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  1. Russian Light AA Gun Set 1:35 Meng Model As part of their "Supplier" series that is aimed at providing (avoided saying supplying!) the modeller for accessories and diorama fodder, this kit kind of falls between two stools, as it really is a proper kit. In fact it's four proper kits in the one box, which makes for a very full box that wouldn't react well to having dozens of other kits placed on top of it. It arrived in an unassuming sand yellow topped box, and inside are sixteen sprues in green styrene, plus a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, no decals and an instruction booklet with the painting guide inside the rear glossy pages. There are parts in the box to make one each of the following Anti-Aircraft guns: ZU-23-2 (three configurations) Previously seen in the Toyota Hilux kit VS-004 in 2012. A two barrelled 23mm cannon towed on its two-wheeled chassis, with optional mounting on a vehicle flat-bed by removing the wheels. ZPU-1 (two variants) Previously seen in the Toyota Hilux Pickup kit VS-001 in 2011. A single barrelled 14.5mm gun on a low tripod for ground installation, also able to be built as the Chinese Type 80. ZPU-2 (three configurations for two variants) Previously seen in the Toyota Land Cruiser kit VS-005 in 2014. A double barrelled 14.5mm gun on a trailer mount that can also be flat-bed mounted by removal of the wheels. This can also be built as the Chinese Type 58. ZPU-4 (two configurations for two variants) A new tooling for this boxing in 2016. A four-barrelled 14.5mm gun on a four-wheel trailer with ground anchors for firing. It can also be built as the Chinese Type 56. As mentioned, all but the ZPU-4 have seen release as cargo for the various Pickup trucks that Meng have released over the years, so it appears that rather than release the new tooling as a small single boxing, the marketing people at Meng decided to bundle in their previous work to produce a comprehensive set of light AA guns, with a few details added to each one on the PE sheet. The barrels have all be slide-moulded, and detail is excellent throughout, irrespective of the time when they were originally moulded. The detail on the cooling jackets is superb given the limitations of injection moulding, and the guns with wheels are all styrene, split vertically. Markings It's a shame that no stencils were included in the kit, even if they were just for the ammo cans, but there it is, and if you wanted to add that extra detail you would need to source some elsewhere. The colour scheme is fairly simple with Russian Green being the dominant shade, with the option of sand for an Iraqi ZPU-4. It wouldn't be difficult to find some other colours from the many operators of these long-lived and almost ubiquitous anti-aircraft guns. The colour call-outs have been done in their new collaborative effort with AK Interactive to produce acrylic paint sets specifically aimed at their own models. We'll be reviewing some of these in the coming weeks. Conclusion A great bunch of kits that would look equally well on your shelf or in diorama settings. Well detailed and quick to build due to the simplicity of colour. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. US Cougar 6x6 MRAP & Russian GAZ-233014 STS Tiger Resin Wheelsets 1:35 Meng Models Meng's broadening of their product range into aftermarket sets for their own products continued apace with these two sets of resin wheels for their recent kits. Both sets arrive in the same style black cardboard box with a tuck-in flap that reveals a bright, almost fluorescent orange interior that as usual with Meng, says quality in no uncertain terms. Every part is individually wrapped in a small heat-formed "pillowcase" bubble-wrap bag that is open one end, but folded over to protect the resin inside. The moulds have been pressure filled, resulting in nice solid castings that have very little in the way of defects, with four small casting blocks that are attached to individual tread blocks to reduce clean-up after their liberation. These points have been placed at the bottoms where the wheel is slightly deformed to mimic the weight of the vehicle pressing down on the tyres, so little will be seen anyway. The weighting has been done in a sympathetic manner, so that the tyres have the prototypical look, rather than need reinflating! US Cougar 6X6 MRAP Vehicle Wheel Set (SPS-024) This set contains eight resin wheels, two of which are without their inner hubs for mounting on the side of the vehicle as spares. The remaining six have their inner hubs present and are ready to just glue into place instead of the kit parts when removed from their casting blocks. Detail is superb with sharp aggressive tread pattern, circumferential beading around the shoulder of the tyre, and the ribbing showing through from the internal compartments that permit the tyres to survive small arms fire and still stay partially inflated. There is one slight downside to this set, in that all the tyres have been cast from the same mould, so the raised tyre data will be in the same place on each one when placed on its contact patch. A minor issue, but having seen Meng making a number of moulds to get around this in previous releases, it's a shame they couldn't have continued this format. Russian Armoured GAZ-233014 STS Tiger (SPS-025) Inside the box are five wheels, one of which is provided as tyre and rim only, while the other four have big dustbin-lid style hubs moulded in. An aggressive V-tread pattern is present, as is the various beads and maker's data panels. This set has two different moulds for the mounted tyres, which permits the modeller to have hubs and sidewall detail at different orientation on both sides of the vehicle by using one of each type per side. Review sample courtesy of
  3. M1A2 SEP Abrams TUSK I/II 1:35 Meng Models The Abrams Main Battle Tank is the direct replacement to the M60, when it was realised that the venerable design was ill-suited to further modification. The new design entered limited service in 1980 and went on to become the main heavy tank in the Army and Marines branches of the American armed forces. It saw extensive action in the two Gulf Wars, where it cleaned up against older Soviet designs with minimal damage inflicted in a stand-up fight due to its composite armour. It was developed further with the AIM programme, which upgraded the battle management systems and returned the vehicles to factory fresh condition. The A2 was improved again, giving the commander his own sighting system as well as other system changes. The SEP received additional changes to its armour and systems, with a remote weapons station added later on. With the involvement of the Abrams in urban combat during the Afghanistan campaign, it became clear that the tank was vulnerable in close-quarters combat, where the top of the tank was open to attack from small arms fire and RPGs could be used with relative safety, as the firing team could pop up and disappear in between shots. The problems of IEDs buried on roads or in buildings also disabled a number of tanks in practice, all of which led to the TUSK and improved TUSK II upgrade packages, which stands for Tank Urban Survival Kit. To counter IEDs an angled "keel" was added to the underside to deflect blast away from the hull, reactive armour blocks were added to the side skirts and turrets, and bullet-resistant glass cages were mounted around the crew hatches on the turrets to provide protection for the crew during urban transit or if they were called upon to use their weapons in combat. A combat telephone was also installed on the rear of the tank to allow communication between accompanying troops and the tank, as well as slat armour to protect the exhausts for the gas turbine engine, the blast from which was directed upwards by a deflector panel that could be attached to the grille to avoid frying troops behind. The TUSK II kit improved on the original TUSK with shaped charges incorporated into the ERA blocks on the sides of the tank, and additional shields for the crew when exposed. Both kits were field-installable, which reduced the cost and time spent out of the field. The A3 variant will incorporate many weight-saving changes, such as internal fibre-optic data transmission, lighter armour and gun, amongst many improvements. This is a long time distant at time of writing however, so the A2 will be around for some time yet. The Kit This is a new tooling from Meng, and only the second in this scale to give the modeller the option of portraying a TUSK equipped vehicle out of the box. Previously, it was down to expensive and complex aftermarket sets to spruce up a basic Abrams, which bumped up the total spend to close to £100. Now you have the option of this injection moulded kit that dispenses with the resin and most of the Photo-Etch parts, making the TUSK much more accessible. As always with Meng kits, the detail is excellent, and the parts-layout well considered, and the result will be a pleasing replica of this pugnacious-looking tank. The box has the standard Meng footprint, but is deeper than usual to accommodate the large quantity of parts within. Inside the satin finished box are eight sprues and a lower hull in sand coloured styrene, four in a dark brown colour, three small sprues of clear styrene, two sheets of PE, five short runs of poly-caps, a decal sheet, and the glossy instruction booklet with painting guide to the rear on colour stock. If you have any Meng kits, you'll know what to expect in terms of detail, with some very