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  1. Panzerbefehlswagen 35(t) (SA35008) 1:35 Special Armour by Special Hobby Originally designed and built for the Czech army the 35(T) or LT 35 as it was then known, wasn’t an immediate success. Once its shortcomings had been ironed out however, it became very popular with the crews. This was Skoda’s first tank built with a turret, which mounted a 37mm gun and a co-axial machine gun. With the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the German army captured 244 tanks of the 434 built, pressed them into service and designated them the Panzerkampfwagen 35(t). Used extensively in the Blitzkrieg attacks in the invasion of Poland, France and even the opening attacks against Russia, it was at least partly responsible for the success of the initial advances. The main hull was of bolted construction, the heads of which could shatter and become shrapnel within the vehicle in the event of a hit, even if it didn’t manage to penetrate the armour. Although its armour was on the thin side, it could still cope well with shrapnel, small arms fire and rounds up to around 20mm, after which penetration was likely, and this was partly responsible for its withdrawal as the war led to larger and larger guns carried by both sides. Some tanks were converted to Panzerbefehlswagens, or Command Tanks by the removal of the bow machine gun and the addition of extra radio gear that was coupled to a Frame antenna on the rear of the tank. It was better suited to the task of holding slightly to the rear and issuing orders to the rest of the squad, where its light armour was less of a risk to the crew, especially as it also contained their commander. Most 35(t)s were retired from active service by 1942 and used as training vehicles until spares and wear & tear saw them off. Some of the withdrawn tanks were converted to other uses by removing their turrets and fitting other equipment useful in their new role. The turrets were retained for use in fixed emplacements in defence lines such as the Atlantic Wall. Bulgaria had acquired a number of these tanks for their army, and finally retired their last training 35(t) in 1950. The Kit This is a reboxing of an earlier kit from the Special Armour line, with some additional parts to turn it into the Command variant. It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box, and inside are four larger sprues in grey styrene, a smaller sprue in white styrene, a strip of five jerrycans on a resin pour stub, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), the decal sheet and A5 stapled instruction booklet on glossy paper with spot colour and profiles at the rear. Although this is an older kit, with the PE having a copyright date of 1998, the detail is good, although the part numbers are engraved on the notional “back” of the sprues, with the majority of the detail moulded on the opposite surface. Other than that, it could be mistaken for a much younger kit, and there’s very little in the way of flash apart from one corner of the track, where a small amount of mould damage may have crept in, but without damaging the parts themselves. The tracks are of the link-and-length variety, with long runs on the straighter sections, and individual links for the highly curved areas. More on that later. Construction begins with the road wheels, starting with the drive sprocket and idler wheel pairs, all of which are made from three parts each, with small sprocket pegs on the idlers, which is unusual. The eighteen road wheels are mounted in sets of four pairs on bogies with twin leaf-suspension between the two sides, and the wheels remain mobile because no glue is needed to hold them in the bogies. In all, four bogies are made for use later in the build. Firstly, the lower hull must be made up, starting with a floor that has angled front and rear sections, which match the angles on the two side panels that are fitted with a bulkhead that helps to hold the chassis square. Two small torus shapes should be removed from the inner edges of the front sides before they are mounted, as per the accompanying diagram. The glacis plate is laid over the front of the chassis after removing a small upstand in front of a hatch, then eight pairs of return rollers are glued to the inverted chassis, with the final drive housings at the rear and the idler wheel axles at the front. The four bogies are fitted to their mounting points on the sides in pairs, and the drive sprockets and idler wheels are slotted in place without glue to facilitate building of the track runs. The tracks are of link and length style as already mentioned, with two long lengths per sides and another four short lengths, joined together by the addition of fifteen individual links, with the drawings showing the correct orientation of the links to assist you in avoiding mistakes. This is repeated on each side, then it’s on to the turret, with fenders fitted later. The turret is built up on the main part that encompasses three sides and the roof, to which the mantlet and its sides are attached, then the cupola is installed with three side inserts and a domed top. There doesn’t seem to be an option to open up the hatch and insert a figure, as per the box art’s suggestion. The lower surface of the turret consists of two parts on a circular base, but before that the coaxial machine gun in the mantlet and the main gun must be built in. The coax is a single part, and the main gun has the barrel and recoil tube