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  1. Russian Terminator Fire Support Combat Vehicle BMPT 1:35 Meng The Terminator had a long and faltering gestation, which involved many changes to its design, including a complete change of the base hull on which the offensive equipment is mounted. Initially started under the auspices of the Soviet Union, it was shelved and resurrected on more than one occasion. It even became a private venture during an official fallow period in its development, after significant losses in street fighting in the Chechen war triggered the manufacturers into action. Officialdom soon put a stop to that, but it began again in earnest in the late 1990s, by which time the original T-72 chassis replaced by the more modern and better protected T-90 hull. Although based on the T-90, there are significant differences on the upper surfaces, with a built up deck, and a low-rise turret. On top of this are two 30mm cannons that each have 850 rounds at their disposal, with four 130mm Ataka-T anti-tank missiles, two slung on each side of the cannons. On the front sponsons are grenade launchers, which have an amazing 600 30mm rounds able to be fed to them, and are remotely operated. If that isn't enough, there is also a single 7.62mm machine gun coaxially mounted with the main cannons for close support with 2,000 rounds on a single belt to keep it going. The Terminator is used in pairs as support for, and as advanced suppression for main battle tanks in urban areas, and uses its anti-tank missiles to defeat enemy tanks, and the 30mm cannons to soften up the opposing troops and soft-skinned vehicles, ably assisted by the grenade launchers. In open ground, one terminator backs up two tanks using the same techniques. Protection is both active in the shape of explosive reactive armour (ERA), and the composite armour of the T-90 on which it is based. Slat armour is also added around the rear, which improves protection against Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) over and above its progenitor. All modern Russian tanks can be outfitted with the KMT-8 mine clearance system, which the Terminator retains, and can make good use of to clear the passage for the accompanying tanks. It is able to be raised and lowered from inside the vehicle, so doesn't expose the crew unnecessarily, and as well as clearing mines manually, it can also pre-detonate magnetic mines using equipment to mimic the electro-magnetic signature of a tank projected forward of the hull. The Kit Having recently tooled a T-90A there was hope that the Terminator would be the logical next step, and sure enough here it is a year later. It's another classy box full of styrene, with seventeen sprues of dark green styrene, plus two hull parts, turret and a clear jig for use with the suspension. The tracks are on another 8 sprues in black styrene, 8 more in a slightly flexible styrene, with more jigs on a separate sprue to assist with the construction of the tracks. A fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass parts and a brass wheel painting template are included, plus poly-caps, a flexible sprue of small parts, a length of string for the tow-rope, a clear sprue, and a sheet containing two self-adhesive mirrored stickers to simulate the prominent wing-mirrors. The instruction booklet is standard Meng fare, with a glossy outer cover, four language introduction, and painting instructions on the rear glossy pages. A well-rounded packages indeed! First impression. Do you really need to ask? Superb. Fine moulding, attention to detail, multiple media used to accomplish the job of building a very well detailed model out of the box that other manufacturers don't seem able to follow consistently. With the exception of a couple of turned barrels for the cannons, there's not much your average modeller would want in addition. Meng's use of other companies' expertise is also a wise investment, as it puts years of research at their fingertips from people with a real interest in the subject. In this instance, it is Gur Khan Books who are bloggers as well as publishers that specialise in Soviet and Russian hardware. Are you ready? Let's build some wheels! Yes – it's time to unleash the poly-caps, as you build up two two-piece idler wheels, two three-part drive sprockets, and twelve pairs of roadwheels, all of which have a poly-cap sandwiched between them to help keep you sane during general painting and construction of the tracks. The underside of the hull is busy, as with many modern Russian tanks, and is worth a look just for the amount of detail that is moulded into it in the shape of suspension bumps, escape hatches and so forth, as well as the holes for the axles of the torsion bar suspension. The lower glacis plate is detailed with a separate panel, and the self-entrenching blade is added to that along with its four actuating rams. The return rollers and idler wheel stations are added first, with six torsion bars with moulded-in swing-arms slid into each side, some of which are damped with additional arms keeping their movement in check. The large T-shaped jig in clear styrene is then draped over the side of the hull and lined up with the axles to arrange all of the swing-arms to the same angle before they are glued into their bearing cuffs. At the rear is a plate to detail up the rear bulkhead, onto which spare track links and the first of the pioneer tools are added. The roadwheels can then be pressed home onto the axles after installing the final drive housing and axle for the drive sprocket at each side of the rear hull. Tracks are the next logical step, and you're in for a treat in terms of detail, as well as for some detailed work, but don't despair just yet, as Meng's designers have supplied two more jigs to help you build them. The tracks have separate guide-horns, track-pads and end-caps, the latter being moulded in semi-flexible styrene, presumably to help the track flex around the ends of its runs and to grab the styrene track pins. The horns are moulded in pairs, and the instructions advise you to leave these paired until you have interleaved them with the track parts, as they are small and may fall foul of gravity (or even defy it as they fly through the air) if handled singly. When you have six links prepared in this way, you cut off the sprues, leaving two sets of 6 track links to place in the jig one after another. A jig-lid is supplied to keep the parts from coming loose, and the end-caps have been moulded at exactly the same distance apart as they will be when added to the tracks. These are then placed in another jig and cut from their sprue gates, leaving them in the jig for now. The jig is offered up to the open sides of the tracks, and the two holes accept the pins from adjoining links, effectively attaching them together. So far there has been no glue used either!!! The only glue used in this part of the build attaches the individual track-pads to the outer surface of the track links, but these are optional and can be left off if you feel the urge. Each run is 81 links in length, and an individual slot for an end-cap has been provided to assist you in joining that tricky last link to both sides of each run. On the upper hull, a block of reactive armour is built up with the front light clusters and added to the glacis plate, along with the access hatch rings for the grenade launcher operators, and with a stowage box in between them behind the driver's hatch, which has its own clear periscope. The front fenders are made up and each has a return spring that keeps them down in action, as well as installing a substantial lifting lug at the rear. On the engine deck the PE grilles are added, as is the exhaust stub with heat-dissipating shroud on the left fender. The fenders on Russian tanks are often used for stowage, and this one is no exception, having some substantial superstructure added, the forward areas of which contain the grenade launchers and their muzzles. These are added once complete, and are further augmented by more sub-assemblies at the rear left, which I think contains the APU that runs the tanks systems when stationary, so that the huge power of the main power unit isn't idling unnecessarily, using up precious fuel. The engine deck is protected from ingress of shot by a series of barriers, and slat armour, all of which complete the circle of the splash guard, whilst being demountable for maintenance of the turret. The side-skirts are single lengths with an additional part added to the inner face in order to get the correct angle with the hull when installed. There is also an additional panel that fits between the top of the sponsons and skirts, plus a large moulded in grille on the left side for the exhaust gases to exit. At the rear the towing cables are made up from two 100mm lengths of string, using the printed rules to cut them properly. They have two-part towing eyes that cement to the end, locking them in and stopping any fraying. These are arranged around the rear of the tank, held in place by shackles and cable guides around the towing eyes. A two-part slat-armour panel is installed on the four mounts, and there is no sign of the slats being oversized due to moulding constraints – it looks right to my eyes. With the lower hull completed for the most part, a pair of drop-in mini-turrets are assembled for the two grenadiers, which sit either side of the driver. Each one has a raised ring onto which the top is glued, with an old-fashioned vision block and a newer high-tech one at the front, which is protected by a shroud that doubles as the hinge-point for the wedge-shaped hatch, with internal liner and closure system depicted nicely. On top of each of these are fitted what looks like a miniature heli-deck, consisting of a circle of tread-plate on stand-off mounts, which hinges up as the hatch is opened. Additional tread-plate is added around the turret ring, which must be used when maintaining the weapons overhead. The turret is more of a blister than a true turret, but has NBC liners moulded in, plus two hatches to which a number of vision blocks are added, with protective shrouds. Stowage boxes and traditional smoke grenade launchers are also present, as are the sort of modern optics found on most tanks these days. These are all well detailed and made up from a number of parts, with clear parts for the front of the turret-shaped unit that sits atop the right hatch. The 30mm cannons are assembled in their blast jackets, which have realistic drape and folds moulded in, with two holes into which the single part slide-moulded barrels are installed with additional collars from PE. This attaches the breech box, with maintenance panels moulded in, which have separate grab handles for additional detail, and the central coaxially mounted 7.62mm machine gun above the barrels in the centre. On each side of the breech assembly is a long pin onto which the mount for the ATAK-T missile launchers are added after construction, and here the poly-caps come in handy again, allowing you to push the assemblies on with friction fit keeping them in whatever pose you select. A central panel links the two mounts together, which is further strengthened by the addition of a bullet splash guard under the cannons, which is encrusted with equipment. At the rear left of the turret, another turret-shaped sight assembly for use by the commander is assembled, then added, again with a clear part for the lens. The ATAK-T missiles are depicted in their launch tubes, with frangible covers front and rear. The tubes are split vertically with the covers moulded as separate parts, so you will need to do a little scraping of the seams to tidy up here. Times four, for all the tubes. Each missile is attached to a rail with shackles for the tube, and are then paired up on a flat panel with wiring before being attached to the sides of their mounts. A long aerial is mounted to the rear of the turret along with other antennae, and a chute is attached to the rear of the breech to direct the spent shell casings away from the turret ring to prevent jams. The turret can then be added to the hull by a twist-to-lock bayonet system. If that's as far as you want to go, you just add a pair of triangular fillets to the edges of the front fenders, and start with the painting. If you're going to build the mine clearance plough, you have a little more work ahead of you. The mine plough is actually two separate blades, split left and right, and clears a path somewhat wider than the tanks tracks in the real world. Each ram is built up from a number of parts, and the blade attached at the business end, with a mirror image done for the other side. Inboard of the ploughs are a pair of arms that hold the Electronic Countermine system, covered by a cylindrical fairing, which is raised and lowered with the ploughs as required. These are attached under the front glacis plate, with some smaller parts added to the rear, the function of which I've not been able to fathom. If you don't fit the plough, there's a simple cover-panel for the mounting points at the rear, so don't switch off at step 36 if you're not using the plough. Markings This is a fairly new vehicle that will only reach proper series production in 2015, so it hasn't been blessed with many colour schemes thus far in its career, meaning Meng having to depict it as seen at three different arms expos, as follows: Russian Expo Arms 2009 – sand/green/dark green/black hard-edged camo. Russian Expo Arms 2011 – sand/green/brown hard-edged camo. Russian Expo Arms 2013 – sand/brown/dark brown digital splinter camo. There are no decals, as the Terminators wore no insignia at the exhibitions, but you do get the silver mirror stickers to make up for that. Conclusion Another superb edition from Meng, which should be popular with modellers, regardless of whether they "do" Russian hardware. It is unusual looking, and has plenty of menace, resembling a ground-based Hunter Killer "tank" from the film series Terminator, which is likely where its nickname came from. Even if I'm wrong, it's still a good nickname. Although this isn't a model of a prototype, it is possible that the equipment fit may differ between now and entering service with the Russian army (and others), but the kit does a fine job of depicting this urban assault vehicle as it looks now. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Russian BMR-3M Armoured Mine Clearing Vehicle 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The BMR-3M Vepr is the latest Russian mine clearing vehicle. The BMR-2 was based on thr T-54 chassis, and the BMR-3 the T-72. The New BMR-3M which is a private venture from Uralvagonzavod utilises the T-90 chassis. The turret has been replaced by a welded on deck housing which for additional protection is fitted with Explosive Reactive Armour Blocks. The space inside allows for a crew of three and two engineers to assist with mine clearing, all having blast suppression seats. The vehicle is fully NBC protected and the crew can live inside for 2 days. For its mine clearance role a composite construction belly armour plate has been fitted. Actual mine clearance is provided by KTM-7 mine rollers. These will detonate pressure mines, and chains strung between the rollers will detonate rod type fuses. The BMR-3M is also fitted with mine ploughs to removed panted in mines. Depending on conditions a clearing speed of upto 12kmh can be achieved. In addition to the convention mine clearing attachment the vehicle is also fitted with a full electronic counter measures system. For self protection the BMR-3M is fitted with a remotely operated turret with a 12.7mm machine gun. This can also be used to detonate surface mines. For road travel and when not mine clearing the vehicle is fitted with its own crane and racks in order that the mine rollers are lifted onto the back deck of the vehicle. The Kit This is another left field release from Meng, though it is good to see these types of vehicles being kitted. The first thing that strikes you is that it is a big box, it needs to be as its stuffed with plastic. & sprues of tracks, plus 7 lots of end connectors. The there are 25 sprues of plastic, the two main hulls, a length of chain, some PE, a flexible sprues and a set of jigs for the suspension and the tracks. Construction starts with the running gear. Two idler wheels, tweo drive sprockets and 12 road wheels are built up, all have a poly cap centre. Next up the additional belly armour is added to the lower hull. The track return rollers are added along with mounts for the idler wheels. At the front additional armour which also mounts the mine rollers is added. The torsion bar suspension is added next and if glued in correctly will work like the real thing. The rod go through to the other side where only the ends (as shown on the instructions) are added. There is a Jig supplied to ensure everything stays at the right angle while the glue sets. The rear bulkhead is then added along with the drive sprocket fixings. All of the wheels can now be added. The tracks are a work of art, but you have to follow instructions carefully and not be too free with the glue if you want them to remain workable after completion. The hollow guide horns are supplied as pairs, which clip onto the central area of the track pins, which are moulded into the main track parts. You must assemble short lengths before separating the two from their little sprue-runner to ease handling, then insert the runs into the two-piece jig that is supplied on its own sprue. Then you insert the flexible styrene track-ends into yet another part of the jig, cut them from their runners, and apply them to the ends of the track pins in runs of five on each side using no glue! The track pads are added once the tracks are complete if you wish, though this is not shown on the instructions. Two sets of 81 links are needed, so again, you'll be working for some time with the jig, but the results should be well worth the effort. The tracks are then wrapped around the wheels and closed with two of the flexible end parts. Once the tracks are on then its onto the main upper deck housing. This is built up from 4 sides and the top, it is then added to the upper main hull along with the frontal plate to which the ERA blocks are added. The side upper track fenders are added along with the front mud guards and exhaust covers. Some smaller attachments are added along with the rear PE grills and their covers. Next up is to concentrate on the rear deck. Various handles and brackets are added and then the mine roller stowage rack is added along with a beam and the auxiliary fuel tanks (drums). Flexible pipe is supplied for the tank connectors. A stowage box and an additional ammunition box are added to the rear along with an antenna base. Moving onto the main superstructure a whole host of smaller parts are added including antenna bases which have to be made up, the smoke grenade dischargers and additional ERA blocks. The drivers hatch and vision block is also added. The side crane for lifting the mine rollers is made up and added, with one major part stowed on each side of the vehicle. The crew hatches are made up and added. Following this the track sides skirts are then built up, and all of their ERA blocks are fitted. Once complete they are added to the hull. The remote weapons station is also built up and added at this time. Next up is construction of the mine rollers. These are little kits in their own right. They are handed but each builds up in the same way. 6 mine-roller wheels are added together on a main axle, the axle has different diameters for the different wheels so they should all slot easily into place. The axle then attaches to the side parts and additional bars front an rear are added. Short lengths of the chain need to be added to each mine roller. Next each side has an ECM system built up and attached. The roller arm assemblies are next to be built up and added. I would suggest using wire instead of the string supplied by Meng as it will undoubtedly look better. The KMT-8 mine plough arms are then built up added to the roller/arm assembly. Once complete these can be added to the main body of the vehicle. Markings There are no markings supplied with the kit, but there are three different camouflage schemes included from the 2009, 2014 & 2015 Russian Arms Expos. Conclusion Another great release from Meng of a less than traditional subject. The parts count is high but not unnessasarly given the complex nature of the Mine Clearer. Once completed it will look like an impressive model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. USS Missouri Cartoon Model Meng The USS Missouri is an Iowa Class battleship, and the last of her type to be built for the US Navy. She was commissioned just in time to serve in the closing stages of the Second World War, and famously hosted the signing of the Japanese surrendered by Mamoru Shigemitsu. She went on to serve in the Korean War before spending the next three decades as a tourist attraction. She was reactivated in the 1980s under Reagan's programme of naval expansion and was fitted with Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles, as well as Phalanx defensive weapon systems and a multitude of other upgrades. She served in the first Gulf War prior to being retired for a second time in 1992. She is berthed at Pearl Harbour, overlooking the USS Arizona memorial. Cartoon-style kits seem to be in vogue these days, with an increasing number of manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon started by Hasegawa with their egg planes. Meng have quite a few under their belt now, and this is the fourth ship kit to be produced in this style. The kit has been moulded from styrene in three different colours, each appropriate to the parts represented (save for the rather bright blue decks). The lower hull is moulded from dark red plastic, the aforementioned decks and turret roofs are moulded in blue plastic and the rest of the kit is moulded from grey plastic. The kit is well packed into a sturdy box. All of the plastic parts are nicely moulded, and in line with their other similar kits, the parts snap-fit together and stickers are included instead of decals. Construction of the kit is fairly conventional, notwithstanding the fact that the parts snap together rather than requiring glue. Bearing this in mind, I would advise against test fitting the parts prior to final construction, as snap fit parts rarely snap apart again. Construction begins with the lower hull, to which the propellers and shafts click into place. The upper hull is formed from the joining together of the hull and the deck, with a part sitting below the deck that pushes through and includes parts for the turret bases and other details. some small details such as AA guns and deck cranes can be added at this point. Assembly of the superstructure is pretty straightforward, with blue deck parts sandwiched between grey structural parts in a layered fashion. All of the features you would expect to find, such as funnels and fire control systems are present and correct, except in cartoon form. Both the primary and secondary turrets are made up from three parts each (except No.2 turret, which features additional AA armament on top). The guns do not appear to be designed to be moveable once fixed in place. A colour painting guide is included within the instructions. AK paints are recommended by Meng, in what appears to be a commercial arrangement (their logo is emblazoned on the side of the box). The aforementioned stickers are used to add detail. There are no decal alternatives. Conclusion I shan't comment on the cartoon style of the model - not least because this sort of thing will either appeal to you or it won't - but I will state that this appears to be a well-executed kit, with nice moulding and detail. If you like this style of kit then this will be an excellent addition to your collection. Review sample courtesy of
  4. German Battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz HobbyBoss 1:350 SMS Seydlitz was the fourth German battlecruiser, and was essentially an enlarged version of the previous Moltke class ships. She was 46 feet longer but 3 feet narrower, carried the same main armament of ten 11.1in guns, and had a designed speed one knot faster (although her actual top speed of 28.1kts was lower than that achieved by the Moltke). The Seydlitz was Admiral Hipper’s flagship from June 1914 until October 1917. She took part in the Gorleston Raid of 2nd – 4th November 1914, the first attack on the British coast during the First World War, and the attack on Hartlepool on 16 December, where she was hit by three 6in shells from the coastal guns, The Seydlitz was hit three times at the battle of Dogger Bank (24th January 1915). The second of those hits, a 13.5in shell from the Lion, hit the upper deck aft and penetrated the barbette of “D” turret. The flash ignited some of the cordite in the reloading chamber, causing a fire that spread up to the gun house and threatened to detonate the magazine. Only the actions of Pumpenmeister Wilhelm Heidkamp, who flooded “C” and “D” magazines, saving the ship. The damage spread to “C” turret when some of the crew of the “D” turret attempted to escape through a connecting hatch. The same thing would happen on four British battlecruisers at Jutland, destroying three. In the aftermath of the battle of Dogger Bank the Germans modified the way their cordite was handled. Automatic doors were installed in the ammo hoists, much more care was taken to reduce the amount of cordite charges in the turret, and the fore charges were to be kept in their tins until they were about to be used. These changes almost certainly saved several German ships from destruction at Jutland. The Seydlitz was Hipper’s flagship at the start of the Lowestoft raid of 25th March 1916. Early in the sortie she hit a mine, which blew a 90 meter hole in her side and let in 1,400 tons of water. Admiral Hipper had to transfer his flag to the Lützow, significantly delaying the raid. The Seydlitz needed two months of repairs, only coming back into service on 29th May. The High Seas Fleet sortie that led to Jutland was delayed until the Seydlitz was ready to take part. Once again she was very badly damaged in the battle, although not until after she had played a part in the destruction of HMS Queen Mary. The Seydlitz opened fire on the Queen Mary at 15.50. The British had the best of the early duel. A hit at 15.55 knocked out the starboard forward switch room. The significance of the changes made after Dogger Bank was demonstrated at 15.57 when the working chamber of “C” turret was hit. The turret was knocked out, but without the disastrous results that followed at Dogger Bank. At 16.36 the Queen Mary suffered from the lack of anti-flash precautions on the British battlecruisers and exploded under fire from the Seydlitz and Derfflinger. The Seydlitz continued to take damage throughout the battle. In all she was hit by 25 shells and one torpedo. C, B, D and E turrets were all hit, and she began to take on water. At 2.40am on 1st June she scrapped across Horns Reef, taking on more water, and by 2.30 that afternoon only her buoyant broadside torpedo room kept her afloat. She was rescued by two pump ships, and reached the entrance to Jade Bay by 2nd June, where she was briefly beached. She was repaired by 1 October 1916, taking part in most of the remaining High Seas sorties of the war. At the end of the war she was interned at Scapa Flow, and was scuttled on 21 June 1919. The Model Hobbyboss are continuing to release plenty of new and exciting maritime subjects. It’s even better now that they have started to manufacture German ships from WWI with this release of the SMS Seydlitz. Although it has actually been out a little while, it has proved so popular that we have only now been able to acquire a review sample. The kit arrives in a nice attractive box with a dramatic painting of the ship making way at sea. Inside you will find the instructions and hull sprue on the first level, then, once the cardboard shelf has been removed the rest of the kit, on seven sprues, along with three deck pieces and eight separate parts in grey styrene. There are also four sheets of etched brass, a length of chain and a small decal sheet. The moulding of all parts is superb, with no sign of flash or other imperfections other than the necessary moulding pips. The build begins with the joining of the two hull halves. These are strengthened with five internal bulkheads. The aft deck section is then attached, but before the mid section can be added, twelve two piece barbettes must be fitted to the hull and four to the underside of the deck. The foredeck can then be fitted and work begins on the underside of eh hull. There are four plated in propeller shafts, two A frame supports for the middle pair of shafts, four propellers, the main rudder and auxiliary rudder. With the hull turned upright work can then begin on the superstructures. Now, these ships didn’t really have much in the way of superstructures, there being three islands, the bridge, consisting of three decks, the top deck including the bridge wings, an eleven piece mast, plus a lower structure aft of the lower bridge, which contains two more tow piece barbettes. The bridge is then further detailed with PE railings, vertical ladders, halliard tie base and binnacle. Just behind the bridge is the fore-funnel structure. This consists of the three piece funnel split horizontally, three PE foot and hand rails, two piece funnel cap, with another pair of PE handrails. Eight individual auxiliary chimneys, a searchlight platform with two separate supports plus four searchlights, two lookout stations and four goose necked cranes. The whole structure is detailed with PE railings, vertical and inclined ladders. The bridge and fore-funnel assemblies are then glued to the foredeck lower superstructure section and the bridge unit is fitted with the forward mounted armoured control bridge, with separate rangefinder on top. In front of the control bridge, there is a ships wheel and separate binnacle, which are then encased in a deckhouse which is open to the rear. The lower bridge wings are made of PE parts are fitted, as well as some more PE inclined ladders, and railings. The foredeck is the detailed with the addition of the breakwater, capstans, windlasses, bitts, cleats and storage boxes. These are followed by the anchor chain, jack staff, three anchors, boat booms, inclined ladders between the main deck and fo’c’sle, bow torpedo tube cap, and ships crests either side of the bow. The after funnel is assembled with the single piece base attached to the main deck, along with five two piece cable drums. The three piece funnel is then fitted out with five hand/foot rails either side, and eight auxiliary chimneys before being fitted to the base, as are two ships crane king posts. Railings are then attached, as are two vertical ladders, one for each king post. The four piece jibs are then glued to the base of the posts and two top mounted cables are fitted to each crane. The after superstructure si made up from the base, main block, to which five platforms are attached followed by the main mast lower section. Several PE vertical ladders are glued into place, as are four searchlights, rear director tower with separate rangefinder, four lookout posts, and the top of the main mast which consists of eleven parts. The rest of the railings are attached as are two inclined ladders before the assembly is glued into position to the rear of the main deck. The quarterdeck is then fitted out with the paraphernalia that ships are known for, the bitts, cleats, ensign staff, stern anchor, nameplates, storage boxes, a host of skylights and other fittings. On the main deck the ships boats cradles are folded from PE parts and glued into position. The ships boats are assembled next, each of the ten boats multi-parts with separate hulls, decks, and rudders, the steam pinnaces then receiving a roof and smoke stacks. The completed boats are then glued to their respective cradles. The final assemblies are the five twin turrets of the main armament. Each turret is made from the base, two guns, separate trunnions and trunnion mounts. The barrels are well moulded and not too thick, so you could get away with not replacing them with brass parts should you so wish. They also have a nice indented end representing the interior of the barrel. The turret is the slid over the barrels and glued to the base and PE ladder fitted between the barrels. The turret assemblies are then fitted to the barbettes, one forward, two en echelon amidships and two aft. The model is finished off with a complete set of main railings and two three piece PE accommodation ladders The kit does come with a nice nameplate which can be painted as per the modellers wishes.. Decals The small decal sheet provides the ships name plates, ships crests and white identification circles for turret Anton and turret Dora. They are nicely printed with good opacity and in register. The ship is painted in Dark blue Grey hull and superstructure tow the height of the foredeck, then light grey above that, with red antifouling and no boot topping. Depending on the date for which the model is being built, and you will have to check your references, the modeller may choose to paint the aft funnel red. Conclusion This is another very welcome release, finally giving the modeller a German WWI battlecruiser. While this kit is pretty accurate, certainly with the hull form, which to be fair is quite simple, there does appear to be a slight discrepancy in the secondary armament. The kit has the rear mounted barbettes between the main and quarter decks as per her 1913 fit, but not the bow mounted barbettes, which had been removed by 1918, as had the rear barbettes. Easy fix though, just leave the barbettes out as their opening stayed unplated, although you will need to box the area in with plasticard. That said, it’s still a great looking kit. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Shar2

