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Found 17 results

  1. 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
  2. SU-76M Self-Propelled Gun with Crew 1:35 MiniArt The SU-76 was one of the most widely used AFVs of WWII by the Russians, and was based upon an enlarged version of the T-70 Light Tank chassis, adding width and an extra roadwheel to the length of the vehicle. Although the T-70 wasn't particularly effective or well liked, this much changed and improved development of its basic running gear was, because of its simple agricultural design, which made it easy to maintain, and forgiving in combat conditions. Initial problems with the drive-train were soon cured, and the SU-76M was the result, with the armoured roof of the casemate removed for ease of service and repair of the 76.2mm ZiS-3 gun. Production went on to reach almost 14,000 units before war's end, and although production of the SU-76 ceased, a further development continued production in the form of the ZSU-37, the first dedicated anti-aircraft tank in Soviet service. The Kit MiniArt are a growing force within the AFV world, and have a good reputation for their diorama bases and figure sets. Their toolings are more traditional in style, but an element of slide-moulding is starting to creep in, making for better detail on the parts. The kit arrives in a top opening grey box with a vignette painting of an SU-76M on grassy terrain. Inside are five sprues of mid-grey styrene, a single hull "tub", 16 sprue ladders of track links, a tiny sprue of clear parts, and a simple decal sheet printed by Begemot. The instruction booklet is printed in black and white on good stock, while the colour and decaling sheet is printed in full colour, and includes painting call-outs for the included figures. The first thing that is immediately apparent is that the hull of this tank is rather small. One of its nicknames was "bare a**ed Ferdinand", which referred to its similar layout but diminutive size when compared to the giant German design. The tub struggles to make 5" in length, but detail on the outer hull is good, with rivets, panel lines and raised detail in good supply. There is also detail inside the hull toward the rear where it will be visible due to its open top. Whether you will need to remove the large injection moulding lump that sits in the middle of the hull bottom is questionable, especially as there is a panel placed between it and the viewer during later construction. Unusually for a tank, the gun and its support-work are first to be built up, and there are plenty of parts to make this a well detailed section of the model. The barrel is supplied in two halves, so the more aftermarket conscious amongst us might want to source a replacement, but with some careful seam-work, the kit part should suffice, particularly as it has a 2-piece flash-hider that is added after the barrel is pushed through the mantlet, giving the impression of a hollow barrel. Careful assembly and judicious use of glue should permit you to retain the ability to traverse and raise the barrel, which is of use to retain until you have chosen the final position of the gun, at which time it can be fixed by freezing the pivot points with liquid glue. Once the gun is completed, the chassis makes an appearance, and each side takes six keyed suspension arms, onto which a roadwheel is glued. A triplet of return rollers fix further up the side of the hull on axles, and the idler wheel attaches at the very rear of the vehicle, almost as an afterthought trailing behind. The drive sprockets are mounted to the front on their final drive housings, the edge of which stand proud of the glacis plate once complete. The front of the chassis is boxed in with armour plate at this stage, and various shackles and detail parts are added to the forward and aft bulkheads. There are two hatches on the glacis plate, one for access to the gearbox and the other for the driver, which has a domed armoured surface that has a nice cast texture moulded in. The tracks are separate links that are provided on ladder-like sprues with only small stubs of sprue between each link and no outer runners. Detail is excellent throughout, and they should clip together with no glue, which is backed up by a symbol in the instruction. Each link has three sprue gates sensibly placed, and no ejector pin marks – these have been cleverly left on the sprue stubs between each link. Clean-up and construction of each track of 92 links should proceed relatively quickly as a result of these positives, and there are 8 links spare in case of broken pins. The slide-moulded fenders are then mounted with five bracing brackets on each side, along with some small details and stowage areas. A driving light is placed on the port fender, which has a clear lens piece, so the rear of the part will need painting silver to represent the reflector. On the rear of the starboard fender is a large box containing the radiator and the twin exhaust pipes. The open