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  1. German Sd.Kfz.171 Pz.Kpfw. Panther Ausf.A (84830) 1:48 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The Panther was Germany's answer to the surprise appearance of the Russian T-34 after they finally reacted to the invasion that was Operation Barbarossa. Although the project had been in gestation some time before, they took some design cues from the T-34 in the shape of the sloped front and side armour, resulting in the Panther that was intended to fill the gap between the Panzer.IV and the (then) new Panzer VI Tiger. It was eventually supposed to replace both the Pz.IV and the earlier Pz.III that was really showing its age, but in reality it often fought alongside the Panzer IV. It was planned as a lighter, more manoeuvrable tank than the Tiger, and was fitted with a high velocity gun from the outset, which gave it enormous penetrating power that was only equalled later by the 17-pounder the British fitted to the American Sherman to make it into the more lethal Firefly. The sloped frontal armour gave it an increased effective armour thickness, but this was not so true of the side armour, which was comparatively weak, and this area became the preferred target of engaging allied tanks, especially in urban combat where this was a telling issue. Like most German WWII tanks it was filled with advanced engineering and therefore complex to produce, so suffered in terms of output volume, and this led to it being rushed into service with a long tick-list of issues still to resolve. Later production resolved most of these initial gremlins, but loses in the interim were high with many being abandoned after breakdown during combat. Confusingly, the Ausf.D was the first to enter production, with the Ausf.A following later in 1943, replacing attrition of the less reliable Ausf.Ds until they themselves were superseded by the Ausf.G, which became the final major variant with increased ammo storage, simplified design to ease production, and further improvements to reliability, although this was never fully cured with a high rate of attrition persisting due to mechanical issues, some of which resulted in catastrophic fires. The Kit There was a discussion thread within the last week here on Britmodeller about why 1:48 didn’t take off as a common scale for AFV modelling, and no-one could come up a definitive reason for it. A possible reason could be that not enough companies were willing to put their time and effort into creating new toolings, amongst others. Now we have this Panther from Hobby Boss to widen the range a little, and we suspect it won’t be the last from them. It is a new tooling, and arrives in a shallow top-opening box in the usual HB style, and inside it is divided up into two areas by a card insert. There are four sprues and three hull parts in tan styrene, a tree of translucent poly-caps, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet, instruction booklet in black & white, plus an A4 sheet of glossy paper, printed in colour on both sides. Detail is good as we’d expect from Hobby Boss, and the inclusion of PE goes further in the quest for realism. Construction begins with the running gear, building up a pair of three-layered idler wheels, eight pairs of road wheels with poly-caps in the middle, suspension bump-stops, the final drive housing with two-part drive sprocket and a small wheel that helps prevent the tank from throwing a track. The rear bulkhead is detailed with a pair of exhausts linked by a cross-brace, a jack with separate handle, plus two stowage boxes with stiffening Xs moulded-in. The lower hull is fitted with armoured final drive surrounds, bump-stops, the drive sprockets, interleaved road wheels and idler wheels on both sides, finishing the lower hull by installing the rear bulkhead. The tracks are link-and-length, with long sections top and bottom, a short straight section on the diagonals, and individual links around the tightly curved ends to the runs. A scrap diagram shows the correct sag to the return run, and of course the task must be carried out on both sides of the vehicle. The top run will be mostly hidden by the side skirts, which are mounted under the sponsons on L-shaped brackets, finishing the front by adding the curved mud guards. Two towing eyes are mounted on the rear on the torch-cut ends of the hull sides, which are smooth and would benefit from adding the texture with a little liquid glue and a blade indented across the end. The upper hull is well-detailed, and should have two small holes drilled at the front of the deck, adding hatches for the front crew, racks filled with separate pioneer tools, and additional racks at the rear that hold spare track links. The large engine inspection hatch is prepared with lifting handles, the driver’s vision port is made from two parts and installed, adding a headlight to the side, and fitting track links to the racks at the rear, then covering the louvres on the engine deck with PE mesh to keep smaller debris such as grenades out of the engine bay. A two-part travel lock is mounted on the front of the hull using the two holes drilled earlier, and a tube for the barrel cleaning rods is locked into place on brackets on the left side of the hull. The turret is moulded with all but the rear face that has a circular hatch moulded into it, plus the roof. It is glued onto the lower turret part, and has a choice of two cupola types for the commander. One has a tapered cast body and vision blocks moulded-in, the other is layered from four parts and has an MG34 machine gun on a pintle mount at the front. The gunner’s hatch is a single part with a handle attached just in front on the corner, leaving just the main gun to build. This is made from the breech, which is not accurate because it won’t be seen, adding two poly-caps to the pivots, the mantlet to the front, and the single-part barrel with slide-moulded hollow muzzle slipped into the front, pushing the completed assembly back into the turret aperture to locate it. The final step involves joining the upper and lower hull halves, and adding the turret to the ring, then installing a pair of width indicator ‘lollipops’ to the front mud guards. Markings As is usual with Hobby Boss, the markings options don’t give any details of when and where the schemes were seen, but give colour codes in Mr Hobby, Acrysion, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol paint systems. From the box you can build one of the following: The sheet includes three rows of 0-9 digits plus a few spare zeroes and 741 codes for one of the decal options, plus two Balkenkruez crosses in case you wish to use them. All the numbers and crosses have a thin white outline, and they appear to be in good register under magnification. Conclusion If you’re looking for a crisply-moulded 1:48 Panther for your next project, this will make a good candidate, striking a balance between size and detail, without unnecessary oversimplification. It will however be a faster build than a 1:35 scale alternative, and take up a lot less space in the cabinet. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hobby Boss is to rebox in late December 2016 the Tristar's 1/35th Fieseler Fi 156A-0/C-1 Storch kit - ref.80180 Source: http://www.hobbyboss.com/index.php?g=home&m=article&a=show&id=76 Box art Even the box art is the same Sources: https://www.scalemates.com/kits/105657-tristar-35034-fieseler-fi-156-a0-c1-storch http://www.tonyshop.fr/tristar-103/tristar-35034-fieseler-fi-156-a-0/c-1-storch-1/35-6060.html For kit reviews: http://www.cybermodeler.com/hobby/kits/tri/kit_tri_35034.shtml http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/tristar/tri35034.html http://www.militarymodelling.com/news/article/fieseler-fi-156-c-3-trop-storch-in-1-35/7466 V.P.
  3. Hobby Boss is to release a new tool 1/48th Lockheed U-2R Dragon Lady kit in 2015/2016 - ref.81740 Source: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234972796-hobbyboss-148-for-2015/?p=1828290 V.P.
