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  1. Panhard 178B ‘47mm Gun late Turret’ (SA35009) 1:35 Special Hobby The Panhard 178 was in 1935 an advanced reconnaissance armoured car used by the French armed forces, the 178 being Panhard's internal project number. The vehicle featured 4-wheel drive, a 25mm main gun that was supplemented by a 7.5mm machine gun. It was the first 4-wheel drive type of vehicle mass produced by a major power. A notable feature of the vehicle was a driving position in the front, and a separate seat at the rear for a second driver to get out of trouble in a hurry without performing a U-turn. The second driver also doubled as a radio operator in command vehicles. The main gun used was normally a shortened version of the 25mm Hotchkiss L/42.2, which was the standard French Anti-tank tank gun, but to allow for the shorter barrel, the gun used a heavier charge that could penetrate up to 50mm of armour when using a tungsten round. Secondary armament was usually a coaxial Reibel 7.mm machine gun for which 3,750 rounds were carried, approximately half of them being armour piercing. A further machine gun was carried on the internal wall that could be mounted on the turret for anti-aircraft use. The magazines for this gun were also carried on the internal walls of the fighting compartment. Approximately 370 vehicles were completed and available for use when war broke out, and they were employed by infantry units as well as the Cavalry. When in combat against German vehicles that were armed with 20mm cannon, the Panhards often came out much better than the enemy vehicles, but after the French defeat almost 200 (many brand-new) were used by Germany in reconnaissance units. An interesting modification made by the Germans was to develop the Schienepanzer as railway protection vehicles that were fitted with special wheels to allow them to run on railway tracks. After the war the type was updated with a 75mm gun, but it was later decided to install a 47mm SA35 gun, with over 400 made, making a grand total of over 1,000. The Kit This kit is a re-release of a base ICM kit from 2015, but with a substantial quantity of resin and Photo-Etch (PE) parts to create this particular version of the vehicle. It has a full interior, both in the fighting compartment, with the two driving positions and in the engine bay. The detail on the parts is very well done, from the rivets on the main hull to the tread-plate main floor, and the louvres on the engine covers. There are 4 sprues of grey styrene, four rubber tyres, a glossy colour printed instruction booklet, PE sheet and a small decal sheet. In a separate yellow box within the outer packaging are a large number of resin parts, some of which have been 3D printer mastered for extreme detail and accuracy. There is also a single clear resin part, and a turned aluminium barrel within the pack, all of which is protected in a Ziploc bag inside the box. This of course means that a large number of kit parts will remain on the sprues, destined for the spares box or recycling, as they have been replaced by the new resin parts. Construction begins with the tread-plated fighting compartment floor being glued to the lower hull, followed by the rear driver’s bulkhead and both drivers’ seats. The longitudinal bulkhead between the rear driver’s compartment and engine compartment is then fitted into position, followed by the well-detailed twelve-part engine. The drivers’ steering columns and steering wheels are next, along with the gear sticks and foot pedals. A resin shell storage box and 24 shells are added in front of the engine bay, and the rear driver’s transverse bulkhead is then installed, with a PE strip depicting the leather back-strap that could be un-latched to allow the driver to clamber into the rear quickly. Both sides of the hull have a door that can be posed either open or closed to display the interior if you wish, and on the inside of each side there are numerous resin ammunition drums for the machine gun to be glued into position, along with the driver’s instruments and a spare machine gun. The sides are then glued to the lower hull, followed by the front and rear bulkheads plus glacis plate. The rear engine deck is then attached, along with the fighting compartment roof after adding the resin radio gear rack and another PE back-strap for the forward driver, followed by engine louvres and rear mid-bulkhead hatch, which can all be posed open should the modeller wish. The engine compartment is fitted with a muffler and an optional figure-eight PE bracket before the final louvres are installed, following which the rear arches are fitted out with stowage boxes that have pioneer tools added to their exterior, as does the rest of the engine deck. Fortunately, the running gear and suspension on this kit is refreshingly simple, with just two axles and two-piece differentials plus drive shafts that are assembled, then the four suspension spring units are fitted to the underside of the hull, followed by the axles/drive shafts. The steering linkages are attached along with brake accumulators, drop links, horn and towing hooks. The wheels are each made up from two-part hubs and a flexible black “rubber” tyre, with the completed assemblies glued onto their respective axles. The new resin turret is then assembled, beginning with the co-axial machine gun and main gun breech, which is made from a number of resin parts, which once joined together are fitted with the trunnion mounts and elevation gear. This is fitted to the turret ring along with the turret traverse mechanism. The resin turret ring and turret are fitted with vision blocks on the inside along with the gun and other equipment, then the commanders and gunner’s seats are made up and glued into position as the ring is glued in place. The hatches are fitted with a handle and more vision blocks before being fixed into position, and can be posed open or closed. More flared periscope hoods are fitted on the turret roof, and lifting eyes around the sides. There is a choice of two barrels for this boxing, with a longer resin item that has a two-part muzzle brake, or the turned metal one with small coax barrel tip slotting into the resin mantlet that in turn fixes onto the keyed front of the breech. The completed turret is then dropped onto the hull, and the last parts added. These include the driver’s hatch, a resin search light with clear resin lens, plus optional aerial mounts, wiring looms and PE brackets. The spare tyre on the left side of the hull is completely resin, having a 3D printed master for the tyre, two-part hubs that attach it to the side, and a flat PE cover to prevent dirt ingress in the field. Markings The small decal sheet provides markings for five vehicles, all with a base of green, some of which having overpainted camouflage patterns. From the box you can build one of the following: Vehicle IC-92690 ‘Fontenoy’ 1er Peloton du I/5e RSM, French Army, Cambodia, 1952 Vehicle 11222 Syrian Arab Army Parade vehicle, 1960s Vehicle I1003200 unknown unit, France, c.1945 Vehicle IS-91858 ‘Carmen’, unknown unit, North Africa, 1947 Vehicle 11003577 fictitious unit of French Army with 75mm gun from a well-known PC game Decals are by Special Hobby, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is an unusual boxing of the 178B that should appeal to a lot of folks, especially those that perhaps play a game that may or may not be War Thunder. I don’t play myself, but it’s highly likely. Great detail, and tons of resin to add value to the ICM plastic. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Panzerbefehlswagen 35(t) (SA35008) 1:35 Special Armour by Special Hobby Originally designed and built for the Czech army the 35(T) or LT 35 as it was then known, wasn’t an immediate success. Once its shortcomings had been ironed out however, it became very popular with the crews. This was Skoda’s first tank built with a turret, which mounted a 37mm gun and a co-axial machine gun. With the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the German army captured 244 tanks of the 434 built, pressed them into service and designated them the Panzerkampfwagen 35(t). Used extensively in the Blitzkrieg attacks in the invasion of Poland, France and even the opening attacks against Russia, it was at least partly responsible for the success of the initial advances. The main hull was of bolted construction, the heads of which could shatter and become shrapnel within the vehicle in the event of a hit, even if it didn’t manage to penetrate the armour. Although its armour was on the thin side, it could still cope well with shrapnel, small arms fire and rounds up to around 20mm, after which penetration was likely, and this was partly responsible for its withdrawal as the war led to larger and larger guns carried by both sides. Some tanks were converted to Panzerbefehlswagens, or Command Tanks by the removal of the bow machine gun and the addition of extra radio gear that was coupled to a Frame antenna on the rear of the tank. It was better suited to the task of holding slightly to the rear and issuing orders to the rest of the squad, where its light armour was less of a risk to the crew, especially as it also contained their commander. Most 35(t)s were retired from active service by 1942 and used as training vehicles until spares and wear & tear saw them off. Some of the withdrawn tanks were converted to other uses by removing their turrets and fitting other equipment useful in their new role. The turrets were retained for use in fixed emplacements in defence lines such as the Atlantic Wall. Bulgaria had acquired a number of these tanks for their army, and finally retired their last training 35(t) in 1950. The Kit This is a reboxing of an earlier kit from the Special Armour line, with some additional parts to turn it into the Command variant. It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box, and inside are four larger sprues in grey styrene, a smaller sprue in white styrene, a strip of five jerrycans on a resin pour stub, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), the decal sheet and A5 stapled instruction booklet on glossy paper with spot colour and profiles at the rear. Although this is an older kit, with the PE having a copyright date of 1998, the detail is good, although the part numbers are engraved on the notional “back” of the sprues, with the majority of the detail