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Found 48 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Shar2

    USS Guam CB-2. 1:350

    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
  8. Shar2

    V-54 Engine. 1:35

    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
  9. Shar2

    USS Pegasus PHM-1. 1:200

    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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. T-54B Medium Tank (Early Production) 1:35 MiniArt - Full Interior The WWII T-34 was an excellent all-round tank, combining armour, speed, hitting power and manoeuvrability into a war-winning package that served the Soviet Union well until the end of the war. After the war a new design was needed, and this was based upon the T-44 that had been in development during the final years of the conflict. It was decided that a larger 100mm gun was needed to counter the new tanks that were being developed in the West, but the T-44 chassis couldn't handle the turret that would be required. A new enlarged chassis was designed and was named the T-54, which went through such rapid development and many changes that it soon became a new prototype, the T-54-1. That too suffered teething troubles and after fewer than 1,500 units, production transferred quickly to the T-54-2, and then the T-55, which we've all probably heard of. The T-54A arrived in the early 1950s with a new 100mm gunand night vision equipment. The T-54B came out in 1955 with an improved 100mm gun and were equiped with an infra red searchlight, a new gunners sight and a commander search light. The gun was able to use modern APFSDS ammunition dramatically improving its performance. Although outdated, the T-54 stuck around in smallish numbers for quite some period in a number of guises, although by the time the last operational vehicles were drawn down, it was seriously outclassed in every way. The Kit This is a complete new tooling from the good folks at MiniArt in the Ukraine, and it is a major new tooling as it contains a complete interior within the box, which is a lot heavier than your average model box. On lifting the lid you are greeted by a mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with only a few parts going unused for this boxing. There are seventy sprues in grey styrene plus another ten for the tracks (in the same colour), two sprues in clear, plus two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, the decal sheet and finally a rather thick and glossy colour instruction booklet with painting guide included to the rear. That little lot fills 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 worthy of one of their challenges! When MiniArt say "interior" they're not just referring to a couple of seats for the crew and a few black boxes. They really do mean full interior. This starts with the V-54 engine that is built up from crank-case through rocker-covers and is sat upon a trestle engine mount, with a high overall part count. The lower hull is then constructed so that it can take all the interior parts, with the torsion bars and suspension arms slid in and located at the opposite ends in pairs, after which the floor under the turret is slipped over the top of the centre bars, and ancillary equipment is piled in along with more suspension details. The driver's control levers are built up and added to the left front of the hull floor, with a surprisingly comfortable-looking seat added next to the bulkhead that forms a wall of the shell magazine later on. The hull sidewalls are added with interior skins providing the detail and thickness, with yet more equipment studded along their lengths, and some holes need opening up for the shell racks, as shown in a scrap diagram. The two perforated frames attach at the front of the starboard sidewall, and individual shells slot inside the holes, with drop-down gates holding them in place during transport. You could probably get away with painting only the percussion caps and the ends of the shell casings for those that will be stuck in there, so don't go mad unless you will be going for a cut-away in that area. The engine is then added to the rear of the hull on its mount that latches into slots in the floor, and a pair of box-like air intakes are added at the starboard end. A firewall is then constructed with fan, extinguisher and other boxes to fit between the two areas, after which the port side is added, and the glacis plate is fitted into place, the latter having a scale thickness armour panel, foot-pedals and periscopes for the driver installed. The roadwheels are made up in pairs with a central hub-cap, and ten pairs are made up, with five per side held in place by a pin and top-cap in the same way as the two-part drive sprockets are fitted at the rear. The idler wheel is installed right at the front of the hull on an tensioner axle, and is made from two parts, held in place by a pin and top-cap like the rest of the roadwheels, although it is noticeably smaller. The rear bulkhead has two sets of brackets for additional fuel drums, which are included in the box, and this assembly is installed at the rear along with two other small facets, one of which has the rear light cluster mounted. The hull roof is fabricated from shorter sections to preserve detail, starting with the turret ring, which has the driver's hatch within, and once in place, armoured periscope protectors, rotating hatch and pioneer tools are added around. The engine deck is split into three main sections, within which are access hatches, grilles and louvers to allow the engine to breathe and be maintained. The louvers are covered by an additional layer of PE mesh, and the extra fuel drums are strapped in place by a pair of PE straps each if you decide to fit them. The fenders are festooned with stowage of various types, which are loaded up before being added to the sides of the hull along with the obligatory unditching beam and spring-loaded mudguards at the rear. Some PE parts are used as tie-downs and handles here to improve the scale effect of details. Tracks. Always a divisive subject, as some like band-type, others like individual links, link-and-length, or metal. The list goes on. You might have noticed already that this kit provides individual link tracks of the glue-together variety, which don't do anything fancy such as click in-place. There is little mentioned in the instructions other than there are 90 links each side. With the tracks done, the fenders are built up and go on, with the duck-bill shaped exhaust crossing the port fender in the rear, with a deflector attached over it. The turret will be a focus of attention for most viewers, and it is filled with detail. The two layer turret ring is added to the lower turret part, and the inside of the turret is then strewn with equipment on both sides, with a stack of ready-ammo at the rear of the bustle in a compact rack that hold seven shells. Crew seats are added, dipping down through the aperture, and the breech of the 100mm gun is constructed from a host of parts, with two being left off if you wanted to move the barrel later. This is mounted between two brackets that sit on the front lip of the turret, with the sighting gear and a stack of four ammo cans to feed the coaxial machine gun slung underneath. The upper turret is similarly bedecked with equipment inside, and at this point a large portion of the roof is missing, being made up in a later step with the crew hatches, periscopes and mushroom fume vent, plus an antenna base. The gunner's cupola has a ring fitted to it that mounts a huge DShk "Dushka" 12.7mm machine gun, which can be used with great effect against soft targets or as an anti-aircraft mount. It is made up from a considerable number