  4. Hi All Started yesterday, Trailer first as I think a bit more leeway for poor fitting parts, get a feel for assembly for the Scammell itself, so far so good, gooseneck a bit of a tight fit to get the deck plate in, might not take too long, as the whole thing is just Green all over. Cheers All any tips on this would be appreciated if you have done one Mark
  5. Hello everyone, I have decided that I will start the new year 2024 with a chinese submarine: a Golf type 031: . . . . Very difficult for me to find the "right blue"... . . Chris
  6. While I was building my Me 262 2-seater I thought it would be a good time to build this kit that I have had for a few years, the Hobby Boss Me 262A-1a/U4. First a bit of history behind it: As the daylight bomber attacks on Germany intensified in 1944, attempts to bring down large numbers of American B-17 and B-24 bombers was getting more difficult. they were coming in ever larger formations of up to 800 aircraft and with over a 1,000 fighters for protection. Gorings first idea was to build more German bombers, he reasoned that if the Luftwaffe bombed the UK severely they would be too pre-occupied to carry on attacking Germany. This idea didn't go down well and it was pointed out that German industry was unable to produce sufficient aircraft to match the allies productivity even without the bombing of their aircraft industry. General Galland knew that his fighter pilots were being killed in ever greater numbers due to the defensive fire from the bombers and also their fighter escorts. As heavier weapons were fitted to the FW 190 and Bf 109 German defensive fighters to enable them to bring down the US bombers, this extra weight reduced their performance and they became easier targets for the US escort fighters. An idea to use ever larger calibre weapons that could destroy the attacking bombers with a single round from outside the range of their defensive fire was devised. Bf 110's with 37mm canon and then Me 410 aircraft with a 50mm canon were utilised, however results were inconclusive, these heavily armed twin engined fighters were easy prey for the more agile single engine US fighters and with such a long barrel, even a small deflection made the projectile miss it's target. Despite evidence that the 30mm weapons were downing the majority of US bomber losses an attempt to fit the 50mm canon to the jet powered Me 262 interceptor was attempted in 1945. The first Me 262 was converted from a standard fighter, to accommodate the large weapon the nose shape was enlarged and the nose wheel had to rotate flat with the underside of the nose on retraction. after evaluation this aircraft was issued to JV 44 and flown in combat on 16 April 1945, attacking a force of B-26 Marauders of the 9th AF it's canon jammed. No other flights were recorded and the aircraft was destroyed as US ground forces approached the base. Two other aircraft were being converted to carry a 50mm weapon, only one was completed and it was captured by US ground forces at Lechfeld airfield. It was marked up with US markings and then flown to France with the intention of being shipped back to the USA for testing. Unfortunately it crashed on landing, thus ending the saga of the 50mm armed Me 262's. Here is the Hobby Boss kit: As can be seen, it has not been started. These kits are good fitting but need a bit more work to assemble than the Tamiya kit, but HB made all the obscure versions so we are lucky for that. I have some extra bits to help make this kit, some Eduard resin wheels to replace the strange kit ones, a Master metal barrel with a nicely perforated brass muzzle break to replace the kit's solid plastic one. The kit provides a metal nose wheel bay to provide sufficient nose weight and it is correctly shaped so that the nose wheel could lay flat. Some Quinta 3D cockpit decals to perk up the instrument panel and side consoles. The kit markings are a bit mixed up, it shows the initial nose art applied by the US forces, "Wilma Jeanne", this was later changed to "Happy Hunter II" before its final fight to Cherbourg where it crashed on landing. It never carried either of these names with German markings just the alpha/numeric V083. I'm not sure yet how I will finish the aircraft, but if you want the nose art you have to source your own US star and bar decals. It will give me something to do while my other Me 262 build has it's sprue gloop hardening. Any questions or comments are always welcome.
  7. In Autumn 1944 I./KG(J) received a Me 262B1 trainer jet, it was painted with a white lightning bolt from the windshield to the nose cone on both sides of he nose. There were two photos published in the Luftwaffe Im Focus magazine. I have the 1/48th Hobby Boss kit of the Me 262B-1a that has these markings. The kit is nicely detailed but the real thing had most of the panel lines and rivets were puttied and smoothed to maximise the speed that could be obtained from the Jumo jet engines. The wheels in the kit look a bit strange, the wheel rims are moulded smooth with the tyres and the sidewalls of the main tyres have a strange pattern marked on them so I will replace them with some resin ones from Eduard. There is a set of Montex masks for the canopy and also the national and other markings and some Quinta 3D decals to enhance the cockpit. I started off by adding some dissolved putty on the fuselage panel and rivet lines just like the real thing, while that dried I set to on the cockpit parts. There aren't too many parts, the side consoles and i/p had all the raised detail removed ready for the 3D decals, all other cockpit parts were added to the tub ready to get painted. I assembled the gun bay, since I will be having the gun bay panels closed so it seems pointless to add the 4 canon and belt chutes. The upper and lower wings parts were removed from the sprues and cleaned up, I'm looking at photos to see which panel/rivet lines I need to fill. In the lower photo you can see a second cockpit tub from a single seater, this is because I realised that HB have only made the cockpit of the nightfighter. I thought it was strange that there were no rudder pedals or control column in the back when the trainer version had full dual controls for the experienced pilot in the rear seat. The aerials are included in the kit so it is exactly the same moulding, just different decals and box art, but it means it's up to the builder to correctly modify the kit if they want to make the trainer version. So much for a quick, straight forward kit build. The aircraft that were built as nightfighters had no flight controls in the back, only the radar controls, but the main difference was the 600 litre fuel tank added behind the radar operator, this meant his seat was moved forward reducing the area of the rear cockpit. I've worked out how to correct this error, I need to cut off the short rear cockpit behind the pilots seat and add a spare single seat cockpit section with all the flight controls onto the front tub, with a bit of fettling this will make it right, then I just need to scribe a new step panel and fuel access panel to the left side of the fuselage under the rear canopy... simples! Any questions or comments always welcome.
  8. After the recently finished A-7E, my dad starts the next modern subject. DSC_0001 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0002 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr
  9. Here’s my "VIRGINIA" I did just finished recently: . . . . . . Chris
  10. I've put the finishing touches to this 1/32nd scale B-24 over the Bank Holiday weekend and took advantage of some spring sunshine to take some pictures of the completed model outside in natural light. I've been working on this on and off for a year or so, and it has been the ideal project to pick up and do a bit to as and when I felt like it. This model doesn't get the best press but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. You can spend a fortune on after-market improvements if you wish, but other than some seat belts, resin wheels and gun barrels, this is how it comes in the box. The interior is crammed with detail and took a long time to complete - excellent value for your money when you compare it to the price of the other 1/32nd 'heavies' on the market. Fit was excellent throughout and the only filler used was to deal with a small gap along the underside of the nose where, I believe, I hadn't got the interior aligned as perfectly as I could. The turrets, however, are a weak point of the kit. It's been well documented that the rear turret (and forward turret on the J-version) have a very visible seam right down the middle. Aftermarket replacements are currently sold out so instead I used the kit rear turret and painted the mating surfaces black before gluing and this has made the unsightly join a little less conspicuous. For some reason Hobby Boss put heavy framing on the upper turret which doesn't exist on any B-24 turret I've seen, so this was sanded off and the dome given a good polish so it now better represents the Martin turret fitted to this model of Liberator. I didn't want to risk putting the colossal amount of nose weight into this as I was using the kit's plastic landing gear (which is perfectly strong enough to cope with the weight of the 'un-weighted' model) so I made a tail strut as was so often put in place when B-24s are parked on the ground. The kit doesn't come with the most inspiring of schemes for an olive drab B-24, so I did a bit of research on 'Satan's Angels' and painted the model to represent this aircraft as it would have looked in the autumn of 1943 with the group insignia on the tail and the short-lived red surround to the stars and bars. This aircraft was actually written off in a landing accident at Lympne in Kent, when the nose wheel collapsed and it ended up in a ditch on 13th November of that year. I used Kits World national insignia as well as the Profimodeller stencil set. All in all a very enjoyable build, and if you want a large 1/32nd bomber that doesn't break the bank but still gives you plenty of detail, I thoroughly recommend this kit. All the best, Tom Consolidated B-24D Liberator, 'Satan's Angels' of the 328th Squadron of the 93rd Bomb Group, based at Hardwick, Suffolk, Autumn 1943.
