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  1. M109A2 Update Set (for Kinetic) 1:35 Eduard (36230) Kinetic's new kit of the M109A2 Self Propelled Howitzer is the subject of this upgrade set, which arrives in Eduard's usual flat-pack card-backed package. Inside are two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass measuring 14cm x 7cm each, both of which are packed with parts. The main focus of the set is to detail the turret and associated parts such as the pioneer tools and crew-served machine gun. The first item to be detailed is the M2 machine gun, which has all of its moulded in detail removed and replaced with new skins, as well as a short cooling-jacket that you will need to roll into a cylinder. The handles are replaced by a PE part, which you will need too add two short lengths of 1mm diameter rod, so be prepared. A full ammo box and its support are included, and these are built up from a number of pieces to give the finished item extra detail. The turret of the M109 is festooned with pioneer tools, which have moulded in attachment points, and the turret has a large number of moulded in stops that need removing before you can upgrade the tools. A number of other details are removed at the same time, leaving the turret almost devoid of detail for a while. The turret's rear doors are detailed with new handles & padlock points, with opener detail on the inside face in case you wanted to detail the interior, while the mantlet received a cover over the top curved portion, and the top hatches get new more detailed handles to replace the moulded in lumps. The gun-ring on the circular hatch has a triangular vision block at the front, which is replaced by a folded part, which incidentally will allow you to fill the slight sink-mark that is nearby without worrying about the block getting caught. The A2 has ballistic protection on its panoramic telescope, which is added from the acetate sheet that is supplied in the set, then pinned in place with a PE surround. Gluing these on with gloss varnish might be an idea to prevent fogging. Once the various brackets are added to the turret, the side doors receive more detailed handles and an inner seal. Then the pioneer tools are attacked with a file and fresh blade to remove all the moulded in attachment points. When removed, they are replaced with highly detailed and more realistic shackles, turn-buckles and end-stops before they are added to the turret as detailed in the instructions. Some stowage boxes on the insides of the side doors are re-faced with PE, and a quartet of stowage boxes are replaced with fully PE parts that attach to the rear corners of the turret. The two jerry-cans aft of the side hatches are stripped of their retaining straps and given new ones as well as a bracket to hold them into place, and the more parts go to detailing the rear of the vehicle, adding stowage boxes, brackets, fenders and improving the front light clusters. On the front deck there are a number of engine and equipment access hatches built into the vehicle, all of which receive new handles etc., while the driver's vision blocks are updated with a new set of frames, with flip-down covers that can be posed open or closed. The fuel filler caps and the smoke generator tubes are all provided with lengths of chain to represent the "idiot cords" that stop the crew and mechanics from losing these important parts. Conclusion It's a nice set that details the exterior well, and adds some much needed realism to the upper turret, which is somewhat lacking out of the box. Review sample courtesy of
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