of parts, with scrap diagrams showing how to mount the ammo box to the breech with a number of PE parts as well as a length of link for good measure. The upper turret, mantlet armoured cover, coaxial machine gun and the mantlet itself are all brought together at the end to finish the turret main construction, after which a large rolled tarpaulin is draped over the rear of the bustle, with a choice of one of the two driver's "hoods" strapped to the top of it for safe-keeping. Markings There are four options available from the box, with a variety of schemes that should suit most tastes. From the box you can build one of the following: Unidentified Soviet Unit 1950s. 2nd Guards Taman Motorised Rifle Division 1960s. Parade of the Guards units 1950s/60s. Unidentified unit, Winter Camo 1950s/60s The decal sheet is small and mostly white, with only the red stars to break up the colour (excluding the red border to the sheet). The registration between the two colours seems good, sharpness is too, but I suspect the codes may be slightly translucent when applied to dark colours. They can easily be used as a guide to touch in with a little diluted white on a sharp brush though, as these markings were usually hand-painted. If you wanted to see what can be done with this kit, check out Dmytro Kolesnyk's superb build here on Britmodeller, which you can see more of here. Conclusion This is a big box quite literally packed out with plastic. The sheer quantity of parts and the detail makes this easy to recommend, and there are endless possibilities for exposing the innards of the tank. Very Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  15. T-54-3 Soviet Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 The T-54's gestation and transformation into the T-55 was long-winded and complicated by constant changes to an as yet unsatisfactory performing vehicle. Production of the T-54-1 was halted due to production and quality issues, and an amalgamation of all the alterations were incorporated into the re-designed T-54-2, which saw the fender machine guns removed and replaced by a more modern bow-mounted single gun, the tracks widened, and the turret design changed to closer resemble the eventual domed shape of the T-55. The -2 didn't last all that long before the -3 replaced it, eliminating the shot-traps on the turret sides, but retaining the more modern gun and sighting improvements that had been made to the dash-2 toward the end of production. The Model We reviewed the T-54-1 here and the T-54-2 here recently, and, as with the two 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 threer in this case, yes you read that correctly, seventy three sprues of grey styrene, plus two of clear, two sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, but this kit sees the return of 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, interior escape hatch and 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 a new moulding, but has as much, if not more detail added, including the full main gun breech, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment. The coax machine gun is also beautifully detailed, consisting of fifteen parts. 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, and rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers. Finally the driver's "hood" that fits over his hatch for inclement weather operations 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. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- T-54-3 of the 2nd Guards Mechanised Division of the Soviet Army, Budapest, Hungary, 24th - 30th October 1956 T-54-3 of the 1st Armoured Division of the National Peoples Army of the GDR, Command Staff exercises of the NVA, GDR and Soviet Army, 1961 T-54-3 of the 23rd Guards Taman Motorised Rifle Division of the Soviet Army, beginning of the 1960’s T-54-3 of the 23RD Taman Guards Motorised Rifle Division of the Soviet Army in the Winter of 1962 T-54-3 of the Army of the Republic of Iraq, Baghdad, February 1963 Conclusion MiniArt really are cranking these tanks out, forming a complete collection of T-54’s. With the full interior, these kits really aren’t for the beginner and will, probably be built by the real enthusiasts for these vehicles. They will require plenty of time and patience to build and, particularly, paint, but it will be well worth it at the end. Releases without interiors have also been issued, for those modellers who don’t really require a full interior. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  16. MAN LKW 5t MIL GL Truck Hobbyboss 1:35 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 vehciles to be rail transported on standard flat cars. Earlier trucks had fixed cabs but later ones tilting ones which made engine maintainance much easier. All vehicles feature a mount for a MG3 machine gun (basically an MG42!). The Kit 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. Next up the truck bed needs to built up. The side stanchions are added to the flat bed and the drop down side panels can then be added. The fixed head board is added along with the steps to access up the cab. If the seating for the rear bed is to be used this then must be made up, and added. Weapons racks can then be made up and attached to the head board if using the seating. Moving on to the underside of the truck bed supports are added along with the mud flaps and racking for ancillary equipment. This includes fuel cans, wheel chocks and equipment lockers. Hoops and the frame for the tilt covering for the flat bed can then be added if needed. If the modeller wants the rear to be covered then they will need to make their own covering. To be honest any plastic moulded one will not probably look great so in a way its good they left this off. Once the load bed is complete it can be added to the chassis and the truck is then complete. Decals Theses are minimal as the vehicles did not carry many markings. Decals are supplied for a UN attached truck in overall white and a KFOR deployed vehicle. 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. Soviet Self-Propelled Gun SU-85 w/Interior MiniArt 1:35 History Early in World War II, Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1 had adequate firepower to defeat any of the German tanks then available. By the fall of 1942, Soviet forces began to encounter the new German Tiger tank, with armour too thick to be penetrated by the 76.2 mm guns used in the T-34 and KV tanks at a safe range. The Soviet command also had reports of the Panther tank, that was in development then and possessed thicker armour than the Tiger; both represented an advance in German tank design. Although the Panther was not seen in combat until July 1943, the new generation of German vehicles meant the Red Army would need a new, more powerful main gun for their armoured formations. In May 1943, work was begun on a new anti-tank gun. Military planners directed the design bureaus of both Gen. Vasiliy Grabin and Gen. Fyodor Petrov to modify the 85mm anti-aircraft gun for use as an anti-tank weapon. Petrov's bureau developed the D-5 85mm gun. Though much too large for the T-34 or KV-1 turret, it was thought the gun could be mounted upon the chassis of the SU-122 self-propelled gun to give the weapon mobility. The version of this gun intended to be mounted upon the SU-85 was called the D-5S, with the "S" standing for self-propelled. Initially the production factory at Uralmash rejected the proposed design. Nevertheless, the administrators at Uralmash were persuaded to proceed, and the new design was put into production. The weapon was later modified to include a telescopic sight and a new ball gun mantlet. This vehicle was renamed the SU-85-II. The SU-85 was a modification of the earlier SU-122 