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  1. Border Model is to release a 1/35th Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb kit - ref. BF004 Test shot pics. Source: https://www.facebook.com/rayxdow/posts/pfbid04xS58D4fcgaMmbAqPTjW5RTiGynVzEEu85eospWW7N6pq4tiEV8baKzugsuh3pgMl V.P.
  2. Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G Mid – Kharkov, 1943 (BT-033) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys Unlike the later Tiger and Panther tanks, the Panzer IV had been designed in the years leading up to the outbreak of WWII, and was intended for a different role than it eventually played, which was as a form of infantry support tank with the mobile artillery function rolled into one. It was a heavier tank than the previous numbered types, and was well-designed, although it did suffer from the typical WWII German over-engineering that made them complex, expensive and slow to build, as well as difficult to maintain. The type went through several successive variants including enhancements such as a more powerful engine to give better performance, improved armour thickness for survivability, and latterly the provision of a larger gun with a longer, high-velocity barrel that was based upon the Pak.40, but with shortened recoil mechanism and an enlarged muzzle-brake that helped contain the powerful recoil from the 75mm round. The new gun was a direct reaction to the first encounter with the T-34 in Soviet hands, an incident that shocked the German tankers and their superiors, as they knew very little of its existence until they had to fight it, and didn’t like the way their shots were prone to ricocheting off the sloped glacis. The Ausf.G and H were the later mainstream variants of the Pz.IV, and were made from early 1942 until 1944 with over 4,000 made, some of which were manufactured at Vomag, Krupp-Gruson, and Nibelungenwerk, one of the largest factories in the German area of influence, based in St Valentin, Austria. By the war’s end Nibelungenwerk was the home of the Panzer IV, and as such was bombed heavily, strangling production of the last variant, the Ausf.J as the Allied bombers took their toll. The Kit This kit is billed as a new tooling, however it shares a few sprues for the running gear with other kits in the Border range that are also based upon the Panzer IV chassis, so if you have one of their kits, you might recognise them. The kit arrives in a top-opening box, and inside are ten sprues and a hull part in grey styrene, two frets of Photo-Etch (PE), a length of braided wire, a tiny sheet of decals, and the instruction booklet printed in colour on glossy paper that has colour profiles on the rear pages. Detail is good and up with the best Panzer IV kits, bringing link-and-length tracks, substantial PE parts, some personalisation equipment, and a full depiction of the suspension and running gear. Before the main build begins, the optional parts that are included on the sprues are made up, including two buckets with PE handles, two pairs of road wheels without tyres, two three-grip Jerry cans, and a 10-link run of individual track links. Main construction begins with the lower hull, which is slide-moulded with plenty of detail on all external surfaces, and includes the cooling vents with added PE vanes on the sides of the engine compartment, simplifying the build a little, with the option of adding an armoured cover on each side, as evidenced by a nearby 3D rendered scrap diagram. The side panels are glued over the grilles at the rear, vision slots are added on the sidewalls further forward, and even at this early stage, a set of optional barrel-cleaning rods and jack block are applied to begin the invasion of the pioneer tools. Suspension bump-stops and other components are added to the sides, making up sixteen sets of paired road wheels that slide onto the twin bogies, handed to each side. Eight paired return rollers, three-part drive sprockets and two-part idler wheels are also made up and installed along with the two final drive housings at the front of the hull, which have armoured arcs added around the front, covered in bolts. The rear bulkhead with idler axle mounts, towing point, and large multi-part exhaust are assembled and fitted on the rear of the hull along with the upper overhang, which in the instructions have been forgotten, but should be simple to figure out, ignoring the blank area where the missing (or invisible) step should be. Oopsie! We all make mistakes though, so we can’t be too harsh on them. The instructions go out of phase a little here, starting with building the fenders, which offers a choice of equipment including a well-detailed jack, lights, track tools, fire extinguisher and other pioneer tools, plus triangular supports along the length, and the option of either PE or styrene front fenders, the former adding more detail and scale thickness than styrene can achieve. They are shown being installed in the next step, with the step after detailing the lower glacis being installed along with the ten track links on a long bracket, plus a pair of towing shackles. The tracks are present in this and subsequent steps until they are installed for real in step 16. Meantime, the upper hull with the engine deck moulded-in, and two forward hatches added is mated with the lower hull, followed by the upper glacis plate and the usual transmission inspection hatches and armoured cowls, which have another seven optional track links applied, attached to the centre panel by several small brackets that would have been welded to the surface. This and the vertical panel with the bow machine gun stub pushed through the ball-mount and armoured kugelblende on the right, and the driver’s armoured vision slot on the left. This leads us to the actual installation of the tracks, which are of the link-and-length variety, offering the modeller a simplified variation on independent links, whilst easing the task of obtaining the correct sag, particularly to the upper run, which has substantial sag moulded-in, a conspicuous feature of this tank’s track system. Eight individual links are installed around the drive sprocket along with a short diagonal length then three more individual links, with a similar process carried out at the rear, but with one lower link transferred to fit around the idler wheel, and an extra link moulded into the diagonal section. Detail is excellent, with just a few small ejector-pin marks on the insides of the longer lengths that you can hide if you think they’ll be seen through the muck and grime of weathering. Sixteen bolt heads can be found on the runners of sprue F, and these are added to the suspension under the hull according to a scrap diagram nearby, so make sure you have a steady hand for the task, and it might be wise to do this early in the build before any details are added. The fenders go on next, adding mudflaps to the rear ends, with optional PE replacements that add more detail and scale thickness, creating an open-topped box on the left side that accommodates two pairs of road wheels with tyres. On the right side, an aerial with stowage slot and more pioneer tools are installed along with your choice of styrene or PE rear fenders. The majority of the turret is moulded as a single part plus separate cheek panels and some detail parts including mushroom vents added, which then has the clamshell side hatches and overhangs installed, with separate frames, and periscopes in the larger of the two doors, one pair per side. Two pistol-ports with separate hinges are added at the sides of the rear, separated by a four-part styrene bustle stowage box that is augmented by five PE strips around the edges. Despite this being an exterior-only kit, there is a replication of much of the gun’s breech in the turret, the recuperator tubes clamping around the rear of the one-part styrene barrel, taking care to choose the correct one, as there are three choices of differing lengths dotted around the sprues. The barrel shroud is inserted into the wide fairing that surrounds the recuperators, which is made from two parts, making the protective frame around the rear of the breech from three parts, and the breech block from a respectable five parts. The mantlet is assembled from seven parts that includes the pivots, with a choice of two styles of coax machine gun, including a vision port on a hinge on the left side of the barrel, which is pushed through the three holes in the mantlet, fitting the breech block and frame to the rear, then gluing that into position in the front of the turret. The commander’s cupola is moulded as a torus, into which the five vision ports are slotted, with a choice of open or closed ports by swapping one for the other. The top plate locks them in place, and a hatch is fitted in the centre to finish it off so that it can be inserted into the roof of the turret, closing the lower turret by adding the minimalist floor with turret ring moulded in. The turret fits on the hull as a drop-in unit with no bayonet lugs holding it down, and the final act is to make and install the three-tube smoke grenade launchers on the cheeks of the turret, each one built from bracket, two-part fittings, three tubes and plugs for each one. The last diagram is 3D rendered, and shows where the various extras such as the tarpaulins, boxes and buckets can be mounted on the model. Markings There are four decal options on the small sheet, each one having its own page with five views, but no details of where or when the vehicles served during WWII. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are printed anonymously in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion There are many Panzer IV kits on the market, but any producer worth their salt will have their own range, because they continue to sell well. Border’s range is well-detailed and expanding every month, and should build up into a creditable model of this important German tank from WWII. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Tiger 1 from border, beautiful model, with nice details and perfect fit, I loved it. Painted with Tamiya acrylics
  4. Hummel Early Production (BT-032) 15cm s.FH 18/1 Hummel Sd.Kfz.165 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys Hummel means Bumblebee in German, although why is anyone’s guess, and it seems Hitler wasn’t keen on it either, as he ordered the name dropped in 1944, as he felt it was inappropriate for a fighting vehicle. For once he was right, but I like the name. It was based on a Geschützwagen III/IV chassis, removing any turret or casemate and mounting a 15 cm sFH 18/1 L/30 howitzer in an open-topped splinter-shield that protected the crew from small-arms fire whilst operating their weapon. The chassis combined the steering and driving systems of a Panzer III with the running gear of a Panzer IV, moving the engine to the centre front to accommodate the gun, and crew in the rear, giving it a very different look from its progenitors. Around 700 were built in total, some of which were created as convertible munition carriers that could ferry additional stores to the vehicles in the field, as the Hummel was always short of ammunition due its comparatively small size, and the big gun that it carried. The conversion could be done in the field, removing the gun and plating over the opening at the front with a piece of 10mm armour to keep the crew safe. The vehicle would then be racked out to maximise carriage of fresh rounds to their companions, with just one Munitionsträger Hummel allocated to service a battery. The reason behind creating numerous self-propelled guns in the early war was to accompany the invading forces of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia in 1941. Transporting artillery, plus extended set-up and knock-down periods would slow their progress into Soviet territory, making Blitzkrieg a lightning war in name only. They served at the pivotal Battle of Kursk, and after the change of fortunes of Nazi forces, many were later seen under new ownership with the Soviet star replacing the Balkenkreuz. After the war, some remaining vehicles were taken into service by other nations, some in Eastern Europe using them into the early 50s, with others finding their way into Syrian hands via the French in their fight against the nascent Israeli nation. The Kit This is a new tooling from Border, who seem to be filling any the holes in their repertoire just as fast as they can. This kit arrives in a satin-finished top-opening box, and inside are thirteen sprues in grey styrene plus the lower hull, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass parts, a turned aluminium barrel, plus two brass sleeves for the compensators, which are noted as being copper, probably due to an issue with translation. A small decal sheet and the instruction booklet complete the package, the latter printed on glossy paper with spot colour throughout, and colour profiles of the markings options on the rear pages. Detail is everything we expect from Border Model’s output, with link-and-length tracks, the gun structure and crew compartment, augmented by the PE parts that are included, and of course the turned metal barrel, saving any seam-sanding and ensuring the barrel is properly cylindrical, with rifling grooves visible near the muzzle. Construction begins with the lower hull, fitting the various suspension components, plus the final drive housings to the sides, with the idler axles to the rear on the very corners of the vehicle. The drive-sprockets and spoked road wheels are made in pairs, plus eight bogies that each have two pairs of wheels attached, handed for each side of the tank. Four return rollers are mounted on each side, and once the glue has fully cured, the tracks can be assembled around the drive train. The long runs at the top and bottom are moulded as single lengths, with short diagonal lengths joined to them by individual links, which should achieve the correct sag to the top run, as well as the faceted look of the highly curved sections. This is carried out on both sides, and oddly, the accessories in this boxing as shown being built now, in the form of two buckets with PE handles, two pairs of spare road wheels without tyres, a pair of jerry cans with separate triple handles and filler cap, and finally a length of ten track links for stowage around the vehicle as spares or appliqué armour. Two more pairs of road wheels shod with rubber tyres are put together with a curved carrier, and are glued to the rear bulkhead along with a Notek convoy light and bracket, adding armoured webs to the edges, and towing hooks beneath them. Exhausts are fitted under the sponsons with an armoured exit bend, running backwards to the rear of the vehicle. Flipping the model over, the front sponsons with tread-plating are slotted into the hull sides, drilling two holes in the right part, then installing the crew compartment floor in the rear of the hull, which also has tread-plate moulded-in, plus other mounting points for the equipment to come. The sides are strengthened by adding a pair of beams with brackets glued into them during installation, but without gluing the beams in at this stage. Two large triangular supports are slotted into place on the sponson sides to the edges of the crew compartment, with additional end parts, a PE corner stiffener inside the cab, and a towing point under the rear of the bulkhead. The gun platform is above and behind the driver’s position, and is moulded into the deck plate, fitting lifting-eyes, blocks, spare ammo cans, and other small parts to it as it is lowered into position in the centre of the vehicle, with two large armoured louvres to the sides. The glacis plate is a long, sloped panel with the driver’s hatch and vision panel, both of which are separate parts, and are joined by another identical circular hatch for the co-driver, along