moulded as one, with a two-part perforated muzzle added to the tip that gives the impression of a hollow barrel. This is inserted through the mantlet from within, and held in place by a U-shaped cleat that you glue in place. Attention shifts back to the hull, making the upper half from one large section with the upper glacis panel added to the front and fitted out with aerial base, headlamp (no clear parts), circular appliqué panel over the location where the bow gun would have been, a horn and some pioneer tools down each side of the upper hull. On the right side a two-part exhaust is added toward the rear, and the towing cable is heated to bend it into shape and glued onto the sloped part of the engine deck. The upper hull is joined to the lower along with the fenders, which locate on a pair of lugs on the sides of the lower hull. The rear bulkhead with some extra detail parts is affixed to the rear along with some spare track links on the right fender, a pair of PE panels are glued to the upper sides of the hull under the turret, and a couple of lengths of 0.5mm wire from your own stocks are added to provide the wiring to the standard antenna at the front, and the large frame antenna at the rear. More wire is added on the left side to another base, and the bed-frame antenna on the white sprue is made up and glued in place over the engine deck. There is a PE number plate frame on the rear bulkhead near the convoy light, and there is yet more wire added around the front of the chassis, so make sure you have plenty to hand before you begin. Finally, the resin jerry cans are freed from their casting blocks, and after clean-up are strapped together in PE brackets in sets of two and three. The set of three fit to the sloped side of the engine deck on the left, and the two-pack sits on a stand on the fender on the same side. A resin convoy lamp is drilled into the front of the left fender near the inner edge. Twist the turret into position, and that’s the build complete. Markings There are two options on the small decal sheet, both wearing the same panzer grey camo that was typical of early war German armour. From the box you can build one of the following: A03 3rd Panzer, Panzer Abteilung 65, 6. Panzer Div., Oberleutnant Marquart, France, Summer 1940, Russia, June 1941 A01 1st Panzer, Panzer Abteilung 65, 6. Panzer Div., Abt. Commander Oberleutnant Schenk, France, Summer 1940, Russia, June 1941 The decals are printed anonymously, and there is no registration, just yellow or white markings with black decal numbers, all of which have good sharpness, although yellow is always of mild concern with decals, especially when applying them over dark colours. Conclusion An interesting reboxing of this little tank, and the decal options show a pair of Panzers that saw action in two of the major campaigns of the war, during Nazi expansion through Europe before the tables turned. Time has been kind to the moulds, and detail is excellent for the age of the original tooling. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Another one getting attention on the bench this month is Riich Models excellent Skoda RSO Radschlepper. These look increasingly difficult to get hold of these days, at least from my tinterweb searching abilities from the UK, and I wish I had purchased another. It is beautifully moulded with sharp detail and a real snap together Tamiya-esq fit. This monster metal wheeled goliath comes with a complete engine, two load-bed options and a fret of PE to replicate the more delicately sized parts. Care is needed drilling multiple holes in the wheels and the only fit issues I found was the fuel tank sat a touch high on the chassis impeding the cab fit. Easy fix to shave a little off as the connection is hidden. Even easier if you know about it beforehand A Notek headlight was sourced from the parts bin and some fine copper wire was used to simulate the engine pipework. The white putty strip on the fender is the filled in locating slot for the missing drivers side engine panel This is almost at the same stage as the Ferdinand because I mixed a bunch of different Dunkelgelb paint mixes knowing both kits would not receive any camo. I figured a monochrome finish would benefit from a slight colour modulation to spice things up. Both this and the Ferdinand received a Red Oxide primer (Tamiya fine rattle can) and the wooden areas of the RSO a fine coat of grey to simulate the wood underneath. Then a couple of coats of hairspray were sprayed to allow me to chip and scratch down to the primer. The paint surface always appears very 'scratchy' dry and flat during the hairspray chipping stages but once a varnish coat and a pin wash applied it comes to life. For both this and the Ferdinand I am using Tamiya acrylics. The Ferdinand received a far greater degree of modulation although both went through the same painting process. I started with a Red Brown for the lower hull and running gear, then a mix of Red Brown and Dark Yellow a little higher up. Dark yellow was the next coat that just concentrated on the lower casemate area and all upper surfaces. This was followed by a Dark Yellow 2 lightly sprayed on higher areas of the hull and horizontal surfaces. To finish up a Dark Yellow 2 and Flat White mix highlighted just the horizontal surfaces. As each of the mixes often received more than one coat, they were deliberately kept light so I could still agitate the hairspray and get right down to the primer with some of the scratches and chips. Various light sand coloured Vallejo paints were then brushed on to raised surfaces like bolt heads and handles so the detail would pop once a pin wash was applied. A couple of light coats of satin varnish were then applied. Although the modulation is hardly noticeable on the above pics, they are a lot more pronounced in reality. Overall, I thought the colour looked a little too sandy, so I added a little Clear Yellow X-24 to the X-22. Various mixes of Abteilung oils were then carefully applied as a pin wash and left to dry for a few days. Happy it was dry enough any overspill oil work was carefully blended in. The contrast of the pin wash, the slight modulation and the brush painted highlighted areas can now be seen to greater effect. Progress so far