  11. Hi all, Trying something new with this tried and tested Hobby Boss kit of the tropicalised Spitfire Vb. This model is intended to complement the 1/32 Spitfire Vc I'm also planning to build over the winter! The box! Nice artwork of Wg Cdr Ian Gleed's clipped and cropped Vb with the Aboukir filter. My intention is to build it with an interchangeable nose section so I can swap out the exposed full engine nose for the streamlined covered version using magnets. Quite ambitious, but technically possible! I'll be building it as AB502, Ian Gleed's Vb of 244 Wing. All the best, Alan
  12. Sometimes I cheat on my Luftwaffe planes with USN a/c, although, an F4F was actually my first ever 1/48 scale kit. Last effort: the Revell Dauntless. Besides my fascination with carrier aviation, I also wanted to use this kit to try out weathering with oil paints. It came out, well, let's say allright - with much room for improvement. and it goes nicely with my collection so far, especially on the flight deck (and YES I am aware that the flight deck is Japanese, but I couldn't get my hands on the US version ) As always, thanks for looking Cheers here's my collection from the "dark" side https://photos.app.goo.gl/od4agvy1tebuSm7L8
  13. Hi, It's the last submarine I built:, HMS Astute (Hobby Boss): . . . . . . The sea made of resin... Chris
  14. Pz.Kpfw.VI Sd.Kfz.182 Tiger II Henschel 105mm (84559) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The King Tiger needs little introduction to most armour aficionados, as it became one of WWII's truly iconic AFVs, even though it saw only limited action in the closing months of the war, and had serious flaws that were never fully resolved due to its short time in service before the factories and then the Reich were over-run. As with any new equipment, Hitler was insistent that he was involved and always wanted bigger (compensating much?), which resulted in a heavily armoured tank with a massively powerful gun, but weight problems that put undue strain on its engine and transmission, resulting in a high preventative maintenance burden and frequent breakdowns on the battlefield. It has been said that more King Tigers were lost by crews having to abandon and scuttle a broken-down vehicle during a fight than were knocked out in battle. The design was complex, and although the simpler later turret design was chosen over the alternative and more complicated early offering to ease construction, it still took far too much time and valuable resources to create one, especially when compared to the comparatively rustic T-34s that the Soviets were churning out in huge numbers. The initial turret design was more complex to produce, and can be identified by their curved sides to accommodate the commander’s cupola, which was difficult to produce as it demanded high levels of accuracy in shaping thick armour-grade steel. This is the turret we usually call the “Porsche Turret”. They were fitted to the first tanks off the production line, and as such the later simplified design that we call the “Henschel turret” should by rights be the "second production turret", as the initial turret design was a common element of both Porsche and Henschel designs. Upgrades were proposed to solve some of the more pressing issues with the type, which included a replacement fuel-injected engine that would add around 100hp to the power available, although a new gearbox and transmission unit was discarded due to negative experiences during testing. The main armament was also to be upgraded to a 105mm KwK L/68 unit, but the army had not yet accepted the design, so it would have been a risky upgrade. As it happened however, events conspired against the Nazis and the war ended before any significant improvements could be made to the already impressive capabilities of the Königstiger, which we interpret literally as King Tiger, but actually refers to the Bengal Tiger in German. It took bravery on the part of Allied tankers to tackle a King Tiger, as they had to get well inside the killing zone of the mighty 88mm gun in order to penetrate the frontal armour, and even the flanks weren't easy to breach, having 80mm of sloped armour on the hull and turret sides. The Allied tankers developed a technique whereby a squad of tanks would attack a KT from various directions, hoping that in the confusion one or more would be able to flank their target and get close enough to penetrate the side armour, while the others dodged incoming rounds from the devastating main gun. This task was made a little easier by the introduction of the ‘Jumbo’ Sherman with high velocity gun, and the Pershing heavy tank, although these were also only available in limited numbers before the war ended. The Kit This is a new boxing of the base kit from 2018 with additional parts to depict the larger gun, building on their well-detailed rendition of the behemoth. The kit arrives in a large top-opening box with a painting of the 105mm equipped KT that is presumably rolling through the debris of Berlin in a last-ditch attempt to stave off defeat. Whether any up-gunned KTs were taken from the testing ground into action we’ll probably never know for certain, although that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The fact that one of the decal options has a red primer covered turret certainly implies that the designers of the kit think they did, but I can’t remember seeing any evidence in my wanderings. Inside the box is a small divide to keep the sprues from moving about unnecessarily, and there are plenty of them to be kept still. There are fourteen sprues of grey styrene, ten in brown, a single clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) in a small bag with the decal sheet and a card backing, the instruction booklet that is printed in black and white, and a single sheet of glossy A4 printed in colour that depicts the two markings options. Detail is very good, especially on the armoured areas of the tank, where there is a nicely restrained depiction of the texture common to rolled armour-grade steel of the era. The sand-cast texture on areas such as the exhaust armour and the mantlet is present, although it would probably benefit from being accentuated by stippling with liquid glue or Mr Surfacer and an old brush to ensure it doesn’t disappear under paint. Construction begins with the lower hull, adding the armour covers to the front of the final drive housings, then threading the swing-arms and torsion bars through the hull from both sides, followed by the road wheels, which must be applied in the correct order to achieve the interleaved effect. The four-part idler wheels and two-part drive sprockets with the final drive bell-housing incorporated are made up in a confusing flurry with arrows everywhere, then they too are installed along with long and short caps to the centres of the road wheel stacks. The tracks come next, and they’re an interesting part of the model as they have good detail, and with a little care can be made up to be workable. Each track run is handed, and every link is made from the main part that has the tread detail moulded-in, and has an insert added to the inner face, with another overhanging behind it un-glued. This then forms the insert for the next link, with another insert added to the rear, a process that continues until you have a run of 92 links per side. The main link has two sprue gates on the hinge-points, while the inserts each have two sprue gates on edges that are easily sliced away, so shouldn’t take long to prepare. There are also three tiny recessed ejector-pin marks on the exterior face, but with paint and a little bit of mud they probably won’t be noticed, so fill them if you’re inclined or hide them later. Attention shifts to the rear bulkhead, which is detailed with twin exhausts in armoured shrouds, adding two track tools, Notek convoy light and a large shackle between the exhausts, which is something I’ve not seen before. The bulkhead is slotted into the rear of the lower hull and has a pair of towing shackles clipped on with no glue, allowing gravity to do its work. The upper hull has the domed kugelblende armour fitted to the glacis from the outside, adding the pivot and socket from inside, and a clear periscope through a slot in the front deck. To fill the hole in the ball-mount, the machine gun is made up with sighting and grip mechanisms, plus a twin saddlebag magazine, and a domed cap on the left that allows the top of the gunner’s head to take some of the weight of the breech and assist with movement. The rear of the upper hull is open at this stage, with just two rails joining the front to the back, which will help support the engine deck insert when it is completed. Work starts on this by adding the large maintenance hatch in the centre with triple mushroom vents mounted on top, then detailing it with lifting hooks, more mushroom vents and hinge-covers, applying PE meshes over the grilles to prevent debris and grenades getting into the engine bay, followed by mounting it over the bay. The front hatches are usually moulded in an insert on King Tiger kits, but Hobby Boss have elected to mould it into the upper hull, having a small insert with a clear periscope in front of the driver’s hatch, fitting armoured covers over it and the other periscope that was installed earlier, plus simple hatches. The pioneer tools are installed all over the deck and side of the upper hull, the hand-tools having PE clasps, while the fully styrene towing cables with moulded-in barrel-cleaning rods are mounted on pegs on the sloped hull sides, surrounded by more pioneer tools with PE clasps. At the front, a cyclopean headlight is mounted on a central bracket on the glacis, with the wiring snaking away aft, adding some PE details for effect. The fenders are moulded as single lengths on each side, and these have been thinned at the edges to give a more realistic look. At first