self-propelled howitzer, essentially replacing the 122 mm M-30S howitzer of the SU-122 with a D-5T high-velocity 85 mm antitank gun. The D-5T was capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 1000 m. The vehicle had a low profile and excellent mobility. Initially given an armoured commander's cap on the first batch, the SU-85's observational optics were improved by the introduction of a standard commander's cupola - the same as on the T-34-76 model 1942, along with the already existing prismatic observation sights installed in left side and rear. On later vehicles, the same optics were added, almost allowing all-around observation The SU-85 entered combat in August 1943. It saw active service across the Eastern Front until the end of the war. Though a capable weapon, it was found that its 85 mm weapon was not adequate to penetrate the armour of the larger German armoured fighting vehicles. It was replaced by the SU-100. The SU-85 was withdrawn from Soviet service soon after the war, and was exported to many Soviet client states in Europe and elsewhere. Some SU-85s were converted to use as command and recovery vehicles. In places such as North Korea and Vietnam, it remained in service for many years’ The Model This kit is the latest iteration of MiniArt’s SU-85 and is the Mod 1943 Mid Production version, and has the added interest of having a full interior. MiniArt really are going great guns these days, with a new website and new style boxes for their kits, very nice they are too. The kits too are getting better and better. The new colourful boxes are very sturdy, and they have to be as they are filled to the brim with parts. The numerous sprues are all contained in a large poly bag, inside of which the various combinations of sprues are in other poly bags, not quite separate, but in bunches. Now, the way MiniArt mould their sprues means that there are in fact seventy six in total. The reason for so many sprues and parts, as mentioned above, this kit has a full, and I mean FULL interior. Even with so many sprues, the parts are all moulded beautifully, with no sign of imperfections, short shots, surprisingly few moulding pips, and certainly no flash. Seeing as there are literally hundreds of small parts it’s nice to note that the sprue gates are small and the parts look like they will be easy to remove and clean up. The only really awkward parts are the suspension springs, which will be trickier to clean as the gates are on the spring sections themselves and the track links, but more on those later. So, where the heck do you start with building? Some modellers will construct the various sub-assemblies in their own way before adding them all at the end. This would certainly aid with the painting and weathering, but if you go by the instruction booklet, which is surprisingly clear to read, the modeller needs to start with the engine. As with most things in the kit this is a very complex part, and is assembled just as a real engine would be. Every parts is included, all you‘d have to add are the ignition harness and some of the hoses. The assembly begins with the eleven piece block, onto which the two, six piece cylinder heads are attached before being finished off with the starter motor, coolant hoses, exhaust manifolds and the four piece engine mounting box. Each of the two large radiators are made up from three parts, glued to the sides of the engine assembly, and then connected up with five hoses. The gearbox/transfer box is next, with the main section requiring fourteen parts, before being glued to the aft end of the tank floor. The drives for the sprockets, each made up from four parts and fitted with a PE brake band are then attached to the gearbox, supported by two five piece brake linkage cradles. The four piece, impellor style, flywheel is then attached to the rear of the gearbox. With the gearbox attached, the floor is then detailed with numerous parts, most of which I don’t recognise, not being au fait with the intimate details of tank internals. What I can identify, are the control sticks and brake pedals, and their associated linkages, oh, and the fighting compartment floor. The seven piece driver’s seat is next, followed by various covers for the drivers control links. The engine is then attached to the dividing bulkhead, between it and the gearbox, and the fitting of the two air intake pipes and their filters. The whole engine assembly is then fitted to the floor and the gearbox mounted universal joint. On each side of the floor there are four, seven piece spring dampers for the suspension, the rear pair of which are joined together with two PE straps, which do look a little awkward to fit, seeing that the radiators are in the way, so dig out your finest tweezers for the job. The fighting compartment and driver’s compartment are then fitted out with a number of spare shells, shell racks, control boxes and the idler axle fittings. The lower hull sides are fitted out internally with crew seats, fire bottles, fuel tanks, radios, escape hatches, and various other unidentifiable items. The sides are then attached to the hull floor. On the outside, the sprocket gear covers are attached, followed by the torsion spring suspension/axles are fitted, these also attach to the spring dampers. There more shells fitted to the rear of the fighting compartment, ten in fact, each of two parts and kept in place by a long beam. The front armour plate is fitted on the interior with various sights, hatches, hatch fittings and two large springs, which I presume are part of recoil system to prevent the plate from cracking when the gun fires. The completed plate is then attached to the hull, along with the lower glacis plate, and rear mounted drive cover. The main gun is assembled from separate slides, barrel, recuperator, and breech block before being fitted to the two trunnion mounts, complete with elevation wheel. The recoil guard is then attached, along with the elevation spring units, seven piece sight, and sight mounting frame. Nineteen more shells are then assembled and fitted to their storage rack, which is then fitted with a supporting beam and three cordite bags. The gun assembly is then slotted into position in the front plate, which is also fitted with the lower gun recess. The bulkhead separating the fighting compartment and engine compartment is then glued into position, followed by the shell stowage assembly and rear hull bulkhead and its attachment frame. The gun barrel is then attached, along with the inner mantlet and the six piece outer mantlet. The fighting compartment side panels are fitted out with more cordite bags, pistol ports, vents, and stowage boxes, whilst on the outside they are fitted with pioneer tools, air filters, and a single headlight. The completed panels are then glued into position. The roof panel is similarly fitted out, with a selection of ports, vents, sights, and the main hatch With the model slowly looking more like the vehicle it portends to be, the sprockets, twin road wheels and idler wheels are assembled and attached to their associated axles. The exhaust pipes are fitted to the rear bulkhead along with their covers, and the engine deck intake gills are each assembled from four parts. The main engine deck, complete with track guards, is fitted with spare track links, the two engine intake grills, before being fitted to the hull, along with the fighting compartment roof panel and the numerous shackles, lifting eyes, engine hatch, and stowage boxes. The tracks are each made from seventy two links, with each link held onto the sprue by four gates, so there will be quite a lot of cleaning up required. Looking at the links, they are rather plain, particularly on the inside, but having checked out a few