  3. Pz.38(t) Ausf.E/F Engine (3142) 1:35 CMK by Special Hobby This set is patterned for the 2019 Tamiya kit, and is designed to detail the entire engine bay with a few small adjustments to the base kit that involves some removal of plastic, which is shown in the first step of the instructions, and when the rear bulkhead needs a hole cutting in it. The set arrives in a small yellow cardboard box with a number of pictures of the set built up within the Tamiya kit, which shows off the detail to great effect. Inside is a bag of parts split into four heat-sealed sections to protect the parts from damage during transit. The part count is high, as is the detail that is present on the parts, and the way in which they go together, with every detail shown in the 3D isometric instructions. Construction begins with the main engine block, then the bay is detailed within the confines of the kit parts, after which the engine is inserted and surrounded by the radiator with its surround and cooling fan. Various ancillary parts are inserted into the remaining space, and hoses join the areas together while the exhaust takes away all the gases. The main space complete, with the instructions giving you helpful colour callouts along the way, it is time to install the inspection hatches, top grille and the rear armoured panel that encloses the radiator fan, removing small parts of the kit as you go. Propping the hatches open will allow the viewer to see the detail from the sides, with finishing plates added to the undersides of the kit hatch parts. Conclusion It’s a hugely detailed set and will look great when painted and fitted into the kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Skoda Fabia S2000 - Rally Sulamericano Erechim 2015 - Brasil Drivers: Gustavo Saba (Paraguai)/D. Cagnotti (Argentina)
  5. My first Diorama, Rally Erechim 2015, Skoda Fabia S2000, driver: Gustavo Saba. Ps: don't have the crew inside the car yet.
  6. Skoda 305mm Siege Howitzer CMK 1:35 History The Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M.11 was a siege howitzer produced by Škoda Works and used by the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I and by Nazi Germany in World War II. Development began in 1906, when a development contract was placed by the Austro-Hungarian high command with Skoda-Werke in Pilsen to develop a weapon capable of penetrating the concrete fortresses being built in Belgium and Italy. Development work continued until 1909, when the first prototype was finished and, in 1910, fired secretly in Hungary. The weapon was able to penetrate 2 m (6 ft 7 in) of reinforced concrete with its special armour-piercing shell, which weighed 384 kg (847 lb). There were a few technical problems with the first piece, but, after few reconstructions in 1911, the upgraded piece made another round of testing in Felixdorf and in the mountains of Tyrol. After that, Moritz von Auffenberg, the Minister of War, placed an order for 24 of the new weapons The weapon was transported in three sections by a 100-horsepower 15 ton Austro-Daimler road tractor M. 12. It broke down into barrel, carriage and firing platform loads, each of which had its own trailer. It could be assembled and readied to fire in around 50 minutes. The mortar could fire two types of shell, a heavy armour-piercing shell with a delayed action fuse weighing 384 kg, and a lighter 287 kg shell fitted with an impact fuze. The light shell was capable of creating a crater 8 meters wide and 8 meters deep, as well as killing exposed infantry up to 400 m (440 yd) away. The weapon required a crew of 15–17, and could fire 10 to 12 rounds an hour. After firing, it automatically returned to the horizontal loading position. In 1916, the M. 11 design was upgraded and the new M.11/16 was produced - the difference was mainly that the firing platform had been modified to allow for a traverse of 360 degrees. Also in 1916, a new model was released, the M.16, which had longer barrel (L/12) and longer range 12,300 metres (13,500 yd) The Model The kit comes in quite a small, yet deep box with a rendering of the mortar on the front. Inside it is packed with resin parts in a number of poly bags. According to the instruction leaflet there are one hundred and six parts moulded in a greeny grey resin, with the exception of one part which is moulded in dark grey resin. The way they have been moulded onto the blocks you will need to take great care in cutting them off and there will be quite a bit of cleaning up required. The parts are well produced with some great detail including the big bolt heads found on weapons of this era. Read the instructions carefully as there are alternative parts depending on whether you build an early or late version. Construction