finely moulded parts and some slide-moulding evident on a lot of the sprues. The tracks look to be quite complex, but there has been effort expended to simplify things, which I'll detail later. The clear parts are separately bagged, and have a further layer of self-cling film wrapped around them for additional protection, all of which gives a quality feel to the overall package. Choose your preferred decal option early, as this will affect some of your parts choices during the build, as only one option is suitable for a TUSK II machine with the curved ERA blocks. I consider that a bit of a shame, as from the four options it would have been sensible to have at least a 50/50 split to avoid everyone building the same example. After the four language history of the Abrams, construction begins with the running gear, as you'd expect. Each of the paired road wheels have a polycap trapped inside, as do the drive sprockets, which are also two-part assemblies. "Where are the idler wheels?" you might ask. They're the same as a road-wheels, which makes repair easier both in the workshop and on the field. The torsion-bar suspension is made up from styrene parts and inserted through the hull into cups on the opposite side of the hull, to be joined by the final drive housing and a number of stand-off struts for the side skirts that will be installed later. The wheels just push onto their axles and can be removed for painting at your whim, and at this stage the shallow keel armour is installed before the hull is flipped over to accept the upper parts. A couple of holes need drilling before the upper hull can be mated with the lower, and these have been thoughtfully marked with the version that they apply too, as have other holes that need work during the build. The upper hull is just a kinked plate with the turret ring cut out due to the low profile of the Abrams, with a number of PE grilles added to the engine deck to the rear. Various assemblies are built up to be added to the hull, such as the light clusters, driver's hatch, engine exhaust grilles, battery hatch and a quantity of lifting or towing eyes. Work then begins on the frames that hold the ERA blocks, which extend the full length of the side skirts, with the one-piece blocks sitting on shallow rails, and if you choose the TUSK II variant, covered over with the curved outer panels. The front of the ERA run is fitted with an angled sheet that has a couple of crew foot-steps cut in to aid access on the real thing. They are fitted to the hull sides once you have completed the tracks and installed them. Speaking of tracks, the ones provided in the kit are styrene and of the individual link type, which can remain workable if you are prepared tyo forego most of the glue. This adds a little complexity and increased parts count to the build, but with a little patience, you will be rewarded with a very realistic looking track-run. The supplied jig and carefully laid out parts allow you to make up five links at a time without scattering small parts everywhere, with the track-pins first glued to the guide-horns whilst still on their sprues. Ten bottom track pad halves are then laid out on the jig, and the pin/horn combo is placed on top after releasing the now dry horns from their runners. The inner parts of the track pads are then added, after which you can release the track-pins from their sprues, as there are two friction-fit pins that hold the inner and outer track-pads together. Be careful after construction, as any side-force on the pads could result in the pin ends popping off, as happened to me on my first test. You can see the broken bits in the picture, as well as the jig and a completed 5-link run. The majority of time was spent cleaning up the sprue gates, and take care when cutting the pads, as they have a tendency to burst if you cut them too closely, leaving you with a messy joint to clean up. Another tip is to ensure that when linking all the lengths together, you arrange the clean ends with the hollow track-pin ends on the same side, as these can then be placed on the outside of the runs, as the pads are omni-directional. Repeat that process until you have two runs of 81 links and you're done. Of course I'm being glib about it, but it's surprising how quickly these things get done if you go with the flow and stop being frustrated by the repetition. The turret is next in the queue, and again a few variant specific holes are drilled in the upper, while the simple gun pivot is added to the lower with polycaps supplying friction damping on any barrel movement and allowing it to be posed at will. The big blow-off ammo storage doors, radio masts and lots of conduits, bases for the crew-served weapons are added, and the gun barrel are made up, the latter being split vertically with a hollow muzzle and a key in the rear to prevent the fume extractor bulge ending up the wrong way. The mantlet has a dust cover that you are told to tape from inside to allow it to move during elevation, but I would consider using glue to hold the tape in place, in case old age takes its toll on the adhesive. The mantlet pushes into a large socket in the pivoting base, and the sides of the turret are adorned with a large pair of stowage boxes and smaller boxes of extra cartridges for the smoke dischargers. The simple loader's hatch as clear vision blocks, as does the commander's more complex cupola, and the TV box on the right of the turret roof, and the CITV (not the children's channel) on the front left. The smoke dischargers with covers or cartridges installed are fitted, as is the coax M2 derivative machine gun, the TV housing, the CITV turret, and the armoured conduit to the CITV. More stowage area is supplied in the form of tubular framed bins on the left and right, with more to the rear, part of which is taken up by the air conditioning unit. An additional basket can be added to the rear of the bustle, and all of these have PE mesh floors. Under the turret lower the extra armoured conduits for the AC and other hardware are scabbed onto the surface, showing how much the Abrams has changed since its early days with sleek slab sides. The commander's cupola is almost a turret in itself, having full field vision in the shape of an octagonal set of clear vision blocks set into a styrene frame. A wash of clear blue/green will give them the correct bullet-proof hue, and don't forget to mask them before it gets too cluttered. The vision blocks are dropped onto a gun-ring and the bullet-proof panels that protect the commander are built up around it, sitting on top of the vision blocks without impeding their view. The M2 machine gun is fitted to a triangular bracket with a glazed shield preventing bullets or shrapnel sneaking past the gap. The loader's shields are slightly less impressive, and his gun is an L249 derivative, but he benefits from the protection of the commander's cupola on one side. The turret is also protected by ERA blocks in the TUSK II kit, which attach to a lightened frame and are attached to the turret toward the front, leaving the bustle exposed to a great extent. The TUSK kit included IFF panels and tow cables, which sling under the side stoage boxes. Meng even include some common accessories that are seen on the Abrams, including additional ammo, spare road wheels and drive sprockets, which can be useful in the event of an IED strike. The aforementioned exhaust deflector panel is also provided, and because of the extreme heat it endures, the panels soon become rusty and even deformed. Markings Four decal options are provided out of the box on a relatively small sheet, and as already mentioned, only one option is for the TUSK II equipped Abrams. Hopefully that will be rectified by decal companies in due course. From the box you can build one of the following: M1A12 SEP TUSK II 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, US Army, Iraq, July 2008. M1A12 SEP TUSK I commander's vehicle, E Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, US Army, Iraq, 2011. M1A12 SEP TUSK I 3rd Squadron, 2rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, US Army FOB Hammer, Iraq 5th May, 2011. M1A12 SEP TUSK I "Ghetto Blaster II" 68th Armoured Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, US Army Iraq. As the TUSK kits are used in desert conditions, all the tanks are painted in sand colour, with very little adornment, save for a few kill markings and some "noseart" in black and white. The colour call-outs are given in the new Meng/AK Interactive numbers, which should be available as you read this. In case you haven't seen them, Meng are releasing sets pertaining to their kits in conjunction with AK Interactive, and we'll try to bring you some news and reviews of this in due course. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Superb. I became familiar with the Abrams after building one after I got into AFV modelling, and have a couple of the TUSK aftermarket sets that might not see action now. This is a lovely kit with plenty of detail that can be completed by anyone with a modicum of skill and a few kits under their belt. The tracks may put a few off, but patience, as always is a virtue. It is well priced considering what's in the box, and no more than the old Dragon kits were a couple of years ago without any of the TUSK parts in their boxes. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Meng Models have three new 1/35 scale sets out this week, including a Mk.V Female Tank, a Russian AA Guns Set and a Resin Wheels Set for their GAZ-233014 model kit. For full details, please see our newsletter.
