Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Meng Model'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Community Calendar
  • Group Builds
  • Model Show Calendar


  • Site Help & Support
    • FAQs
    • Help & Support
    • New Members
    • Announcements
  • Aircraft Modelling
    • Military Aircraft Modelling Discussion by Era
    • Civil Aircraft Modelling Discussion by Era
    • Work in Progress - Aircraft
    • Ready for Inspection - Aircraft
    • Aircraft Related Subjects
  • AFV Modelling (armour, military vehicles & artillery)
    • Armour Discussion by Era
    • Work in Progress - Armour
    • Ready for Inspection - Armour
    • Armour Related Subjects
    • large Scale AFVs (1:16 and above)
  • Maritime Modelling (Ships and subs)
    • Maritime Discussion by era
    • Work in Progress - Maritime
    • Ready for Inspection - Maritime
  • Vehicle Modelling (non-military)
    • Vehicle Discussion
    • Work In Progress - Vehicles
    • Ready For Inspection - Vehicles
  • Science Fiction & RealSpace
    • Science Fiction Discussion
    • RealSpace Discussion
    • Work In Progress - SF & RealSpace
    • Ready for Inspection - SF & RealSpace
  • Figure Modeling
    • Figure Discussion
    • Figure Work In Progress
    • Figure Ready for Inspection
  • Dioramas, Vignettes & Scenery
    • Diorama Chat
    • Work In Progress - Dioramas
    • Ready For Inspection - Dioramas
  • Reviews, News & Walkarounds
    • Reviews
    • Current News
    • Build Articles
    • Tips & Tricks
    • Walkarounds
  • Modelling
  • General Discussion
  • Shops, manufacturers & vendors
  • Archive

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start





Website URL







Found 19 results

  1. ZTZ96B Chinese Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models The Type 96 or ZTZ96 is a second generation MBT of Chinese design which entered service with the PLA in 1997. The Type B tanks are an upgrade to the originals making the tank equivalent to a third generation MBT. The Type Bs have a new improved chassis coupled with a new engine and drive train. A new gun system has been added which features a new high performance gun, an upgraded fire control system, and an independent sight for the commander. The new Type B was first seen in 2016 when it attended the 2016 Tank Biathlon in Russia. The Kit This is a new kit from Meng though tooled in 2017 this is the first look we have had at it. As well as the main hull castings, and turret top there are 11 sprues of sand plastic, a clear sprue, the rear turret basket and a sheet of PE. In flexible vinyl there are the tracks, two separate gun mantlets and an ammo feed for the remote weapons station. Your build starts with the wheels. Two drive sprockets, two idler wheels and 12 sets of main wheels are built up. These include a poly cap which gets sandwiched between the pairs of wheels for each. Next up is the suspension. Here steel pins are joined to the suspension arms before they are pushed through the hull, Plates then secure these down from the inside of the hull. Additional mounting points for the drive sprockets, idler wheels, and return rollers are then added, with the return rollers being added as well. The wheels can then be pushed on, and the rubber tracks added. The rubber tracks are flat and must have the guide horns attached separately, these come on runs of 5 on the main sprues. Work now moves on to the upper hull. Various vision blocks, light, and other small parts are added. To the front of the main hull additional armour is added, along with the front fenders. Engine intakes are added, and a PE grill is put over these. The upper hull can then be joined to the lower hull. Once on the rear plate can be attached along with towing eyes and other small parts. The rear mounted extended range fuel drums can then be added. Side armoured skirts are then fitted. These vary dependant on which markings you are using, although the marking/paint diagrams don't actually show this and the information is in the main instruction booklet. Construction now moves to the business part of the MBT, the turret. The upper and lower parts of the main turret are put together and the outside armour plates added. Topside sights and vents are then also added, along with smoke dischargers and aerial mounts. The side mounted, partially enclosed stowage baskets are then built up and attached to the turret. The rear open basket is provided as a one part moulding, though TBH PE would give a truer representation of scale thickness. The hatches are then added, as is the commanders independent sighting system. The gun mantlet is added along with the main gun barrel. For the top of the turret depending on your marking options there is the standard 12.mm gun, or a modern remote weapon station. This is only for the decal option seen at the trade show, The turret can then be mounted onto the hull. Decals Decals are provide for 5 tanks;. two which attended the Tank Biathlon in 2016, two which attended in 2017 and one which was on show at a trade exhibition in China. Conclusion This looks to be a good kit from Meng of the latest Chinese Type 96, and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. British Army Husky TSV (VS-009) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Navistar International's (formerly International Trucks) militarised version of their XT is the basis for this heavily upgraded vehicle that is fitted with an armour package to protect it against small arms fire, mines and IEDs, and then further adapted to the British Army's specification as a Tactical Support Vehicle. It first saw service in 2009 in Afghanistan, and is intended to support light armoured vehicles in combat, and can be configured as an Ambulance, Command post or Utility Vehicle. It seats four which includes the two crew (driver and commander), and is four-wheel drive to ensure performance on rough ground in all conditions, with the ballistic protection extending to glazing, which must please its crew no-end! The frame is strong, and the hull angled to reduce the impact of mines and IEDs, as is common amongst M-ATVs of modern design. As is the current fashion with the MoD, it was given the name Husky in a similar manner as its stablemates the 6-wheeled monster Wolfhound and smaller Coyote, which are more suited to supporting larger AFVs. There are over 300 units in British service now, which is capable of up to 70mph on good ground thanks to its 340bhp 6-litre V8 diesel power plant. It is broadly similar to the American MXT-MV, but it has a catchier name, plus of course the UK specific equipment fit. The Kit A complete new tooling from Meng's Velociraptor range, and it would make sense to expect a number of other boxings for other configurations and operators, but at this stage that's mere speculation on my part. The kit is cocooned in one of their smaller sized boxes, and inside are six sprues and three separate parts in sand coloured-styrene, a clear sprue, four flexible plastic wheels, four poly-caps, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, decal sheet and instruction booklet with separate colour profiles sheet. This boxing allows the modeller to build a utility vehicle, which doesn't sound all that exciting, but that's a fairly dull description of such a tough vehicle with a big 12.7mm machine gun in a mounting on the roof, and its uses are much more varied than the title suggests. Detail is excellent, and the sprues contain parts for a highly detailed model, with only the engine missing, which is no big deal due to the armoured nature of its compartment rendering it invisible other than during maintenance. Construction begins with the chunky chassis, which has two levels and raised sections to accommodate the suspension and steering equipment. The big double shock absorbers are fitted front and rear, while the front suspension is fitted, which has the steering rack buried within, and can be left mobile with care. The rear suspension has a big transfer box and armour around it, with pegs holding it to the rear frame, and is joined by accessories, front inner wheel-wells and the rear axles. The engine compartment is moulded with bonnet/hood moulded into the fenders, to which the front light clusters, radiator grille with deep louvres, and vents are added before it is dropped into place over the empty lower of the compartment. A short bumper/fender backing panel, air-box, and mudflaps are attached first, then joined by a rather chunky-looking and angular bumper, which has IED countermeasures and stowage built into it, and has a couple of towing lugs hanging from the through-beams. The crew cab seats four and begins as an L-shaped panel to which a detail insert is added at the rear, and it is then detailed with equipment racks that fit to the centre transmission tunnel, with a PE skinned weapon station footplate in between the two racks. The front seats are made up with their adjustment rails beneath them, and a pair of moulded-in crew belts should be picked out in the suggested colour. The aft seats are less substantial and have supports beneath them, plus suspension mounts from above, slotting into pins and lugs in the floor. Then the cab itself is built up from the external shell, to which the interior skin is added, with grab-handles and equipment fitted before the two are married up. A circular turret access panel is sandwiched between the two layers with no glue so that it can be rotated later on, with the turret fitted later. The instrument panel is well-detailed, and has a modern cowled steering-wheel and pedal box added along with a large number of binnacle and control decals to further improve the look. This fixes into the front of the cab shell, and is joined by more equipment before it is joined with the cab floor and chairs. With the windscreen glazing installed and scuttle panel with moulded-in windscreen wipers added, the cab is then mated with the chassis and secured by aligning the long tabs with the lugs on the underside of the cab. Two runs of crew steps on an angled running board are affixed to the outer sides of the cab, and the armoured doors are fabricated from outer panels with glazing insert, plus the inner panel "door cards", handles and wing mirrors in the case of the front doors, with matching handles on the inside. A couple of stencil decals are applied to the doors along the way, then they can be glued to the cab in the open or closed position, or any combination of those positions, noting that the rear doors hinge backwards. Going back to the crew steps, you might notice from our Walkaround pictures that sometimes the drop-steps aren't fitted, so check your references there, and leave them off if your chosen Husky doesn't have them. The small rear windows have external armoured glass, so are fitted later, along with a lot of sensors, antennae, and self-defence equipment. The turret has a shallow (a little too shallow for safety IMHO) upstand moulded into its base, and the weapons mount projects forward of the main assembly on an A-frame to which a splinter shield and GPMG "Jimpy" is mounted with stowage for two ammo boxes. The hinged hatch as the rear further protects the gunner's back when he is in position, and prevents grenades from being tossed inside when shut, and can be fitted open or closed, then it is glued to the rotating roof panel, which you did leave mobile, didn't you? Now it's time to assemble the short aft load-carrying section of the vehicle, which has more than a little bit of stowage in its shallow flatbed. An internal floor is added to detail the area, and front/rear panels are installed, with rear light clusters filling the narrow areas to the sides of the tailgate. It is added to the chassis via tabs, and then it's time to put wheels on your wagon. The four hubs are moulded as two halves, with a poly-cap hidden inside, then pushed through the bead in the rubbery tyres. The front and rear hubs are different, so take care with their location. You might also be interested to know that Meng have created an aftermarket set of resin tyres with engineered-in sag and the hubs moulded into the centre, which some folks will want almost certainly. You'll find that review at the bottom of this one. You'd think that would be pretty much the end of things, but this is a very detailed model, so there is still some work to do, creating the additional stowage racks on the sides of the load bay, with perforated steel panels (PSP) strapped to the inner side. A roll-over frame is then fixed to the rear, with more equipment attached to the tops, including some disc antennae and a radio mast base, storage boxes and jerry cans are added to the side stowage rack on both sides, and only then are you finished if you're stopping short of adding your own personalisations. Markings A lot of the decals are used along the way, detailing the interior, but there are still quite a few stencils applied to the exterior, offering hints at tyre pressures, turning directions of door handles etc., plus of course the army format number plates, and a few prominent NO STEP stencils on the bonnet and fenders to prevent heavy-footed squaddies from knackering body panels. Only one scheme is given, as the Husky has only been seen wearing the desert camo as yet, and colours are called out in the collaborative Meng AK shades and Acrysion colours, which is the new range from Mr Hobby. The colour names are also given in a table at the rear of the instructions, so conversion to any other range shouldn't be too taxing. The decals are made in China, and although they're in good register and colour density, they're not quite as sharp as Meng's usual decal printers, Cartograf would have been, with some of the smaller stencils, particularly the white on red being a little fuzzy and illegible. It's not a massive problem as they're very small anyway, and once given even a light coating of weathering, it'll blend right in. Conclusion It's good to have one of the Army's more recent vehicles in 1:35 before it reaches its 30th birthday or retires! The detail is excellent throughout, and unless you're the 1 in 10,000 that would have opened up the engine bay for a maintenance diorama, the lack of engine is hardly noticed. Clever moulding makes construction easier and detail better, with the availability of resin tyres from Meng's own aftermarket catalogue great news if you're after more detail and want to crack on. Having compared them side-by-side they're certainly worth looking at, so watch out for my review below. Extremely highly recommended. British Army Husky TSV Sagged Wheel Set (SPS-064) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models You've probably just finished reading the review of the new Husky kit above, but in case you haven't, scroll up to the top and come back in a minute when you've finished - it's a rather nice kit. The wheels supplied with the kit are perfectly adequate for the job consisting of flexible plastic tyres and styrene hubs, but when compared to these resin replacements they come a poor second due to the crispness of the resin. Arriving in a small box, there are four tyres on casting blocks, with individual "fingers" landing on tread blocks to reduce the amount of clean-up. They're a simple drop-in replacement for the kit hubs and tyres, and as you can see they offer so much more in the way of detail, as well as the aforementioned crispness. There are two moulds, marked as 1 and 2, as the front and rear wheels have slightly different centre bosses to their hubs, as well as having their tyres at a different orientation so things look a bit more naturalistic, and while they're not a cheap upgrade, they are definitely awesome. As usual with resin, take the precaution of wearing a mask when cutting or sanding resin, as the tiny particles are harmful to your health if breathed in. Washing the parts in warm water or isopropyl alcohol will also improve the adhesion of paint, as there may still be some moulding release agent on the parts when you receive them. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Leopard 2A7+ German Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models Like many modern weapons system the Leopard 2A7 is not a brand new system but a continuing development of the Leopard 2 family. These are converted ex Dutch A6NL tanks. Using lessons learnt for the Peace support programme, and combat operations in Afghanistan. While retaining the same 120mm smooth bore gun of the earlier variants the 2A7 is able to fire the latest programmable High explosive rounds. The tanks armour has been upgraded with modular armour with frontal protection being improved as well with passive armour and underneath armour for enhanced IED protection. Internally there have been upgrades to the air conditioning system and power systems. More modern sights/thermal systems/rangefinder have been added. The German Army has ordered at present 20 units. With now talk of a Leopard 3, there was talk the 2A7 could be the last of the line. However the 2A7+ has been developed. This MBT has been developed to operate in both low and high intensity conflicts. Additional modular armour has been added similar to that used by Canada on its tanks in Afghanistan. This gives extra protection from mines and RPGs. The main gun can now fire High Explosive rounds. The most obvious difference is the remote weapons station which has been added to the turret roof. This FLW200 system can be fitted with a 12.7mm/0.5 cal heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher. There is a colour camera system with x10 magnification which also has a thermal imaging system. The FLW can also carry additional smoke grenade dischargers. To date the 2A7+ has been ordered by Qatar and Hungary. The Kit Following the 2A7 from Meng a couple of years ago this was sure to be on the Horizon, The box arrives packed, though the lid now fits unlike the 2A7 ! Construction starts with the lower hull. Holes must be drilled in the lower hull before construction starts in order to add the additional underside protective plates. The driver and idler wheels are built up along with 14 main road wheels. The suspension components plus the return rollers then need adding to the main lower hull. The rear armour assembly is constructed and added to the lower hull. Next up the bars for the working torsion bar system are added, these slot through from each side and end plates are attached to them. The wheels can now be added, and as the hull is upside down the additional armour plate can be added on the man hull. Additional protection for the engine compartment are also added at this time. Next up are the tracks.. Unlike other Meng kits, and like the Meng Leopard 2A4 the tracks come as individual links on sprues. Each link has 3 parts; the main track, the connecting rods with end caps, and the track pads. Meng provide a jig to enable 6 links to be put together at the same time. There are 84 links to be joined for each side. Once the tracks are on construction moves to the upper hull. The additional armour is mounted on the front, then Mirrors, spare tack, headlights etc are added. At the rear air filter covers, tools and the tow cable are added. The tow cable supplied in the kit is poor and really needs replacing with a suitable aftermarket one, a shame as the rest of the kit is well above standard. The Cooling fan housings for the rear deck are constructed from the included photo-etch. The top hull can now be joined to the lower one and the armoured side skirts added. Next up is the turret and gun. The gun barrel is a two part one and the muzzle brake one part which fits to the front. The gun then fits into a five part mantlet. I have read on the web that the gun is a slightly weak point of the kit, the fume extractor being a little skinny and short. It is noticeable that the fume extractor on some vehicles has a fibreglass texture to it, Meng have tried to replicate this, but as the part is split down the middle this will no doubt be lost sanding any seams down. The vision blocks can be added to the upper turret and then the two parts can be joined making sure the gun seats properly between them. The upper surface of the turret has sections which feature a rough texture for walking on and Meng have reproduced this on the part. There are then additional plates and fittings to add to the turret. Once the turret is together work can start on adding all of the additional armour pieces to it. These are V shaped and fit to the front. The base plates are made up along with the armour parts. The base plates being fitted first, followed by the armour. Grab handles are then added to the outside. Large side armour plates are then added. For the rest of the turret the commanders periscope is made up and added, along with the gunners hatch and machine gun. Smoke dischargers are added to both sides along with antenna mounts and the gunners sighting system. To the rear of the turret the large AC system and main stowage boxes are added, along with additional stowage boxes at each side. The last part to be fitted on top of the turret is the remote weapons station. This is a small kit in its own right. Decals As there are still none of these in service there are some small decals provided for the German test one, two schemes are suggested of normal NATO tricolor and a dessert tricolor similar to that German vehicles have used in Afghanistan. Conclusion This is a great looking kit from Meng and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Leopard C2 MEXAS w/Dozer Blade Canadian Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models In 1978 the Canadian Army selected the Leopard 1A3 to be its new Main Battle Tank. These would be called the Leopard C1 in service. In 2000 it was decided to upgrade these tanks with the fitment of surplus German Leopard 1A5 turrets. At the same time armour protection was increased, and a new fire control system was added. In 2006 some of these tanks were sent to Afghanistan where they would be fitted with an additional upgrade, the MEXAS system. This stands for Modular Expandable Armour System which was developed n=by IBD Deisenroth Engineering in Germany. This is a new composite armour system which can be added to many vehicles include tanks to increase survivability in these modern conflicts where IEDs and RPGs feature heavily. The Canadians also fit a version to their LAVs. The Kit This kit from Meng is a re-boxing of the standard Leopard 1 with different parts for the Canadian MBT, the original kit from Meng was highly regarded and this one looks to be as good. Its worth noting the kit does not feature the thermal blanket and cooler fitted at a later date by the Canadians in Afghanistan, though Meng do offer the thermal blanket as an aftermarket resin set, though call it a "sand cover" in error; it does not supply the cooling unit fitted to the rear of the turret though. Construction starts with the wheels, the drive sprockets, idler wheels and main wheels are built up, these have poly cap centres to enable them to be pushed on, detail is a bit soft on these and the centre a bit too large to accommodate the caps. We then move onto the lower hull. Various suspension components are fitted, and the main torsion bar system and its arms are fitted. The wheels can then be attached, followed by the tracks. For some reason Meng have included rubber tracks in this kit despite having a very good individual working track system for the Leopard 1 which they could have included? Next up the rear bulkhead is made up. Moving to the top main hull the engine deck is added, along with some side parts and the drivers vision blocks. The lower and upper hulls can now be joined and the rear bulkhead fitted. The additional MEXAS armour packs are added to the sides of the hull and the front. The exhaust grills are also added at the rear along with the rear mudflaps. The rear tow cables are then added. For the front the attachment points for the dozer blade are fitted, alternative parts are provided if you don't want to use this. The blade mechanism and blade are then made up and added. Work now moves to the turret. The gun and its additional armoured mantlet are built up, These are then added to the turret after it is assembled There is a canvas mantlet cover to add, this is a basic representative of the real thing and aftermarket detailed one are available to replace this one. For the turret itself a multitude of attachment points for the MEXAS armour must be added, along with the usual aerial mounts, and vision systems. The hatches can then be fitted. Once assembled the MEXAS armour modules can also be added, along with the large rear mounted stowage bin. A couple of large aerial ad the top mounted machine gun finish off the turret and it can be mounted to the hull. Decals Decals are provided for 4 tanks in Afghanistan. Sqn HQ, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 1st Troop, A Sqn, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 2nd Troop, A Sqn, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 3rd Troop, A Sqn, Lord Strathcona;s Horse (RC), Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. Joint Task Force, Afghanistan 2007 Conclusion Despite a few errors this is a great looking kit from Meng and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Sd.Kfz.173 Jagdpanther Ausf.G1 (TS-039) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models After the Nazis encountered the formiddable Russian T-34, their medium tank project took a new turn to become the Panther, which proved to be one of their more successful designs and is still admired today for its technical prowess and abilities. The need for tank killers took the chassis of the Panther, removed the turret and superstructure, replacing it with a casemate and powerful high-velocity gun in a new mount with elevation and limited side to side movement that was used for fine-tuning targeting. The heavily sloped glacis extended to the roofline, giving the vehicle a sleek look that was echoed at the sides, with a step down from the roof at the rear onto the engine deck. The G1 variant used the Panther A as a base, while the later models designated G2 were based up on the Panther G chassis. The same Pak 43 88mm gun was mounted, in an internally fixed mantlet initially, and later externally bolted in the G2. As with all WWII German tanks, the design was complex by comparison with the enemy's, so production was slower, which was probably just as well as it was a capable tank, just like is turreted progenitor. The gun was unstoppable by armour at the time, the engine had enough power for the task in hand, and it wasn't overweight, so the transmission could handle the power easily. If there had been more of them, they could well have had an impact, certainly slowing down the Allied advances (providing they could have fuelled them, and making gains more costly in men and materiel. The Kit Given that Meng have now tooled a Panther in 1:35, it makes sense for them to add a Jagdpanther to their line due to the overlap in parts and research. We reviewed the Ausf.A here and the later D here, so it looks like a Panther G and a Jagdpanther G2 will hopefully be on the list soon enough. Meng have a well-earned reputation for producing good, well-detailed models, mainly because that's what they keep on doing. I'm a fan of Meng, and I also love the Jagdpanther for no reason that I can divine, so I apologise in advance if I come across a bit giddy at times. The kit arrives in a standard classy Meng box with effective artwork and that satin finish I like so much. Inside are nine sprues in sand coloured styrene, a small clear sprue, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) in varying thicknesses, a length of polycaps, two thicknesses of braided metal wire a small decal sheet, turned aluminium barrel, instruction booklet and separate colour painting guide on folded A3 glossy paper. First impressions. There are very few common sprues, extending as far as the two road wheel sprues, but there are a lot of common parts that have been re-allocated to the new sprues in substantial numbers as you can imagine. Even the track sprues have been redesigned with the links horizontally and with an extra sprue gate added, presumably to cope with dangers of short-shot sprues coming hot off the presses. Detail is excellent throughout, and I really like and appreciate the inclusion of things such as a turned barrel and realistic braided wire for the towing cables, as it's just one less thing to have to add to your model. The more that’s in the box and used by the modeller, the better the eventual value is. Construction begins in the same manner as the Panther with the paired road wheels with a polycap between each one, plus the idler and drive sprockets. The lower hull is built from floor and two side panels, with two t-shaped braces holding them to the correct angles, so that when you fit the rear bulkhead it should fit perfectly in place. Various bits of suspension and drive train are added to the sides, as are the stub axles through the holes in the hull sides. These have a small additional peg at the end of the swing arm to allow the modeller to set them at the correct (stationary) ride height, and before installation the small hole in the back that is there to prevent sink marks is filled with small inserts, even though they mostly won't be seen. The lower hull with the engine deck and radiator bath sections are then made up, and glued on the lower hull, with the overhang closed in by adding the bottoms of the fenders once in place. The road wheels are interleaved in the same manner as the Tiger, so must be put in place in the correct order to prevent complications, so take care here to put types A and B in the correct places, after which the tracks are needed. The links are individual, with twin guidehorns that are supplied as separate parts and must be added into the small square holes in the links before you can glue the links together. The new position of the sprue gates on the links are on curved surfaces, which makes removing that last fraction of a millimetre that much harder, requiring a circular diamond file to do a good job. This slows the task down quite a bit initially, although as with all things you'll probably speed up near the end, which is exactly what I did on my short run, electing to add the horns dry to the links, and glue them in place. The links fit together snuggly, and hide all the seamlines as well as any less-than-perfect sprue gate removal, so it's not the end of the world, but the task will be a fairly long one, and as the guidehorns are small and tapered, they love to ping out of your tweezers at the slightest increase in pressure. Once all the links have their horns in place, a relatively swift gluing of links should leave them flexible enough to drape around the wheels, and taping or chocking them in place will give you the realistic slight sag behind the drive wheels that you need to the top run. The upper hull that was installed earlier is merely the liner, but the front panel is exterior armoured surface, and this needs some holes opened up depending on which decal option you are going to use for your model. The side armour panels are similarly in need of holes for the same reason, at which point you have a vehicle that looks more like a tank. Small PE are added to the exterior along with other fixtures such as the lights, towing shackles and pioneer tools that are a must for any AFV. The rear bulkhead is fitted with armoured access