images on the internet, they are accurate. Looking at the links closely, the ones with guide horns have small pins, whilst the plain ones are moulded with corresponding holes, so they “should” just click into place. The pins do seem rather fragile, so whether this works in practice is another thing. It’ll probably be best to run some glue on the joints once the tracks are fitted, just to make sure they don’t fall apart. With the kit almost complete, it’s just a matter of fitting the front and rear mud guards, rear mounted rolled tarpaulin with its PE straps. The fighting compartment rear panel is then attached; along with the various grab handles, spare fuel tank supports, four fuel tanks, their associated PE straps, and the PE straps for the spare track links. Lastly the aerial is glued into position. Decals Whilst the decal sheet contains markings for two depicted vehicles, there are a complete set of individual numbers in both red and white. The decals themselves have been printed by MiniArt and although looking rather matt, they are well printed, in register and with good colour density. The two options are:- SU-85 number 214 from an unidentified unit Red Army, Winter 1943-1944. SU-85 under the name of the Czech hero – “Kapitan Otacar Jaros”, of the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade Conclusion This is yet another superb kit from the burgeoning catalogue from MiniArt and another for the detail nuts, with the full interior, the options of having the hatches open and everything on view would be too much to resist. With the amount of parts and the amount of time it will take to build, it must make this kit one of the best value for money kits around. Review courtesy of
  18. Russian MiG-31 Foxhound 1:72 Trumpeter The Mikoyan MiG-31, known by the NATO reporting name 'Foxhound' is an all-weather interceptor and replacement for the more famous but far less capable MiG-25 Foxbat. Although the MiG-31 bears a close resemblance to its predecessor, it is only the basic elements of the design that are shared. The MiG-31 is a much more modern aircraft and benefits from a very capable suite of avionics which provides full look down/shoot down capability against targets are small as cruise missiles. One thing it does have in common with the venerable Foxbat is its speed. The Foxhound is one of the fastest combat aircraft around and can show a clean pair of heels to most comparable jets. The weapon of choice for the Foxbat is the long-range R-33 missile, but it is also capable of using the now obsolete R-40, as well as the short-range R-73. Some variants can deploy the KH-31 and KH-58 anti-radiation missiles in the SEAD role. Trumpeter have filled gaps in the stashes of a lot of modellers with a penchent for Russian hardware of late. This kit follows their MiG-29, Su-24 and Su-27/33/34 families, although it doesn't quite have the same impact as we've had a decent and buildable kit from Zvezda for quite some time. It also follows the 1:48 scale kit from Trumpeter's sister company Hobbyboss. As we shall see, the two kits are closely related. In classic Trumpeter style, the kit arrives in a large sturdy box, with the parts packed so well that it is almost impossible to get them back in the box once unpacked. The box contains an impressive 340 parts, although this is relatively modest compared to their Su-34. The difference is largely down to the fact that Trumpeter haven't included 40-odd missiles in the box. The parts are well protected and the quality of moulding is up to the usual Trumpeter standard, with fine, consistent panel lines and plenty of detail. The overall breakdown of parts is incredibly similar to its big sister, complete with the slide moulded fuselage section, which seems to be a perfectly scaled down version. The cockpit is nicely replicated, with detailed instrument panels and sidewalls, as well as neat two-part K36 seats. The nose gear bay has to be built around the landing gear leg, which means painting the whole thing before it goes into the kit, but does at least replicate the detail of this part accurately. The nose and forward fuselage is a seperate part to the rest of the airframe, so I guess it could be assembled and put to one side while the rest of the beast is gradually assembled from its component parts. Construction moves on to a number of major sub-assemblies, most of which have to be completed at this stage in order to progress the build. The massive engine air intakes are full length, and contain eight parts each, not including the engine compressor blades. The main landing gear legs and bays also have to be assembled at this stage, although they look both well detailed and reasonably sturdy. Once complete, the nost gear bay, main gear bays and engine intakes can all be cemented into the large, slide moulded lower-rear fuselage, while the nose section can also be slotted into place. In order the bring the whole thing together, the single span upper wing can have the lower wing surfaces added and be joined to the rest of the airframe. With the collosal fuselage complete, most of the rest of the build is spent adding a few more large parts and a whole host of finishing details. Unlike the Hobbyboss kit, the vertical tails are moulded as solid parts and have plenty of rivet detail moulded in place. This is so fine, however, that I am reasonably confident that it will disappear compeltely under a coat of primer, particularly given that the whole kit has quite a rough, textured finish. The jet exhausts are each made up from three parts and are suitably imposing, although not quite the dustbin-like cans of the MiG-25. The canopy is moulded so it can be finished in the open position. I'm not sure quite how well it will fit if you want to close it all up. The airbrakes are also molded seperately and are designed to be finished in the extended position. Trumpeter aren't usually shy when it comes to ordnance, so you get fair deal with this kit. Included in the asking price are: 4 x R-33 air-to-air missles; 2 x R-40T infrared homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-40R radar homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-73E air-to-air missiles; and 2 x drop tanks. The MiG-31 is strictly VVS only, so don't expect variety when it comes to options to markings. The painting and marking guide shows 24 Blue and 08 Red "Boris Safanov", but bonus points are awarded to Trumpeter for including sufficient bort numbers to allow pretty much any aircraft to be built. Stencils are included for the airframe and ordnance, which is also nice to see. The decals themselves look nicely printed and should perform well. Conclusion This is very nice kit which comfortably moves straight to the top of the tree when it comes to MiG-31s available in this scale. It's big - but not too complex - well detailed and includes a fair selection of ordnance. On the other hand, it's far from cheap, especially when compared to the main competition (note - it is currently available with a 25% discount from @Creative Models Ltd - link below). My main criticism of the kit is that the panel lines and rivit detail are incredibly fine and will surely disappear under a layer of primer. Not good for an aicraft that really needs a panel line wash to match the grubby appearance of the real thing. Nevertheless, if you do choose to build one, you will be rewarded with an impressive kit. Review sample courtesy of