with vision ports and small parts that include a bullet-splash guard for the driver’s hatch. The panel is then fixed in place, hiding away the last major portion of the visible lower hull interior, and another area to the rear that is filled with a pair of shell boxes, made from a four-part base that has seven shells inserted along with stabilising brackets, then the optional two-part lid. As these two are put into the rear of the cabin, a wheel jack is made from six parts plus two tie-down brackets, and a headlamp assembly for each sponson, jack block, PE drip-catcher strip above the co-driver’s hatch, and a bracket under the lower glacis that can accept the spare track links if you wish. A deflector strip is pinned to the deck behind the forward crew as the first part of the superstructure. The 15cm howitzer is a large gun, and it is begun by affixing the two-part breech around the aft end of the turned metal barrel, adding the breech block, lever, and other detail parts, followed by the sled and the support, which forms a long slender open-topped box with a two-part end that is clamped between the two halves of the stanchions that support the top recuperator tube, making up a central recoil mechanism on a square plate, and two supports for the front splinter shield, bringing the assemblies together under and to the sides of the barrel, then fitting the tube to the top on both sides of the stanchion. The barrel is then slipped into position on the support, building two balancing pistons using styrene parts and the brass tubes that are pre-cut for use. Additional sighting and elevation gear is fitted over the next few steps, using PE parts where appropriate, and once complete, the curved splinter-shield is slotted into position on its supports before it is mounted on the pivot-point, with a travel-lock frame made from nine parts to hold the barrel in position, or you could lay it on the deck unused if you prefer. So far, the crew don’t have much protection, but this is soon rectified by the addition of the fixed front section of the splinter-shield, which has PE channels mounted inside after adding four latches along their length. The shields are slotted into the side of the hull, and the two side walls are prepared by installing barrel cleaning gear, plus additional stiffening braces on one side, stowage boxes with stiffening lines moulded-in, and a triangular support with a fire-extinguisher to the other. The left side has a choice of a full styrene shovel, or a shovel with PE tie-downs on the exterior, both glued into position on the sides of the vehicle, joined by the rear that has twin access doors in the centre, a set of stakes strapped across the bottom, and a trio of MP40s stowed next to triangular supports on either side of the doors. The last stage involves making up another ammunition storage box, which has ten charges and a back-plate fitted, adding extra details to the front and top, including a PE surround to a small box on top, which is glued onto the right sponson inside the fighting compartment under a small triangular stiffening plate between the side and rear. Markings There are three decal options on the tiny sheet, all wearing a base coat of Dunkelgelb with green or green and red-brown camouflage over it. From the box you can build one of the following, about which we know very little: The decals are printed anonymously, and are suitable for purpose with good register between the blacks and whites. Conclusion The Hummel doesn’t perhaps get the attention it deserves, but this kit gives a well-detailed rendition that would look good in your stash or better yet on your display shelves. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Hello! I thought I'd share some photos and thoughts about this new Tiger that i just finished up. This kit by Border Model is probably the best 1/72 kit I've ever built. Every part fit together perfectly and required no sanding at all, and it includes tons of extra parts to build several different Ausf E variants from the spring/summer of 1943. It includes decals and paint scheme for the famous 'Tiki' Tiger, but I decided to go for this 'S33' unit. The kit also includes a metal gun barrel and a cool 3D printed muzzle brake. The tracks are link and length which can be tricky in small scale, but since the fit was so perfect it was like building a lego kit! You can also assemble the whole running gear separate from the hull to make the paintjob easier. Oh and all the crew hatches and even the drivers vision port can be assembled in open positions, a huge plus point in my book! It's built out of the box, i did add some battle damage to the fenders and added a small bucket hanging from the back. The crew figures are made from Preiser. Brush painted with Humbrol enamels. Here it is alongside some companions I built recently: And this is how it looked without any paint: Thanks for watching 😊
  6. IJA 28cm Howitzer Russo-Japanese War 1905 (BT-030) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys This heavy howitzer was originally developed by the British Armstrong company just before the turn of the 20th century, who manufactured them via their Italian subsidiary, who themselves were in the process of establishing a manufacturing base in Japan, based in Osaka. The Japanese army ordered 220 of these heavy weapons for coastal defence purposes, mounted at strategic points of their islands on turntables to allow them maximum traverse for full coverage of the seas they overlooked. During the war with Russia, the Japanese army attempted to overrun Port Arthur, which had been in Russian hands for several years, and had been strongly fortified. This led to horrific casualties for the Japanese during their early attacks, and they made an urgent request for heavy weapons to assist with the destruction of the fortifications in an effort to reduce future casualties as the battle progressed. These howitzers were used as replacements for the initial batch that were lost when their transport ship was sunk by the Russians. They proved deadly in operation, although installation was a substantial task due to the weight of the gun and its massive turntable, which had to be installed on firm footings to prevent movement whilst firing that would lead to accuracy issues. They were used extensively in the destruction of the Russian fleet that was anchored at Port Arthur, after the Japanese took over a hill fort that overlooked the bay, allowing the howitzers to fire freely on their ships with little danger to themselves. Fitted with an integral crane to hoist the 217kg rounds into position ready to be fed into the breech, these 11” diameter rounds could wreak havoc once they had a target’s range dialled in. In total, six ships were sunk, and two others heavily damaged before they could get out of range, and after the port was captured, the Japanese navy refloated many of them, repairing and recommissioning them under new names in the Japanese Navy. Having fired over 16,500 rounds during the battle, the howitzers continued in use during the interwar period, and as WWII came to a close, they were pressed into service again as coastal defence guns in 1945 when they feared an impending Allied invasion of their home island, which was thankfully averted, but led to the dawn of the nuclear age. The Kit This is a new tooling from Border Models of a gun that played an important part in Japanese expansionism in the early part of the 20th century, but was almost unknown in the West. The kit arrives in a sturdy top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter in action on the front, and inside are three sprues of grey styrene, a 7”/18cm length of 0.5mm/0.018” braided metal wire that hides in the inside corners of the box (not pictured), and an instruction booklet that has a short history and four interesting photos of the guns from the time in the front, including one of the installation of the base that gives an idea of how much work was involved in emplacing them. Detail is good, depicting the rugged thickness and size of the metal structures, bolt-heads and screws, including a realistic depiction of perforated tread-plate on the various flat surfaces where the crew would stand. Construction begins with the gun carriage, which is formed from two tapering beams that have bolted inserts added to recesses on the interior faces, and it should be noted that there are a few ejector-pin marks here, which you may wish to deal with if you think they will be seen. A pair of large diameter bolts with brackets are inserted into the shallow ends, and they are joined together by a rectangular piece of tread-plate, and three further cross-members that locate on raised brackets on the inside face. Four pivot support wheels on rotating yokes and their mounts are fitted to the outer surfaces of the carriage on mounting plates, fixing two sprung adjusters to the top of the beams, a foldable chute on the lower lip of the right beam, and a stepped plate covering the deep end of the carriage. Adjustment handles with gears are glued to the front of the carriage, with a pseudo-colour scrap diagram showing their correct location, leaving the gears unglued so they may rotate. A tread-plated crew platform has curved hand-rails and a pair of steps added, fitting a stepped cylindrical part into a hole in the floor, which is then mounted over the gears from the previous step. The breech block is a complex part that has the threaded breech screw surfaces slotted into the core part, fitting the mushroom head to the inner end before it is inserted into the ring, which has matching threaded inserts added before they are joined, twisting the block to secure it in place without glue, ensuring that the screw surfaces have had time to cure. The unlocking and pull handles are fixed to the block, adding a pivoting 6-part shell support to the ring, then inserting the inner barrel into the hollow front of the breech ring, and sliding a circular section that carries the trunnion pins then the two-part gun sleeve over the inner barrel, which has rifling moulded-in, as per the real gun. The trunnions are spaced apart by fitting four cross-members followed by two layers of perforated tread-plate in the rear, and a heavily riveted base plate underneath that locks all the parts into position, so would be best done before the glue cures, but after it has a grip on the parts. A recuperator tube is made from a two-part outer shell, inner piston with two end caps, fitting it under the trunnion assembly along with three other small parts, then the growing assembly is turned upright so that two five-part spindles with gears can be inserted into the front of the trunnion assembly, taking care not to cement them in position, as this kit is intended to be operable as far as rotation and elevation of the gun is concerned. The barrel is lowered into the trunnion block on its two pins without glue, locking it into position with the outer faces of the trunnions, adding two washers on the lower edge of each side, one with a lever, plus a few other small parts including the elevation indicator, and a large adjustment wheel that bears a resemblance to a ship’s wheel, one for each side, made from three crisply moulded parts, which if glued carefully will allow you to change the elevation of the gun. Two shells are made from a slide-moulded outer with a rear insert, although there is a spare on the sprue, one of which is glued to a trolley that has a pair of small wheels attached to the sides to ease movement of the heavy ordnance around the gun. At this stage the gun and its trunnions are mated with the shallow end of the carriage on two large tabs, making the shell crane from two halves that have a length of the included braided wire threaded through the centre and wrapped around the pulleys at the top, adding a hook to the business end, and wrapping any excess around the bobbin at the bottom of the assembly. Two gears of differing sizes end in a winder that is pinned through the smaller cog, and has a small guide castor fitted to the bottom to transfer its weigh to the emplacement. It is glued to the left side of the carriage on a T-shaped tab, fitting a cross-member over the front, at which point you can put the glue away, as the gun is lowered over its base without cement so that it can rotate freely. As to what you do with the other shell and the spare, that’s entirely up to you, but the instructions show one hanging from the crane, so keep a little wire to one side to facilitate that if you wish, although the drawings on the rear of the instructions show a shell suspended by chain. Markings Camouflage wasn’t important for a howitzer, which generally fired from behind the front-line, so they were painted overall satin black, with just the driving band of the shells and the elevation indicator painted brass, although driving bands are usually copper, as it is more malleable than brass, so deforms and seals better. From the box you can build the following: There are no decals included, as there seem to be no markings on most photos, but on others there is some Japanese writing visible on the crane and a few other places. Check your references if you feel like replicating one of those examples. Conclusion Quite a monster of a gun that is well-depicted, and just begs to be built on a base with some terrain, and possibly some artillery crew dotted around in pre-WWI uniforms. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Tiger I Early Production ‘Battle of Kharkov’ (BT-034) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys The Tiger tank was part of Hitler's obsession for bigger, heavier and stronger, which drove him to extraordinary and dizzying heights of impracticality at times, but in this case served him reasonably well. The goal was to mount the extremely powerful and accurate 88mm cannon used in the Flak 36 in a tank with sufficient armour to withstand any artillery round then-fielded by the enemy. This series of objectives were achieved, but at the cost of reliability and a prodigious thirst for fuel. It also made for some nervous bridge-crossings, as the finished article weighed in at almost 60 tonnes, which was too much for many smaller bridges of the day. A deep-water fording kit was created to get around that issue, allowing the tanks to ford streams and smaller rivers where the bridges or culverts wouldn’t take their weight. A competition was held with only two contenders on Hitler’s birthday, and it was the ignominy of the filmed breakdown of the Porsche designed prototype and subsequent fire that decided him in favour of the less ambitious Henschel design which became the Tiger, and then the Tiger I after the King Tiger or Tiger II came into being. When it first reached the front it caused panic and heavy losses for the Allies, being capable of almost everything it was designed to do, including knocking out tanks long before the enemy's guns were able to get within range. Even when the Allies could get their own guns into range, it wasn't until they got much closer, almost to point-blank range, that they had any measurable chance of crippling or destroying the mighty Tiger, especially during frontal engagements, where a shot might just ricochet off harmlessly. Many of the early Tigers were lost to mechanical breakdown due to excessive strain on the transmission caused by excessive weight, and often had to either be dragged off the field by Famo half-tracks under the cover of darkness under armoured protection, or failing that, destroyed by demolition charges to prevent them falling into the enemy's hands. The Tiger underwent constant changes throughout production to improve performance, fix problems, simplify and cheapen construction, but these are generally lumped together into early, middle or late productions for the sake of the remaining sanity of us modellers. If you