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British Tank Destroyer FV215B(183) (35A008) 1:35 Amusing Hobby Post WWII, everything armoured was still suffering from a hangover from Hitler's "bigger is better" mantra, and Heavy Tanks were all the rage. The FV214 Conqueror was one such vehicle, and was intended to be the big-brother of the Centurion, wiping out enemy tanks and clearing the way. It saw service in limited quantities in West Germany in the late 50s to early 60s, and was phased out in favour of the Main Battle Tank. The FV215B was a proposal for a Self-Propelled Gun based on the same chassis, but with the turret housing a 183mm gun fitted to the aft part of the hull to reduce overhang of its limited traverse turret. It never progressed beyond a mock-up, so was essentially a paper project, and ended its days consigned to the waste paper basket when the project was cancelled. The Kit This is a great paper project from Amusing Hobby, with some sprues borrowed from their Conqueror kits as you might expect. There's no harm in getting the most out of the sprues, and we get an interesting developmental dead-end of the Conqueror line into the bargain. FV222 Conqueror ARV next maybe? The kit arrives in a traditional top opening box, and inside are nine sprues and two hull halves in sand-coloured styrene, 226 track links in brown styrene two-per-sprue (113 of them in my kit), eight real-live springs, a length of braided copper wire, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet, and instruction booklet with colour profiles and markings guide on the rear pages. It doesn't share as many of the parts as you'd think with its progenitor, with only the running gear, lower hull, wheels, tracks and side-skirts from the original, all the rest being newly tooled. Detail is the same quality as the Conqueror, although some texturing of the turret armour would have been an improvement, but it's not massively difficult to do yourself with a stipple of Mr Surfacer and a few knocks with a spinning Dremel tool. It's an exterior kit, so other than a few periscopes and small parts near hatches, there is nothing inside. If you're opening hatches, grab some Post WWII tank crew to go with it and you're set. Construction begins with the hull, and the suspension bogies that contain the Horstmann suspension units, which is where the real springs come in. These are contained between two end-caps, which affix to a back-plate, and if you're careful with the glue when you attach the perforated front part, you should end up with working suspension. Two pairs of road wheels and a single pair of return rollers are fixed to the axles, and held in place by hub caps that fit using friction alone, so the wheels should turn too if you don't overdo the paint. This is repeated over the eight bogies, a multi-part drive sprocket with final drive housing is installed at the rear and the adjustable idler wheels are added to the lower glacis, with an element of adjustment possible before you apply glue, which should allow you to take up any additional slack in the tracks before you finish construction. A set of small inner skirts are glued along the length of the road wheel area, with tie-downs/grab-handles at either end, although it may be better to leave these off until after the tracks are fitted, and possibly until after painting. The rear bulkhead fits to the opening in the back of the hull after being decked-out with towing hooks and various small parts, after which the new upper hull is built. Blanking plates are affixed to the lower edges of the sponsons before it is flipped over and the glacis plate is added to the blank front of the upper hull. Light clusters, travel-lock for the barrel and lifting eyes are added, then around the front of the turret ring a group of PE grilles are glued in place with super glue and the engine access hatch is detailed with grab-handles and lifting lugs. A semi-circular hatch is supplied for the driver, with periscope and levers inside, stowage boxes and exhausts are added to the fenders, plus air cleaners and fire extinguishers, then short outer skirts that hang from the edges of the fenders on small lugs. The upper turret is a single moulding to which the internal periscope and latching parts are fitted, while cable bobbin, stowage, shell-ejection hatch and twin smoke grenade launchers are fitted to the slab-like sides. On the roof are the three hatches, sighting gear and a single coaxial(ish) machine gun projecting from a wedge-shaped appendage in front of the commander's cupola, which has a flip-forward hatch and a mushroom vent in the centre of the roof. Either side of the commander's hatch are spare ammo cans for the belt-fed aft-facing machine gun that is fixed to the rear on a Y-shaped mount. The massive 183mm main gun is made from two interlocking tubular parts with hollow centres, which have their join hidden by the fume extractor that fits around them in two parts. The completed barrel then slides through the angular mantlet and locates in the pivoting part, which latches inside the mantlet with a firm push, having moulded-in splines to keep it from drooping, although if you play with it too much it will end up saggy. The completed mantlet and single piece turret floor complete the assembly, leaving just the tracks and final assembly to do. The tracks are very nicely moulded, and are of the click-fit workable variety, which works very well indeed in this instance. The parts are moulded in pairs with a small injection manifold between them, and they are attached by only two sprue gates, with no ejector pins to deal with. Clean-up is super-simple due to the location of the gates, and the click action is quite robust, leaving you with a run of tracks in fairly short order, which is just as well as you need 98 links per side. Having seen a few rather poorly engineered track joining methods from other major manufacturers lately, it's refreshing to see a genuinely good track-making method from Amusing Hobby. With the tracks installed, the hull halves can be joined, the turret twisted into place, and a pair of aft mudguards fitted to the fenders to complete the job. Markings It's a what-if, paper-project or hypothetical AFV if you like, so the schemes have been made up with the assistance of Mig Jiménez's company AMMO, so it's not a surprise to see that the colours are using their codes. Both options have camouflage patterns, which should be easy enough to apply because you have five views so there's no guesswork involved. If you're planning on using an airbrush you can either freehand them with nice tight demarcations, or get some of that clever putty, roll out some snakes and get on with masking it up, leaving it to settle a little into the corners to prevent "the fuzzies". The decal sheet is small and contains a number of which alphanumeric codes to create your own number plates using the black rectangles as a backdrop, some well-known British tank regiment badges, a couple of yellow donuts and circles, and even a British flag with a tiny first aid roundel nearby. Registration, colour density and sharpness are up to the job, and you have plenty of scope to create your own vehicle with a little made-up history if you like. Conclusion I'm quite fond of this era of gigantic tanks when they were still figuring out the best way of doing things in the world of Armoured Fighting Vehicles, so this appeals to me both from a subject point of view as well as a nice kit that will look imposing on the shelf, unless you plonk it down next to a Conqueror or a IS-3, or maybe even an American T-28, or your own 1:35 scratch-build P1000 Ratte! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
(just information for all fans of unusual projects...& Soviet aircraft ) Hydroplane MiG-17....now you see all! No, it's not a combat plane, only testbed for hydroski projected big naval supersonic Soviet "America-bomber". It didn’t get to the real plane, so you see only the model photo ... but this model is scary beautiful! I do not know, what is more in it - terrible or beautiful! Therefore, someone must make a good, accurate, high-quality MiG-17 in 72nd scale ....so that someone would make such a this conversion detail set to him! Resource photos: https://afirsov.livejournal.com/402533.html#comments B.R. Serge