face of the radiator has moulded baffles that expand the surface area, which are neatly moulded, and the exhausts are made up from two halves with an exhaust pipe stub which will need drilling out to add a little realism. The upper hull is then covered with pioneer tools, while the fenders receive more stowage boxes, and the towing cable is bend into a C-shape for mounting on the glacis plate. My sample had already sheared where the two cooling wavefronts of styrene had met and cooled too quickly to mix, so the single-piece rope would be of no use. However, MiniArt have sensibly included an extra pair of towing eyes without rope moulded to them in case you want to make your own. As usual with my armour builds, I will be using a length of RB Models braided cable, because nothing looks quite like braided cable other than braided cable! At this stage the gun is installed onto a hub moulded into the rear of the top deck, and secured in place from the underside with a pin, which will take some very careful gluing to retain the ability to traverse. A basic floor piece is added, which has some treadplate detail moulded in, plus the aforementioned doors into the inner hull that blank off the moulding pip on the lower hull. A series of parts then build up into the rest of the cladding of the fighting compartment, blocking off the view into the rest of the chassis. Five palettes of shells are built up for the interior, containing a mixture of blunt nosed shells and more pointed armour piercing in each. These are sited around the crew compartment, making for a very loud bang indeed if it received a direct hit. The casemate is next to be built up, and is constructed from three individual sides, each of which is detailed up before installation. Painting the interior in stages is likely to be a necessity with this kit due to its open top and close confines. Fortunately, the casemate panels all meet the hull at an angle, so could be installed completely painted onto the model. A rear bulkhead is then added with a small door that simply eases the step over the back of the hull. Corner stiffener plates are added to the casemate, an aerial onto the starboard side, and safety "roll-cage" to the rear. Curiously, the exhaust pipes from the engine to the mufflers/silencers are almost the last parts to be added, disappearing into an angular box on the top of the hull. A set of five crew figures are included with this kit as a bonus item, and they are contained on the fifth sprue. There are three figures holding shells, one appearing to lean forward to operate the sighting mechanism of the gun, while the final figure would be the commander figure, who is looking through a pair of binoculars. The commander and one shell carrier are wearing heavy greatcoats, while the remaining three wear quilted Soviet tankers uniform. All the figures are wearing the protective leather helmets used by soviet tank crew, which are separate parts on the sprue. The figures are nicely moulded and the greatcoat wearers have separate lowers to their coats, to give a more realistic appearance to them. Some of the crew have separate hands where appropriate, while all have separate arms and legs. The legs are moulded separately and joined at the crotch to give better detail to the inseam area, and all the heads are separate parts. Some small personal items are included for the figures' belts, and eight shells are provided for the chaps to hold (the set is also sold separately as a figure set). The decals are printed by Begemot as mentioned earlier, and have a creamy tint to the white lettering. That shouldn't really notice on the dark background, but should in fact help them not to look too stark. Surprisingly from such a small sheet you can build one of five vehicles, which share the same Russian Green scheme, which is of course no surprise. SPG Artillery Division 11th Guard Army, Eastern Prussia, 1944 Unknown Slef-Propelled Regiment, Eastern Prussia, 1945 1238th SPG Regiment, Poland, March 1945 1448th SPG Artillery Regiment, 9th Krasnodar Kozak Division, Poland, 1944 1223rd SPG Artillery Regiment, 5th Guard Tank Army, 3rd Belorussian front, Vilnus, July 1944 Colour call-outs are provided from Vallejo, Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell and Mr Color. Colour names are also supplied, as well as a column of something unintelligible (to me) in Cyrillic. The same table applies to the crew figures who are surrounded by a cloud of arrows and legends. Conclusion A detailed kit of this diminutive but powerful Self-Propelled Gun, which grew from a mediocre lineage to become an important tank during WWII. The inclusion of five crew figures and individual workable track links makes it a very generous package, and should appeal to many. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. SAU-122 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm Self Propelled Gun. Pictures taken at National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, Kiev by Dave Haskell.