want to get maximum accuracy of fit and finish, check your references for certainty. The Kit This is a variant of a new tooling from Border Model with some different sprues, and while some may be thinking “do we need another Tiger?”, other people’s Tigers don’t make any money for Border, and it’s a perennially popular subject, so should be a money-earner to support other more esoteric projects. This boxing represents early production of the vehicle that would have been seen at the battle of Kharkov, with Feifel air filters that were installed on the rear bulkhead, and other early equipment and appendages that were later dropped altogether, or amended in light of experience, or the need to simplify construction to get more examples into battle sooner. It arrives in a top-opening box, with a painting of a snow-smattered Tiger in wintery terrain, about to either pull up near or run over a German soldier that appears to be studying a map. Inside the box are nine sprues, the turret and the lower hull in grey styrene, some of which are amalgamations of smaller sprues joined together with runners, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE), turned aluminium barrel, decal sheet, and the instruction booklet that is printed in portrait A4 on glossy paper, with spot colour throughout, and colour profiles on the rear pages that have been penned for them by AMMO, using their paint codes. Detail is good, and it is an exterior-only kit, although some internal areas are given attention despite this. The surface detail is crisp and well-moulded, but they have elected not to depict the subtle rolled-steel texture that is often seen on armour, possibly because a great many German tanks were covered with Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste, or because it’s simple (if time-consuming) to depict the rolled-steel texture yourself with some basic tools and liquid glue, allowing you to be as subtle or as coarse as you like with the texture. Construction begins with the lower hull, which has a pair of circular inspection hatches added into recesses under the rear, two torch-cut towing eyes at the rear of the hull sides, which have overlapping joints for strength, then a scuff-plate is fitted on each side next to the idler wheel mounts. The edges of the final drive housing frame are thickened with an extra bolted layer in the inner edges, removing three of the bolts from each one before installing them. This boxing includes the cooling radiators and fans under the engine deck, each one made from three styrene parts, one of which represents the radiator core, topping off the twin fans with a piece of PE that is folded to create a shallow box with holes for the air to pass through. These are installed on the floor of the sponsons at the rear, threading the torsion bar suspension through with swing-arms and stub axles glued into the end, which lock in place in sockets on the opposite wall of the hull. The rear bulkhead is prepared by adding two vertical two-part exhaust pipes with detailed top covers made from seven parts each, the completed tubes plugging into sockets in the bulkhead, adding a mushroom vent and a manual start hatch around them, plus two mounting frames over the rear of the sponsons. Tiny PE clip parts are folded and fitted near the top of the bulkhead, adding a Notek convoy light, which has a clear lens and PE base, then the cast armoured exhaust protectors are located over the bottom of the exhausts, with small pins fitted to slots in the sides. The bulkhead is mated to the hull and the rear mudguards fit into the frames over the sponsons, inserting a towing eye in the centre, then adding towing shackles to each side on separate torch-cut ends, building the jack from eleven parts and mounting it across the back of the vehicle after gluing the curved protectors to the exhausts. Attention then switches to the upper hull, fitting the rearmost grilles from the underside with a choice of two styles, and a pair of brackets supporting the hinges for the forward hatches on the forward deck. The hatches with their clear periscopes and armoured covers are installed once the glue is dry, adding a central inspection cover in the middle of the engine deck after fitting grab handles, a mushroom vent and a rectangular socket for the Feifel filter manifold. The rear centre deck section is fitted with another mushroom vent before it is glued in place, completing the deck surface. Four PE mesh panels are glued over the large grilles to keep dust and grenades out of the engine compartment, fitting the first pioneer tools around the forward hatches, including the jack block, sledgehammer, axe and shovel, plus a mushroom vent, a long pry-bar running past the turret ring, and a pair of wire cutters on the opposite side. The next step shows the upper hull from below, but without the hatches that have been glued in place, building the air guides into a triangular assembly under each of the forward grilles on the engine deck. A note tells you that these parts are optional, and if you use them, don’t install Z012 and the “turret outside toolbox”, which caused some head scratching. The twin headlights have a clear lens at the centre of each unit, and their wires snake away into the hull. Turning to the top glacis plate with driver’s vision slot and optional styles of bow gun socket or cover, plus internal parts applied before it is slipped into the front of the hull as the two hull halves are mated, adding the shallow sloping apron to the glacis after fitting two detail parts and removing a small raised area. The twin Feifel filters were an early fitment that was dropped later in the war to streamline production, and they are easy to spot on the rear bulkhead, consisting on two cylinders with tapered lowers, surrounded by a single central section that holds the PE attachment brackets, which are made from seven parts each, and have their feeder pipe pairs consisting of five or six parts each, which are glued to the input sockets on the filters, creating a single assembly by attaching them together using a V-shaped manifold that leads into the slot in the main hatch on the engine deck, securing the hoses with a large C-clamp that staples them to the deck. As these are installed, a pair of appliqué plates are added to the hull sides to give it additional thickness and detail. A small rack of ammo boxes are fixed to the rear bulkhead under the left Feifel filter, attaching the two styrene tow cables to the top deck with four shackles, and mounting a fire extinguisher on the engine deck, plus three clips on the aft portion. A solitary smoke grenade discharger is glued to the deck in each corner, sited diagonally into the corner to provide additional coverage in the even that smoke cover is needed. The road wheels are started, adding the innermost layer in a similar manner to the real thing, layering them to spread out the ground-pressure, which includes the inner halves of the drive sprocket and the idler wheel after the idler axle has been fitted. If you are depicting your Tiger in transport configuration, the outermost wheels are left off and the next layer have different caps with a PE spring-clip in the centre, although the reason for leaving them off isn’t mentioned in the instructions. The next layer of paired wheels are fitted, followed by another set of paired wheels and the outer faces of the drive sprocket at the front and spoked idler wheels at the rear to complete the drivetrain. Tracks for this kit are link-and-length, taking advantage of modern moulding techniques to shorten the process of creating a realistic-looking track run by moulding the straight sections as a single part on the top and bottom runs. The instructions show the two curved sections front and rear, although the number of links isn’t mentioned on this boxing. A previous boxing used 25 links at the front, and 20 in the rear, with each of the single links having two guide-horns glued in place before they are installed, so that can be used as a starting point. The completed runs are slipped over the road wheels once complete, but it’s probably best to drape the runs around the road wheels while the glue is setting, to obtain the correct shape and sag where appropriate. Another short run of tracks moulded as a single part are fixed to the lower glacis using a styrene bar to hold them in place, adding triangular profile side skirts to each side of the hull, remembering these are usually removed for transit. The main gun is supplied on the sprues in styrene, but you can use the turned aluminium barrel in the box to avoid any seam sanding and take advantage of the crispness of the metal part, adding a styrene sleeve to the rear, and either a three-part muzzle or a transport bag that is on the sprues if you plan on depicting your Tiger in transit either on the road or by train. The mantlet gives a choice of five styles for the outer face, gluing it to the inner portion, and mounting on the flat socket with two pivots to the sides. The basics of the recuperator are glued around the inner mantlet, to which the breech block and brass-catcher box-frame are added, gluing the assembly in between the turret sides later. The main part of the turret is a single slide-moulded part, which has the turret ring slipped into the hole in the underside from within, adding a pair of tiny rectangular parts to the left side of the outer ring. At the rear, a shell ejection port and cramped circular crew hatch are inserted into their cut-outs, the latter having detailed hinge and locking mechanisms added before it is installed. Two crew seat assemblies are made and installed around the turret ring, and interior detail for the ejection port is added, then the main gun is lowered into position and secured by sliding two locking pins into place. The complicated commander’s cupola is built on a clear castellated circular base, adding five clear lenses over the raised sections, and then lowering the toroidal styrene outer over the top and making up the hatch with three locking handles on the inside, pull handle and hinge on the outside, with the option of leaving it mobile by applying the glue to the three-part hinge sparingly. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler rectangular assembly with two pull-handles, a locking wheel and small latch on the underside, and another handle on the outside, gluing into place over the cut-out on the roof, and adding a choice of fume extractor fairing at the rear. When the roof is mated with the turret, you can include a pair of sighting binoculars, building the assembly from five parts, although it’s not made clear where it mounts on the lip of the cupola. A rack of three smoke grenade launchers are fitted on brackets on each side of the mantlet, building an early bustle box at the rear from only four parts, plus two PE brackets underneath, which are shown in a scrap diagram to assist you with correct location of the parts. The turret is a drop-fit onto the hull, so remember that next time you get the urge to look at the underside. Additional towing cables are clipped to the left side of the hull by five brackets, and the final step shows a series of stowage parts that you can use to personalise your model, and these parts are very nicely moulded with some realistic fabric texture to the tarpaulins and rolls, as you can see below. Markings There are three decal options in this boxing, two covered in winter distemper white, and one in a dark yellow and green camouflage scheme, as shown in the box art, although no further information is given for each one. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are printed mostly in black or white, with only the three black crosses with white inserts having any registration, which is good, as is sharpness and colour density. Conclusion There’s not a lot to dislike about a new Tiger model, especially a nicely detailed model of the type early in its career, and despite a few strange and slightly confusing moments with the instructions, it should build up into a credible replica of this late war behemoth. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  8. WWII Soviet Tank Desant Troops (BR-004) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys Getting a lift on a tank was a treat for the foot-soldier that occasionally turned sour if their lift came under fire from an enemy tank, especially if the turret started to rotate and the crew began using the main gun. Sometimes they’d ride into battle on the back of a tank, using the turret as temporary cover until it came time to dismount, usually off the rear avoiding the exhausts, other times it was a case of sitting somewhere flat on the hull of the tank for a well-earned rest, and saving some shoe-leather whilst still getting from A to Battle. During winter periods, especially in the freezing cold of the Eastern Front, a seat on the warm engine deck would be prime real-estate, helping to defend against the biting cold that required heavy uniforms and great-coats. In Russian tactical doctrine, Tank Desant is the act of riding into battle on the back of a tank, dismounting at the point of contact with the enemy to act as suppression of infantry, anti-tank artillery, or troops equipped with portable anti-tank weapons such as the Panzerfaust or Panzerschreck. The tactic persisted into early Cold War Soviet tank combat but has long since fallen out of use. The Figure Set This set of five resin figures arrives in a small rectangular box with a rendering of the figures in isolation and in position on a tank from behind. On the rear of the box is a picture of the box art of the T-34/85 kit from Border that this set is designed for, and if you haven’t got one already, you can pick it up by using the code BT-027 as your search term. Inside the box the figures are individually bagged in Ziploc bags, all surrounded by an additional bubble-wrap bag that is stapled closed, fitting snugly inside the box to reduce movement during shipping and storage. Each figure is cast in a dark bluish grey resin, the body of the figures cast separately from the arms, heads, and weapons. There is a number between 10 and 14 scratched on each of the casting blocks, but these will be lost when the parts are removed from their blocks, so bear this in mind during construction and keep the loose parts together with their body until you are ready to glue them together. Each figure has a separate head, arms, and weapon on the extra casting block, with square mounting pegs assisting with location of the parts on the body. Three of the figures are sitting down, one is kneeling, and the fifth is standing, resting one hand on the side of the tank’s turret, presumably peering into the distance to ensure they aren’t yet in range of the enemy. Parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise filling once they are built up. The sculpting is excellent, by Jason Studio, who are a common collaborator with Border Model, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the elements of the figures and weapons. They have been mastered by 3D printing, and some fine layer lines can be seen on the surface, but they should disappear under primer and subsequent layers of paint. Conclusion A great addition to any Soviet tank to give it human scale, especially the T-34 that’s suggested, but the poses are generic enough to allow them to be used with anyone’s kits. Casting is excellent, and does the sculpting justice. Clean-up should be a breeze, making it quick & easy to get quality resin figures on your model or diorama. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Border Model is to release a 1/35th Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" kit - ref. BF006 Source: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02xjrYidijzsjnochQZCQqPEKTS4JywDvG5jkRKCu1tmbgXwybWjLYJe33wamPYcvyl&id=100063663186491 V.P.
