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Updated: 4 hours 30 min ago

Through Adversity The British and the Commonwealth War in the Air 1939-45

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 00:38
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Helion & Company

Through Adversity is a detailed account of the British and commonwealth air war during the Second World War. The book covers every aspect from the RAF foundations to the Far east. It is written in a very engrossing way by providing all the facts interweaved with personal accounts. 

The chapters cover the following:

  • Antecedents
  • Air Superiority
  • Strike
  • The Air War at Sea

The book is full of extremely good and rare photos that were another highlight for me. I read this book over three nights as it pulled me in and was very informative. This book impressed me from the moment I flicked through the pages when I got it. I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in WWII and the Air War.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.

F-35B Lighting II STOVL

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 13:48
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Italeri

Thank you to Phil and to Bill for all the work that you do!

History

 The JSF Joint Strike Fighter Program was a developmental project to create a new 5th generation all-weather multirole combat aircraft to replace the existing American and NATO strike-fighter force. The F-35B employs stealth technology and is characterized by its trapezoidal wings and application of the most advanced hi-tech systems, materials and avionics. The F-35B STOVAL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) capability has been specifically designed to operate from modern aircraft carriers such as the British H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth or the Cavour, the flagship of the Italian Navy. The U.S. Marines plan to deploy the

F-35B in both attack and ground support roles. From Italeri.

First Impression

The kit contains four total sprues, three of which are pristinely molded light gray styrene and one which is a light-yellow clear plastic. The detail and engraving of the parts is excellent. The 19-page instruction guide is easy to follow and follows the usually aircraft building process. Color call-outs are in F.S. numbers or for Italeri-brand acrylic paint. There are several paint conversion charts available on the Internet should you wish to use other paint types. The last four pages provide full-color diagrams to aide with painting the plane and weapons.  Decals are provided for common parts plus three versions:  F-35B Lightning II Royal Navy Lighting Force, HMS Queen Elizabeth; F-35B Lightning II, U.S. Marine Corps VMFA-121; and F-35B Lightning II, Marian Militare Italiana, Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati.

Quick Tips:

  • Decide before assembly if you want to display your plane with open or closed cockpit. See more details in the review as you will need to make early adjustments depending on your choice.
  • Decide what kind (if any) weapon load you want to have. This will impact how many holes you will need to drill.

Reviewer's Comments:

I had not worked on a 1/72 kit in well over ten years, so I was excited for the challenge. Luckily, this kit is 100% new molds and the engineering is excellent, so the overall build was relatively easy. Please note, that the review sample is augmented with SAC landing gear, which are discussed in a separate review.

The cockpit assembly was quick and easy and all parts fit excellently. At this stage, the instructions want you to install two parts 59B.  These are needed if you want to display your plane with an open cockpit, however, if you want a closed cockpit, then the pieces will not fit. See photos for reference.  I used the provided instrument panel decal, which is certainly adequate for this scale. Overall, the cockpit looks nice and is well-detailed for this scale.

In Step 2, you are instructed to drill six holes for the left and right wings. These will be necessary if you want to fully load your plane with weapons, however, if you want to go for a clean look, then skip this step. The review sample was completed to depict the "Beast Mode" and is fully loaded.

The wheel bays and landing gear fit tightly as did the air intakes, fans and jet engine. Although the air intakes have an unavoidable seam, do not worry, since once the plane is completed, they are unseen.  You have to two choices for the exhaust nozzle:  pointed straight out or down. The review sample shows it in the down position.

All control surfaces fit like a glove. However, the left and right ailerons have a sink mark (at least the review sample did).  I solved this problem by filling the sink marks with some Tamiya White Putty.  This was the only time putty was required to complete this kit!!

There is a lot of action going on with belly. Working with the landing gear doors was a bit challenging giving the number of small pieces and the tight confines, but with a little patience, everything fit well. The weapons were easy to assemble, but they did take a decent amount of time to paint and decal. Again, because of the tight confines, it takes some patience adhering all of the weapons to their pylons.

In the final steps, I attached the wheels, the fan air intake covering (in open position) and the cockpit glass and all of the weapons.

Finishing

Prior to painting, I gave the plane a quick priming using Valejo primer. Once dry, I painted the body using a combination of Vallejo & Tamiya acrylic paints (gunship gray, light ghost gray & white).  Next, a quick clear coat the then decals. The decals went on very well with the using of a little Micro Set, however, some of the decals are very tiny and require a lot of care when transferring. I gave the plane a final spray using Tamiya Flat clear coat.

Overall, this is an excellent kit. It is very well engineered and goes together easily.  I was very happy with my outcome of working in 1/72 scale after over a decade of working on large scale planes exclusively.  