  4. M40 US Self Propelled 155mm Gun perforated platform - For Tamiya Kit 1:35 Eduard The new Tamiya kit is a good one, however Eduard are along as always offering an update set for the kit to replace those plastic parts with PE where PE wins out. Perforated Platform (36355) This set from Eduard gives a complete new platform for the gun. This is certainly one of the areas where photo etch wins out over plastic parts. Conclusion These sets will enhance an already impressive model. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. M40 US Self Propelled 155mm Gun - For Tamiya Kit 1:35 Eduard The new Tamiya kit is a good one, however Eduard are along as always offering an update set for the kit to replace those plastic parts with PE where PE wins out. Update Set (36354) This large brass fret provides brackets and mountings for the front of the vehicle, new light protecting brackets, replacement mounting brackets for the tools, new mesh grills, brackets to hold the hatches open, front mug guards, tool box mountings, rear mu guards & mountings, and a couple of ther hull mounting brackets. Conclusion These sets will enhance an already impressive model. Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
  6. ISU-152 Soviet self-propelled gun. Pictures taken at National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, Kiev by Dave Haskell.
  7. phildagreek

    M109 Doher

    My first work in progress, mainly because I never remember to take photos! So as an experiment, most of these will be taken on my Iphone and posted via Flickr with a view to kicking Photobucket into touch. This is the AFV Club M109A2 kit (as you can hopefully see) with the Black Dog conversion kit. So the obligatory box shots. Untitled by phil da greek, on Flickr Untitled by phil da greek, on Flickr So the photos worked! And not to shabby IMHO. Anyone with any experience of building the kit (or the real thing) then pitch in with any tips or photos etc. The aim is to display the gun in a firing position with it's crew doing various things. Already it's out of control. This will be long and it probably won't be pretty, but pull up a chair shipmates, I'm going in!
  8. AuF1 TA Self-Propelled Howitzer 1:35 Meng Models Developed from the successful AMX-30 Main Battle Tank, the AuF1 is a 155mm howitzer that as well as being rather heavy (over 41 tonnes), is also fast and manoeuvrable, as well as having an automatic loading system giving it a high sustained fire rate of 6 rounds per minute, and burst mode of 8 RPM on a good day. Because the vehicle has sufficient room inside for the whole 4-man crew to travel inside the cab, it has quite a high profile, but because it has a range of almost 24km it has little need for stealth, and is in fact only lightly armoured to a thickness of 20mm to withstand small arms fire. The AuF1 is used by the French army, all of which are now upgraded to the AuF2 spec, as well as the Saudis who have over 50 units on strength. Iraq had 85 that saw action during the Iran/Iraq war, but following the first Gulf War, some remained intact, possibly because they were unable to take part in operations due to a lack of spares caused by the years of arms embargoes in the run up to the conflict. There were rows of abandoned machines at a former Republican Guard base that made for quite an impressive sight. The Model Meng originally released a version of the AuF-1 back in 2012 which came complete with the interior of the turret. This new version unfortunately doesn’t have the interior, so will make for a simpler, if less interesting build. They have also changed the colour of the styrene to a very dark green colour, which not only makes for a more challenging painting experience, but was a real pain to photograph. There are eleven sprues, and a separate lower hull section in the green styrene, one of clear and four in a dark brown. The kit also included a short length of brass wire, a length of string, a small sheet of etched brass, twenty poly caps and a small decal sheet. Construction of the lower hull is identical to the previous release, as you'd expect, with paired drive wheels attached to the suspension arms by friction fit of the