  10. Pz.Kpfw.IV/70(A) Mid (BT-028) Jagdpanzer IV 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys Designed as a replacement to the successful StuG III, the Jagdpanzer IV was instead built upon the more modern chassis of the Panzer IV as the nomenclature implies. It went into production despite objections that the StuG III was perfectly adequate for the job going forward, and diversion of resources away from standard Panzer IVs was wasteful. Due to shortages of the new L/70 gun, the initial production was fitted with the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48, which had a shorter barrel and was less powerful than the Pak 42 L/70 that was eventually fitted, and can be quickly differentiated by the lack of muzzle-brake on the longer gun, with under 800 short-barrels produced. There was an overlap in production between the two main guns, the last L/48 equipped vehicles leaving the factory at the end of 1944, the longer barrelled examples continuing until German industry ground to a halt in the spring of 1945. The type wasn’t without its foibles, and could shed rubber tyres due to the weight of the vehicle on the ground, which sometimes led to installation of all-steel rims, and as rubber was a scarce strategic material anyway, that had its advantages. The longer barrel also made travelling over rough ground problematic, as the increased overhang could result in the muzzle digging-in, thanks to the lack of turret and limited traverse preventing moving the gun around to clear obstacles. Another reason for removing the muzzle-brake was that in dry weather, the gun kicked up immense clouds of dust that could give away its position, negating the benefits of its relatively low silhouette. As the war situation deteriorated for the Nazis, there were efforts made to cease Panzer IV production in favour of the StuG III, as it was concluded that they had performed better at the crucial Kursk turning point of the Eastern Front campaign. This effort failed, although the Pz.IVs were only produced at one factory during the closing months of the war, with StuG IVs taking over some of the production capacity freed up by the shrinking Panzer IV workload. In typical fashion, instead of concentrating on one type and producing a large quantity that were simple to maintain, they manufactured three or four designs that were essentially carrying out the same task, all of which had their own training, parts, and maintenance requirements. Thankfully for the Allies, this worked in their favour and they had to face fewer tanks on the march toward Berlin. As an aside, my SO’s grandfather encountered a Jagdpanzer IV during WWII, and we have a photo of him and his colleagues sitting astride the barrel and superstructure, with a visible shell entry point between the sponson underside plate and engine bay side panel, which was probably the reason for its destruction or abandonment. It would make a great diorama one day if I ever get the time and skills together at the same time. The Kit This is an additive retool and new boxing of a recent kit from Border, and arrives in a substantial top-opening box with a painting of a winter camouflaged Jagdpanzer IV in the midst of a battlefield some time during winter, probably late ‘44 or early ’45 on the long road back to Berlin and eventual defeat. Inside are thirteen sprues, a crisply moulded lower hull and casemate with additional unused parts in grey styrene, a turned aluminium barrel, a large fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a tiny decal sheet containing just twelve decals, and a colour printed instruction booklet in A4 landscape format that includes decal profiles in the rear. Detail on the sprues is excellent, with some finely tooled moulding and judicious use of slide-moulding to achieve increased detail without raising the parts count unduly. There is also rolled steel armour texture moulded into the casemate in the form of a fine dimpled surface, while the highly visible Saukopf mantlet armour and a few other appropriate parts are moulded with a sand-cast texture. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is well-moulded with plenty of detail on all external surfaces, and includes the cooling vents on the sides of the engine compartment, simplifying the build a little. Suspension bump-stops and other components are added to the sides, and the rear bulkhead with idler axle mounts, towing eye on two mounting plates, making up sixteen sets of paired road wheels of two styles that slide onto the twin bogies, which the instructions tell you to make up in two handed sets of four for each on the left and right sides of the vehicle. Eight paired return rollers, two-part drive sprockets and three-part idler wheels are also made up and installed along with the two final drive housings at the front of the hull. The hull can now be righted to install the two glacis plate panels, the upper part having separate inspection hatches with armoured hinge covers and PE brackets, while the front panel is inserted clean. This leads us to the tracks, which are of the link-and-length variety, offering the modeller a simplified variation on independent links, whilst easing the task of obtaining the correct sag, particularly to the upper run, which has substantial sag moulded-in, which was a feature of this tank’s track system. Eight individual links are installed around the drive sprocket along with a short diagonal length then three more individual links, with a similar process carried out at the rear, but with one lower link transferred to fit around the idler wheel, and an extra link moulded into the diagonal section. Detail is excellent, with just a few small ejector-pin marks on the insides of the longer lengths that you can hide if you think they’ll be seen through the muck and grime of weathering. The fenders go on next, adding slide-moulded mudflaps to the ends, and short vertical fillets added at the front. A single headlight is fitted on the front of the left fender, with some miniscule return-springs attached to the sides of the front mudguards, adding PE baffles to the rear vents, although you might need to refer to the later steps that show them in situ, as it’s not immediately clear. What is clear is that a Notek convoy light is glued to the left rear fender behind the vents. Before the casemate can be built, the main gun breech must be made up, taking several steps and many parts to create a detailed depiction of the L/70 breech block, aiming mechanism and the protective frame to the rear. The casemate's frame is thickened with an additional layer to the inside front, fitting the gun-mount bulge to the breech, taking care to apply the glue sparingly, as this is the hollow in which the gun elevates and traverses on a peg that meshes with a hole in the bottom, although there is only around 15° of traverse left or right. It is installed from outside the hull, taking care with the glue again to prevent freezing the gun in place. The casemate rear wall is separate, fitted with a fume extraction fan and armoured mushroom cover, then the roof is dropped in and detailed with periscopes, hinges for the two main hatches, the pop-up hatch for the commander’s binocular sight, and the curved sliding hatch near the front. The binocular periscope and its mount are provided, allowing you to pose it deployed or omit it and leave the hatch down, adding a small handle to the top. During the process, an armoured cover for the gun sight and several small PE tie-down lugs are fixed carefully to the front and sides of the casemate. The pioneer tools are scattered across the remaining sides and deck space in the next steps, including barrel cleaning rods, spanners, the umbrella antenna on a curved mount with PE branches, jack, spade, track tools and a toolbox. The gun barrel is a single solid part that is found next to the 4mm shorter L/48 barrel that has a slide-moulded hollow muzzle, or you could use the turned aluminium alternative, seeing as they’ve been good enough to supply one. The keyed barrel should be inserted into the breech along with the slide-moulded ‘Saukopf’ mantlet armour. An A-frame travel lock is supplied in this boxing, fixing it to the front of the glacis on two brackets, then adding two more towing eyes with pegs to the lower glacis, and these were often connected to the bracket by a short chain to prevent losing them, so if you have some, it won’t look out of place. The engine deck is lowered into position complete with its newly installed tools, adding PE and styrene brackets, plus a pair of rods on the rear of the casemate. The twin exhausts are each made from two styrene parts, plus a PE top surface to the armoured support, fixed to the rear bulkhead offset to the right, dropping two stacked pairs of road wheels on rods over the left vents on the engine deck, plus another simple whip aerial on the back of the engine deck. Most Jagdpanzer IVs were fitted with schürzen down the sides that were attached loosely to the hull on brackets, and this is one of them, utilising comparatively light weight mesh panels that also gave the tankers a little sideways visibility, providing they kept them clean! You are provided with stub brackets that fix to boxes along the fenders and the sides of the casemate, then the rails are fitted with brackets and stops along the length of each one. Once the glue is fully cured on these, four V-shaped brackets of varying shapes are fitted to the sides of the tank, then the rails are glued along them, and here it would be wise of let the glue cure before attempting this step and the next one. You are instructed to glue the individual panels of the schürzen in position, matching the double dash marks with the ends of the stub brackets that were fitted initially. It could be worth experimenting with gluing the stub brackets to the rear of the schürzen panels before you attach them to the hull, as it might ease the task, but it also might complicate your day, so test fit with just one before proceeding. Remember that these panels were intended to pre-detonate incoming shaped-charge rounds to disperse their effect, and weren’t armoured in any sense of the word, so were prone to damage from incoming rounds of most calibres, as well as damage from collisions with other vehicles and the surrounding countryside, so were often bent, mangled and even had entire panels missing at times. That gives you liberty to have a little fun crafting a history into those sheets of mesh and their metal frames, bending, breaking, and losing panels as you see fit. Annealing the brass before going to work will make the metal malleable and easier to work with, which can be done with a lighter or candle flame, applying heat until the metal is discoloured, then letting it cool naturally to retain the softness. Candle flames generally contain soot as a by-product of combustion, so if you have a lighter to hand, it’s the cleaner option. If I’m teaching my grandmother to suck eggs however, I apologise. As an aside, the sprues include a few additional items in the shape of a bucket with PE handle, a pair of jerry cans, and a pair of road wheel hubs without rubber tyres. Markings There are three decal options on the small sheet, with a variation of ambush, winter distemper and late war camouflages, each with pair of balkenkreuz and their vehicle codes on the sides of the casemate. From the box you can build one of the following, about which we’re told nothing other than what colours to paint them: The sheet contains twelve decals, the codes printed in black and white, with acceptable registration, colour density and sharpness, plus a matt carrier film cut relatively close to the edges of the printing. There is a tiny offset with the white that shows in the vertical elements of the crosses, but this could be fixed quickly by trimming the larger side with a sharp blade before application. Conclusion A fine rendition of a mid-production Jagdpanzer IV sporting the longer L/70 barrel, with plenty of detail on the exterior, and the breech should be visible through an open hatch, giving you options despite it being officially an exterior-only kit. The later mesh schürzen gives the model a more realistic look, and can be banged up to depict a well-used example, or one driven by a klutz. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Leopard 2A6 Ukraine (BT-031) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys The Leopard 2 is the successor to the earlier Leopard Main Battle Tank (MBT), and was developed in the 70s, entering service just before the turn of the decade. The original had a vertical faced turret front, while later editions had improved angled armour applied to the turret front that gives the tank a more aggressive look and provides much better protection, and more likelihood of deflecting incoming rounds harmlessly away. It has all the technical features of a modern MBT, including stabilised main gun for firing on the move, thermal imaging, and advanced composite armour, making it a world-class contender as one of the best tanks on the market. The original Leopard 2 variant entered service in 1979, but has been through several upgrades through its service life and the current production variant is the highly advanced 2A7+, with the 2A8 waiting in the wings. The 2A6 is still a powerful battlefield resource however, and likely to be so for some considerable time. It sports the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore gun with the barrel extended over the A5, which results in a higher muzzle velocity that improves its penetration power over its predecessor, allowing it to reach targets at a greater range and hit harder. It also has an armoured ammunition storage space in the turret that is engineered to blow outward in the event of a detonation of munitions, which again improves the crew survivability further. For close-in defence they are fitted with an MG3 machine gun, and the armour is installed to give it an arrow-head front profile to the turret, as well as several more subtle upgrades that follow on from the 2A5. Sales of the Leopard 2 have been good overseas because of its reputation, and Canada, Turkey, Spain and most of the Nordic countries use it as well as many other smaller operators. Since the unlawful invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2022, many nations have been providing military and other strategic assistance to keep the brave Ukrainians able to defend their nation against the aggressor. Although Germany initially appeared reticent to proffer their leading-edge A6 variants to a non-NATO nation, they eventually supplied A4 and A5 variants, but policy changes led to a small number of the more capable A6s being added to the roster, to be used as “tip-of-the-spear” at the centre of the attack to punch a hole in the front line and give the less capable tanks a helping hand. Unfortunately, there aren’t sufficient numbers available of the A6 to spare from the nations that are supplying them, or more would doubtless be forthcoming. The older Leopard 2 variants have been retro-fitted with Kontakt Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) blocks at key points to enhance their chance of deflecting a direct hit, although the A6 has more capable composite armour so this may be unnecessary. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to armed combat. The Kit The kit on which this boxing is based was first released in 2019, and has been augmented a few times already, but now comes in a new box with additional parts to festoon the model with Kontakt ERA blocks, which look to have been pulled from one of their Russian tank kits, as they are moulded in green styrene. The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box with a painting of a Ukrainian Leopard on the front, and inside are seventeen sprues and two turret halves in grey styrene, seven more in green styrene, one in clear, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) that has been designed by Voyager Models, a turned aluminium barrel, a tree of black poly-caps, a length of braided wire, a small decal sheet, and the instruction booklet printed in colour on glossy paper, with profiles at the rear. Detail is excellent throughout, giving you the opportunity to build either an A5, or early and late examples of the A6 variant that is the subject on the box top. You also get workable track links and torsion suspension to create realistic-looking running gear that should also operate in a similar manner to the real vehicle. As per the text above, there are ERA blocks supplied, although the drawings are a little vague, and at time of writing there it is uncertain whether the Ukrainian engineers will find the need for installation, so they could be left on the sprues, or you could use online photos and your own references if you are unsure. Construction begins with the rear bulkhead of the hull, which is already well-moulded, but is further detailed with light clusters, convoy shield, towing eyes and so forth before it is attached to the hull floor along with the sides, and a supporting bulkhead near where the firewall would be between the crew and engine bay on the real vehicle. This part is purely structural however, and has stiffening web-work over both sides of its surface to create a strong shape ready for the next stage. Various suspension parts are applied to the hull sides, followed by seven torsion bars with swing-arms moulded into the ends on both sides, plus the two idler wheel axles at the front, the drive sprockets and final drive housings already moulded into the side walls. The road wheels are paired, and each one put together around a poly-cap so that the wheels can be added and removed as necessary, the same process applying to the idlers, and to the toothed drive sprockets at the rear. There are two types of circular cooling vents on the engine deck, which differ between the A5 and A6 variants, using different styrene parts, and for the A6, adding PE meshes over the vents. Two smaller raised vents are also made from styrene parts and a narrow length of PE mesh that wraps around the short vertical portion. They are put to one side for a short while so that the tracks can be built up. The track links consist of an upper and lower shell, with track pins and pivots sandwiched between them, which are built up in lengths of five links on the jig numbered 24 that is found on sprue P, gluing the central pivot to prevent them coming adrift during handling. Careful application of glue to the main track link halves results in a set of track links that are as mobile as the real ones, with good detail. I built up a short length of five links using six pivots in a few minutes, and can confirm that the parts are easy to clean-up, requiring trimming with a sharp knife, and the pivot sprue gates have been engineered in such a way as to make their clean-up a breeze. A quick translate of the text next to the number 84 offers a translation into something