panels and either two or the later three-plus-one exhausts, which have cast armoured lowers and are surrounded by the angular stowage boxes that usually fare badly in reversing incidents. The later tubular Notek convoy/number plate light is hidden away on the left lower , with a scrap diagram showing the correct colours and its location on the stowage bin, which is a new one on me. The engine deck has three louvers, two of which are rectangular and have PE mesh covers, the other a raised cast circle that has its own PE insert, while on the sides a run of narrow PE fenders are fitted with styrene brackets, which later also act as hangers for the schurtzen side skirts. A rack of spare track links and tools are added above on the right, with more tools on the left, plus a choice of three barrel cleaning tubes either on the side or at the rear of the engine deck. The central lift-off cover to the engine deck was a source for some variance, so holes are flashed over and drilled out as needed for the various decal options. Even the jack block was moved to the engine deck on some examples, so the option is provided here as well. The rear is finished off with the crew hatch, spent shell-ejection port, and aerial base, with an alternative stowage box, blanking plate or antenna base on the left of the crew door, just to confuse things. Speaking of variations, there are a few on the roof of the fighting compartment, with a simple flat mushroom vent, or a higher domed one, as well as being able to leave the commander's hatch open or closed. The rotating sighting periscope is made up and dropped into the roof, being secured by a ring to allow it to rotate if you wish it. The roof can be installed before the main gun at this point. The bow mounted machine gun was surrounded by a domed armour panel called a Kugelblende, which came in two flavours with a stepped aperture and a smooth one. The gun barrel is fitted to the ball mount and trapped in place by the installation of this part, or it can be left off and covered by a plug with PE chain that was fitted during deep wading for example. The gun breech is surprisingly detailed considering this is a "no interior" kit, and this is built up over a number of steps before being pushed through a choice of three mantlets, one of which has no external fixtures, the other two with large bolts top and bottom as befits their decal option. The Saukopf (literally "pig head" due to how it looks) that protects the vulnerable gap between mantlet and breech is slid on next, with PE lifting eyes added for two decal options, presumably after they realised these things were REALLY heavy. The completed assembly slides into the glacis and can be glued in place to accept the turned barrel once it has been top & tailed with the three-piece flash hider, and four part gun sleeve. The barrel is keyed, so there's little change of it going in upside down unless you are very determined and brutal with it, and again there's a choice of styles of flash hider between decal options. With the barrel glued in and the nickel-plated Schurzen put in place, that's construction over with. Markings There are four markings options in the box, and a small decal sheet covers them all, as with most AFV models. Everything is camouflaged in weird and wonderful ways, as the Germans were at this point in the war running scared of an increasingly overwhelming aerial supremacy by the Allied after years of chipping away at the Luftwaffe til there was very little left, and almost no experienced pilots to pull things back. Decals are printed in China in black and white, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion I'm on love with this kit, and will put up with the slightly fiddly tracks for the sake of the rest of it. Awesome detail, simple enough construction, and it's a Jagdpanther. By Meng. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Merkava Mk.4M w/Trophy Active Protection System (TS-036) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The Merkava name has a long history with the Israeli military, and the Merkava IV is the latest in a line of main battle tanks that have been in service since the 1970s. The design has evolved over the years into the Mk.4, which bears a family resemblance to the earlier vehicles. The Mark.IV is a product of the new millennium, and builds upon the shoulders of the Mark.III, incorporating all the latest protective and offensive systems that are necessary to improve survivability in an increasingly missile dominated battlefield. It is also fitted with a larger 120mm gun, and has modular armour packages that can be compared to the TUSK armour of the US Abrams MBT. Fire control is highly automated, and when it was decided to extend the life of the IV, introduction of helmet mounted targeting and advanced protection systems were developed to give the tankers a 360o view of the battlefield, which gives a huge advantage in situational awareness over tanks that still rely on vision ports and periscopes. The Trophy protection system was developed by Raphael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., and is designed as an all-round autonomous missile destroyer, picking up threats with four sensor panels, instantaneously calculating the trajectory and arrival time of incoming missiles, and intercepting them with a blast of pellets that shred the missile with their kinetic energy, whilst posing minimal danger to surrounding troops or non-combatants. It also "grasses up" the position of the firer of the weapon to the crew, and in addition can give nearby units the location so that reaction times are reduced, and they don't have to wait for another round if the crew missed the location first time around. They are developing an extension to the system to handle Discarding Sabot Kinetic Penetrators, which will open up new possibilities for survival of tanks and other vehicles in the battlefield. In Israeli its name translates to Windbreaker, and since introduction in 2011 not a single IVm has been lost to RPG or anti-tank missiles. The Kit This is Meng's first tooling of the Merkava IV, having engaged in a number of earlier versions some while back, so you could say they're back on the wagon after a fallow period where they concentrated on other things. As usual with Israeli subjects, Desert Eagle Publications have been involved in the development of the kit and markings, which is indicated on the box lid, and on the inside cooperation with the curator of the Latrun Armoured Corps Museum is also acknowledged. The kit arrives in the standard satin Meng box, and under the lid there are sprues right up to the lip, and it has clearly been bestowed with lavish detail throughout, and a comprehensive list of contents, as follows: 8 x sprues in sand coloured styrene Turret top, bottom, upper hull, M2 machine gun receiver and idler wheels off-sprues 2 x black sprues of track links 1 x clear sprue 1 x Photo-Etch (PE) sheet with nickel-plating 1 x length of chain 1 x length of brass wire 1 x sprue of polycaps 1 x decal sheet The instructions complete the package along with a separate colour painting and markings guide on glossy paper. Main Battle Tanks have a tendency to get larger over time, especially with spaced armour or ERA blocks, and this is evident from the size of the hull and turret parts. There is also a degree of slide moulding to produce outstanding details, such as the styrene springs that are found along the edge of one sprue. The anti-slip texture on the exterior faces is also well done and in-scale, with this level of attention to detail pervading almost the whole kit. Construction begins with the road wheels, which have separate tyres and outer rims, with a polycap sandwiched between each pair. The idler and drive sprockets also have polycaps at their heart, while the larger twin return rollers are permanent fixtures once glued in. The lower hull and sides are put together and the rear crew access door is framed using extra parts, while the suspension is built from a large number of parts, including those incredible styrene springs, which are one per swingarm, with the torsion arms threaded through holes in the hull. The rear door is a block of a thing, and is affixed to the frame, with two tubular framed stowage baskets flanking it and the rear brackets for the belly armour below them. The armour is a single shaped part that has strong shackles front and back that hold it in place under the tank. Tracks! Everyone has their preference, and these are individual links that comprise two parts each, which glue together around the previous part to retain workability once set. They are moulded in black to ease painting, and have three attachment points to the sprues each, which are on the curved edges that won't be seen, so clean-up of these will be relatively easy. There are two sprues, and each one seems to suffer from flash in two main places, which will mean additional clean-up of the delicate parts that won't be easy, and can't be left because it will interfere with fit. There are rectangular ejector pin marks on each half of the links, and these seem to have a small amount of flash around each one, which will need scraping off before they will fit together. Add to this their penchant to bow slightly, and you have a difficult set of parts to glue together, especially when you consider that the aim is to finish up with workable links. I have built up two pairs of links from the flashed and non-flashed areas, and although there are only half a dozen flashed links per sprue, the ejector-pin flash and general fiddliness gave me headaches, and resulted in me having to clamp them closed while the glue set up. I suspect that this will cause a great deal of extra work for the builder, and once you consider that there are to be two lengths of 95 links each, it will put some off for sure. Friulmodel do a replacement set in white metal, but as that's an additional cost, I'd have a go at a few links and see whether it's a job you'll relish or not. With the tracks out of the way, it's the turn of the upper hull, which is a large slab to which the exhaust port and rear bulkheads are added, along with a bunch of vision blocks, hatches, travel lock and mesh panels on the engine deck and over the exhaust. Pioneer tools are added, and the large attachment brackets for the side skirts are fitted along the sides of the hull, then installed once the two halves of the hull have been joined along with mudflaps and rear extension. The two tow cables/chains run down the top of the left skirt, and these are made up from 165mm of chain with styrene eyes, and 150mm of braided cable, again with styrene eyes. The turret is a focal point of any AFV model (apart from those without turrets of course!), and the large faceted clam-shaped turret of the IVm is quite impressive. There is no interior, so the main gun is built from two halves with a ring that slips over the business end and slides down to the fume extractor hump. A wedge of mantlet is constructed around it, and this is later fixed into the slot in the front of the turret, which is surprisingly closed up before installation. The turret top and bottom are completed by the rear bulkhead, which is covered with track links and other equipment, then the mantlet is glued in the front, some additional armoured hardware is fitted to the roof, and two of the Trophy sensor panels are installed in the cheeks either side of the gun. The turret may be shallow, but it is covered with small parts; spare ammo canisters; commander's range finder; the commander's vision blocks, which are fitted into a semi-circular insert that drops into the deck; commander and loader's hatch; panoramic sight turret, and a large tubular-framed turret basket with the ball & chain shot-trap curtain that has become synonymous with Israeli tanks. The basket has spare jerry cans and sensor masts added, and just forward of this, two more Hard-Kill APS panels are fitted into the armour, with drop-down protective shields that save them from damage when not in use. The commander has a MAG machine gun on a ring in front of his hatch, while the M2 .50cal derivative machine gun is mounted centrally over the main gun, and is controlled remotely. The turret fits to the hull with a bayonet lock, and the piece of wire that's supplied can be used in sections to attach PE tactical marking panels that are appropriate to the decal option you have chosen. Markings Sinai Grey is the colour, although I had a bit of trouble tracking down MC-207 in the Meng Colours branded AK range. There are loads of Sinai Greys out there though, and it might be so new that it isn't listed yet. All vehicles are painted the same colour, with only their unit and tactical markings to differentiate. From the box you can build one of the following: Tank 11 Gimel, 1st "Shelaqh" (Sword) Battalion, 401st Armoured Brigade IDF, Golan Heights, Oct 2014 Tank Dalet, 2nd Company, 1st "Shelaqh" Battalion, 401st Armoured Brigade IDF, during training on the Golan Heights, Jun 2015 Tank Gimel, 3rd "Magen" (Shield) Company, 3rd "Eshet" (Steel) Battalion, 401st Armoured Brigade IDF, during training on the Golan Heights, Mar 2016 Decals are printed in China with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The majority of decals are white, while some have black shadows painted on, and one has grey lowlights on the winged shield. Conclusion With the exception of the tracks, which I can't warm to however hard I try, this looks to be a good model of an interesting subject. The detail is excellent, and it represents a thoroughly modern IDF AFV, with plenty of scope for weathering and dust effects. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Porsche Turret), plus Interior Set (SPS-062) and Zimmerit (SPS-060) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The King Tiger needs little introduction to any armour lover, as it became one of WWII's iconic AFVs, even though it only saw limited action in the closing months of the war, and had a few serious flaw that were never fully fixed due to its short time in service before the factories and the Reich were over-run. As with any new equipment, Hitler stuck his oar in and always wanted bigger, which resulted in a heavily armoured tank with a massively powerful gun, but weight problems that put undue strain on its running gear, resulting in a high maintenance rate and frequent breakdowns on the battlefield. It has been said that more King Tigers were lost to crews having to abandon a broken down vehicle than were knocked out in battle. The design was complex, and although the simpler Henschel turret design was chosen over the alternative and more complicated Porsche offering to ease construction, it still took far too much time and valuable resources to create one. The Porsche company had already built a number of turrets however, so they were used up in the first batch of tanks, and the Henschel design should by rights be the "production turret", as they designed the chassis too. It took bravery on the part of the Allied tankers to take out a KT, 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 sides weren't easy to breach. You can tell the Porsche designed turret by the projection of the commander's cupola through the sloping side of the turret, which complicated construction and left a weak-point that could result in a penetration that would have glanced off a simpler Henschel side plate. The Kit There are actually two kits being reviewed here plus a Zimmerit set, as this is another of Meng's modular kits that have you paying only for what you want to buy. A lot of folks don't do interiors, so why pay for the plastic only to throw it in the spares bin? The same goes for the Zimmerit. If you choose an option without it, that's also wasted, so on balance it's good for your pocket and reduces your consumption of plastic (a little bit at least!). We'll cover the exterior kit first, and the other sets beneath the conclusion. This is a re-tool of the Henschel turreted King Tiger we reviewed here, so there are bound to be some similarities, especially from the hull down. What's different however is the colour of the sprues, which are moulded in sand coloured styrene this time around, and I've decided to use pictures of the shared sprues in primer red in this review for a few reasons. It makes it very easy to see which are the new sprues, saves a little bit of server space (which is important to us), and also saves me a little time during processing of the photos, which is always nice – I'll be honest. I'll add a caption to each one just in case you miss this part of the review for any reason. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the primer red colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the primer red colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the primer red colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the primer red colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the primer red colour shown here. What's in the box? A lot of sand colourer styrene. Ten sprues in all plus a lower hull part, a small clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two types of polycaps, a turned aluminium barrel, instruction booklet and separate colour painting guide on glossy paper, plus a large envelope bearing the words "Streng Geheim", which means "Top Secret" or something similar, and has a reproduction map of the Aromanches – Cabourg area of the Northern French coat in 1:50,000 scale. An unusual but interesting extra that might look good on a wall somewhere. It's construction time again, and you will be totally unsurprised that it's identical, with the exception of no choice of exhaust armour parts, right up to step 12 when a turret ring adapter is added to accommodate the Porsche turret. An additional scrap diagram or two has been added to ease installing the bow-mounted machine gun stub, and the mesh covers over the engine deck have different numbers, but it's all very familiar right through detailing and installing of the engine deck and crew hatch insert. Now all that's out of the way, things start to diverge with the commencement of hostilities with the turret. The inner shell is a new part, and all of the outer skins are too, with new (but similar) parts for the basic internals such as the breech and commander's seat. The cupola has the same clear periscopes fitted, then slides into place from underneath along with the fume extractor fan in the centre, after which the roof is closed up and the top armour section of the cupola is fitted along with the armoured protectors, the up-armoured rear crew/breech hatch, and if you are doing one decal option, hooks on the turret sides for spare track links, the little guide marks for which are otherwise scrubbed from the surface before painting. It's a simple kit, but manages to pack in a huge amount of detail by utilising plenty of advanced moulding techniques, and if you don't spring for the interior set to complicate things, it's time to get the airbrush out. If you did go for the interior set however, you will have diverged from the instructions at several points, which are mentioned in the instruction booklet, and you might find it easier if you make notes and cross-reference the instruction booklets during assembly so you don't get out of step. You can see our thoughts on the interior set below the conclusion, and the zimmerit set below that. Markings There are three markings options on the decal sheet, and each one requires application of Zimmerit to be accurate. It may initially seem churlish not to include that in the kit, but some modellers prefer to make their own using putty and zimmerit tools to get their own preferred finish to their models, or have a phobia about these new style of 3D decal. Whatever your feelings on the subject, you can build one of the following from the box: Tank 332, s.H.Pz.abt. 503, Wehrmacht, France, 1944 Tank 314, s.H.Pz.abt. 503, Wehrmacht, Hungary, 1945 Tank 101, s.H.Pz.abt. 503, Wehrmacht, Normandy, 1944 The decal sheet is printed in China, and consists mainly of crosses and numbers in black, outlined in white, which is slightly offset to the right, although not enough to cause issues. Option B also has the name Anneliese in a green cloud, which is a little pixelated under magnification, but should look ok once applied. Conclusion Another lovely detailed King Tiger from Meng, which portrays those 50 or so tanks that were fitted with the unused Porsche turrets that were built before they knew they weren't getting the contract. Read on for the interior sets and Zimmerit decals. Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger Interior – Porsche Turret Interior Set (SPS-062) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models We reviewed the interior set for the Henschel (production) turret here when it arrived, and apart from them changing the styrene colour from grey to sand yellow, and re-designing the Photo-Etch (PE) which is also bare brass now, plus tooling a new sprue for the Porsche specific parts. Again, I'll reuse the other pics for the aforementioned reasons. Look into my eyes… all the sprues are sand yellow Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the grey colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the grey colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the grey colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the grey colour shown here. Note: The sprues in the box are identical except moulded in sand yellow styrene, rather than the grey colour shown here. The set builds up almost identically too, with the inner walls decked with detail, the floor covered in working torsion bars, superbly detailed engine, fuel and other tanks, tools, firewall with ancillary equipment and a fully decked out engine bay with radiator baths and hosing. With the lower layer built up the floor plates, ammo for the machine guns and the big shiny brass ones for the main gun are added, with a ton of stencils for the shells, showing their contents. The bow machine gun is full length with the interior set, with a pair of dump bags for the spent brass. A huge line of additional dump bags is distributed on a rack around the turret aperture, and complete periscopes are fitted to the crew hatches, plus the opening mechanisms, which project a surprisingly long way down into the hull. The turret is also very similar with just a few differences, mostly around the rim of the aperture, with the same breech details and internal spring that lets the gun recoil once completed. The coaxial machine gun fitting has been expanded to two diagrams for clarity, and the "ready rounds" ammo storage in the turret bustle is simplified, which I'm guessing led to rounds bouncing about on rough terrain, so more brackets were added for the true production turrets. Unlike the Henschel rear access door, everything was included in the main kit, so no additional detail is used in the new set. Markings As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of decals on a small sheet, with most of them to be applied to the shells so the crew know if they're HE or fragmentation etc., but there are also a few instrument dials and internal stencils that are applied throughout the….errrr… interior, and all that has changed is the title of the sheet. Conclusion Superb detail that you can leave on the shelf if you don't want to go to the extra effort, but if you do, you know it's going to fit just fine, giving you lots of options for open hatches, maintenance dioramas, or even a cut-away model. Very highly recommended. Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Porsche Turret Zimmerit Decal) SPS-060 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models We've seen 3D printed decals before, and Meng have taken to them for their Zimmerit decals, which are a quick and easy way of applying the anti-magnetic coating that was used by the Germans mid-WWII when they became almost unreasonably concerned about their use by the Allies. You might already know, but Zimmerit was a thick grey paste applied to the vertical surfaces of a tank using a tool that would impress ridges into the surface to save having to slap it on thick all over, thus saving important weight. During this period it would be applied at the factory, or reapplied at the local depot, with the former usually being the more professional looking of the two. There were a number of patterns used, but the one most seen on King Tigers consisted of rows of horizontal indents stacked vertically. It would be seen on the glacis; rear bulkhead; hull sides (rarely on the skirts); the four sides of the turret, and on the rear hatch and mantlet. This set is patterned to the different turret, and arrives on an A5 sheet of backing paper, with the Zimm printed in grey. My micrometer says that the printing stands approximately 0.3mm proud from the backing paper, which is just over 10mm at full size, and seems a reasonably thickness to me after seeing a few Zimmerited examples at the Tank Museum in Bovington a few years back. The parts have holes where brackets and bolts protrude, as well as around the sighting gear and coax machine gun on the mantlet. The Kugelblende is sectioned up to fit to the curved surface, and the section for the gun-shroud is shaped to wrap around and conform to its highly contoured shape. The instructions show the numbers of each part and where they attach, which should make application easier, and a small message at the bottom of the sheet advises you to glue down any parts that have lifted during drying, which I would imagine will be edges or corners. Super-glue (CA) is recommended, although modelling glue is also mentioned, but I'd test it on a spare piece (one of the numbers would do), just in case. Conclusion This is pretty much a must-have for the kit, as all the decal options use Zimmerit. If you're not convinced you could make your own, take the easy way out and use these clever decals. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.D Turret in Travel Mode (SPS-059) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Tanks during WWII still weren't all that reliable, relatively slow, and certainly weren't particularly frugal with fuel, so they were often transported by rail on flat cars. In order to protect them from the smut and dust that came from steam powered locos, they often covered up the barrels and also the turrets to protect the mechanisms and optics from damaging soot and debris, with custom bags for the barrel and more generic tarpaulins for the turret. With Meng's new Panther Ausf.D reaching our model shop shelves, there's bound to be some aftermarket, so who better to start the ball rolling than Meng themselves. This resin set isn't cheap, but when you see what you're getting and that it may appeal to a relative few owners of the kit, it's not surprising. The set arrives in a brown card box with the usual black themed sticker on the top that gives details and a line drawing of what's inside. The parts are held within a bubble-wrap bag within, and there are just two parts. Both are in dark grey resin, and have clearly been pressure cast, as they are dense with no noticeable air bubbles, with small casting blocks that reach up like fingers to touch the very edge of the parts in order to minimise clean up once they have been cut free. The commander's cupola has a layer of flash across its aperture, which can be removed in moments by a sweep of your blade, and after a few swipes with a sanding stick on the contact points, you will be ready to use them. As you can see from the pictures (one from each side, so no, you don't get two sets!), there are holes for the hatches and various other small parts, which you will use from the kit, being sure to attach them with CA (super glue). Inside are ledges for the kit supplied turret bottom, and you can see where the mould has been thinned where the bulges in the cloth are, both to save resin and reduce the weight of the part. Speaking of the cloth, the fabric is done with some serious skill, showing the smoke grenade dispensers and other prominent parts pushing through the fabric with realistic drape and wrinkling. This is also present with the barrel part, which has a clear droop on the underside where gravity is pulling the bag down, while the cords pull it tight to the barrel. Like the kit barrel, it is keyed so that it can only be inserted one way, so there's little chance of it looking like the bag's full of helium! Conclusion It's not cheap, but it's a very attractive way to make your Panther stand out. Painting is going to be key to making it look realistic, so prepare yourself for some serious work with your airbrush/brush. I think it's really cool, and stock is dwindling at Creative, so don't delay! Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.D (TS-038) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The Panther was Nazi Germany's answer to the surprise appearance of the Russian T-34 after they finally reacted to the invasion that was Operation Barbarosa. 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 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 by the British 17-pounder fitted to the Sherman to make the 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 complex to produce, so suffered in terms of volume produced, and this led to it being rushed into service with quite a tick-list of things still to sort out. Later production solved most of these initial gremlins, but loses in the interim were high with many being abandoned after failing during combat. Curiously, 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 due to mechanical issues, some of which resulted in catastrophic fires. A Panther II was planned, which retained much of the look of the original Panther, while improving armour and suspension. They got as far as creating a pair of prototypes before the war ended, and a destroyed but still substantial chunk of the Schmallturm (smaller turret) can be seen at Bovington. The Kit After the initial release of the Ausf.A by Meng early this year (reviewed here (you might also recognise the preamble!)), we're now being treated to the D, which is the unreliable earlier version that first saw combat with all of its faults and problems. I doubt this kit will have any of those foibles, especially it is based heavily on the Ausf.A tooling. The box is the same shape and size, but with new artwork as you'd expect, and roughly half of the sprues are the same, augmented by newly tooled sprues that contain the parts not shared by the two variants. There are eleven sprues in sand styrene, two runs of poly-caps, a clear sprue, three sheets of Photo-Etch (PE), two braided cables, a turned aluminium barrel, decal sheet, colour painting and markings guide, plus the instruction booklet, which is printed in greyscale on standard paper. The build is for the most part identical to the earlier/later model, with some important deviations for accuracy. The instructions have also been reworked both to accommodate the parts differences, and as an apparent attempt to improve upon the construction process. The most obvious difference is the sand coloured styrene, so although there are 6 common sprues, I've taken the photos again so it doesn't look like a patchwork quilt, and it also might show up some extra detail. Construction begins with the wheels, which have rubber tyres as part of the suspension effort, before rubber became scarce and they were replaced by fully steel wheels. This means you'll have to do some