    BM-8-24. 1:35

    BM-8-24 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 Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by the Soviet Union in World War II. Multiple rocket launchers such as these deliver explosives to a target area more quickly than conventional artillery, but with lower accuracy and requiring a longer time to reload. They are fragile compared to artillery guns, but are inexpensive, easy to produce, and usable on any chassis. The Katyusha of World War II, the first self-propelled artillery mass-produced by the Soviet Union, were usually mounted on ordinary trucks. This mobility gave the Katyusha, and other self-propelled artillery, another advantage: being able to deliver a large blow all at once, and then move before being located and attacked with counter-battery fire. With the T-60 being cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, the T-60’s were put to other tasks, one of these being converted to be Katyusha carriers with the launchers fitted in place of the turret. 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 fifty two sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. 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, with the fitting of more PE brackets around the hull and the engine exhaust glued into position. With the tank assembly completed it’s on to the rocket launcher. The base unit is made up from fourteen parts with the option of the launcher to be in assembled in two different elevations with the fitting of option actuators and put to one side. Meanwhile, the tubular framework on which the rocket rails sit is made up from five parts. The rocket rails, all twelve of them are slid onto two rods, which fortunately have well marked placement points, before the framework is attached and the retaining clamps fitted. Each of the 24 rockets are assembled from three parts and there is detailed painting instructions for the different types of rocket used. The completed rockets are then fitted above and below the rails which already have the firing lead moulding onto them. There are an extra eight rockets included in the kit and these are to be able to be displayed in their transport boxes which are made up form eight parts, if you include the lid. The launcher base is fitted onto the tank followed by the launcher and some ancillary pipework and other fittings including a three piece sighting unit, completing the build . Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for four different vehicles, but these decals are the least of the modellers problems as there are three sets of markings for each of the 32 rockets and to say they are small would be an understatement, there are also identifying markings for the transport boxes. The vehicle options include:- BM-8-24, No 13 or No 11 of the Red Army, South-Western Front, May to July 1942 in Russian Green overall. BM-8-24, of the Red Army on the Don Front, December 1942, in overall Russian green with whitewash covering most of the vehicle. BM-8-24, No. 43/2 of the Red Army, Southern Front, during the Summer 1943 painted in a sand colour. BM-8-24, of an unidentified unit of the Red Army 1942 to 1944 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, but 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. The additional rockets will be useful if you wish to add this to a diorama. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  6. T-55A MOD 1981 Soviet Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 Having reviewed the massed ranks of MiniArt’s T-54, we are now still in the T-55 zone. As with the other T-55’s there are many similarities and the MOD1981 adding to the more aggressive look that . As with MiniArt kits with interiors there are a lot of sprues, If counted individually, there are one hundred and thirty two, of grey styrene, plus one of clear, three sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. The very colourful box, quite a bit deeper than a standard tank kit box, has a nice painting of the tank on the front. On opening you are greeted by the mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone familiar with the old Krypton Factor will realise getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges! I failed when I had completed taking the photos. Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, complete with the full engine, which is a lovely model in its own right, and consisting of forty two parts if you include the engine mounting cradle. The lower hull is then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. The interior is then built up from the fighting compartment floor and includes all the pipe work, seats fire bottles, steering mechanism and internal bulkheads. The interior and exterior of the sidewalls are also covered with detail, including the large racks of shells for the main gun, with additional shells stored around the fighting compartment. The detailed sidewalls are then glued into place, as is the engine assembly, engine compartment firewall and other ancillary equipment. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers’ wishes. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. There are sixteen lengths of track links tracks are of the new individual link type, with the separate pins. Now while this step is ratehr fiddly, the tracks do really work and go together without too much fuss. The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes, fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames, as is the unditching beam and the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret is another new moulding, which has even more equipment in it than the earlier versions, due to the improved technology. New parts in this kit include the extra armour fitted to the interior of the turret and turret roof. The rest of the turret interior includes the full main gun breech, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment, but with additional sighting equipment for the main gun, and more spare ammunition boxes for the co-axial machine gun, which is just as detailed as before, consisting of sixteen parts, plus another eight for the new sighting system. Ready use shells are added to the inside of the upper turret along with a multitude of brackets and clamps. The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, a highly detailed KPV 14.5mm heavy machine gun, consisting of twenty nine parts, and the rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers. There are many more grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, not to mention brackets and clamps. Finally the driver's wet weather cover, that fits over his hatch can be posed stowed or in place. If you are stowing it, there are some PE straps to tie things down on the bustle. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller five options, showing the decline in usage of this vehicle in the 1980’s. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- T-55A – Of a limited contingent of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan (OKSVA), the 40trh Army of the Turkestan Military District, during the 1980’s. T-55A – Unidentified Marine Corps Unit of the USSR during the 1980’s. T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for desert backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for plant backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for snowy backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 Conclusion These beasts of tanks, and models are really coming thick and fast from the moulding machines of MiniArt and you really just can’t fault them. There is so much detail that it could overwhelm a modeller unless their mojo was really cranked up. But if you break the build into bite sized pieces as sub-assemblies, painting as you go, there shouldn’t be a problem. Not one for beginners or maybe even intermediate modellers, but there are versions being released, without interior, that would perhaps be more suited to their level to gain experience before tackling a full interior build. As bang for your buck goes, these have to be some of the best value kits around these days. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  7. P-61A Black Widow 1:48 Hobby Boss The Northrop P-61 or Black Widow was the first operational American aircraft designed from the outset to be a Night Fighter using Radar as the primary means of interception. The aircraft would feature a crew of three; Pilot, gunner and Radar Operator. Early on in WWII the US in the person of their Air Officer in London Lt General Emmons were briefed on Radar by the British. At the same time the British were evaluating US Aircraft in their need for a high altitude, long loiter, and ability to carry a radar unit. At the time radar units were bulky and heavy. Jack Northrop realised that to fulfil these requirements he would need a large multi-engine aircraft. The Northrop proposal was to feature an aircraft with a long fuselage gondola between two engines and tailbooms. The size and weight (45' long with a wingspan of 66', and 22000Lb) were bigger than any fighter to date, and made t hard for some to accept the aircraft. The P-61 as it became was to feature 4 x 20mm cannons under the fuselage with a remote control turret on top carrying 4 x 0.5 cal heavy machine guns. A model SCR-720A radar was fitted in the nose which had a range of 5 miles. The remote turret could rotate 360 degrees and fired by any of the crew members. The turret suffered from buffet problems but the main cause of its non fitment to many aircraft was short supply. The same mechanism being given priority in B-29 production. The P-61 would see use in all theatres of WWII. American night fighter crew traded in there Mosquitos, Beaufighters, and P-70s to move to the new fighter. In addition to its night fighter duties P-61s were employed against V-1s in Southern England, and during the battle of the bulge certain units switched to ground attack where the four 20mm cannon proved their worth against ground targets. Despite it clearly being outclassed by the best aircraft coming online at the end of WWII the P-61 stayed in the US Inventory as the USAF experienced problems in developing a jet powered night fighter. Post war the P-61 would see use in developing ejection seats, and collecting radar data on thunderstorms. The aircraft we retired in 1947 as they were reaching the end of their operation lives, with no jet replacement in sight the USAF were forced to use surplus P-51s and make F-82s. The USAF would not get its first Jet Night Fighter the F-89 until 1951. The Kit The kit arrives in a fairly large box, there are nine sprues of grey plastic, a main clear sprue, a clear radar nose, two separate engine cowlings and a bag of metal parts (these are weights to stop a tail sitter!). The parts are very well moulded with fine engraved details and small sprue gates. Construction starts shockingly enough with the cockpit! in this case the front cockpit. Seats, consoles, and controls are installed for both the Pilot and Gunner, along with a bulkhead to the rear of the gunners position. The next area to be constructed is the front wheel bay which features as par of the cockpit floor. The front gear leg is positioned in along with the retraction strut and the two part front wheel, also the gear door retraction mechanism is installed. The first of two metal weights are installed now on the top of this part. The front cockpit is then installed on top of this weight. The second weight is then added in front of the pilots instrument panel. Construction then moves inside the main fuselage pod. This is of convention left/right construction. Side panels are installed in each side, along with two 20mm cannon barrels. The rear radar operators compartment is then made up. Following this the front and rear cockpits are placed inside the main fuselage and it can be closed up. Once closed up the radar unit is added to the nose. Another two metal parts are provided for this area, so even if the modeller is not going to use the translucent nose part they will need to be installed. The main canopies are added along with front gear doors at this point (though I suspect they will be left until later). Construction then moves to the main booms. Before building up the booms the main wheel wells must be added. A bulkhead is placed in each and then the main landing gear is attached (thought I suspect this will be left until later). Each boom consists of a left and right part. These are sandwiched around the main wheel wells. Once the booms are done the main wigs are the next item to be assembled. The wings are a one part upper each side with two parts to the underside to go either side of the booms. Inlets are positioned either side of the engine area when the uppers and lowers are joined. Once the wings are assembled they can be joined to their respective booms. Outer wing spoilers are then added to the wings. The next stage is to add the engine nacelles to the wings. Metal rears for then engines are included to get that all important weight forward of the main landing gear. To these the engine faces are added. A one part engine cowling is then fitted so no seam to remove here! following this the propeller can be added, though I suspect again these will be left until the end, as will be the main gear doors which the instructions would have you add next. Once both wing/boom combinations are assembled they can be added to the main fuselage, not forgetting the tail plane at the same time which goes between both booms. To finish of your model underwing bombs/drop tanks/rockets can be added as needed. Clear Parts There is a lot of glazing on the P-61 and Hobby Boss do not let us down here. A main sprue contains all the glazing apart from the front radome, which is contained on its own sprue. The parts are some of the best clear parts I have seen for a while. They are very clear and free from distortion while the frame lines are well defined which should make masking easier. The parts are very well protected in the box, given their own section and a foam sheet covering inside their individual bags. Decals The decals are glossy, in register and appear colour dense. I have used HobbyBoss decals in the past with no problems at all. The red walkway line will need care to apply as there is no excess carrier film The plus us there is not chance of any silvering! The blue in the national insignia looks a bit to light for me. Decals are provided for two aircraft; P-61A-1-NO 421st Night Fighter Sqn "Skippy/Nocturnal Nemesis" 25502. P-61A-5-NO 422nd Night Fighter Sqn "Jukin Judy" . Internet pictures show that Skippy/Nocturnal Nemesis was fitted with the top turret. The turret is supplied on the sprues but this is not shown on the instructions anywhere! Conclusion A thoroughly modern tooling of the P-61. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Type VII U-Boat Meng Model Warship Builder Cartoon Ship Normally we review highly detailed models of famous ships and submarines but in this instance, give your pedantry about colours and accuracy a rest and feast your eyes on this cartoon Type VII U-Boat. The Model The model comes in a small but quite deep box with an artists impression of the submarine cruising underwater scaring the local fish. Inside there are four sprues of dark and light grey styrene, a black styrene stand and a small decal sheet. Whilst it is a cartoon model the parts are nicely moulded with no sign of flash, which is a good thing as it appears to be more of a snap together kit rather than a glue it together one, although you might want to glue it together just in case it decides to fall apart. Construction, as you’d be right to guess, is very simple, the two inner hull parts are joined together followed by the two upper hull sections. One of the lower hull sections is then fitted with two pegs, the two sections are then fitted to the previous assembly with the separate keel sandwiched between them. The anchor, forward dive planes, propeller shafts and propellers are next to be attached. Strangely, even though it’s a cartoon, no aft diveplanes are included. The three deck sections are then fitted into position along with the wire cutter at the bow and the two railings, one on either side of the tower, which is the next part to be attached. The two, two piece periscopes are fitted, as are the tower mounted 20mm cannon and the two piece deck gun. The completed model can then be displayed ont eh provided stand. Decals The single sheet of decals provides items for four different emblems. The decals are nicely produced with good register and slightly matt. The nameplate that goes on the stand is of the self adhesive type sticker. Conclusion Well, what can I say about this kit? It will certainly be something different in your display cabinet and will be quite a fun build that should take all of 10 minutes to build and a bit longer to paint. It will be good for a bit of fun after a day on a bigger build and would be great for a child to start modelling with. I think it’s a little pricey, but you should be able to get it cheaper if you look around. Review sample courtesy of
