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  1. New tool kit from Meng Model - ref. LS-015 - McDonnel Douglas F-4G Phantom II - WildWeasel Source: http://www.meng-model.com/en/contents/59/512.html Box art V.P.
  2. Here is my build of meng's F/A-18E Super-hornet. VFA-31 "Felix The Cat" based on U.S.S George H.W. Bush 2017
  3. Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet ‘Bounty Hunters’ (LS-016) 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 sub-assemblies 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 sub-assemblies 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 and two GBU-12s 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 three 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-2 ‘Bounty Hunters’ Strike Fighter Sqn., Carrier Wing 2, USS Abraham Lincoln, 2008 piloted by Capt. JC Aquilino & WSO Scott Van Buskirk VFA-2 ‘Bounty Hunters’ Strike Fighter Sqn., Carrier Wing 2, USS Abraham Lincoln, 2007 piloted by Cdr. Guimond & WSO Cdr. Eden VFA-2 ‘Bounty Hunters’ Strike Fighter Sqn., Carrier Wing 2, USS Abraham Lincoln, 2004 piloted by L.Cdr. Keith Kimberly & WSO L.Cdr. Mike Peterson 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 haven’t been prominently available in the UK, although that’s changing as time goes by. 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 now two F variants, and there's also the EA-18G Growler, which is my favourite. They have produced a highly detailed model of both single-seat and now two two-seat variants, with fancy decals, some excellent moulding and markings to create a model that is excellent out of the box, without the necessity of aftermarket. Extremely highly recommended. Currently out of stock with Creative due to popularity, but are bound to be back soon, so keep checking back. Review sample courtesy of
  4. BMW Z4 M40i (CS-005) 1:24 MENG model via Creative Models Ltd BMW have a reputation as a luxury and performance car company that has been building over the years with plenty of awesome and stylish vehicles coming from their stables. The Z4 is a two-door convertible coupé, and there have been three generations of the type that first entered production in 2003. Some of the designs have been an acquired taste to some, but they’re generally considered to be a pretty desirable sports car if you’re in the market for one and have the funds. The latest iteration of the design was launched in 2018 and has reverted back to using the soft top of the original design after the second version introduced a retractable hard-top. That may not appeal to all potential customers, but they have managed to halve the time for deployment to a pretty spritely 10 seconds from start to finish. It was designed and manufactured in Austria, and shares its floorpan with the Toyota Supra that is also built at the Magna Steyr factory there, as part of a cooperation with Toyota. There were initially three models starting with the M20i, the M30i and the range-topping M40i, which has a 3.0 litre straight-six petrol engine that outputs 335bhp and carries the terrified driver and solitary passenger from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds. The design is angular and modern, giving the impression of speed even when parked up, and as well as looking good it also has a five-star crash rating, just in case you can’t keep it on the road or someone T-bones you. It is full of impressive electronics that manages the engine and the driver’s experience with a large Multi-Function Display (MFD) in the centre console that is updated over the air and a Heads-Up Display (HUD) for the driver to make him or her feel like a fighter pilot as they break the speed of sound (or national speed limit if they’re unwise). In line with a lot of modern premium designs, the car can be unlocked and even started with a mobile phone, although that’s a good way of having your car stolen if you’re out of sight or otherwise distracted. Production suffered from a brief halt due to the situation in Ukraine, but has since resumed, although it is scheduled to reach a natural conclusion in 2024 as the Z-series is brought to an end, presumably due to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars going the way of the dinosaur in the coming years. The Kit This is a brand-new tool from MENG, and forms part of their non-dinosaur related Car Series, and is predictably number five in that series. The kit arrives in their usual satin-finished top-opening box that has a handsome painting of the subject on the front, plus a holographic BMW authorised product sticker with the twin-grille emblem in the centre. On the sides are two side profiles of the car in blue and red, plus a little extra information and some QR codes to MENG’s social media sites. Inside are three sprues and four separate parts in light grey styrene, a clear sprue, four low-profile flexible black tyres, a short tree of four polycaps, a sheet of shiny stickers for the mirrors, a tiny Photo-Etch (PE) sheet for the seatbelt buckles, a sheet containing two material seatbelts, two small sheets of self-adhesive masks for the clear parts, a small sheet of decals, a smaller sheet of decals for the emblems that have raised chrome areas that don’t scan well, plus of course the instruction booklet that is sub-A4 and printed in colour on glossy paper with colour profiles of the two choices provided on the back pages. Detail is exceptional and includes deep detail using both traditional and slide-moulding techniques to create the illusion of reality. The grilles, lights and exhausts are particularly impressive, and when painted