glance, the instructions seem to imply that adding the fenders should be done over the small rectangular PE mounting blocks, but a short text to the side states (using mostly part numbers) that you either fit the fenders or the mounting blocks. If you cut sections of the fenders out to depict lost portions, you can apply the blocks in the missing area, and depending on whether you think that the area behind the fenders would be left in primer, that gives some leeway for a little bit of fancy painting. In action, these fenders were often casualties of incautious or hurried manoeuvring, and were bent, mangled, or even torn from their mounts, as evidenced by many photos of the type. A pair of front mudguards of the later type are pushed onto rectangular holes at the front of the hull, adding separate sloped sides, and two more towing shackles are clipped over the torch-cut ends of the hull sides below. The texture of torch-cut armour isn’t replicated at the front or rear, so check your references and have a go at recreating that if you wish. It’s not too difficult, and can be achieved with a file or sharp blade. Speaking of the rear, simple sloped panel mudguards are fixed to the rear, with small PE eyelets added to the mounting point. Turret time! The turret build starts with some of the ancillaries, first of which is the commander’s cupola, which has seven vision blocks inserted into the two-part surround, with seven frames glued to the interior, plus six armoured covers and one that has a pin moulded into the top, attaching the three-part hatch with a long pin from below so that it can raise and turn to open, adding a PE backup sight to the front of one periscope. The mantlet shroud is next, which is specific to this variant, made from three interlinked cylinders of varying sizes and lengths, plus a PE part folded and glued on top of the widest section. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler radiused rectangular affair, having grab-handles inside and out, plus a locking wheel in the centre and a curved hinge-guide on the underside. The rear turret hatch is built from two layers that trap another part in between, then a pistol-port is inserted into the centre from both sides (I thought these were deleted on later production?), adding grab-handles and hinge-points, which are partly covered by either a styrene inner layer, or alternatively, a PE part that is bent to the curve shown next to it in the instructions. The outside also has a grab-handle fixed to the top edge. The larger 105mm barrel is particular to this variant, and is made from a full-length section that has the wider portion fleshed out by adding the other half of the cylinder to the hollow half, fitting a four-part muzzle brake to the dangerous end. With careful fitting and sanding of the mould seams, no-one will know it isn’t made from turned aluminium. As it’s an exterior kit, the turret interior is absent, the gun pivot made by fixing a short cylindrical socket to the two-part floor by a pair of trunnions, using no glue on the pegs if you want to pose the gun later, or just leave it mobile "for reasons". The upper turret is slide-moulded as a single part minus the front, adding two bent PE parts to the forward roof, positioning them with the aid of two scrap diagrams nearby. More detail is fitted to the roof in the shape of mushroom vents, a shell ejection port and some lifting eyes, then inserting the two-part mantlet in the open front from both sides. Surprisingly, there are detail parts inside the roof of the turret, carrying the external details inside, and adding a periscope and more details just in case humanity gains the ability to see round corners later in our species’ evolution. The gunner’s hatch, commander’s cupola and yet more details are installed over the following steps, including multiple cleats on which to hang spare track links, adding three to the rear and two to the front of the side armour. All the location points for these small parts are marked on the hull texture as very fine, almost invisible shapes to help you, which also extends to the strange blister-shapes that are applied to the top edges of the turret sides. I must find out what those are, as I’ve not seen them before. The spare track links have small portions removed because they are hung individually rather than as a run, showing where to cut in more scrap diagrams. The gun shroud slots over the tube projecting from the mantlet, and that accepts the rest of the barrel, adding the rear hatch at the same time. Incidentally, this was the only way the gun could be removed from the turret after completion of the real thing, which explains its presence and comparatively large size, as well as the fact that it can hinge almost flat against the deck. The completed turret drops into position on the hull, and as it doesn't have the usual bayonet fitting to hold it in place, you'll need to remember that if you ever turn it upside down. Markings There are two options on the profile sheet, and as usual Hobby Boss’s designers aren’t forthcoming with information on their veracity or otherwise, but as this particular variant wasn’t officially involved in combat, you can take them with as many pinches of salt as you wish, or just go your own way and paint it how you see fit. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are printed in China, and have decent register etc., but as none appear to be used on the profiles, they’re only there in case you’d like to use them. The shaping of some of the blue-on-white digits is unusual and would probably send a font-designer into apoplexy, but the vehicle codes were often hand-painted by crew members, and could be pretty amateur. Conclusion I have a fair few Tigers and KTs in my stash, and this appears to be a decent model of the beast that terrified Allied tankers whenever it turned up on the battlefield. It’s unusual because of the gun, and detail is good all over, even down to the texture on the hull parts. The tracks will be time-consuming, but that’s tracks for you, plus there’s the easy get-out of slapping some muck on them to hide any seam lines or ejector-pin marks you didn’t get round to. Highly recommended. At time of writing these kits are on heavy discount with 30% off their usual price at Creative Review sample courtesy of
  15. GAZ-AAA with Quad Maxim AA Gun (84571) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd Based on the license-built Ford AA Truck, the predecessor to the Triple-A was named the AA, and was the GAZ factory’s first truck, built at their Gorky plant, which was renamed in the 90s to Nizhny Novgorod. The AA was however, an upgraded version of the original Ford truck, built from more robust steel and with similarly improved suspension to cope with the rigors of Soviet era Russia’s “roads”, which were sometimes little more than muddy tracks in the winter, and dusty, rutted trails during the summer once the mud had solidified. By 1938 almost a million had been produced, and the AAA is a three-axle variant, with just under 37,000 built between 1936 and 43, many of which were pressed into military service, with a substantial number of those fitted with a pedestal that mounted a four-gun arrangement of Maxim 7.62mm machine guns, arranged four-abreast, with a single ring and bead sight that would be used by the gunner to aim his weapon. Its load capacity of 1.5 tonnes allowed it to carry plenty of ammunition to feed the hungry Maxims, which could fire up to 600 round per minute, per gun, a rate that would rapidly deplete any stores during an extended air raid. The truck’s design was supremely oblivious to aerodynamics, mounting a vertical windscreen and grille, only the tapering engine compartment giving any concession to the concept of wind resistance. Fitted with a pair of frog-eye headlights in front of the GAZ 3.3 litre engine that put down its 50hp of power through a four-speed gearbox reaching a maximum speed of just under 50mph, although how often the roads were suitable for such speed is unknown. As well as being used to carry four Maxims, two other single-barrelled weapons could be fitted instead, using the 12.7mm DShK “Dooshka” or a 25mm 72-K autocannon that must have really shaken the truck’s chassis and crew. The Kit This is a reboxing of Hobby Boss’s 2016 release of the basic AAA truck, but with the quad Maxim installation on the truck bed, and ammo storage added behind the headboard. It arrives in a standard top-opening box with the corrugations showing slightly through the box art, which is well painted. Inside are thirteen sprues in sand-coloured styrene, two sprues of clear parts, ten flexible black tyres, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret, a sheet of pre-cut masks (not pictured), decal sheet, the black & white instruction booklet, and a separate painting and decaling guide that is printed in colour on both sides of a sheet of glossy A4 paper. Detail is good, with a full chassis, engine and bay, plus the cab interior and load area with gun mount. The inclusion of masks for both sides of the cab is useful, although the cut edges are very hard to see on the sheet, which is one of the reasons we didn’t photograph it. flexing the sheet between your fingers should reveal them though, and referring to the sprue map should help further. Construction begins with the chassis, installing the cross-braces between the individual rails, the rearmost rails made from three parts each. The rear axle is a model in its own right, including leaf-springs, differential housings, cleats and the drive-shafts that link the two axles together. The finished assembly is fixed to the tubular cross-brace at the rear, adding another brace in the mid-chassis, and a stowage box, possibly for the battery on one rail forward of the centre. The engine is then built from a prodigious part-count, including block, transmission, ancillaries, serpentine belt that runs