  5. Hi All one of my last kits to finish, the Meng ME410 bomber version Built totally out of the box and painted with Vallejo acrylics If you have one of these in the stash build it it really is a peach of a kit. panel lines are a bit heavy as are rivets but i goes together with no filler and just a bit of mr surfacer. it was based in northern France 1944 and involved in the "mini blitz"
  6. A rather dramatic name for a new airbrush from Meng, who seem to be expanding into the modelling tools and and consumables sector of our hobby with a co-branded paint system link-up with AK Interactive, and now this rather neat looking airbrush. No additional info as yet, but it looks like it'll do the job nicely
  7. It's been old news for a couple of weeks, but I can't see a thread here, so I'll start one. If there's one already let me know and I'll merge it. Looks like there's going to be a paint set released in conjunction with most of their major releases from now on too, as they've hooked up with AK Interactive to make this happen with co-branding on the boxes. Cool! Facebook.
  8. Hello again! I'd like to show you my latest build - T-90A. As usual first of all, few words about the kit and the process. That was my first try for Meng kit and I'm absolutely in love. The details are amazing, instructions straight forward (few flaws maybe) and fit of the kit is nice. The only thing I didn't like is lack of paint schemes. Kit gives you choice of 5 different variant, but four of them are parade ones. I went for the only one that wasn't clean and easy - Russian Motorised Brigade from North Caucasus. I love the tracks. They seem to be complicated, but after few made they turned out to be an easy and rewarding job. There was a bit of a challenge to do the camouflage. I used white tack to mask. It was a real surprise when I put second colour, which according to the instructions - should be Vallejo Duck Egg Green. It turned out to be totally different from the printed one - quite pale green as you notice. I've managed to find a real photo in similiar colours, more yellowish, but I guess that it might be something wrong with the photograph, then I just thought to myself, that kit is branded my Gur Khan, so I guess he knows what the real colour should be and wouldn't be happy if Meng will put wrong paint reference in the kit. After this, there was the usual - glossy coat, wash, streaking, rusting and scratching, then matt coat and dust. For the tracks, I painted them Vallejo's Gun Metal and washed it with AK's Rust streaking. Then dust it with Mig pigments. Enjoy: Thanks for your attention:) Now working on something flying again. See you soon!
  9. D9R Armoured Bulldozer w/Slat Armour 1:35 Meng Models Based upon the successful Caterpillar D9 bulldozer chassis, the D9R is the latest incarnation of the armoured variant used extensively in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in the Combat Engineering Corps. It is heavily armoured with bullet-proof glazing, as well as protection for the hydraulic and electrical components, with The updated version sporting the new slat/bar armour to pre-detonate RPG rounds before reaching the cab area, a feature that was introduced in 2005. It has a crew of two, with the commander issuing the orders and manning the roof mounted M2 machine gun, and a driver living up to his job title. Its nickname in IDF service is Doobie, which is Hebrew for Teddy Bear, which I'm guessing is ironic. It is used for breaching barriers under fire, as well as creating or destroying earthworks, or making areas passable by heavier armour. They have also been used to clear landmines, make fortifications and clear areas of cover, preventing sneak attacks on their forces. They are so well armoured as to be impervious to all but the largest of explosives, and have been known to withstand direct hits from RPGs and IEDs up to half a tonne. So successful has the Doobie been that some have been purchased and used in US service for similar tasks. The Kit The original release was way back in 2013, reviewed here, and it has taken the best part of three years to tool the necessary parts to do the slat armoured version, although the "slats" are actually tubular bars, so the title bar armour would seem more appropriate if we were going to be pedantic. Inside the box are nineteen sprues in sand coloured styrene, three in black, two sprues in clear, one of which is truly clear, the other tinted bullet-proof glass green. A small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, seven chromed metal tubes of varying lengths, a length of flexible black tubing, four poly-caps plus of course the decal sheet and instruction booklet round out the very full package. The moulding has been adapted cleverly to incorporate the new parts, and construction is almost identical to the earlier model, so I won't go into vast detail about it, although some important upgrades have been added with the benefit of feedback from the modelling community. The first and most obvious upgrade is the inclusion of chrome tubing to replicate the finish on the hydraulic rams, along with a newly tooled end-caps and attachment eyes on the two new sprues to complete them. These are simple replacements for the plastic parts and should give a much more realistic finish to the area with a little careful masking of the metal. The second change is to the track links, which were a little fiddly in their previous incarnation. Instead of two inner links to marry up and glue to the traction plates, the two parts are supplied as one, ready to be glued directly to the plates. This will save a lot of time, glue and cursing, so Meng are to be applauded for expending the effort to improve them. The hangers for the slat armour panels are added around the top of the crew cab on armoured "pelmets" above the window that fit onto the wall panels. Additional brackets are spaced around the sides, with scrap diagrams showing the correct orientation of those that are difficult to see from one view only. The panels themselves are almost without exception single parts, very finely moulded to give a realistic depiction of the bars and slats that hold them together. There is however a tiny amount of flash here and there, but this can be quickly scraped off with a sharp #11 blade along with the moulding seams to give the correct look to the rods. A little tedious, but worth it to get it right. The sections are shaped to hug the contours of the cab, and separate parts are used to allow access to stowage areas, or to go around protrusions. It is very nice to see that the armour is left until last, which will suit the modeller down to the ground, allowing them to complete the kit as far as possible before painting, and at the same time they can paint the armour panels. Markings There are three markings options, but all vehicles are painted IDF Sand Grey, which is referred to as Hemp in the instructions, but as the likes of AK, AMMO and LifeColor have the correct IDF colours in their range, it shouldn't be a problem to convert the Vallejo colour call-outs if necessary. From the box you can build one of the following: Combat Engineers Battalion, 188th Barak (Lightning) Brigade, IDF, Golan Heights, October 2015 – coded 949642. Combat Engineers Battalion, 401st Brigade, IDF, Golan Heights, June 2014 – coded 949630. Un-named unit with a small stylised cat motif on the blade sides, with the digits 003 beneath it – coded 949669. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Another welcome release, and a nice easy way of building a slat-armoured Doobie without resorting to the expense of aftermarket PE sets. It's a Meng kit, so moulding quality and detail is first rate, and if you want to upgrade the rest of the detail, most of the aftermarket for the original release should fit just as well on this kit. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Merkava IIID LIC Late 1:35 Meng Models The Merkava "chariot" is a main battle tank used by the Israel Defence Forces. The tank began development in 1973 and entered official service in 1978. Four main variants of the tank have been deployed. It was first used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon War. The name "Merkava" was derived from the IDF's initial development program name. Design criteria include rapid repair of battle damage, survivability, cost-effectiveness and off-road performance. Following the model of contemporary self-propelled howitzers, the turret assembly is located closer to the rear than in most main battle tanks. With the engine in front, this layout is intended to grant additional protection against a frontal attack, especially for the personnel in the main hull, such as the driver. It also creates more space in the rear of the tank that allows increased storage capacity and a rear entrance to the main crew compartment allowing easy access under enemy fire. This allows the tank to be used as a platform for medical disembarkation, a forward command and control station, and an infantry fighting vehicle. The rear entrance's clamshell-style doors provide overhead protection when off- and on-loading cargo and personnel. It was reportedly decided shortly before the beginning of the 2006 Lebanon War that the Merkava line would be discontinued within four years. However, on November 7, 2006, Haaretz reported that an Israeli General Staff assessment had ruled of the Merkava Mark IV that "if properly deployed, the tank can provide its crew with better protection than in the past," and deferred the decision on discontinuing the line. On August 16, 2013, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon announced the decision to resume production of the Merkava main battle tank for the IDF Armoured Corps. The Merkava IID LIC Late is a combination of the IIID, with BAZ systems fitted so includes the addition of the locally developed IMI 120mm gun. This gun and a larger 1,200 horsepower (890 kW) diesel engine increased the total weight of the tank to 65 tonnes (143,000 lb), but the larger engine increased the maximum cruising speed to 60 km/h (37 mph). The turret was re-engineered for movement independent of the tank chassis, allowing it to track a target regardless of the tank's movement. Many other changes were made, including:- External two-way telephone for secure communications between the tank crew and dismounted infantry, Upgraded ammunition storage containers to minimize ammunition cook-off, Addition of laser designators, Incorporation of the Kasag modular armour system, designed for rapid replacement and repair in the battlefield and for quick upgrading as new designs and sophisticated materials become available, Creation of the Mark IIIB, with unspecified armour upgrades. The BAZ modifications included further updates and additional systems including:- Upgraded fire-control system components, from Electro Optics Industries (EL-OP) and Elbit, provides the tank with the ability to engage moving targets while on the move (an automatic target tracker), NBC protection systems, Locally developed central air-conditioning system, Added improvements in ballistic protection, The Mark IIID has removable modular composite armour on the chassis and turret. The Merkava IIID LIC’s have been further updated for urban warfare. The LIC designation stands for "Low intensity conflict", underlining its emphasis on counter-insurgency, street-to-street inner-city asymmetrical type warfare of the 21st century. The Merkava is equipped with a turret 12.7 mm calibre coaxial machine gun, which enables the crew to lay down fairly heavy cover fire without using the main gun (which is relatively ineffective against individual enemy combatants). Like the new remote-operated weapon station, the coaxial machine-gun is fired from inside the tank without exposing the crew to small-arms fire and snipers. The most sensitive areas of a tank, its optics, exhaust ports and ventilators, are all protected by a newly developed high-strength metal mesh, to prevent the possibility of explosives charges being planted there. Rubber whip pole-markers with LED tips and a driver's rear-facing camera have been installed to improve navigation and manoeuvrability in an urban environment by day or by night. The Model This is another updated release, form the original IIID that was released back in 2012. This includes new parts that add all the updated equipment carried by the LIC variant. The kit comes in a very attractive and sturdy box, with an artists impression of the tank somewhere in the desert. Inside there are twelve sprues and six separate parts in a medium to dark grey styrene, 220 separate track links, a small sheet of etched brass, a length of string, a short length of brass wire, twenty poly caps, and the smallish decal sheet. As usual with Meng kits the mouldings are superb, with great detail and no sign of imperfections or flash. Having said that I have found a couple of the track links that have been short shot, but hopefully there will still be enough to make up the two lengths of track without needing to use them all. This release is sort of a special edition as it includes a nice little booklet on the Merkava with some great pictures of the tank in the field. This has been produce by Desert Eagle and will come in very handy for the build. Construction begins with the assembly of the road wheels, each of five parts, return rollers, idlers and sprockets. All, with the exception of the return rollers, wheels are fitted with the poly caps which allow a friction fit onto the suspension arms and axles. The gearbox covers, bump stops, mud scrapers, shocker absorbers and idler wheel axles are attached to the lower hull. The wheels are then attached, as are the suspension springs, which do look really good considering they have bee moulded from plastic. The large rear door is assembled from fourteen parts and can be posed open should you wish. This is then attached to the rear hull, along with the fuel tank hatches, fuel filler caps, and the two prominent stowage baskets. With the hull upside down, the belly armour can be attached, along with the eight parts that go to make up the support arms. The upper forward hull section is fitted out with the driver viewing ports and the exhaust louvre, before being turned the right side up and having further detail added in the form of the front mudguards, engine decking, headlights, viewing port covers and several hand rails, tie down points and other fixings. There are two styles of drivers hatch to choose from, which are then fitted with the opening system before being glued into position. The rear mounted telephone box, lights and mudguards are attached, followed by the side skirt support brackets. The tracks are then assembled, each from 106 links, and fitted, the upper hull can be attached to the lower, after which, the two side skirts are attached. The engine exhaust grille is now added, as are the various covers and guards that are affixed around the hull. The main gun is made up from twelve parts, with only the front and rear sections requiring any sanding to get rid of the seams. This assembly is then fitted to the lower turret section, along with the rear panel, which has been detailed with spare track links, and two aerial base, and their respective aerials. The ball and chains are moulded in styrene and actually look quite good, but for those who need extra realism, there are aftermarket sets of individual balls and lengths of chain. The three sections that make up the shot trap protection are fitted to the large basket that is fitted to the rear of the turret. The three armoured section of the upper turret are joined together and the whole assembly is fitted to the lower turret, along with the forward