sympathetically, should look highly realistic. The model is a kerbside kit, so doesn’t include detail in the engine compartment, but because of the high level of aerodynamic fairings around the underside it shouldn’t be missed. The detail on the interior, wheels and brakes more than make up for that. Construction begins with the aforementioned underside, into which the front suspension units and coil-over shocks are inserted, allowing the front wheels to be steered in unison. The brake discs are made up from two layers to depict the cooling vents between front and rear surfaces, and this mounts to the hub with a polycap hidden inside, then it is placed into the wheel well, flex-fitting into place to remain mobile. The holes in the underside are filled with two inserts, and a three-part rendition of the rear of the gearbox, which is the only part of the engine visible after the build is finished. At the rear a substantial double-H sub-frame is applied to the sockets, joined by another pair of discs that are made up in the same manner, with the transmission and drive-shafts linking them and holding them in place in the wheel wells until the rest of the suspension swing-arms and coiled shocks are added over the top, which both have curved shields that are engraved with directional and handing arrows for your ease. The exhaust system is made from only two parts, but depicts the transverse muffler at the rear and catalytic converter where the single down pipe bifurcates very well, with a separate part depicting the end of the down pipe from the manifold. More suspension ironwork is applied over the exhaust, then it’s time to put the wheels on. The tyres for this kit are depicted by four flexible black circles with a suitably skinny profile and handed treads, much like the real thing, so ensure you put the right hand on the right side, as per the scrap diagrams. The tyres slide over the rims, which have five double spokes each with detailed centres showing the five studs holding them onto the hubs. These ones however have a single pin that snugs into the polycaps hidden in each brake disc, allowing test fitting and suitable BRMMM! Noises during the build process. The interior is formed from a twin tub that has a rear wall added with moulded-in speaker grilles to finalise the shape, to which the accelerator pedal is glued into the left foot well, and a short-throw gear lever is added to the centre console. The two seats are formed from the separate seat parts that are found in the bodyshell bag initially, and have their backs and belt guides added from the parts on B sprue before they’re dropped into the interior, after which the seatbelts are created from the fabric that is provided in the box, which are threaded onto the PE buckles before they’re glued in place, with a scrap diagram showing where they should fit. If you’re circumspect with the fabric sheet, you could also have some material left for other projects if you keep it on hand. The dashboard is well-detailed and has two decals provided for the central MFD and digital binnacle, under which the steering column with separate stalk ring and detailed wheel is slotted, with the brake pedal descending from the underside of the dash. The finished assembly then attaches to the interior on a C-shaped mounting at the front of the central console. The tub is completed by the two door cards, which have separate handles and a detailed painting guide in a small scrap diagram, then the whole assembly is glued onto the floorpan, locating on a number of raised shapes moulded into the top side. There is a rear shelf behind the seats, which has a pair of headrests made up from front and rear portions, and a clear wind-deflector between them that has masks for both sides, plugging into the shelf part, which fits on two tabs behind the seats, and is completed by a waffle-textured load area part that mounts on two turrets moulded into the rear wheel arches. Preparation of the bodyshell is started by removing the S-shaped sprue from the opening, then inserting the backing behind the front bumper/fender, and making up the two headlight clusters with a styrene reflector that is painted silver and black according to the key, with a clear bulb part slotting into the centre. These are glued in from behind and covered over by the clear lenses later on with the two grille sections at the front, which have exceptionally well-moulded detail within the surround. A number plate holder is supplied with two pegs on the back for the front bumper too, and a pair of inserts make up the vent detail on the sides of the front wings. The windscreen frame is moulded separately from the bodyshell, and has the clear glazing glued in along with a central rear-view mirror that is supplied with a mirrored sticker to give it a realistic look, plus a pair of well-crafted windscreen wipers that plug into the scuttle from the outside, attaching to the bodyshell from the inside, locating on three mounting pegs. The wing mirrors are moulded on triangular sections, and have clear indicator repeaters glued into the front of the shell, and more mirrored stickers to simulate the glass, inserting into the angled space between the door and windscreen frame, while the door handles are fixed into the recesses in the door skins near the rear edge. At the rear the brake cluster insert is painted silver then covered over with the clear lens, which you paint clear red and orange to depict the lights, plus another insert and lens mounted into the two vertical grooves in the bumper corners, and the central brake light is inserted in the integral spoiler in