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Found 203 results

  1. Soviet Road Signs WWII (35601) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. If you're travelling unfamiliar roads you need a little help to find your way, which is where road signs come in, and with the size of Russia and the likelihood that most of their troops weren't used to being away from their home villages, it's hardly surprising that signs became more important once the Great Patriotic War began in earnest. This set is full of signs of this nature, and includes military signs to guide their troops to rally points, service areas and so forth as they didn't have the luxury of GPS and satnav back then. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting of the contents on the front and brief instructions on the rear. There are four medium-sized sprues in grey styrene in the box, plus a decal sheet on thick paper that contains all the painted descriptive fronts of the signs. As well as the signs themselves there are a number of posts on which to hang then, one of which is a two-part telegraph pole with a lamp on a decorative bracket and ceramic insulators on short metal arms from which you can hang wires loose as shown in the diagrams, or taut if you have something to attach them to. Each sign is either metal or moulded with a restrained wooden texture that will show through the decals if you use decal solution during drying. Some of the larger signs are also made from a few planks, so the joins will also show through the decal. On the sprue that contains the pole there are also additional undocumented parts for poles and such, which you could also press into service if you can figure out how to put them together. There are 50 signs so there will be a few decals left over, but it's entirely up to you how you lay them out. The instructions recommend painting the faces of the signs gloss white before you apply the decals so they obtain the maximum brightness, and in case you don't read Russian, there's a helpful translation graphic on their website, which we have reproduced for you below: Conclusion Dioramas rely on the minutiae of the background to give that "lived in" look to the terrain, and signage is essential for all but the straightest of roads. The addition of the telegraph pole gives extra depth to any road scene, and the painting guide helps with painting the plastic parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Spz Puma German Infantry Fighting Vehicle 1/35 HOBBYBOSS via Creative Models The German realised back in the 1970s that the Infantry needed a Fighting Vehicle as opposed to just a troop carrier and the Marder was developed for this purpose. It was then realised the Marder was getting long in the tooth so development began for a new vehicle. The Schutenpanzer of new IFV came through a process of looking for the replacement. The new vehicle feature modular composite armour, a 30mm auto canon and a Spike LR missile launcher with 2 missiles. The optics and sensor are fully upto date with thermal vision and low light capabilities as standard for the gunner and driver, these even feed into the passenger cabin to provide situational awareness for the troops being carried. The in a new feature the rear door can partially open to allow a couple of troops to scoot out without exposing the rear compartment. The German Army has ordered 350 units which should be delivered by 2020, and combat effective from 2024. Other countries are looking at the Puma though to date none have been ordered. The Kit This kit from HobbyBoss is a new tool. There are the main hull castings, 6 main sprues, a clear sprue, 7 sprues of track parts and two smaller casting for the turret and its gun. Construction starts with the suspension components being added to the main lower hull. The drive sprockets, idler wheels, main wheels and return rollers are all then added. The tracks are then made up and added, these are individual links to each two track pads need to be added for each link. There are 71 links per side. Once the tracks are on the rear door is fitted to the rear bulkhead and this is attached to the main body. Work then switched to the top hull. The roof hatches for the troop compartment are added along with vision blocks and other fittings. The top hull can then be joined to the lower one. The large armoured skirts can then be fitted to each side, and the exhaust louvres fitted. Additional hull parts are fitted at the front, and mud guards at the rear along with the convoy light and tow hooks. For the main hill various additional parts are fitted as well as what seems to be slat armour protection for the vehicle and counter measure systems. Moving onto the turret, the gun is first built up with the barrel being added into arm casing, and then this being attached to the main body of the turret. Sensors are added along with smoke dischargers. The completed turret can then be added to the vehicle. Decals A small decal sheet gives marking for three German Army vehicles. Conclusion This is a great looking kit from HobbyBoss of the latest German APC/IFV and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. British Army Husky TSV (VS-009) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Navistar International's (formerly International Trucks) militarised version of their XT is the basis for this heavily upgraded vehicle that is fitted with an armour package to protect it against small arms fire, mines and IEDs, and then further adapted to the British Army's specification as a Tactical Support Vehicle. It first saw service in 2009 in Afghanistan, and is intended to support light armoured vehicles in combat, and can be configured as an Ambulance, Command post or Utility Vehicle. It seats four which includes the two crew (driver and commander), and is four-wheel drive to ensure performance on rough ground in all conditions, with the ballistic protection extending to glazing, which must please its crew no-end! The frame is strong, and the hull angled to reduce the impact of mines and IEDs, as is common amongst M-ATVs of modern design. As is the current fashion with the MoD, it was given the name Husky in a similar manner as its stablemates the 6-wheeled monster Wolfhound and smaller Coyote, which are more suited to supporting larger AFVs. There are over 300 units in British service now, which is capable of up to 70mph on good ground thanks to its 340bhp 6-litre V8 diesel power plant. It is broadly similar to the American MXT-MV, but it has a catchier name, plus of course the UK specific equipment fit. The Kit A complete new tooling from Meng's Velociraptor range, and it would make sense to expect a number of other boxings for other configurations and operators, but at this stage that's mere speculation on my part. The kit is cocooned in one of their smaller sized boxes, and inside are six sprues and three separate parts in sand coloured-styrene, a clear sprue, four flexible plastic wheels, four poly-caps, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, decal sheet and instruction booklet with separate colour profiles sheet. This boxing allows the modeller to build a utility vehicle, which doesn't sound all that exciting, but that's a fairly dull description of such a tough vehicle with a big 12.7mm machine gun in a mounting on the roof, and its uses are much more varied than the title suggests. Detail is excellent, and the sprues contain parts for a highly detailed model, with only the engine missing, which is no big deal due to the armoured nature of its compartment rendering it invisible other than during maintenance. Construction begins with the chunky chassis, which has two levels and raised sections to accommodate the suspension and steering equipment. The big double shock absorbers are fitted front and rear, while the front suspension is fitted, which has the steering rack buried within, and can be left mobile with care. The rear suspension has a big transfer box and armour around it, with pegs holding it to the rear frame, and is joined by accessories, front inner wheel-wells and the rear axles. The engine compartment is moulded with bonnet/hood moulded into the fenders, to which the front light clusters, radiator grille with deep louvres, and vents are added before it is dropped into place over the empty lower of the compartment. A short bumper/fender backing panel, air-box, and mudflaps are attached first, then joined by a rather chunky-looking and angular bumper, which has IED countermeasures and stowage built into it, and has a couple of towing lugs hanging from the through-beams. The crew cab seats four and begins as an L-shaped panel to which a detail insert is added at the rear, and it is then detailed with equipment racks that fit to the centre transmission tunnel, with a PE skinned weapon station footplate in between the two racks. The front seats are made up with their adjustment rails beneath them, and a pair of moulded-in crew belts should be picked out in the suggested colour. The aft seats are less substantial and have supports beneath them, plus suspension mounts from above, slotting into pins and lugs in the floor. Then the cab itself is built up from the external shell, to which the interior skin is added, with grab-handles and equipment fitted before the two are married up. A circular turret access panel is sandwiched between the two layers with no glue so that it can be rotated later on, with the turret fitted later. The instrument panel is well-detailed, and has a modern cowled steering-wheel and pedal box added along with a large number of binnacle and control decals to further improve the look. This fixes into the front of the cab shell, and is joined by more equipment before it is joined with the cab floor and chairs. With the windscreen glazing installed and scuttle panel with moulded-in windscreen wipers added, the cab is then mated with the chassis and secured by aligning the long tabs with the lugs on the underside of the cab. Two runs of crew steps on an angled running board are affixed to the outer sides of the cab, and the armoured doors are fabricated from outer panels with glazing insert, plus the inner panel "door cards", handles and wing mirrors in the case of the front doors, with matching handles on the inside. A couple of stencil decals are applied to the doors along the way, then they can be glued to the cab in the open or closed position, or any combination of those positions, noting that the rear doors hinge backwards. Going back to the crew steps, you might notice from our Walkaround pictures that sometimes the drop-steps aren't fitted, so check your references there, and leave them off if your chosen Husky doesn't have them. The small rear windows have external armoured glass, so are fitted later, along with a lot of sensors, antennae, and self-defence equipment. The turret has a shallow (a little too shallow for safety IMHO) upstand moulded into its base, and the weapons mount projects forward of the main assembly on an A-frame to which a splinter shield and GPMG "Jimpy" is mounted with stowage for two ammo boxes. The hinged hatch as the rear further protects the gunner's back when he is in position, and prevents grenades from being tossed inside when shut, and can be fitted open or closed, then it is glued to the rotating roof panel, which you did leave mobile, didn't you? Now it's time to assemble the short aft load-carrying section of the vehicle, which has more than a little bit of stowage in its shallow flatbed. An internal floor is added to detail the area, and front/rear panels are installed, with rear light clusters filling the narrow areas to the sides of the tailgate. It is added to the chassis via tabs, and then it's time to put wheels on your wagon. The four hubs are moulded as two halves, with a poly-cap hidden inside, then pushed through the bead in the rubbery tyres. The front and rear hubs are different, so take care with their location. You might also be interested to know that Meng have created an aftermarket set of resin tyres with engineered-in sag and the hubs moulded into the centre, which some folks will want almost certainly. You'll find that review at the bottom of this one. You'd think that would be pretty much the end of things, but this is a very detailed model, so there is still some work to do, creating the additional stowage racks on the sides of the load bay, with perforated steel panels (PSP) strapped to the inner side. A roll-over frame is then fixed to the rear, with more equipment attached to the tops, including some disc antennae and a radio mast base, storage boxes and jerry cans are added to the side stowage rack on both sides, and only then are you finished if you're stopping short of adding your own personalisations. Markings A lot of the decals are used along the way, detailing the interior, but there are still quite a few stencils applied to the exterior, offering hints at tyre pressures, turning directions of door handles etc., plus of course the army format number plates, and a few prominent NO STEP stencils on the bonnet and fenders to prevent heavy-footed squaddies from knackering body panels. Only one scheme is given, as the Husky has only been seen wearing the desert camo as yet, and colours are called out in the collaborative Meng AK shades and Acrysion colours, which is the new range from Mr Hobby. The colour names are also given in a table at the rear of the instructions, so conversion to any other range shouldn't be too taxing. The decals are made in China, and although they're in good register and colour density, they're not quite as sharp as Meng's usual decal printers, Cartograf would have been, with some of the smaller stencils, particularly the white on red being a little fuzzy and illegible. It's not a massive problem as they're very small anyway, and once given even a light coating of weathering, it'll blend right in. Conclusion It's good to have one of the Army's more recent vehicles in 1:35 before it reaches its 30th birthday or retires! The detail is excellent throughout, and unless you're the 1 in 10,000 that would have opened up the engine bay for a maintenance diorama, the lack of engine is hardly noticed. Clever moulding makes construction easier and detail better, with the availability of resin tyres from Meng's own aftermarket catalogue great news if you're after more detail and want to crack on. Having compared them side-by-side they're certainly worth looking at, so watch out for my review below. Extremely highly recommended. British Army Husky TSV Sagged Wheel Set (SPS-064) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models You've probably just finished reading the review of the new Husky kit above, but in case you haven't, scroll up to the top and come back in a minute when you've finished - it's a rather nice kit. The wheels supplied with the kit are perfectly adequate for the job consisting of flexible plastic tyres and styrene hubs, but when compared to these resin replacements they come a poor second due to the crispness of the resin. Arriving in a small box, there are four tyres on casting blocks, with individual "fingers" landing on tread blocks to reduce the amount of clean-up. They're a simple drop-in replacement for the kit hubs and tyres, and as you can see they offer so much more in the way of detail, as well as the aforementioned crispness. There are two moulds, marked as 1 and 2, as the front and rear wheels have slightly different centre bosses to their hubs, as well as having their tyres at a different orientation so things look a bit more naturalistic, and while they're not a cheap upgrade, they are definitely awesome. As usual with resin, take the precaution of wearing a mask when cutting or sanding resin, as the tiny particles are harmful to your health if breathed in. Washing the parts in warm water or isopropyl alcohol will also improve the adhesion of paint, as there may still be some moulding release agent on the parts when you receive them. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Leopard 2A7+ German Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models Like many modern weapons system the Leopard 2A7 is not a brand new system but a continuing development of the Leopard 2 family. These are converted ex Dutch A6NL tanks. Using lessons learnt for the Peace support programme, and combat operations in Afghanistan. While retaining the same 120mm smooth bore gun of the earlier variants the 2A7 is able to fire the latest programmable High explosive rounds. The tanks armour has been upgraded with modular armour with frontal protection being improved as well with passive armour and underneath armour for enhanced IED protection. Internally there have been upgrades to the air conditioning system and power systems. More modern sights/thermal systems/rangefinder have been added. The German Army has ordered at present 20 units. With now talk of a Leopard 3, there was talk the 2A7 could be the last of the line. However the 2A7+ has been developed. This MBT has been developed to operate in both low and high intensity conflicts. Additional modular armour has been added similar to that used by Canada on its tanks in Afghanistan. This gives extra protection from mines and RPGs. The main gun can now fire High Explosive rounds. The most obvious difference is the remote weapons station which has been added to the turret roof. This FLW200 system can be fitted with a 12.7mm/0.5 cal heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher. There is a colour camera system with x10 magnification which also has a thermal imaging system. The FLW can also carry additional smoke grenade dischargers. To date the 2A7+ has been ordered by Qatar and Hungary. The Kit Following the 2A7 from Meng a couple of years ago this was sure to be on the Horizon, The box arrives packed, though the lid now fits unlike the 2A7 ! Construction starts with the lower hull. Holes must be drilled in the lower hull before construction starts in order to add the additional underside protective plates. The driver and idler wheels are built up along with 14 main road wheels. The suspension components plus the return rollers then need adding to the main lower hull. The rear armour assembly is constructed and added to the lower hull. Next up the bars for the working torsion bar system are added, these slot through from each side and end plates are attached to them. The wheels can now be added, and as the hull is upside down the additional armour plate can be added on the man hull. Additional protection for the engine compartment are also added at this time. Next up are the tracks.. Unlike other Meng kits, and like the Meng Leopard 2A4 the tracks come as individual links on sprues. Each link has 3 parts; the main track, the connecting rods with end caps, and the track pads. Meng provide a jig to enable 6 links to be put together at the same time. There are 84 links to be joined for each side. Once the tracks are on construction moves to the upper hull. The additional armour is mounted on the front, then Mirrors, spare tack, headlights etc are added. At the rear air filter covers, tools and the tow cable are added. The tow cable supplied in the kit is poor and really needs replacing with a suitable aftermarket one, a shame as the rest of the kit is well above standard. The Cooling fan housings for the rear deck are constructed from the included photo-etch. The top hull can now be joined to the lower one and the armoured side skirts added. Next up is the turret and gun. The gun barrel is a two part one and the muzzle brake one part which fits to the front. The gun then fits into a five part mantlet. I have read on the web that the gun is a slightly weak point of the kit, the fume extractor being a little skinny and short. It is noticeable that the fume extractor on some vehicles has a fibreglass texture to it, Meng have tried to replicate this, but as the part is split down the middle this will no doubt be lost sanding any seams down. The vision blocks can be added to the upper turret and then the two parts can be joined making sure the gun seats properly between them. The upper surface of the turret has sections which feature a rough texture for walking on and Meng have reproduced this on the part. There are then additional plates and fittings to add to the turret. Once the turret is together work can start on adding all of the additional armour pieces to it. These are V shaped and fit to the front. The base plates are made up along with the armour parts. The base plates being fitted first, followed by the armour. Grab handles are then added to the outside. Large side armour plates are then added. For the rest of the turret the commanders periscope is made up and added, along with the gunners hatch and machine gun. Smoke dischargers are added to both sides along with antenna mounts and the gunners sighting system. To the rear of the turret the large AC system and main stowage boxes are added, along with additional stowage boxes at each side. The last part to be fitted on top of the turret is the remote weapons station. This is a small kit in its own right. Decals As there are still none of these in service there are some small decals provided for the German test one, two schemes are suggested of normal NATO tricolor and a dessert tricolor similar to that German vehicles have used in Afghanistan. Conclusion This is a great looking kit from Meng and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. M3 Lee Full Interior Kit (35206) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models In the years before WWII America realised that they were lagging behind in respect of armour, a fact that became especially clear when Germany came out from under the Versailles treaty to show off and then use their new tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics. The M3 Lee was conceived in 1940 as a medium tank carrying a powerful 75mm gun, partly for manning by their own crews, but also because Britain had requested a large number of tanks to make good their losses from Dunkirk. The Lee was a decent tank but suffered from a high silhouette and limited traverse of the sponson-mounted 75mm gun, but was still widely used. In British service it was known as the Lee if it was fitted with the original American turret, or the Grant when using the lower-profiled British specification turrets. The Lee was used primarily in Africa and the Pacific theatres where the 2nd line equipment seemed to be fielded (for the most part) by the enemy, and against the Japanese who were far behind with their tank designs and tactics. It underwent some substantial changes including cast, welded and back to riveted hulls plus changes in the power pack and loss of the side doors to stiffen the hull. The riveted hulls suffered from rivets popping off and becoming projectiles when hit, which could be just as lethal as a penetrating round and was never fully eliminated. The Kit MiniArt began 2019 with a new tooling of the M3 Lee and are expanded their range by adding new parts as they go along. We've come to expect great things from MiniArt's new kits and of course this one is no different with a ton of detail included both externally and internally, as it is a full-interior kit with the increased part count that comes with that. The box is standard MiniArt fare with an attractive picture from their usual artist, and inside are a huge number of sprues of varying sizes with 60 sprues in grey styrene, a single sprue in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and the instruction booklet with painting guide at the front and rear completing the package. Construction begins with the vehicle floor onto which the transmission and final drive assemblies are fixed along with a long drive shaft. The front crew stations are installed around the final drive, and in the centre is the ammo storage with a tread-plated top with the engine firewall behind it. The ammo bin can be posed open or closed using the same door parts, exposing the striking plates moulded into the assembly, and more shells are added to the firewall in racks. Just in case the tank isn't quite flammable enough, a spare fuel can is strapped to the firewall, as are a couple of radiators which I'm hoping can be switched off or redirected in the desert! Moving to the lower sidewalls, these are separate parts and are fitted out with equipment such as fire extinguishers, ammo and a Thompson machine gun with drum mags with the bow gunner's bench seat added to the starboard side as they are joined and the sponson floor fitted at right-angles using slots and tabs. Take care here to clamp them firmly against the bottom of the firewall to prevent them from drooping while setting, which would open up a world of pain if they set out of position. The rolled lower glacis part is also added, and the final drive bell housings that are incorporated into the sidewalls mate with these to complete the shape of that area. The Lee/Grant and to an extent the Sherman were powered by radial engines that sat vertically in the hull and can be blamed for their slightly tall hull shapes. This is provided in detail with the kit with all the cylinders, push-rods and exhaust tubing, plus the tin-work that helps cool the engine all mounted to a sturdy lateral mount that goes around the ancillaries at the rear. Two cheek parts are added into the engine compartment first, and the engine rests on the brackets protruding from the walls. Various tanks and reservoirs are squeezed into the remaining space along with piping for the twin airboxes and the general "spaghetti" that's seen on this kind of engine. The supports for the engine cover are fitted to the sides and the aft bulkhead with access hatch and twin exhaust stacks close in much of the hard work, with twin doors (open or closed) at the back and a PE mesh grille completing the top of the area, allowing the rising heat to escape. The lower hull is finished off with a pair of short arches over the drive wheels and a host of additional equipment filling up the interior with more shell storage, tanks and auxiliary generator. The big 75mm gun and substantial casemate are built up next for fitting into the hull front and the curved splinter shield that allows 14o of traverse to either side to counter any errors in position from the driver or enemy movement. The breech is surrounded by a shield and has the manual traverse wheel and other driver controls plus his seat and sighting gear included, as well as another box containing the 75mm shells peculiar to his gun. Before it can be installed the super-structure must be built up to accommodate it, including the sidewalls, the curved surround and the angled front panels of the glacis. The various hatches can be posed open or closed, and an instrument panel is fitted to the inside of the glacis. The bow machine gun is actually a twin mount with two .30 cal M1919s firing through a hatch near the port sponson. The rest of the hull is then built up in much the same manner as the real thing, but with glue and the rivets only there for show. Fuel caps and another Thompson are added along the way, and when we reach the engine deck there are two large panels, the smaller of them having PE grilles and more filler caps, with both of them covered in small PE tie-down lugs. The rear of the deck overhangs the hull and a small armoured "skirt" protects the tops of the exhausts from stray rounds where PE brackets are used to hang the aft lights. The completed deck is then covered with pioneer tools and their PE tie-downs, plus the towing cables that you need to source yourself to go with the plastic eyes at each end. A scrap diagram shows their location and how to fix the PE straps to the tie-downs and eyes, with a length of 145mm suggested. At this stage the majority of the hull is built, but it is likely to fill with rain until the roof is fitted. Before that the surround to the turret basket is completed with stowage space for six canteens moulded into the parts. The stiffening plates to the lower glacis are also glued to the hull and then the roof is made up from a large main part that is stiffened with a number of ribs, and an extra section is attached to the side with a small periscope in the middle. The three square access doors for the crew can all be posed open or closed with latches and small viewing hatches within that can also be posed open. After fitting the armoured cover to the main gun's periscope and a few grab handles, you get to build up the running gear. Aren't you lucky? The Lee's suspension is very similar to the Sherman's with two fat wheels on a bogie with a return roller at the top, and there are three of these assemblies per side. The wheels with their moulded-in tyres are attached to the bogies via swing-arms that pivot inside the cast bogie with an additional arm linked to the compressible rubber towers. Before the front of the bogie is fitted the return roller is installed so it is trapped between its two bearings. Repeat that six times and then make up the idler wheels, which have PE edges and separate hub caps. The bogies are attached to the sides of the hull on their mounting plates, and two stiffeners are added to the top of each one, while the idler wheels are attached to their axles on the adjustable tensioners. At the front the drive sprockets are made up from two parts with an internal collar allowing them to remain mobile if you're sparing with the glue. A short break has you fitting the driver's hatch and optional clear window with a PE wiper blade, plus a couple of towing eyes with shackles under the glacis and some truly tiny parts in plastic and PE between them. Tracks. Love 'em or loathe 'em, they're a necessary part of most tanks and you have to do them eventually. There are 79 track links per side, and each link is made up from four parts. The pads are split to accommodate the links between them, and this is a little fiddly. I built my test section up on a flattened piece of blutak to hold them in place, but if you have a commercial or self-made track-making jig that you've purchased separately you might find it a little quicker. That said, each link is good looking with fine detail at the ends, and they are flexing nicely as per the real thing. It'll take some time to complete them, but they will be excellent as long as you're careful with preparation and the glue. The rest of the pioneer tools are bracketed to the hull along with the front headlights and their PE protective cages, the former having PE tie-downs and brackets holding them down. You will need to find some thin wire to link the headlamps to the gland that takes the cable inside the hull. Now you can start the turret, most of which is held within the upper part, and that has some very nice casting texture moulded into it that should look great under a few coats of paint. The frames for the small hatches are first to be added, then the hatches themselves are fitted in the open or closed position with small stays holding them at the correct angle for the former. The sighting equipment, racks, and fume extraction equipment are then fitted before the breech is built up and fitted, making adding parts after more fiddly. The breech is started by joining the two main parts together, adding the surround, the coax machine gun, then setting it aside while the mantlet and elevation mechanisms are made up. This all fits in the back of the riveted mantlet cover and includes a periscope next door to protect the viewer from being injured by direct small arms fire. The breech is slid into the mantlet and an ammo box is attached to the starboard side then the completed assembly is inserted into the turret from the outside. More equipment is fitted into the lower areas of the upper turret and into the lower turret part, including the increasingly important radio gear and their aerials once the two halves are joined. The little machine-gun turret has its internal structure added along with some PE vents then the upper gun with its tiny mount, vision port and a short length of ammo on a top hopper is made up and inserted from the inside into its slot, then closed in by the turret ring underneath, and on top the bi-fold hatch, which can be posed open or closed. A pair of armoured covers for the PE vents can be posed open or closed on the outside, completing the assembly. The turret basket is bucket-shaped with a cut-out to one side to allow entry and exit, plus stowage space for more ammo for the guns and the machine guns, fire extinguisher and small button-seats for the crew. Additionally there is an opening door to the basket that widens the aperture and contains a pair of tanks for the electro-hydraulic rotation equipment. A studded bezel is installed in the top rim and the rest of the traverse equipment is put in place along with a bit more wire that you'll need to provide, then one more seat on a pedestal is put in the centre of the basket which is then dropped into the turret ring in the top of the hull with the MG turret on top to complete the build. Markings There are a generous eight options provided for the modeller on the decal sheet, all but one of them in green, the other still being green but overpainted with a coat of white distemper winter camouflage. Considering this is an armour kit the sheet is relatively large due to the number of options, use of roundels and various personalisations of their tank by the crews depicted in the kit. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Armoured Division US Army, military manoeuvres, State of California, Nov 1941 2nd Armoured Division US Army, Fort Benning (Georgia), early 1942 Canadian Army, training armoured divisions, Great Britain, 1942 Red Army, supposedly 192nd Tank Brigade, 61st Army, Bryansk Front, district north of Bolkhov (Oryol region), Jul 1942 Red Army, supposedly 192nd Tank Brigade, 61st Army, Bryansk Front, district north of Bolkhov (Oryol region), Jul 1942 German Army Wehrmacht captured unit, Mzensk, Feb 1943 German Army Wehrmacht captured unit, Eastern Front, 1943 Red Army, 5th Guards Tank Army, Steppe Front, Kursk, Jul 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a wonderfully detailed kit of the Lee as it was supplied to the US, Canadian and Red Army, plus a couple the Germans pinched. The detail incorporated in styrene is phenomenal and the addition of the PE parts gives the modeller all the shackles for their pioneer tools, which are usually included in aftermarket PE sets. A really impressive piece of plastic engineering that's going to be echoed with the Grants and further Lees very soon. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Plastic Barrels & Cans (35590) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Plastic barrels are pretty useful, as they're light when empty, recyclable, can hold liquids that metal barrels can't and are often more resistant to impact without permanent damage. In addition they don't use up much in the way of strategic materials, so you're onto a winner. Civilians and military use them extensively, and wherever there is engineering going on, you'll usually find barrels dotted around. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box, and inside are twelve sprues in grey styrene plus a small decal sheet. There are six sprues of barrels and six of cans, and you can make two sizes of barrels from six of them, and two cans from the other six by following the simple instructions on the rear of the box. The large barrels are made of two sides and a top, while the small barrels have two additional clasps on the sides to facilitate carrying. The cans are simple two-part assemblies with the nozzle moulded into the left side to reduce seams. Markings There are a bunch of warning decals on the little sheet that is printed by DecoGraph with good register, clarity and sharpness. The back of the box also includes painting and decaling suggestions in various colours as well as the ubiquitous blue. Conclusion 12 barrels in two sizes, and 12 cans. All in realistic plastic for you to paint and add to your projects. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Leopard C2 MEXAS w/Dozer Blade Canadian Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models In 1978 the Canadian Army selected the Leopard 1A3 to be its new Main Battle Tank. These would be called the Leopard C1 in service. In 2000 it was decided to upgrade these tanks with the fitment of surplus German Leopard 1A5 turrets. At the same time armour protection was increased, and a new fire control system was added. In 2006 some of these tanks were sent to Afghanistan where they would be fitted with an additional upgrade, the MEXAS system. This stands for Modular Expandable Armour System which was developed n=by IBD Deisenroth Engineering in Germany. This is a new composite armour system which can be added to many vehicles include tanks to increase survivability in these modern conflicts where IEDs and RPGs feature heavily. The Canadians also fit a version to their LAVs. The Kit This kit from Meng is a re-boxing of the standard Leopard 1 with different parts for the Canadian MBT, the original kit from Meng was highly regarded and this one looks to be as good. Its worth noting the kit does not feature the thermal blanket and cooler fitted at a later date by the Canadians in Afghanistan, though Meng do offer the thermal blanket as an aftermarket resin set, though call it a "sand cover" in error; it does not supply the cooling unit fitted to the rear of the turret though. Construction starts with the wheels, the drive sprockets, idler wheels and main wheels are built up, these have poly cap centres to enable them to be pushed on, detail is a bit soft on these and the centre a bit too large to accommodate the caps. We then move onto the lower hull. Various suspension components are fitted, and the main torsion bar system and its arms are fitted. The wheels can then be attached, followed by the tracks. For some reason Meng have included rubber tracks in this kit despite having a very good individual working track system for the Leopard 1 which they could have included? Next up the rear bulkhead is made up. Moving to the top main hull the engine deck is added, along with some side parts and the drivers vision blocks. The lower and upper hulls can now be joined and the rear bulkhead fitted. The additional MEXAS armour packs are added to the sides of the hull and the front. The exhaust grills are also added at the rear along with the rear mudflaps. The rear tow cables are then added. For the front the attachment points for the dozer blade are fitted, alternative parts are provided if you don't want to use this. The blade mechanism and blade are then made up and added. Work now moves to the turret. The gun and its additional armoured mantlet are built up, These are then added to the turret after it is assembled There is a canvas mantlet cover to add, this is a basic representative of the real thing and aftermarket detailed one are available to replace this one. For the turret itself a multitude of attachment points for the MEXAS armour must be added, along with the usual aerial mounts, and vision systems. The hatches can then be fitted. Once assembled the MEXAS armour modules can also be added, along with the large rear mounted stowage bin. A couple of large aerial ad the top mounted machine gun finish off the turret and it can be mounted to the hull. Decals Decals are provided for 4 tanks in Afghanistan. Sqn HQ, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 1st Troop, A Sqn, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 2nd Troop, A Sqn, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 3rd Troop, A Sqn, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 Conclusion Despite a few errors this is a great looking kit from Meng and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Ukrainian BMR-1 with KMT-9 Mine Roller (37043) MiniArt 1:35 via Creative Models Based on the SU-122-54, which MiniArt have also produced, this kit is of this is the version of the armoured mine clearing vehicle. The main gun has been removed and the fittings of the attachment of the KMT-7 mine roller system. Where the top hatches would normally be, there is instead a round cupola fitted with a single heavy machine gun. The forward section of the lower hull was fitted with much thicker armour to prevent penetration in the event a mine exploded under the vehicle. Surprisingly these vehicles were still in use during the Soviet invasion of the Ukraine just recently. The Model As with the TOP engineering vehicle this is typically Russian in style, tough, rugged and with the singular purpose of clearing mines. As with most MiniArt kits the box, with an artist’s impression on the front is full to the brim with sprues, a total of seventy one in grey styrene, one in clear, a small sheet of etched brass, two lengths of chain and a small decal sheet. The way the sprues are moulded is how the company gets so many versions of their kits out, as there is a lot of commonality. The mouldings are extremely well executed with no sign of flash or other imperfection, but there are quite a few moulding pips which increases clean up time. While the build looks fairly simple there are a lot of parts used to build up the suspension and particularly the mine roller system. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is fitted out with the torsion beam suspension fixtures and you have the option of fitting the whole torsion beam or just the end part. Each suspension beam/axle plate consists of seven parts and there are ten axles to fit. Once the suspension is assembled the lower hull is built up from two side plates a rear plate and the internal firewall for the engine bay, the engine being available separate should you wish to fit one. The suspension bump stops are then attached, as are the drive gearbox covers and idler wheel axles. The large armoured plate is then fitted to the forward underside of the hull. The superstructure is next and is made up from separate plates which require holes to be drilled out before gluing together. In order to help get the plates the correct angles there is a small internal part the helps with this and give the structure strength and rigidity before the roof and mantle are attached. The roof is fitted with two, spades, with their respective clamps and the commander’s cupola is fitted with three vision blocks. The superstructure assembly is then glued to the lower hull, along with the track guards, and three multi-part engine deck covers. The rear of the superstructure has a single large hatch glued into place, as well as other unidentifiable fittings. The commander’s cupola is made up from no less than nineteen parts if you include the searchlight. There is a much simpler second hatch on the right hand side of the super structure. The front and rear mudguards are then assembled and fitted along with the very complex PE engine deck grilles, with separate shutters are built up and fitted. On the sides of the superstructure there are a lot more grab handles and brackets to be attached, while to the rear there is the five piece exhaust outlet fitted to the right track guard. The twin headlights fitted to the left and right sides of the glacis plate are assembled from thirteen parts including the base and all the support beams. On each front track guard there is a visual width pole fitted which are also fitted with reflectors. The turret ring is then fitted to the roof, while on the left side of eh superstructure the canvas roll is fitted with PE straps. The glacis plate is fitted with a selection of brackets, towing hooks and four pairs of spare track links. Two large stowage boxes are assembled and glued to the track guards, one per side. The BTR style conical turret is fitted with the 14.5mm heavy machine gun and a co-axial light machine gun via a separate mantle before being covered with an additional circular turret and fitted wot the turret ring on the roof. There is an aerial mount and aerial fitted to the front left of the superstructure and a further three pairs of track links fitted with their brackets, also on the left hand side. Each of the road wheels are glued into pairs and fitted with a small hub cap, as are the sprockets and idler wheels. Once assembled these are all glued into place, as are the large towing cables. Finally the tracks are assembled and draped over the running gear. With this kit you get the newer link and pin system that MiniArt have started using. This system is so easy to use and you can get a full length of track within minutes, even with 91 links per side. After completing a short run the pis work fairly well and its best to stretch them apart a little and do 2 links at a time. A small dab of extra thin glue securing the end. With the vehicle complete it’s on to the raison d'être of the tanks mission, the mine roller system. Now these are quite complex, so take care in reading the instructions carefully as it could easily go wrong. The KMT series of ploughs/plows have been in service since the 60s and were used with all Main Battle Tanks with newer vehicles using the improved KMT-7 and KMT-9. It operates by breaking the ground down with tough, sectioned rollers of substantial weight to simulate the footprint of an AFV, ploughing up the ground and detonating any mines it finds. Its rugged construction means that it can survive explosions, although they do take their toll on the hardware eventually. Construction begins with the rollers with two-part centres to which all the individual plates are fixed with equal spacing. The short axle threads through the centre and is supported by a three-piece yoke that is extended by another two parts that are in turn fixed to a central axle with one roller on each side, making a total of four sections, each free-wheeling. The end caps allow the rear axle to rotate freely if you don't glue them up, and then you start again on the other roller. Each roller assembly has a set of suspension arms added to each side and a cross-brace that links the suspension together. They are put to one side while the main chassis frame is made up, adorned with hydraulic rams that make up a large, heavy assembly with seriously thick parts depicting the sturdy design. Cleats are included to fit the plough the BMR-1, consisting of a number of parts for the lower glacis plate and two main attachment pads for the upper glacis. Brackets are fitted to the lower plates and the frame is hinged from those with strong cables attached to the upper plates and linked to the frame to support it further. The two roller assemblies are suspended from the arms facing back toward the vehicle with the long rods sticking up in pairs. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller four options, all of which were used in the war against Afghanistan. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- 3rd Ukrainian Engineer Battalion, UN Interim Force Lebanin 2000-2006 703rd Engineering Regiment, Ukraine 2015 Engineering Unit, Ukraine Armed Forces, Donetsk, Ukraine 2015 Engineering Unit, Ukraine Armed Forces, Lugansk, Ukraine 2019 Conclusion Continuing their march through the various T-55 variants, MiniArt are producing some really interesting vehicles. Although the mine roller system is quite complex to assemble it will look superb once complete. This is another vehicle that’ll make an interesting stand alone model or great in a diorama. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  9. German Officers (84406) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Officers and their meetings. They happen a lot, and if there aren't any comfy seats you can even get them to stand up whilst discussing whatever it is they feel the urge to talk about. This set was originally released by Tristar (no, I don't remember either) in 2001, it is now reboxed under the Hobby Boss brand, and arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with one sprue in sand coloured styrene and a tiny fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass. To be honest time has been kind to the sprue, and there appears to be no damage or flash, good detail, even extending to coat tails, emblems and handles on document cases. There are four figures on the sprue, all dressed differently and of different ranks and parts of the military, even down to a Lieutenant carrying a case and documents for the General to his side. The tanker is in the SS as can be seen from his collar mounted death's head emblems (D'ya think we might be the baddies?), and while it's difficult to see, the gentleman in the great coat may well be a Major. The PE parts are two pairs of glasses with round lenses of the type worn by the Lieutenant on the right of the boxtop photo. The instructions are printed on the rear of the box, and at the bottom there is a small section detailing how to make maps for the officers to carry and/or examine. Where are these maps? If you check the first drawing of the four you'll find a map on each of the four side tabs that help close up the box lid. You're told to cut them off, soak them in water and then peel off the top printed layer from the card and cut your map from that once it has dried. Very clever! Two of the maps show coloured terrain as well as roads and building, while the other two are black and white showing larger scale details. Conclusion A useful set of officers, including the pudgy General and with good detail that belies the set's age. The addition of the PE spectacles and maps add extra value to what is already a well-priced figure set. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. German 200L Fuel Drums (35597) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Arriving in a shrink-wrapped figure box, this set contains German 200L fuel drums aplenty, but also includes a lot of manual pumping tools. Inside the box is a tightly wrapped bag containing 18 sprues in grey styrene, 12 of which containing parts to make a drum, and six with end caps and manual fuel pump assembles. Four little elastic bands further clamp the sprues together to ensure no chaffing during transit. The drums are made from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are added to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself. That orange stripe on the grey & yellow drum is printed that way - wasn't me, honest! The instructions are printed on the back of the box and below them is an example of paint schemes that the drums left the factory in (see above), which you can depict in any state from brand new to badly dented and completely rusted to bare metal. Highly recommended – especially if you need a lot of German 200L fuel drums for your next project Review sample courtesy of