moulded on the opposite surface. Other than that, it could be mistaken for a much younger kit, and there’s very little in the way of flash apart from one corner of the track, where a small amount of mould damage may have crept in, but without damaging the parts themselves. The tracks are of the link-and-length variety, with long runs on the straighter sections, and individual links for the highly curved areas. More on that later. Construction begins with the road wheels, starting with the drive sprocket and idler wheel pairs, all of which are made from three parts each, with small sprocket pegs on the idlers, which is unusual. The eighteen road wheels are mounted in sets of four pairs on bogies with twin leaf-suspension between the two sides, and the wheels remain mobile because no glue is needed to hold them in the bogies. In all, four bogies are made for use later in the build. Firstly, the lower hull must be made up, starting with a floor that has angled front and rear sections, which match the angles on the two side panels that are fitted with a bulkhead that helps to hold the chassis square. Two small torus shapes should be removed from the inner edges of the front sides before they are mounted, as per the accompanying diagram. The glacis plate is laid over the front of the chassis after removing a small upstand in front of a hatch, then eight pairs of return rollers are glued to the inverted chassis, with the final drive housings at the rear and the idler wheel axles at the front. The four bogies are fitted to their mounting points on the sides in pairs, and the drive sprockets and idler wheels are slotted in place without glue to facilitate building of the track runs. The tracks are of link and length style as already mentioned, with two long lengths per sides and another four short lengths, joined together by the addition of fifteen individual links, with the drawings showing the correct orientation of the links to assist you in avoiding mistakes. This is repeated on each side, then it’s on to the turret, with fenders fitted later. The turret is built up on the main part that encompasses three sides and the roof, to which the mantlet and its sides are attached, then the cupola is installed with three side inserts and a domed top. There doesn’t seem to be an option to open up the hatch and insert a figure, as per the box art’s suggestion. The lower surface of the turret consists of two parts on a circular base, but before that the coaxial machine gun in the mantlet and the main gun must be built in. The coax is a single part, and the main gun has the barrel and recoil tube moulded as one, with a two-part perforated muzzle added to the tip that gives the impression of a hollow barrel. This is inserted through the mantlet from within, and held in place by a U-shaped cleat that you glue in place. Attention shifts back to the hull, making the upper half from one large section with the upper glacis panel added to the front and fitted out with aerial base, headlamp (no clear parts), circular appliqué panel over the location where the bow gun would have been, a horn and some pioneer tools down each side of the upper hull. On the right side a two-part exhaust is added toward the rear, and the towing cable is heated to bend it into shape and glued onto the sloped part of the engine deck. The upper hull is joined to the lower along with the fenders, which locate on a pair of lugs on the sides of the lower hull. The rear bulkhead with some extra detail parts is affixed to the rear along with some spare track links on the right fender, a pair of PE panels are glued to the upper sides of the hull under the turret, and a couple of lengths of 0.5mm wire from your own stocks are added to provide the wiring to the standard antenna at the front, and the large frame antenna at the rear. More wire is added on the left side to another base, and the bed-frame antenna on the white sprue is made up and glued in place over the engine deck. There is a PE number plate frame on the rear bulkhead near the convoy light, and there is yet more wire added around the front of the chassis, so make sure you have plenty to hand before you begin. Finally, the resin jerry cans are freed from their casting blocks, and after clean-up are strapped together in PE brackets in sets of two and three. The set of three fit to the sloped side of the engine deck on the left, and the two-pack sits on a stand on the fender on the same side. A resin convoy lamp is drilled into the front of the left fender near the inner edge. Twist the turret into position, and that’s the build complete. Markings There are two options on the small decal sheet, both wearing the same panzer grey camo that was typical of early war German armour. From the box you can build one of the following: A03 3rd Panzer, Panzer Abteilung 65, 6. Panzer Div., Oberleutnant Marquart, France, Summer 1940, Russia, June 1941 A01 1st Panzer, Panzer Abteilung 65, 6. Panzer Div., Abt. Commander Oberleutnant Schenk, France, Summer 1940, Russia, June 1941 The decals are printed anonymously, and there is no registration, just yellow or white markings with black decal numbers, all of which have good sharpness, although yellow is always of mild concern with decals, especially when applying them over dark colours. Conclusion An interesting reboxing of this little tank, and the decal options show a pair of Panzers that saw action in two of the major campaigns of the war, during Nazi expansion through Europe before the tables turned. Time has been kind to the moulds, and detail is excellent for the age of the original tooling. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. 7.5 cm PaK 40 German Anti-tank Gun 1:72 Special Armour (72025) Work on the PaK 40 began in 1939 when word of new Soviet Tank designs began reaching Germany. At the time they were only just testing the 5cm PaK 38. The new PaK 40 was essentially a PaK 38 upgunned to 7.5cms. While the 38 used new alloys to make it lighter these were in demand by the Luftwaffe so the 40 essentially used steel. To simplify the construct the 40s shield was made from straight plates. The 40 became the main German ant-tank gun of the war and was effective against all but the very late heavily armoured tanks of the very late war. The guns were passed to various allies, and captured ones were used by Russian forces. Post war the guns continued to see service around the world with some being uses as late as the Vietnam war with guns exchanging fire with US Naval vessels/ The Kit This is the a new tool kit from Special Hobby for 2021 which arrives on one sprue of parts. There are not a great deal of parts but the are all well moulded. Construction starts with the two part barrel, this then fits to the cradle, the traverse and elevation wheels are added to the gun mount along with the sight. and this is paced on the main part of the carriage. The single part main gun is then added. The two part spaced gun shield is added along with the main wheels. The front of the carriage is added. The legs can be fixed splayed for firing or in trail for towing, Decals There are no decals with the kit, but Special Hobby Suggest a few colour schemes you can use. Conclusion This is a good looking model in 1.72 and should be welcomed by the small scale armour modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Sd.Kfz 250/1 Ausf.A Halftrack 1:72 Special Armour (72019) The Sd.kfz 250 was a light armoured half track similar in appearance to the Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1 , both were a mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but was flexible enough to also take up many other tasks. With two steering wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough. It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and aerial bombardment, where the armour would concentrate the blast inside. Almost 6,000 examples were produced between 1940 and the end of the War. The vehicle was in service in time for the invasion of France and went on to see service in most theatres in which the Wehrmacht fought. Fifteen official variants were produced, including ammunition carriers to support StuG batteries and signals cars which were equipped with radio sets. Other vehicles were equipped with heavy weapons which enabled them to provide infantry support. The Kit This is a re-release of the original MK72 kit, As the sprues were originally tooled By MPM/CMK. According to the Special Hobby website they now own the moulds hence its release now under the Special Armour brand. The tooling still looks sharp and the parts count is quite high for what will be a small vehicle in 1/72. Some of the small parts are very fine and will require care removing them from the sprues. The model represents the odler 250 as it was later replaced by a newer version with simplified easier to manufacture armoured structures. In common with most other kits of this type, construction starts with the chassis and running gear. The suspension swing arms are moulded in place along with the axles for the road wheels. This, combined with the fact that the inner run of wheels is moulded as a single part, will help ensure that all of the wheels are in contact with the ground at the same time. The detail on these parts is nice and sharp and is enhanced by the fact that the outer parts of the wheels are all moulded as separate parts. The tracks are moulded in two single runs which are designed to be bent around the wheels. The tracks have some ejector pin marks on the insides, so I would probably advocate disguising these with some scale dirt! The front wheel assembly is made up of the wheels themselves, each of which is split vertically, the axle, the leaf spring suspension and the steering mechanism. The overall impression at this stage is of a very well detailed kit, particularly in this scale. With the chassis and running gear complete, construction turns to the upper body and interior. The crew compartment is split in two, with the front compartment comprised of seats for the driver and one passenger, a dashboard, steering wheels, gear selector and a stowage bin. The rear compartment is made up of seats for the passengers and a large storage compartment. The floor of the interior compartment has a nicely rendered anti-slip texture. Once the interior detail has been slotted into place, the parts that make up the upper body can be assembled. As with the real