the boot lid. Under the boot lid another number plate is attached on a pair of pegs, then the bodyshell can be mated with the floorpan, inserting a pair of wide T-shaped clear parts in the back of the door cards if you are depicting the roof down to portray the tops of the retracted windows. The stowed roof is a single part that covers the load area behind the seats, which finishes the model unless you are putting the roof up. The soft top is moulded as a single part with a small interior detail section, plus the clear rear window, which has the heated screen element moulded into it, then it is placed over the interior after adding the two corner parts and the door windows if you plan on showing them rolled up. There are also masks included for the windscreen and rear window that allow you to paint the black lines around them where they join the bodywork. Markings There aren’t a lot of decals in this kit, as it’s a car afterall, not a Spitfire. There are two decals for the number plates that say “BMW Z4”, and two that are used to create the screens on the dashboard. On a separate sheet are a number of small BMW logos and name badges that are printed in relief and with a chrome finish where appropriate on most of them. The detail and shine on the decals is stunningly realistic and should look great with a quality paint job. Sadly, the scan of that sheet doesn’t show off the realistic shine of the chrome very well. It's perfect in real life. The painting instructions show the vehicle in either San Francisco Red Metallic or Misano Blue Metallic, but the Meng/AK and Gunze Acrysion codes show the use of non-metallic colours, so if you want to be truer to the real colours, you may need to check out some of the specialist paint manufacturers that cater to car modellers that want accurate paint for their models. Conclusion This is a gorgeous model of a stylish car, and really looks the part. The stamp of approval from BMW adds confidence, and the extras that are included in the box will really help with realism. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Another one! After the TAKOM/Snowman Model AH-64D/E (link ) Meng Model is to release a 1/35th Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow kit - ref. QS-004 Sources: https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404830678314516765 http://moxingfans.com/new/news/2022/1031/10892.html V.P.
  6. RMS Titanic (PS-008) 1:700 MENG via Creative Models Ltd There can’t be many people that haven’t heard of the appalling and unnecessary loss of life that happened when the Titanic’s maiden voyage route intersected with an iceberg, causing huge rips down the ship’s side and overwhelming the safety measures that led many to believe that she was unsinkable. At the end of the day on 14th April 1912 she hit that fateful iceberg and began taking on substantial quantities of water. Less than three hours later she broke up and slipped beneath the surface with many of the passengers still aboard, and many more forced to jump into the almost freezing water. Over 1,500 souls were lost that day thanks to the hubris of the designers and impatience of the supervising crew, but many lessons were learned from this tragedy that are still applicable today, and many lives have subsequently been saved as a result. The 1997 blockbuster release of the film The Titanic brought the story to the public consciousness again after the wreck had been found over 13 miles from her expected location some years earlier. She was found lying upright and in two major parts, both of which had hit the sea bed at a considerable speed, badly buckling the underside. She has since been thoroughly inspected, and some of the knowledge gleaned from those expeditions was incorporated into the fictionalised plot of the James Cameron helmed film. Which itself has become part of modern vernacular, with phrases such as “paint me like one of your French girls” raising the occasional titter. The Kit This is a new tool from MENG, and it’s quite an interesting and unusual proposition, as it is moulded in pre-coloured styrene, comes with a wood-effect plinth and gold-painted ferrules to stand the model on, and what’s more fun is that it also has a lighting system included with a battery box hidden in the base, plus a touch-sensitive button out of sight to turn the lights on and off. Neato! The kit arrives in a slender box in MENG’s usual style with a painting of the titular ship on the front, overhead and side views on the sides, and a number of QR code links to their social media sites for good measure. Inside the box are four loose white parts plus a sprue in white styrene, a tan sprue, a brown sprue, an orange/brown sprue, a small brick red sprue and lower hull part, a black sprue and upper hull part, and the afore mentioned wood effect base and brass/gold painted supports on a sprue that was originally moulded in brown. In addition, there is a black and silver name plate for the plinth, a length of flexible LED strip with a lead and socket on one end, plus a battery box with circular PCB holding the touch switch and terminated with a socket for the plug. The instructions are quite unusual in their layout, taking the form of three concertina sheets that extend to 90cm once unfolded. The first sheet is single-sided and has the history of the Titanic in four languages including English, plus a short advisory section in the same four languages. The second and third sheets contain the instructions and optional painting guide, including the electronics. Detail is excellent for the scale as we expect from MENG, and although the “proper” modeller will want to throw some paint at the kit, you don’t have to, or if you’ve bought the model for a child, everything should go together without glue or paint and still look good, especially when you tap the invisible switch and the lights come on! Construction begins with the decks fore and aft (pointy and blunt ends if you’re uninitiated), which are moulded in tan and have a black insert and the white tops of the hull that have a representation of the railings moulded-in. The main superstructure has tan decking inserts added at both ends, and has another upstand and walls in white, on top of which more tan decking parts are fitted, then some white superstructure parts and another partial layer of decking. The hull is next, and begins with adding the three props, which are moulded in tan and insert into brick red fairings that slot in under the stern on three pegs each, with the centre prop fitting in front of the sole rudder, which made turning the ship a slow process. The black upper hull has the LED strip stuck between two raised grooves using the self-adhesive tape on the back of it, threading the wires through a hole in the rear before adding the bow and stern decks over it. The main superstructure is pushed into the upper hull, and the upper hull is pushed into the lower hull to make it look more like a ship. On the bow deck a number of black and brown inserts are pushed into holes in the deck, including cranes, a task that is repeated at the stern with more cranes, and a helpful purple arrow advising you where the bow is. Fixtures and fittings are inserted into the decks on the main superstructure next, including the lifeboats, of which there were too few of course. The four funnels are each made out of two orange halves with moulded-in raised riveting, a black top, and an insert that slips into the top of each stack, the rearmost one having a different insert, as it was mostly used to vent exhaust from the galleys, machinery and ventilation, rather than belching smoke and steam from the boilers. The masts are found on the brown sprue, with one each placed fore and aft. The plinth has a very believable wooden texture painted over the brown styrene, with a raised frame ready to receive the self-adhesive nameplate, and two holes for the hull supports, which have been painted gold at the factory. Flipping the stand over, the battery pack sticks inside a marked area on its self-adhesive tape, and the switch is similarly stuck into a raised circular bracket shape near one of the supports, with the wire fed through the hollow centre of the support. The box takes two AAA batteries that aren’t included, the ones shown in the photos being from my battery drawer. The lower hull has two holes to receive the supports, and the wire dangling from one of them mates with the socket sticking out of the plinth, allowing you to turn the lights on and off by tapping on the plastic over where the switch resides. The rest of the instructions are taken up with a colour chart that gives you codes for MENG’s collaboration with AK Interactive, and Gunze’s new(ish) Acrysion paint system, which is starting to be more readily available in the UK. Markings The Titanic only wore one paint scheme during her short life, and as the styrene is pre-coloured already, it’s not strictly necessary to put any paint on the model once complete. In case you want to however, there are two views of the ship from the side and overhead with the colours called out in MENG/AK Interactive and Gunze Acrysion codes. Conclusion This is a very well-detailed model regardless of whether you want to treat it as a true model or snap it together for a nice table model over the course of the afternoon. Detail is excellent, and the addition of the lights gives it extra appeal. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. The third of my three planned builds is Meng's 1/72 F-106A.
  8. From Mengs Facebook and Twitter pages, coming in December: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0e96TNBwSVjVEESy9ptTB7XH2zjSf7KPGCHcdAhnZ5tnnyMS9EohgbarbJUvEbqUYl&id=100028842416849 The Fierce "Mastiff" on the Battlefield The Mastiff 2 is a 6X6 Wheeled Protected Patrol Vehicle upgraded from the Mastiff Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. In 2006, the UK started purchasing the first batch of Mastiff MRAP vehicles based on the Cougar MRAP vehicle for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Mastiff has improved protection and self-defense capabilities. Its hull is fully protected by slat armor and windows have double-layer bulletproof glass which offers good visibility. The Mastiff 2 has interior spall liners, blast attenuating seats, stronger axles, upgraded suspension, run-flat tires and explosion-proof fuel tank. In July 2020, with the gradual withdrawal of Western troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the UK announced that a number of armored vehicles, incl. the Mastiff 2, would be retired from active duty. In April 2022, the UK announced that it would provide Ukraine with about 80 armored vehicles, including the Mastiff 2. This MENG 1/35 British Mastiff 2 6x6 Wheeled Protected Patrol Vehicle plastic model will be 233mm long and 114mm wide when assembled. This kit includes two paint schemes. Now, let’s check the details. SS-012 British Mastiff 2 6x6 Wheeled Protected Patrol Vehicle Scale: 1/35 Available in: December 2022 The Mastiff 2 Wheeled Protected Patrol Vehicle has been a star on the battlefield with its high mobility and excellent protection. Don't you want to build such a unique Protected Patrol Vehicle model yourself?