like “84 links”, so use that as your basis for each run, while 82 is another number I’ve seen. The track building process won’t be the work of five minutes, but it will be substantially quicker than a great many track systems I have used in the past. The upper hull is mated with the lower hull with the tracks in place, and has various detail parts fitted, including the driver’s hatch and surround plus vision blocks, track grousers and pins mounted on the glacis plate, a choice of two aerial bases, and front mudguards. A short two-link length of assembled track is placed between the grousers, adding barrel cleaning rods, towing eye and more grousers over the glacis and front fenders, fitting pioneer tools and frames around the engine deck, after dropping the four cooling vents into position before you do. A bow saw and pry bar are mounted on the right rear of the deck, fitting a travel lock to the centre, fixing light clusters to the glacis along with a wing mirror on the left side. The two towing cables are made from four styrene eyes, one at each end of a portion of the braided wire that is included in the box, although no length is given, but it’s not difficult to estimate this with the eyes tacked in place on the engine deck. The side skirts differ between variants, with pseudo-colour diagrams helping to choose which portions to include or remove. The drawings are a little confusing, so take your time to ensure you get it right. The same is true of the smoke grenade launchers on the sides of the turret, differing in layout between variants, whilst keeping the same eight barrels throughout. Speaking of the turret, it is provided almost complete, consisting of upper and lower halves, fitting the rear wall to the upper portion, whilst inserting five vision blocks around the commander’s cupola from the inside. All barrel options begin with the inner and outer mantlet, barrel shroud and fume extractor hump, but to depict an A5, a styrene barrel and muzzle must be used, as illustrated below in faux colour. The A6 early and late both utilise the turned aluminium barrel (or a styrene one if you prefer), plus the longer muzzle section to depict the substantial extra length of the new gun. The coaxial machine gun is moulded into one side panel, the other fitted to the side of the mantlet, and covered by a top-section that has a curved cut-out to accommodate the barrel. Step 15 seems to be a little upside down, as the top drawing shows the barrel already inserted, while the lower diagram shows the process of trapping the barrel assembly between the top and bottom halves of the gun assembly, fixing a cable roll and dividers in the bustle, with a cover over the top. The gap between the mantlet and the deflection fairings is covered by a three-part panel, building up the loader and commander’s hatches from multiple layers then inserting them into the top deck. Various lifting hooks, grab handles and a pair of aerial bases are fitted around the turret roof, making the MG3 on a two-part pintle mount for installation on the commander’s cupola in due course. Another page of false-colour images show the location of a training exercise beacon if required, cutting off the stub from the deck, and drilling a hole to accommodate it. The diagrams also show how to mount the hatch in open or closed states. There is a surround fitted over the commander’s vision blocks that incorporates two multi-part sighting boxes at the front and rear, which are built with clear lenses to the front, and the turret behind the hatch can be left to rotate if you are careful with the glue. The turret is covered at the front by a set of angled armour panels that give the tank its arrow-head look, and behind those are your chosen configuration of smoke grenade dischargers on an appliqué panel, then at the rear are two tapering stowage baskets, which have PE mesh on all sides, the outermost section folded around the contours of the tubular basket’s framework. The left side of the turret front has an optional set of specialist grenade launchers that are used in training situations to simulate firing of the main gun. They have the incredibly long-winded name of “Kanonenabschussdarstellungsgerät” that is shortened to KADAG. The barrels are separate from their support, and require the removal of three bolts from the armour panel they fit on, but to show the tank without them, the same base part is used, with a simple cover glued over the top. The completed turret is then lowered into the hull, lining up the bayonet lugs and twisting to lock it together. The ERA blocks are shown as an optional final two steps in the instructions, attaching a gaggle of them to the front of the turret, the glacis plate, and with moulded sets of blocks applied to the skirts. The layout of the turret and glacis plate blocks are vague, so if you intend to deploy your model with them applied, check your references, and if you can’t find any pictures of the A6 wearing them, take an educated guess based on those worn by the A5s and A4s that have already seen combat. Markings There is one page depicting the decal option from all sides, and the markings consist of hand-painted white crosses of various sizes, and four Ukrainian flags in blue and yellow in two sizes. From the box you can build the following: The decals are printed anonymously, but are suitable for the task, and there are only two colours plus white, with just the blue and yellow of the flags juxtaposed, but they appear to be in good register. The colour call-outs are given in AMMO codes, which are easy to get hold of almost everywhere, but there are plenty of paint conversion sites, tables and probably apps by now that will assist you if you need it. The main colours are NATO standard, so should be easy to find elsewhere. Conclusion A well-detailed model of an excellent tank that is going to do good work repelling the invader from Ukraine so they can get their country back and go on with their lives. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Kugelblitz Flak Panzer IV (BT-039) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys Unlike the later Tiger and Panther tanks, the Panzer IV had been designed in the years leading up to the outbreak of WWII, and was intended for a different role than it eventually played, which was as an infantry support tank with the mobile artillery function rolled into one. It was a heavier tank than the previous numbered types, and was well-designed, although it did suffer from the typical WWII German over-engineering that made them complex, expensive and slow to build, as well as difficult to maintain. The type went through several successive variants including enhancements such as a more powerful engine to give better performance, improved armour thickness for survivability, and latterly the provision of a larger gun with a longer high-velocity barrel that was based upon the Pak.40, but with shortened recoil mechanism and an enlarged muzzle-brake that helped contain the powerful recoil from the 75mm round. The new gun was a direct reaction to the first encounter with the T-34 in Soviet hands, an incident that shocked the German tankers and their superiors, as they knew very little of its existence until they had to fight it, and didn’t like the way their shots were prone to ricocheting off the sloped glacis. In true Nazi style, many variants with various intended uses were developed by the engineers from the base chassis, including four anti-aircraft options, starting with the Möbelwagen that looked like a skip dumped on top of a turretless tank, with a 37mm Flak cannon thrown in it, which garnered the nickname Moving Van in English. Its successors were the Wirbelwind and the Ostwind, mounting four 20mm or a single 37mm cannon respectively in a lightly armoured cupola. The final variant was too late to be of any use on the battlefield, and was the Kugelblitz, perhaps recognising that the anti-aircraft installation was as useful defending against ground attacks as aircraft. It mounted two 30mm Mk103 cannons in an armoured turret that had been developed for fitting to U-Boats, but only five pre-production instances were built before the war ended. It is thought that one of the examples was pressed into service toward the end of the war, as its rusted hull was found in 1999 buried at the site of a battle in central Germany. The Kit This kit is billed as a new tooling, however it shares a few sprues for the running gear with other kits in the Border range that are also based upon the Panzer IV chassis, so if you have one of their Jagdpanzer IVs, you might recognise them. The kit arrives in a top-opening box, and inside are eleven sprues and a hull part in grey styrene, a pair of turned and milled brass barrels for the 30mm cannons, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a length of braided wire, a tiny sheet of decals, and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles on the rear pages. Detail is good and up with the best Panzer IV kits, bringing link-and-length tracks, metal barrels, and a full depiction of the ball-like turret that is the core of the model. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is slide-moulded with plenty of detail on all external surfaces, and includes the cooling vents on the sides of the engine compartment, simplifying the build a little. Suspension bump-stops and other components are added to the sides, and the rear bulkhead with idler axle mounts, towing eye on two mounting plates, making up sixteen sets of paired road wheels that slide onto the twin bogies, handed to each side. Eight paired return rollers, two-part drive sprockets and four-part idler wheels are also made up and installed along with the two final drive housings at the front of the hull. This leads us to the tracks, which are of the link-and-length variety, offering the modeller a simplified variation on independent links, whilst easing the task of obtaining the correct sag, particularly to the upper run, which has substantial sag moulded-in, a conspicuous feature of this tank’s track system. Eight individual links are installed around the drive sprocket along with a short diagonal length then three more individual links, with a similar process carried out at the rear, but with one lower link transferred to fit around the idler wheel, and an extra link moulded into the diagonal section. Detail is excellent, with just a few small ejector-pin marks on the insides of the longer lengths that you can hide if you think they’ll be seen through the muck and grime of weathering. The hull can now be fitted with the glacis plate, with inspection hatches and armoured hinge covers plus brackets, laying a seven-link length of track across the fixed central panel as DIY appliqué armour. The fenders go on next, adding slide-moulded mudflaps to the ends, cutting off the short schürzen brackets moulded into the outer lip of the fenders. The upper hull is made from the roof and side sections, adding crew hatches to the front, a couple of grab-handles and a tool box over the engine bay, in what is at this stage a pretty standard Panzer IV hull. It is mated with the lower hull, and has the upper glacis place with bow machine gun installed on the right with a barrel stub through the centre, and the driver’s armoured vision port on the left, fitting small return springs to the sides of the front mudguards, and two more at the rear, whilst installing the rear of the engine bay and two armour panels over the exhaust baffles, followed by the covers, which are depicted as open for this boxing. Twin exhausts with slide-moulded exits are mated with their armoured bases that have a PE top, and joined to the rear bulkhead, fixing the four towing eyes to each end of lengths of braided wire and supporting them on a bracket mounted at the top of the rear bulkhead. A full set of pioneer tools, including fire extinguisher, axe, track tools, detailed jack and block, a shovel and various other small parts are dotted around the upper surfaces, adding an open-topped stowage box with four road wheels and two spanners in them on the left fender, and more track links from custom links on the right side. A single headlight is fitted on the front of the left fender, a Notek convoy light on left rear fender, and even more track links are draped across the lower glacis, held on by a bracket welded to the forward towing mounts. Building the turret begins with the short breeches of the mk 103 cannons, which are each three parts, mounting them in a boxy surround, with the two barrel bases projecting through holes in the front face. Gun controls and a door are applied to the rear of the assembly, gluing the door in the lowered position, then adding two side supports and the curved armour to the front. Ammo boxes and arched feeder chutes are attached to the sides, building the roof from several parts before fixing it over the gun assembly. A curved rear panel has hinges added to it before it is glued to the back of the roof, and the whole gun mount is bracketed by two domed pivots that have additional details glued to the inner surface, doubling up the thickness of the rear panel to enhance the detail further. A clamshell hatch with a periscope on one side are inserted in the cut-out in the roof, either open or closed at your whim, then trunnions are installed over circular bearings on each side of the turret, which glue to the sides of the turret ring on recessed areas. Covers are fixed over the ammo boxes with hinges on the inner faces, and the conical splinter shield is lowered over the assembly, clearing the barrel stubs first, and mounting two retaining pins along the break-open portions of the shield. Outer shrouds are slotted over the barrel stubs, and the brass barrels are inserted into the centres, choosing whether to install the travel lock on the rightmost barrel shroud before you install it on the hull. The brass barrels have plenty of detail on them, with a milled muzzle brake at the tips, depicting the side exits, although these don’t extend into the barrel, but are recessed to give the impression that they do. A little black paint will improve that impression once the model is painted. Markings There are two markings options included on the decal sheet, both of which are possibly fictional, although as at least one of the pre-production examples saw combat, one or more could be real. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are supplied on a tiny sheet, with just four Balkenkreuz provided, one pair in white, the others in black and white. Both are well-printed and suitable for the task, but don’t forget to apply them before any weathering, so they look as grimy as the paint work. Conclusion This is an interesting and unusual variant of the Panzer IV, with plenty of detail and a couple of fun camouflage schemes. You probably can’t tell from the side profiles, but the colourful option looks like a Catherine wheel from above. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  13. After the Bf.109G-6 "Gustav" (link) and J-87G-1/2 Stuka (link) Border Model is to release a 1/35th Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 "Kate" kit - ref. BF005 Source: https://tieba.baidu.com/p/7911789626 (message now deleted!) V.P.
  14. UPDATE: The original Wingnut Wings project (2018) is now the hands of Border Model (2021) Three new Wingnut Wings kits in development to be announced at the All Japan Model & Hobby Show in Tokyo - 28-30 September 2018. Source: http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/ - ref. 32043 - Avro Lancaster B.Mk.I/III : 1/32 - http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/product?productid=3193 - ref. 32044 - Avro Lancaster B.Mk.III "Dambusters" : 1/32 - http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/product?productid=3194 - ref. 32062 - Halberstadt Cl.II (late) - see Britmodeller thread here: link - Scale: 1/32 - http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/product?productid=3195 V.P.
  15. Moxingfans China indicates that in a recent message Border Model posted some intriguing sprues pictures showing what looks like Focke-Wulf Fw.190 Würger parts. Most probably a 1/35th kit project. To be followed. Source: http://www.moxingfans.com/new/news/2022/0905/10739.html V.P.
  16. Hello all, Having been in the Modelling Wilderness for some time now, I have decided to come out of the shadows with a flaming pitchfork and a backpack full of goodies. I really have been incredibly lucky; I deal a lot with China with my business and through my Chinese supplier, I have in my possession, 3 Off 1/32 Border Model Lancasters. Masochism aside, Project of all Projects, I am going to build all three to make a 617 Squadron Diorama! I need to say as well that Nigel’s Modelling Bench has been invaluable in the researching of this project The Avro Heritage Museum has been worth a few visits too! Here are the three I am going to build; Lancaster B.I - PA474-KC-A (-T/-V) PA474 'Thumper' MkIII Flt Lt Bob Knight 617 Sqn Woodhall Spa, England. 1944 This one will be in maintenance to show off the Engines with ground crew all around her. Lancaster B.III (Special) - AJ-G Operation Chastise Squadron Wing Commander Guy Gibson Armed and ready with the crew walking towards her. Lancaster B.I (Special) – Grand Slam - PD119/YZ-J, 617 Squadron, Woodhall Spa, England April 1945 Armed and with Crew ready to Taxi Extras are going to be; 3 Off Magic Scale Modelling Light and Sound Kits Profimodeller Dipols and Pitot Tubes Sets Profimodeller Gun Barrels Barracuda Radios and Wheel Sets Robert Mrozowski Model Design Lancaster Cockpit Sets; these have extra detail over the kit if that were possible Airscale Lancaster Instrument Panel Upgrades IconAir Dambusters Conversion Set IconAir Grand Slam Kit - Bulged Bomb Bays IconAir Bomb Trollies' with Ordinance, tractors etc. Various figures, where I can get them... Various Vehicles. Custom built RAF Control Tower in 1/32 Kits World Decals Whatever else pops up,... I have built a table ready for the Diorama; Here are the three Lancs that will give me so many 'emotions' over the coming months... Here is the Nerve Center or Operations Room 🇬🇧 🖌️ Right then, I could write something gushing, loving and hugging about this kit but this has already been done and it's a given that this kit is something a bit special. So, I am going to use an analogy here; In a certain aircraft film released recently (you know the one) there is a subplot about how things are going to be all drones soon and fighter pilots will be redundant but presently, pilots are being pushed as far as they can to prove themselves against drones. We all know that 3D Printing is the future but before we all go down the future route, this kit is pushing the boundaries as far as injection moulding can go and by God does it so that... Enough said So, first production line assemblies are going to be the turrets & instrument panels 2 Front Turrets 1 Top Turret 3 Tail Turrets Hope you enjoy...