the fan and dynamo, adding hosing, other ancillaries and two of the driver’s foot-pedals on the left of the gearbox, after which is it mounted on the chassis, along with a pair of long control rods that lead to the rear axles. The front axle is built on an A-frame, with a single leaf-spring across the top, adding the drum brakes and steering linkages that forces the wheels to move in unison in the same direction. A clutch plate and short exhaust pipe with muffler are fitted at the same time as the front axle is installed, fixing another thick tubular linking rod between the pivot-point of the rear axle assembly. Drop-links are added to the front axle, and the power is brought to the rear axles by way of another drive-shaft, completing the assembly by fitting dampers and another pair of leaf-springs to the rear axles. The front wheels are made from single-part hubs and have their tyres stretched over them, while the rear wheels are assembled in the same manner using different hubs that are then joined together to create the paired wheels, four of which are mounted to the ends of the rear axles. The tread detail moulded into the tyres should react well to flooding with pigment, and the raised manufacturer’s details and specification is nice to see. Between the front and rear wheels, two dropped brackets are installed on the rails to support the running boards that are moulded into the front wings, adding a pair of outward-curving brackets for the bumper at the front, fixing the engine firewall and some dash-pots, as well as the two chunky chassis rails to the top of the basic chassis, with notches to accept the load bed later. The cab floor is fitted directly to the chassis with the gear stick, mode-change lever, handbrake lever, and third pedal, then the bench seat part is mounted at the rear of the floor. At the same time, a set of U-bolts are used to join the two chassis rails together, and a towing hitch is fixed to the rearmost cross-brace. The dash board with instrument panel and decals is glued against the firewall, adding a three-part steering column and wheel underneath, then creating the back wall of the cab by inserting the rear window and masking it, and adding a lip around the sides and roof, the reason for which will become apparent later. A three-part cow-catcher is made and inserted under the front of the vehicle, then the windscreen and tapering forward cab section is made from several parts including a clear windscreen, covering the dash and stopping just over the firewall. A pair of support rods are fitted between the bulkhead and front of the engine, and another pot is fixed to the bulkhead, a little out of sequence, so it’s worth noting and gluing on earlier before you paint the firewall. Incidentally, the windscreen has masks for both sides, which is great news for the modern modeller. A pair of busy diagrams see the doors being fitted with windows that also have double-sided masks, the cowling panels and radiator grille, then the two top cowlings, which offer the possibility of posing one or both open, and finally the roof, closing the cab if you have chosen to leave the doors closed. A cross-bar that links the wings has a horn fixed on the left side, and a headlight with clear lens at either end, radiator cap, PE badge, twin-rail bumper with number plate, and a single wing mirror finish off the plastic parts of the cab, leaving PE drip-rails above the door cut-outs, and handles to the lower panels of the bonnet. A scrap diagram from overhead shows where the radiator cap and another filler cap should be on the cowling for some reason. The planked truck bed is made in short order, adding four shallow sides to the bed, then flipping it over to install two substantial cross-beams, and a stowage area between two more beams, plus six hooks under the lips of the sides for securing tilt tie-downs. Turning the bed over again, a winding wheel is mounted to a panel on the inside of the bed, and a PE latch is added to the tailgate. A full width storage box contains eighteen individual ammo cans, with a slightly smaller flat box sat on top, and a door folded down to access the boxes within, which is fixed on a pair of pegs to the front of the load bed. The bed is then mounted on the rear of the chassis, the cross-beams lining up with the recesses in the top chassis rail, and two PE strips are folded into two sides of a triangle, and fixed to the tailgate, probably a job for after main painting. There are three holes left in the load floor, which will locate the gun mount. The mounting frame for the Maxim has them laid four abreast, fitting the firing lever across the back of the frame, then mounting each of the four guns and their redundant twin-handles across the frame, and securing them at the front with a swooping hose that leads nowhere, possibly the feed for the cooling jacket around the barrel, although there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reservoir anywhere nearby. A pair of curved tubular frames are fitted beneath the main frame, and the rack for three ammo cans is made up from several parts, adding feeds to the underside of the guns, which initially seems odd, as there are four guns in total. The last ammo supply is fixed directly to the gun from the side of the frame, and it’s that way because all the guns have their ammo feeds from the right side of the breech. A pair of receiver hooks on the top of the ammo supply assembly supports the underside of the gun frame, then a traversing mechanism is placed on the conical mount, which has a three-pointed base and is further supported by three rods. The gun frame slots into a hole in the top, and the last ammo feed is glued to the right-most gun so that the completed assembly can be fitted into the load bed floor on three pins. Markings There are two decal options portrayed on the sheet, and as is usual with Hobby Boss, there is no information given about where and when they served, but you do get drawings from all sides in full colour. From the box you can build one of the following: Hobby Boss’s decals are usually functional, although they’re not their strongest suit. This small sheet includes number plates that are repeated as stencils on the tailgate and doors of the vehicle in black and white, plus the dials in the cab, a couple of red and white stars, and an all-white roundel for the tailgate. They’re all printed well enough to be used, have good register, and although you can see some stepping on the stars at magnification, they should be sufficient for the task at hand. Conclusion The GAZ-AAA is an unusual-looking vehicle with a gaping space under the load bed, but even though it is based upon a Ford design, it is quintessentially Russian in looks, accentuated by the quad Maxim mount in the back. A couple of crew figures would have been nice, especially a gunner with hands aligned to the gun mechanism. I’m sure someone will oblige in due course though. I’ll wait. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Hello Everyone After a long time of not posting anything here, i catch moment of break in a business obligations, and use that opportunity to take a picture of one of the modes made in the meantime. Hobby BOSS U-2A, beautiful model, with smaller errors related to exact 2A version (as far as I read), but extremely enjoyable model to make. Everything fits excellent, except for smaller problems with cockpit glass, which need a little fitting . The colours used are AK REAL COLOURS , decals from Caracal U-2 Dragon Lady. And that's it, I hope you like the model, , until the next finished one, best regards to all
  17. #16/2023 So, here´s my dad´s fifth and last yellow winged chubby naval fighter. Hobby Boss kit mostly oob, added seatbelts, antenna wire with EZ Line, fuselage code decals were to large and upper wing numbers way too small, used some decals from other kits, the black pinstripes are decals from the AM F3F kits. Painted with AK Xreme Metal White Aluminium , a selfmixed yellow and lemon yellow. Build thread here https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235126202-yellow-wings148-grumman-f4f-3-early-wildcat-vf-72-blue-burglarwasp-air-group-usn/ VF-72 received their first F4F-3 in December 1940, the unit was stationed on the USS Wasp. The unit was disbandoned end of March 1943. DSC_0001 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0002 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0003 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0004 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0005 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0006 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0007 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0009 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0010 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0011 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0012 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0013 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0014 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0015 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0002 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0018 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0019 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0020 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0021 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0001 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0002 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0003 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr
  18. Next Hobby Boss Corsair kit will be a 1/48th Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair early version - ref.80381. Release is announced for late August 2015. So should be available in the best hobbyshops in September-October. Source: http://www.hobbyboss.com/index.php?g=home&m=product&a=show&id=1125 Box art V.P.