  9. Meng F/A_18F 1/48 scale build Not sure on the theme yet Always start with Dawn soap bath Rick
  10. We have a massive sale on ! Prices on some kits have been reduced by 25% from RRP. Lots of bargains to be had. Check out the website. https://testvalleymodels.com/pages/plastic-kits Plus, we are still offering FREE POSTAGE on all orders over £25
  11. This is a great little kit from Meng. There's plenty of detail, although the surface detail may not to be to some people's choice (yes I know about Mustang wings and putty). The kit is snap tight and can be assembled without any glue at all. I did use glue. although it's near perfect fit allows you to snap the parts together and run glue into the joints. I did add some seat belts to the cockpit. Decals look very thick and I had my doubts about them, but the right application of setting solution and a press down saw them dry nicely and settle into the surface detail. You do get the option of cuffed and uncuffed propeller along with different spinner and canopy. Two decal options are included, both PLA aircraft. I chose the one with the biggest national insignia. Rudder flash is supplied, but I chose to mask and paint mine. The Communist Chinese captured around 40 Mustangs from Nationalist forces at the end of the Chinese Civil War, when the Nationalist forces retreated to Taiwan. I'm not sure how long they were in service for, but were probably quickly retired once the supply of Russian Mig 15's arrived.
  12. 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
  13. It is inevitable that when I join a group build with a big 1/48 project, I'll at some point begin pining for something smaller and simpler to work on as well. And let's face it, when it comes to aircraft, 1/72 is my preferred scale, even if I try to convince myself otherwise. And so here we go with Meng's F-106. Its much nicer than their F-102 (which I built for the Vietnam GB in 2020), and I have some really interesting decals to go with it. You've all seen this kit on several other excellent build threads here already, so I won't waste my time or yours with sprue shots and the like. Right now I'm working on the innards. Keeping it simple. Glued the wing together. Fit was a bit "meh". Test fit the fuselage, and it's also a tad meh. But easy as pie after the Monogram dagger.
  14. Hi all Here is my completed build of meng's ME-410 B2/U-2, the kit itself is a real mojo booster, no issue at all with about 99 percent of the kit, the only issue I came across is a well known one with this kit and that's the very over engineered canopy, it comes in 6 pieces and I made a bit of a dogs dinner with it. Apart from that I had no issue with the kit at all. I painted the model in AK real colours, this was my first time using AK's lacquer paints and they where beautiful. I used an after market metal gun barrel for the MK 214 but really this wasn't necessary or worth the trouble in drilling the extra space for it to fit. Definitely have to add another one of these kits in my stash. Kind regards
  15. 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.
  16. Hello again, It's been almost a year since my last aircraft (I'm mostly in to painting mins) but had the itch to do another and so this great kit was completed over the course of two months. It was mostly airbrushed with Vallejo 'Dark Ghost Grey' on the top, with Mission Models 'Light Ghost Grey' on the undersides (more on this in a bit) done in the pre-shade technique on a black spraycan undercoat. The black was a mix of Vallejo gloss black, regular black and black ink to give it a bit of shine. The panel lines on the body were done with Vallejo Dark Grey acrylic model wash (I'm a big fan of their model washes) with enamel washes used on the smaller parts. Other weathering was done mostly with MIG AMMO Oil & Streaking Brushers, and Tamiya weathering powder sets. The decals were all OOTB, and the only third party item was the seat, which is by Eduard. The additional details, particularly the cockpit, were all hand-painted with my occasionally steady hand. I had intended this to be a bit cleaner (I say the same thing with every bloody aircraft! ) but as usual got carried away as it's a part of the process I do really enjoy. As such it's probably a bit more weathered than a CAG aircraft should be. Saying that I did spend a fair bit of time looking at photos of F-18's online and in books (the 'F-18 in Detail and Scale' by Haagen Klaus was a very useful purchase) and noticed that there were pics of this particular aircraft having had patch-ups in the opposite colour to what it should be, particularly around the front end and the fold up wings. I thought this looked cool so attempted to replicate it in a few places. Same too with the oily fuel spills on the underside of the aircraft, although I did take this more to extremes. A few things I messed up on; firstly I should have filled in the gap line where the two front halfs come together. Whilst the fit is generally very very good, I didn't notice the middle gap line running up the front and underside of the nose until it was too late. I did attempt to sand down the metallic box thing at the front of the nose (excuse my lack of technical terms) but as this was curved to begin with, it didn't look great. The canopy got a bit messy when masking, painting and sanding (I hate doing canopies) but thankfully it's not too noticeable when in an open position. Finally I decided to paint the red line separating the black and the grey of the jet, as I don't like the faff of using decals that long and thin, however, despite masking this wasn't my neatest work and it shows. Oh well. As mentioned, this is a great kit, and was generally not too painful to put together. The folded wings option wasn't too much of a headache, likewise all the small details around the wheel bays went easier than I expected. There were very few areas that required sanding and filling. The decals were generally decent, it's only on the smaller ones where writing should be (and it's instead just lines) that you might want to consider third party options. The only parts I would consider third party options for other than the seat are the exhaust nozzles and maybe the wheels. When you look at pictures