  17. Jagdpanzer IV L/48 Early (BT-016) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys Designed as a replacement to the successful StuG III, the Jagdpanzer IV was based upon the chassis of the Panzer IV as the nomenclature implies. It went into production despite objections that the StuG III was perfectly adequate for the job going forward, and diversion of resources away from standard Panzer IVs was wasteful. Due to shortages of the new L/70 gun, the initial production was fitted with the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48, which had a shorter barrel and was less powerful than the Pak 42 L/70 that was eventually fitted, and can be quickly differentiated by the lack of muzzle-brake on the longer gun, with under 800 short-barrels produced. There was an overlap in production between the two main guns, the last L/48 equipped vehicles leaving the factory at the end of 1944, the longer barrelled examples continuing until German industry ground to a halt in the spring of 1945. The type wasn’t without its foibles, and could shed rubber tyres due to the weight of the vehicle on the ground, which sometimes led to installation of all-steel rims, and as rubber was a scarce strategic material anyway, that had its advantages. The longer barrel also made travelling over rough ground problematic, as the increased overhang could result in the muzzle digging-in, thanks to the lack of turret and limited traverse preventing moving the gun around to clear obstacles. Another reason for removing the muzzle-brake was that in dry weather, the gun kicked up immense clouds of dust that could give away its position, negating the benefits of its relatively low silhouette. As the war situation deteriorated for the Nazis, there were efforts made to cease Panzer IV production in favour of the StuG III, as it was concluded that they had performed better at the crucial Kursk turning point of the Eastern Front campaign. This effort failed, although the Pz.IVs were only produced at one factory during the closing months of the war, with StuG IVs taking over some of the production capacity freed up by the shrinking Panzer IV workload. In typical fashion, instead of concentrating on one type and producing a large quantity that were simple to maintain, they manufactured three or four designs that were essentially carrying out the same task, all of which had their own training, parts, and maintenance requirements. Thankfully for the Allies, this worked in their favour and they had to face fewer tanks on the march toward Berlin. As an aside, my SO’s grandfather encountered a Jagdpanzer IV during WWII, and we have a photo of him and his colleagues sitting astride the barrel and superstructure, with a visible shell entry point between the sponson underside plate and engine bay side panel, which was probably the reason for its destruction or abandonment. It would make a great diorama one day if I ever get the time and skills together in one place. The Kit This is a new tooling from Border, and arrives in a substantial top-opening box with a painting of a camouflaged Jagdpanzer IV passing a knocked-out Sherman Firefly, most likely somewhere in France due to the markings. Inside are fourteen sprues, a crisply moulded lower hull and saukopf parts in grey styrene, a large fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a smaller nickel-plated fret on thicker gauge metal that contains a trio of Zimmerit application tools, two generous packets of two-part epoxy, a tiny decal sheet containing just seven decals, and a colour printed instruction booklet in A4 landscape format that includes colour profiles in the rear, as well as a detailed guide on how to apply Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste should you be feeling brave. Detail on the sprues is excellent, with some dainty moulding and judicious use of slide-moulding to achieve increased detail without raising the parts count unduly. There is no rolled steel armour texture moulded into the hull armour, however early Jagdpanzer.IVs were often coated with Zimmerit, so it’s unlikely to be seen, while the highly visible Saukopf mantlet armour and a few other appropriate parts are moulded with a sand-cast texture, as these parts weren’t subjected to the coating. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is well-moulded with plenty of detail on all external surfaces, and includes the cooling vents on the sides of the engine compartment, simplifying the build a little. Suspension bump-stops and other components are added to the sides, and the rear bulkhead with idler axle mounts, exhaust muffler and jack block is fixed to the back, making up sixteen pairs of road wheels that slide onto the twin bogies, which the instructions tell you to make up in two pairs for each of left and right. The step after next however shows four left and four right bogies installing onto the sides of the hull, which matches the making of sixteen pairs of wheels. Four return rollers, the idler axle socket and final drive housing are attached to the sides first, adding the bogies, idler wheels and drive sprockets, following which the hull can be righted to install the two glacis plate panels, the upper part having separate inspection hatches with armoured hinge covers, while the front panel is inserted either clean, or with a length of spare track-link strapped to it with a bracket. This leads us to the rest of the track, which is of the link-and-length variety, offering the modeller a simplified variation on independent links, whilst easing the task of obtaining the correct sag, particularly to the upper run, which has sag moulded-in. Eight individual links are installed around the drive sprocket along with a short length then three more individual links, with a similar process carried out at the rear, only with one link transferred around the idler wheel, and a slightly longer diagonal section. Detail on the links is excellent, with just a few small ejector-pin marks on the insides of the longer lengths that you can hide if you think they’ll be seen through the muck and grime of weathering. The fenders go on next, adding slide-moulded mudflaps to the ends, and short vertical fillets added at the front. Small vents are also added to the glacis inspection hatches with the openings facing the rear. Before the casemate can be built, the main gun breech must be made up, taking several sub-steps and many parts to create a detailed depiction of the L/48 breech block, aiming mechanism and the protective frame to the rear. The casemate's frame is bulked-out with an internal layer to the front, with some small holes drilled in the engine deck while inverted. The gun-mount bulge is built from two halves, adding the top from the outside, dropping the breech into the recess and closing it in with the bottom half, taking care to apply the glue sparingly, as this is the hollow in which the gun elevates and traverses on a peg that meshes with a hole in the bottom, although there is only around 15° of traverse left or right. The casemate roof is separate, and is detailed with periscopes, hinges for the two main hatches, the pop-up hatch for the commander’s binocular sight, and the curved sliding hatch near the front of the roof. The periscope and its mount are provided, allowing you to pose it deployed or omit it and leave the hatch down. The small rear bulkhead is slotted into place from within, then it is inserted along with the driver’s vision port and two domed covers on the front. The pioneer tools are scattered across the remaining deck space in the next step, including the jack, spanners, track tools and a long pry-bar. The gun barrel is a single solid part that is found next to the 4mm longer L/70 barrel that has a slide-moulded hollow barrel. The earlier L/48 barrel has a choice of three styles of muzzle-brake, each of which are made up from three parts, and the barrel should be inserted into the breech along with the Saukopf mantlet armour. Barrel-cleaning rods are applied to the rear of the casemate, with two stacked pairs of road wheels on brackets over the left vents on the engine deck, and another length of spare track on a bracket on the top rear bulkhead, or another pair of stacked road wheels if you prefer. The upper hull can then be mated with the lower hull and the ends of the fenders detailed with lights, fire extinguisher, convoy light, return springs for the mudflaps, and a pair of towing eyes on the lower glacis. Most Jagdpanzer IVs were fitted with schürzen down the sides, and you are provided with two styles of brackets that fix to the fenders and along the sides of the casemate. Once the glue is dry on these, a diagonal PE sheet is applied over the rear sides of the engine deck over a large wrench, then the main run of four sections of schürzen and their angled returns with styrene brackets glued to the rear with super glue are suspended on the vertical portions of the brackets. Remember that these sheets were intended to pre-detonate incoming shaped-charge rounds, and weren’t case or surface hardened armour in the traditional sense, so were prone to damage from incoming rounds of larger calibre, as well as damage from collisions with other vehicles and the surrounding countryside, so were often bent, mangled and even missing in places. That gives you liberty to have a little fun crafting a history into those sheets of metal, bending, breaking and losing them as you see fit. Go nuts! Annealing the brass before going to work will make the metal malleable and easier to work with, which can be done with a lighter or candle flame, applying heat until the metal is discoloured, then letting it cool naturally to retain the softness. Candle flames generally contain soot as a by-product of combustion, so if you have a lighter to hand, it’s the cleaner option. If I’m teaching my grandmother to suck eggs however, I apologise. Zimmerit If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Zimmerit was a grey paste made up from various chemical components and sawdust that was applied to vertical surfaces of German tanks to prevent magnetic mines from sticking to them due to distance, which the Germans thought was a real danger during the early stages of their withdrawal from Russia. It turns out that their fear was unfounded, as mines of this type were uncommon in Soviet units, the realisation dawning on the Nazis in October 1944 along with another unfounded fear that the paste could ignite if hit. Initially, it was applied at the factory with tools that gave it a texture of horizontal lines or waffle pattern, with several variations fielded, which could often pinpoint the factory from which the vehicle originated. The kit includes two packs of putty, which when mixed in equal quantities will create an epoxy putty that will dry in a couple of hours at room temperature. In colder weather curing will take a lot longer, so it’s an idea to place it somewhere warm to cure if you‘re impatient like me. The kit also includes three application tools on a thick PE sheet that can be chucked into an X-Acto style knife handle to make shaping the putty easier. There are detailed instructions at the rear of the booklet with text and pictures to assist even the novice Zimmerit engineer in getting the job done well. You start by mixing the two halves thoroughly, then apply it evenly and thinly to the appropriate armour panels, keeping it moist to prevent premature curing. Using your references and the tools supplied, imprint the pattern appropriate to your decal option, removing any build-up with a knife or tweezers to prevent bogging down of the tool. It also advises that some small details such as raised rivets and bolts can be removed with a knife as they were buried under the coating, and it will make your job easier. Zimmerit occasionally chipped off in use, and many modellers depict the exposed interior of the paste as grey, although there was an ochre colour added to the mix at the Chemische Werke Zimmer & Co in Berlin, which also gives you a big hint where the name came from. Another few pages at the rear show you how to create a rolled-up tarpaulin and strapping from any excess putty, using various additional tools that your average modeller already has in order to personalise your model. The putty in the instructions is coloured rust red so that it shows up well in the pictures, but the packs in my example will mix up into an off-white colour, very similar to Milliput Fine. Markings There are three options on the tiny decal sheet, differentiated mostly by their camouflage schemes, which are all based on Dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow) as applied to German armour later in the war. From the sheet you can build one of the following: Pz.Div.LAH, 1944 Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 Pz.Abt 228, 116 Pz.Div, Normandy, 1944 The sheet contains seven decals, but one is white and can barely be seen against the pale blue backdrop of the sheet. The rest of the decals are printed in black and white, with good registration, colour density and sharpness, plus a matt carrier film cut relatively close to the edges of the printing. If you are applying it over Zimmerit, use plenty of decal softener and a gloss surface to get it to snuggle down into the grooves and avoid silvering. Conclusion A fine rendition of an early Jagdpanzer IV with the shorter L/48 barrel, with plenty of detail on the exterior, and the breech should be visible through an open hatch, giving you options despite it being officially an exterior-only kit. Seldom do you see epoxy resin and tools included to help you with applying Zimmerit, and never have we seen instructions included in addition. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Tiger I Initial Production (BT-014) Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E s.Pz.Abt.502 Leningrad Region 1942/3 Winter 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys The Tiger tank was part of Hitler's obsession for bigger, heavier and stronger, which drove him to extraordinary and dizzying heights of impracticality at times, but in this case served him reasonably well. The goal was to mount the extremely powerful and accurate 88mm cannon used in the Flak 36 in a tank with sufficient armour to withstand any artillery round then-fielded by the enemy. This series of objectives were achieved, but at the cost of reliability and a prodigious thirst for fuel. It also made for some nervous bridge-crossings, as the finished article weighed in at almost 60 tonnes, which was too much for many smaller bridges of the day. A deep-water fording kit was created to get around that issue, allowing the tanks to ford streams and smaller rivers where the bridges or culverts wouldn’t take their weight. A competition was held with only two contenders, and it was the ignominy of the filmed breakdown of the Porsche designed prototype and subsequent fire on his birthday that decided Hitler in favour of the less ambitious Henschel design which became the Tiger, and then the Tiger I after the King Tiger or Tiger II came into being. When it first reached the front it caused panic and heavy losses for the Allies, being capable of almost everything it was designed to do, including knocking out tanks long before the enemy's guns were able to bring them within range. Even when the Allies could get their own guns within range, it wasn't until they got much closer, almost to point-blank range, that they had any measurable chance of crippling or destroying the mighty Tiger, especially during frontal engagements, where a shot might just ricochet off harmlessly. Many of the early Tigers were lost to mechanical breakdown due to excessive strain on the transmission caused by the weight, and had to either be dragged off the field by Famo half-tracks under the cover of darkness, under armoured protection, or failing that, destroyed by demolition charges to prevent them falling into the enemy's hands. The Tiger underwent constant changes throughout production to improve performance, fix problems, simplify and cheapen construction, but these are generally lumped together into early, middle or late productions for the sake of the sanity of us modellers. If you want to get maximum accuracy of fit and finish, check your references for certainty. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Border Model, and while some may be thinking “do we need another Tiger?”, other people’s Tigers don’t make any money for Border, and it’s a popular subject. This boxing represents the first production of the vehicle, before the Feifel air filters were installed on the rear bulkhead, and other early equipment and appendages that were later dropped altogether, or amended in light of experience, or the need to simplify construction to get more into the fight sooner. It arrives in a top-opening box, with a painting of a camouflaged Tiger in winter terrain, backed-up by a short-barrelled Panzer IV, as often happened in the field, as there were often insufficient Tigers to create a full squadron. Inside the box are thirteen sprues and the lower hull in grey styrene, some of which are joined together in the box to confuse the numbers, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a length of flexible braided wire, a turned aluminium barrel, two sprues containing a pair of figures, a simple decal sheet, and the instruction booklet that is printed in landscape A4 on glossy paper, with spot colour throughout, and colour profiles on the rear pages that have been penned for them by AMMO, using their paint codes. Detail is good, and it is an exterior-only kit, with no evidence that an interior is planned, although it’s always possible. The surface detail is crisp and well-moulded, but they have elected not to depict the subtle rolled-steel texture that is often seen on armour, possibly because a great many German tanks were covered with Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste, or because it’s fairly easy to depict it yourself with some basic tools and liquid glue, allowing you to be as subtle as you like with the texture. Construction begins with the lower hull, which has a pair of circular inspection hatches added into recesses under the rear, two torch-cut towing eyes at the rear of the hull sides, which have overlapping joints for strength, then the rear bulkhead with a few holes drilled in it, and the torsion bar suspension with swing-arms and stub axles glued into the end, which lock in place in sockets on the opposite wall of the hull. The front portion of the hull walls are detailed with armoured surrounds to the final drive bell-housings, then the road wheels are started, adding the innermost layer in a similar manner to the real thing, layering them to spread out the ground-pressure. If you are depicting your Tiger in transport configuration, the outermost wheels are left off and the next layer have different caps with a PE spring-clip in the centre, although at this stage the reason for leaving them off isn’t mentioned in the instructions. The final drive housings, next layer of paired wheels and towing loops are next, followed by another set of paired wheels and the spoked idler wheels at the rear, then the optional outer layer and (non-optional) drive sprockets to complete the drivetrain. Tracks for this kit are link-and-length, taking advantage of modern moulding techniques to shorten the process of creating a realistic-looking track run by moulding the straight sections as a single part on the top and bottom runs. The instructions show the two curved sections front and rear, using 25 links at the front, and 20 in the rear, with each of the single links having two guide-horns glued in place before they are installed. The instructions show a few guide-horns being added to the top and bottom single-part runs, but inspection of the parts shows they already have them moulded-in. I’m confused. The completed runs are added to the road wheels once complete, although its probably best to drape the runs around the road wheels while the glue is setting, in order to obtain the correct shape and sag where appropriate. Attention then switches to the upper hull, which must first have a collection of holes drilled out from inside, and the hinges for the forward hatches glued inside the cut-outs, adding the hatches with their clear periscopes once the glue is dry. Flipping the assembly over, armoured covers are added over the periscopes, the heavy cast grilles at the back of the engine deck are installed and backed up with interior flat covers, and a choice of two styles of central cover in the middle of the deck. A mushroom vent and pair of wire cutters are fixed to the roof of the forward deck, adding more tools around them and in the shadow of the turret sides. The twin headlights have a clear lens at the centre, and their conduit snakes away into the hull, bravely adding an aerial on the right deck before joining the upper and lower hull together. The headlight conduits are fixed in place by a pair of PE clamps, and four PE mesh panels are glued over the large grilles to keep dust and grenades out of the engine compartment, adding the rear mudguards, Notek convoy light, towing eyes and the start of detailing the rear bulkhead. Turning to the front, the top glacis plate with driver’s vision slot and bow gun socket are applied before it is slipped into the hull, adding a pair of appliqué plates over the hull sides to give it additional thickness, which makes me wonder if alternative boxings with Zimmerit may be in the pipeline, as all horizontal sides are separate parts. The twin exhaust stacks are made up using a series of alternative cylindrical parts depending on which decal option you are planning, building the jack from nine parts plus two more brackets, then fitting the assemblies on the rear bulkhead, plus the armoured bases and thinner shrouds, and a number of brackets that run down the sides of the deck to hold the two towing cables, which are made up from the length of wire plus styrene eyelets and tie-down brackets, although no lengths are given, but could be divined by laying the eyelets on the deck and looping the wires through the tie-downs and back again. More pioneer tools are nestled around the towing cables, and a cap or wading trunk is installed in the rear of the deck, with the jack block attached to the bulkhead on the left using PE straps to hold it on, and adding two PE supports under it. At the front, the remaining horizontal(ish) section of the glacis is put in place, using one of two alternatives, the larger part having a pair of PE mudflaps laid over the ends. The bow machine gun port is surrounded by an armoured bezel before slipping the barrel into the ball-mount, and the driver’s vision port is up-armoured by a four-part assembly with a bullet-splash shield fixed in front on the deck. Two short lengths of spare track are applied to the lower glacis on a pair of C-rails doubling up as extra armour, although it wasn’t really needed at this time of the war. Having said that this is not an interior kit, the initial steps of building the turret from the lower ring and two halves includes adding a pair of seats around the rim, and creating a basic breech for the main gun. The gun itself is supplied on the sprues in styrene, but you can use the turned aluminium barrel in the box to avoid any seam filling and take advantage of the crispness of the metal part. It fixes into the inner mantlet and is locked in place by a clip, with the basics of the recuperator around the inner end, to which the breech block and brass-catcher box-frame are added, gluing the assembly in between the turret sides and installing the two-layer outer mantlet and cylindrical sleeve that is moulded as a single part by sliding it over the barrel. The muzzle brake is assembled from three styrene parts and fixed onto a keyed peg at the end of the barrel, then the turret roof with loader’s hatch and a choice of fume extractor at the rear of the roof. The complicated commander’s cupola is built on a clear castellated circular base, adding five clear lenses over the raised sections, and then lowering the toroidal styrene outer over the top and making up the hatch with three locking ‘dogs’ on the inside, pull handle and hinge on the outside, with the option of leaving it mobile by applying the glue to the four-part hinge sparingly. A rack of three smoke grenade launchers are fitted on brackets on each side of the mantlet, adding a pair of grab handles and pivot plugs nearby. One decal option has a pair of additional stowage boxes on the sides of the turret, looking like a pair of ‘jug ears’, which are each made from a single shell, two-part lid, and four attachment brackets, duplicated on the opposite side. The other decal options and most Tigers had a bustle box at the rear, although these early boxes were more complex than later variants, but it is made up from only three parts. My example had suffered some damage to the brackets, so check yours when you get it. The turret is a drop-fit onto the hull, so remember that next time you get the urge to look at the underside. Figures There are two figures included in the box, which I suspect may be limited to the initial pressing, as they aren’t mentioned in the instructions. Both figures are standing and pointing, dressed in padded winter uniforms with hoods, one of whom is the commander of the tank with a peaked cap and headphones, holding a pair of binoculars in his free hand. The other figure is infantry, as evidenced by his rifle, steel helmet, gas mask canister, day bag, water bottle, and the webbing moulded into his torso. Sculpting is excellent, with sensible breakdown of parts, and splitting the hood into a separate part between the torso and head gives extra detail. Even though there are no instructions with my example, the parts’ locations are self-evident, and this is reinforced by the presence of pegs and slots that differ in shape and size between the parts, so you can’t get it wrong unless you really try. Common sense and referring to the picture on the front of the box should see you through, as well as help you with the painting of the figures once complete. Markings There are four options included, but they relate to three vehicles, with one option being a camouflage variation that was applied to the same vehicle at some point. As mentioned, the profiles are drawn by AMMO, so the colours and suggested additional weathering materials are all available from AMMO, however the colour names should be sufficient to allow you to use your preferred brand of paints and weathering potions. From the box you can build one of the following: S.Pz.Abt.503, Tosno, September 1942 S.Pz.Abt.502, Mishkino, February 1943 S.Pz.Abt.502, Leningrad Sector, September 1942 S.Pz.Abt.502, Leningrad Sector, September 1942 The decals are all white apart from two black number 3s, so registration isn’t an issue, and the sharpness and colour density should be suitable for your use. Conclusion There are many Tiger kits out there, and this is the new offering from Border. It ticks most of the boxes unless you wanted an interior, and is more detailed than many out there, but not the most detailed or complicated. It’s a good mainstream kit, and the link/length tracks should be less time-consuming and fiddly than individual links, which could tempt some adherents away from rubberband tracks. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  19. German 88mm Gun Flak36 (BT-013) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys The Flak36 originated as a requirement during WWI, when the initial batch of nascent anti-aircraft weapons were deemed to be of little use other than to give the occasional pilot or balloon rider a fright, so the German High Command began casting around for weapon with a larger calibre that would do more damage, even with a near miss. Their defeat in WWI got in the way, but Rheinmetall were able to carry on surreptitiously using Bofors of Sweden, of whom they owned a significant portion, eventually settling on 88mm as their preferred calibre. Initially designated as the Flak18, perhaps as a nod to their continuation of initial work, then renamed as the Flak36 with the addition of a factory fitted splinter shield. One particular aspect of the design gave it an advantage over other anti-aircraft weapons of the time, as loading was accomplished by placing the next round in a tray before the previous round was fired, the recycled energy from which would eject the spent cartridge and load the new one from the tray, resulting in a high cyclical fire rate of between 15-20 rounds per minute with a good crew. Coupling that with the accuracy and quality of engineering gave it the title of best in class in anti-aircraft artillery. The rise of Hitler gave production an enormous boost, as he began openly re-arming Germany for war in contravention of the Versailles Treaty that he loathed so vehemently. The type also benefited from the flexibility of its transport system, which could permit limited firing of the weapon without removing the axle-bogies, and full set-up could be achieved in two and a half minutes from transit mode to firing mode, which made it very flexible, especially in emergencies. The full set-up involved splaying out all four outriggers to stabilise the weapon after removing the transport axles, following which they would link up with their battery command, who would assist with laying targets, so that the battery of four guns would behave almost as one. When the discovery of its effectiveness against armour was made, splinter shields were fitted to new builds to protect the crews from the retribution of their targets, and could also be retro-fitted to the older Flak18s that had been pressed into service away from air targets. The Flak36 was superseded by the Flak37 predictably, which was fitted with improved targeting equipment and could better act as a unified part of a battery under the command of one target designator. The replacement for the Flak37 improved the maximum altitude when attacking high-flying aircraft, using a longer cartridge to hold more propellant, and a longer barrel to increase the muzzle velocity in order to reach the required heights. Over 12,000 of the almost identical Flak18/36/37s were built during the war, and they served in all theatres where the Nazis fought, gaining a fearsome reputation as a foe on land or air in the process. To further enhance this reputation, the most feared German tanks also mounted a derivative of the 88mm cannon, such as the Tiger I and King Tiger. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Border Model, and the initial batch arrives in a limited-edition tin with separate friction-fit lid, and painted all over as if it was a card box. If you miss out on the initial run, you might have to slum it with cardboard, whereas the tin can be used for storage long after you’ve finished building the kit. It’s pleasingly compact to the cocoon the sprues, so doesn’t take up much space in the stash. Inside the box are seventeen sprues in grey styrene for the gun, another linked series of spruelets for the included figures, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, four separate slide-moulded parts in grey styrene, eight flexible grey wheels, although the instructions only note four, the decal sheet, and a turned aluminium barrel, which might also be part of the limited edition aspect. Sprues are bagged individually or in pairs to protect them from damage, and when removed the detail is excellent, which is great news because almost everything will be visible on the finished model, as fairings and cowlings aren’t a feature of artillery pieces, save for the splinter shield. The instruction sheet is landscape A4, and is printed on glossy white paper, with colour profiles on the rear pages that have been penned for them by artists at AMMO, and uses their paint codes to describe the colours. Inside the front cover is a brief history of the weapon, plus a few contemporary photos of the 88 in action, and one after action with a US GI standing idly by an abandoned unit. Construction begins with the removable axle-bogies, each of which begins with the single part that has the base and twin arches moulded-in, to which a myriad of parts are fixed above and below to create suspension and the other mechanisms to mate and detach the bogies from the outriggers, and several pioneer tools dotted around them both in duplicate, before they diverge into front and rear bogies with their specific fitments, such as seats, cable spools and other equipment. Each outrigger is created from halves, adding the spikes through the ends in one direction or another to set the outriggers lower or higher against the floor. Spare spikes are fitted along the sides, and a pivot for the side outriggers is made, allowing them to fold up for transport partway along their length. With the four outriggers completed, they are placed on the base plate at the centre, then closed in by adding the top surface and the tapered pedestal above it. Additional adjustment wheels and levers are fitted along with a few small structural elements between the outriggers, after which you need to choose whether to depict your 88 in firing or transport mode, attaching stays to the folded up side lengths to hold them at the correct angle. The gun cradle floor has the breech block and surround fixed to one end, and has either the styrene barrel with rear insert and hollow muzzle installed, or two of the styrene parts replaced with the aluminium barrel, which will save some seam sanding, which no-one really likes if we’re honest. The base of the cradle, top recuperator on an arch over the breech, and the elevator gear are fixed together, the parts differing depending on whether you are using the splinter shield on your model, and even between the two styles of shield on offer. The barrel assembly is slotted through and rests on the cradle base, sliding a rod inside the recuperator cylinder, and adding the shell cradle along with another sprinkling of ancillary parts, and a choice of two lengths of rod onto the left side of the breech. The trunnions are next, with a choice of details to each one with a host of small parts, seats, mechanical calculators, and wheels for the crew to spin around frantically. The base of the gun is an angular box under the cradle that has another pair of recuperator cylinders that give the 88 its signature look, then it and the gun cradle are sandwiched between the trunnions, with a choice of three splinter shields the next option. A diagram over the page shows how the extended sides can be deployed, as well as the PE parts for the vision slit, and the mounting brackets in the rear. The initial choice between three shield is complicated by three instructions not being in English. From top to bottom they are “Cut off the positioning bar”, “observe the opening”, and “Observe the gate”, for which you can thank the translate option that’s now available on modern iPhone photos. The