armoured section, more aerial bases and numerous other fittings. The commanders cupola and gunners hatches are assembled then fitted into position, followed by the multitude of sensor boxes and their covers, plus the smoke dischargers, forward mounted 50 cal heavy machine gun, panoramic sight, and the two MAG machine guns, on for the gunner and one for the commander. The turret is then mounted onto the hull with the two towing cables, completing the build. Decals The smallish, well printed decal sheet provides markings for two vehicles, both of which are in the standard overall sand grey used by the Israeli Army. Merkava 111D LIC, Tank “Gimel” ©, 2nd (Wolves) Company, 2nd Storm Battalion, 188 Lightning Brigade, Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, 2014 Merkava 111D LIC, Tank 11 “Gimel (11C), 2nd Storm Battalion, 188 Lightning Brigade, Israel-Lebanon Border, 2015 The decals are well printed, with good register, colour density and crisp demarcations, as we have come to expect when they are printed by Cartograf. Conclusion The Merkava has always been an interesting tank, and the continued upgrades keep it well in the front line. As usual Meng have produced a fabulous product which should build into a great looking model. It will certainly look good in any collection, particularly if you are building a series of the different Merkava types currently released. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. AuF1 TA Self-Propelled Howitzer 1:35 Meng Models Developed from the successful AMX-30 Main Battle Tank, the AuF1 is a 155mm howitzer that as well as being rather heavy (over 41 tonnes), is also fast and manoeuvrable, as well as having an automatic loading system giving it a high sustained fire rate of 6 rounds per minute, and burst mode of 8 RPM on a good day. Because the vehicle has sufficient room inside for the whole 4-man crew to travel inside the cab, it has quite a high profile, but because it has a range of almost 24km it has little need for stealth, and is in fact only lightly armoured to a thickness of 20mm to withstand small arms fire. The AuF1 is used by the French army, all of which are now upgraded to the AuF2 spec, as well as the Saudis who have over 50 units on strength. Iraq had 85 that saw action during the Iran/Iraq war, but following the first Gulf War, some remained intact, possibly because they were unable to take part in operations due to a lack of spares caused by the years of arms embargoes in the run up to the conflict. There were rows of abandoned machines at a former Republican Guard base that made for quite an impressive sight. The Model Meng originally released a version of the AuF-1 back in 2012 which came complete with the interior of the turret. This new version unfortunately doesn’t have the interior, so will make for a simpler, if less interesting build. They have also changed the colour of the styrene to a very dark green colour, which not only makes for a more challenging painting experience, but was a real pain to photograph. There are eleven sprues, and a separate lower hull section in the green styrene, one of clear and four in a dark brown. The kit also included a short length of brass wire, a length of string, a small sheet of etched brass, twenty poly caps and a small decal sheet. Construction of the lower hull is identical to the previous release, as you'd expect, with paired drive wheels attached to the suspension arms by friction fit of the poly-caps, and full-length torsion bars mimicking the real suspension. The upper hull is, naturally, the same too, with the same hatches on the glacis plate at the front, side pioneer tool panels, and the rear bulkhead/radiator/exhaust assemblies. The light clusters, spare fuel cans and external telephone are all present, as are the PE grilles that cover the hot exhausts. There are pair of large front mounted tool box assemblies which are built up and the right hand side box fitted with fire extinguishers, before both are fitted to the front of the vehicle. The tow ropes are consigned to the port side panels with the pioneer tools. The tracks are meant to be working, and to build them, Meng have included an ingenious part C10 as a template for building up the individual click-together track links, 80 parts per run. The main difference between releases is that you only get the external parts of the gun, so that means the barrel base, with its four recuperators are assembled and fitted to the simple trunnion mount, which is fitted from the inside of the mantlet. The mantlet is installed at the front of the turret, and is joined by the sides, then the frame of the rear wall, and finally the roof. The roof has some boxes, smoke dischargers and various lifting eyes added around the turret before the large side doors are constructed from an inner skin joined to the outer, with a clear vision port and internal handle to improve the detail. These can be posed open or closed on the moulded-in hinges, and the top hatches are left loose to be posed open or closed at will, but with no interior it’s not much of an option. Grab-handles, an antenna base, along with two sets of barrel cleaning rods, and a roof mounted searchlight are attached, along with a 50cal weapon with mount and ammo-box is added to the left-hand hatch. The rear magazine doors can only be posed closed, thus needing the hinges removing. The final parts are the main gun barrel, which is supplied as separate halves, with a small detail section added to the aft of the muzzle brake. Once complete and the seams hidden, this just slots into the hole between the recuperators, and could even be left loose for ease of transport, as it is a little on the long side! Decals Unlike the first release, this version comes with two marking options, one with the standard French tri-colour scheme depicting a vehicle from the 1st battalion, 40th Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armoured Brigade of the French Army. The second option is for a vehicle of the 1st Marine Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armoured Brigade of the French Army, as used in the Lebanon in 2006 and is painted in the UN overall white scheme. The decals are well printed, with good register, colour density and crisp demarcations. The colour profiles cover every side of the vehicle, so there will be no guess work on where the various colour splodges start and finish, which makes a nice change from recent experiences with other manufacturers. The large crest/shield on the decal sheet is beautifully printed, unfortunately there is nothing in the instructions showing where, or if this is used, but I’m sure a bit of research on the internet will show it. Conclusion This is still an imposing model, with its huge gun barrel. Just a shame that Meng decided not to include the interior parts of the turret, as it would have given this kit some more options on how to display it. It’s still a great kit and one I can whole heartily recommend it. It will certainly stand out in the collection if painted in the UN scheme. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Messerschmitt Me.410B-2/U2/R4 1:48 Meng via Creative Models The Aggressively styled two-engined Me-410 Hornisse started life as the Me-210, designed as a replacement for the Bf-110, and was instigated before WWII started, although its protracted gestation is hardly surprising when you consider the problems that presented themselves before it could be turned into an even remotely successful heavy fighter/bomber. The 210 suffered from some unpleasant handling characteristics, and garnered such a poor reputation that when design for the substantial changes needed to fix these problems (initially designated the 210D) was underway, the decision was made to rename it the 410. The 410 utilised an improved DB603A engine, lengthened fuselage to improve the centre of gravity, and amended wing planform to give the wing a constant sweep-back at the front to bring the aerodynamic centre further forward. Coupled with leading-edge slats that had been removed from the initial 210 design, the result was an aircraft that was significantly more pleasant to fly, had a respectable top speed and could carry a substantial war-load. On entering service in 1943, the initial success as a night bomber over the UK was most definitely not a portent of things to come. The 410 was a day late and a dollar short, so to speak, and no sooner had it reached the front-line and started attacking the bomber streams, than the Allies darkened the skies with fast, manoeuvrable single-engined fighters such as the Spitfire and Mustang, which could easily out-fly the 410. Pitched into battle alone, they were easy prey to the Allied fighters, and the balance was only slightly shifted by the introduction of Br.109 and Fw.190 escorts. The heavy losses eventually resulted in the removal of the 410 from front-line service to duties closer to home, and some limited use as a high-level reconnaissance aircraft. Due to its relatively short career, the marks did not progress beyond the B model, although high altitude C and D models were planned. The 410 was quite innovative in its weapons carriage though, and had a nose-mounted weapons bay, which could house a palette of munitions, either bombs, cannon, cameras or the 50mm Bordkanone that was used to attack the daylight bomber raids. Due to the upgraded engines, a pair of bomb shackles had to be added to the inner wing undersides, as the 410 could carry more weight than its bomb bay could contain. The twin remote controlled "barbettes" on each side of the mid fuselage were also of note. They were controlled by the rear gunner using a traditional pistol-grip, and could traverse up and down, but also could flip out sideways to fire at an enemy behind and to one side. Movement and aiming was all done by controls attached to the pistol grip, and must have surprised more than one potential assailant. After the war, numerous of these interesting aircraft were taken as war prizes by the Allies, but sadly only two full airframes exist today, one in RAF Cosford in a fully-restored state, which until the 1980s was capable of ground-running, the other awaiting preservation in the UK at the National Air & Space Museum. The Kit Meng's initial releases of this lovely kit were some time ago now, and this boxing marks the third variant that they have extracted from the moulds, which has been achieved by using a small "accessory" sprue with the various non-common parts, and one of two windscreen parts on a smaller clear sprue that is separate from the main glazing. We reviewed the original release in 2013 when it arrived, and you can see that here, with the later bomber variant here reviewed later that year. My impression of the kit hasn't changed in the intervening years, and it still stacks up well either as a stand-alone kit, or by comparison with the old and inaccurate Monogram kit. This variant carried a pair of larger 13mm MG131 machine guns for additional destructive power, while the expected speed increase due to new engines didn't materialise after the project was cancelled. As a result it still languished behind other types in terms of speed and couldn't achieve its full potential. It was also able to carry two 20mm MG151 cannons in a gondola under the belly, giving it a highly concentrated offensive armament that would make short work of any target which came into range. The internal armament parts remain unchanged, as little other than the barrel muzzles will be seen once the model is complete, and construction follows the same lines as before with only the two gun packs differing from the earlier boxings. The MG131s are inserted into the bomb bay area under the nose in a tubular "pod", with their barrels protruding from the nose, and the pod covering the redundant MG17s in the centre of the bay. As before the bay can be posed open or closed using the same parts, as can the large canopy. Additional armament is included in the shape of 210mm Werfer-Granate 21 rockets, which were also used by ground troops in the Nebelwerfer 42 that I built recently. These were carried under the wings in tubes that were canted upwards at the front to counter ballistic drop as these heavy projectiles sped to their preset aiming point in the bomber stream, with a 30m destructive sphere on detonation. It's fortunate for the Allied bombers that they weren't terribly accurate. The highlights of the kit are a well-detailed cockpit with intricately shaped glazing and accurate framework, plus a pair of nicely done DB603 engines in the engine nacelles. The gun/bomb bay is also well stocked with parts, and with the addition of a number of Photo-Etch (PE) parts throughout, the whole kit reeks of quality tooling. Markings There are three markings options in this boxing, all of which share the same camouflage scheme, which is a soft splinter of RLM74/75 with mottle on the fuselage sides, over RLM76. It seems that the paint call-outs and their arrows have been omitted from this printing of the instruction booklet, but as it is in colour, it shouldn't be too tricky to decide the correct colours to use. From the box you can build one of the following: I./ZG 26 Luftwaffe West Europe 1944 coded 3U+AA – white tail band and black/white spiral spinners. I./ZG 76 Luftwaffe Czechoslovakia 1944 coded 2M8+- – Yellow tail band and black spinners. 9./ZG 1 Luftwaffe Germany 1944 coded 6U+NT – black/white spiral spinners. As always, the decals have been printed by Cartograf, and have their usual standard of register, sharpness and colour density, and you'll be pleased to hear that the spinner spirals are provided as white decals, and there are plenty of stencils to add visual interest to the skin of the aircraft. Conclusion Another winner from the Meng stable, although a bit of variation in schemes would have been nice. In fairness however, there were very few airframes of any variant of the Hornisse, so choice is limited. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Hello all, Here's my latest finished work. It's Meng's Kayaba Ku-4 parasite fighter carried by a Hasegawa Ki-49. Both kits were great builds, though the Mens decals and Hasegawa canopy fit were both less than ideal. The Kayaba Ku-4 was originally a glider prototype from 1940 that was resurrected to an experimental ramjet/rocket fighter airplane. It was to carry two 30 mm cannons with less than 100 rounds total. After making passes at B-29s, it was to glide back to an airstrip. Sort of an even more rudimentary Me-163. The Ku-4 is finished with Tamiya rattlecan, while the Ki-49 is a rattlecan base with Vallejo acrylics on top. Enjoy!
  14. This is the little Meng Kids kit. It's a snap-together model in black and brown plastic. I chose to paint it using Tamiya acrylics, free-handing the camo. The decals are stickers, but of high quality. It's a great fun build in the same genre as the egg-planes.
  15. Mk.A Whippet Meng 1/35 This is Meng's version of the Whippet, built last December. I finished it as Sphinx, a White Army Whippet from the Russian civil war. The markings for this one are included on the kits decal sheet, but not mentioned in the instructions. It's a nice kit, probably slightly better (and much cheaper) than the Takom alternative, although the tracks are much more fragile than Takom's. And a shot with its brother from Takom Thanks for looking Andy
  16. There are some great new plastic model kit releases available from Master Box and Meng Models. Master Box release the next kit in their World War One series; the Hand to Hand Fight German & British Infantrymen. Meng Models releases feature a new 1/72 F-106A Delta Dart, as well as two sets of resin detail parts sets. For full details, please see our newsletter.