  11. 3-Ton Service Crane (35576) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Cranes are quite handy for lifting things and on the back of a vehicle they're mobile, so even more so. This set from MiniArt arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box and inside is a small sprue in grey styrene, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts and a length of chain. It's a small kit, so rattles around in the box a bit, but is protected from harm by its bag, and the PE is in a card envelope with the chain inside another bag. The instructions are printed on the rear of the box and construction begins with the cropped A-frame that holds the gearing and forms the base of the crane. The jib is equally simple, consisting of curved angle-iron with a pulley at the end, and some PE cross-braces along its length, plus more on the base of the crane. The jib attaches to the top of the base and is held at an angle by two sliding braces, which on the rear thing are adjusted by sliding past each other with pegs holding the new angle. If you want to adjust the angle of your model however, you will need to cut and adjust these yourself. The chain is wrapped around the cylinder at the apex of the crane's base, then threaded along the jib and over the pulley at the end and finally down to the hook, back again and up to the last hook at the very end of the jib. A large winding handle is fitted either to the top bobbin or by using an additional long rod to the small cog at the bottom of the gear set. Markings There are no decals, just a PE maker's plaque that reads "Weaver Auto-Crane, Weaver Mfg.Co., Springfield Ill USA". The box art shows the crane painted red with a black plate and yellow or brass raised lettering, but whatever colour you want to paint it should be fine. Many of the photos online show either red, a red/brown colour, grey, with greater or lesser quantities of rust but there are others that have been renovated and painted quite "bright" colours. Conclusion A nice addition to a flat-bed model in this scale, or anywhere else you think a crane such as this would look good. Detail is good and it looks just like the real thing. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Grant Mk.I Full Interior Kit (35217) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models In the years before WWII America realised that they were lagging behind in respect of armour, a fact that became especially clear when Germany came out from under the Versailles treaty to show off and then use their new tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics. The M3 Lee was conceived in 1940 as a medium tank carrying a powerful 75mm gun, partly for manning by their own crews, but also because Britain had requested a large number of tanks to make good their losses from Dunkirk. The Lee was a decent tank but suffered from a high silhouette and limited traverse of the sponson-mounted 75mm gun, but was still widely used. In British service it was known as the Lee if it was fitted with the original American turret, or the Grant when using the lower-profiled British specification turrets. The Grant eschewed the mini-turret on the commander's cupola that resulted in a reduction in height and a minor simplification of construction and maintenance for very little loss in flexibility, due to the coaxially mounted Browning machine gun in the turret. It was used primarily in Africa and the Pacific theatres where the 2nd line equipment seemed to be fielded (for the most part) by the enemy, and against the Japanese who were far behind with their tank designs and tactics. The Kit MiniArt began 2019 with a new tooling of the M3 Lee and have expanded their range by adding new parts as they go along. The primary changes in this boxing are the inclusion of a new cast turret with no machine-gun turret-let on top, and the inclusion of British equipment inside and around the exterior. We've come to expect great things from miniArt's new kits and of course this one is no different with a ton of detail included both externally and internally, as it is a full-interior kit with the increased part count that comes with that. The box is standard MiniArt fare with an attractive picture from their usual artist, and inside are a huge number of sprues of varying sizes with 67 sprues in grey styrene, a single sprue in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and the instruction booklet with painting guide at the rear completing the package. Construction begins with the vehicle floor onto which the transmission and final drive assemblies are fixed along with a long drive shaft. The front crew stations are installed around the final drive, and in the centre is the ammo storage with a tread-plated top with the engine firewall behind it. The ammo bin can be posed open or closed using the same door parts, exposing the striking plates moulded into the assembly, and more shells are added to the firewall in racks. Just in case the tank isn't quite flammable enough, a spare fuel can is strapped to the firewall, as are a couple of radiators which I'm hoping can be switched off or redirected in the desert! Moving to the lower sidewalls, these are separate parts and are fitted out with equipment such as fire extinguishers, ammo and a Thompson machine gun with the bow gunner's bench seat added to the starboard side as they are joined and the sponson floor fitted at right-angles using slots and tabs. Take care here to clamp them firmly against the bottom of the firewall to prevent them from drooping while setting, which would open up a world of pain if they set out of position. The rolled lower glacis part is also added, and the final drive bell housings that are incorporated into the sidewalls mate with these to complete the shape of that area. The Lee/Grant and to an extent the Sherman were powered by radial engines that sat vertically in the hull and can be blamed for their slightly tall hull shapes. This is provided in detail with the kit with all the cylinders, push-rods and exhaust tubing, plus the tin-work that helps cool the engine all mounted to a sturdy lateral mount that goes around the ancillaries at the rear. Two cheek parts are added into the engine compartment first, and the engine rests on the brackets protruding from the walls. Various tanks and reservoirs are squeezed into the remaining space along with piping for the twin airboxes and the general "spaghetti" that's seen on this kind of engine. The supports for the engine cover are fitted to the sides and the aft bulkhead with access hatch and twin exhaust stacks close in much of the hard work, with twin doors (open or closed) at the back and a PE mesh grille completing the top of the area, allowing the rising heat to escape. The lower hull is finished off with a pair of short arches over the drive wheels and a host of additional equipment filling up the interior with more shell storage, tanks and auxiliary generator. The big 75mm gun and substantial casemate are built up next for fitting into the hull front and the curved splinter shield that allows 14o of traverse to either side to counter any errors in position from the driver or enemy movement. The breech is surrounded by a shield and has the manual traverse wheel and other driver controls plus his seat and sighting gear included, as well as another box containing the 75mm shells peculiar to his gun. Before it can be installed the super-structure must be built up to accommodate it, including the sidewalls, the curved surround and the angled front panels of the glacis. The various hatches can be posed open or closed, and an instrument panel is fitted to the inside of the glacis. The bow machine gun is actually a twin mount with two .30 cal M1919s firing through a hatch near the port sponson. The rest of the hull is then built up in much the same manner as the real thing, but with glue and the rivets only there for show. Fuel caps and another Thompson are added along the way, and when we reach the engine deck there are two large panels, the smaller of them having PE grilles and more filler caps, with both of them covered in small PE tie-down lugs. The rear of the deck overhangs the hull and a small armoured "skirt" protects the tops of the exhausts from stray rounds where PE brackets are used to hang the aft lights. The completed deck is then covered with pioneer tools and their PE tie-downs, plus the towing cables that you need to source yourself to go with the plastic eyes at each end. A scrap diagram shows their location and how to fix the PE straps to the tie-downs and eyes, with a length of 145mm suggested. At this stage the majority of the hull is built, but it is likely to fill with rain until the roof is fitted. Before that the surround to the turret basket is completed with stowage space for six canteens moulded into the parts. The stiffening plates to the lower glacis are also glued to the hull and then the roof is made up from a large main part that is stiffened with a number of ribs, and an extra section is attached to the side with a small periscope in the middle. The three square access doors for the crew can all be posed open or closed with latches and small viewing hatches within that can also be posed open. After fitting the armoured cover to the main gun's periscope and a few grab handles, you get to build up the running gear. Aren't you lucky? The Grant's suspension is very similar to the Sherman's with two fat wheels on a bogie with a return wheel at the top, and there are three per side. The wheels with their moulded-in rubber tyres are attached to the bogies via swing-arms that pivot inside the cast bogie with an additional arm linked to the compressible rubber towers. Before the front of the bogie is fitted the return roller is installed so it is trapped between its two bearings. Repeat that six times and then make up the idler wheels, which have PE edges and separate hub caps. The bogies are attached to the sides of the hull on their mounting plates, and two stiffeners are added to the top of each one, while the idler wheels are attached to their axles on the adjustable tensioners. At the front the drive sprockets are made up from two parts with an internal collar allowing them to remain mobile if you're sparing with the glue. A short break has you fitting the driver's hatch and optional clear window with a PE wiper blade, plus a couple of towing eyes with shackles under the glacis and some truly tiny parts in plastic and PE between them. Tracks. Love 'em or loathe 'em, they're a necessary part of most tanks and you have to do them eventually. There are 79 track links per side, and each link is made up from four parts. The pads are split to accommodate the links between them, and this is a little fiddly. I built my test section up on a flattened piece of blutak to hold them in place, but if you have a commercial or self-made track-making jig that you've purchased separately you might find it a little quicker. That said, each link is good looking with fine detail at the ends, and they are flexing nicely as per the real thing. It'll take some time to complete them, but they will be excellent as long as you're careful with preparation and the glue. With the tracks in place, the side skirts can be installed and the additional stowage boxes can be fabricated from their parts and attached to the hull with PE brackets, their shape conforming to the surfaces that they are placed on. The side skirts are finished off with mudguards at the rear by boxing in the tops of the track runs. The rest of the pioneer tools are bracketed to the hull along with the front headlights and their PE protective cages, the former having PE tie-downs and brackets holding them down. You will need to find some thin wire to link the headlamps to the gland that takes the cable inside the hull, then the single-part main gun barrel is nipped from the sprues, has its seamlines removed and is joined to the optional two-part blast-bag that has excellent realistic-looking canvas wrinkle and sag moulded in. We're still not quite ready for the turret though, as there are a number of PE parts stretching the length of the side-skirts which are used to hang additional stowage in the real thing. These fit onto small depressions on the sides of the hull, and scrap diagrams show the correct way to fold the perpendicular front sections. Now you can start the turret, most of which is held within the upper part, and that has some very nice casting texture moulded into it that should look great under a few coats of paint. The frames for the small hatches are first to be added, then the hatches themselves are fitted in the open or closed position with small stays holding them at the correct angle for the former. The sighting equipment, racks, and fume extraction equipment are then fitted before the breech is built up and fitted, making adding parts after more fiddly. The breech is started by joining the two main parts together, adding the surround, the coax machine gun, then setting it aside while the mantlet and elevation mechanisms are made up. This all fits in the back of the riveted mantlet cover and includes a periscope next door to protect the viewer from being injured by direct small arms fire. The breech is slid into the mantlet and an ammo box is attached to the starboard side then the completed assembly is inserted into the turret from the outside. More equipment is fitted into the lower areas of the upper turret and into the lower turret part, including the increasingly important radio gear and their aerials once the two halves are joined. Next up is the reduced height British spec cupola with grab handles and a choice of open or closed hatch with periscope in the port door. The commander's .30cal weapon is mounted on a curved fitting on the front of the turret and is fitted with a drum magazine that has moulded-in bullets plus a separate short length that feeds into the breech, sandwiched between the two end-caps with built in mounting frame. The turret basket is bucket-shaped with a cut-out to one side to allow entry and exit, plus stowage space for more ammo for the guns and the machine guns, fire extinguisher and small button-seats for the crew. Additionally there is an opening door to the basket that widens the aperture and contains a pair of tanks for the electro-hydraulic rotation equipment. A studded bezel is installed in the top rim and the rest of the traverse equipment is put in place along with a bit more wire that you'll need to provide, then one more seat on a pedestal is put in the centre of the basket which is then dropped into the turret ring in the top of the hull to complete the build. There are additional parts for British Army specific stowage included in the box, which is good to see as a personalised model often looks better than a basic kit. Their locations and colour are shown on separate colour diagrams that can be found at the front of the painting diagrams. Markings There are a generous eight options provided for the modeller on the decal sheet, split between camouflaged, green and sand coloured vehicles, as the Grant and Lee served mainly in warmer climes. Considering this is an armour kit the sheet is relatively large due to the number of options, use of roundels and various personalisations of their tank by the crews depicted in the kit. From the box you can build one of the following: Great Britain Training Unit, 1942 Australian 1st Armoured Division, Puckapunyal, Australia, May 1942 Senior Regiment Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, 7th Armoured Division, North Africa, 1942 Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Regimental Headquarters, El Alamein North Africa, October 1942 Eighth Army tank of Bernard Montgomery, North Africa 1942-Jan 1943 British 8th Army, North Africa, 1943 C Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 4th Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, Gazala, May 1943 Repair base of the Allies in Heliopolis, Egypt, March 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a wonderfully detailed kit of the Grant as it was supplied to and used by the British Army. The detail incorporated in styrene is phenomenal and the addition of the PE parts gives the modeller all the shackles for their pioneer tools, which are usually included in aftermarket PE sets. A really impressive piece of plastic engineering. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. US B-24 Heavy Bomber (mPLANE-006) Meng Kids via Creative Models The B-24 was a major player in the US bombing offensive during WWII, and although it had its flaws, it was both well-loved by its crews and although it is overshadowed by the Lancaster and its compatriot B-17, it is well-liked in the modelling community with a special place in my heart for no apparent reason. The Kit This is a new tool from the appealing and fun Meng Kids range, which are scale-free and rather out-of-proportion, enough to send someone who holds dimensional accuracy above all else into an apoplectic rage. Those of us with a bit more balanced perspective find them a bit cute and silly, and whether they appeal to you, your kids or your sense of fun, they're pretty cool. I'm one of those that only like some of them such as the Lanc and the He.177 Greif we reviewed some years back, but this one is right in my wheel-house. They're dead simple to build quickly and should appeal to anyone over the suggested age of 14, requiring no glue or paint unless you want to go a bit semi-serious and build them to last with a realistic paint-job that enhances their silly shape. They arrive in a chunky end-opening box with all the parts in a single bag and the clear parts wrapped in a self-cling film. The five upper parts are moulded in olive green, the two underside parts are in grey and the rest of the parts are held on one black sprue. The clear parts are clear of course, and there is a small sheet of decals included in their own bag. The instructions are printed on the underside of the box, and the painting/decaling guide is found on the side. All the parts fit together using friction-fit towers and pins, or by being held in place by other parts, and you can leave it self-coloured just by removing the sprue gates from the parts and making good. Construction begins with the fuselage lower that is in two parts and before you clamp them down you need to put the clear lower nose and rear turret glazing in place in the grey underside, and add the green bombs then the black waist and rear guns. The upper fuselage has the tops of the wings moulded in and it has the cockpit glazing, the upper turret and guns plus the D/F loop added before it is placed on the grey lower wings, trapping the props and their tapering bosses inside the engine cowlings. Before the two assemblies can be joined the front turret and guns are fitted and at the rear the H-tail slots in place over the rear turret. The final parts include the main gear with separate legs and wheels, the single piece nose wheel and the belly turret with its guns, and that's everything! You may have noticed from the pictures that the bomb bay is moulded open with the tambour doors rolled up the side of the fuselage exposing the stubby little bombs you fitted earlier. Markings Taking the easiest route to complete the model just needs a dash of water to apply the decals. If you're going to paint any or all of the model though, there are paint names on the diagrams as well as numbers for each of the decals. You can also go the whole hog and paint the fuselage and wings olive green and grey with a wavy demarcation between top and bottom as shown on the diagrams below. That's totally optional of course, so just make sure you're having fun whichever route you choose. Conclusion I'm one of those folks that is only interested in a cartoonish kit if it's a subject I'm fond of, so this one hits my spot. I can see the broader appeal of collecting them, and they all seem a lot of fun. I can guarantee that they're not in scale, the wing and fuselage lengths are all wrong, and there's a lot of simplified detail… but then that's the whole point. Catch one while you can, as they're selling fast! Scroll down a few posts to see my quick build of this little kit Very highly recommended with fun in mind. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Interceptor (40002) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Toward the end of WWII the Nazis were desperately casting around for wunderwaffe, or Wonder Weapons that would turn the ever-increasing tide against their attempt to take over Europe and probably the world. This resulted in some possibly more left-field designs being considered, when under normal circumstances they would more likely have been dismissed out of hand. One such project that has since gained traction in the minds of the Luft'46 community and beyond is the concept of the Triebflügel from Focke-Wulf, which was little more than a rocket body with a rotating set of arms with ramjet engines at their tips providing the motive power. This arrangement was to enable it to take off vertically, which was of greater interest as the front lines got closer and air bases became bombed-out rubble, as was the use of the simple ramjet that was propelled up to speed by single-use rockets, all of which used little in the way of strategic materials or complex technology. It went nowhere in terms of production of course, and had some critical issues that would have needed to be addressed if it had gone further, such as the counter-rotation required to offset the torque of the motors was supposed to be supplied by the cruciform tail pressing against the air, it would have to land vertically with the pilot facing forward and the rear view obscured by the still rotating aerofoils and engines to name but two. Post war the Convair Pogo was to attempt a broadly similar flight profile with similar issues raising their heads and helping ensure its eventual demise. If you've been following the Marvel Avengers film franchise (MCU), you'll have seen Red Skull absconding in a very Triebflügel-esque aircraft at one point, which although undoubtedly CGI could actually be attempted now with our computers and other technologies. We just need to find someone with too much money and who is just daft enough now… The Kit Until recently there hasn't been a modern injection moulded kit in larger scales, and now we have two. This new tool is the larger of them and should primarily appeal to modellers in 1:32 and 1:35 given the similarity in scales that should result in a "close enough" reaction from many, followed by the opening of wallets. However, if you just want a large scale Triebflügel, then I'm not stopping you! It has been out now for a few weeks already and we've had to wait until a restock at Creative to be able to get our hands on one, so if you're not good at reading between the lines, I would advise you to get your order in before they run out again, as it's proving very popular. The kit arrives in a shrink-wrapped standard sized top opening box and inside are twelve sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) in a small card envelope, a good sized decal sheet and the instruction booklet with a colour cover that includes all the painting and decaling profiles on three of the four sides. I have one of the smaller models, and seeing this up close really brings home how much larger it is. Detail is excellent, with lots of rivets and panel lines visible on the exterior, a nicely appointed cockpit and the cannon armament included in bays either side of the cockpit. Tinnitus anyone? There is also extra detail in the wingtip motors and the landing gear is substantial, partially from the increase in size, but also because of the design of the main leg. Construction begins with the cockpit with a floor part forming the basis and having rudder pedals, control column and bulkhead added, then the seat, pilot armour and a full set of PE seatbelts. The side consoles are attached to the upper section of the cockpit that is added from above and also forms part of the gun bays. To the consoles are added a number of PE levers to busy the area up, after which the instrument panel is fitted across them with decals provided for the instrument dials. The larger cannons are built up from a good number of parts and will look good if you pose them open, and benefit from hollow muzzles thanks to some sliding moulds. The smaller cannons are added after their bays are boxed in, again raising the level of the cockpit walls, which you'll need to take into account when you're painting things. These weapons are slightly less detailed and don't have hollow barrels, so break out the pin-vice when you're ready. The cockpit can then be surrounded by the nose, which is in two halves and has a short tubular section that helps support the spinning wing section. A rear deck is dropped in behind the pilot's station and the nose cone is added to the front, with careful alignment key to obtain the best join. The gun bay doors can be left off to display them or put in place for a streamlined look, in which case you don't need to install the cannons as nose weight isn't an issue. If you're closing up the lower bays, there is an additional barrel stub that fits to the back of its door to simulate the cannon being present. The canopy is a three-part unit with fixed windscreen and rear plus opening central section that hinges sideways if you're going to open it. There is an additional dome-shaped part included in the kit that makes one wonder if there will be a night fighter version with a radar operator's blister in the aft section? The wings spin perpendicular to the direction of flight on a short section of the fuselage, which is built up with three sockets for the wings on a toroidal base, over which the rest of that section is installed and left to one side until later when the assemblies are brought together. The simple ramjet engines are built up on a pair of stator vanes and have multiple fuel injectors moulded into their rear with a rounded cap in the centre. These are installed inside the cowlings that are moulded into each wing half so it would be wise to paint this and the interior of the engine pods a suitably sooty colour before you join each wing. There are three and all are identical. The final main assembly is the aft of the aircraft, and the four retractable castor wheels are first to be built. Each single-part wheel sits in a single piece yoke, which in turn slides inside a two-part aerodynamic fairing. One half of this is moulded to a strut, which slides into the trough within the fins in one of two places to depict the wheels retracted or deployed. If showing them retracted you ignore the wheel and yoke and install the clamshell doors, turning the assembly into a teardrop shape, but if using the wheels you glue the fairings folded back exposing the wheel. The main wheel is in two halves, as is the yoke, and should be capable of taking the weight of the model when finished unless you intend to load it up with motors or other silliness (go on, you know someone will!). The aft fuselage parts are brought together with two of the castor assemblies trapped between the moulded-in fins, and the other two trapped within the separate fins that fit perpendicular to the seamline. The main wheel then slides into its bay if you are going wheels down and has the clamshell doors fitted open, or you use just the doors for an in-flight pose. It's good to see that some detail has been moulded into the interior of the doors, as they are quite visible on a landed display. The three sections are brought together at the end by placing the wing-bearing part onto the upstand on the aft fuselage then adding the nose, with its upstand sliding inside the lower one. This traps the rotating portion in place, and hopefully allows the aforementioned rotation to continue after the glue has dried. All that remains is to plug the three wings into their sockets, add the PE D/F loop and the aerial on the spine. Markings There are six decal options provided on the sheet, and they vary from each other and their smaller competitor quite substantially with some plausible and just plain silly options given for your delight. Imagine landing a Triebflügel on an aircraft carrier! From the box you can build one of the following: Air defence of Berlin, Summer 1945 5th Pre-production model Fighter Training School 1945 Jagdgeschwader 333, Eastern Front, 1947 Jagdgeschwader 54 Grunhertz, Eastern Front, winter 1946 Zerstörergeschwader 1. Germany, 1945-6 Aircraft carrier Hermann Göring, Mediterranean, 1947 Decals are printed under MiniArt's logo and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The instrument decals have just the dials to place within the painted panel, outlined on the sheet for your ease, and there are split Swastikas there if you want to use them and your locality doesn't have laws about such things. Conclusion This is a really nice rendition of this weird aircraft design, and although some purists would have preferred to see it in 1:32, I think the size difference isn't too severe to stop you from adding one to your stash. Add a nice set of decal options to a detailed kit at a reasonable price, and we have a winner. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Magach 6B Gal Batash Israeli Main Battle Tank (TS-040) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The Magach name has been used for a number of tanks over the years, based upon the numerous Patton tanks from the M48 to the M60, which is probably the cause of some confusion, although calling four tanks Patton confuses me already, so why not continue? The 6B was based upon the newer M60A1 chassis, with modernisation from the base model, the fitment of the Gal fire control system, and passive appliqué armour that gave it a rather Merkava-like profile. These were in response to combat performance issues during the major conflicts such as the Yom Kippur and Lebanon, where their resources were seriously depleted due to some design defects, such as the location of flammable liquids in high risk areas and insufficient armour. Initially the armour issue was remedied by Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), but as this can be seriously lethal to accompanying troops, the Gal Batash switched to 4th generation composite armour to reduce the potential hazard when standing close by. The ongoing upgrades eventually led to the Magach 7, and these in turn were replaced in the early 2000s by Merkavas. The chassis of the Magach is still in use however as the new Pereh missile carrier, which uses the main hull, and is disguised to look very much like a tank, despite its non-functional barrel and the 12 missiles it carries within. The Kit This is another new tooling from Meng, who have a growing line of Israeli equipment in their catalogue partly due to their links with Desert Eagle Publishing. Inside the standard satin-effect Meng box are fifteen sprues, M2 machine gun breech, hull and turret parts in sand coloured styrene, a flexible sprue in the same colour, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, a tree of black poly-caps, a length of braided wire, decal sheet and the instruction booklet, plus a separate colour and marking guide. It's a Meng tooling, so the detail is excellent, and there is plenty of clever moulding to improve that further without upping the part count unnecessarily, such as the super-finely moulded muzzles for the crew served weapons such as the M2 Browning derivative. The surface of the armour is also textured where appropriate, either as cast, or anti-slip on the horizontal(ish) surfaces, and there are lots of crisp weld-lines depicted too, especially on the big hull part. It's also nice to see a complete package with PE and material for use as towing cables, so that the modeller doesn't have to lay out additional cash or go scrabbling through their spares bin to complete the model. The tracks are individual links with pins in sub-sprues to ease construction and a clear jig to hold them in place during the building process. Do not adjust your set: The sprue above really is that wobbly Construction begins with the road wheels, which are made in pairs with a poly-cap trapped between them and have separate tyres, which will please anyone wanting to avoid cutting paint lines between the parts. The return rollers are in pairs too, but these have their tyres moulded-in due to their size. Finally, the drive sprockets comprise three parts with a poly-cap inside, all of which will aid adding and removing them during painting and track construction. The lower hull has a set of S-shaped blocks fitted to the floor, which later receive the torsion bars for the suspension, while the side-skirt stand-offs and suspension detail are added around the outside, together with the final drive housings. There are even individual casting codes for the hulls supplied as PE plates that attach to the rear of the hull. The torsion bars are made up with their swing-arms and stub axles, then slid in through the hull to rest in their mounts that were previously fixed to the hull floor, and here you will need to be careful to put the right ones in the correct holes. Some additional damping is needed, and these are added along the way, then the wheels can be added for the first time, and the rear bulkhead (lower) decorated with towing hitches etc. Now for the top of the hull, which begins with the glacis plate and turret ring section, which are moulded as a single part with some nice texture. Some holes are drilled in the underside and a couple of bits are removed, then the driver's hatch and some lifting eyes are fitted long with the vision blocks and another casting number from PE. The angled rear deck is then joined with the front and they are both mated to the lower hull, then festooned with all the grilles that are found on the M60's engine deck, and that's quite a few, including the little exhaust insert grille on the right rear. At the front, the lower glacis plate is added with some substantial brackets, presumably for a mine plough or an entrenching tool, then the additional keel armour is placed "over the top" of the underside, and a few more shackles are added. The fender parts are next up, and they are decorated with stowage boxes and the air cleaners then added to the sides of the hulls, being held in place by slots and tabs, and some glue of course! The upper glacis gets a pack of appliqué armour blocks and the rear is finished off before the v-shaped styrene front towing cables are attached together and draped over the armour, then