following page shows the gun assembly mating with the base, adding the travel lock to a weapon that’s ready to fire (odd), and how the axle-bogies are linked to the longitudinal outriggers, and this time they finished the translation, so we’re all good. Each end of the two axles needs a twin wheel assembly, which is made up by creating four hubs from four parts each, then slipping two flexible tyres over the hubs, before they are slotted onto the axles. There are also a couple of shell transport boxes that can hold three shells each, and are made up from five sides (one is L-shaped), plus handles on the ends, all of which are depicted as being wooden. A pair of full wicker cases are also present, with just their ends to be added to finish them off, all of which is good fodder for a diorama, or an accompanying prime-mover that you may be building to go with it. Figures To strengthen the case for a diorama, there are six figures included in the box, all on their own sub-sprues, but supplied linked together, which was a link I quickly nipped off to make photography easier. They are shown in the instructions on a single sheet, with each part shown as a different colour with its part number pointed out. It makes for a colourful page, and the crew are divided up into different tasks, starting with a guy carrying the next shell to the gun while another loads one, a man with a notepad calculating something, a spotter that is holding a stereoscopic targeting device, a gunner sitting down with hands on the adjustment wheels, and finally a crew member with a pair of binoculars that could be looking over and down at the scribblings of the chap with the notepad. Sculpting is excellent, and parts breakdown is standard apart from a few hands or fingers that have been moulded separately to obtain better detail. They are all wearing standard stahlhelms, although the gentlemen with optical devices seems to know it’s going to rain soon, as they have wrinkled covers on their helmets. The uniforms are erring toward winter or Eastern Front, as indicated by the box art, which shows a snowy scene. Markings There are three options available on the decal sheet, with profiles created by AMMO using their own colour shades, and suggesting other possible paints and washes from their range that you could use to enhance your model. From the box you can build one of the following: Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1942-43 Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1942-43 Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 The decals are printed anonymously, and as they are all monochrome stencils except for a pair of Hakenkreuz, registration there is good, and the sheet overall has good clarity and colour density. The carrier film is matt and cut closely to the printed areas, so should settle down well with your choice of decal fixer. Conclusion It’s good to see a new tooling of this superb WWII anti-aircraft and general purpose artillery piece on the market, and the detail shown here is well up to modern standards, so should build into a creditable replica of the type with a little skill and some paintwork. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  20. I've decided on this kit to be the next project on the bench. ( sorry @Stef N. no StuG 😉 ) The Crusader MK.III from border model. @Bullbasket you've convinced me 😁👍 kit comes with a decent amount of sprues, some PE, a metal gunbarrel, workable tracklinks, some clear parts and a nice cutting mat. the workable tracklinks are somewhat intimidating, they are really small. here you see 4 sausage fingers and 2 very small track links. i bought 2 figures from a certain webshop in the far east. They look very good. Nice crisp detail. I think i'll only use one. So i have a spare for the next British tank ( really liking that Tamiya Comet ) Overall this looks like an interesting build. Everyone is welcome to follow, comment etc. All your time and efford is much appriciated as always. I'll keep you guys posted. Cheers! 👍👍👍
  21. I was gifted this for my birthday late last year. A fabulous (mostly) trouble free build. Brush painted with Vallejo Model Air for the main scheme, weathered using various Vallejo Model Washes. Finished with the markings for “The Saint”, which I think is a tank from the 10th Royal Hussars, 1st Armoured Division in North Africa. Build thread can be found here: Now sorely tempted by the Mk III… While I was taking photos in the morning sun, an inquisitive bee came along to inspect my work. And finally one in black and white:
  22. Ju-87G1/G2 Stuka (BF-002) 1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys The Stuka must be one of the most well-known German aircraft of WWII, partially because of its propaganda effects during the Nazis’ early successes with Blitzkrieg as they over-ran much of Europe, one after another. It was developed in the mid-30s as a dive-bomber, with distinctive gull-wing and fixed undercarriage with spatted wheels, which housed the so-called ‘Jericho Trumpet’ sirens that terrified its victims, knowing that the bombers were entering the dive phase of their attack from an almost vertical angle. The pilots would often black-out during the dive, but they were assisted by an automatic pull-out system that prevented many pilots from ploughing into the ground whilst unconscious. When they were used to attack the British Isles they experienced heavy losses due to the fact that they were preyed upon by a faster, more agile opponent, and those fighters were being accurately directed toward them by radar operated ground-control. They began to be used in conjunction with Bf.110 escorts, but even the 110s were no match, needing their own escorts against the British Spitfires and Hurricanes. Rather than withdrawing the type from service entirely, they worked upon improving the airframe, and re-tasked it for other roles in less dangerous environments where the fighter opponents were either absent or less capable than the typical Allied aircraft of the day. The initial Ju.87B that was so badly mauled by the RAF gave way to the C, the D, and finally the R, which included a pivot to the ground-attack and tank destroyer role in which it had mixed success, partly due to its relatively slow speed over the battlefield making it an easy target. It lost the ground-attack role to the Fw.190, ending production of the type at the close of 1944, by which time it was hopelessly outclassed. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Border models from their new line of 1:35 aircraft that began with the Bf.109 that we reviewed here a while ago. It arrives in a large top-opening box, and inside are five sprues of medium grey styrene, two sprues of clear parts, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a four-part resin figure, a decal sheet, and the glossy instruction booklet, with colour profiles on the back pages that have been penned for them by AMMO. Detail is very good, and once you get over the slightly unusual scale of things, especially the pilot, who appears too tall for the scale, but that’s an optical illusion from staring at 1:32 pilot figures for years. Measuring it, the fellow scales out at approximately 5’10” ignoring the extra height of his cap. Construction begins with the Jumo 211J engine that could output up to 1,400hp on a good day, and this starts with the inverted V-12 block, which has two sides and two end-caps, with a top section added, and a V-shaped underside, plus a fluid reservoir on the top. It is bracketed by a pair of engine mounts, with another rectangular reservoir on the side of one of them, plus a drive-shaft to the front. More ancillaries are built up and mated with the engine, totalling 16 parts, plus a pair of cylinder head covers underneath. The firewall is detailed with seven extra parts, the oil-cooler is built of four styrene parts, plus two PE grilles at the rear, then the three sub-assemblies are joined together for insertion into the nose, which is made up from two halves separately from the main fuselage. When the engine is inserted, the front is closed up by a circular insert, and the exhaust stubs are slotted into the sides, each one having a slide-moulded hollow lip to add realism, and two tiny PE L-shaped parts placed in slots just in front of the radiator intake. The cockpit is begun by making up the pilot’s seat from four styrene parts and two PE belts, with the bulkhead behind it made of two more before being added to the stepped floor surface, which also has a clear view-port in the floor, control column, two-part rear seat, gun mount and rear bulkhead. A large rectangular ammo can is added to either side of the gun mount, then the two sidewalls are made up with PE and styrene parts, and glued to the inside of the fuselage halves after drilling a few holes, then trapping the cockpit between the halves along with a circular insert behind the gunner’s position. The two-part rudder with control linkages and clear light are also fitted at this time. Attention shifts to the wings, which have a separate gull-shaped centre section on the lower wing and shorter outer sections, both of which have a landing light and clear cover in the leading edge. The relocated radiators under the centre of the wings have separate inserts with PE grilles on both sides, which are glued in first then covered by the cowlings. Each wing has the period-typical Junkers flying surfaces that run the full width of the wingspan in three sections, attaching by narrow rods into slots, with additional actuators added for each part, plus a couple of horn balances on the outer section. The upper wings close over the lights, and because they overlap the joint between the lower inner and outer sections, makes for a strong joint. Wingtips, a top-side square insert, and on the port side a strange little horn that requires the drilling out of a slot outboard of the inner/outer join. In the open centre section, the lower-view glazing is added, and an un-numbered surround that supports another piece of glazing, which I eventually found on sprue C after (far too) much searching. It’s part C7 in case you wondered. The instructions also repeat the completion of the centre section along with the other wing, but it’s easy enough to ignore that. The Stuka had a large greenhouse canopy, and you have a choice of three styles of front opener, one with a straight lower rail, one with a pair of sliding windows in the middle, and another with a kinked lower rail. The windscreen has two choices, one that has simplified cheek panels, the other with an additional vertical frame, and both have an external piece of armoured glass added to the front, which is best done late in the build and possibly using a clear varnish to avoid bubbles. The fixed centre section has a roll-over frame inserted inside before it is glued in place, and the rear glazing has two styrene inserts added before the zwilling (twin) mounted MG15s are made up and slipped through the port in the rear. The barrels and breeches are a single part, with four more styrene parts making up the mount, and a pair of PE ring sights are added to a curved bar above each barrel. Behind the gun position, the EZ6 direction-finding unit receives a clear styrene cover, although it’s not clear from the profiles whether this should be left clear or painted over. The elevators have separate flying surfaces with twin actuators and a tip-mounted pivot that is made from two parts. Two of the tabs on the elevators should be removed from each of the flying surfaces before they are mated, then they attach to the fuselage by the usual slot-and-tab method. The nose is joined to the fuselage before the canopy is completed, and is joined by another section of the upper fuselage under the windscreen, which has rudder pedals and instrument panel that doesn’t mention the decal that is present on the sheet four-fold, but it’s there and you know about it now. The gunsight and clear lens are added at the front, then the sub-assembly is dropped into the space in front of the pilot. The prop has a central boss in two halves, with separate blades with keyed bases, plus front and back sections of the spinner enclosing it after attachment to the drive-shaft with a flat circular retaining plate. The fuselage and wings are also mated at this point, followed by the main gear legs, which are made wheels first, having two half tyres and two-part hubs that the strut slips over, and this is then covered over by the spatted fairing, with a separate scissor-link hidden away inside. The tail-wheel is similarly made from four parts, with a two-part yoke trapping it in place for installation under the aircraft that allows it to stand on its own “feet” for the first time. The G often carried gondola-mounted 37mm cannons under each wing, with a 6-round magazine containing armour-piercing rounds that garnered the nickname Kanonenvogel, which literally translates to Cannon Bird. The breeches are made of two halves that are surrounded by a lozenge-shaped cowling with the magazine projecting from both sides about half way. The pylons they mount on are also in halves, and have additional styrene parts and PE mounting plates added so they can be fitted under the wings in the pre-drilled holes. The final jobs involve adding the pitot probe to the starboard wing leading edge, plus optional armour panels on the sides of the pilot’s cockpit if using the simplified windscreen and kinked lower edge to the sliding canopy that protects him. The Figure Included in this first boxing is a four-part pilot figure in a greenish-grey resin. It has separate arms and head, but the rest is cast in one, with crisp casting and moulding that has no visible bubbles or defects. The head had fallen off its casting block on my example, but the chap is still smiling from under his cap, so it’s all good. The drape of his costume, features and pose are all first rate too, so it’s a welcome addition. Markings There are two decal options at the back of the instruction booklet, both wearing green splinter camouflage and a yellow tail band, and flown by the same well-known pilot. From the box you can build one of the following: Ju-87G-1, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Kursk, 1943 Ju-87G-2, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Eastern Front, Germany 1944 Decals are printed anonymously, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The dials on the instrument panels are very slightly out of register however, but it is so unlikely to be noticed that it doesn’t really matter. There are a few stencils on the sheet, and some Swastikas for the tail fin, although they are absent from the profiles at the back of the instruction booklet. Conclusion If you want to engage in this relatively new scale for aircraft, this seems like a good plan. It is well-detailed and should be simple to put together with a bit of care and attention, so should build up into a creditable replica of this genuinely iconic aircraft. Highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  23. I recently finished up the new Border Model Crusader III. This is one of my favorite tanks and it was quite a fun build, plus it was quite a departure from all of the drab green vehicles that I've been painting lately. The tracks are Friulmodel and the stowage is from Legend Productions, Panzer Art, and Value Gear, along with scratch tarps. It was painted with a mix of Tamiya, AK Real Color, and MRP paints, and weathered with Mig Productions and Ammo by Mig enamels. Comments and criticism welcomed as always!
  24. Border Model (http://www.bordermodel.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/Border-Model-339312286698433/) is to release a 1/35th (and not 1/32nd !) Junkers Ju-87G-1/-2 Stuka kit - ref. BF002 Source: https://tieba.baidu.com/p/7176665847 V.P.
  25. I like T-34’s and I like “different”, so this ticked two boxes for me. The spaced armour T-34’s were trailed in 1943 by the Soviets, but it was found that although the additional armour provided better protection, it was found to be largely ineffective against German 75mm and 88mm armour piercing ammunition, so the project was shelved. The kit. Overall a good model, which comes with PE and a metal barrel. Also a nice touch is the wooden box that it comes in. Saying that I did have a few problems: 1. The suspension is moveable with springs included which is a nice touch, but I found the “workable” tracks quite fragile in places (i.e. they kept falling apart) so I ended up having to glue the tracks and then the suspension. 2. The spaced armour is a bit of a pain. I didn’t help myself here as I primed the model before applying it. Saying that it doesn’t seem to line up to the mounting points on the turret and there are no locations at all on the hull. 3. A word to the wise. If you do build this and use the spaced armour, remember to fill the holes for the grab handles on the hull sides before applying it. I only spotted this after painting, so it was a bit of a bodge to fill them in. Maybe my problems were down to my lack of experience, as this is only about my 10th model since returning to the hobby after a nearly 40 year break. Probably over weathered for the reality of the situation, but I couldn’t help myself. 🙂 Anyway, overall I enjoyed making this and feel I am starting to make sum progress with my modelling. I am even reasonably happy with the figure, which is something I thought I would never say! Thanks for looking, George
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