thing, these are made up of various angled plates which just join together around the chassis. Hopefully the fit of these parts is good. I intend to find out by building mine soon. The driver's vision slits are all moulded as separate parts, which is a nice touch. All of the pioneer tools are moulded separately as well, which will make for a very impressive (and fully customisable) model. There are a couple of very nicely rendered MG 34s for the front and rear of the main compartment, with the front one having the armoured shield . Other small details such as the rack of rifles help to provide some finishing touches to the model. There are also a load of jerry cans which aren't used, so these can go straight into the spares box. The racks for the Jerry Cans are produced for this kit as PE parts which I dont think were in the original kit. Decals Markings are supplied on the very small sheet for the number plates and a single white marking number. Three marking options are provided. 1. WH-1449561 - SPW 16 Panzer Division, Eastern Front winter 1942-43. Winter distemper over Dunkel Gelb, which in turn was over panzer grey. 2. WH-1030186- Panzer Division Grossdeutschland, Voronezh Oblast, 1942 finished in Panzer Grey 3. WH-679984 90. Leichte Infantrie Division, Gazala, Africa 1942. Personal Mount of General major Von Kleeman, Panzer grey over sprayed with Afika Korps Gelb. Conclusion This is a good looking model in 1.7, it was widely praised on its original release, and should be welcomed by the small scale armour modellers. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Sd.Kfz.131 Marder II 7.5cm Pak 40/2 (SA72020) 1:72 Special Armour by Special Hobby Unlike the original Marder, the Marder II was based upon the chassis of the Panzer II. The German engineers mounted a 75 mm Pak 40 anti-tank gun (131) or captured Russian Pak 36(r) (132) onto a new upper hull, with a large angular shroud installed around the sides and rear of the gun and its crew. It was small and slightly out of proportion like its forebear, with the later Sd.Kfz.131 that sported the German gun having a lower silhouette and wider fighting compartment, but still with poor protection that was to plague it throughout its service life, as would the open-topped casemate that was bitingly cold in the winter months on the Eastern front, which is where the majority of them were sent. Later on it was replaced by a Marder III that was built on the Czech designed Panzer 38(T) chassis that was a little better. The Kit This a rebox of Special Armour’s 2011 tooling, and arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box with two sprues of sand-coloured styrene, decal sheet and instruction booklet inside. The sprue has been snipped to fit inside the new box, so it’s really only one sprue from a pedantic standpoint. The instruction booklet is printed in spot colour in A5 portrait format, with full-colour painting guide on the back pages. Detail is good, but there will be a number of ejector-pin marks that will need to be filled on the interior of the splinter shields. The inner shield on our sample had received a blow during transit, splitting the narrow arched section over the barrel slot, but it was a clean break that should be easy to repair. Construction begins with the lower hull, which has the sides and rear bulkhead attached, followed by the road wheels, return rollers, idlers and drive-sprockets before the single-length tracks are wrapped carefully around the drive-train and trimmed to length before final gluing in place. The interior has a floor fitted, with side detail inserted in the lower hull and two panels in the upper hull before the latter is glued in place. The side screens with internal equipment, plus the aft box-like assembly are made up as sub-assemblies with the radio gear, then they are integrated into the hull, with pioneer tools on the sides and rear, exhaust and towing hook at the rear, and a spare road wheel on the glacis. The gun is almost a stock Pak 40, with a two-part barrel, carrier, mount and sighting gear added first, then the two-layer splinter shield and “cheek” extensions fitted around it, before it is dropped into the socket at the front of the crew compartment. To be modelled in travel-lock mode, the two halves of the gun’s transport support holds the barrel in place, and a latch is fitted to the breech in the upward lock mode, and in a lower position if the lock isn’t being used. Markings There are three decal options on the little sheet, with substantially different camouflage schemes on each option. From the box you can build one of the following: Pz.Jg.Abt.49, Eastern Front, Winter 1943/44 Kohlenklau/Coal Thief, 3./Pz.Jg.Abt.561, Geschützführer Uffz. Helmut Kohlke, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 Dubbed Friedel, Unknown Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn 1943 The decals have been printed by Eduard, and are in good register and sharpness given their size. Conclusion A rerelease of a nice little kit that is coupled with some nice decal options to appeal to the 1:72 AFV modeller. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Sd.Kfz.10 Zugkraftwagen 1t (Demag D7) (SA72021) 1:72 Special Armour by Special Hobby In the decade before WWII, Germany was rearming secretly at first, but overtly once they had publicly thrown off the constraints of the Versailles Treaty. In order to mechanise their military, many different vehicles were required, from large to small, with the Sd.Kfz.10 being at the smallest end. It was based on a hull rather than a ladder chassis, which gave it a low profile similar to that of a standard truck, despite it having a half-track running gear and a pair of steering wheels at the front. It was powered by a 6L petrol engine by Maybach, and was intended to transport up to eight troops and pull smaller artillery pieces, which it did throughout the war, although production ceased before the end, despite a few attempts to re-vitalise the design. In its production form, the D7, it was capable of 40mph on road, although one of its main users, the Luftwaffe, limited it to 19mph to preserve the rubber trackpads, even though it was happy to cruise at a shade under 30mph. It had seven forward gears and three reverse, with a clever steering mechanism braking one or other track when larger steering inputs were made. It was demonstrated in 1938 and had entered service by the beginning of hostilities, with some further minor upgrades adding to its robustness and ability to tow heavier loads in order to increase its usefulness to the military. Toward the end of the war, proposals were made for an improved variant, but nothing came of it other than a few prototypes of one, and drawings of another. The Kit This is a rebox of the amended tooling that originated in 2011, but don’t let that put you off – it’s a modern tooling with lots of detail throughout. It arrives in a small end-opening box, with two light tan sprues, plus a grey sprue, decal sheet and A5 instruction booklet. The new sprue covers the revised idler wheels, drive sprockets, and more detailed tracks, which are an improvement over the originals that are still on one of the tan sprues (top left, below). Construction begins with creation of the track runs, which are based on a beam with axles moulded-in, onto which you slide the sets of wheels that are moulded in linked units for the two rear layers, and individually for the three outer wheels, plus the new two-part drive sprockets. The track on each side is moulded as a single run, and is wrapped around the wheels carefully, cutting off any spare links, then gluing the run in place. Take care when bending the parts, and warm them up a little to assist with flexibility. This is done twice as you’d imagine, and the completed runs are glued to the sides of the hull, with the crew area placed over the top, and firewall with windscreen frame moulded-in at the front of the area. There's a sinkmark below the windscreen, but this doesn't matter as it will end its days under the hood. You will need to provide your own windscreen from clear acetate, and a piece of packaging material or even the front of a clear vacformed clamshell package, but they have included a template to assist you in this. It seems a little churlish not to include a slip of acetate sheet, but there you go. The bonnet/hood is fitted in front of the windscreen, with the nicely detailed radiator attached to the front. My sample had a slight sink mark in the bottom area of the grille, but with some rope or other stowage added there, no one will notice. The front wheels are each two parts, and have a deeply dished hub moulded-in, as well as tread for the tyres. The axle, its single lateral leaf-spring, steering arms and anti-roll bar are put together and inserted into the wheel arch, with additional rods fitted afterward, their location shown from another angle in a scrap diagram. Number plate, towing eye, pioneer tools, width-marker lollipops and headlights are all clustered around the front, and inside the crew cab the driver controls, wheel and two seats are fitted, with a decal provided for the instrument panel. In the rear, bench seats, fenders, spare fuel cans and stowage boxes are assembled and attached, with the rear number plate and Notek convoy light at the rear over a pair of mudflaps, and length of cable on a circular frame on the back of the vehicle. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, which consists mostly of number plates, white stencils and the aforementioned instrument panel decal. From the box you can build one of the following: Sd.Kfz.10, unknown combat unit, Wehrmacht, Russia 1942 Sd.Kfz.10, Adler-built vehicle, unknown unit, Wehrmacht, Poland 1939 Sd.Kfz.10, Demag-built vehicle, unknown unit, Wehrmacht, Yugoslavia, summer 1942 Sd.Kfz.10, unknown combat unit, Wehrmacht, Czechoslovakia, May 1945 The decals are well-printed, with good register between the black and white, and some fine lines around the number plates. The picture above is roughly twice the size of the original on my 24" screen. Conclusion A welcome re-release of a lesser-known half-track from the early war, with a variety of camouflage options that should suit most folks. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. 