pair of guide-horns that you will need to glue into place. This is a manual job, so prepare your tweezers and a good playlist to listen to or documentary to watch whilst you plough through this necessarily tedious part, building up 87 links per side. Each track link has three sprue gate, but the guide-horns only have one on their base, so it's swings and roundabouts. Given the level of detail visible on the external side of each link though, it is worth having those sprue gates to ensure there is no under-shoot on the detail. The upper hull has a number of rectangular holes in the front, sides and top, with only some of them making sense initially, until you realise that the glacis and side walls are added separately to give you all the detail. The circular radiator vents are separate too, as is the engine hatch and the two crew hatches at the front of the tank. The crew get clear periscope blocks, while the perforated engine deck vents are covered from the inside by inserts that well-represent the radiator baths and the fan in the centre. The small wedge-shaped skirt at the rear of the sponsons are also added from separate parts layered over the moulded-in sections, and the underside of the sponsons are closed in by two plates that sit on turrets moulded into the upper hull, and holds them in place while you add all the brackets for the Schürzen parts later, which were fitted to pre-detonate shaped charges. These nickel-plated parts are fitted later, and if scraped gently after painting should reveal some of their bright metal underneath. The upper hull is detailed with all the usual parts you would expect, such as the armoured periscope covers; mesh screens on the engine deck; stowage bracketing; spare track links; pioneer tools; gun cleaning kit; towing cables with plastic eyes and wire ropes; the aforementioned skirt plates with separate PE clips; mudguards with PE brackets and width lollipops; lifting lugs and so forth, that are added to the hull after joining. The turret is constructed on a skeleton framework using individual panels that are detailed up during the build. The rear has a hatch added that can be posed open or closed with the pistol-port cut out and fitted with a hatch, the sides have small ports in the sides cut out for three decal options, while the roof is initially fitted with a mushroom vent, vision block and aerial base. The gun's breech is depicted in three parts, with a pair of poly-caps linking it to the two pivot points that bracket either end of the inner mantlet, which is then hidden by one of the two new cast mantlets that are included. The styrene barrel fits snugly into a keyed slot in the mantlet, and has a three-part flash-suppressor added to the front in styrene, plus the very tip of the coaxial machine gun fitted through from the inside of the mantlet. The Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun that fits to the commander's cupola is an MG34 on a simple ring-mount with a belt-feed of ammo from a cloth bag, and that is glued onto the ring after it is fitted to the top of the cupola once the clear vision blocks and hatch cover have been put in place. The completed cupola fits into the roof of the turret with a key ensuring correct alignment, then the mantlet with surround are added to the front. The turret is a drop-fit, but the gun can be locked in place by using the supplied travel lock, which has a length of simulated chain wrapping over the top. Markings Four markings options are included with this kit, all of which will require you to either purchase the Zimmerit decals I’ll be reviewing shortly, or to apply your own the old-fashioned (and sometimes messy) way. From the box you can build one of the following: No.1102 HQ 2nd Battalion, 23rd Panzer Regiment, Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, Winter 1943 No.221 1st Battalion, 15th Panzer Regiment, 11th Panzer Division, Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, Autumn 1943 No.613 2nd Battalion, 5th Panzer Regiment, Waffen-SS, Kowel, Poland, Spring 1944 No.102 Command Vehicle, HQ 1st Battalion, 4th Panzer Regiment, Wehrmacht, Florence, Italy, Summer 1944 Decals are printed in China, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. You can see our review of the Zimmerit decals (SPS-077) that will simplify the whole process here. Conclusion This is an excellent representation of an early Panther Ausf.A from the box, but add the previously release suspension and track sets and some Zimmerit decals that are available separately, and it will make up into an even more stunning model. Detail is exceptional, and the build should provide plenty of pleasure due to the fit and finish usually associated with Meng kits. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. First go at a WIP and I have to make it a bit of a blitz! (I'd like to get this one done before the Phantom GB starts in a mere couple of weeks.) My gear is all over the place, I don't yet have a proper bench, there are certain issues with the kit, my camera handbook remains unread, there's 106 miles to Chicago, I've got a full tank of gas, it's dark out, and I'm wearing sunglasses. Hit it! This is the Meng 1/35 British Army (but see below...) WWI Medium Tank Whippet Mk.A. It's goint to be strictly an out of the box high speed build and then a slower and more considered painting session. I'm pretty sure I can do all of the building and then all of the painting, which is pretty well unique strategy. That's the way we used to work when we were kids, no? There's no interior detail, and it's one colour all over, apart from the tracks which I will paint before I clip them on. Clip, not glue so that hardly counts as building to my way of thinking. Suddenly, I'm more confident that I can do it in the time allowed. One update per day, promise. Probably in the morning while the dog is sleeping off her breakfast and our big walk of the day. But I digress... The kit came slowly on a boat from China which saved me some money but may have given me some grief. It was reasonably packed and I've never had any problems before but look at the box. I wonder where in its thousands of miles of travel, some idiot stood on it? My local sorting office? On the last sampan out of nowhere? Whatever, it didn't look too bad until I noticed this... My apologies, the photo has gone! And so has the box, so I can't retake it! 2/8/21 "The box is bent outward, like it exploded from inside." Let's hope its not something that will give me indigestion after my stir-fry. "They musta broke the mould after they made this piece!" Otherwise, how did they get it out? Yes, I know, everyone is doing slide moulding these days but I'm still impressed with this large lump. It's detailed nicely all over and will simplify my build and keep everything on the square and level. I have astigmatism which makes it difficult to judge angles visually so that's a great help to me. The rivets are huge and crude just like the real thing. The plates have a subtle rolled steel texture. Perhaps too subtle (boring). So I might add a few dings and dents to add a bit of interest. Another photo evaporated. Probs my error, sorry. The back door. Upside down, I now realise. Side plate detail. Look at those 'U' bolts. They will look smashing under paint. And this is the piece that was driven through the roof of the box. It's tiny and by rights, should be flattened entirely. I was lucky. The other side of this idler wheel has deep holes to take the other ends of the broken bars so they will be easy to locate and repair. AS far as I can tell, this is the only other transit damage. I was very lucky but Meng helped by putting it all in a very stout box which sacrificed itself for its plastic contents. That gun's a beauty. I wont be spending days making the track as its a snap together system, similar to the Takom type which I used on a couple of MkIVs last year. An hour tops on assembly and paint it afterwards. Great. This is a mystery. The box art says three schemes are included but doesn't say what. The instructions don't mention any. There's a colour profile page which details two schemes, both British. And the decals have four, including a German Beutepanzer and a Russian version. No worries, I'm doing a British one anyway. I rapidly found the other two online and they are no more exciting than the British one. (This could be a good kit for the 'In the Wrong Hands GB??) So there I have it. I'll shut the laptop and make a start. See you in the morning. p.s. Please feel free to advise me what works well, or not, for you as readers. Are the pictures ok (new camera with the unread instructions and inadequate lighting). Too few or too many photos? Do I ramble on too much? And do please take the thread wherever you want to go, digress, talk to each other, take the mick, have some fun!
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