  17. Modern IDF Individual Load Carrying Equipment (SPS-020) 1:35 Meng Models Released in conjunction with the IDF Infantry set reviewed here, this high-quality resin set contains a large quantity of pressure cast resin parts on small casting blocks that would be useful as stowage on a vehicle, or to add individuality to a figure that you might be using to portray modern IDF troops. The set arrives in a small black box, and inside are individually packaged resin parts, as follows (from left to right, top row first in the picture): 1 x daysack 2 x large daysack 1 x kit bag 1 x go-bag 3 x load-carrying harnesses 1 x cummerbund belt in C-shape 1 x helmet with cover 1 x "camelbak" drinking reservoir pouch 2 x cummerbund belt in laid out shape 2 x daysack straps All the items have MOLLE loops as you'd expect from modern combat gear, and are of the highest quality in terms of casting and sculpting. The harnesses are designed to mount on the back of a figure, allowing a daysack to be glued in place, mating with the large back-pad, and the triangular bottom strap location points. The helmet in its cover is suitable for gluing to the rear of one of the large daysacks (the one on the left in the picture), where the retention strap mates with the strap on the helmet part, and the bottom keys in with the top edge of bottom compartment. You can see the collapsed helmet pouch on the right-most sack under the main compartment. The separate harnesses mount to the smaller sack, allowing it to be posed lying flat on the ground or on a vehicle, but they could also be adapted to fit the drink pouch with a little alteration of the mating surfaces. A very useful set for either figures or stowage, which will need very little clean-up, and a wash in warm soapy water to remove any lingering mould-release agent. Review sample courtesy of
  18. IDF Infantry Set 2000- (HS-004) 1:35 Meng Models With the profusion of Israeli armour that we seem to have these days, it makes sense to have some figures to go with them, and Meng have now released another set to complement their original vehicle crew set that we reviewed here some time ago. This set contains four figures that would be ideally suited to a foot patrol accompanying armour, with modern equipment that places them in this millennium. They arrive in a standard figure-sized box in a satin finish, and inside you will find four sprues in a shiny mid-grey styrene. The instructions consist of a painting guide on the rear of the box, and each figure's parts are together on one sprue for ease of construction. Each figure has separate legs, arms torso and head, plus a helmet with an oversize cover that looks unusual, but I believe has something to do with cooling and shading the soldier's neck and shoulders. Weapons are all Tavor (TAR-21) based, with either red-dot or holo-sights, and one has a 40mm grenade launcher attached under the barrel. Ammo pouches are also separate and are shown attached in various arrangements to the figures' vests, with additional pouches and day-sacks in various configurations. The figures are very well moulded, although a little flash is present, which can be seen from the photos. It's all pretty easy to remove however, and a good wash in warm soapy water is advisable, as there seems to be quite a lot of mould-release agent on the plastic, probably due to the complex nature of the mouldings. Two of the figures are in a walking pose, one with his weapon across his chest, the other holding it down to his side. Of the remaining two, one is standing with his rifle in both hands in a relaxed but ready pose. The other is on one knee shouting (judging by the size of his cake-hole) into a field radio handset, with his rifle cradled in his free hand. Colour call-outs are given in Vallejo codes, but it's easy enough to convert these to any other brand, or you could pick up the IDF colour set from Lifecolor that is within my review here. Be sure to check out my review of the resin IDF load-carrying equipment set here. Review sample courtesy of
  19. ... because this is useful information... Hyperdy wrote: And the Dragonborn replied bestest, M.
  20. MAZ-543M Sagged Wheel Set 1:35 Meng Models This set of resin wheels is designed to fit their new 9A52-2 Smerch in 1:35, which I've just reviewed here, to replace the kit parts with something a little more detailed that has a degree of sag engineered in. The set arrived in a black box, and inside is a stunning orange liner, plus eight resin wheels with moulded-in hubs, all individually coddled in small bubble-wrap bags. The wheels are all cast on small tapered block with three sprues attaching it to the bottom tread-blocks on the sagged part of the tyre. There is also a number embossed on the side of the casting block, ranging from one to eight. This is because Meng haven't just made one master and cast it eight times, but have instead made eight masters in different positions so that the tread-blocks and nomenclature embossed into the sidewalls is in a different position, as would most likely happen in the field. This adds a little realism and shows Meng's dedication to the finer points of modelling. The casting is first-rate, as is the detail, and the pour stubs have been located so that clean-up is minimal. The picture above shows two wheels of the eight that had snapped off the blocks during transit. Little more than a buff with a sander would see them ready for a wash in warm soapy water and then installation. Below is a picture lifted from Meng's site showing the wheels painted and weathered – and very nice they look too! Conclusion While the kit parts would probably suffice for most modellers, these resin replacements are easy to use, more detailed, and more robust long-term. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. 9A52-2 Smerch Russian Long Range Rocket Launcher 1:35 Meng Models Referred to as a BM-30 Smerch, or just Smerch-M if you're in a hurry. It is the modern incarnation of the old Katyusha rocket system, and came into service in the late 1980s with the Soviet Army. The full system consists of the rockets in their launch vehicle, loading crane with spare rockets, and a maintenance vehicle, but it is the launch vehicle that we're talking about here. It is an indirect fire weapon that benefits from a fast set-up and take-down time to avoid retaliatory fire, and it can send up to twelve rockets on their way to a target in a shade under 40 seconds. It can reload in 20 minutes with a number of rocket types that are tuned for attacks on armour, personnel or soft-skinned targets, with a range of between 20km and 50km under normal use, but with an incredible maximum range of 90km for one anti-personnel type. There are quite a number of these systems in use around the world, mostly with former Soviet countries, or their usual non-aligned customers such as India and some Arab states. It will eventually be replaced by a lighter-weight lower-cost system that should bring cost savings as well as new technology to the party, but with a smaller complement of six rockets. The Kit This is a new tooling from Meng, and given their reputation for releasing high quality products, expectations are raised. It is way too large for one of their standard boxes, so arrives in a pretty large one of the same height as their "standard" boxings. It's quite heavy too, so remember to lift from your knees when handling it. Inside the box is a feast of plastic, with a couple of dividers keeping everything neat and tidy, and individual bags on everything. It's easier to put it all in a list, so you get the following: 26 x sprues in sand-coloured styrene 1 x flexible styrene sprue in sand 1 x chassis part in sand-coloured styrene 12 x rocket tube parts, each one consisting of 6 sections 16 x suspension linkages of three types (8, 4, 4) 8 x rubberised tyres 2 x pre-cut self-adhesive mirror film for wing mirrors 1 x synthetic braided cord 8 x large poly-caps 18 x small poly-caps 2 x Photo-Etch (PE) brass sheets 1 x decal sheet The instruction booklet rounds off the package, in an A4 portrait format with the five outer leaves in glossy colour printing, the balance in black and white on matt paper. This is the second Smerch of late, and it appears that Meng have attempted to provide a more completely detailed kit that is doubtless reflected in the price. As well as a full engine, the crew compartments are also fully detailed, but overall the two kits are broadly similar. Construction begins with the huge pair of what can only be described as girders that run from stem to stern, linked by tubular "rungs" in substantial brackets. With that together, the drive mechanism is put in place, supplying motive power to each axle via short drive-shafts and transfer casings. The steering linkages for the front two axles are also added, as well as sundry equipment and additional chassis bracing parts. The main transmission box sits behind the engine, separated by a short shaft, and this is fully depicted, as is the engine itself, with highly detailed cylinder blocks, crank-case, plus all the ancillary equipment and hosing. A power take-off box at the front of the engine provides the two radiator fans with energy to cool the large slab radiator core that sits at the front of the chassis rails. The running gear is next, and each one although looking similar to its neighbour is different, so you'll need to either build them up one-by-one, or mark the assemblies after completion and before installation. Get these mixed up and you may well end up crying. Each of the eight sets consists of a stub-axle with a steerable head that requires careful gluing, a short drive-shaft to the rear, and a pair of linkages to each side, which vary in length depending on which axle you are building. Each one is labelled with a letter for