poly-caps, and full-length torsion bars mimicking the real suspension. The upper hull is, naturally, the same too, with the same hatches on the glacis plate at the front, side pioneer tool panels, and the rear bulkhead/radiator/exhaust assemblies. The light clusters, spare fuel cans and external telephone are all present, as are the PE grilles that cover the hot exhausts. There are pair of large front mounted tool box assemblies which are built up and the right hand side box fitted with fire extinguishers, before both are fitted to the front of the vehicle. The tow ropes are consigned to the port side panels with the pioneer tools. The tracks are meant to be working, and to build them, Meng have included an ingenious part C10 as a template for building up the individual click-together track links, 80 parts per run. The main difference between releases is that you only get the external parts of the gun, so that means the barrel base, with its four recuperators are assembled and fitted to the simple trunnion mount, which is fitted from the inside of the mantlet. The mantlet is installed at the front of the turret, and is joined by the sides, then the frame of the rear wall, and finally the roof. The roof has some boxes, smoke dischargers and various lifting eyes added around the turret before the large side doors are constructed from an inner skin joined to the outer, with a clear vision port and internal handle to improve the detail. These can be posed open or closed on the moulded-in hinges, and the top hatches are left loose to be posed open or closed at will, but with no interior it’s not much of an option. Grab-handles, an antenna base, along with two sets of barrel cleaning rods, and a roof mounted searchlight are attached, along with a 50cal weapon with mount and ammo-box is added to the left-hand hatch. The rear magazine doors can only be posed closed, thus needing the hinges removing. The final parts are the main gun barrel, which is supplied as separate halves, with a small detail section added to the aft of the muzzle brake. Once complete and the seams hidden, this just slots into the hole between the recuperators, and could even be left loose for ease of transport, as it is a little on the long side! Decals Unlike the first release, this version comes with two marking options, one with the standard French tri-colour scheme depicting a vehicle from the 1st battalion, 40th Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armoured Brigade of the French Army. The second option is for a vehicle of the 1st Marine Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armoured Brigade of the French Army, as used in the Lebanon in 2006 and is painted in the UN overall white scheme. The decals are well printed, with good register, colour density and crisp demarcations. The colour profiles cover every side of the vehicle, so there will be no guess work on where the various colour splodges start and finish, which makes a nice change from recent experiences with other manufacturers. The large crest/shield on the decal sheet is beautifully printed, unfortunately there is nothing in the instructions showing where, or if this is used, but I’m sure a bit of research on the internet will show it. Conclusion This is still an imposing model, with its huge gun barrel. Just a shame that Meng decided not to include the interior parts of the turret, as it would have given this kit some more options on how to display it. It’s still a great kit and one I can whole heartily recommend it. It will certainly stand out in the collection if painted in the UN scheme. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Wonderland Models

    New Miniart Model Kits

    We've got some great items from MiniArt available right now, including two new kits: A Soviet SU-122 Self Propelled Gun with full interior detail and a set of Resting WWII German Tank Crew figures. For full details, please see our newsletter.
  10. FV433 Abbot Self Propelled Gun. The correct name for the Abbot was Gun Equipment 105mm L109 (Abbot), however this was not used mainly as it avoided confusion with the 155mm M109 which entered service with the British Army at the same time.