  19. EA-18G Growler (85814) 1:48 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The EA-18G is a development of the F/A-18F two seat Super Hornet that originally went into service in 1999, and with series manufacture beginning in 2007 of this type, it replaced the EA-6B in the carrier based electronic warfare role. It is a more capable platform due in part to the march of technology, and the fact that it is based on a more modern airframe, allowing it to keep pace with other Allied assets during any mission. The airframe has been adapted to better fit the role, especially the wings that have been revised to provide a smoother ride for the electronic modules, that was achieved by adding wing fences and other tweaks. It still shares over 90% of parts with a standard Super Hornet, so the commonality of parts is of great help toward keeping these key aircraft in service. The aircraft has nine weapons stations that are usually filled with electronics pods specific to its role, although it can also carry more weapons by necessity, but its wingtip stations that would normally carry Sidewinders are instead fitted with detection pods. It can carry two AIM-120 AMRAAM and/or AGM-88 HARM missiles for self-defence on multi-modal conformal fuselage stations, which are its only means of defence due to the removal of its cannon to house additional electronics. As with many complex aviation projects it has had its problems, including technical as well as political issues, such as the desire to slow down production to string out the contract for various reasons. The US will field under 100 airframes by the time the contract is completed, and Australia’s dozen airframes may well make the total closer to that number. Of course, the type is under constant development in order to improve its operation and to resolve any of the inevitable gremlins that occur, with new equipment likely to be fielded and slung under the Growler over the coming years. The Kit This is a concurrent reboxing of Hobby Boss’s F/A-18 new Super Hornet from 2021 with additional parts to depict the adaptations made to the base airframe to create the Growler. It arrives in a large top-opening box with an internal divider, and inside are sixteen sprues and two fuselage halves in grey styrene, two in clear, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), two decal sheets, two glossy colour printed sheets with decal and painting instruction, and the instruction booklet in Hobby Boss’s usual landscape greyscale style. Detail is excellent throughout, with some exceptionally well-moulded gear and equipment bays around the model, and the inclusion of a small sheet of PE to add belts to the cockpit that is behind crystal clear glazing, so will be seen whether you leave the lid down or not. Construction begins with the two seats, which have been slide-moulded to reduce the part count while keeping the detail high. They are both fitted with a set of PE crew belts, and have stencil decals applied to the headbox, which also has a separate drogue-chute on the top, and a back plane fitted before they are dropped into the tub. HOTAS controls are supplied for each of the crew, and additional instruments are applied to the faceted side consoles, with controllers added along with decals. The instrument panels also have decals for their MFD covered faces, and the rear IP has a coaming between it and the front cockpit. The sidewalls are fitted in between the two sections, hiding away the blank interior of the fuselage once installed. As with many modern jets, the nose gear bay is directly below the pilots, and that bay is made from individual sides plus a few small additional detail parts. The bay is attached to the bottom of the cockpit tub using a short I-beam to support the rear, after which the completed assembly is surrounded by the skin of the nose section, which also has a pair of equipment bays moulded-in with impressive detail. Moving quickly on, the upper fuselage is prepared by drilling out a number of holes in its surface, plus those of the lower wing halves that are added early in the build. An A-shaped apron under the Leading Edge Root Extensions (LERX) is also installed along with doors for the built-in crew ladder under the port side, then the nose is attached to the fuselage from below after which it is faired in. With the model righted, the rear ‘turtle-deck’ and insert in front of the coaming are installed, the HUD is made up from two PE parts, two clear parts and a sled that it sits on once fitted to the coaming. The windscreen can be glued in place now, although there is a very fine seam from manufacture that should ideally be sanded away and polished back to clarity. Both parts of the canopy are slightly ‘blown’, so are made using three mould sections, with the resulting seam down the middle on the outside only. The seams on this kit are relatively fine thanks to the reduction in tolerances over the years, and you could create a perfectly acceptable model without bothering to remove them if you don’t feel confident. The circular hole in the nose is filled with a four-part radome, which can be left visible by hingeing the nose cone open in the next step. This is achieved by changing the insert in the rear of the cone for one with the hinge projecting from the side, with a common insert in the top of the cone. There is plenty of space for nose weight in this area for either option, although with the nose closed over, the centre of mass will be that much further forward, so less weight will go further. Hobby Boss have a habit of creating kits with parts that will never be seen again, and this one is no exception, having a pair of engines on the sprues, when only some of the detail will be seen unless you cut away some panels. Each tubular assembly is made up from two sub-assemblies, one made from three sections, the other from two. With the glue dried, they are both wrapped in two-part rings and have further detail parts applied to the sides, and representations of the afterburner and engine faces at appropriate ends. The lower fuselage ‘torso’ is then made up from three larger sections that have the intake trunks made by adding additional surfaces and tiny PE vanes on the inner side walls. The completed engines and their exhausts are fixed into the rear of this assembly, then are joined by the square intake trunks that transition to round by the time they meet the front of the motors. It is then attached to the underside of the fuselage and the moulded-in bays are painted white. They are further detailed by a number of ribs, and small section of the fuselage side is installed next to the exhaust trunking, ready to support the elevons later on. The Super Hornet was (re)designed from the (2nd life) outset as a carrier aircraft, so has a chunky set of landing gear that are captured here in plastic, with the rugged nose gear first to be made from a single part to which the clear landing light and other detail parts are added, then the twin two-part wheels are fixed to the axles, plus a bay door glued to the trailing retraction jack. Using different parts you can pose the launch bar up or down, depending on what you have in mind. The main gear legs are made from halves that trap an L-shaped insert and have layers of jacks fitted over the main struts, with a single wheel on a stub-axle at the end. All bays have additional actuators for the doors added in preparation for a plethora of well-detailed parts, one of which has a PE insert, and others have stencil decals applied after painting. At the same stage, the two equipment bays on the sides of the nose are given doors and stays, with no option shown for posing them closed. The wings are simplistic stubs at this stage, which is remedied now by adding the full-width flaps, each with their actuators, which can be posed deployed or ‘clean’ at your whim. The leading-edge slats and flap spoilers are then added, after which the outer folding section of the wings are made up in a similar fashion, with either a straight or angled joint if you plan on posing your model with wings folded for below-decks. The three pylons per wing are all made from two halves, and are affixed to the wings with another on the centreline that slots into holes in the underside of the fuselage. At the rear you can pose the arrestor hook in either down or stowed positions, and there are also two exhaust petal types for open or closed pipes. On the topside, the wing joints are covered by panels, and fences are installed on the inner wings, plus a few antennae around the nose area. The twin tail fins have separate rudders that differ if the wings are folded, and has a pair of clear lights added to each one, with the elevons just a pair of single thin aerofoils with a peg to join them to the