  19. A-4E Skyhawk 1:48 Hobby Boss The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was a carrier capable ground attack aircraft developed for the US Navy and US Marine Corps. It is a delta winged single engine aircraft. It was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company originally under the A4D designation, latter changed to A-4. The A-4 was designed by Ed Heinemann to a 1952 US Navy specification for a carrier based attack aircraft capable of carrying heavy loads. For this an aircraft was to have a maximum weight of 30,000Lbs, and be capable of speeds up to 495mph. Initially the Douglas design with a specified weight of only 20000 Lbs was greeted with scepticism. Ed Heinemann had in fact designed a very small aircraft. This was to be roughly half the weight of its contemporaries. In fact the wings were so short they did not need to fold for stowage below decks. Having a non-folding wing eliminated the heavy wing folds seen in other aircraft, one reason for a low overall weight. The prototype also exceed the maximum speed the US Navy had specified. In fact not long after the aircraft would set a new world record of 695mph for circuit flying, bettering the specification by 200mph. The A-4A was the initial production aircraft with 166 being built. The A-4B was ordered with additional improvements over the initial design. These were to be; Stronger rudder construction, a pressure fuelling system incorporating a probe for in-flight refuelling, external fuel tanks, stronger landing gear, additional navigation equipment, an improved ordnance delivery system, and an external buddy refuelling package. A total of 542 A-4Bs were to be made with fleet deliveries beginning in 1957 only a year after the first A-4B flight was made. The A-4C would then follow giving an all weather capability with the AN/APG-53 radar, a new auto pilot and bombing system and a more powerful J65-W-20 engine. The E model was a major upgrade to previous aircraft included a new Pratt & Whitney J-52-P-6A engine with 8400 lbs of thrust. The air-frame was strengthened and two more weapons pylons were added. Improved avionics were installed including a TACAN, doppler system, radar altimeter, and a bombing computer. Later an even more powerful J52-P-8 with 93000 lbs thrust was added. The E would then see the addition of a dorsal hump on the fuselage spine to house extra electronics as appeared on the later A-4F. The Kit This a new tool from Hobby Boss of this famous Douglas aircraft. The kit itself is on three sprues is fairly simple much like the real thing. Construction starts in the cockpit you will be surprised to know! The two part Escapac seat is put together and placed into the cockpit tub after the aft wall is installed. The seat is fairly basic and there are no belts included in the model. The control column is then installed along with the instrument panel (details by decal), this is followed by the area just behind the seat. The completed cockpit is then installed onto the top of the front wheel well along with the rudder pedals. Next up the wings are completed. This is standard single part lower wing with left & right uppers. Once complete it is placed to one side. Construction then moves to the main fuselage. The completed cockpit assembly and the intake duct are installed in the main fuselage as it is closed up. The avionics hump or the top fuselage fairing are installed depending on which decal option is being modelled. Two side intakes are added along with the main wing assembly. Two small parts then need to be removed from the tail. Lastly the engine exhaust is added along with a rear underside panel. Next up the left and right engine intakes are assembled and added to the main fuselage. The instrument coaming and HUD are added to the cockpit and the 20mm cannons & fairings are added to each side. Two small fairings are added to the rear fuselage. The all moving tails are made u (conventional upper & lower construction) and added, along with the air brakes. The canopy is added along with two strakes just above the cannon barrels. The underwing/fuselage pylons are then made up and added along with the gear doors. The front undercarriage leg is added which has the nose wheel moulded on to it. The rear legs and retraction struts are added along with the wheels. To round things off the arrestor hook and til bumper are added. Weapons Hobby Boss aren't known for being stingy with these, and as you'd expect there are plenty to choose from, infact 5 sprues in this kit are devoted to underwing stores. As always, check your references for likely load-outs if you are going for accuracy, or slap them all on if not. It's your choice! Included are; 12 x Mk.82 Bombs 12 x Mk.20 CBUs 2 x AiM-9B Sidewinders 2 x Wing tanks 1 x Centreline tank Sway braces are provided where needed, as are launch rails and multiple ejector racks. There are other weapons on the sprues not used here so good for the spares box. The back page of the instruction booklet shows the pylon positions of the various options, but as above, check things over before you proceed. Stencil locations are shown on a separate colour page, with positions and colours all called out. Markings Hobby Boss often supply only one option with their kits, but this one has two, one is documented incorrectly, the other is not. It is really about time HB started giving some information about its decal schemes in the kits rather than modellers going on-line to work it out themselves. The decals are printed in house, and are of good quality. 150056 VC-1 US Navy - No data is provided but the box art is very similar to an image from 1972 from NAS Barbers Point, Oahu,HI 151074 VA-155 USS Constellation 1966 wearing experimental 3 tone camo. Note this aircraft did not have the dorsal hump despite the painting instructions showing it. Now preserved at Naval Air Facility Atsugi Conclusion This is a nice new tool of the A-4E from Hobby Boss. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. German Leopard 2A4 AGDUS Training System 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The AGDUS system is a Laser training system similar to the US MILES system (but not compatible). The tactical laser-based training system is used by the German Bundeswehr fir combat simulation. It can be used with all weapons to simulate line of sight weapons. The laser is eye safe. The beams fired are coded so that it can inform who fired, when, and how severe the hit was. Like MILES umpires have a reactivation key. Rheinmetall Defense Electronics GmbH have recently been awarded a contract for the 2nd generation of the system and to integrate it into the latest TPz Fuchs. The Kit This is another release from Meng no one was expecting, though it does complement their excellent Leopard 2A4 kit. The set includes includes the muzzle laser emission device, the laser receiving devices around the vehicle, and the control components on top of the turret. The parts are excellently cast in resin and very fine, maybe a little to fine in some cases. The one major draw back of this set is it comes with no instructions. There are box top pictures which lack contrast, and one picture on Meng's website. (Picture from Meng, circles by us) Conclusion Another great release from Meng of a subject that will be welcome for armour modellers to create a tank being used in traning. It would have been nice to have some actual instructions though. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. 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