masking, or spin them on a cocktail stick with a steady hand. Again, poly-caps are the means of attachment to the swing-arms later in the build. The lower hull is built up with the axles, and a small hole in the rear is missed due to some rearrangements of the gear on the aft bulkhead. Remaining on the bulkhead, there are the initial simple two-exhaust pipes with rounded armour covers, under which the jack hangs. The tracks are assembled in the same manner, having two separate guide horns each, and as well as them now being moulded in sand coloured styrene, they have straight grips, rather than the later angled grousers that gave better traction in poor conditions. The next major difference can be found on the glacis plate, which has no Kugelblende! There's no bow-mounted machinegun, and no armoured surround – just a little vision slot in addition to the driver's viewing hatch, plus of course the periscope blocks that are common to both variants. The front stowage racks are slightly different, as are some of the fittings on the rear deck, most notable of which is the snorkel point that was deleted on later variants, and this can be posed either closed without its telescopic tubes, or with the protective cover swung out of the way and the tubes installed. The square profile unditching beam is absent on the rear deck, and the crew ladder that was deleted later is present, and the towing cables are of a different configuration, while the barrel cleaning tool tube is relocated to the side of the vehicle. The turret is fitted with a more complex rear hatch, pistol port and shell ejection hatch, and there are a trio of cheek-mounted smoke grenade dischargers either side of the main gun, which is now also provided with a short gun bag to replace the plastic muzzle brake that finishes off the metal barrel, and has a choice of two mantlet parts with binocular gunsight ports, one of which has a strange pattern on both sides of the gun, the having a rain guard over the top of the ports. The early commander's cupola was welded, and had vision slits rather than periscopes, which left the commander vulnerable in case of a hit to that area, and has a choice of a standard pintle-mounted MG34 on a ring, or an anti-aircraft mount that enables the shooter to fire from the hatch. The pintle-mount has a dump bag for the spent brass, while the AA mount does not. Due to the busier turret sides, there is no space for extra track links or a spare road wheel, just a pair of angled brackets that seem to disappear in the following build steps. Markings Even though the earliest Panthers may have left the factory in Panzer Grey (RAL 7021), series production began at about the time the switch over to dunkelgelb (dark yellow) occurred, and all the decal options are based on this colour that was applied at the factory. Before the introduction of the ambush scheme in '44, the camouflage colours were issued to the units to camouflage their vehicles to suit the terrain, thinned with whatever came to hand, so there were a lot of different schemes during this period, with a huge variation of skill and care taken in the application. From the box you can build one of the following: No.232 1st Battalion, 15th Panzer Regiment, 11th Panzer Division, Eastern Front, Autumn 1943 No.632 52nd Battalion, 39th Panzer Regiment, 10th Panzer Brigade, 11th panzer Division, Kursk, July 1943 Command Vehicle, 1st Battalion, 4th Panzer Regiment, Italy, spring 1944 (this vehicle wore Zimmerit anti-magnetic paste on vertical surfaces) No.121 51st Battalion, 39th panzer Regiment, 10th Panzer Brigade, 11th Panzer Division, Kursk, July 1943. Decals are printed in China with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Another excellent Panther from Meng, with lots of detail, some interesting camouflage scheme, and with the inclusion of three sheets of PE and a turned metal barrel, it represents a comprehensive package that will satisfy most modellers out of the box. Having a Zimmerit coated vehicle in the decal options is a little disappointing, but with the appropriate sheet of 3D Zimmerit decal from Meng's range, it should relieve the pain of having to apply the paste yourself with putty and tools. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Imperial German Army Stormtroopers (HS-010) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd. Trench warfare in WWI developed rapidly through need, and became a horrifyingly fierce mode of fighting that resulted in massive casualties on both sides. Surprise attacks and raids were common by both sides, and the Germans called their troops Stoßtruppen, which translates to Stormtroopers, or shock troops. They were heavily armed and well-trained in order to achieve gains that the traditional barrage and frontal assault failed to deliver on many occasions. Covering fire to facilitate movement was key, so light machine guns were used as well as potato-masher grenades strapped in groups around a central handle for extra destructive power. The Kit This figure set arrives in the de facto standard figure box with Meng's satin finish and a dramatic painting of the figures on the front. On the back are the construction and painting details, with colour call-outs from their link-up with AK Interactive, with two drawings of each figure showing the parts layout and colours back and front. There are four figures that are held on one sprue, with another smaller sprue containing weapons, bayonets, pouches and helmets. Each figure is broken down as torso, legs, arms and heads, with the faces having suitably aggressive "war-faces". The helmets fit to the flat top of their heads, and in addition two of the figures have ammo pouches and other equipment around their necks and shoulders, which are fitted to flattened parts of the torso for better drape. Figure 1 Posed in the act of throwing a grenade with his mouth wide open, he is posed with weight on his back foot with forefoot and left arm thrown forward for balance. His rifle is slung over his shoulder, and he has ammo pouches and a gas-mask around his neck. He also has a water bottle and day sack on his belt, with putties around his boots. Figure 2 With feet planted firmly apart, toting an MG 08/15 with a bipod being used as a foregrip and a drum mag attached to the side. Even though this weapon had a reduced weight due to a smaller volume water jacket, it still weighed in at just under 21kg when full, plus the weight of the drum mag, which explains the rather staggered look of his legs. It wasn't a gun to be carried by a small man. He wears calf-length jackboots, and has a water bottle, gas mask canister and day sack at his waist. Figure 3 This figure is running in a crouch, carrying his rifle in front of him at the ready. He has grenade pouches on his chest, water bottle, gas mask canister and day sack on his waist, with putties over his boots. Figure 4 This moustachioed soldier is walking forward in a crouch, looking to his left and shading his eyes as he does so. In his right hand (which is a moulded to the gun) is a Bergmann MP18, which is a late war submachine gun, and is fitted with a "snail" 32-round drum magazine with a long feed, which was manufactured by Luger. He also carries the usual complement of gear on his waist and wears jackboots. Painting There are no decals, although I would like to see rank and insignia included in more figure sets as a matter of course. The colour call-outs are in the AK/Meng paint codes, which are given names and swatches on the side of the box in case you use different paints. The uniform of the day was a blue-grey, so keep the lid on your WWII Feldgrau and don't be tempted to use it. Conclusion An excellent addition to any WWI trench diorama, just remember to swap out the MP18 if you are planning something earlier than 1918. Sculpting is first rate, breakdown of parts is sensible, and as it states on the box there are "rich facial expressions" to add a little humanity to the set. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. World War Toons King Tiger (Porsche Turret) "Scale is just a number" Meng Model In the World War Toons (WWT) universe, things are a bit distorted… in many ways, come to think of it. Short, stubby and chunky are the new normal, and in case you haven't asked Google yet, the kits are based upon a cartoonish first person shooter that seems to be available on the Playstation 4, and on which you can even play using their Playstation.VR headset if you're lucky enough to own one. I don't have either, being a PC gamer when I do, so I can't speak to their realism in that universe, but with it being Meng, I'm sure they've done a decent job! As you can see from the video below, they don't take any of it too seriously which makes something in the back of my brain itch uncomfortably a little. Still, toward the end you can see some of the tanks that Meng have released, and I'm now wondering whether the game will find its way to other platforms in due course, or if it's just a PS4 exclusive. The Kit Arriving in a short fat box with an end-opening flap, which otherwise fits the usual Meng profile, you notice on the front there are comments about it being able to be built without cement, having a rotating turret, and it being cute. Ok. Not something you see often on a model boxtop of a tank, that's for certain. Moving on. Quickly. Inside are five sprues and a lower hull in dark grey styrene, poly-caps, plus two rubber-band tracks and a small sheet of decals. Much better than stickers, which I was half expecting. The instructions round out the package, and are printed in an A5 booklet in glossy black, with each step drawn in CAD format with four language section headers and additional instructions. Just like a "real" model you start with the idler wheels and drive sprockets, which are both two-part and have a poly-cap secured between them. The lower hull receives two layers of road wheels on each side, which are fixed with pins on a friction-fit basis, while the drive and idler wheels just push-fit on their poly-caps. Towing eyes are fixed to the front, and a bunch of pioneer tools are added to the upper hull, along with towing cables and the Kugelblende armoured panel over the bow machine gun. The tracks slip over the wheels, and the hull clips in place, after which the rear bulkhead with exhausts, towing eyes and jack are pressed into position before the completed assembly is clipped into place. The turret is in two parts, with the mantlet fixed in place by their assembly. A single part gun with slide-moulded muzzle-brake finishes off the main assembly, with grab-handles, hatches and extra tracks added around the top and rear. It fits in place with a bayonet connection to the hull, and that's it done! If you're going to be silly about it, you can either add Zimmerit with filler, or simulate the rolled steel armour texture, neither of which are present (hardly unexpected) on the kit's surface. Markings The decals for one tank are printed in China, and have excellent registration with a red "48" for the turret and four crosses for the hull, plus some yellow chevrons and white lightning bolts for the rear and engine deck. Just the one option is available, and this has a number plate too, which is highly irregular! Build Tips Use glue for the small parts, as otherwise you'll be hunting round for them at the slightest jolt. I spent 20 minutes looking for one of the exhausts after the rear bulkhead fell out of my hands during construction and the assembly flew apart, depositing the missing exhaust into my spare parts bin. Glue the turret halves too, as the front will spread a little due to the mantlet if you don't. The review sample tracks come out of the box a little twisted, but once installed they have already begun to return to shape, although resting the weight of the model on the twisted section is a good idea. Incidentally, the detail on the outer face of the tracks is really rather nice. I plan on gluing mine and painting it eventually, so you might notice that some of the smallest parts are missing from the photos (mainly grab handles), and that the wheels are at odd angles because I haven't pushed the axle pins fully home yet. You can also see a few sprue gates, which have been roughly pared at this point. Conclusion Did Meng even LOOK at a King Tiger when they tooled this? The shape is all wrong, the gun too short, and the tracks are simplified! Unbuildable!!!!!! But seriously, it's cool really. This is just one from a growing range of appealing and cutesie kit that should attract plenty of folks that will never even hear of the game (unless they read this). Great for serious and non-serious modellers, and could also be used as a vehicle (geddit?) to attract younger modellers into the fold. I'm not a big fan of egg-planes, but these I like. The initial issue are out of stock already, so if you're planning on getting one of these, be quick as they seem to be selling fast! Very highly recommended. The full range Review sample courtesy of
  12. F-35A Lightning II 1:48 Meng Model Probably one of the (if not the) most contentious and publically berated projects since the beginning of aviation over a hundred years ago, the F-35 in its three guises has been a marathon journey from proposal to production and testing, with the first few going into service this decade. Initially named the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), there were three variants proposed, all of which shared the same overall configuration and look, as well as borrowing technology from the now in-service F-22. Combining a stealthy surface with internal weapons bays, supersonic performance and an in-depth sensor-fusion that provides the pilot with excellent situational awareness and a broader "sense" of the whole battlesphere, the software alone has been a mammoth task. Coupled with the new technologies utilised, and the number of contractors/countries involved, it has gone over time and budget on a number of occasions, with frequent threats and calls to cancel the project in favour of other options. Various customers have also opted in and out of the end-of-project purchase, and numbers of airframes have been chopped and changed by various customers as political wrangling and budget-balancing became involved. Irrespective of the political back and forth, the engineering side of things has progressed through the hurdles, and at the end of 2006 the maiden flight of an A variant was made, followed two years later by the STOVL B variant with its controversial lift fan. Fast-forward to 2015 and the US Marines were happy enough to call it suitable for initial operations. The navalised F-35C will join the fray in 2018 after many issues are resolved around carrier operations. The A variant is the smallest of the three airframes and is aiming to replace the F-16 eventually, although it will have a monster of a job replacing the Falcon in the hearts of aviation enthusiasts, as well as the differences in cost. Great Britain will be taking a number of A and B variants amongst its purchase for "synergy" between forces. Don't you just love management speak? No, me neither. The Kit We've had a couple of kits in this scale of the F-35, with a fairly recent release from another company that I suspect is about to be eclipsed by this brand new tooling from Meng, who have an excellent reputation for quality products. The kit arrives in one of Meng's usual high class boxes with their trademark satin finish, and a handsome painting on the top. On the sides are profiles of the decal choices, as well as an announcement of their collaboration with AK Interactive on new paints specifically to depict the tricky colours of the Radar Absorbent Material (RAM) coatings applied to these and other modern jets. Inside the box are thirteen