begins with the very sturdy base unit, onto which the towing beams, forward mounted box top which is fitted with a pair of large brackets onto which four eyebolts are attached. The large turntable is slotted into the base recess and the shell chute base attached to the rear of the base. The build then moves onto the mortar itself with the assembly of the two small recuperators glued to the underside of the trunnion cradle, onto which the two trunnion gears are affixed. The elevation gears are glued to their shaft and the tow assemblies put to one side. The two large recuperators, made up form eight parts are built up, followed by the trunnion section of the barrel. This is fitted with a variety of longitudinal and cross beams top and bottom, an eye plate and four large bolt heads. The middle section, either bolted or smooth is then attached to the trunnion section, followed by the muzzle section, and the optional muzzle cap. The breech section is built up from four parts and can be positioned either open or closed, and finished off with the rear mounted breech plate and recuperator end fittings. The large and small recuperators are then attached to the rear of the barrel section, followed by the breech section. The two impressively moulded trunnion mounts are detailed with a selection of small parts before being fitted to each side of the barrel. Between the mounts the elevation cog assembly is also fitted and closed off with a curved front plate. The barrel/mounting is then fitted to the turntable on the base. The mortar is fitted with a small splinter shield which comes in two parts whilst the main elevation wheel is made up from nine parts. The seven piece training unit is also assembled at this point, whilst the mounting points of it and the “range computer”, and sights are fitted to the left side trunnion mount followed by the units themselves. The complex shell handling system is assembled from seventeen parts, and if done so carefully, should be able to move, allowing the shell, included, to be positioned at any point in the loading process. This assembly is then glued to the rear of the mounting, followed by two rails onto which the shell trolley can run to move the shell onto the loading cradle. The trolley is provided and is made up from eight parts and once assembled can be fitted to the rails finishing the build. Conclusion There have been a few big mortars released in the last year or so, but injection moulded, so it interesting to see CMK release this one. Not that it’s not welcome and is in fact more detailed than the similar marque of weapon released by Takom. Certainly not one for the novice, it will make a superb addition to any collection of big guns. Very highly recommended. Review samples courtesy of
  7. Kora Models has just released a 1/72nd Fieseler-Skoda FiSk.199 (AZmodel Bf.109G-2/4/R-1 Jabo) - ref.72018 AZmodel kit with resin Accessories and decals for creating the FiSk199 Source:https://www.lfmodels.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2350&zenid=56lk5f17ssm86s4aj36k7tvfi2 Box art V.P.
  8. Just seen this listed as an upcoming release from Takom There's already a resin one available from CMK but it'll be nice to get it in styrene. The Czech camo looks like it will be 'fun' to paint Andy
  9. Skoda 305mm Siege Howitzer Takom 1:35 History Development began in 1906, when a development contract was placed by the Austro-Hungarian high command with Skoda-Werke in Pilsen to develop a weapon capable of penetrating the concrete fortresses being built in Belgium and Italy. Development work continued until 1909, when the first prototype was finished and, in 1910, fired secretly in Hungary. The weapon was able to penetrate 2 m (6 ft 7 in) of reinforced concrete with its special armour piercing shell, which weighed 384 kg (847 lb). There were a few technical problems with the first piece, but, after few reconstructions in 1911, the upgraded piece made another round of testing in Felixdorf and in the mountains of Tyrol. After that, Moritz von Auffenberg, the Minister of War, placed an order for 24 of the new weapons. The mortar could fire two types of shell, a heavy armour-piercing shell with a delayed action fuse weighing 384 kg, and a lighter 287 kg shell fitted with an impact fuse. The light shell was capable of creating a crater 8 meters wide and 8 meters deep, as well as killing exposed infantry up to 400 m (440 yd) away. The mortar required a crew of 15 to 17, and could fire between 10 to 12 rounds an hour. After firing, it automatically returned to the horizontal loading position. In 1916, the M. 11 design was upgraded and the new M. 11/16 was produced - the difference was mainly that the firing platform had been modified to allow for a traverse of 360 degrees. Also in 1916, a new model was released, the M. 16, which had longer barrel (L/12) and longer range 12,300 metres (13,500 yd). Eight Mörsers were loaned to the German Army and they were first fired in action on the Western Front at the start of World War I. They were used in concert with the Krupp 42 cm howitzer ("Big Bertha") to destroy the rings of Belgian fortresses around Liege (Battle of Liège), Namur (Fortified Position of Namur) and Antwerp (Forts Koningshooikt, Kessel and Broechem). While the weapon was used on the Eastern, Italian and Serbian fronts until the end of the war, it was only used on the Western front at the beginning of the war. In 1915, ten howitzers were used in support of the Austro-Hungarian-German