of the exhausts they have much more detail in them than sculpted, particularly on the insides. I have attempted to paint the details in. Trying to add additional bits of card/plastic I think would be too tricky, and way out of my comfort zone. A few other things you may find useful; firstly, Army Painter primer spray cans are fantastic! They are more of a laquer spray than just acrylic, and are of a much larger size than Tamiya/Mr Hobby ones for around the same price. They are available at many indy board game shops so well worth a try. Secondly, as mentioned, Mission Models 'Light Ghost Grey' acrylic was used on the undersides. Now I'm a huge fan of their 'transparent dust' paint, especially when mixed in slightly with other colours to get a dusty/dirty effect, but this one? not so much. It will be still be active days after its been applied, meaning it has to be varnished ASAP in order to protect it. If you get it slightly wet, thats it, your paint job won't be so neat. No issues with Vallejo products doing the same after a couple of hours, let alone days. Finally, although it's barely noticeable here, I created a good textured effect on the bulkier missles using Vallejo 'Rust Texture' acrylic effects. A few coats of that, then spray on your chosen colour and they will look much more realistic than the smooth plastic provided. Oh, and finally, in case anyone says it I started this kit a few weeks before seeing 'Top Gun Maverick' which I highly recommend having been a bit skeptical of it in production! Thanks for looking, any thoughts or queries let me know!
  17. Finish no3 for the year is Meng's F102A Delta Dagger (case xx). Been working on this one in the back round while doing the shiny Black Widow. Built OOB as an aircraft operated by 509th FIS from Adorn RTAFB in 1969, using my usual mix of Tamiya and Mr Hobby Colour acylics. Went together fairly well but I found that the colours that Meng recommend (only Vallejo) didn't look like the photos of the aircraft so I substituted Tamiya XF11 for the dark green instead of H304 and used the H304 as the light green instead of H464. The decals went down well except the large fuselage band which needed a lot of Mirocsol to conform to the shape and ripped in one of the corners.Light weathering with Flory Dark Dirt wash. The instructions also have the main undercarriage door actuator upside down in step 8 and the canopy doesn't fit well in the closed position. Otherwise straight forward build less the masking of the canopy for the sealant tape, not had to do this before. Now this one is done I can get back to the P61A, as usual all comment welcome.
  18. EA-18G Growler (LS-014) 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. It retains some weapons for self-defence such as the AGM-88 or AIM-120C, although the stations on the wingtips are filled by a pair of ALQ-218 jamming pods carried over from the EA-6B Prowler that the Growler replaced. The Kit This is brand-new kit from Meng that has been retooled from their recent two-seat F/A-18F, but with new parts to portray the electronic warfare pods and weapons suitable for the Growler’s role. 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 fourteen sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two fuselage halves in the same plastic, a small sprue in clear, plus the canopy (all wrapped in protective self-cling plastic), three styles of small poly-caps, a Ziplok 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, three sheets of card with information about the EA-18G in four languages, and a similarly multi-lingual competition flyer to win cash prizes, apparently. Everything is separately bagged with mildly annoying staples closing some of 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 panic unduly. Construction begins with the cockpit, with the 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 ECS ram air exhaust inserts of the multi-tubular type that have 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 radars. 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 and pods 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, who have separate arms, a wrap-around flotation vest and separate helmeted head with O2 hose. The long canopy part is crystal clear with an external seam over the top that you can either leave there (it’s really 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 pair of blade antennae 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 and pods. 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, 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. The wingtip rails are filled with identical ALQ-218 jamming pods, which are made up from six parts each, and are handed for each wingtip. For self-defence there are two AIM-120Cs are each moulded complete, with a slim adapter rail, and another pair of AGM-88s with chunkier rail adapter and separate perpendicular fins for extra detail. Scrap diagrams show the correct location of the missiles on their rails, pods and he two external fuel tanks, which also have polycaps inside them. The AIM-120Cs have anti-sway braces to locate them on their semi-conformal mounts above the main gear bay apertures. It’s always best to look at some real-world photos for examples for demonstrable and practical load-outs, but it’s entirely up to you. Markings There are three decal options on the sheets, 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: VAQ-132 ‘Scorpions’ Electronic Attack Sqn., Operation Odyssey Dawn, 2011 VAQ-132 ‘Scorpions’ Electronic Attack Sqn., Misawa Air Base, 2014 VAQ-139 ‘Cougars’ Electronic Attack Sqn., USS Carl Vinson, 2014 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 and the landing light, 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. Conclusion Meng have brought their own particular set of skills to the party with both the E and F variants, and now an EA-18G Growler, which I’ve been waiting for the most. They have produced a highly detailed model of this two-seat electronic warfare variant, with some excellent moulding and markings to create a model that is excellent out of the box, without the necessity of aftermarket. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. 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.