Thank you to MRC for providing this kit, to Italeri for the honor of reviewing this excellent kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!

Bomber Squadron. Men Who Flew With XV Squadron

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 13:36
Product Image Review Author:  Luke R. Bucci PhD Fonthill Media

Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!

This book is a second edition, with three new chapters. Martyn R. Ford-Jones is the historian for No. XV Squadron Association, Royal Air Force (http://www.xvsqnassociation.co.uk ). His wife, Valerie, is the Treasurer and would have been a co-author but declined the honor. Years were spent interviewing the participants in this book, their families, and careful gleaning of historical records to weave a compilation of human stories set in WW2 of a squadron of British bombers.

What You Get

A 6 3/8 X 9 3/8 inch hardcover book 1 inch thick with 10.5 font written in British English (not American English). A short foreword by Group Captain Graham Bowerman who completed two tours of duty in Squadron XV in the 1970s. His foreword precedes the Acknowledgements by Mr. Ford-Jones and then an Introduction and 15 Chapters followed by four Appendices, a Bibliography and Index follow. In each chapter, B&W photos and illustrations are sprinkled around a story of 15 different individual members of XV Squadron, following them or their family during WW2.

Martyn R. Ford-Jones wanted this book to be about what it was like to live through this stretch of history. It is about what happened to these persons, and their companions, flying British bombers throughout WW2. This is not a technical reference book, nor a resource for building aircraft models, but rather, puts you in their shoes and seats to relive history. The "human story."

Bomber Squadron is a well-written, well-researched, and well-flowing book that has inside information on events through the saga of a typical bomber squadron. It directly relates the boredom, excitement, fears and horror of war in the air, mostly by night bombing. Interspersed in the chapters are notable occurrences such as the fire bombing of Hamburg, spending years in a POW camp, dropping food instead of bombs or seeing how far a family will go to learn what happened to their son and brother. Enough technical detail is given so a reader not familiar with WW2 aircraft can get a real feel for what these lads went through. Enough research is presented to give perspective on time and place of each vignette. You learn how they felt knowing they were raining death and destruction on the enemy, knowing civilians were being blown to bits. You learn how they felt when crew members or squadron mates horsed around, fell in love, were maimed, died or never returned. You get harrowing accounts of flak, night fighters, bad weather and equipment malfunctions - all trying to kill you. You learn what an "erk" was and all the foibles of each type of aircraft used by Squadron XV. You will laugh at Spamberdiers and cry over Baedecker trips.

Each chapter is a quick, easy, mesmerizing read, and the end of this book comes too soon. You again see how resilient young men and women can be, and have a much better appreciation for the efforts of British strategic night bombing.

My uncle was a B24 tail gunner and as a little kid I regaled over the few times he talked about his experiences. I remember asking him what it was like to do what he did. He echoed what the persons highlighted in this book said and did. We can all relate to the stories in Mr. Ford-Jones' book.

Summary

This book fills a gap in exhibiting what it was like to be a part of the enormous British bomber effort from the viewpoint of those who flew. Even though scale aircraft are not my modeling interest, I could not stop reading this book. What these young men endured has been lovingly chronicled and sends an example of Keep Calm and Carry On. Highly recommended if you are an aviation buff and recommended if you want to get the real-life human side and know how it felt to fly bombers at night.

Tank Battles in East Prussia and Poland 1944-1945

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 13:26
Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Helion & Company

Towards the end of World War 2 some of the most vicious tank battles were being fought on the Eastern Front as Russian forces pushed their way into the back door of the Third Reich.  Although not on the scale of the Kursk campaign earlier in the war, these slugfests involved some of the heaviest, most sophisticated armored units the world had seen up to that point, and most engagements were hammered out between the opposing forces with no quarter given or taken.  The atrocities that these two countries had inflicted on each other during the previous five years ensured that.

My father was a professor of history, and he wrote a number of books relying on primary sources.  Igor Nebolsin's book on the subject of these brutal encounters likewise draws on a plethora of first-hand information, from battle reports to statistical data from both sides, to first-hand reminiscences of combatants.  Ultimately, this becomes a virtual day-to-day study of this period in history.

Ultimately, this book is mainly a thorough historical analysis, and features multiple pages of charts and tables to display which units were using what equipment, what their manpower was on the front lines and the casualty lists (which are sometimes pretty grim).  Maps are included to show the movements as units slugged it out around little-known villages and hamlets along the border and into Prussia and Poland.

For modelers, there are a number of pages of never-seen pictures of the battlefront, which go a long way to personalizing the horrific losses that occurred on both sides, as well as the rather typical studio head shots of various commanders all the way down to individual units.  Of all the material in this book, I found the first-hand accounts to be the most engaging, as this is the aspect of history that has always interested me the most - how people felt about what was happening to them at the time.  These may offer some ideas for modelers who want to capture that period in miniature.

