The Italeri M32B-1 Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) Kit # 6547, originally released way back in 1980, was, at the time of release, still standing sentry duty as the only readily available injection-molded set of sprues for this Sherman-based Allied tank recovery vehicle. The model has gone through a number of updates and improvements since, culminating in what you see reviewed here. After all this time, however, Italeri's offering 'still has it goin' on', sporting a relatively detailed interior and winch/cable assembly; all housed in a decent Sherman chassis. As boxed, this kit is one heck of a value.
Tamiya has enhanced their recently released M4A3E8 Sherman to represent the Korean War variant, including the colorful 'Devil' scheme. Several new sprues, new track, decals, and other odds and ends round out the new offering, including a complete, 2-sprue complementary kit of the Russian GAZ67B Field Car equivalent of the Willys Jeep. One thing is for sure - the kit this new version is based on is one of the finest armor models ever produced by Tamiya. And that is saying quite a lot - for just a pure, modeling experience, it just doesn't get any better.
Airfix's new 1/48 early P-40 models have been very popular with modelers of late. Despite these being very good kits, there is always need for some improvement. Master Model's recent product address some of those needs.
Master has come out with aftermarket sets that replace Airfix's gun barrels and pitot tubes, as well as furnishing ring and bead sights that are missing from the original kit. There are separate Master packages for the American and British boxings, with appropriate changes in the pitot tubes and gun barrels.
IPMS and Master were kind enough to allow me to review the 'US version' of this set. It is comprised of the following brass pieces: four 0.30 cal gun barrels, two blast tubes for the nose guns, a 2-piece pitot tube (brass + resin), a bead sight, and a photoetch brass fret of ring sights.
The German Panther is one of the most important and recognizable tanks of WWII. There were many variations and Dragon's boxing here is a special conversion by heavy tank destroyer battalion s.Pz.Abt.653. I believe this was a one-off conversion in the field. Basically a Panther D hull with a Panzer IV Ausf. H turret added to the top. There is no history of the vehicle on the directions or box top, but there is a little to be found online. I've read conflicting things online stating that the gun was operational, or if it was non-functioning. The sources I've found did all agree with one thing - the turret was fixed forward. This vehicle saw service in Russia 1944 with s.Pz.Abt.653 - which is the kit's sole marking option.
This Dragon release is in a nice sturdy box literally packed with kit parts. My thoughts when opening the package were literally "what did I get myself into?" There are over 20 sprues of parts included. One quickly sees that there are sprues for Dragon's existing Panther kits and Panzer IV kits compiled into a boxing for this specific vehicle. The builder will end up with a mountain of "extras" for their spare parts box after the kit is finished.
The Air Force's 64th Aggressor Squadron uses specially painted F-16s in fulfilling its role of simulating opposing air forces. Over the years its F-5s and F-16s have worn a wide variety of paint schemes mimicking those used by potential opponents. Last year, the Squadron painted several of its F-16s in the "Shark" and "Splinter" schemes recently observed on Russian Su-34s and the Sukhoi T-50. Two Bobs has now issued decal sheets in 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scales to allow modelers to depict both schemes.
Sheet 72-104 provides markings for two aircraft in the "Splinter" scheme and one in the "Shark" scheme. Two of the aircraft (one in each scheme) are Block 32 jets while the third is a block 25 jet. As I had an old Hasegawa model of an early block F-16, I decided to use it for this project. I am not an F-16 expert, so it is possible that the kit actually represents a different block number, so I apologize in advance if I did get it wrong!
IPMS/USA thanks Ross and his Team at SAC for supporting the IPMS USA reviewer corps with one more of many monthly releases, with extremely useful and well-thought out landing gear additions for the modeling crowd out here in the modeling world. And thanks to IPMS leadership for sending it to me to be reviewed. New crew is on point and clearing well...
This review is for the SAC landing gear released for the new release 1/144 C-5. I shall refrain from calling the C-5 "Fred" in public because my old boss might find out. Old Generals show up at the most inopportune moments... and we were told not to call it that. BUFF is for the B-52. We'll just call it "the Screamer" and leave it there.
The Soviet SU-85 is a WWII Soviet self-propelled tank destroyer based on a T-34 chassis. The SU-85m was an improved SU-85 with the SU-100 style commander's cupola.
This specific kit from Dragon is a reissue with some new parts. This "Orange Box" kit includes Dragon's "Magic Tracks" as well as a sprue #GA containing Soviet Infantry Equipment. The box itself is a thinner cardboard and a 'side-open' style. A color profile and decal placement guide is shown on the back of the box.
Directions are simplified and very easy to follow.
All parts are molded in the standard grey plastic, and the kit also includes a metal tow cable. There is no photoetch fret with this boxing. Decal options are included for two unknown units.
Steven Joseph Zaloga was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on February 1, 1965. He graduated cum laude from Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a BA in History. He has completed graduate work and earned a Certificate in International Affairs from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great, it is one of the oldest surviving Universities in the world. Steven has over twenty years of experience as an aerospace analyst, focusing in on the international arms trade and missile systems. He has been a prolific author with published books going back at least to 1977. He is also an avid armor modeler and is a moderator on Missing-Lynx.com as well as a member of the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society (AMPS). He is currently a senior analyst for the Teal Group based in Fairfax, Virginia, and is an adjunct for the Institute for Defense Analyses. He currently resides in Abingdon, Maryland. He is on both LinkedIn and on Facebook.
IPMS/USA thanks Ross and his Team at SAC for supporting the IPMS USA reviewer corps with one more of many monthly releases, with another great landing gear addition for the modeling community.