aft of the fuselage. If you recall the optional boarding ladder door fitted at the beginning of the build, the reason it is optional becomes clear right at the end, when you build up the ladder, with separate steps and a brace that rests against the fuselage. It’s not abundantly clear how the area looks when exposed, but there are plenty of photos available online if you’re unsure. The weapons sprues are largely unused other than the gas bags, equipment pods and of course the two types of missile that the Growler carries for self-defence, namely the AGM-88 and AIM-120 with adapter rails. Check your references for the typical load-outs for real-world mission profiles, or use the chart on the rear page of the instructions, although it refers to “fuol tanks”, but then we’re none of us perfect. Markings I’ve been critical of HB’s dearth of information and options for their kits in the past, and was pleased to see two changes with this kit. Firstly, there are a whopping SIX options, and secondly, each option is provided with at the very least an airframe code, and many are also given a date and ship the aircraft was embarked upon at the time. From the box you can build one of the following: VAQ-129 #169136 VAQ-135 #166941 NAS Whidbey Island, 2011 VAQ-135 #166940 NAS Whidbey Island, 2011 VAQ-130 #168268 ‘Zappers’ USS Harry S Truman, 2016 VAQ-141 #166928 ‘Shadowhawks’ USS George H W Bush, 2010 VAQ-132 #166894 ‘Scorpions’, 2010 One sheet of A4 shows the location of the stencils for all decal options, while the individual aircraft are on the other larger A3 sheet, covering both sides and having stencil locations and colours for the weapons/equipment at the bottom of the back page. As usual with HB printing, they’re made anonymously in China, but are of sufficient quality for most, although the red bars on the national insignia seem a little off-centre to me. Conclusion Hobby Boss have created a well-detailed and attractive series of models of the F/A-18 Super Hornet that should sell well for them. The Growler is an interesting off-shoot of the type, and they’re often colourfully painted, as you can see above. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. German Sd.Kfz.186 Jagdtiger Henschel (84562) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The King Tiger was a development of the original Tiger that itself terrified Allied troops, but its fatal weakness was further stressing the over-stretched drivetrain by piling on yet more weight without significant improvements to the capabilities in these important areas. While it worked, the King Tiger was a formidable foe, but too often it was to be found broken-down and abandoned, often because of something trivial, but impossible to fix in the field. This was of no use to the Germans, who were already short of tanks due to their complexity and losses on both fronts, and if the vehicle was abandoned in battle, the crew were more than likely to scuttle it if they were able, or the Allies would put a few rounds into it just to be sure. Adding yet more weight to the King Tiger by creating a heavy tank killer would not seem to be a bright idea without radical improvements to the running gear, but this is exactly what the German engineers did. They stripped off the upper hull, discarded the turret and installed a fixed casemate with a huge Krupp 128mm main gun that could defeat any tank of the day with a single shot from outside the range of most if not all Allied armour. The gun had some lateral travel for fine-tuning its aim, but any significant change in direction of its prey required the driver to reposition the vehicle, needing firm cooperation between driver and gunner to achieve good results. The usual two contenders for the project were Porsche and Henschel, although these differed mainly in the suspension area, with the Porsche suspension using eight wheel stations while the eventual successful bid from Henschel had nine, helping to spread the immense ground pressure a little wider. Only eleven of the Porsche design were made early on, the rest built by Henschel to their specification. With 250mm rolled-steel armour on the casemate that was almost invulnerable at the time, the added weight caused extreme stress on the Maybach engine, with a range of only 50 miles at low speed over rough ground on a full tank of fuel. As fuel supply was becoming difficult at that point in the war, this later became a more serious problem when the two recipient units of the type lost a fifth of their strength due to fuel-shortage related issues. The seemingly perennial issue with Nazi tanks was the complexity of their designs, which meant that fewer than 100 were produced before the end of the war, although there is some uncertainty on those numbers due to the breakdown of record keeping toward the end. After the war three intact vehicles were reserved for evaluation, and one of those still resides in the Tank Museum at Bovington. It is only after you have seen the vehicle from close range that you realise what a monster it is, and how terrifying its presence must have been to tankers and infantry alike. The Kit This is a reboxing with new parts from Hobby Boss, based upon their Porsche production variant from 2022 and sharing some parts with their King Tiger kits, so it’s a very modern kit. It arrives in a large but shallow top-opening box with eleven sprues in sand-coloured styrene plus two hull halves, six sprues of brown track links, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, decal sheet, instruction booklet in greyscale, and a separate A3 glossy sheet printed in colour on both sides that details the colour schemes and decal locations. Detail is good, and it has a subtle but appropriate rolled steel armour texture over the surface, sand cast texture on armoured exhaust covers and the mantlet, and torch-cut ends to the upper hull armour, with weld-lines included where they intersect and overlap. The torch-cut texture on the ends of the lower hull side panels is absent though, as we’ll discuss later. Construction begins with the lower hull, adding the armour covers to the front of the final drive housings, then threading the swing-arms and torsion bars through the hull from both sides, followed by the road wheels, which must be applied in the correct order to achieve the interleaved effect. The four-part idler wheels and two-part drive sprockets with the final drive bell-housing incorporated are made up in a confusing flurry with arrows everywhere, then they too are installed along with long and short caps to the centres of the road wheel stacks. The tracks come next, and they’re an interesting part of the model as they have good detail. Each track run is handed, and every link is made from two parts with twin guide horns as additional separate parts, and have the tread detail moulded-in, adding the next link, a process that continues until you have a run of 48 double links per side. The two link parts have four sprue gates on the hinge-points, while the guide-horns each have one sprue gate on the edge that is easily sliced away, so shouldn’t take long to prepare. There are two tiny, faintly recessed ejector-pin marks on the recessed parts of the exterior face that you could easily miss without magnification, but with paint and a little bit of mud they probably won’t be noticed, so ignore them at your leisure. Attention shifts to the rear bulkhead, which is detailed with twin exhausts in armoured shrouds, adding two track tools, Notek convoy light, jack-block and a large shackle between the exhausts that requires the removal of the inner bolts on the armoured shrouds. The bulkhead is slotted into the rear of the lower hull and has a pair of small PE loops added to the flat rear mud guards. The upper hull has the domed kugelblende armour fitted to the glacis from the outside, adding the pivot and socket from inside, taking care with the glue. To fill the hole in the ball-mount, the machine gun is made up with sighting and grip mechanisms, plus a domed cap on the left that allows the top of the gunner’s head to take some of the weight of the breech and assist with precise movement, sliding a clear periscope from inside into the roof above. The rear of the upper hull is open at this stage, with just two rails joining the front to the back, which will help support the engine deck insert when it is completed. Work starts on this by adding the large maintenance hatch in the centre with two mushroom vents mounted on top, then detailing it with lifting hooks, more mushroom vents and hinge-covers, applying PE meshes over the grilles to prevent debris and grenades getting into the engine bay, followed by mounting it on the hull. The front hatches are usually moulded in an insert on most King Tiger and Jagdtiger kits, but Hobby