  20. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.G Early/Ausf.G w/Air Defence Armour (TS-052) 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The Panther was Nazi Germany's answer to the surprise appearance of the Russian T-34 after they finally reacted to the invasion that was Operation Barbarosa. Although the project had been in gestation some time before, they took some design cues from the T-34 in the shape of 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. 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 made 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 at too sloped to be of effect, so this area became the preferred target of engagement by allied tanks, especially by multiple Shermans, or in urban combat where this was a telling issue. Like most German WWII tanks, it was needlessly complex to manufacture, so suffered in terms of volumes produced, and this led to it being rushed into service with a long snagging-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 during combat, not always with time for the crews to detonate their scuttling charges. Curiously, the Ausf.D was the first to enter service, 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. The engineering issues were never fully cured however, with a high rate of attrition still due to mechanical issues, some of which resulted in catastrophic fires and abandonment. The weak side-armour was thickened by 20mm with a steeper angle to better deflect shot, and the floor armour was increased to a full 25mm for mine resistance, while the driver’s viewing hatch was deleted and replaced by a rotating vision-block in a deeply armoured hood. Front hatches were also simplified to ease construction, and many other changes were made under the armour to complete the upgrade. A Panther II was planned under the Entwicklung programme, which retained a familial resemblance to the original Panther, while improving armour and suspension. They got as far as creating a pair of prototypes before the war ended, and a mangled but still substantial chunk of the Schmallturm (smaller turret) can be seen at Bovington if you’re ever visiting. The Kit After a pause following the initial release of the Ausf.A and Ausf.D boxings by Meng, we're now being treated to the Ausf.G, which is subtly but substantially different in shape as a result of geometric changes made after combat experience, in an attempt to deal with its earlier faults and problems. The box is the same shape and size as the previous boxings, but with new artwork as you'd expect, and it’s mainly the wheels and suspension sprues that are carried over from previous boxings, as these areas remained constant throughout production apart from the switch to non-strategic metal rims away from rubber. They are augmented by new sprues that contain the parts not shared by the two variants, including much of the upper hull and superstructure. There are eleven sprues in light-grey styrene, two runs of poly-caps, a clear sprue, three sheets of Photo-Etch (PE), one of which is nickel-plated, two braided cables, decal sheet, plus the colour-printed instruction booklet on glossy paper, with painting and markings guide at the rear. Construction begins with the wheels, which are incorrectly shown to have rubber tyres as part of the suspension, but as rubber became scarce they were replaced by fully steel wheels by this time, which are the parts that are called-out despite appearances. The look very similar without colour, so just ignore the painting of the “rubber” and carry on. Poly-caps placed in between the pairs are the means of attachment to the swing-arms later in the build. The lower hull is built up from panels with cross-braces holding everything square internally, plus the sloped rear bulkhead, with the swing-arms applied to both sides of the newly minted hull. The upper hull frame has armour added to the sides, then the sloped glacis panel, forward roof with turret-ring moulded-in, and a separate engine deck that needs some drilling to receive parts later. Flipping the hull over, the radiator-bath inserts are painted and glued in beneath their grilles, the backing plate for the kugelblende, hinges for the forward hatches and a clear vision block are inserted from within, before the hull is flipped again and has vents, armoured covers and other small parts applied, depending on which decal option you intend to portray. The forward hatches are made up with handles and locks, then can be inserted into position in the open or closed position by following the diagrams. In the rear, the engine hatch with mushroom vents and handles is detailed and placed into the aperture, and a choice of two aerial styles are added to the deck, again depending on decal option. The completed upper hull is joined to the lower at this stage, and is inverted again to install the inner sponson covers, which also have the curved front of the fenders moulded-in. The circular hole in the rear bulkhead is also filled and detailed, and has the multi-part jack attached vertically above it. The road wheels are also pushed onto their axles with the drive sprockets at the front, and idler wheels at the rear. The rear stowage boxes are added to the rear bulkhead