joined by the fender guards and the front light clusters. Tracks. They're always there on a tank, and everyone wants to know whether they're easy, hard or somewhere in between. As previously mentioned, the tracks are individual links, and are spread across four identical sprues along with the tiny track pins that are moulded in groups of six and are designed to be mated to the links still attached to their sprue rails. The links have four sprue gates each that are placed upon the curved sections where the links join, so clean-up doesn't have to be 100% perfect, just good enough not to interfere with the next link along. The click loosely together, and you put them on the jig in groups of eight, close the top part over them and then slide the grouped track pins into place, taking care to ensure you have the links in the jig the correct way. The sprue rail is then cut off, which is best done with a brand new #11 blade to ensure a tidy break on each pin. Each track run has 101 links, so you're in for a bit of work, but that's tracks for you! The runs are completed by adding a single pin to the final joint, which will have to be done manually, so prepare the tweezers and rest easy knowing there are spares in case the first few ping off into the ether. The side skirts are there to hide all your hard work on the tracks, and these too have armoured panels, the front two of which protect the fighting compartment, so are of the composite variety and thicker than the others. They attach to a rail that has hangers between it and the panels, and once both are complete, they glue to the sides of the hull, completing the lower half of the model. The turret is a shell (excuse pun) with no interior, and as such has no gun breech, but instead has a short tube that pivots as the gun would, slowed down by a pair of poly-caps to avoid droopy-barrel syndrome. The upper half is glued in place on top of the lower after drilling some 1mm holes to accept some of the additional armour and suchlike, but the inclusion of casting texture and the original turret shape suggests that this may later be seen as an M60 kit, but only time will tell. The mantlet, lifting eyes, mushroom vents plus hatches, radio antenna masts, and a flexible mantlet enclosure that's on the flexible sprue fits around the gaps, and keeps out the abrasive sand on the real thing. Either side of the mantlet are a pair of prominent smoke grenade launcher packs, which have the 10 grenades moulded in place, and have an outer box and mounting brackets added to fit at the correct angle. The armour package changes the look of the turret noticeably, with a more Merkava-like double sloped front that is built up from individual panels before being applied to the turret cheeks, and a modular pack that attaches to the top of the turret in clusters around the important hatches and vents. The commander's cupola has a movable hatch and a collection of vision blocks fitted, plus lifting eyes and a large hinge-pin before it is slotted into its hole in the deck, which remains mobile and secures in place with a bayonet fitting on the cupola ring. The front sighting box with covers and back-up optical sight are added to the turret top along with a large stowage box and spare ammo for the turret machine guns, and down the sides are cleats for more cables, plus a tread-plate steps that make getting on and off the turret easier for those with shorter legs. Additional fuel and stowage are attached to the bustle, with styrene rails and a PE mesh floor, plus a pair of very well moulded ID panels that fix to the rear and sides of the bustle, and have some very believable creases and folds that are different on each one for more realism. The final towing cable drapes round the rear of the turret, and is made up from the included braided wire and styrene eyes, resting in a set of hooks around the bustle, then hooking around the cleats at the sides. The main gun has a complex cooling jacket that doesn't lend itself to a metal barrel, so a two-part styrene barrel is provided that shouldn't take much in the way of clean-up, and has a separate hollow muzzle that has rifling moulded-in. The recoil bag is moulded in flexible styrene and has all the concertina ribs moulded into it, slipping over the rear of the barrel before it is fitted and the remainder of the visible mantlet is covered over by the platform that will receive the M2 machine gun remote station. This is built up next, and appears to have been moulded with an anachronism in the shape of the barrel-changing handle, which is also shown sitting up vertically on the barrel. This shouldn't generally be there as it was phased out after Vietnam, and would hang below the barrel as it rotates freely when in place. The breech isn't attached to any sprues, so take care not to lose it, and choose one of the alternative barrels that you will find on the small weapons sprue. Many Magachs also didn't have the conical flash-hider, but some did, so check your references. The gun has a small mount, twin spade-grips and a large dump bag on the right side to receive the spent brass, and an ammo box on the left. Staying with the crew-served weapons, there are also two FN MAG mounts for the commander and loader hatches, which is a derivation from the American M249 and British GPMG, and has a prominent carry handle that should flop down to the right when not in use. I'm reliably informed by a gent that has fired one, that if the handle is vertical, the barrel is likely to try to follow the first few rounds downrange! It's a simple matter to cut them off and reposition them, and unlike the M2, they have solid muzzles that you might want to try and drill out while you're messing round with them. Good luck, as it's not easy at that size. The commander's gun has a large searchlight and a big box mag attached, while the loader's is on a flexible pintle mount due to its position on the far left of the turret. With these parts in place, the turret and hull are joined with a bayonet fitting on the turret ring holding both parts together. Done! Markings In this box you get two markings options, both of which are Sinai Grey, an elusive shade of grey/sand that you can happily now get bottled, rather than having to mix your own. Meng's collaboration with AK Interactive and the new(ish) Gunze Acrysion codes are given in the instructions, but as everyone seems to have an Israeli paint set these days, it shouldn't be too hard to find the correct shades if you don't have those to hand. From the box you can build one of the following: Tank 10 Gimel, 2nd Battalion, 401st Brigade, IDF near the international border with the Gaza Strip Tank from 9th "Eshet" Battalion, 401st Brigade, IDF in the centre of the Samaria region, August 1998 The decal sheet is small and printed in China in black and white, with red used only for the Meng logo. Registration, sharpness and colour density are all up to scratch, and the carrier film is relatively thin and cut close to the printing, so should go down well with your choice of decal solutions. Conclusion A highly detailed tooling of one of Israel's Main Battle Tanks from not so long ago. There's lots of scope for weathering, and the level of detail out of the box will doubtless be enough for the majority of modellers, due to the quality of the tooling. That said, if you want a covered bustle stowage bin and smoke launchers, read on. Very highly recommended. Israel Main Battle Tank Magach 6B Gal Batash Fully Loaded Rear Basket & Closed Smoke Grenade Launchers 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models This aftermarket set from Meng gives the modeller the option of depicting a bustle with a full complement of personal equipment, covered in a tarpaulin to keep out the desert sand that gets everywhere. It also provides the covers for the smoke grenade launchers at the front, which are often covered up for the same reasons. The set arrives in a small box, and inside are five resin parts on easily removed casting blocks, plus an instruction sheet. The bustle is shown fully covered up at the top and sides, with the main part a C-shaped back and sides, with the mesh floor depicted as another resin part that is shown upside-down on the instructions. You use some kit parts for the rails along the back and the cleats for the towing cables. The topside is the final part of the bustle, and all the parts apart from the bottom are covered with realistically draped creases and folds that suggest the contents. The smoke dischargers fit onto the kit back plates and stand-offs, with a nicely realised and tailored canvas cover over the top portion of each one. Superb detail throughout and a very realistic texture that will make your Magach look more lived in. It's not cheap, but it's definitely good. Review sample courtesy of
  16. German Tank Repair Crew (35319) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. All tanks break whether it's due to the fact that they're badly designed, pushing the technological envelope, being misused by their crews or having chunks blown off them by the enemy. When the tanks are away from home they're usually repaired in field workshops, the contents of which we reviewed recently here. Workshops need crew, so this set is complementary and provides all the sinew, sweat and tears required to repair the broken vehicles. Arriving in a shrink-wrapped figure box the set contains five figures and a selection of tools on a total of four sprues of grey styrene, although the figure sprue was originally one, but was cut to fit inside the box for expediency's sake. The five figures are broken down to torso, head, individual arms and legs, plus hats if worn. All of them are posed standing up with an officer guiding operations (of course!), while the other four pull, push yank and hit things with abandon. All are wearing uniform shirts and trousers over ankle-height boots, two have peaked caps and the officer retains his officer's cap and has a little iron cross hanging from his shirt just in case anyone forgot he was in charge. The tools include a pry-bar and sledge-hammer that two crew are wielding, and there are a wide selection of hand tools to scatter around the bench or floor nearby, plus anvil, axle stands, box plane and tool box. You can see the full range to the right on the box top artwork. Sculpting is as ever spot on, with sensible breakdown of parts along natural seams, superb understanding of the draping of different materials, and realistic poses and proportions that all add realism to the finished figures. The painting and construction guide can be found of the back of the box in colour, with paints called out as numbers that relate to a table below converting between Vallejo, Life Color, Tamiya, AK, and Mission Models brand plus the colours and their names in English and Ukraine. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Totenkopf Division Kharkov 1943 (35075) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models The Totenkopf division were officially known as the 3rd SS Panzer Division but were more usually known as the Death's Head due to their skull and crossbones divisional badge. They were reserves during the battle of France and took part in the invasion of Russia, coming back to the Eastern Front after assisting the transfer of power to the Vichy government in France until 1943. There they took part in the attempt to stop the Soviet advances including the third Battle of Kharkov, where they were at least partially successful in holding the line for a while. They and numerous other SS Divisions were involved in a number of horrible war crimes throughout the war due to their fervent belief in their Fuhrer and the inferiority of their opponents. Although the SS were and still are a hated group, there is no doubting the fact that they were involved in the fighting and played a part in many pivotal battles of WWII. This set contains a group of five figures at rest dressed in winter garb as befits their involvement in Kharkov. They arrive in a shrink-wrapped figure box, with five small sprues of figures and four of accessories all in grey styrene. Also included in the box is a short instruction leaflet to aid in construction of the accessories such as weapons and ammo crates. All of the five are seated in various poses nursing their weapons in their laps, with thick winter clothing consisting of padded trousers and a hooded smock that only one has over his helmet. Their footwear is a mixture of leather and suede boots and one wearing boots with cloth spats over them. They all have ammo pouches, water bottles, gas mask canisters, entrenching tools and bayonets, with plenty of spares on the accessory sprues. Three figures have Kar98 rifles, and the remaining two each have an MP40 or MG42, the latter slung across his lap with a length of link shown wrapped around the breech. The link is supplied, but you might have to carry out some heat flexing and surgery in order to get it to sit right around the gun. Each figure is broken down individual legs, arms, torso and heads, plus hoods that fit between the torso and head. The hooded character has a separate helmet front and two-part hood that closes around his head then attaches to the torso. The rest have helmets from the accessory sprues that fit directly to their flat-topped craniums, and some have woollen "snoods" under their helmets to prevent frostbite, while others are toughing it out with just their helmets. Their poses are hunched over and miserable in nature, and would suit a squad riding a tank in driving snow, or waiting for orders in bleak winter conditions. Either way, they won't get any sympathy from us. As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown plus loads of extras to add some detail to their vicinity if you use them in a diorama. The MG42 can be posed with a drum mag and open or closed bipod if you wish, and the MP40 has either a folded or open stock, while ammo boxes, grenade cases, oil cans, map cases, pistol pouches and plenty of spare weapons can be found on the sprues. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. German Road Signs WWII – France 1944 (35600) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII German forces renamed and re-signposted their conquests, partly through necessity but also to stake their claim and remind the subjugated masses that they were under German control. This set is full of signs of this nature, and includes military signs to guide their troops to rally points, service areas and so forth as they didn't have the luxury of GPS and satnav back then, which is probably just as well. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting of the contents on the front and brief instructions on the rear. There are three medium-sized sprues in grey styrene in the box, plus a decal sheet on thick paper that contains all the painted descriptive fronts of the signs. As well as the signs themselves there are a number of posts on which to hang then, one of which is a two-part telegraph pole with ceramic insulators on short metal arms from which you can hang wires loose as shown in the diagrams, or taut if you have something to attach them to. Each sign is either metal or moulded with a restrained wooden texture that will show through the decals if you use decal solution during drying. Some of the larger signs are also made from a few planks, so the joins will also show through the decal. On the sprue that contains the pole there are also additional undocumented parts for poles and such, which you could also press into service if you can figure out how to put them together. There are forty two signs so there will be a few decals left over, and on the back of the box you can see a few examples of these make-shift signs pinned in groups to the various posts, but it's entirely up to you how you lay them out. Conclusion Dioramas rely on the minutiae of the background to give that "lived in" look to the terrain, and signage is essential for all but the straightest of roads. The addition of the telegraph pole gives extra depth to any road scene, and the painting guide helps with painting the plastic parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. US Bulldozer (38022) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Bulldozers have been around in construction since the 1920s however the term Bulldozer came from the 30s as before that they were called Bullgraders. The Blade (the curved front piece) peels layers of earth of and pushes it forwards. Tracks were introduced really with the Caterpillar company. The Kit This kit is a Caterpillar D7, however there is no information in the instructions on this (probably for licencing), given the different types of jerrycan available I would hazard a guess also that its post war. The kit arrives on 36 sprues, a small PE fret and a small decal sheet. Construction begins with the engine which is the heart of the machine. As this is visible it is a small kit on its own with a large number of parts. The engine and its transmission take up the first 3 pages of the instruction booklet and complete with the radiator fit into the front part of the chassis which builds up around it. The left and right track roller assemblies are then built up with a complex assembly including the wheels and track tensioning system. Next the driver area is built up over the engine/transmission area and the roller assemblies are attached to each side. the radiator grill is then added at the front and the side plates for the operator entry are added. Next up the complicated looking winch arrangement which moves the blade is made up and added. This fits at the rear of the cab and goes over it, with the cab roof being added. The tracks are added at this stage each link has 4 parts! and there are 36 each side. The last stage is to construct the large bulldozer blade and it supporting structure. The blade can be fitted straight on or with an offset to the left or right as needed. Markings As it's a civilian vehicle very little in the way of markings are supplied. Taken from MiniArt's website Conclusion This is an important piece of US construction equipment which miniart have made an excellent kit of. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Allies Jerry Cans Set WWII (35587) Oil & Petrol Cans 1930s-40s (35595) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Cans, cans everywhere! If you're not able to fill your tank at a handy petrol/gas station when you're fighting the enemy, it's handy to carry additional supplies of these fluids vital to the ongoing ability to move your vehicles and equipment. The Allies pinched the German design for a fuel can and called it the Jerry Can, although many other types were used during the period and when it came to other fluids such as oil there were tons of other designs used back in the day. These two sets arrive shrink wrapped in figure sized end-opening boxes with the colour scheme on the rear. Allies Jerry Cans Set WWII (35587) Inside the box are fifteen sprues of grey styrene, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass in a card envelope, a decal sheet and a short instruction sheet. If you're the owner of some MiniArt sets or you study our reviews intently (weirdo!) you'll probably recognise some of the sprues, as they've been in a number of kits just recently because they're on small individual sprues they're well suited to reuse. From the box you can build up the following: 3 x W↑D marked rectangular cans 3 x Unmarked rectangular cans 12 x smaller rectangular cans with carry handles 6 x jerry cans with twist-off caps 6 x jerry cans with flip-top caps Handily, the British cans are marked with War Department (W↑D) initials, and the American cans are stamped with USA, despite being of the same basic design. These are built up with two halves glued together, with the British ones having a central PE flange part, then the triple handle and appropriate cap – flip-top for the UK, screw-on for the US. In addition to the cans, there are three funnels, although if you wanted to go super-real, you'll need to drill out the exit. The decals are printed by DecoGraph as usual and their location is given on the back of the box along with the colour suggestions, which are provided with Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, AK, and Mission Modes codes in a table below. Oil & Petrol Cans 1930s-40s (35595) Inside this set are ten sprues in grey styrene, with a little cross-over between the sets in the shape of the smaller cans and the larger rectangular ones. There is also a small fret of PE and a large decal sheet. There are others as follows: 2 x cylindrical cans with carry-handle 4 x small triangular profile cans with handles 2 x large triangular profile cans with handles 6 x small rectangular cans 2 x medium rectangular cans 2 x short rectangular cans with ribs 2 x rectangular cans with ribs 2 x rectangular cans with W↑D stamping 2 x short rectangular cans with Jurgens stamping 2 x rectangular cans The decals are printed by DecoGraph as usual and their location is given on the back of the box along with the colour suggestions, which are provided with Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, AK, and Mission Modes codes in a table below on the back of the box. Review sample courtesy of
  21. T-60 Late Series, Screened Gorly Auto Plant. INTERIOR KIT 1:35 MiniArt The T-60 was the result of the ongoing development of light tanks that had started well before WWII. This particular tank started development in 1938 as an attempt to replace the T-26, T-40, the failed T-46 project and the T-50. Whilst such a large number were produced, it was hated by all who had to deal with it – all except the Germans, who found it to be a substandard and underwhelming opponent, and a rather nice ammunition carrier or gun towing tractor, once captured. As a result of its poor armour, substandard armament and sluggish performance, it was more dangerous to its crews than anybody else, earning it the title Bratskaya Mogila Na Dovoikh, literally: “a brother’s grave for two.” The basic design was completed in a mere fifteen days, and Astrov, seconded by Lieutenant Colonel V.P. Okunev, wrote to Stalin contrasting the advantages of the mass-producible T-60 with the more complicated T-50, which had already received the go-ahead. An inspection from a senior minister resulted in two decisions: firstly, the 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine gun was to be replaced with a 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK, although it was still inadequate against the Panzer IIIs and IVs that the T-60 would almost certainly engage whilst there was a shortage of T-34s. Secondly, the Main Defence Committee (GKO), headed by Stalin, ordered 10,000 T-60s to be produced immediately. Some sources have claimed that Stalin’s interest in the vehicle is because he attended the vehicle’s final trials in person. The displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943. The Germans would use captured tanks under the designation Panzerkampfwagen T-60 743(r), and the Romanians would modify 34 captured tanks into TACAM tank destroyers in 1943 armed with captured Russian 76mm divisional guns housed in a lightly armoured superstructure. These vehicles were confiscated by the Russians when Roumania changed sides in 1944. The Model The kit comes in the fairly standard, yet sturdy and colourful top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. This later tank is easily distinguished by the solid road wheels. Inside there are thirty three sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, two small sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. As with most MiniArt kits there is a huge amount of detail contained on the sprues and in this one there are 490 parts, including the etched brass. The mouldings are superb with no imperfections and very few moulding pips. Some of the smaller parts, and there are a lot of them, do have a fair number of sprue gates, but fortunately they are relatively small and shouldn’t cause too many problems. The sheer number of parts is explained by the fact that this kit is equipped with a full, and I mean full interior, which for a model/vehicle this size will mean you will need a magnifying glass/Optivisor when building. The build starts with the lower hull floor, to which the drivers position is attached, complete with detailed gearbox, levers and brake drums. Then there is the comprehensively detailed engine, which is a model in itself, and has more parts than some whole kits, around 22 in total. The two batteries and battery tray are then added to the left hand side of the hull adjacent to the drivers position, followed by the right side panel which is fitted with a fire extinguisher and four support brackets. The rear bulkhead is fitted out with several parts on the outside, before being attached to the lower hull, as is the lower glacis plate. The engine assembly is then glued into position and connected to the gearbox via a couple of drive shafts. The interior is slowly built up with bulkheads, ammunition racks with spare ammunition drums and boxes and another fire extinguisher. The left hull panel is then attached, along with the outer drive covers, idler axles, internal longitudinal bulkhead and several pipes. The upper hull plate is fitted with several panels before being glued into place. The drivers hatch is made up from five parts, while the drivers vision block is made up from six parts. Both assemblies are then glued to the driver position, and can be posed either open of closed. Depending on which colour scheme the modeller has chosen there are two options for the style of headlights to be used. The suspension arms are then glued to the hull, followed by the road wheels, return rollers, drive sprockets and idler wheels. The engine cover is next made up of three plastic and two etched grille pieces. This is then glued into position on the top deck, along with the drivers access and viewing plate. The tracks are each built up from eighty five individual links, which, unfortunately are not click able, but have to be glued, making it a little more awkward to get the sag and fitted around the idlers/drive sprockets. But with plenty of patience and care they can be made to look the business. The track guards are fitted with many PE brackets, as well as storage boxes, pioneer tools and a nicely detailed jack. These are then fitted to the hull and the build moves on to the turret. There is a large PE grille fitted to the rear engine deck along with a PE surround. There are two covers that go over this if winterising the vehicle, each plate is fixed with four to six PE wing nuts. While the turret is very small there is still plenty of detail packed into it. The turret ring is fitted with commander’s seat, ready use ammunition locker, plus traversing and elevation gearboxes and hand wheels. Inside the turret itself there are two four piece vision blocks, spent ammunition plug, vent cover, the breech and sight for the main gun which is slide through the trunnion mount, as is the three piece co-axial machine gun. The turret roof is fitted with a two piece hatch and before it is glued into position the machine gun ammunition drum is attached and the spent cartridge chute to the main gun. The roof is then attached, as is the outer mantlet and barrel cover of the main gun. The turret is the attached o the hull and the build is finished off with the fitting of more PE brackets around the hull and the engine exhaust glued into position. Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for four tanks. Unidentified Red Army unit, 1942. 22nd Panzer Corps, South Western Front July 1942. 3rd Shock Army of the Kalinin Front, Dec 1942. Unidentified Red Army unit, 1942. Conclusion This is another amazing kit from MiniArt and brings yet another lesser known military vehicle to the mainstream modelling community. With the numerous parts count and the large number of very small parts, this kit is really aimed at the more experienced modeller, it looks like it should build up into a superb model, absolutely full of detail, so much so that there shouldn’t be any need for aftermarket parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  22. T-60 Plant N.37 Sverdlovsk Prod Spring 1942. INTERIOR KIT 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models The T-60 was the result of the ongoing development of light tanks that had started well before WWII. This particular tank started development in 1938 as an attempt to replace the T-26, T-40, the failed T-46 project and the T-50. Whilst such a large number were produced, it was hated by all who had to deal with it – all except the Germans, who found it to be a substandard and underwhelming opponent, and a rather nice ammunition carrier or gun towing tractor, once captured. As a result of its poor armour, substandard armament and sluggish performance, it was more dangerous to its crews than anybody else, earning it the title Bratskaya Mogila Na Dovoikh, literally: “a brother’s grave for two.” The basic design was completed in a mere fifteen days, and Astrov, seconded by Lieutenant Colonel V.P. Okunev, wrote to Stalin contrasting the advantages of the mass-producible T-60 with the more complicated T-50, which had already received the go-ahead. An inspection from a senior minister resulted in two decisions: firstly, the 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine gun was to be replaced with a 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK, although it was still inadequate against the Panzer IIIs and IVs that the T-60 would almost certainly engage whilst there was a shortage of T-34s. Secondly, the Main Defence Committee (GKO), headed by Stalin, ordered 10,000 T-60s to be produced immediately. Some sources have claimed that Stalin’s interest in the vehicle is because he attended the vehicle’s final trials in person. The displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943. The Germans would use captured tanks under the designation Panzerkampfwagen T-60 743(r), and the Romanians would modify 34 captured tanks into TACAM tank destroyers in 1943 armed with captured Russian 76mm divisional guns housed in a lightly armoured superstructure. These vehicles were confiscated by the Russians when Roumania changed sides in 1944. The Model The kit comes in the fairly standard, yet sturdy and colourful top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. This later tank is easily distinguished by the solid road wheels. Inside there are thirty three sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, two small sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. As with most MiniArt kits there is a huge amount of detail contained on the sprues and in this one there are 490 parts, including the etched brass. The mouldings are superb with no imperfections and very few moulding pips. Some of the smaller parts, and there are a lot of them, do have a fair number of sprue gates, but fortunately they are relatively small and shouldn’t cause too many problems. The sheer number of parts is explained by the fact that this kit is equipped with a full, and I mean full interior, which for a model/vehicle this size will mean you will need a magnifying glass/Optivisor when building. The build starts with the lower hull floor, to which the drivers position is attached, complete with detailed gearbox, levers and brake drums. Then there is the comprehensively detailed engine, which is a model in itself, and has more parts than some whole kits, around 22 in total. The two batteries and battery tray are then added to the left hand side of the hull adjacent to the drivers position, followed by the right side panel which is fitted with a fire extinguisher and four support brackets. The rear bulkhead is fitted out with several parts on the outside, before being attached to the lower hull, as is the lower glacis plate. The engine assembly is then glued into position and connected to the gearbox via a couple of drive shafts. The interior is slowly built up with bulkheads, ammunition racks with spare ammunition drums and boxes and another fire extinguisher. The left hull panel is then attached, along with the outer drive covers, idler axles, internal longitudinal bulkhead and several pipes. The upper hull plate is fitted with several panels before being glued into place. The drivers hatch is made up from five parts, while the drivers vision block is made up from six parts. Both assemblies are then glued to the driver position, and can be posed either open of closed. Depending on which colour scheme the modeller has chosen there are two options for the style of headlights to be used. The suspension arms are then glued to the hull, followed by the road wheels, return rollers, drive sprockets and idler wheels. The engine cover is next made up of three plastic and two etched grille pieces. This is then glued into position on the top deck, along with the drivers access and viewing plate. The tracks are each built up from eighty five individual links, which, unfortunately are not click able, but have to be glued, making it a little more awkward to get the sag and fitted around the idlers/drive sprockets. But with plenty of patience and care they can be made to look the business. The track guards are fitted with many PE brackets, as well as storage boxes, pioneer tools and a nicely detailed jack. These are then fitted to the hull and the build moves on to the turret. There is a large PE grille fitted to the rear engine deck along with a PE surround. There are two covers that go over this if winterising the vehicle, each plate is fixed with four to six PE wing nuts. While the turret is very small there is still plenty of detail packed into it. The turret ring is fitted with commander’s seat, ready use ammunition locker, plus traversing and elevation gearboxes and hand wheels. Inside the turret itself there are two four piece vision blocks, spent ammunition plug, vent cover, the breech and sight for the main gun which is slide through the trunnion mount, as is the three piece co-axial machine gun. The turret roof is fitted with a two piece hatch and before it is glued into position the machine gun ammunition drum is attached and the spent cartridge chute to the main gun. The roof is then attached, as is the outer mantlet and barrel cover of the main gun. The turret is the attached o the hull and the build is finished off with the fitting of more PE brackets around the hull and the engine exhaust glued into position. Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for 15 tanks. Tactical numbers 103 & 113 Red Army, Volkhov front, Summer 1942. Tac Number 43 Unspecified unit, Red Army Summer 1942. Unspecified unit, tactical number 13, Red Army Summer 1942. Tac Number 211, presumed to be 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad 1942-43. Tac Number 257 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad Front winter 1942-43. Tac Number 715 Unidentified unit, Red Army, Volkhov front, 1942. Tac Number 180 over painted unidentified unit winter camo Volkhov Front Winter 1942-43. Tac Number 18 Unspecified unit, Red Army Summer 1942. Unidentified tank captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front 1942. Unidentified tank captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front summer 1942. Tac Number 208, 209, 227 and 228 from the 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad Front summer 1943. Conclusion This is another amazing kit from MiniArt and brings yet another lesser known military vehicle to the mainstream modelling community. With the numerous parts count and the large number of very small parts, this kit is really aimed at the more experienced modeller, it looks like it should build up into a superb model, absolutely full of detail, so much so that there shouldn’t be any need for aftermarket parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  23. German Field Workshop (35591) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd It's a constant in warfare that the troops break equipment and the mechanics/fitters repair them, whether it's wear-and-tear, accidental damage, clumsiness, misuse or due to enemy action, it all ends up in the same place if it's deemed suitable for repair, providing it's not behind enemy lines or under heavy bombardment. From WWII onwards, fighting tended to be fast-moving, so transporting anything back to a bricks and mortar workshop well behind the lines is nigh on impossible, and highly impractical once the lines of communication stretch too far, so the field workshop is used instead. This can be anything from a literal field to a large building that is commandeered by the "grease monkeys" so they can ply their trade. This set depicts the typical small and medium tools that you would find in a WWII German field workshop, and arrives shrink-wrapped in a top opening box with nineteen sprues of mid-grey styrene, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a decal sheet inside, along with a small instruction booklet. A lot of these sprues have made appearances in other sets from MiniArt on occasion, so if you've got a good memory some of it will seem familiar. The most recognisable being the two fuel drums. They are made up from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are fixed to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the centre filler cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself. The rest of the equipment is best depicted in list form, and everything in the foreground of the box art will also be found inside the box: 2 x fuel drums with manual pump (detailed above) 1 x portable oil tank (3 parts) 1 x axle stand (3 parts) 1 x 5-step ladder (3 parts) 1 x open-topped tool box (2 parts) 1 x blow torch (3 parts) 2 x buckets, one tapered the other cylindrical (3 & 2parts) 3 x jerry cans (6 parts each) 1 x anvil (2 parts) 1 x wooden box-plane (2 parts) 1 x 2-man saw with PE blade (5 parts) 1 x hacksaw with PE blade (2 parts) 1 x wood saw with PE blade (2 parts) 1 x bench vice (2 parts) 1 x car jack (3 parts) 2 x foot pump (car type – 4 parts each) 2 x each of chair, stool and bench (3, 5 & 4 parts each) 4 x oxy-acetylene bottles with either regulators or top-caps (5 parts each) 1 x tubular-framed welding cylinder trolley with wheels and PE chain (9 parts) 2 x electrode tubes for welding rods (2 parts each) 3 x wooden crates of various sizes (8, 6 & 6 parts each) 2 x pivoting tool box (open & closed) with PE lids, stays and full complement of tools, some PE and some styrene (8 & 33 parts) That should be plenty to outfit any small workshop, and if you look closely there are other undocumented tools on some of the sprues such as oxy-acetylene torches, masks, goggles, hammers, axes, spanners, oil can, G-clamps and a belly-brace drill (minus bit). Markings The decal sheet is printed by DecoGraph, and it is small but perfectly formed, containing regulator dials for the oxy-acetylene bottles, white crosses for two of the jerry cans, and a yellow stripe nameplate for the oil tank. The various colours for the parts, including the undocumented tools are called out in a reproduction of the box art on a white background, pointing our colours with a code that converts to Vallejo, Mr.Color, LifeColor, Tamiya, AK, Mission Models codes in the table below it. Conclusion This set will be a boon to anyone depicting maintenance by German mechanics around the WWII era, although many of the tools haven't changed all that much since or before then and the same designs were seen around the world, so their use at least in part could be much wider than the era they have been assigned. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Bergepanzer T-60(r) INTERIOR KIT (35238) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models The T-60 was the result of the ongoing development of light tanks that had started well before WWII. This particular tank started development in 1938 as an attempt to replace the T-26, T-40, the failed T-46 project and the T-50. Whilst such a large number were produced, it was hated by all who had to deal with it – all except the Germans, who found it to be a substandard and underwhelming opponent, and a rather nice ammunition carrier or gun towing tractor, once captured. As a result of its poor armour, substandard armament and sluggish performance, it was more dangerous to its crews than anybody else, earning it the title Bratskaya Mogila Na Dovoikh, literally: “a brother’s grave for two.” The basic design was completed in a mere fifteen days, and Astrov, seconded by Lieutenant Colonel V.P. Okunev, wrote to Stalin contrasting the advantages of the mass-producible T-60 with the more complicated T-50, which had already received the go-ahead. An inspection from a senior minister resulted in two decisions: firstly, the 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine gun was to be replaced with a 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK, although it was still inadequate against the Panzer IIIs and IVs that the T-60 would almost certainly engage whilst there was a shortage of T-34s. Secondly, the Main Defence Committee (GKO), headed by Stalin, ordered 10,000 T-60s to be produced immediately. Some sources have claimed that Stalin’s interest in the vehicle is because he attended the vehicle’s final trials in person. The displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943. The Germans would use captured tanks under the designation Panzerkampfwagen T-60 743(r), and the Romanians would modify 34 captured tanks into TACAM tank destroyers in 1943 armed with captured Russian 76mm divisional guns housed in a lightly armoured superstructure. These vehicles were confiscated by the Russians when Roumania changed sides in 1944. The Germans would also convert a few captured vehicles to Bergepanzers T-60(r) by mounting a rudimentary crane on the vehicle. The Model The kit comes in the fairly standard, yet sturdy and colourful top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. Inside there are thirty four sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, two small sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. As with most MiniArt kits there is a huge amount of detail contained on the sprues, including etched brass. The mouldings are superb with no imperfections and very few moulding pips. Some of the smaller parts, and there are a lot of them, do have a fair number of sprue gates, but fortunately they are relatively small and shouldn’t cause too many problems. The sheer number of parts is explained by the fact that this kit is equipped with a full, and I mean full interior, which for a model/vehicle this size will mean you will need a magnifying glass/Optivisor when building. The build starts with the lower hull floor, to which the drivers position is attached, complete with detailed gearbox, levers and brake drums. Then there is the comprehensively detailed engine, which is a model in itself, and has more parts than some whole kits, around 22 in total. The two batteries and battery tray are then added to the left hand side of the hull adjacent to the drivers position, followed by the right side panel which is fitted with a fire extinguisher and four support brackets. The rear bulkhead is fitted out with several parts on the outside, before being attached to the lower hull, as is the lower glacis plate. The engine assembly is then glued into position and connected to the gearbox via a couple of drive shafts. The interior is slowly built up with bulkheads, ammunition racks with spare ammunition drums and boxes and another fire extinguisher. The left hull panel is then attached, along with the outer drive covers, idler axles, internal longitudinal bulkhead and several pipes. The upper hull plate is fitted with several panels before being glued into place. The drivers hatch is made up from five parts, while the drivers vision block is made up from six parts. Both assemblies are then glued to the driver position, and can be posed either open of closed. Depending on which colour scheme the modeller has chosen there are two options for the style of headlights to be used. The suspension arms are then glued to the hull, followed by the road wheels, return rollers, drive sprockets and idler wheels. The engine cover is next made up of three plastic and two etched grille pieces. This is then glued into position on the top deck, along with the drivers access and viewing plate. The tracks are each built up from eighty five individual links, which, unfortunately are not click able, but have to be glued, making it a little more awkward to get the sag and fitted around the idlers/drive sprockets. But with plenty of patience and care they can be made to look the business. The track guards are fitted with many PE brackets, as well as storage boxes, pioneer tools and a nicely detailed jack. These are then fitted to the hull and the build moves on to the turret. There is a large PE grille fitted to the rear engine deck along with a PE surround. A double wooden hatch is supplied to cover the hole where the turret was on the tank. The rear mounted crane jib and winch mechanism is then made up and added to the rear of the vehicle. A length of thread (not shown) is provided for the wire, however this is best replaced with some scale wire as thread never really looks the part. Decals The very small decal sheet contains markings for 2 tanks. One still painted in Russian Green, and the other repainted in Dunklegelb. Picture from Miniart Conclusion This is another amazing kit from MiniArt and brings yet another lesser known military vehicle to the mainstream modelling community. With the numerous parts count and the large number of very small parts, this kit is really aimed at the more experienced modeller, it looks like it should build up into a superb model, absolutely full of detail, so much so that there shouldn’t be any need for aftermarket parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  25. Railway Gondola 16.5-18t (35296) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Railways are excellent for transporting large or heavy goods (yes, shocking isn't it?), and there are all sorts of wagons available to facilitate this, with the open wagon being one such option for goods that aren't susceptible to weather damage. This is the subject of this model from MiniArt, which arrives in a standard top-opening kit box, wrapped in shrink-wrap to prevent tampering and parts escaping. It is quite a heavy box, the reason for which becomes evident when you open it, as there are forty four sprues in mid-grey styrene of various sizes, a sheet of decals, small Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope and the instruction booklet. As indicated on the box, there is a set of figures included and you also get a short length of track with sleepers to put in your own ballast, plus some barrels and such to liberally stash around the place. As you may already know, MiniArt utilise smaller sprues to compartmentalise their kits, so that parts can easily be reused in different variants or other boxings to add value to their models and the customer. This is a prime example, pairing the figures and fuel drums with the new gondola to create a really nice package. Construction begins with the central cross-member of the chassis which has hollow two-part timbers and the coupling "root" pinned between the H-frame. This is paired up with four more cross-braces that hold the two C-section chassis rails in place, with braced U-mounts hanging from the rails to accept the axles later on. Diagonal bracing rails are added under the bed with the end bars and side brackets, then the bed itself and two side rails are fitted before the assembly is flipped over to add the leaf-spring suspension and finally the axles with a choice of two wheel types, which are a spring fit between the posts in much the same manner as those of a traditional model train. Righting the model allows fitting of the four sides with their stiffening braces, and a pair of sliding doors on the sides with their runners and retaining rails completes the main structure, then the latches and padlocks are added from PE parts. Each wagon has a total of four buffers front and rear and two hitches, the latter being well-detailed due to the part count, and the eyelets on either side of the hitches have hooks hung on short lengths of chain, which you'll need to source yourself. The kit includes enough track to place your gondola on with a few inches either side that will come in useful if you are integrating it into a larger diorama. It is made up from five different types of sleeper with varying grain and ties moulded in and the clamp that holds the rail in place is a separate part for each of the 20 sleepers with two per sleeper. The rails are in two parts each with jointing strips on each side of the rail to turn the joint into a feature, rather than something to hide. You'll need to put the groundwork in yourself, but that gives you a lot of leeway to choose something suitable for your purposes and you can choose larger scale ballast from those available for railway modellers or make your own. Seven barrels are included in the kit for the figures to play with, and if you've seen any of my recent MiniArt reviews they'll be familiar. The drums are made from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are fixed to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself - that's if you feel it's appropriate to the situation of course, but it's there anyway. A separate diagram offers four colour schemes for the drums including light grey, dark yellow, red and white striped, and Panzer Grey. The barrels are shown being rolled up planks into the wagon with two soldiers pushing, one pulling on a rope from within the wagon, another rolling the next barrel into position and of course the officer looking busy with a notebook so he doesn't have to exert himself. The figures are typical MiniArt and are naturally posed with excellent detail thanks to careful sculpting and parts breakdown. Each of them have separate torsos, legs arms and heads with caps separate, plus the occasional separate hand where its position would be better moulded by removing it from the arm. The officer has a pistol holster and his book, with the pencil/pen moulded into his right hand for completeness. Markings Four decal/colour options are shown in the instructions, ranging from green, through grey/brown filthy mottle and two shades of brown, C is Russian in origin, and for the purists you will need to obtain some Russian Railroad Track (35565) for ultimate fidelity. The decals are almost all white stencils with a couple of black ones breaking up the monotone, and they are printed by Decograph with good density and sharpness. Conclusion A highly detailed gondola/wagon for use in dioramas, with your imagination the only limiting factor. Troops loading the wagon, soldiers fighting around it, or it being in the background of a larger scene, it will look great with sympathetic paintwork, and some good ballast. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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