  22. Quad Rocket Launcher 1:35 MENG Arriving in a brown cardboard box with a black label, on which a faint outline of a pick-up truck is just visible. On the back of the truck, or Technical as they are sometimes known, is a slightly brighter outline of a rocket launcher. It is this launcher that is the subject of the model inside. MENG have released a number of these Technicals, in both vanilla and armed with a variety of weapons that the users seem so adept at fitting to them. They are now releasing separate weapons systems for you to do your own conversions. Inside the box there are three bubblewrap bags with various amounts of resin parts in them. There are nineteen parts in total, in a dark grey resin. All the parts are well moulded with very little sign of flash or other imperfections and all with the thinnest of attachment points to their moulding blocks, so removal and cleaning up shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Construction begins, once all the parts have been separated and washed in warm soapy water, with the joining of the two pairs of two launchers, on above the other, plus the base plate, two trunnion plates and a gear elevation quadrant. The two support plates are attached to the trunnion plates and thence to the five piece launcher base turntable, a hand wheel, locking leaver and foot pedals. On the right hand side there is an actuator unit fitted. The two part support stand is then assembled and the base unit glued to it. The whole assembly is fitted into your chosen vehicle. Conclusion This is certainly an unusual subject and one which could find use in many scenes and dioramas than the one it was intended. The moulding quality is superb and the completed unit will look quite effective with a bit of weathering. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Soviet Self Propelled Gun, SU-122 Mid Production w/Full Interior MiniArt 1:35 History Soviet High Command became interested in assault guns following the success of German Sturmgeschütz IIIs. Assault guns had some advantages over tanks with turrets. The lack of a turret made them cheaper to produce. They could be built with a larger fighting compartment and could be fitted with bigger and more powerful weapons on a given chassis. However, assault guns generally aim by orienting the entire vehicle, and were thus less suited for close combat than tanks with turrets. In April 1942, design bureaus were asked to develop several assault guns with various armaments: 76.2 mm ZiS-3 divisional field guns and 122 mm M-30 howitzers for infantry support, and 152 mm ML-20 howitzers for attacking enemy strongholds. A prototype assault gun, armed with the 122 mm howitzer and built on the German Sturmgeschütz III chassis was developed, designated SG-122. Only 10 of these were completed. Production was halted when the vehicle was found to be hard to maintain and judged to be unsuccessful. Simultaneously, a SPG based on the T-34 medium tank was also developed. Initially the T-34's chassis was selected for the 76.2 mm F-34 gun. This vehicle, the U-34, was created in the summer of 1942 at UZTM (Uralmashzavod – Uralsky Machine Building factory) design bureau, by N. W. Kurin and G. F. Ksjunin. It was a tank destroyer with the same armament as the T-34, but without a turret. The vehicle was 70 cm lower than a T-34, had thicker armour, and was 2 tonnes lighter. It did not enter production. UZTM then worked on combining features of the U-34 and the SG-122. Initial design work was completed between July and August 1942. The project emphasized minimizing modifications to the platform and the howitzer. It used the same chassis, superstructure, engine and transmission as the U-34 and was armed with (the then new) 122 mm M-30S howitzer from F. F. Petrov's design bureau. This vehicle also used the same gun bed cover and mountings as the SG-122, to keep costs low and simplify production. It had 45 mm thick frontal armour. The M-30S howitzer could be elevated or depressed between −3° and +26° and had 10° of traverse. The five-man crew consisted of a driver, gunner, commander and two loaders. By 25 November 1942 the first U-35 prototype was ready. Trials ran from 30 November to 19 December 1942, and uncovered various faults in the design including insufficient elevation, a flawed shell transfer mechanism, poor ventilation for the crew compartment, and the fact that the commander had to assist in operating the gun which made him unable to successfully carry out his other duties. The U-35 entered service with the Red Army as the SU-35 (later renamed SU-122) despite these faults. Production SU-122s were based on an improved prototype built after trials were conducted. They incorporated several modifications including slightly less sloped front armour to ease production, modified layout of the fighting compartment (the location of crew member stations and ammunition racks were changed), fewer vision slots, and a periscope for the commander. The first production vehicles were completed before 1943. The first SU-122s produced in December 1942 were sent to training centres and two new combat units, the 1433rd and 1434th self-propelled artillery regiments. Initially, each of these mixed regiments consisted of two batteries with four SU-122s each and four batteries with four SU-76 tank destroyers each. Each regiment had an additional SU-76 tank destroyer as a command vehicle. It was planned to raise 30 self-propelled artillery regiments operating within armoured and mechanized corps. In January 1943, the 1433rd and 1434th self-propelled artillery regiments were sent to the Volkhov Front near Leningrad as part of the 54th Army. On 14 January they saw combat for the first time in Smierdny region. After that it was decided SU-122s should follow between 400 m and 600 m behind the attacking tanks; sometimes this distance was shortened to between 200 m and 300 m. The use of SU-76 tank destroyers together with SU-122s proved unsuccessful. Based on combat experience, the organization of self-propelled artillery regiments was changed; the new regimental organization consisted of two batteries of SU-76 tank destroyers and three batteries of SU-122s, for a total of 20 self-propelled guns. In April the organization of self-propelled artillery regiments was again changed. Separate regiments were created for SU-76 tank destroyers (light self-propelled artillery regiment) and SU-122s (medium self-propelled artillery regiment). The medium self-propelled artillery regiment consisted of four batteries of four SU-122s each. Each regiment was also equipped with either an additional SU-122 or a T-34 for the commander and a BA-64 armoured car. This organization remained in place until the beginning of 1944 when the SU-122 started to be replaced by the SU-152, ISU-122 and ISU-152 heavy self-propelled guns and the SU-85 tank destroyers. The SU-122 proved effective in its intended role of direct fire on strongholds. The massive concussion of the 122 mm high explosive round was reportedly enough to blow the turret off even a Tiger I if a direct hit was scored, a trait shared with the larger 152 mm howitzers. A new BP-460A HEAT projectile was introduced in May 1943; however its primitive warhead design was only minimally more effective than brute concussive effects of the old high explosive shell. However, like most howitzers the accuracy of the M-30 was less than that of contemporary weapons designed for the anti-tank role. The Model Continuing the theme of big Russian self propelled guns, this is MiniArts second release of a SU-122, but this time in the mid-production guise. It is, naturally, very similar to the first initial production release, for all the parts are in the box, so read the instructions carefully to use the right parts. This kit comes in a nice sturdy box with a great study of the vehicle on the front. Inside, is filled to the brim with sprues, all contained in a large poly bag, inside of which the various combinations of sprues are in other poly bags, not quite separate, but in bunches. Now, the way MiniArt mould their sprues means that there are in fact seventy three in total, most other companies could probably have moulded the parts onto about twentyish, but that’s the way they like it. The reason for so many sprues and parts, this kit