  9. USS Astoria Kagero Top Drawings The USS Astoria (CL/CA-34) was the lead ship of the Astoria-class of heavy cruisers (later renamed the New Orleans-class) of the United States Navy that participated in both the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, but was then sunk in August 1942, at the Battle of Savo Island. Kagero have just released this book in their Top Drawing series. The softback book has just two pages containing the history and specifications of the Astoria, with a further fifteen pages of line drawings covering the whole ship from stem to stern. Each sheet contains detailed drawings of various parts of the ships structure, weapons systems, radars, aircraft and other, smaller parts. Each drawing is beautifully done with some fine detail that would normally have been missed in other titles. The drawings have obviously been done from some excellent references which have resulted in a very useful book for the detail addict. Most the drawings are in 1:200 scale with a few in 1:50 for larger detail information, making it perfect for those contemplating a scratchbuild, or super detailing the Trumpeter 1:700 kit. Also included with the book are two A2 sheets of plans. The first sheet has on one side a three view of the ships as she was in 1934, while on the other side is another three view, but as she was in 1942. The second sheet contains views of the hull, main and upper decks and a side view with annotations on where the armament was located, on the reverse side is yet another three view of the ship as she was in 1942, but in full colour. Conclusion While this is a rather slim tome, it is still a useful reference book to have in the library. It is certainly an interesting subject to choose, especially as most of the class were either sunk or damaged during the battle of Savo Island. While there isn’t currently a kit available in my favoured scale, I’m sure it will be useful for those with the Trumpeter kit. Review sample courtesy of
  10. German KFZ-70 truck with 7.62cm F.K 39 gun MiniArt 1:35 The Mercedes-Benz L1500 was actually a redesigned version of the pre-war 1500 commercial vehicle. While the 1500 model had a cabin which provided seating for, the A model received a body to allow transport for up to seven and for carrying shovels, ammo and other equipment. A few chassis were completed as lorries. However, most of these chassis were used to make personnel carriers. These vehicles were extremely durable. The Mercedes-Benz types L1500A and L1500 can easily be differentiated from the predecessors by the design of the front section. The chassis frame was visible below the radiator mask on the predecessor model L1500 but the radiator cowl of the L1500S/A reached over the bumper and covered the chassis. L1500A 4x4 and L1500S 4x2 trucks were developed by Mercedes-Benz Company in 1941. The basic type of body was designated Kfz.70 and vehicles were also built by Steyr and Horch with this designation on their own chassis. The vehicle was widely used, frequently as heavy staff cars. Also, different bodies were built on L1500A and L1500S chassis, particularly fire trucks, radio cars and ambulances. The radio cars and ambulances mostly used the 4x2 L1500S chassis. The L1500A was produced from June of 1941 until July 1943, with 4900 being made. It became the vehicle of choice for the German infantry. In bad weather conditions, the body was equipped with foldable top and canvas panels, which could be attached to the doors and sides. They were powered by a 6-cylinder, 3-litre petrol engine giving a top speed of 52 mph. The type contained in the kit is that of the 4-wheel drive version which had an unladen weight of 5269 lbs and a gross weight limit of 8995 lbs. The model is contained within a very attractive, bright and colourful box that MiniArt have made their standard. Inside, there are twenty three sprues in grey styrene, two of clear, three sheets of etch brass and a smallish decal sheet. Once again, MiniArt have included, another kit, in the form of a 76.2mm F.K. 39 gun. The truck itself was actually first released in 2012, but it’s still a great kit even though it is quite complex, especially with the running gear. All the parts are beautifully moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but quite a few moulding pips that will ensure extra clean-up time will be required. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe. The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two chassis rails are fitted with four cross-members, silencer, rear mounted tow hook, and a four piece engine mounting frame. The four leaf springs are then attached via their support hangers. The transfer box is assembled from ten parts and put to one side. The front differentials/axle is made up from twenty one parts, whilst the rear consists of only thirteen. The four piece front bumper and six piece radiator grille are also assembled at this point. The engine, front bumper, radiator grille, axles and transfer box assemblies are then fitted to the chassis, along with the drive shafts and exhaust tubing. The four wheels are each made up from inner and outer hubs, the outers having the tyres moulded on, and an inner ring. Once assembled the wheels are glued onto their respective axles. The engine bay bulkhead is very well detailed with a large number of fixtures and fittings, such as oil can, air filters etc. This goes for the cabin side of the bulkhead too, with steering column, pedals, stowage box. The cabin floor is fitted with a box girder frame on the underside. The two steps are also assembled at this point and fitted with a storage box one side and a fourteen piece jack. The interior is then fitted to the floor, this includes the rear bulkhead and parcel shelf, five piece fuel tank, driver and passenger seats for the front and two bench seats for the rear. More details are added in the form of the gear stick, hand brake, a nie piece heater, four rifles, each of four parts, and the spare wheel. The cabin sides are then attached and four more rifles added. On the underside of the cabin, two large stowage racks are fitted along with two steps. The front mudguards are fitted with lights, reflectors and corner marking poles while the windscreen is also assembled from ten parts. The engine bulkhead is then fitted, as is the two piece dashboard, followed by the windscreen assembly and steering wheel. The doors are all multipart, with separate windows, handles and hinges. The rear window, frame and side panels are then attached to the body, followed by the door assemblies and roof with a rather fragile looking three piece frame. Alternatively, you can build the vehicle with the roof folded down in a single piece attached to the rear of the parcel shelf. The body assembly is then glued to the chassis, along with the radiate grille assembly, pioneer tools, step assemblies, front mudguard assemblies, and additional lights. The bonnet panels are then fitted, and these can be posed open or closed, as can the door assemblies which are also fitted at this point. This completes the build of the truck. The gun is built up next, with the assembly of the two trail arms. Each is made up from two pieces, which are then fitted out with numerous detail parts, such as the trail blades, which consist of eight parts each, gun cleaning rods, grab handles and PE brackets. The trails can be posed in either firing position or towing position. The gun mounting, which includes the axles for the wheels, is made up from thirty parts alone. The trails are then glued to their hinge points on the mounting. Each wheel is made up from four parts, which when assembled are glued to the axles. The gun itself is assembled from nine parts, whilst the slide is made up from fourteen parts. The right and left trunnion mounts are built up from six and thirteen parts respectively, these are fitted to the mounting, with seven further parts that represent the elevation tubes and hand wheel. The gun assembly is fitted between the trunnion mounts and in turn is fitted with a four piece middle splinter shield. The main shield is fitted with a multitude of parts, both inside and out before being fitted to the the gun mounting via two support arms. If the gun is to be posed int eh towing position, then the gun locking arm needs to be fitted across both trails and the towing eye positioned onto the truck hook, with a locking pin that is attached to the truck with a PE chain, which may be best replaced with real chain. In addition, MiniArt have included two ammunition boxes, complete with two types of shell and some empty cases, for use in a diorama with the gun in the firing position. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller just two options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The names of the different companies are included, as well as their respective registration plates and insignia. The options:- KFZ-70 of the Wehrmacht from 1943 to 1945 in an overall dunklegelb with a dark khaki roof and window frames. KFZ-70 of the Wehrmacht, based in Ukraine during the winter of 1943 – 1944, in overall German Grey whitewashed with the gun in dunklegelb, which has also been whitewashed. Conclusion I just love these trucks from MiniArt, they are so well produced and can be used in so many situations. This set will look good on its own or as part of a diorama with the inclusion of some of MiniArt’s fine troop sets, either in the transport of firing poses. It is not a kit though for the beginner, or even an intermediate modeller as it is quite complex as mentioned above including plenty of small PE and plastic parts. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  11. Soviet AA Type 1.5 ton Railroad Truck MiniArt 1:35 The GAZ AA 1.5 ton truck was a licenced manufactured version of the Ford AA truck for the Soviet Union, where more than 950,000 were built. There were many body styles, but the most recognisable version was the flat bed truck as depicted in this kit, although being slightly different, in that instead of standard wheels with rubber tyres, this on is fitted with rail wagon style wheels. The model is contained within a very attractive, bright and colourful box that MiniArt have started using recently. Inside, there are nineteen sprues in grey styrene, one of clear, and a single sheet of etch brass plus a full decal sheet. Unlike the original kit of this truck, you don’t get any cargo provided, but you do get a nice set of rails for the truck to be displayed on. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe. The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two, chassis rails are fitted with an extra beam where the truck bed will sit. These are held on the rails by three “U” bolts and their associated clamps. The rear leaf springs are then attached via their support links. Four cross members are then used to join the rails together, as well as the rear chassis end piece, to which the towing eye spring is attached. There is a three piece box attached to the left hand rail, near the front. The rear axle and differential is made up from six parts, if you include the drive shaft. This assembly is then fitted to the rear leaf springs, while the front suspension is made up on a single leaf spring assembly mounted laterally and fitted with the front axle, steering rack and support arms. The rear differential is then fitted with a triangular support structure which also supports the brake rods. The front and rear brake drums are then attached to the axles, followed by two wheels per side on the rear axle and one per side on the front axle. The wheels are then assembled from the outer hub, to which the inner, flanged ring is attached and the central boss detail. The front wheels are then glued to direct to the brake drums, while the rears are fitted with a small spacer between the drum and the wheel. The front chassis end cap is attached as are the two bumper side arms, while to the rear there is a choice of towing hook styles, one, just a single piece unit, the other is made up from five parts. The engine assembly is then glued into position, followed by the two piece radiator, two piece front bumper and two support brackets on chassis rails. The five piece exhaust is the attached to the right hand side. The two front fenders are each single piece units to which a small hook is attached before being fitted to the chassis, as are two of the lateral truck bed beams. The cab floor is also attached and fitted with the bench seat, gear stick and panel support. The three piece wiper/wiper motor is fitted to the front screen surround, once the clear screen has been fitted. The screen is then fitted with two small arms, these can be glued in either the stowed position for a closed screen, or down, so that the screen can be posed open. The rear of the bonnet section is then glued to the front of the screen support, along with eh two side sections and engine bulkhead which has been detailed with several small parts. Inside the foot pedals are attached lower bulkhead, part of the floor panel fitted earlier, before the front cab assembly is glued into place, along with the steering column and wheel. The three piece rear panel and roof of the cab are then glued into place, as are the two bonnet supports, between the bulkhead and the radiator. Each door is made up from five parts, including clear section, door handles, latches and window winders. The doors are then put to one side. The bonnet halves, split longitudinally are each made from two sections, which can be posed in either the open or closed positions, allowing the modeller to show of the engine should they so choose. The doors are then attached; again, they can be posed open or closed as the modeller wishes. The three piece horn is attached to a rail, which in turn is attached to the front of the vehicle between the fenders. The two, three piece headlights are then fitted, as is the single, two piece wing mirror, on the drivers side. The truck bed is then assembled from five parts, depending on the colour scheme being built you can have either four plank sides, front and rear sections you can use six plank sections. The bed, sides, front and rear sections are glued into place, completing the truck section of the build. The rest of the build concentrates on the tracks. These consists of sleepers, two lengths of rail per side being joined by fishplates, and the individual rail ties. When assembled and painted there will look very realistic, when compared with the Trumpeter style of rail track. Since they are of Russian gauge, you won’t be able to use them with Axis vehicles, but MiniArt do additional sets of track if you wish to build a rail diorama with the Soviet armoured railcars that are on the market. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller six options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The different companies Initials are included for two of the options, as well as the other vehicles respective registration plates and insignia. The options are:- An Unidentified Waffen SS unit, presumably the Reichskommissariat, Ostland 1943 – 1944, four plank bed. An Unidentified Soviet unit used between 1941 and 1945, with four plank bed. An Unidentified of the Wehrmacht, on the Eastern Front 1941 – 1943, with a four plank bed. Deutsche Reichsbahn, (Imperial Railway Administration), on the Eastern Front between 1942 and 1943 with a four plank bed. An Unidentified Soviet unit used between 1941 and 1945 with a six plank bed. Deutsche Reichsbahn, (Imperial Railway Administration), Ostland, used between 1943 and 1944 with a six plank bed. Conclusion I just love these trucks from MiniArt, they are so evocative of the period and can be used in so many situations, whether on their own, or an evocative diorama. The oddity that is having a truck on rails will make it stand out in your collection and certainly be a conversation piece. The staff at MiniArt should be commended for giving us modellers such great kits with pretty much everything you need, just let your imagination run wild. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  12. BAZ-64022 Tractor with 5P85TE2 TEL S-400 Hobbyboss 1:35 (HB85517) The BAZ-64022 is a high mobility tractor truck. It is a member of BAZ Voschina family of heavy military vehicles. The BAZ-6909 is a baseline model of this family. There is a high degree of commonality between various trucks of this family. Development of this family was funded by the Russian MoD. The BAZ-64022 was designed to tow semi-trailers on all kinds of roads. Also it can operate over rough terrain and in remote areas. It is a purpose-designed military vehicle and has been bought by the Russian armed forces, being introduced around 2004. This tractor truck can tow semi-trailers with loads with fuel tanks, air defence radars, air defence missiles and other special equipment with a maximum weight of 15 000 kg. The BAZ-64022 is used as a prime mover to tow special semi trailers with Russian S-400 air defence missiles. The Kit The kit arrives in a fairly substantial box. There are 23 sprues and 4 separate parts in a sand coloured plastic, 2 sets of missile tubes, three sheets of PE, one sprue of clear plastic, and an acetate sheet of windows, some flexible hose, a set of window masks and 11 rubber tyres. The missile tubes are one part hollow mouldings. All the parts are well moulded with no sign of flash or other imperfections, just the normal moulding pips on some of the smaller parts. The build begins with the assembly of the engine, which is provided in two halves for the block to which the gearbox is attached. Since the truck is powered by a V8 diesel there are two cylinder heads to fit, to which the injector rails and coils are attached. These are then fitted to the engine block, followed by the alternator, water pump pulley and fuel filter. The exhaust manifolds are next, followed by the CDR valve and oil filter. The turbocharger is assembled from three parts, the turbine housing, compressor housing and attachment plate; the assembly is then fitted with the outlet pipes. The completed sub-assembly is then fitted to the engine with each outlet pipe being attached to the intake manifolds and the turbo intake to the exhaust manifold. The oil cooler is then fitted to the engine block, along with the fan, accessory belt pulley and the exhaust pipe, to which a two part silencer section is fitted to the end, is attached to the turbo. To enhance the engine further the modeller could/should add the ignition/electrical harness. The next part of the build is the assembly of the chassis. This consists of the two long chassis rails, to which the engine assembly is fitted at the front, between the rails there are numerous cross-members, motor mountings, gearboxes, driveshafts, and the chassis endplates fitted to one rail before the other rail can be attached. The engine assembly is then glued into position along with yet another driveshaft, some support flanges and suspension parts. Each of the six separate suspension units are then assembled from nine parts, keep each assembly marked as they only fit into one position, and it’s easy to get them muddled up. Once attached they have further parts added, and in the case of the rear suspension a set of carriage springs too. The parts that make up the steering rack are meant to be fitted without gluing, so be careful when you clip the parts into place as they look quite fragile. With all the chassis and suspension assembled, the large three piece mudguards are fitted over the rear wheels. The rear light clusters are attached, while the large fuel tank is assembled and glued into place on the right hand side. Several plates are then fitted to the top of the chassis rails, while a large step and additional checker plates are glued into place, followed by the fifth wheel, which itself is made from ten parts, and a host of additional detail pieces including towing cable, radiator and housing. Finally it’s on to the six huge wheels the tractor is bestowed with. Each wheel consists of six plastic parts and the large rubber tyre. Once assembled, they are glued to their respective axles. The next step is to build the cab. The floor is fitted with the front bulkhead lower console and instrument binnacle, with decal instruments, as well as two foot pedals. There is a small box where the central console would normally be and this is fitted with three levers, next to it are the two piece steering wheel and the gear stick. The drivers seats is made up from five parts and the two passenger seats are made from three parts before being glued to the box like base. The seats are then fitted to the cabin floor. The the large slide moulded cab is fitted with the two windscreens, valance and a small rear window before being glued to the cab floor. The three large bottles for the braking system each come as two parts before being glued to the underside of the cab floor. While on each side the large five piece steps are attached, followed by two fire extinguishers and two part aerial to the rear of the cab. The two five piece doors are then attached, as are the myriad of detail parts, such as windscreen wipers, roof hatch, lifting eyes, wing mirrors, beacons, searchlight and guard, before the cab is fitted to the chassis. The tractor is then fitted with an eleven parts left hand front mudguard, which includes the exhaust silencer and a six piece right hand mudguard. The engine cover is then added, made up from eight parts and the stowage boxes and large fuel cells fitted to both sides of the engine deck. To fionsih the tractor off, there are numerous small parts to be added, such as tools boxes, stowage bins, generators and the spare wheel in it’s frame. The main bed of the trailer is then assembled from large single piece upper and lower parts. The erector/launcher is made up very similar to the chassis of the tractor. Two large rails are fitted with cross members before being fitted with a pair of side panels. To this, the forty three piece front end and twenty two piece rear end tube holders are attached. The erecting gear consists of twelve parts and is fitted to the underside of the rear tube holder. More detail parts are added, another forty five parts in total. The main bed of the trailer is then assembled from large single piece upper and six piece lower parts. To the underside of the upper section a stowage box and launcher hydraulic ram are attached. The lower section is then glued to the upper section, before work begins on the trailer wheels, from four parts and a rubber tyre and central steadying pad, made from eleven parts. The rear suspension is assembled from eight parts and once the wheels have been attached it can be glued into position. The front mounted side steadying pads are each made from seven parts, whilst the rear mounted pads are made from thirteen parts. Each of the pads can be optionally posed in the travelling or deployed positions. The trailer is then detailed with front and rear mud flaps, and stowage latch wing nuts. The large control console fitted to the front of the trailer is made from forty eight parts which include two airline reels. With the control console in place the other details added include access ladders in either stowed or lowered positions, the lower launcher stop, and finally the launcher itself. This can be made to elevate and lower assembled carefully. The launcher tubes are each assembled from the single piece tube, rear cover, frangible front cover and optional protective cover, which can be fitted to the tube for travel or, the hubs of the rear wheels for firing. The kit is completed by fitting the trailer to the tractor. Decals Markings are provided for two machines, one in overall green camouflage with large stares and banners for the Moscow Mayday parade and an operational machine in three colour camouflage. No information is provided as to which units these belong to. The decals are of the usual standard, being well printed, in register and nicely opaque.  Conclusion I really love big Russian military equipment and this is a great example, although the tractor unit doesn’t have the quirkiness of the MAZ-543 used in many other applications, including, the S-300 TEL tractor and its associated Big Bird Radar system. It’s still an imposing unit though and when the trailer is attached will be quite a long model. Whether you build it in transport of firing mode it will be quite imposing in your collection. Review sample courtesy of
  13. KrAZ-260B Tractor with 5P85TE TEL S-300PMU Hobbyboss 1:35 (HB85511) The KrAZ-260 was designed in the 1980s but not publicly unveiled until the 1985 Moscow parade where it was towing 152mm Nuclear capable artillery guns. The 260B is similar to the 255B it replaced but with a more angular bonnet to accommodate a turbo charged diesel engine. The 260B has only been produced for the military and not offered for civilian sale. The unit used for towing S-300 missiles is a 6x4 drive with a slightly longer chassis of 1.88m. The S-300PMU is a modernisation of the S-300P with the NATO reporting name of SA-20 Gargoyle. This has a detection range of upto 120KM with the 30N6 radar unit. Using a 5N64S radar range can be extended to 300km. The missile itself has a range of 150km with a height envelope of 10m to 27km. 4 missiles are carried on the TEL. The Kit The kit arrives in a fairly substantial box. There are 24 sprues of plastic, 2 sets of missile tubes, two sheets of PE, some flexible hose and a set of window masks. The missile tubes are one part hollow mouldings. Construction starts with a very detailed engine unit for the KrAZ. This unit has so many parts that the first 3 pages of the instructions deal only with its construction. Once the engine is done the gear box/transmission is made up the two can then be fitted into the chassis as it is made up. Again there are plenty of part for the chassis, the front bumper is also added along with the 5th wheel plate. The exhaust system is added along with the axles and transmission shafts. Suspension units and springs are also added. Air tanks and the battery box are also added. Last up for the chassis the mud guards are added and the wheels. Next up the cab is built up, follwed by the front wings/mud guards and finally the bonnet. This can then be attached to the chass. Last up for the chassis is attaching the spare wheel carrier which sits behind the cab. now its time to assemble the TEL. The base unit is first made up along with the unit used to raise it into the launch position. The top support unit is also made up. These can then be attached to the main beam box section which is also assembled at this time. Once this sub assembly is completed it can be put to one side. The main bed of the trailer is then assembled, onto this fit the suspension units, axles and wheels. Stabiliser plates are also fitted for use when the launcher is erected. The modeller can either have these extended or stowed. Once the main bed of the trailer is finished the reels for the control cables can be added to the front along with control boxes. The TEL parts can then be attached. Lastley the missile tubes are assembled and added to the final trailer. The tubes being one part moulding just need their end caps fitting. The trailer can then be attached to the cab. Decals Markings are provided for two camoflaged examples, and three in iverall green with different coloured missile canisters. No information is provided as to units etc. The Conclusion This is an will build up into an impressive looking kit. Hightly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. German Molch Midget Submarine Hobbyboss 1:35 (HB85508) The Molch or Newt/salamander in German were designed as one man submarines or mini submarines. This was the first designed for the German Navy, however it was to prove unsuccessful in combat and suffer heavy losses. The submarine was ultimately based on torpedo technology given its size. Designed for coastal operations it was totally electric in nature with a large battery providing a range of approx 60kms at 5 knots speed. A complicated system of trimming tanks made the boat hard to control which did not help operations. Armament was two G7 Torpedos. The combat record of the 393 boats built was less than spectacular. In their first outing in the Med in 1944 a flotilla set out to attack allied battleships taking part in the invasion of Southern France. Initially 10 of the 12 boats were lots, quickly followed by the last two being sunk by allied warships. Other operations would also result in little or no victories. Out of 102 sorties in early 1945 70 boats were lost for only 7 small ships being sunk. The Molch was quickly relegated to a training role for other small submarines. The Kit The kit is a fairly basic one and arrives on three main sprues, a clear sprue, a small sheet of PE and a small decal sheet. Construction starts with the cockpit, not really in the aeroplane style but the small compartment which contained the operator. A seat and full controls are provided for the compartment which fits into the main hull. How much will be seen especially if you fit the main hatch will be debatable? The entry hatch and periscope are also fitted into the main hull along with a stern part. once these are in the main hull can be closed up. The rear drive is then added along with the main hatch and the stern control surfaces. Next the two side torpedos are made up. These are each in two halves with the drive propellers to be added. Once complete they are added to the hull. Decals There is one small sheet which proves a shark mouth for one of the painting options. There are four options with two solid grey ones, and two with multi grey camo. No information is provided about the options. Conclusion It is good to see these smaller eccentric submersibles being provided in a scale large enough to make them look good. The only omission I can see is some kind of stand to display the finished model. Overall recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. 