installation on the chassis sides, after which a number of protective panels are added to the sides and underneath the chassis, and a brake cylinder housing on each side. Suspension struts and steering linkages complete the underside, but there is another power take-off on the chassis top-side, yet more linkages here and there, plus a big pair of exhausts to be added. Brackets are installed to hold the mudguards, fuel tank, oil tank with sump-guard, and various stowage boxes are added along the side of the chassis, some of which are quite complex and detailed. The front bumper and engine protection is then put in place, with attention turning to the superstructure at this point. The launch tube base is able to rotate almost fully round, as well as elevate according to need, so the assembly is parts intensive, including structural parts, wiring and of course the elevation piston, which has an inner section that slides in and out of the outer sleeve to increase or decrease its length. The "flatbed" it sits on isn't all that flat, having very nicely moulded detail, and this is augmented by more parts before being flipped over to add the "turret", which is carefully glued in place using a cap on the end of its peg, so that it remains mobile. This is then covered up with a lower plate, and brackets are added to the sides for later attachment of walkways etc. It fixes to the chassis on three mounts, and is joined by a pair of complex stabilising jacks that deploy to hold the vehicle steady for firing. Although the feet don't slide in and out, there are two lengths supplied for use, and these are left unglued to facilitate change of configuration, although you may wish to glue them in place. Two massive battery packs sit either side of the front of the flatbed, providing the power for the complex electronics once the engine is off, and these are covered in individual clasps that give them a very busy look. The Smerch has eight road wheels with massive balloon tyres to cope with off-road transport. These are supplied as single-part flexible styrene in a black colour, which have separate two-part hubs with a poly-cap trapped inside. These are just pushed onto the axles for each of painting and handling of the model. Meng themselves have produced a set of resin replacements for these, which improve on detail at the expense of not being able to use the poly-cap method of installation. I'll be reviewing these shortly. A scrap diagram shows that the tyres have a moulded-in direction of rotation marker arrow, so make sure you get them set up right, or those with sharp eyes and wit will tell you. With the wheels done, all the mudguards and fenders are made up along with pioneer tools and light-clusters, plus a crew access ladder on the starboard side. Up front the drivers' cab is begun with the oil-cooler and battery pack for the engine taking up the space within the starboard side over the front wheels, while the right side contains the crew cab. This is built up doors first, with inner and outer skins plus a clear window that can be posed closed or open by flipping it down on its hinge. You'll have to paint the door beforehand if you plan on doing this however. The right wall of the cab is then built and covered with equipment, with decals provided for all the important dials, data-cards and stencils, with the floor holding the two crew seats, pedal box and rather upright steering wheel. This is slotted into the left side of the cab, and again, the windows in the rest of the cab are installed from the outside, and some can be posed open. Installation of the right side closes up the cab, and then the doors are added in the open or closed position. There is a rather oddly shaped cage for a searchlight on the roof, and this is supplied as a flat spider of PE, which is bent to shape using a three-part disposable jig that gets the correct shape with minimal effort. Additional panels and antennae are then added to finish it off, after which it is glued to the chassis along with the radiator grille, which has a styrene layer with mounts, plus an outer PE layer that has louvers etched in that are twisted to give the correct angle as per a scrap diagram. The launch control cab is fully detailed with equipment and seating, but is made of individual sides that have double-skins for detail, with the majority of the interior parts added to the floor, and the roof panel finishing off the box, after which lots of additional part for stowage, tools and racking are added along with the doors. This sits behind the cab, again on three mounts, and then the engine is covered with access panels, air-filter, toolbox and a small grille, leaving lots of possibilities to display the contents if you desire. A ladder lashed to the radiator, optional winter radiator covers, towing cable with styrene eyes, and a pair of headlights finish that area off. The missile tubes have an unusual spiral strengthening rib that winds along their length, which must give the kit designers headaches if not nightmares. Meng have chosen to mould-in the rib and section the tubes both in half and into four lengths, leaving some fairly minimal (under the circumstances) seams to deal with. The front section is painted inside and has a missile nose hidden within and a fuse-setting "lump" underneath the muzzle, plus an optional protective cap for the end. The centre section is a simple two-part tube, as is the longer rear section. The tail assembly is in two parts, but also has the command wires and a missile back-side or protective cover at the very end. There are three types of tail-end, and of course you have to make up sufficient assemblies for all twelve missiles. That's going to take some time, so it might be worthwhile starting at the beginning of the build to ease the tedium of the process and prevent burn-out. With them all finished, the rack is built up, starting with the base and the rear panel to which you fit the tube-tails. The longer aft sections are then added and held in place with a perforated bulkhead, and the process is repeated with the mid-section. The muzzles are then clipped into the other side of the bulkhead, taking care to line everything up along the way. It is added to the base using a long pin with an end-cap that friction-fits without glue, and then it's just a case of installing the sighting system on its curved mount, and adding the sighting platform and its folding ladder. Markings There are six markings and camouflage options depicted on the decal sheet, with two offering the chance to model a parade-ground finished vehicle, while the rest will give some scope for weathering. From the box you can build one of the following: Victory Day Parade, Russian, 2009 – Green/beige/black camouflage. International Defence Exhibition of Land Forces, Moscow 2008 – Olive brown/beige/black camouflage. 336th Rocket Artillery Brigade, Belarusian Army, The Republic of Belarus – Russian green with winter white camouflage. 79th Guards Rocket Artillery Brigade, Western Military District, Russian Army, Tver 2014 – all over Russian Green with red star on launch cab and white 542 on sides. "A certain unit" North Caucasus Military District, Russian Army, 2009 – all over olive green with white parade trim to hubs and fender edges. Artillery Unit, Kuwaiti Army – all over sand. I still don't have a clue about the "certain unit", but it's a varied choice of decal options that should suit most people's needs. The decals are printed by Cartograf, and as usual they are superb, with good register, colour density and sharpness, and a thin, matt finished carrier film that is cut close to the printed decals. Around half of the sheet is used for dials, stencils and data-plates, all of which are crisp and legible without strain. Conclusion Another superb kit from Meng that is highly detailed and broken down to be built in a modular fashion to reduce the likelihood of burnout. The missile tubes will be the most tricky to get a good finish on, but at least it's just sanding seams, which by now we should all have experience of. Test-fitting and careful alignment will be your friend there to minimise clean-up after. It's not cheap, but it's a lot of highly detailed plastic for your money. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. From their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/195290177250981/photos/a.200850930028239.42784.195290177250981/910396289073696/?type=3&theater
  23. Hello all! Here is my latest completion, the Mansyū Ki-98 prototype from Meng. A very nice kit that goes together well, though the decals were rather fraile. Model was painted with Tamiya rattle can. The Ki-98 was an experimental ground attack fighter that sadly never flew and was subsequently destroyed by the war's end. This was quite a big plane too - dry it tipped the scales slightly north of 3,500 kg! Comments always welcome.
  24. Hi all, this is my last work. I would like to share it with you. The basic of the building kit from the Meng company. Thanks for your comments and advices.
  25. Following my review of these kits: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234992932-meng-kids-aircraft-kits-meng-model/ I thought I would give everyone an idea of what these look like, and purely in the interests of Model research you understand I put this one together straight from the box. The kit fit is pretty good overall and well within the means of little fingers (with some help). The stickers are not to good especially around the wing tips and fin where they go over curves. Still the are more suited I think to children than decals. Overall they look good and will hopefully generate further interest in the hobby. Oh and they are pretty fun as well Julien (getting back to serious modelling now!)
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