has a full, and I mean FULL interior. Even with so many sprues, the parts are all moulded beautifully, with no sign of imperfections, short shots, surprisingly few moulding pips, and certainly no flash. Seeing as there are literally hundreds of small parts it’s nice to note that the sprue gates are small and the parts look like they will be easy to remove and clean up. The only really awkward parts are the suspension springs, which will need to be trickier to clean as the gates are on the spring sections themselves and the track links, but more on those later. So, where the heck do you start with building? Some modellers will construct the various sub-assemblies in their own way before adding them all at the end. This would certainly aid with the painting and weathering, but if you go by the instruction booklet, which is surprisingly clear to read, the modeller needs to start with the engine. As with most things in the kit this is a very complex part, and is assembled just as a real engine would be. Every parts is included, all you‘d have to add are the ignition harness and some of the hoses. The assembly begins with the eleven piece block, onto which the two, six piece cylinder heads are attached before being finished off with the starter motor, coolant hoses, exhaust manifolds and the four piece engine mounting box. Each of the two large radiators are made up from three parts, glued to the sides of the engine assembly, then connected up with five hoses. The gearbox/transfer box is next, with the main section requiring fourteen parts, before being glued to the aft end of the tank floor. The drives for the sprockets, each made up from four parts and fitted with a PE brake band are then attached to the gearbox, supported by two five piece brake linkage cradles. The four piece, impellor style, flywheel is then attached to the rear of the gearbox. With the gearbox attached, the floor is then detailed with numerous parts, most of which I don’t recognise, not being au fait with the intimate details of tank internals. What I can identify, are the control sticks and brake pedals, and their associated linkages, oh, and the fighting compartment floor. The seven piece drivers seat is next, followed by various covers for the drivers control links. The engine is then attached to the dividing bulkhead, between it and the gearbox, and the fitting of the two air intake pipes and their filters. The whole engine assembly is then fitted to the floor and the gearbox mounted universal joint. On each side of the floor there are four, seven piece spring dampers for the suspension, the rear pair of which are joined together with two PE straps, which do look a little awkward to fit, seeing that the radiators are in the way, so dig out your finest tweezers for the job. The fighting compartment and drivers compartment are then fitted out with a number of spare shells, shell stands, control boxes and the idler axle fittings. The lower hull sides are fitted out internally with crew seats, fire bottles, fuel tanks, radios, escape hatches, and various other unidentifiable items. The sides are then attached to the hull floor. On the outside, the sprocket gear covers are attached, followed by the torsion spring suspension/axles are fitted, these also attach to the spring dampers. There more shells fitted to the rear of the fighting compartment, ten, in fact, each of two parts and kept in place by a long beam. The front armour plate is fitted on the interior with various sights, hatches, hatch fittings and two large springs, which I presume are part of recoil system to prevent the plate from cracking when the gun fires. The completed plate is then attached to the hull, along with the lower glacis plate, and rear mounted drive cover. The main gun is assembled from separate slides, barrel, recuperator, and breech block before being fitted to the two trunnion mounts, complete with elevation wheel. The recoil guard is then attached, along with the elevation spring units, seven piece sight, and sight mounting frame. Nineteen more shells are then assembled and fitted to their storage rack, which is then fitted with a supporting beam and three cordite bags. The gun assembly is then slotted into position in the front plate, which is also fitted with the lower gun recess. The bulkhead separating the fighting compartment and engine compartment is then glued into position, followed by the shell stowage assembly and rear hull bulkhead and its attachment frame. The gun barrel is then attached, along with the inner mantlet, and four piece outer mantlet section. The fighting compartment side panels are fitted out with more cordite bags, pistol ports, vents, and stowage boxes, whilst on the outside they are fitted with pioneer tools, air filters, and a single headlight. The completed panels are then glued into position. The roof panel is similarly fitted out, with a selection of ports, vents, sights, and the main hatch. With the model slowly looking more like the vehicle it portends to be, the sprockets, twin road wheels and idler wheels are assembled and attached to their associated axles. The exhaust pipes are fitted to the rear bulkhead along with their covers, and the engine deck intake gills are each assembled from four parts. The main engine deck, complete with track guards, is fitted with spare track links, the two engine intake grills, before being fitted to the hull, along with the fighting compartment roof panel and the numerous shackles, lifting eyes, engine hatch, and stowage boxes. The tracks are each made from seventy two links, with each link held onto the sprue by four gates, so there will be quite a lot of cleaning up required. In this kit you also have a choice of track type, plain waffle or split waffle with the addition of 7 sprues of links to the original kit.. Looking at the links, they are rather plain, particularly on the inside, but having checked out a few images on the internet, they are accurate. Looking at the links closely, the ones with guide horns have small pins, whilst the plain ones are moulded with corresponding holes, so they “should” just click into place. The pins do seem rather fragile, so whether this works in practice is another thing. It’ll probably be best to run some glue on the joints once the tracks are fitted, just to make sure they don’t fall apart. With the kit almost complete, it’s just a matter of fitting the front and rear mud guards, rear mounted rolled tarpaulin with its PE straps. The fighting compartment rear panel is then attached; along with the various grab handles, spare fuel tank supports, four fuel tanks, their associated PE straps, and the PE straps for the spare track links. Lastly the aerial is glued into position. Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for three vehicles, The decals themselves have been printed by MiniArt and although looking rather matt, they are well printed, in register and with good colour density. Some of the decals have even been printed with a well worn appearance. The five options are:- SU-122 from the 5th Guards Tank Corps of the Red Army which fought on the Voronezh Front in August 1943 SU-122 from of an unidentified unit of the Red Army from December 1943. SU-122 from an unidentified unit of the Red Army from 1944. Conclusion Well, what can you say? MiniArt sure like to give us modellers a challenge, and they’ve done it again with this kit. The sheer number of parts will make some to whimper, but for anyone who wants a highly detailed kit in their collection this is certainly the one to go for. The full interior also gives the modeller plenty of options, whether it’s a cutaway museum piece, or in a diorama, all opened up, engine out etc, the world is your lobster. Review courtesy of