44M TAS Rohamloveg Hobbyboss 1:35 (HB83898) The 44M TAS Assault Gun was a design of assult gun based on the German STUG III by Manfred Weiss Steel and Metal Works in Hungary. The gun had advantages over a tank of a lower profile, it was cheaper; and more open to the defensive war the Axis was fighting in 1944. The chassis was from the 44M TAS Tank with the body replaced by a fixed hull with sloping sides. The frontal armour was 120mm as opposed to the STUG's 80mm. Planned armament was the German 88mm. Only one prototype was ever built as the allies heavily bombed the factory. Additionally shortage of materials and the Russian invasion of Hungary put paid to any production hopes. The Kit The kit arrives on 8 spures of plastic as well as the upper and lower hull. An additional 3 sprues of tracklinks are provided. A small PE fret and a length of brass wire round out the contents. With a fixed hull there is not a great deal of construction needed past the running gear and tracks. First up 6 suspension units are made up, three for each side. Each unit will end up carrying a double set of road wheels. These are then attached to the lower hull along with the mounting plates for the drive and idler wheels. Plates for mounting the return rollers are also added at this time. The Wheels are now made up and added. All road wheels are a double set. The tracks are made up from 86 links per side, clean up is easy with the sprue gates on the edge and no other marks to remove. Once the tracks are on then construction moves to the upper hull. The mantle for the gun is added along with hatches, pioneer tools and a few other hull fittings. Inside the hull the gun mounts which can move up and down, but not traverse. The rear bulkhead is then added along with the side skirts. Exhaust fittings and brackets for the tow cable are added, and the cable; followed by the blisters for the two frontal machine guns. Lastly the main gun is made up and added. Once this is done the top hull is complete and can be added to the lower one. Decals The sheet for this is very small and contains national makings and code numbers only. Conclusion This is an interesting gun platform that never made it past the prototype stage and its good to see it in model form, whether you want to do the prototype or a whif, it's to be recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. MAN LKW 5t MIL GLW Truck Hobbyboss 1:35 (HBB85508) In the 1960s the Bundeswher was looking to replace its fleet of vehicles which stemmed from the birth of the modern German Army. They wanted a fleet of 2, 3 & 4 axle vehicles in the 4 to 10 tonne payload range which had to be amphibious. As it was a large task it was suggested that bidding companies form a common development company for a unified project. This was set up under the leadership of MAN and included Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz, Bussins, Krup, and Henschel. The specification agreed was for a cross country capable, amphibious, all wheel drive, run flat tyres, steel cab, NBC protection, and a multifuel engine. In 1975 the German Army & MAN signed the contract to produce 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 vehicles. The 4x4 or KAT I & KAT I A1 vehicle is the type 452 (and 462 with fitted winch). They are powered by a V8 Deutz diesel engine and are mainly flatbed or covered type trucks. The distinctive cab with the cut away corners stems from the need for the vehicles to be rail transported on standard flat cars. Earlier trucks had fixed cabs but later ones tilting ones which made engine maintenance much easier. All vehicles feature a mount for a MG3 machine gun (basically an MG42!). The tank trucks with either a single 4600L tanks, or twin 2300L tanks are also fitted with a pump. These vehicles actually exceed the max gross weight by one fulle tonne. After testing with the manufacture approval was given for these vehicles with the only compensation being higher tyre pressures. The Kit This new kit from Hobby Boss is a reboxing of the standard flat bed truck which we reviewed here. New parts are provided for the tanks. The kit arrives on 12 sprues plus the drivers cab and the tyres, a nice inclusion is masks for the windows. For a standard 4x4 truck the box is packed with parts. Construction starts with the gear box and differentials for the transmission. These are made up and the suspension components (air bags & springs) are added. The tuck chassis is then made up from a surprising number of components and the gear box, differentials and drive shafts are then added. These are highly detailed and made up from a number of components. Once the chassis is finished the wheels can be built up, the tyres added and then they are attached to the chassis. Work then moves to the cab. The dash board is built up with some of the drivers foot controls added underneath it. The base plate of the cab has the gear controls and a few other parts added then the dash is fitted. Once this is in the drivers seat and steering wheel are added along with the bench seat for the passengers. This is then the lower part of the cab complete. Moving onto the upper part the windows added along with a couple of internal parts and the main rear bulkhead. The upper cab can then be attached to the floor. The spare wheel and carrier are completed and attached to the cab, followed by the main doors being completed and added. The rightside equipment locker is also built up and added. On the outside of the cab the front bumper is added along with the roof hatch, mirrors, wipers and parts for the engine hatch. The completed cab can then be added ot the chassis. After this is done the exhaust system is built up and added. Along with some additional parts under the cab. After this the fuel pumps and associated parts are built up for the back of the truck. Plastic hose is supplied for the fuel delivery system. This part is quite complex and builds up from a number of parts and should look good when finished. After this the two fuel tanks and their mounts are built up. The interlink piping is installed onto the flat bed and then the tanks are added. The drop sides for the truck are then added to the bed along with the headboard and tailgate. On the underside of the bed the stiffeners are added along with the mudguards. Underside lockers, wheel chocks and jerrycans are added. Finally the bed is mounted to the truck. Decals Theses are minimal as the vehicles did not carry many markings. Decals are supplied for three temperate camo vehicles. Decals include the Hazardous placards (mising the Class numbers) and Kemler Code panel (which should be orange, not yellow!) for the front. Conclusion It is great to see a modern support vehicle being made available, this gives many diorama possibilities as well as a great stand alone model. The kit is nicely complex and should build up to be a great looking kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. HMS Lord Nelson 1:350 Hobbyboss History HMS Lord Nelson was a Lord Nelson-class pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1906 and completed in 1908. She was the Royal Navy's last pre-dreadnought. The ship was flagship of the Channel Fleet when World War I began in 1914. Lord Nelson was transferred to the Mediterranean Sea in early 1915 to participate in the Dardanelles Campaign. She remained there, becoming flagship of the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron, which was later redesignated the Aegean Squadron. After the Ottoman surrender in 1918 the ship moved to the Black Sea where she remained as flagship before returning to the United Kingdom in May 1919. Lord Nelson was placed into reserve upon her arrival and sold for scrap in June 1920. HMS Lord Nelson was laid down by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company at Jarrow on 18 May 1905 and launched on 4 September 1906. Her completion was greatly delayed by the diversion of her 12-inch (305 mm) guns and turrets to expedite completion of Dreadnought, and she was not fully completed until October 1908. Although she was not the last pre-dreadnought laid down for the Royal Navy, she was the last one commissioned. Lord Nelson displaced 17,820 long tons (18,106 t) at deep load as built, with a length of 443 feet 6 inches (135.2 m), a beam of 79 feet 6 inches (24.2 m), and a draft of 26 feet (7.9 m). She was powered by two four-cylinder inverted vertical triple-expansion steam engines, which developed a total of 16,750 indicated horsepower (12,490 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). She was armed with four 12-inch guns arranged in two twin gun turrets, one turret each fore and aft. Her secondary armament consisted of ten 9.2-inch (234 mm) guns, eight in twin gun turrets on each corner of the superstructure, and a single gun turret between them. For defence against torpedo boats, Lord Nelson carried twenty-four QF 12-pounder 18 cwt guns and two 3-pounder guns. She also mounted five submerged 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes for which 23 torpedoes were stowed aboard The Model We’ve yet to see many British ships in this scale from WWI, but it’s great that we are at last seeing some pre-dreadnoughts being released, and long my it continue as there are some great subjects that I’m sure we’d all like to see on our work benches at some point in the future. This kit of HMS Lord Nelson comes in a relatively small box, as these weren’t the largest of ships compared with later battleships. Inside there are nine sprues, one separate part and the deck all produced in light grey styrene, four sheets of etched brass, a length of chain and a medium sized decal sheet. Now I hope you’re all sitting down when you read this, as it appears that Hobbyboss have got the hull pretty much spot on with this kit, well, certainly according to R A Burt and his excellent books on British battleships and also the constructors model which used to be on display at the Science museum. The rest of the parts are very nicely moulded with plenty of detail, although there will be some who will want to add even more. There are no signs of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips, which means a little extra cleaning up of parts. Construction begins with the two piece hull being joined together and strengthened with the three bulkheads and two end beams. The single piece deck is then attached, making a pretty solid and strong hull. On the underside, the tow propeller shafts, A frames and propellers are fitted, as is the single rudder. With the hull upright, the three piece, fully PE, Admirals walkway is fitted to the stern, followed by the PE rails fore of A turret barbette and aft of X turret barbette. The myriad of windlasses, cleats, bollard and ventilators are then glued into their respective positions, as are the Jack and Ensign staffs and their supports. Amidships there are seven deck houses to be fitted along with four cable reels and three winches. The superstructure is made up from a single piece item to which twelve supports are glued to the underside before being glued into position over the previously fitted deck houses. Remember to add the pair of foreward mounted 12 pounders that fire from ports at the forward end of this “flying” flying, as you won’t get them in once the deck is glued down. The superstructure longitudinal bulkheads are then attached, as are PE four inclined ladders, four side mounted windlasses, two boat booms and the anchor chains. To the upper deck, four, three piece winches, sixteen 12 pounder guns and five deck houses are fitted. This deck is then covered by a two piece 03 deck, with the aft section supported by six vertical columns. The main bridge deck is then attached foreward and small mezzanine decks aft with two inclined ladders leading to the 12 pounder deck. Each of the two funnels are made up from two halves, a base and funnel cap. To these, PE funnel cap grilles are added, along with PE hand and foot rails, and two auxiliary vents. The three piece armoured bridge, two deck houses and the two piece ships wheel are attached to the bridge deck. The two funnel assemblies are then glued into place along with two vertical columns aft. The boat deck is fitted out with eighteen PE boat cradles and a rescue float. There are fifteen boats in total, most of which come with separate hulls and decks, and some also have separate rudders. The three steam pinnaces and eight rowing boats are glued to their respective cradles, and then two other rowing boats are crutched within a larger boat. The main mast is made up from lower mast section, a two tier observation top with PE support brackets, upper mast section and yardarm. The lower section is then fitted with three PE blocks, and the three piece goose neck for the boat crane boom, which is also fitted with PR blocks and a PE hook. This is then fitted aft of the boat deck and supported by two angled support arms, finished off with two PE vertical ladders. The foremast is of similar construction, just with a slightly small boat handling boom, three yardarms and a searchlight in the lower of the two tier observation top, it is then glued just aft of the armoured bridge deck house. The PE bridge house surrounding the ships wheel is then folded to shape and glued into place, with another deck above it supported by two PE braces. Two binnacles are attached to this deck and inclined ladder. Six 12 pounder guns and eight searchlights are fitted around the boat deck and the PE bridge wings attached wither side of the bridge deck. The bridge deck and aft boat deck railings are then attached, as are the two long ladders to the foremast observation platforms, and two pairs of davits to the aft end of the superstructure. Four more two part ships boats are assembled and fitted to the two pairs for davits either side of the quarterdeck. The anchors, fourteen anti-torpedo net booms are then attached to the hull, along with the two PE rear mounted accommodation ladders and the PE folded netting that is fitted to each side to the ship. Each of the two main gun turrets and six secondary turrets are made in the same way with the barrels fitted with separate trunnions and trunnion mounts glued to the base with the turret slid over the barrels and glued into positions. Some of the turrets are fitted with 12 pounders and some with 3” gun on their roofs and all have PE vertical access ladders attached. Once assembled, they are fitted into their respective barbettes. Finally the main PE railing is attached to the main deck, completing the build. Well, I say completed, but if you want to do a proper job you will probably spend more time with the complex rigging than you had done for the whole build. Good luck with that. Decals The single decal sheet contains a selection of White Ensigns and Admirals flags as well as a pair of funnel bands. They seem pretty well printed, with good opacity and in register. Conclusion At last, a British pre-Dreadnought in injection moulded plastic, and another on its way, with hopefully more to come, a golden age of modelling, or what? This does look an excellent kit and is not too large so can be displayed in a relatively small space. The rigging will, however, be taxing, to say the least if you want to go the whole hog, but will look good with a representative amount should you blanche at the idea. Review sample courtesy of