Boss have elected to mould it into the upper hull with both, having a small insert with a clear periscope in front of the driver’s hatch, fitting armoured covers over it and the other periscope that was installed earlier, plus simple hatches and a mushroom vent on the right edge. As we don’t have a turret to build, the open rear of the casemate is made next, layering it up from two panels, fitting enormous armoured hinge covers each side, and the two clamshell doors that are also made from two layers to avoid sink-marks. Once in place without glue, the four hinges are clipped into position without glue, and a pair of grab-handles are installed to allow them to open and close, running a bar across the very bottom of the bulkhead before it is glued into position. The pioneer tools are installed all over the deck and side of the upper hull, the hand-tools having PE clasps, while the styrene towing cables with moulded-in barrel-cleaning rods are mounted on pegs on the sloped hull sides, surrounded by more pioneer tools with PE clasps. At the front, a cyclopean headlight is mounted on a central bracket on the glacis, with the wiring snaking away aft, adding some PE details for effect. The instructions diverge here into two options, allowing you to choose whether to have spare track links all along the side of the casemate, or just at the ends. If opting for the latter, you should remove the very fine positioning lines from the surface of the casemate, which should be simple enough, using either a sharp blade to scrape them off, or very careful sanding. It also applies to the aerial base at the top middle of the sidewall. Returning to the lower hull, a large insert is placed upon the floor, locating it on two turrets that stand higher than the torsion bars in the floor, adding a curved raised section that guides the gun’s limited rotation. There is a depiction of the breech and block made up and mated to the first barrel portion that has the recoil tubes moulded-in, and an insert placed between them, fitting thirty-two small PE lugs around the circumference of the barrel, and a flat plate to the other end, onto which the breech assembly is glued. A protective frame around the breech is made from two parts, then it is pinned between two trunnions and mounted on the base that now resides in the lower hull, adding a periscope as you finish. The upper hull is placed over the gun onto the lower, gluing it in place and adding the frontal armour over the barrel stub. A gaggle of small parts are fixed to the front deck along with a pair of towing shackles that just clip onto the torch-cut ends of the lower side armour. The texture of torch-cut armour isn’t replicated here, so check your references and have a go at recreating that if you wish. It’s not too difficult, and can be achieved with a file or sharp blade. Between the two shackles is the travel lock A-frame for the main gun, which is built from five parts plus a pair of mounting pivots on each side that have markers on the glacis to help with locating them. The casemate roof is shown separately for both versions, consisting of the installation of periscopes with armoured protectors, the main hatch with hinged smaller forward portion, lifting eyes, and for one version, a small part on the edge of the roof. The fenders are moulded as single lengths on each side, and these have been tapered at the edges to give a more realistic look. The small rectangular mounting blocks are moulded into the hull, with corresponding recesses in the fenders so that you don’t have to remove them if using the fenders. If you cut sections of the fenders out to depict lost portions, you can leave the blocks in the missing area, and depending on whether you think that the area behind the fenders would be left in red primer, that gives some leeway for a little bit of fun painting. In action, these fenders were often casualties of incautious or hurried manoeuvring, and were bent, mangled, or even torn from their mounts, as evidenced by many photos of the type. A pair of front mudguards of the later type are pushed onto rectangular holes at the front of the hull, adding separate sloped sides and PE brackets to complete them. A mass of brackets are fitted to the sides of the casemate, enough for two or three rows of track links two deep, the links for which have small portions removed to depict them as individual links that are ready for action. The mantlet for the big gun is made from three layers, and completed by inserting the barrel, which is moulded in halves, so take care when joining them to minimise clean-up afterwards. Another pair of towing shackles are fixed on the rear, with a choice of two locations for the anti-aircraft MG42 machine gun on the rear deck. Markings Surprisingly, there are four decal options on the small sheet, but unsurprisingly there is no information given regarding the where or when, or even if these schemes were documented. There is a varied choice of late-war schemes however, and all look at least plausible, so you have a choice to check your references, or just plough on and have fun with your model. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are well-printed and suitable for the task, consisting of ‘balkenkreuz’ standard crosses, and four different vehicle numbers. The paint call-outs are given in Gunze Sangyo Mr Color codes, with conversion suggestions for their alternative Acrysion brand, plus Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol codes to help you if Mr Color isn’t available or your preferred brand. Conclusion It’s a well-detailed exterior model of Nazi Germany’s Hail Mary tank design, ignoring the Maus that may or may not have seen action in the last days of WWII. It should build up into a respectable replica of this type. Highly recommended. At time of writing, this kit is available from Creative at a healthy 30% over their standard price. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Hobby Boss is to release in late July 2019 a 1/144th Shaanxi KJ-200 kit - ref. 83903 Source: http://www.hobbyboss.com/index.php?g=home&m=article&a=show&id=139&l=en V.P.
  22. Inspired by @Werdna's superb builds, I've made a start on Hobby Boss's 1/48 Focke Wulf Fw190D-9. Along with my Southern Europe GB Fw190F-8, these are the first Luftwaffe aircraft I've built since my early teens, so that's forty-odd years ago *shakes head in disbelief* Box top: The instructions are easy to follow, the decals seem to be thin but with good opacity, and the colour-printed separate markings sheet is a nice touch: HB pack each sprue individually, with the exception of the ordnance sprues which are two together, plus the transparency sprue is further packed in cushioning foam These guys certainly seem to care about their products! I'm building almost OOB: a Quinta Studio interior set is lined up to dress the cockpit, and a Master gun barrel set is on its way from Lowestoft (hopefully!). I have a "difficult" relationship with etch but the small sheet of etched brass included looks fairly straightforward, so I'll be making use of that. I'll probably use the kit decals on this one, although I've scored some nice Eagle Cals sheets and a great KommanDeur sheet recently from the 'Bay. Among others, a JV44 Papagei Staffel example beckons. Well, it would be rude not to! Although it's a relatively simple kit, certainly compared to, say, an Eduard offering, still it's well-detailed. Panel lines are beautifully restrained yet consistent. So far, fit has been exemplary, and HB seems to take a pride in making things as well-engineered and fool-proof as is possible. For instance, symmetrical parts have differently-sized fitting tabs so they can only be assembled in the correct orientation. Nice! The basis of the cockpit is together, and once its received a coat of RLM66 (tinted to match the Quinta decals) I'll post up some photos of it. My knowledge of Luftwaffe matters is limited: be prepared for errors along the way! So, hopefully more soon, and in the meantime thanks for looking in Cheers, Mark
  23. The M4 High-Speed Tractor was an artillery tractor used by the USArmy during the 2nd World War. The tractor used M4 Sherman tracks, roadwheels and drive sprocket. Two main variants were produced, one to tow a 90mm anti-aircraft gun (approx 2400 built) and the other to tow a 155mm gun or 8-inch howitzer (approx 3000 built) The rear passenger compartment carried the gun crew and other equipment and ammunition carried at the rear. I will be building this out of the box. That begs the question, what’s in the box?
  24. Another heavily weathered example. Been working on different styles and techniques. This is first time I've tried watercolor pencils. Any and all feedback is welcome.
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