  24. GAZ-233115 STS Tiger-M SPN SPV 1:35 Meng Model Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or GAZ for short are the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in Russia, and specialise in all-wheel drive heavy duty trucks, buses and light commercial vehicles. The Tiger is a development of the GAZ 2330 4x4 that is designed as a troop carrier for police and military forces, with good offroad capability, high speed and good handling on sand and steep gradients. The Tiger is an upgraded vehicle with ballistic protection to the sides and roof, with a large two-man turret-ring on the roof to allow both a machine gun and grenade launcher to be used simultaneously. It is known colloquially as the Russian HUMVEE, and like the HUMVEE it does not provide much in the way of IED protection, other than a suite of electronic countermeasures. Its flat ladder chassis differs from the newer designs like the American M-ATV, which has a sloping hull to deflect blast away from the occupants. It has plenty of space for radio gear, the aforementioned ECM fit, plus ammo stowage and of course four troops in the rear, with a two man crew in the front seats. This boxing is for the newer Tiger-M vehicle which features a slightly revised body style and additional armour. The Kit The kit was originally reviewed here; this re-boxing from Meng is virtually the same vehicle. They have re-tooled the main body to reflect the new body style and added a new sprue featuring the up-armoured doors and different dashboard configuration of the new vehicle. Markings There are two options included in the box. One is camouflaged Russian Green, black and sand, while the other is plain Russian Green, but with large red parade stars. Their details are as follows: Tri-colour camouflage unknown unit vehicle. Russia Victory Day Parade 2016 The tri-colour vehicle is shown in five views, which with the tri-tonal camo will alleviate any confusion as to where the individual colours extend to on each side. Unlike the original boxing the instructions and camo diagrams here are only in Black & White. The decal sheet is quite large due to the camouflage material that is applied to the interior of the vehicle and the instrument panel decals, with two rows of digits, three red stars and four number plates relating to the outside. The decals in this boxing are printed in house where the originals were but cartograf, they seem thicker than the cartograf ones. Carrier film is clipped very close to the camouflage decals, which will be helpful when working in confined spaces, and the decals have been sectioned to fit each of the facets of the passenger cab. Conclusion Another classy kit from Meng, and a welcome addition to the collection of any modern Russian armour buff, or casual buyer alike. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Russian T-37A Light Tank HobbyBoss 1:35 History The T-37A was a Soviet amphibious light tank. The tank is often referred to as the T-37, although that designation was used by a different tank which never left the prototype stage. The T-37A was the first series of mass-produced fully amphibious tanks in the world. The tank was first created in 1932, based on the British Vickers tankette and other operational amphibious tanks. Production started in 1933 up until 1936, when it was replaced with the more modern T-38, based on the T-37A. Overall, after four years of production, 2552 T-37A’s were produced, including the original prototypes. In the Red Army, they were used to perform tasks in communication, reconnaissance, and as defence units on the march, as well as active infantry support on the battlefield. The T-37A’s were used in large numbers during the Soviet invasion of Poland and in the Winter War against Finland. The T-37 A was also used by the Soviets in the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, but most of them were quickly lost. Surviving tanks of that type fought on the front lines until 1944, and were used in training and auxiliary defence until the end of World War II. The Model The kit is packaged in the standard Trumpeter style top opening box with an artistic representation of the tank emerging from a river. Inside, there are nine sprues, two separate hull parts moulded in green styrene, seven sprues of brown styrene, two small sheets of etched brass and a small decal sheet. As we have come to expect from Trumpeter, all the mouldings are very well produced, with no sign of flash or other imperfections and only a few moulding pips. The details are nicely reproduced and even the rivets seem about right for this type of tank. Although this is a very small tank, this kit comes with individual track links, which, whilst well moulded are joined to the sprue are three points, so not only will they take quite a bit of careful cleaning up, they will need a lot of patience putting a full run of eight six links per side together. Construction begins with the assembly of the road wheels and their suspension parts. Each pair of wheels is made up form eight parts and there are two pairs fitted per side. These assemblies are then fitted to the lower hull section, along with two return rollers per side and the idler wheel axle bearings. The sprocket wheel gearbox covers are attached followed by the sprocket wheels themselves. At the rear of the hull the propeller shaft housing and propeller are fitted, as is the propeller guard on the underside of the hull and the rudder. The idler wheels are then attached and the assembled tracks can be fitted. The upper hull is then glued to the lower hull and the separate engine cover fitted. There are a couple of areas on the upper hull that need to be removed in accordance to the instructions on each side of the front glacis plate and a couple of holes on the engine deck need to be opened up. The two, two piece watertight sponsons/fenders are assembled and fitted to the hull, along with the pioneer tools. The sponson fixing brackets are attached, fixing the sponsons to the front glacis plate and the frontal armour on the fighting compartment is fitted. The two piece exhaust is attached to the engine deck via four PE brackets, with further PE brackets being fitted around the upper hull. The engine intake grille is covered with PE mesh, and the drivers hatch is glued into place. The simple machine gun turret is fitted with the two piece machine gun, turret hatch, three vision ports and two PE plates. The external section of the machine guns ball socket is glued into position, meaning that the machine gun cannot be posed in anything other than straight without modification. The completed turret is then slotted into position on the hull, completing the build. Decals The small decal sheet only provides four different styles of turret stripe, one for each of the colour schemes included on the paint chart. T-37A, in Russian Green overall, red upper stripe with white dotted stripe below. T-37A, in Dark green overall, with blue stripe on white background. T-37A in Russian green overall, with red brown dots all over and solid red turret stripe over a red dotted stripe. T-37A in Grey green overall, with dark green spots and a thick solid red stripe on the turret. Conclusion Hobby boss have released quite a few of these small Russian tanks now and they still manage to find more to release. This is a great little kit of a very small tank, but will keep you busy for hours trying to get the tracks assembled and fitted. Probably not for the novice due to the tracks, as it may put them off indie links completely, but a nice addition to any tank collection, particularly if you like you tanks a little on the weird side. Highly Recommended Review sample courtesy of
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