  18. MiG-31M Foxhound 1:48 HobbyBoss The MiG-31 is an incredible machine even today, but was innovative and even more impressive when it was first brought into service, delivering on the failed promises of the Mig-25 Foxbat, and adding more capabilities. The Zaslon-M aircraft was to be a further development of the aircraft. The new aircraft was to be fitted with a more powerful radar able to track further and more targets. As such the long range Air to Air Missile compliment was raised to 6. Three abreast at the front and back. Four medium range missiles were to be carried under the wings. The M model would have the cannon deleted and an in-flight refuelling system moved to the starboard side of the aircraft, additional fuel tanks added, and more powerful engines fitted. For the airframe to accommodate all of the the mid fuselage cross section was increased. Noticeable differences were a rounded windscreen, small side windows for the rear cockpit, wing leading edge extensions, and wing tip mounted ECM pods. 1 Prototype and 6 flyable pre-production units were created before the break up of the USSR ended the project. Some of the improvements for the M would later make their way into the current upgrading of the existing MiG-31, which makes you wonder how formidable the M would have been had it reached production. The Kit Until recently modellers in 1:48 scale had little choice when it came to the Foxhound, but now they have two modern new toolings of the in service aircraft. This kit does differ somewhat from the In service one we reviewed here. The kit arrives as one large lower fuselage moulding, 9 major sprues, 16 weapons sprues, a clear spure, rubber tyres, a small photo etched sheet and a set of metal landing gear. Construction starts in the cockpit. The 7 part ejections seats are made up and added to the tub along with the rear and mid bulkheads and pilots control column, and back seaters radar controller. The instrument panel are added with the instruments being in decal form. The side walls are then added. Once the cockpit is complete it can be added into the nose section and the coamings added. The intakes are the next parts to be built up. These are fairly large boxes. The intake ramps are added and then the side go around this. Large intake ducts are then built up and added to the back of the intakes. What look to be additional suck in doors are added to the top, though these are only moulded in the closed position. The nose wheel bay is then built up. This is complex multi-part affair with the metal leg being fixed in at this point. This is then followed by the main wheel bays. All the gear bays can then be fitted into the lower fuselage moulding, and when done the nose section added. The engine fronts can then be added to the rear of the intake trunking, and these can then be fitted into the lower fuselage moulding. Next up the lower wings are added to the large upper wings/fuselage moulding. Separate flaps and ailerons are provided for the main wing. Once the main upper structure is finished this can be added to the complete lower structure, not forgetting a single part at the very rear of the airframe separating the engines. The engines themselves are then made up. There are 5 fairly large parts to each engine which will give a fair representation of the huge engines fitted to the aircraft. Once the engines are in the tail planes can also be added. The twin tails have their separate rudders added, then they go onto the airframe. A large fence is then added to each wing. Moving back to the front of the airframe an injected frame is added to each main canopy along with PE mirrors for the pilots canopy. Once made up these can be installed along with the front one part windscreen. The main gear units are then built up and their tyres added. I am not sure how well the rubber tyres will stand up to the weight of the completed model. To finish of the airframe bottom variable ramps for the intakes are fitted, all the gear doors are added, and a variety of aerials and pitot probes. Now for the fun parts – the weapons. This starts with the wing pylons, which are built up from two halves each, and fit into pre-drilled holes in the underside of the wing panels. The wingtip ECM pods are alos built up and added. 6 of the large long range AA missiles are built up for the under fuselage stations. For the wing pylons a combination of medium range AAMs and Short range AAMs, along with fuel tanks can be selected. Markings Markings are supplied for blue 057 prototype, other letters are there and can be arranged for other machines. A full set of stencils are included. All aircraft are medium grey (see AKAN for the perfect colours), and have the obligatory National markings of red stars on the wings and tail surfaces. Conclusion While the kit does share some of the flaws of the other one however if you want to model the M version of this impressive aircraft this kit is currently the only one out there. Recommended. Our sincere thanks to our friends at Creative for letting us have this review sample. Review sample courtesy of
  19. USS Guam CB-2 HobbyBoss 1:350 USS Guam was the second and last member of the Alaska class of heavy cruisers to be completed, although two more had been laid down, and supported the Fast Carrier Strike Force during the battle of Okinawa and raids on the Japanese Home Islands, before ending the war with raids into the East China Sea. She was awarded two battle stars for World War II service. The Guam was laid down on 2 February 1942, launched on 12 November 1943 and commissioned on 17 September 1944. Her shakedown cruise took her to Trinidad, and she left Philadelphia for the Pacific on 17 January 1945. She reached Pearl Harbor on 8 February, and joined the fleet at Ulithi at 3 March. She joined TF58, the fast carrier task force, with the role of providing anti-aircraft cover for the carriers. The fleet sortied on 4 March for an attack on the Japanese Home Islands. The fleet attacked targets on Kyushu on 18 March, and came under kamikaze attack. The Guam was unable to prevent the Japanese from hitting the carriers Enterprise and Intrepid from her task group. The carrier Franklin was more badly damaged, and the Guam formed part of a special task unit that was formed to escort her away from the danger zone and towards safety at Guam (operating alongside her sister ship Alaska). This duty lasted until 22 March and she then rejoined Task Group 58.4. The ship took part in a shore bombardment of Minami Daito on 27-28 March 1945, and then supported their carriers during operations off Okinawa until mid-May. In June she returned to Okinawa as part of TG 38.4 (command of the fleet having passed to Admiral Halsey, it had switched from being the Fifth Fleet to being the Third Fleet). Once again she supported the carriers during operations over Okinawa and the Jome Islands. She also carried out a second shore bombardment, this time hitting Okino Daito. She was then made flagship of Task Force 95 (Guam, Alaska, four light cruisers and nine destroyers). This fleet carried out a series of raids into the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea between 16 July and 7 August. The decline in Japanese power was demonstrated by almost total lack of resistance to these raids. With the end of the fighting the Guam joined her sister ship Alaska in a show of strength in the Yellow Sea, and the liberation of South Korea in September. In mid-November she left the Far East at the start of a 'Magic Carpet' mission, shipping US army troops back home. She reached Bayonne, New Jersey, on 17 December 1945, where she remained for the rest of her navy career. She was decommissioned on 17 February 1947, struck off in 1960 and sold for scrap in 1961. The Model Yet another maritime subject I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, although with the release of the Alaska last year it was only a matter of time for Trumpeter to release the Guam. But we are living in a golden age of modelling, and no subject can be written off. The ship is more of a battle cruiser with her 12” guns surpassing those of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau which were designated battle cruisers. The kit comes in quite a large box, appropriate, since the hull is just over 700mm long. The artwork depicts the ship moored peacefully in a bay, possibly near one of the Japanese islands. Inside the box there are fourteen sprues, the single piece hull, two deck sections and four separate parts all in grey styrene, two small sprues of clear styrene, four quite large sheets of etched brass and a small decal sheet. The moulding is superb, particularly the hull, (I’d love to see the moulds this parts come out of), which has the smallest of detail on the lower bow, A number of sprues have been given extra protection with foam wrapping, as well as the standard poly bags in which the sprues are contained. There is no sign of flash, warping or other imperfections, with perhaps the exception of one bilge keel which looks slightly strained on its sprue gates. There are quite a few moulding pips though which will increase the time to clean up the parts. Despite its size, it doesn’t look a particularly difficult build, but you will need some experience with using PE as there are some parts that are made entirely of brass. Construction begins with drilling out of certain holes in the two deck sections, before attaching them to the hull. Turning the hull upside down the two bilge keels are attached, followed by the four propeller shafts, A frames, propellers and three piece rudder. With the hull right side up the decks are fitted out with the numerous bitts and cleats, ventilators, windlasses, four piece cable reels and three piece winches. The pair of three piece intake towers are then fitted amidships, whilst a three piece deckhouse is fitted aft, just forward of the stern 40mm gun tubs. There is a similar deck house fitted just aft of the anchor cables, for which there is a length of chain provided, followed by the two, three piece bow anchors, the main breakwater and a pair of 20mm gun tubs abaft the bridge. There are two, two piece catapult towers fitted amidships, while further aft there are more 20mm and 40mm gun tubs attached. Eight carley floats, stacked three high are then glued into position, followed by four AA director towers and their respective directors, while on the fo’c’sle another AA director tub is attached to a small deckhouse, which, in turn is glued between the hawse pipes, and the Jack staff glued in place. Eight sub-assemblies are then built up using a combination of plastic and PE, with the exception of the bow mounted 40mm tub, the rest are ventilators. There are twelve two piece 20mm Oerlikons fitted from bow to abaft the bridge, and there are three float baskets fitted just forward of the breakwater. Aft of the catapult towers, twenty more 20mm Oerlikons and twelve more float baskets are fitted. The bridge structure, which includes B barbette on the lowest level, which is fitted with two more decks and the base of the foremast, with separate ships bell, as well as four triple stacks of carley floats, and two PE boxes fitted one per side of deck 02. Deck 02 is also fitted with a pair of 40mm gun tubs and for ventilators, while deck 03 is fitted with deck 04, which in turn is fitted with the armoured bridge and a deckhouse, followed by deck 05. Two searchlight platforms, with searchlights are fitted, one per side of the lower foremast, while the myriad of observation and director sights are fitted around the decks and in additional cylindrical towers. All around the superstructure there are PE vertical ladders and some of the smaller railings to be added. On 02 deck the railing include the netting that goes around the two 400 mm tubs on that deck. More sub-assemblies are made up, again using PE and plastic, these being the main radar array, main battery controllers and secondary battery controller stations. The foremast is then assembled with several platforms separated by additional blocks and topped off with a large yardarm, more observation equipment, forward main battery rangefinder and radar array and the main radar platform main search radar array. This section of the tower is then fitted to the base fitted to the bridge earlier, along with a secondary battery controller. The funnel is made up from two halves, with additional parts fitted internally, (pipework and angled smoke plates), as well as externally, including searchlight platforms, klaxon horns, walkway, and railings for the different platforms. It is finished off with the attachment of a large PE mast fore and aft, the foreward one with a navigation radar array, and the aft with a large yardarm. The aft superstructure is made up of two decks and fitted out with more ventilator intakes, PE gas bottles, vertical ladders, deckhouses and two tall controller towers. It is also fitted with the small AA directors, and four 20mm Oerlikons. The funnel assembly is the glued to the foreward end of the superstructure, while a main battery rangefinder and radar assembly is fitted to the taller of the two towers, while the shorter one mounts a secondary battery director. The bridge assembly and aft superstructure assembly are then glued to their respective positions on the deck and the four PE inclined ladders are folded and glued into place. Near the aft end of the aft superstructure there are two deckhouses, each fitted with two 40mm gun tubs, each fitted with more PE gas bottles, vent intakes and support columns. Just forward of these is a separate deckhouse which will mount the ships cranes. Each quad 40mm Bofors mount is made from five parts, and there are fourteen of them to be assembled. Each one is then glued into one their gun tub. The two catapults the ship carried are made almost entirely of PE. Each catapult consists of eleven parts. When assembled they are fitted to their towers amidships. The two cranes are also mostly PE and consist of fourteen parts. These are fitted to their respective positions just aft of the catapults. The crane mounts and separate 40mm gun tubs are fitted with netting, rather than railings. The secondary armament consists of six twin 5” turrets. Each turret is made from ten parts, and once assembled fitted into their positions. The main turrets of three 12” guns are each made from eighteen plastic and twe3lve PE parts. Again, once assembled they are fitted into their respective mounts. Lastly the two Seahawk aircraft are assembled from seven clear parts and, once painted, glued to the catapults. The finishing touch is to add the ships main deck railings, and the build is complete. Just mount the model on the stand and add the name plate, which is also provided. Decals The small decal sheet provides the ships number for the bow, national markings for the aircraft and a pair of Jacks and Ensigns, in two different styles. They are well printed and look to have pretty good opacity. Conclusion I’ve always liked this class of ship and never thought I would see one released in my favourite scale, let alone both of them, with another, (although not actually built), on its way. But Hobbyboss have done it again and released something we never thought we’d see. From the limited resources I actually have, or more to the point, could find in my library, the kit looks to be pretty accurate, as with the Alaska though, I’m not sure about the bow, which does have a very odd step in the stem that I can’t see in any diagrams or pictures. If it is wrong then it is easily rectified with some filler. Other than that it really does look like another great kit. Review sample courtesy of
  20. V-54 Engine MiniArt 1:35 The V-54 is a massive 12 cylinder 39litre water cooled diesel engine used in all T-54 variants. This kit is taken from the superb interior kits of the T-54. As I said in my reviews of the full kits this is a beautiful model in its own right. Well, looks like MiniArt heard me and have released a separate kit of it. The small, yet attractive box with artwork showing the engine in both early and late guise contains four sprues of grey styrene and a length of copper wire. Construction is as in the full kits, starting with the two piece sump, onto which the starter motor and alternator are attached, as is the electrical tube that sits between the cylinder heads. Each of the cylinder blocks are made up from six parts, each completed assembly is then glued to the sump assembly. The exhaust manifolds are then attached, along with the three lengths of pipe at the rear of the engine, and two lengths at the front, which in turn are attached to the separate water pump. The engine fitted with a four piece cradle, followed by the exhaust silencers and their attachment blocks. The modeller then has a choice of air filter to fit depending on whether they are making an engine pre 1957 or post 1957. The filters are very different in style, the pre ’57 being made from twenty three parts and the post ’57 from eleven. Once assembled the chosen option is glued to the front of the engine and two recirculation pipes fitted between them and the exhaust silencers. The copper wire is then cut to length and used as glow plug leads Conclusion This is a very nice and useful little kit. You can use it in the MiniArt kits that don’t come with engines, or use it on its own as part of a workshop scene in a diorama or whatever your imagination can come up with. Review sample courtesy of