7.5cm Gebirgskanone Special Armour 1:35 History Its development was quite prolonged, as the Austrians couldn't decide on the specifications that they wanted. Initially, they wanted a gun that could be broken-down into no more than five pack-animal loads to replace the various 7 cm mountain guns in service, but prolonged trials proved that the 7.5 cm M. 12 prototype to be the best gun. However, the commander-in-chief of Bosnia-Herzegovina believe it to be too heavy and demanded a return to the 7 cm calibre to save weight. Skoda dutifully built enough guns for a test battery in the smaller caliber and tested them during the spring of 1914 where they were judged inferior to the 7.5 cm guns. This cost the Austrians heavily as the 7.5 cm guns began to be delivered in April 1915 instead of the planned date of April 1914. For transport, the gun could be dismantled into six parts, generally carried in four loads. In addition, there was a gun shield fitted on some (perhaps many) such guns. German anti-tank gunners and supporting infantry, October 1918 The Germans bought some guns during World War I, but used them as infantry guns in direct support of the infantry, as their light weight would allow them to move with the infantry. They complained that the guns were too fragile and didn't have a high enough muzzle velocity to act as an anti-tank gun. Considering that the guns were designed to be disassembled, it's not too surprising that they couldn't stand the abuse moving through the shell-pocketed front lines on the Western Front. The Model Special Armour, a subsidiary of the MPM have produced some nice an unusual subjects it the past, and this is no different. Arriving in an end opening box with an artists interpretation of the gun on the front and the painting guide on the back this small cannon comes on two sprues of medium grey styrene. There is no etch or decals, so looks like it’ll be a fairly easy model to build. The moulding is really rather nice with some very fine detail included, no sign of flash and only a few moulding pips. Being a short run production there are no alignment pins on the parts, so you will need to get everything aligned before gluing. Construction starts with the assembly of the barrel, which is in two halves and comes complete with the breech section. To this the elevation quadrants are attached, along with the rear of the recuperator. The box trail is then assembled from two sides, four cross members and the elevation axle. The barrel assembly is then fitted into position, along with the three tread plates mounted on top of the trail and the spade at the rear. The front of the recuperator is then added, as are the wheel axles, sight mechanism, elevation handles and upper shield supports. The shield itself is made up from seven parts before being fitted to the front of the trail and the upper supports. The model is finished off with the addition of the single piece spoked wheels, two seats and their supports, four grab handles and the towing eye. The painting guide shows four different schemes all in overall colours, so no worry about painting complex camouflage. They are for the following:- Horsky Cannon vz.15 Czechoslovakian Army, in Medium Green, 1938 Obice da 75/13, (captured 7.5cm Gebirgskanone M.15), of the Italian Army 1918, in Dark Green 7.5cm Gebirgskanone M.15, Austro-Hungarian Army, 1917, in a Khaki Green GebK 15(t), Wehrmacht, the Caucasus Mountains, 1942, in Panzer Grey Conclusion As my first real look at a Special Armour kit and even though it’s a short run, it does look very nice and would make a pretty easy build, finishing up with a interesting and quite unusual model for your collection. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. 3.7cm KPUV vz.37/3.7cm PAK 37(t) Special Armour 1:35 History The Skoda works in Pilsen had been a traditional gun manufacturer and supplier since the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and after the independent Czechoslovak Republic was established in 1918, the company continued in this tradition and became one of the major armament sor the new Czechoslovak army. They also exported large numbers of weapons world wide. In the 1930’s the Skoda development department came up with a design for a modern 37mm A3 anti-tank gun, which was later accepted by the Army and used under the designation 3/7cm KPUV vz.34. However, the design team did not rest on their laurels and developed a modernised type known as the A4, which gained excellent results whilst it was being tested and surpassed the results of the original 3.7cm gun. However the new gun used a new type of ammunition and therefore its breech had to be redesigned to be capable of using the earlier ammunition as well. The gun was readily accepted into the Army and designated it the 3.7cm vz.37. At the time this gun was the best in the world in its category. The production guns were supplied in several variants, such as the Type P with spoked wheels, Type J for Cavalry units, fitted with pneumatic tyres and standard wheels, and Type M which could have been transported behind motorised vehicles. The A4 guns wee also exported to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Hungary, as well as other smaller countries. Nearly a 1000 Type P’s were produced, along with 300 Type M. The gun was capable of shooting through the armour of any Wehrmacht