while the model is upside-down, as are the twin exhausts, with a choice of larger shrouded exhausts on cast armoured bases, or with slender exhausts on either cast or welded bases. Additional brackets and covers are also applied, along with some smaller parts to make up the Notek formation lights that fit to their bases. The tracks are assembled individually, having two separate guide horns each, and have chevroned grousers that gave better traction in poor conditions. There are 87 links per side, with each one made of three parts. The link body has three sprue-gates apiece, with each of the two horns having a sprue-gate each on their underside. The Kugelblende can be installed either with a machine gun barrel slipped into a ball-mount, or it can be depicted with a plug in an empty mount, which is kept close at hand by a length of PE chain. The travel-lock for the barrel can be posed up or down, the headlight, towing shackles, side-mounted stowage racks and numerous lifting-eyes on the rear deck are all glued in place, while the optional heater unit is scabbed onto the engine deck with its pizza-slice covers over a grille, plus a pair of extra slices bolted to the housing for later use. The nearby circular radiator grilles are also added onto the deck with more PE grilles added over the top, having a spare grille to fill the space if the heating unit isn’t being used. More PE is used to create the adjustable grilles over the cooling louvers at the front and rear of the engine deck sides, then the shallow fenders over the tracks are added from PE sheets, with small plastic supports running down each length. Two optional air-defence armour sections can be assembled into open-ended boxes to be added over the vulnerable louvers on the deck, with an optional aerial base and tall antenna for one decal option. The sides of the tank are festooned with additional track links, pioneer tools, fire extinguisher and barrel-cleaning rod tubes, the latter having handles folded up from PE strips for extra detail. The two towing cables are fabricated from styrene eyes and the supplied braided cable of 110mm each, then are shown draped around the side of the hull, and held in place by pins through brackets on the deck. The overlapping PE shurzen panels are hung on the brackets one-by-one to finish off the lower hull. The turret is built around an inner frame, which has the roof and sides added to the outside, the roof having a number of holes drilled out, then detailed with mushroom vents and an aerial base, plus a clear vision block. The rear panel has a circular hatch with simplified hinges added, then the bare-bones breech of the main gun is assembled and trapped between trunnions on a pair of polycaps. The barrel has a three-part muzzle-brake made up, then it is inserted into the outer mantlet on a keyed base, with the stub of the coax machine gun inserted from inside. A pair of lifting lugs are removed from the ends of the mantlet, and it is fixed to the turret with a spacer between them. If the air-defence armour is being fitted, two-layers of PE are joined together on plastic mounts, then glued to the roof along with a section along the top of the mantlet. The later commander’s cupola is cast, and has individual clear blocks slotted inside like the real thing, plus the pop-up-and-rotate hatch, and a standard pintle-mounted MG34 on a ring around the cupola. The gun has a dump bag for the spent brass that hangs down into the open turret. All that is left to complete the build is to insert the turret into the ring, and add the retention strap to the travel-lock if you are deploying it. Markings Ausf.G series production began after the switch over to dunkelgelb (dark yellow) occurred, and all the decal options are based on this colour that was applied at the factory. The camouflage colours were issued to the units to camouflage their vehicles to suit the terrain or their whim to an extent, thinned with whatever came to hand, so there were a lot of different schemes during this period, with a huge variation of skill and care taken in the application. Only one of the decal options is still wearing Zimmerit anti-magnetic paste, so if you wanted to depict that one, you’d either have to apply the paste yourself, or purchase one of the aftermarket solutions that are available from Meng and others. From the box you can build one of the following: No.424, 1st Battalion, 26th Panzer Regiment, Italy, Apr 1945 No.213, 1st Battalion, 31st Panzer Regiment, 5th Panzer Division, Goldap, October 1944 No.201, 1st Battalion, 27th Panzer Regiment, 19th Panzer Division, Warszawa, September 1944 No.102, 1st Battalion, Headquarters, 35th Panzer Regiment, 4th Panzer Division, Courtland, 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. Conclusion An excellent late Panther from Meng, with lots of detail, some interesting camouflage scheme, and with the inclusion of three sheets of PE, one of which can be used to great effect for anti-air armour sheeting, it represents a comprehensive package that will satisfy most modellers out of the box. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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
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