  21. USS Pegasus PHM-1 HobbyBoss 1:200 The Pegasus-class hydrofoils were a series of fast attack patrol boats employed by the U.S. Navy. They were in service from 1977 through 1993. These hydrofoils carried the designation "PHM" for "Patrol, Hydrofoil, Missile." The Pegasus class vessels were originally intended for NATO operations in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Subsequently, participation by other NATO navies, including Germany and Italy, ceased and the U.S. Navy proceeded to procure six PHMs, which were highly successful in conducting coastal operations, such as anti-drug patrols and coastal patrol, in the Caribbean basin. The boats were armed with up to eight harpoon missiles, and an Oto Melara 76mm gun Whilst all the class were very similar, the Pegasus was actually built several years before the rest had was completed with a different fire control system, along with several other minor differences. All six vessels were constructed by Boeing, in Seattle at the Renton plant and were stationed at NAS Key West. The ships were retired because they were not judged cost effective for their mission in a Navy with primarily offensive missions rather than coastal patrol. USS Aries PHM-5 Hydrofoil Memorial, Inc. obtained Aries for rehabilitation as a memorial located on the Grand River in Brunswick, Missouri. All other PHMs in the class have been scrapped, except for Gemini, which was converted into a yacht and later scrapped. The Model Another kit that wasn’t expected, and certainly not in 1:200 scale. Having built the White Ensign Models 1:350 kit I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to be a large model, even in this scale, and I was right, with the overall length of just over 203mm and a width of just over 71mm. The dramatic boxart shows the boat at sea firing off a Harpoon missile. Inside there are six sprues, a single piece hull, single piece deck and two separate superstructure parts in grey styrene a sheet of etched brass and a small decal sheet. Despite its size, the mouldings are all really well produced. There is no sign of flash or other imperfections, although there are quite a few moulding pips, particularly on the small parts. As such, some care will need to be taken when parting from the runners and parts. Many of the structural parts for the Harpoon launchers and radar dome support are made entirely of PE, so you will need to be conversant with working with this medium and have a folding tool to hand. Construction begins with the assembly of the front foil, with the upright being glued to the foil itself. The assembly is then slipped into the slot in the bow, a shaft is then slid through the hull in the upright section and locked in place in the trunnions moulded within the hull. The single piece deck is then glued into place. Rear foils are made up from a single piece foil, and two, two piece uprights. The assembly is then clicked into place to the rear of the hull and you have the option of having them in the lowered or raised position by fitting the extended or retracted actuators. The bow foil doors are then glued into place with the foil either retracted or lowered. The two rudders are then attached, along with the two, two piece water jets. The bridge is then glued to the front of the superstructure, and is fitted with a set of seven wiper motors as well as PE wipers for each of the bridge screens. The superstructure is then fitted with PE intake screens, handrails, along with plastic parts such as life rings, life belts, bullhorn, and several other items that I cannot identify. On the top deck of the superstructure there are several stowage boxes, electrical boxes, and ventilators attached. There is also a liferaft, bridge access door and on the rear bulkhead a vertical ladder, access door and exhaust tube. Back to the top deck, five mushroom vents, a short whip aerial, another bullhorn, more storage boxes and two four piece, six barrelled decoy launchers are glued into their respective positions. The superstructure assembly is the glued to the main deck, and the eleven piece mainmast is assembled and glued into position. The four piece radar dome is attached to a three legged PE support structure, which will need some careful bending, before also being glued into position on the superstructure, along with a tall whip aerial, inclined ladder and klaxon. The foredeck is then fitted out with hatches, jackstaff, bitts, cleats, anchor and storage boxes. The turret mounting the 76mm gun is made up from six parts before being attached to the foredeck mounting plate. Two, three piece cable reels are then assembled and glued into position just in front of the bridge, one per side of the deck. The quarterdeck is similarly fitted out, with bitts, cleats, hatches, a cable reel, mushroom vents and ensign staff. The two PE Harpoon launcher frames are folded to shape and glued into position. The modeller has the choice of fitting any number of launch tubes to the frames, from one to four. On the port side of the quarterdeck there is a nine piece unit, which looks like a smoke generator of some sort. The last part fitted to the quarterdeck is the three piece funnel. Adding the PE ships railings all around the main deck and upper deck completes the build. Decals The small decal sheet provides the ships number for the bow, national markings for the aircraft and a pair of Jacks and Ensigns, in two different styles, and several small markings for the deck. They are well printed, in register and look to have pretty good opacity. Conclusion It’s great to this kit being released, as it’s quite a fun thing to have in the collection. Ok, it was one of those cul-de-sac designs, and not as important as some recent releases, but it is still interesting, nonetheless. It would have been nice to have alternative parts and decals for the rest of the class, but I guess we can’t have everything. From what I’ve been able to check in the relevant books the kits does appear to be pretty accurate too. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Bantam 40 BRC (35212) 1:35 MiniArt The Bantam BRC 40 was the production version of a 4 wheel drive "Jeep" designed by the American Bantam Car Company. Even though Willys name is more associated with the Jeep it is Bantam produced the first vehicles. Bantam did not have a large manufacturing base so this was contracted to Willy and later Ford as the Army contracts required 75 Jeeps a day to be produced. The eventual Willy product was an amalgamation of their own, Bantam's, and Ford's designs. Bantam produced more than 2700 vehicles with over half their production going to the British and Soviet Armies. In the end though the US Army awarded all contracts to Willys and Ford with Bantam only producing trailers. The Kit This is a reboxing of the original "Command Car" from 2008. There are two sprues or normal plastic, a small clear sprue, and a photo-etch sheet for the Jeep, a sprue for the figures, a sprue for equipment; and a sprue for the machine gun seen carries in the back. Construction starts with the engine. The block is made up with the fan belts and fan being attached to the front. The radiator housing is made up, then both this and the engine are dropped into the front of the chassis. The lower engine block being moulded into the chassis. The front and rear bumpers can then be added to the chassis. Flipping the chassis over then allows the suspension, axles and driver shafts to be added. The exhaust can then be added and an under chassis protection plate added. Moving onto the body the front grill and engine firewall are added along with various handles and fittings. Inside the cab the dash, gear selectors, pedals and seats are added in. The body can then be attached to the chassis. The PE windcreeen can then be added either in the up or down position. The rear top rails can be added along with wheels bonnet. Front lights can be added along with some PE handles and fittings. If using the machine gun then this can now be made up and added to the rear of the jeep. This is a nice little model in its own right. The wheeled trolley is first made up, then machine gun. These are placed together with a PE screen for the gun. An ammunition belt, and additional ammo cans are provided. 5 full figures are included with the kit. A driver, two seated officer type figures, a seated soldier with a sub-machine gun; and a standing female soldier who looks to be directing traffic. The figures are well moulded and come with a variety of equipment including helmets, sub-machine guns, belt kit, entrenching tools, ammo pouches, and grenades. This set is actually Miniart 35049 Soviet Jeep Crew. It is strange the it is not mentioned on the box anywhere that this set of figures is included. Moulding is excellent as you'd expect from MiniArt. This will make a great model in its own right, or as part of a larger diorama. In the box you are essentially getting a Jeep Kit, machine gun kit and a set of figures. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Bundeswehr German Military Present Day 1:35 Master Box Ltd Master Box have seen a market for some well-sculpted, modern mouldings of soldiers for a while now. While WWI and WWII have seen a lot of figure sets recently it seems companies are now catching on with the meed for modern day figures. Master Box have now brought this set out for modern day German Army figures. This set arrives in the de facto standard figure shaped box with a painting of the included figures on the front, and parts breakdown with pictorial instructions on the rear. On opening the end of the box, you're greeted by a re-sealable bag containing one large sprue and one smaller one containing all the parts you'll need to build five figures in fairly relaxed non-combat stances. Contrary to the sprue photos on the back of the box, the styrene is grey, which shows off the contours and captures all the detail that has been included in the kit. Torsos, legs, arms and heads are all separate parts, with webbing also separate for a more realistic in-scale feel, with helmets, weapons and load-out also separate, which gives the modeller some scope for individualising each figure without too much work. The sculpting is first rate, and the sheer detail of each part is stunning, from the smallest pucker in the corner of a bag to belts that cut into the shoulder, plus realistic clothing. Painting shows modern temperate camo, and the dessert camo as worn in the controversial deployment of German troops to Afgahnistan. Conclusion Master Box have a superb range of figures, and this set is both timely and very well done. If you want to add a sense of scale to your modern armour, this set will do just that. A much needed boost for fans of modern German armour. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. T-54, T-55(Early) Wheels Set (37056) 1:35 MiniArt The Kit Arriving in usual Miniart style on multiple small sprues you get a complete set of replacement road wheels, drive sprockets and ideler wheels for your T-54 or Early T-55. These are taken from a tank kit so there are a few suspension parts also on the sprues which are not used. Moulding is excellent as you'd expect from MiniArt. This set is recomended if you need a new set of wheels for your T-54 or early 55. Review sample courtesy of
  25. T-54A Soviet Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 By 1953, the OKB-520 design bureau saw the rise of a new team, under the direction of Leonid N. Kartsev. Their T-54A came equipped with the new STP-1 “Gorizont” gun stabilizer in a vertical plane with better guidance, an automated electric ejection device to purge the barrel, and the initial small muzzle counter-weight was replaced with a massive fume extractor. This new gun was called D-10TG. Now it was possible to conduct true aimed fire on the move. The engine received an air cleaner with controlled blinds, multi-stage air filter and radiator control to maintain optimum performance and a new OPVT wading snorkel. The driver received a night vision periscope, as the TVN-1 and related IR driving searchlight. A new R-113 radio was also made available. The gunner received an upgraded TSh-2A-22 telescopic sight. Other modifications included an electrical oil pump, bilge pump and automatic fire extinguisher. The most distinctive change in appearance, outside the gun’s fume extractor, were the massive rear mounted extra fuel tanks. T-54A production was scheduled for mid-1954 but not produced until the end of 1955 as an upgrade, which lasted until 1957. Some 2102 T-10TG guns were completed by the Sverdlovsk and Perm arsenals for 1955 alone, 1854 in 1956 and 840 in 1957. (Taken from Tanks-Enclyclopedia.com) The Model Having reviewed the T-54-1 here, T-54-2 here and T-54-3 here recently, we are now onto the main production machines proper. As with earlier kits there are a lot of similarities but quite a few new parts as well. As with MiniArt kits with interiors there are a lot of sprues, seventy seven in this case, of grey styrene, plus two of clear, two sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. The box, deeper than a standard tank kit box has a nice painting of the tank on the front. On opening you are greeted by a mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The mass of sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone familiar with the old Krypton Factor will realise getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges! Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, complete with the full engine, which is a beautiful model in its own right, and consisting of forty two parts if you include the engine mounting cradle. The lower hull is then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. The interior is then built up from the fighting compartment floor and includes all the pipe work, seats fire bottles, steering mechanism and internal bulkheads. The interior and exterior of the sidewalls are also covered with detail, including the large racks of shells for the main gun, with additional shells stored around the fighting compartment. The detailed sidewalls are then glued into place, as is the engine assembly, engine compartment firewall and other ancillary equipment. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers’ wishes. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. The tracks are of individual link type, with ninety links per side, and it will be a case of assembling it like a link and length style, gluing each link together before draping them over the road wheels. The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes, fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames, as is the unditching beam and the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret is another new moulding, which has even more equipment in it than the earlier versions, due to the improved technology. As with the other kits the turret interior includes the full main gun breech, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment, but with additional sighting equipment for the main gun, and more spare ammunition boxes for the co-axial machine gun, which is just as detailed as before, consisting of sixteen parts, plus another eight for the new sighting system. Ready use shells are added to the inside of the upper turret along with a multitude of brackets and clamps. The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, a highly detailed Dushka (DsHK) 14.5mm heavy machine gun, consisting of twenty nine parts, and rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers. There a many more grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, not to mention brackets and clamps. Finally the driver's wet weather cover, that fits over his hatch can be posed stowed or in place. If you are stowing it, there are some PE straps to tie things down on the bustle. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller seven options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- T-54A, No.221 of the 2nd Guards Mechanised Division of the Soviet Army, Budapest, Hungary, 24th - 30th October 1956 T-54A, No.411 of the 2nd Guards Mechanised Division of the Soviet Army, Budapest, Hungary, 24th - 30th October 1956 T-54A, No.312 of the 202th tank regiment of the Vietnam People’s Army during the initial phase of operation “Nguyen Hue”, April 1972 T-54A, No.212 of an Unidentified Guards unit of the Soviet Army in winter camouflage, 1950’s and 60’s T-54A of the 3rd Tank Battalion, 68th Guards Tank Regiment of the 6th Guards Motor Rifle Division of the Soviet Army, Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, October 1961 T-54A, No.823 of the 2nd Guards Mechanised Division of the Soviet Army, Budapest, Hungary, 24th – 30th October 1956 T-54A, No. 166, Celebration for the parade, an unidentified unit of the Soviet Army 1950’s and 60’s. Conclusion These beasts of tanks, and models are really coming thick and fast for the moulding machines of MiniArt and you really just can’t fault them. There is so much detail that it could overwhelm a modeller unless their mojo was really cranked up. But if you break the build into bite sized pieces as sub-assemblies, painting as you go, there shouldn’t be a problem. Not one for beginners or maybe even intermediate modellers, but there are versions being released, without interior,that would perhaps be more suited to their level to gain experience before tackling a full interior build. As bang for your buck goes, these have to be some of the best value kits around these days. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
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