sprues and two fuselage halves in a dark blue/grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, decal sheet, a diminutive instruction booklet, and a colour painting and decaling guide in the same narrow portrait format. First impressions are that unlike the companies that issued F-22 kits in this scale a few years back, Meng have got the balance of raised detail about right, with neither too much nor too little, all of which should look good under paint. Speaking of paint, we'll be reviewing a new set of masks for this kit's complex RAM coatings from Galaxy Model soon, so watch this space. I'll put a link to it when it's live. Parts breakdown seems logical, detail is good, and a set of PE belts are included for the cockpit, which is always nice. Construction begins with this area, with a six-part ejection seat plus the aforementioned belts fitting into the cockpit tub, with only rudder, the two sticks making up the HOTAS control system, plus the instrument panel and coaming added last of all. There is an instrument panel decal for the digital panel that takes up most of the room, which should look good once set within the deep coaming. The gear bays must be built up next, as they will be closed up within the fuselage once complete. The nose gear bay is a single part into which the completed single-wheeled nose gear leg fits, with the scissor-link and retraction jack being separate parts, as well as two more that complete the detail. This can be left off until after painting, happily. The main bays are two-part assemblies, and the main gear legs have separate retraction jacks, links and scissor-links, totalling 6 parts each. Whilst these bays should suffice for a great many, a little additional detail would have been appreciated, as they seem a bit simplified on closer nspection. The weapons bays are both 6-part assemblies that depict the large tubing that runs their entire length, and while they too could be considered a little simplified, once you install the supplied GBU-53 small diameter bombs and their pylons in the bays, you'll probably see very little. The intake trunking is full depth, with the two intakes joining in front of the single fan of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, which is a separate part with the fan face moulded in. The exhaust is relatively short, with a one-piece cylindrical trunk with the rear of the engine at the bottom, into which there are two PE mesh parts added, hiding most of what would otherwise be visible. The exhaust petals have excellent detail and finesse, and should be fine for all but the most detail-conscious, slipping over the end of the trunk and locking within the fuselage bottom on two lips. The port and starboard weapons bays, main bays, nose bay and intake trunking all attach to the lower fuselage half, with only the cockpit tub fitting into the upper half. Two pairs of small holes are drilled through the top in the aft section and then the two halves are brought together, with a few small panels added to recesses in front of the cockpit and on the spine, with the option of open or closed refuelling receptacle. Although the airframe has blended wings, they are separate parts, with a healthy overlap on the topside providing excellent strength of the finished article. Leading edge slats and flaps are added to the two-part wings, with holes drilled out for the pylons if you intend to fit them. Breaking the stealthy configuration allows the carriage of more munitions on the two underwing pylons, with a smaller outer pylon able to take addition air-to-air defensive armament of either AIM-9 or AIM-120 missiles. The elevators can be posed at a 10o droop, or in line with the airframe by using one of two inserts on the booms at either side of the exhaust, into which the completed two-part assemblies fix. The twin fins are also two parts each, with the stealthy lumps hiding all the machinery within. Under the fuselage the built-in laser-designator and various other lumps are added, after which you can choose to close up or leave open any combination of bays by adding or leaving off the hinges on some, or choosing the appropriate closed parts for the nose gear. There are a LOT of doors due to the internal weapons carried, but take your time and it'll all come together. In addition, a pair of AIM-120s can be fitted to the main weapons bays on a small pylon adapter, which deploys the weapon as the doors open. The F-35's canopy is quite heavily tinted with a golden hue, and that tint is sadly missing from the kit part. It isn't difficult to replicate however, simply by adding some clear acrylic yellow (or food colouring) to the Klear/Future that you dip the canopy into. There are numerous tutorials online, and I did just this with my Mig-31 Foxhound build a while back. Don't be tempted to sand off those fine canopy frame lines, as they're supposed to be there, and you'd have a devil of a job doing it because they're on the inside of the part! Clarity of the canopy is excellent, and Meng's inclusion of a piece of self-cling foil to the sprue certainly helps keep it that way until you are ready for it. There is an internal plastic frame part that glues inside the clear part, and this should be painted in anticipation of installation, as should the fine framework mentioned earlier. Masking is the way to go here, and while you are working in the area, you might as well paint the inside of the canopy for further realism. Fitting the canopy in the closed position is simply a case of applying glue to the part and pressing it home, while an open canopy requires the installation of four parts in the coaming, as the whole canopy tilts forward for pilot egress. With that the model is ostensibly completed, apart from adding any exterior stores that you might wish to depict. If you don't use the two AIM-120s in the belly, these can be used on the outer wing pylons, as can a pair of AIM-9Xs that sadly aren't included. The main wing pylons are wired for bombs such as the GBU-13, -39, -53 or -54, all of which are detailed in the final diagram that shows their probable location even though these items aren't included in the kit. There is however a new range of aftermarket styrene weapons sets coming from Meng, which may go at least some way toward explaining the dearth in the box. Markings I can almost hear a chorus of "boring grey jet" from some readers (if they haven't tuned out already), and you wouldn't be wrong about the grey part, to an extent at least. Both decal options are painted a dark grey, with some of the raised panels a lighter grey, both of which weather out a little lighter with use, as can be seen on the F-22 that has now seen some active service. Masking those areas would be a chore, and could drive a modeller insane, so look out for my upcoming review of the Galaxy Models mask set in due course. From the box you can build one of the following: F-35A 13-5071 34th FS, 388th FW, USAF piloted by Lt. Col. George Watkins, Hill AFB, 2016 F-35A 11-5033 33rd FW, USAF, piloted by Lance Pilch, Eglin AFB, 2015 The colours are called out in AK Interactive codes, as well as Acrysion Water Based Color, which is a new issue from the Mr Hobby range that dries faster than their existing colours. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion If you've got this far, you're clearly in the market for a model of an F-35A, and in my humble opinion this is now the one to get if fit and finish is key to your modelling enjoyment. Casting my eyes over the parts in the box, this is a typical Meng product, so will please many. Of course they have gone into competition with another previously released modern tooling of the subject, but Meng have built up a following by providing excellent kits of sometimes unusual subjects, and I for one am a fan. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Air Carried Missiles & Bombs for Post War Jets 1:48 Meng Model Supplier Series You can't have too many weapons in hand when you're building something relatively modern (post WWII) from the Allies with jet engines, as you can almost guarantee that at least some of the items you want to add to your load-out won't be in stock. Most people keep any weapons they don't use for future reference, but sometimes that's not enough, and you have to resort to aftermarket. The old Hasegawa weapons sets are long in the tooth now, and hard to find, and resin isn't suitable for everyone's skillset or pocket, which is why I guess Meng decided to round out their recent Supplier range with three sets of US weapons. These are broken down between missiles of short range, missiles with long range, and guided bombs, all of which are in styrene, which will appeal to a wider audience due to everyone's familiarity with the medium and its reasonable cost. Each set comes in a satin-finish Meng figure sized box, with a delightful end-opening box that everyone loves so much. The front of the box shows diagrams of each item in the box, with construction diagrams on the back, and finally the painting and decaling details on the sides, called out in AK Interactive colour codes. US Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles(SPS-043) This box contains a selection of short range missiles from the early Falcon to the increasingly capable Sidewinder that is used by so many countries today. In the box you get the following: 4 x AIM-4C Falcon 4 x AIM-4F Falcon 4 x AIM-4G* Falcon 4 x AIM-4D* Falcon 4 x AIM-9B Sidewinder 4 x AIM-9E* Sidewinder 4 x AIM-9NP* Sidewinder 4 x AIM-9D* Sidewinder 4 x AIM-9M* Sidewinder 4 x AIM-9X* Sidewinder with adapter rail Each missile body is a single part, with two fins from each set moulded-in, and the others as separate parts. The weapons marked with an asterisk also have a clear seeker head part, and the AIM-9X had an additional exhaust part for added detail to this latest version. The stencils for both missile types are included, and differ between variants, as do their colours. The earlier AIM-4s have at least a portion of their bodies painted bright red, while the AIM-9s are all grey or white. US Long/Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (SPS-044) This set contains the larger missiles with greater range, which are intended to keep the enemy at arm's length and make dogfights a thing of the past. The Sparrow, AMRAAM and the Phoenix missiles are all included, plus training, ECM and instrumentation pods. The box contains: 2 x ACMI Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation Pod 4 x AIM120B AMRAAM Missile 4 x AIM120C AMRAAM Missile 4 x AIM-7M Sparrow Missile 4 x AIM-7E Sparrow Missile 4 x AIM-54A Phoenix Missile 4 x AIM-54C Phoenix Missile 2 x AN/ALQ-188 training pod 2 x EML8222 Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) Pod Again, the Sparrow and AMRAAM missile bodies are single parts with some fins moulded-in, and others as separate parts, plus small adapter rails. The larger Phoenix missiles that were used solely on the F-14 Tomcat are supplied in halves, with a separate tail and two of the fins. The ACMI pod is a single delicate part, while the others are build from separate halves with additional sensors added to the sides or ends. Colours and stencils are copious, and detailed on the box sides, so remember not to throw them away. The AIM-7M hasn't been given part numbers on the instructions, but by a process of deduction we can tell you that they are on sprue B. US Satellite-Guided Bombs (SPS-045) The final set has a raft of different smart bombs of varying sizes, plus the more recent Small Diameter Bombs that have become popular due to the reduced collateral damage from the smaller explosive yield. A pair of laser targeting pods are also included, as follows: 2 x GBU-31-V1 JDAM with Mk.84 payload 2 x GBU-31-V3 JDAM with BLU-109 payload 2 x ANAAQ-33 LANTIRN targeting pod 2 x GBU-54 laser JDAM with Mk.82 payload 8 x GBU-53 precision-guided glide bomb 8 x GBU-39 precision-guided glide "bunker-buster" bomb 2 x BRU-61 that can carry 4 x GBU-53 or -39 The bombs all have two-part bodies, with separate fins and in the case of the GBU-39, separate winglets and tail unit. The construction of the BRU-61 bomb carriers are correctly designated, but when shown mated with the bombs it is incorrectly called out as an AIM-54A. It is also a little frustrating that there sufficient bombs to fill 4 racks, yet only two are included in the box. As with the other sets, the painting and markings guide are shown on the sides, and some complex masking will be needed around the "shroud" that the larger GBUs wear. Review sample courtesy of
  14. USMC/US Army M1A1 AIM Abrams TUSK Main Battle Tank 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models The Abrams Main Battle Tank is the direct replacement to the M60, when it was realised that the venerable design was ill-suited to further modification. The new design entered limited service in 1980 and went on to become the main heavy tank in the Army and Marines branches of the American armed forces. It saw extensive action in the two Gulf Wars, where it cleaned up against older Soviet designs with minimal damage inflicted in a stand-up fight due to its composite armour. It was developed further with the AIM programme, which upgraded the battle management systems and returned the vehicles to factory fresh condition. With the involvement of the Abrams in urban combat during the Afghanistan campaign, it became clear that the tank was vulnerable in close-quarters combat, where the top of the tank was open to attack from small arms fire and RPGs could be used with relative safety, as the firing team could pop up and disappear in between shots. The problems of IEDs buried on roads or in buildings also disabled a number of tanks in practice, all of which led to the TUSK and improved TUSK II upgrade packages, which stands for Tank Urban Survival Kit. To counter IEDs an angled "keel" was added to the underside to deflect blast away from the hull, reactive armour blocks were added to the side skirts and turrets, and bullet-resistant glass cages were mounted around the crew hatches on the turrets to provide protection for the crew during urban transit or if they were called upon to use their weapons in combat. A combat telephone was also installed on the rear of the tank to allow communication between accompanying troops and the tank, as well as slat armour to protect the exhausts for the gas turbine engine, the blast from which was directed upwards by a deflector panel that could be attached to the grille to avoid frying troops behind. The USMC have substantially different requirements to the Army, and amongst the changes made for their original HA (Heavy Armour) which were carried over to the later homogenised chassis were the Missile Countermeasure Device (MCD) on the top turret, and the deep water wading kit, which consists of a number of tubes ducting air in and exhaust out of the engine compartment. The Kit Although Meng have already released the TUSK II boxing that we reviewed here, this ostensibly similar boxing is substantially different once you get to the nitty-gritty. A lot of parts are similar, but the sprue layout and detail parts are so different that it's not really even worth reusing any of the historically newer but older boxing's photos. Dammit! The box is standard Meng and exudes class, with a nice painting on the front, and plenty of plastic inside. A more modular approach has been taken with the sprues on this boxing, so the sprue count is higher at ten plus the lower hull in sand coloured styrene, plus three clear sprues and four in black containing the track parts. Two runs of poly-caps, two nickel-plated Photo-Etch (PE) frets and a decal sheet complete the parts list, with the instruction booklet in black and white, and painting/decaling guide