tank of the period, but it was in fact the Germans that first used the gun in action, having realised that it was superior to German ones, and put them into service as the 3.7cm PAK 37. The Model This is the second gun kit to be received from Special Armour at BM London offices, and it follows a similar format as that of the 75mm canon reviewed HERE. The end opening box is smartly decorated on the top with an artists impression of the gun, whilst on the rear the three paint schemes are shown, along with colour callouts. Inside the box there are two sprues of medium grey styrene and a very small decal sheet. As is normal for short run kits, there are no guide pins, just butt joints, so take care when gluing. That said the detail on the parts is very nicely moulded, but unlike the 75mm kit, the styrene here is very shiney, as if the mould release agent hasn’t be cleaned off at all. In fact I can see it clearly on the gun shield, so ensure you give all the parts a good wash in warm soapy water before beginning the build. There is no sign of flash of other imperfections on the parts and only a few moulding pips to clean up. The build begins with the two tails being fitted with their spades, grab handles, trail end handles and hinge locks. As an alternative, Special Armour have also included a second pair of trails, but in their folded, transport state. These have the same parts fitted along with the additional towing eye and trail lock. The mounting beam is fitted to the gun end of the trails, as well as the gun traversing mount. The single piece barrel, is moulded together with its recuperator, to this the three piece breech block is attached, as well as the breech operating handle, trunnion mounts, elevation wheel and two piece sight. The traversing wheel is then attached to the left hand trunnion mount, whilst the suspension arm is fitted to the fron of the gun mounting beam. The firing handle and shield mounting parts are now fitted, followed by the two spoked wheels and the gun shield. That, as they say, is it. The gun can be painted in three schemes, two of them are variations of the same, using dark earth, bright green and sand, whilst the third scheme is good old panzer grey overall. Only the German panzer grey gun has a decal, with the name Berta on the inside of the gun shield, on the left hand side. The painting guide within the instructions shows the guns were from:- 3.7cm KPUV vz.37 Type P of the Czechoslovakian Army form 1938 3.7cm PAK 37(t) of an unknown unit of the Wehrmacht, used on the attack against Poland, September 1939. 3.7cm PAK 37(t), Berta, also of an unknown unit of the Wehrmacht, used in the Eger area, in the spring of 1939 Conclusion Although quite a well known weapon in the German forces of WWII, its provenance is that well publicised. The kit is very nicely done and should make a nice, fairly easy weekend build. The option of building it in transport mode gives it more value to those modellers who like to make dioramas, for which this kit would suit very well. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. A-Stoffanhängar Liquid Oxygen Tank for V2 Rocket 1:72 Special Armour Special Armour, the small scale AFV imprint from CMK of the Czech Republic, have a number of V-2 and related kits in their impressive and growing range. This kit, depicting the Liquid Oxygen (A-Stoff or LOX) supply tank for fuelling the V2 rocket, is the latest to join the range alongside the Gigant transporter, various trailers and the V2 rockets themselves. Inside the end-opening box are two sprues of caramel-coloured plastic and a glossy, full-colour instruction booklet. As we've seen with other kits in the range, the mouldings are pin sharp and there is a wealth of fine detail. The overall effect is reminiscent of a modern Eduard kit, which is quite a compliment. The kit is made up of fifty five parts, which is pretty impressive for a kit of this type. Each of the road wheels is made up of three parts, and as they are doubled up on each axle there are eight in total plus one spare. The tyres have treads moulded around the edges but are otherwise smooth. The chassis of the trailer itself is nicely detailed and includes parts for the leaf spring suspension and various tanks and toolboxes. The large tank for the liquid oxygen oxidiser is split vertically and includes a number of extra details such as valve taps and hoses, as well as the prominent framework which holds it in place. Four painting options are provided, with a colour reference diagram on the back of the box. The options are not identified by date or location, but include an overall grey scheme, a dark yellow scheme with a grey tank and two camouflaged versions. No markings were applied so there is no decal sheet. Conclusion I have been really impressed by the other kits in the Special Armour range, and this new addition doesn't disappoint. All the detail you could want is present and correct, and the quality of moulding is top-notch. If you fancy a V-2 diorama, or even if you are a completist and just want a full range of vehicles in your collection, then this kit can be highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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