  11. Shar2

    Chinese Type 83 SPG. 1:35

    Chinese Type 83 SPG Trumpeter 1:35 History The Chinese Type 83 Self Propelled Gun was designed around the requirements the PLA issued in the late 70’s for a modern Self-Propelled Artillery Gun. Its design wasn’t one started from scratch, but the amalgamation of existing systems used by the PLA. The main gun was a further development by 127 Factory in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province of the Type 66 152mm Towed Gun-Howitzer. The factory also developed the semi-automatic loading system. The tracked chassis was a further development by 674 Factory in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, of the Type 321. The factory also served as the principal contractor. The first prototype was completed in 1980 and a modified second prototype was built in July 1981, with field trials ending in 1982 and entered production in 1983. Elevation of the main gun is +62 to 0 degrees and can fire a number of munitions including high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), cluster projectiles with fragmentation sub-munitions and base gas bleed, and indigenous laser-guided 152mm projectile (Russian Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology was purchased by China in the 90’s). 30 rounds can be stored in the turret with a 5 rounds per min rate of fire. For close encounters, the vehicle is equipped with a roof mounted 12.7mm (50cal.) MG for AA and a Type 69 RPG is carried in the turret. The vehicle uses a WR4B-12V150LB four-stroke liquid-cooled diesel engine, generating 520hp giving a maximum road speed of 55km/h and an operational range of 450km. It’s currently in service with the PLA and each artillery regiment has a Type 83 battalion, which operates 18 vehicles. The Model The kit comes in the standard Trumpeter style box, although, unlike the Indian T-90S reviewed HERE the box for the Type 83 is only about half as deep. The boxart depicts a Type 83 travelling in convoy across some pretty barren grassland. Inside there are nine sprues of light grey styrene, which is also used for the separate upper and lower hulls. There is also a clear acetate sheet, a small sheet of etched brass, sixteen poly caps and a small decal sheet. Trumpeter seem to have their armoured vehicle kits pretty much weighed off as the mouldings are usually very clean, with no flash or other imperfections, although they do tend to have quite a few moulding pips on the smaller parts which can be annoying, even if they are necessary. Construction begins with the drilling of eight holes in the front face of the lower hull, followed by the fitting of the rear bulkhead and, rather unusually the drivers seat, which is made up of the squab, backrest and two levers. The bump stops and shock absorbers for the front and rear suspension units are attached to the sides, followed by the torsion units. Each of the return rollers are made up of two parts, whilst the road wheels are made up from inner and outer wheels with a poly cap sandwiched in-between. The sprocket wheels are each made up form three parts, the inner and outer toothed wheels and a middle plain wheel. With all the wheels assembled they can be pushed onto their respective axles. The tracks provided are of the rubber band style, the ends of which are fixed together either by melting the pins or glued. They are pretty well moulded and since the real vehicle appears to have quite tight tracks, these will work pretty well, without the hassle of building them out of individual links. Next up are several sub assemblies, most concentrating on the various storage boxes for the upper hull in six different styles. The radiator grille actually has a radiator included in this kit, made up from four parts, which is then fitted to the underside of the radiator decking and covered with a PE grille cover. Before any of the storage boxes and other items can be fitted to the upper hull there are thirty eight holes to open up. The storage boxes are then attached, followed by the track guard supports, drivers vision ports, large access hatch, drivers hatch, three piece gun cradle and turret ring extensions. The radiator sub-assembly is then fitted to the front deck, along with the two piece lights, reflectors, and two piece snorkel. Two PE intake grilles are fitted to their respective positions, as are the two front towing hooks, idler gear cover, spare track links, whilst at the rear two more tow hooks are attached, rear lights, reflectors, and the rear door. The main howitzer is made up from multiple parts, with the two piece breech, two piece trunnion, and two piece barrel. The trunnion is attached to the breech, which is then attached to the mantle, followed by an attachment ring to which the barrel is fitted. Each of the two recuperators also come in two parts and fitted to the underside of the barrel. The shell carriage is then assembled from six parts, then attached to the top of the breech. The three piece recoil tube is attached to the rear of the trunnion and the two trunnion mounts. The elevation wheel and its gearbox made up from three