printed separately on glossy paper in full colour. Construction begins with the running gear, as you'd expect. Each of the paired road wheels have a polycap trapped inside, as do the drive sprockets, which are also two-part assemblies. The idler wheels are the same as a road-wheels, which makes repair easier both in the workshop and on the field. The torsion-bar suspension is made up from styrene parts and inserted through the hull into cups on the opposite side of the hull, to be joined by the final drive housing and a number of stand-off struts for the side skirts that will be installed later. The wheels just push onto their axles and can be removed for painting at your whim, and at this stage the shallow keel armour is installed before the hull is flipped over to accept the upper parts and their PE meshes. Various assemblies are built up to be added to the hull, such as the light clusters, driver's hatch, engine exhaust grilles, battery hatch and a quantity of lifting or towing eyes. The rear vents for the turbine engine's hot gases are built up in layers, with the option of the snorkel needing a few changes, and inserted into the rear of the hull along with the telephone box and rear light clusters. Side skirts are optional, so build up wither the slimline original skirts, of the ERA box-encrusted TUSK skirts as you see fit, duplicating the work on both sides. These get fitted after completion of the tracks, which are styrene and of the individual link type, which can remain workable if you are prepared to forego most of the glue. This adds a little complexity and increased parts count to the build, but with a little patience, you will be rewarded with a very realistic looking track-run. The supplied jig and carefully laid out parts allow you to make up five links at a time without scattering small parts everywhere, ensuring that the track-pins are first glued to the guide-horns whilst still on their sprues. Ten bottom track pad halves are then laid out on the jig, and the pin/horn combo is placed on top after releasing the now dry horns from their runners. The inner parts of the track pads are then added, then you release the track-pins from their sprues, as there are two friction-fit pins that hold the inner and outer track-pads together. Be careful after construction, as any side-force on the pads could result in the pin ends popping off, as happened to me on my first test. The majority of your time will be spent cleaning up the sprue gates, and take care when cutting the pads, as they can burst if you cut them too closely, leaving you with a messy joint to clean up. Another tip is to ensure that when linking all the lengths together, you arrange the clean ends with the hollow track-pin ends on the same side, as these can then be placed on the outside of the runs, because the pads are omni-directional. Repeat that process until you have two runs of 81 links and you're done. Zone out and put some good music on to make the time go faster. The snorkel kit is all attached to the hull, with one tube fitted to the rear, deflecting the hot gases from the engine upwards, while the intakes are on the engine deck to the left of the turret bustle, and have two tubes servicing the long panel that is found there. They stand up a good 3cm from the engine deck, above the level of the commander's cupola so he drowns before the engine does. The turret is next in the queue, and again a few variant specific holes are drilled in the upper, while the simple gun pivot is added to the lower with polycaps supplying friction damping on any barrel movement and allowing it to be posed at will. The big blow-off ammo storage doors, radio masts and lots of conduits, bases for the crew-served weapons are added, and the gun barrel are made up, the latter being split vertically with a hollow muzzle and a key in the rear to prevent the fume extractor bulge ending up the wrong way. The mantlet has a dust cover that you are told to tape from inside to allow it to move during elevation, but I would consider using glue to hold the tape in place, in case old age takes its toll on the adhesive. The mantlet pushes into a large socket in the pivoting base, and the sides of the turret are adorned with a large pair of stowage boxes and smaller boxes of extra cartridges for the smoke dischargers. The simple loader's hatch as clear vision blocks, as does the commander's more complex cupola, and the TV box on the right of the turret roof, plus the CITV (not the children's channel) on the front left. The smoke dischargers with covers or cartridges installed are fitted, as is the coax M2 derivative machine gun, the TV housing, the CITV turret, and the armoured conduit to the CITV. More stowage area is supplied in the form of tubular framed bins on the left and right, with more to the rear, part of which is taken up by the air conditioning unit. An additional basket can be added to the rear of the bustle, and all of these have PE mesh floors. Under the turret lower the extra armoured conduits for the AC and other hardware are scabbed onto the surface, showing how much the Abrams has changed since its early days with sleek slab sides. The MCD box fits on a bracket over the front left in an armoured enclosure with large vertical fins projecting slightly from the front, and another smaller box to the side of the TV box on the right. The commander's cupola on the TUSK variant is almost a turret in itself, having full field vision in the shape of an octagonal set of clear vision blocks set into a styrene frame. A wash of clear blue/green will give them the correct bullet-proof hue, and don't forget to mask them before it gets too cluttered. The vision blocks are dropped onto a gun-ring and the bullet-proof panels that protect the commander are built up around the sides, sitting on top of the vision blocks without impeding their view, but leaving his back exposed. The M2 machine gun is fitted to a bracket with a glazed shield preventing bullets or shrapnel sneaking past the gap. The loader's shields are slightly less impressive, and his gun is an L249 derivative, but he benefits from the protection of the commander's cupola on one side, although this was improved in the later TUSK II kit. A coax M2 machine gun is mounted on a bracket atop the mantlet, with a big box of ammo reducing the need for risky reloads under fire. Various antennae and countermeasures masts are installed to the rear of the turret along with extra ammo and fuel cans, which completes the build save for the addition of the turret to the hull. I found the equipment fit a little confusing from scanning the instructions, so choose your decal option, note down which assemblies are fitted, and put a line through those you don't need, or you'll have leftovers when you're done. Markings There are four markings options from the box that are different both in terms of colour schemes and equipment fit. The decals are printed in China, but appear to be good quality, sharpness and colour density. Registration isn't an issue, as only two decals are two colours, and they look fine. From the box you can build one of the following: A Company, 8th Tank Battalion, the II Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Task Force Tarawa), US Marine Corps., Iraq 2003. 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marines Division, US Marine Corps. D Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marines Division, US Marine Corps., Helmand Province, Afghanistan, February 2011. B Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Armoured Regiment, US Army, Iraq, July 2008. Conclusion Another awesome Abrams kit from Meng, with slightly confusing instructions for the hard of thinking (me), and plenty of options to go off-piste with the decals to model many other vehicles from the busy period in the Middle East. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Modern German Tank Crew (HS-006) 1:35 Meng Model With the plethora of modern German armour coming from Meng as well as other model companies, it was only natural that someone would produce a crew set to accompany them, and it seems natural that Meng should be at least one company that would do so. This is their set, and it arrives in a traditional end-opening figure-sized box, with a single sprue in sand coloured styrene within, and build/painting guide on the rear of the box. There are four figures in the box and two are dressed in Temperate with two more in desert clothing, which will be useful for crewing at least two tanks, possibly more if you use one figure per vehicle. The desert crew have their sleeves rolled up, sunglasses on, and pistols on their thigh panel holsters. They are also wearing operator-style gloves and a tactical vest with MOLLE-like loops all over it. One figure wears a boonie-style floppy brimmed hat with his hands resting on the turret lip, while the other is sporting a tanker helmet with one elbow on the turret lip, and the other up to his headphone as if he is communicating. The European based figures look quite miserable on the box, but then it does get cold in Germany in the winter. They both have the soft helmets with comms built-in and are wearing a hooded smock over combats. The full figure is stood high in the turret with one hand on the turret lip, while the other is absent below mid-thigh, and has his hands resting on the cupola, looking off to his side. German soldiers wear Flecktarn camouflage pattern, and it's a complex scheme that will be taxing to reproduce in scale, but study an online sample swatch before you start, and you'll do a much better job. The base for the desert scheme is a sandy colour with green and tan pattern, while the Temperate is a dark green, with brown and green splodges densely packed together. In addition there are two pairs of binoculars, a couple of MP2 SMGs which are licensed copies of the Uzi, and there paddle-holstered pistols, meaning one for spares. The figures are broken down with separate torsos and legs (bar the part figure), heads and helmets, plus separate arms for maximum detail. The hoods on the smocks are also separate to give a more natural look. Sculpting is excellent as always and although the mould seam lines are heavy (as is often the case with Meng figures), which is accompanied by some flash, there is no evidence of mould slip, so clean-up should be pretty easy, especially if you use this handy tool that we reviewed a couple of years back. The painting guide uses their own AK produced paint codes with no alternatives given, but it shouldn't be too hard to find codes for your preferred brand using the table on the side of the box which gives the colour names to assist you. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger Interior (Henschel Turret) 1:35 Meng Model We reviewed the new King Tiger kit from Meng in May 2017, which you can see here. So what? Well, you're going to need one of those if you're planning on buying this set/kit, because this is the interior for that kit (TS-031) in case you hadn't read the title and put two-and-two together. It arrives in a box that is exactly the same size as the kit box with a cut-away drawing of the tank on the front, showing what delights lie inside. The box size isn't just frippery either, as it is pretty full of sprues – eleven to be precise, in a mid-grey styrene. There is also an instruction booklet, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), a decal sheet containing interior stencils, plus a small spring. The instruction booklet is quite clever, as it replaces the majority of the first parts of the original kit instructions, but you have to read the annotations carefully to ensure that you don't make a mistake, or omit something. When you're gluing assemblies together and batch-painting things, this is likely, so ensure you make notes and don't rush things. Construction begins with the lower hull, creating the gridwork of ribs between the torsion-bar suspension. The suspension arm and brake drum with PE surround are added to replacement inner skins, along with another two damper arms that help the rest of the suspension over difficult terrain. A pair of stringers are laid along the length of the hull, with holes for the bars to slide through, and the driver's controls are started, to be finished after the torsion-bars are complete. Various other boxes and pieces of equipment are added to the floor over the torsion bars along with a highly detailed firewall between the crew compartment and the engine bay, plus the tread-plate that fits around the turret basket in the centre of the compartment. Attention switches to the engine, which is built up from many parts over the next page of instructions, and inserted in the aft portion of the hull, then flanked by the radiator baths and the manual starter behind the engine, which is accessed by the crew through an armoured hatch on the rear bulkhead. Fuel tanks and plumbing fill up the rest of the bay, and are enclosed by the addition of the inner rear bulkhead, and a PE surround for the engine access hatch. The transmission is the assembled and placed in the forward hull next to the driver, with the two-part drive-shaft and power transfer box under the centre of the turret basket. More boxes, ammunition stowage and even a first aid kit are added around the area, plus radio gear that sits atop the transmission box, making for a claustrophobic interior, even before the bracing struts and main ammo storage are added. The ammunition racks are shaped to fit the confines of the over-sponson area, with individual shells slotting inside, which is where most of the decals are used up, providing the identifying stencils applied to each one. They are applied to the tops of the sponsons in rows of three, ready to be hemmed in by the upper hull frame. The bow mounted machine gun is constructed in three steps with face-cushion against the optics, and twin dump-bags for the spent brass, sliding into the aperture in the glacis plate before the upper hull is joined to the lower. The top of the hull is detailed with periscopes and spare dump-bags for the machine guns, and the front hatch panel is prepared with the opening mechanisms for the lift-and-swing hatches, which projects far into the hull. The engine intake and cooling covers are last to be added to the upper deck along with the lift-off engine hatch, with all the exterior detail being added after reference to the instructions for the main kit. The turret is equally cluttered, with hatch operating rams and various other parts added before the huge breech is installed. The turret basket is fully depicted, which drops through the two-layered turret floor to hang below it, after which the floor itself is decked with racks, spare periscope glass, an additional seat. The breech is a complex assembly, and includes a spring that will allow the gun to recoil if installed correctly. The coax machine gun and its ammo feed fit to the right side, and yet more ammo racks are made up, fitting into the tapered bustle area behind the crew. With the breech glued to the lower turret, the upper turret (from the kit) is slid over it, and the rear turret hatch is built and then added. From here on, you are back to using the kit instructions, although I would have liked to see an downloadable version of the instructions that amalgamated both kits to create one continuous booklet that removed any confusion. Markings As well as the stencils for the shells, there are also dials for the controls and stencils for the various boxes on the interior. The decals are printed in China, and are of good quality, legible and where registration is apparent on the dials, it appears good even under magnification. Conclusion Apart from the chances of mild confusion from switching between instruction booklets, this is an awesome addition to the base kit, and if you didn't understand why it was separated from the kit before, you probably will now. That quantity of plastic would be utterly wasted if it found its way into the stash of a modeller that doesn't do interiors, and as they would also have paid for it, that's got to be a win. The kit has hit the market with a competitive price-point, and this additional set/kit will too, giving the modeller the option to spend a little more for a lot more plastic. Detail is excellent, the instructions as comprehensive as they can be, and colour call-outs throughout help immensely. Can you say "cut-away"? Very highly recommended. Due to the level of demand, initial stocks are depleted, but check back with Creative for a restock soon. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Russian Main Battle Tank T-72B3 1:35 Meng Model The T-72 was the ultimate replacement of the poorly engineered T-64, which was over-ambitious for its era, so struggled with the requirements placed on it by the Russian hierarchy. After much improvement on the flawed original it became such a different beast that they renamed it, after even the hull was re-engineered to take the punishment of the improved power plant. The new T-72 (Objekt 172M) suffered from teething problems however, and initial deliveries were slow, plagued with issues until the factories were properly tooled up and the production started to run smoothly. Along with the earlier T-55 it became one of the most commonly used tanks of the Soviet Union, and has been in service for years with many upgrades and variants. The T-72B was introduced in the mid-80s with improved armour, a new engine with more power, and a complete overhaul of the main gun system from sights to stabilizer. The B3 variant was a substantial upgrade to the previous versions, beginning in 2010 and took reserve tanks, overhauled the systems that would be retained, and replaced many of the electronics, especially the sensor suite that would improve survivability on the modern battlefield. The hull and running gear were also upgraded with new tracks that have two pins instead of the earlier one, and the crew/hardware are protected by an improved fire suppression system. The gun hasn't escaped improvement, and the auto-loader that reduced the crew to three has been improved to feed the new 2A46M5 gun, which fires kinetic penetrator rounds in a discarding sabot outer, similar to the western tanks. Entering service in 2013 there are now over 500 in use, which is increasing as time goes by. The Kit A new tool from Meng, who seem to be moving fast with the new releases at the moment, with Russian/Soviet armour their current vogue. The recent BMPT Terminator that we reviewed in 2014 here used the T-72 chassis as a base, so some of the parts will be common to this kit, and there's hope that more variants will be forthcoming in due course to maximise their returns on the basic moulds. The box is typical Meng, with a satin finish, but the lower carton has been strengthened to a substantial degree to protect the contents, which is good to see, as many modellers stack their models in the stash and a weak box is a pain if the piles are large. Inside the box are fifteen sprues in green styrene; a sprue of flexible styrene in the same colour; two hull parts and the turret top; a clear sprue; a black sprue containing jigs for construction; seven sprues of black styrene track links and seven sprues of the interlinking end-caps in flexible black styrene; a length of braided synthetic string (not pictured); a run of black poly-caps; two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass; a clear suspension positioning tool; decals, and the usual glossy instruction booklet with painting and marking guide to the rear. It's a Meng kit, so of course the first impression is one of a professionally presented and highly detailed model. There's a lot of detail included in the box, and the construction proceeds logically, which as you'd expect begins with the road wheels, idlers and drive sprockets, all of which have poly-caps trapped between the inner and outer portions. Return rollers and suspension parts are added to the lower hull at the same time as the self-entrenching tool is installed in the lower glacis. The suspension is torsion-bar driven on the real thing, and this is replicated in styrene here, with long bars going through the lower hull and short swing-arms holding the stub axles at their ends. A clear styrene tool is provided to get everything in alignment here, so that if you are electing to have your suspension un-deflected, everything will touch the ground. With the rear bulkhead detail panel added along with some spare track links, the road wheels are pushed into place on the by-now cured suspension, and that leads us to the tracks. The tracks are the same design as those for the Terminator, and have three jigs to facilitate construction. Firstly, the guide horns are cut from their sprue and here the instructions tell you to leave them in pairs with a little piece of sprue between them. I had to test this theory, as it looked rather unwieldy to me, and I did indeed find it so when I attempted the first run of six links. For the second run of six, I removed the horns and cleaned up their sprue gate marks first, then clipped them onto the links via the moulded-in pins that run the full width of the links, whilst holding them on the jig J3. It was less fiddly, and a knack was soon stumbled on to get them clipped together. With six links on the jig, a top part J2 is clipped over the lower, holding the links in place. You then insert a section of sprue containing five flexible styrene end-caps into the third part of the jog J1, and cut them loose with a sharp blade. These are then offered en-masse to the pins on one side of the tracks, pushing in only one way due to the shape of the keys on the sides of the jigs. Here you have to be careful to insert the end-caps in the correct orientation according to the scrap diagrams in this section. Optionally, you can finally install a set of track-pads to finish off the length, or leave them rough and ready for cross-country work. They fit into recesses in the outer surface of the links, and glue in quite easily, but be sparing with it, as you'll ruin all your work if the glue gets into the pins. In conclusion on the tracks, they are fiddly, delicate and really require your full attention, so don't expect to have them finished in an hour. I was already speeding up production by the time I'd made the 2nd run of six, and the results are worth the effort, being detailed and workable, but be prepared to put in the effort – you need 2 runs of 81 links. With the tracks out of the way, attention turns to the upper hull, which is based on the large part as seen in the sprue pictures. The raised portions for the driver's compartment, the turret ring armoured sections, PE engine grilles, optional armoured covers, and the exhaust are added to the upper, with a detail insert forming the glacis, plus fuel and equipment stowage covering the majority of the length of the fenders. The shaped front mudguard is delicately moulded with thinner edges to give a more scale look, and has the rebound hinges as separate parts added before they are glued to the front of the fenders. At the rear a smaller pair of simple fenders are installed, and the engine deck is completed with more parts, including another pair of PE grilles. The light clusters are built up and added, as are the four holders for the additional fuel drums, with a larger light cluster at the front, and the rear unditching beam added later, moulded from a single part with plenty of bark detail. The side skirts are multi-parts, with lots of detail moulded on, and they have further ERA blocks to the front, which hang off a trio of brackets that are glued to the sides of the skirts first. Back to the rear, and a pair of towing cables are fabricated from 100mm lengths of the synthetic cord, added to styrene towing eyes and wrapped around the drum supports. Speaking of drums, there are two of these included in the box, with five parts each, which can be added to the curved supports if you so wish, or left in the spares box for later. If you use them, open up a few small holes as instructed, and fit the hosing loom to the front for added realism. The turret is always a fun part of the build for me, and this one starts with the big barrel, which is built up in sections, some of which are moulded complete, while the longer sections are split vertically and will require careful alignment and seam sanding to get a nice tubular barrel. There is no interior other than the commander's instrument panel at the front of his hatch, so the turret lower is used to close up the assembly early, after which a host of ERA blocks are glued all over the place, which is why the bare turret looks like it has already been shot up, as well as bearing little resemblance to the shape of the finished article. Equipment, grab-handles, smoke grenade dispenser and sensors are dotted around between the armour, and the mantlet is installed with a flexible styrene cover giving it a realistic crumpled look for good measure. Around the rear are stowage boxes, one of which has a portable missile launcher lashed to it on the centre station. The commander's cupola has vision blocks around it, a protective shield at his rear and the big anti-aircraft machine gun on a mount to the front. When advancing, the shield is pointed forward to provide protection, and has a reinforced viewing slot to keep the commander safe and give him better situational awareness for longer during a skirmish. The gunner's hatch is a much more straight-forward flap with handles and latch on the underside, and this, like the rotation and activity of the commander's hatch can be left mobile by leaving off the glue. Finally, the barrel is mated to the mantlet via a keyed lug, and the turret is attached to the hull via the usual bayonet twist-to-fit mechanism. Markings If you're expecting a sea of Russian green, you'd be partly right, but two of the four schemes are far from drab, while one of the green jobs is done up in Great Patriotic War Parade decals, with twin white "go faster" stripes on the sides and glacis. From the box you can build one of the following: 20th Army, Western Military District, Russia 2014 – all over green. Victory Day Parade 70th Anniversary of the World Anti-Fascist War, ST Petersburg, May 9th, 2015 – green with stylised red star and black/orange striped markings on the side, white stripes on the sides and glacis. Russian Team, International Tank Biathlon Championship, 2015 – offwhite, brown, red-brown camo. Russian Army Expo, Nizhny Tagil, 2015 – Sand, brown and dark brown splinter scheme. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. As an aside, you also get a little circular PE template to mask off your road wheels, which is a common extra in Meng tank kits that doesn't get as much appreciation as it perhaps should. Conclusion A solid and detailed model of this modern Russian tank that will go together easily, although the tracks will keep you pretty busy for a while. The colour options are nice and varied, but the opportunities for weathering of the colourful options is likely limited due to their parade ground finish. Bring on the next one! Review sample courtesy of
  18. The New Meng Model 1:35 Russian Smerch 9A52-2 Long Range Rocket Launcher is now in stock. Check out the website for more information on all new releases www.creativemodels.co.uk All UK Mainland orders over £30 is free Royal Mail 1st Class Post
  19. IDF Tank Crew 1:35 Meng Model With the increase in kits of Israeli armour kits from Meng and others, it makes sense for them to release a figure set featuring the people that crew these vehicles. Add them to their Merkava IIID, III BAZ with mine-roller, or their new D9R armoured bulldozer, to give a little human scale and perspective. The set arrives in a fairly standard sized end opening figure-type box, and has a painting of the four figures on the front, as well as a Desert Eagle Publishing logo, showing their collaboration with this fount of knowledge of IDF subjects. Inside is one sprue of shiny mid-grey styrene, plus a small sprue of clear parts containing eight drinking bottles - a must in any desert diorama, and very useful everywhere for a more candid appearance to your models. All four figures are broken down into a tow-part torso, separate head with headgear, arms and legs, with separate feet, the reason for which you'll see later. The poses are relaxed in nature, with one figure in a standing position, leaning on the turret ring of a crew-served weapon, wearing a tanker's helmet and drinking from a water bottle. The other three are sat down, one with crossed legs and a floppy-brimmed hat on, the other with a baseball cap pointing to something in the distance. The final figure is also wearing a cap and is holding a mobile phone (cellphone) to his ear with his right hand. The two-part torso used in this set is a departure from their previous Middle Easterners set, which had single piece torsos for the most part. It doesn't add any additional seams however, as even a one-piece torso has a mould seam line running down each side. It does reduce the likelihood of sink-marks though, as the styrene is thinner, and flat spots on the front have been moulded in for webbing pouches that are include on the sprue. Some of the figures have separate hands too, which results in sharper moulding of the parts, as well as easier tooling of the figures. The separate feet have been slide-moulded to enable the engineers to add proper tread and heel patterns to the bottom of the figures' feet, as three of them are in the sitting position where their soles will be visible for the most part. For simplicity, even the chap in the turret has these "fancy feet", which if applicable you could leave off (if they won't be seen) and pinch the feet for another project. The clear sprue contains eight drinking bottles, two each of small, medium smooth, medium ridged and large types. The clarity of the bottles is impressive, and as usual with Meng products, they are protected by a clear layer of plastic that peels away easily, but clings well to itself. This takes away any risk of chaffing in the bag, and demonstrates a concern for their product reaching the purchaser in good condition that others could and should imitate. The moulding is high quality, and the sculpting of the figures is very good. There are deep creases where appropriate on the arms and legs of the figures, with material pulled tight over backs, which appears to be wrinkling under tension just like the real thing. The webbing is well defined, as are the pouches that attach to the aforementioned flat spots, and the points of focus; the hands and the heads are well crafted, with the exception of one hand (part D8) that looks a little small compared to the rest. It rests in the phone user's lap however, so shouldn't show up too much. On the rear of the box is a full parts and painting guide, with colour call-outs in Vallejo format. If you don't use Vallejo, you could do well to seek out the new(ish) Lifecolor Easy 3 set for IDF uniforms, reviewed here along with others from the series. Conclusion This is only Meng's second foray into figure sets, and they have produced another good set that will be useful to anyone with IDF armour in the stash that wants to populate their vehicles with a crew. Moulding and sculpting is very good, and the inclusion of a sprue of water bottles adds extra value. Well worth investigating. Highly recommended. Available soon in the UK from Creative Models. Review sample courtesy of
  • Create New...