invasion of Serbia under the German General August von Mackensen. By the end of the war, 79 of the weapons of all three types were in service. Only 24 were destroyed. Between the two world wars, large numbers of mortars were in service in Yugoslavia (4 M.11 and 6 M.16), Romania, Italy (23 M.11, 16 M.11/16 and 16 M.16), Czechoslovakia (17 M.16) and Hungary (3 M.11 and 2 M.16). There were only two in Austria; one in the Arsenal, Army Museum in Vienna, the second as a training weapon in Innsbruck. In 1939, Germany seized all 17 pieces from Czechoslovakia and repaired the howitzer from the Arsenal Museum, designating them 30.5 cm Mörser (t). In 1941, they obtained five more weapons after the defeat of Yugoslavia and placed them into service as the 30.5 cm Mörser 638(j). They saw service against Poland, France and the Soviet Union in World War II, where they served with Heavy Artillery Battalions (schwere Artillerie-Abteilungen) 624, 641 and 815 as well as two Heavy Static Artillery Batteries (schwere Artillerie-Batterie bodenstandig) 230 and 779. The barrel was either monobloc or built-up. Some sources indicate that a third type - with loose liner - also existed. To soften recoil, a large slotted muzzle brake was fitted. The breechblock was of interrupted screw type, with forced extraction of cartridge during opening. A safety lock prevented opening of the breechblock before the shot; if there was a need to remove a shell, the lock had to be disabled. To assist loading when the barrel was set to high elevation angle, the breach was equipped with cartridge holding mechanism. The gun was fired by pulling a trigger cord. The Model This kit depicts a Skoda 30.5cm M.1916 as it was used in the siege of Sevastapol in 1942, but since information is sketchy I wouldnt have thought there would have been many changes since they were built in 1916. Contained in the top opening box, with a stylised photograph of the weapon being inspected on the front, are three sprues of sandy coloured styrene. The parts contained on the sprues are free of flash, moulding pips or other imperfections, and the moulded detail appears to be very good indeed. What ejection pin marks there are seem to be kept to be on inside of parts so there isnt much in the way of cleaning up once off the sprues. Takom have used slide mould technology very effectively in the production of the barrel parts allowing for a seamless build. Although there was a carriage designed for the guns, as seen on many of the museum exhibits, this unit is built as one with a fixed base, included in the kit. The build begins with the assembly of the breech block and the rear barrel block, which are then fitted to the trunnion block. The three parts to the barrel slide into each other like a telescope, with the completed unit slide into the trunnion block. The sliding breech is fitted with the release handle and pull handle before being slid into the breech block. The recupertor unit is assembled from upper and lower parts to which the front and rear parts are added, along with what looks like a valve at the front, the completed assembly is then fitted to the underside of the barrel assembly. The two ratchet arcs are also attached to the underside of the barrel and fitted with a spreader bar in between the two parts. The base is made up of a box with individual sides and the top, onto which the traversing ring is fitted. The right hand trunnion mount is fitted with an elevation axle mount, with associated support bracket and an additional strengthening beam. The mount is then attached to the traversing table. Before the left side is fitted the elevation wheel is attached to its support, whilst the hydraulic section of the elevation mechanism is assembled from five parts and the mechanical elevation guide is assembled from four parts. The two elevation ratchet wheels now assembled from two wheels and an axle. The ratchet wheels are then fitted with poly caps to allow the modeller to elevate the gun to their desired position. Each of these assemblies are then fitted to the trunnion mount, which is then fitted to the traversing mount with the elevation wheels and barrel assembly sandwiched between the two trunnions. Protective plates are fitted with ancillary parts before being attached to the front and rear of the trunnion plates. Lastly, the loading chute is assembled from seven parts and fitted to the rear of the gun mount completing the main part of the build. In addition to the gun and its mounting Takom have also included three shells, two long, (AP shells), and a shorter one which I presume is an HE shell, each assembled from two halves. One of the AP shells is fitted with a collar which is used to attach it to the shell handling trolley, also included and made up of eight parts. There is also a shell box to which a separate lid is affixed, allowing one of the three shells to be visible. All very useful if the model is to be built into a diorama. Conclusion This is a very unusual and quite obscure subject, yet still very welcome.I do have a fascination large calibre weapons, but have only seen ones the Germans designed in WW2, so its nice to have the chance to build something a little different and with the option of setting it into either a WW1 or WW2 scene. It would have been even nicer had Takom included a crew for it, so hopefully they will release a set in the future. Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
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