parts and fitted to the left hand trunnion mount. A nice feature is this kit actually has some interior, not much, but certainly something that could be used as a basis for something more complete. The turret floor is fitted out with three seats and their supports along with the training motor and gearbox. Inside the turret there are three radio sets, a mid mounted bulkhead with the shell storage holes, storage box, gunners vision block, and six clear acetate parts for the commanders cupola vision blocks. The howitzer sub-assembly is then attached to the turret, followed by the turret floor. The turret then has seven grab handles fitted around the top, along with the side access hatch, commanders hatch and machine gun mount, plus the ventilation mushroom, pioneer tools, large storage box, aerial base and rear hatch. The KPV heavy machine gun consists of the single piece gun, three part firing mechanism, three piece elevation mounting, cocking handle, and three piece ammunition case. The completed machine gun mounting is the attached to the front of the commanders cupola, after which the completed turret can be fitted to the completed hull along with the towing cable, completing the build. The small decal sheet contains markings for various vehicles but with only one colour scheme Conclusion Trumpeter seems to be quite good at releasing Chinese vehicles and have a fair number in their catalogue. This is a very nice kit and although it is reminiscent of other self propelled guns it is different enough to be of interest and would make a great companion piece with others of its ilk. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  12. M-108G 1:35 Italeri The M108 is an American self-propelled 105mm howitzer developed in the 1950's and first fielded on 1962. It uses the same hull and turret of the M109 howitzer along with some components from the M113 armoured personnel carrier. The M108 mounted a fully rifled m103 gun which was 30 calibres long. 87 rounds of 105mm ammunition were carried. The Aluminium armour offered protection from shell splinters and direct fire up to 0.50 calibre heavy machine gun rounds. No spall liners were fitted inside, and the gun was not fitted with an NBC system. In fact no heating/ventilation system was fitted at all. Motive power was provided by a Detroit Diesel V8 generating 425hp. The M108 was intended to be the short range component of the US Army's self-propelled artillery. The M108 was to fill the gap between heavy mortars and the 155mm M109. The M108 proved to be effective in combat in Vietnam, however they Army considered it to be lacking when compared to the 155mm platform. As such it was phased out in the 1970's to be replaced by the M109. The M108 was used by a few US allies; Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, and Tunisia. Although not listed as an "official" user of the M108 the Australian Army were loaned at no cost some from the US Army for use in Vietnam. These were used by 6 Troop, 3rd Cavalry Regiment to defend the 1st Australian Task Force Base at Nui Dat before the arrival of Centurion tanks. The Kit The Italeri kit of the M108 was first produced in 1983, and to our knowledge has not been re-released since. The kit arrives as three main sprues of grey plastic. The main improvement with this re-release is the inclusion of a new set of tracks. These are now single link tracks which Italeri also produce as a separate set. These replace the original vinyl tracks. There is no interior at all for the kit. A further four sprues contain all the parts for the tracks and the guides to construct them. Construction starts with fitting the front and rear bulkheads to the lower hull. All the suspension arms are then fitted, along with the drive wheels, idler wheels and road wheels. Once these are on the upper decking is fitted. Following this all of the fittings are attached to the front (headlights, and towing fixtures); and the rear (storage boxes, spare track links, rear door, and lights). The drivers hatch and gun travelling mount can then be attached to the front decking. The next stage is that the tracks are made up. As mentioned there are four sprues of track parts and four jigs to make then up. There are four runs of straight track for each side with the end being made of individual links. The jigs are designed to fit together to proved essentially one long jig for construction. The tack pads are placed in the jigs and then joined with link part. The guide horn part then goes on top. The modeller will have to be careful with the glue at this stage to ensure correct movement of the links. While rather fiddly the tracks will look so much better than those band ones.These tracks are also available from Italeri as a separate item (T-136). (Four Of these sprues are provided - the four guides are show linked together) Final assembly then is down to the turret. The gun and mantle are first constructed. Next its the turret; this is made from the top, lower turret ring and the back (with separate doors). The mantle is then slid through. The turret is completed by the addition of tools, racks, a tow cable and pintle mounted .50 cal machine gun on the op hatch. Fuel cans are also provided for attachment to the turret. While there is no interior for the kit there are aftermarket sets available, these are mainly under the M109 name as the M109 and M108 are basically the same vehicle with different guns. Decals Decals are provided for 3 different guns on a rather small decal sheet. They are printed by a company called Zanchetti in Italy, a company I am not familiar with. The decals look good, however the ones in the review kit seem to have been run over! hopefully most are not like this. Brazilian Army 1970 US Army 1st Field Force Vietnam 1968 Australian Army, Vietnam 1971 Conclusion A nice re-issue from Italeri, this kit had been getting hard to find. The inclusion of new tracks is most welcome. Recommended if you like Self-propelled guns, or something a little different. Review sample courtesy of
  13. One of my newer models - circa 2014 Kit: HobbyBoss 82499 Scale: 1/35th Scary part: the Indy link track with indy track pins Yikes! (15% tank, 85% track ) Based on the T-26 chassis (a British concept) this was probably the first Soviet SPG This was another long weekender for me and although it looked crude, it went together really well. The kit is fairly bland having no markings supplied so, I took a little license and added the '143' strictly for effect - I think it works? AND, the track Actually Works! Yeah, I know....... Just a little light weathering and ????? Hope you like
  14. Russian 2S3 Self-Propelled Howitzer (Early) 1:35 Trumpeter Developed in the late 60s as a direct counterpart to the US M109 self-propelled Howitzer, the 2S3, which is known as Akatsiya by its users, was developed using a cut-down chassis from a pre-existing SAM system, and mounting a large 152mm howitzer in a turret set to the rear of the upper hull. It is NBC capable, diesel powered, and has a crew of 6 men in ideal conditions, with four inside the hull and 2 passing ammunition through the rear doors if it is safe for them to do so without them coming under fire. The initial prototypes suffered from a tendency to gas its crew as rounds were fired, but once this was solved, series production started, and over the years a large number have been produced in various forms, the latest being the 2S3M2, which has a slightly larger gun, and modern GPS and satellite guidance equipment that was added at the turn of the new millennium. It was used by the former Soviet Union, its allies in the Eastern Bloc and Africa, and has participated in Afghanistan and most conflicts that have plagued some Eastern European states since the dissolution of the Union, as well as taking part in Libya during the civil war. There are still a large number in active service of former Soviet Union countries, and more in storage "just in case" throughout the many current operators. The Kit This new tool kit is part of Trumpeter and Hobby Boss' current (perceived) bid to kit almost every piece of Soviet Cold War armour before the end of the decade. It arrives in a standard top opening Trumpeter box, and inside is a divider annexing the hull and turret parts from the sprues, of which there are quite a few - nine to be precise, all of them in a medium grey styrene. The hull halves and turret upper are separate due to their complex slide-moulded detail, and the tracks are supplied on 30 (yes, that many) three-dimensional sprues in bags of five. More on that later. A small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass is included, plus a small decal sheet, instruction booklet and an A3 full-colour painting and markings guide. As always with AFV kits, six of the sprues contain wheel and suspension parts, plus small parts that are required in greater numbers. The other three sprues are full of the upper hull, turret and entrenching equipment parts, and once you have completed the suspension, the model should go together quickly. Detail is excellent, and the major parts have been tooled using modern slid-moulding moulds to give detail on sides of parts that wouldn't normally be possible with older methods. There is no interior to the howitzer, but this is fairly common, and what is provided is of good quality. The lower hull is supplied as a bathtub with missing rear panel, which is on one of the sprues, and detailed with the rear doors for ammo supply, latches, shackles and armoured breathers before being added to the hull, which is festooned with bump-stops and return rollers, plus final drive housings and then the suspension arms with twin wheels on six sets of single axles on each side. The idler wheels are also paired and installed on a short axle which also acts as the track tensioner, while the drive sprockets are made up from three parts and installed in a hole on the final drive housing. The track links are all separate, and have been tooled in a way I have not seen before. Each sprue contains eight links with three attachment points and NO ejector pin marks, which have slide-moulded detail to the ends depicting the track pin ends, by cleverly splitting the sprue so that it resembles a ladder, admitting the sliding detail parts of the mould during manufacture. The result are very well detailed links that click-fit together, taking a lot of the hassle out of using individual links for the uninitiated, and needing very little clean-up. Full marks to Trumpeter here. The fenders attach to the lower hull on large tabs at each end and one in the middle, which seems a little flimsy to this reviewer, although in action the joint might well be strong enough. Jack blocks and small parts are added to each fender, and attention turns to the upper hull. A fording bow wave deflector is the first item installed on the hull at the front of the glacis plate, behind which is the driver's compartment with vision blocks and separate hatch cover. To his right is the engine compartment, which has two rectangular grilled, which use PE mesh to cover the openings, and then either two grids that cover the mesh, or an armoured cover to the rear-most grille, which requires a couple of holes to be drilled in the hull to accommodate the mounting pegs. A trio of hatches are installed on the port side, and the front headlight is first installed in a rather delicately moulded cage before being added to the hull front on both sides. At the rear under the turret are a few spare track links and other shackles, of which there seem to be a lot on the 2S3, some of which are made from PE. Grab handles are also numerous, as are filler caps on the engine deck, and the travel lock for the barrel is installed centrally on the glacis, just forward of the driver's station. The gun is supplied as two halves, split horizontally, and it is hard to see how this could have been done any other way, due to the massive size of the twin baffle flash-hider that adorns the end of the barrel. It assembles into a rather happy looking mantlet, with two recuperator cylinders sat above it and partially buried in the mantlet. It is trapped between the turret top and bottom, and has no breech detail whatsoever - just a cylinder with two pegs on the ends that allows the gun to elevate. The commander's hatch and close-quarters machine-gun station is built up with a complex remote-controlled mount and 7.62mm PKT general purpose machine gun with searchlight fitted to the front. Periscopes, grab-handles and tie-downs are added, before the mantlet surround is added, with a PE protector around the sight, and the side-access hatch completes the turret with detail inside and out, despite there being no interior. The upper and lower hull halves are joined together at the last, and optional self-entrenchment tools are added to the front and rear of the hull, before a pair of PE mudflaps are installed on the rear fenders, and the turret is dropped into place. Unlike kits of yore, the turret ring is smooth, having no retaining lugs, so should either be glued into place for all time, or care will be needed when handling the model in case the two parts come apart and are damaged. Markings It's not a case of "any colour as long as it's Russian Green" with this vehicle, and the Painting & decaling guide show two vehicles. One is in Russian Green with white detailing and a bright banner on the turret for parade purposes, while the other is painted in a tri-tone soft-edge camouflage with a green base that is overlaid with black and sand patches to break up the outline of the vehicle. The only decals shown being used are the CCCP banner, but a double set of numerals are included on the decal sheet in case you wish to model a particular vehicle. Decals are printed anonymously, and are in good register. The white numerals look a little thin however, so it would be wise to test one that you won't use to see whether it will allow the colour beneath it to show through. Conclusion A nice modern tooling of a classic piece of Russian Cold War armour, which is announced as "Early Version", with the possibility of the M, M1 and M2 versions to follow, as after the M variant when the rear bulkhead was changed, the small equipment fit was the main difference between the early version and the later marks, and a lot of this was inside the hull, so irrelevant for tooling purposes. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Dads203

    Trumpeter Heavy Arty 2S19 announced

    Looks like Trumpeter are really going to town on the Russian theme Box art is up on Armorama, no release date yet but i have a feeling that this will be good :-)
  16. TS-004 1:35 AUF1 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer Meng have announced the release soon of this rather brutal looking French Self-Propelled Gun (SPG), to give it its full title, GCT 155mm AUF1. It is based on the AMX 30 chassis and sports a 133mm gun with a 39 calibre round and can fire a whopping 8 rounds a minute due to its auto-load mechanism. Used by the French, Saudis and in small numbers the Iraqis during the Iran Iraq war, it cuts an impressive profile on the battlefield. Looks like it'll be an impressive kit when it arrives. No dates have been given as yet, but I'm hoping soon Mike.
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