From the standpoint of a historian, this is an excellent in-depth documentation and analysis of a brief moment in history when two great empires came head-to-head in ruthless combat.  For the modeler, this is detailed resource for the rivet-counters among us, to ensure that they have the correct units and equipment depicted for a particular scene or vehicle from the period.  I don't think you'll ever find a book that does a more meticulous job.  My thanks to Helion and Company for a chance to take a look at this monumental book, and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add this excellent tome to my research library.

Hal Moore - A Life in Pictures

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 11:29
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Casemate Publishing

The book is the second on Hal Moore by Historian Mike Guardia his first being as co-author with Hal Moore on "Hal Moore on Leadership".

This is a great photographic biography of Harold G Moore. It spans his childhood in rural Kentucky, West point during the latter part of World War II and military career, in occupied Japan then the Korean conflict.

This is followed by his time in the Vietnam War including his epic command at the Battle of Ia Drang. Which is the story used in the movie We were soldiers once where Hal Moore was played by Mel Gibson. Followed by his peacetime supervising military training.

Mixed in with the whole story is the thread of his loving family which includes his wife and five children.

The book has over 300 color and black & White photographs which are well selected and give a great insight into his life. The text with each photograph give a lot of information and reinforces the whole photo biography.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in Hal Moore's life, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

Infantry Small Arms of the 21st Century

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 11:12
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Pen & Sword

This book is a comprehensive work covering the range of modern small arms used in today's world armed forces.

The chapters cover the main weapons in use as follows

  • Chapter One - Combat Pistols
  • Chapter Two - Sub Machine Guns and Personal Defense Weapons
  • Chapter Three - Assault Rifles and Carbines
  • Chapter Four - Battle and Designated Marksman Rifles
  • Chapter Five - Combat Shotguns
  • Chapter Six - Sniper and Anti-Materiel Rifles
  • Chapter Seven - Light Machine Gun, Light Support Weapons and Squad Automatic Weapons
  • Chapter Eight - Support Weapons

Each chapter goes in to great details of each weapons in the category and provides a lot of reference work for anyone interested in modern weapons. It is also a treasure trove of information and photos for modelers of modern troops and weapons.

I have already used the book for reference in building and paint some modern SWAT team personnel and their weapons!

The images in the book are excellent.,

I recommend this book to everyone.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

More Air National Guard Mustangs

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 10:56
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Iliad Design

Iliad Design has a newly released set of decals for 1/48th scale P-51D Mustangs in various National Guard markings. Upon receiving the decal set for review I contacted Iliad Design and asked if there was a specific P-51D kit for which the decals were designed to be used. I was informed that the decals could be used on any P-51D on the market. I bought an Airfix P-51D to use as the test bed for this review. This is not a review of the Airfix kit, but I should mention that it has a great deal of detail. I mention this detail because the decals would be put to the test to see how well they "fit" over, and into, this detail. I will mention that I enjoyed the Airfix project immensely and found it to be a model that I could recommend to anyone who is looking for a good Mustang.

The Iliad decal sheet includes tail codes, fuselage markings for National Guard units from four States, nose art (when called for) and the usual Star and Bar national insignia. This decal sheet does not provide stenciling. Stencil decals and a few other markings will be added to the Mustang later, but all the decals seen in the accompanying images are Iliad decals.

Included on this sheet are markings for Mustangs in National Guard units for Oklahoma, Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin. I chose to finish my Mustang using the Texas markings. The instruction sheet which accompanies the decal sheet has some helpful artwork which makes placement on the airframe simple. Four illustrations, showing the port side of the aircraft are very helpful when applying the decals. The illustrations show panel lines and those lines happen to match up very well with the detail engraved into the Airfix kit. On the reverse side of the instruction sheet are four illustrations which show the upper surface of the aircraft. Again, the panel lines shown on the illustrations match those on the Airfix kit.

The model was painted using Alclad paint, some enamel paint, and some acrylic paint. The aircraft was airbrushed with a coat of Future. To apply the decals, they were placed in distilled water, which was room temperature, that being about 80 degrees. I found that the decals were ready to apply after 30 seconds to 1 minute in the water. No setting solution was used, and none was required. A Q-Tip was used to help the decals snuggle into the engraving. I was pleased that the decals did not wrinkle or rip when being handled. The decals are thick enough to be handled but thin enough to fit nicely on the curved surfaces of the wings and the fuselage.

When spending hard-earned money on a kit, and then buying after-market decals, and after building the kit, and painting the model, one expects the decals to be the final step that makes the project an enjoyable experience. These decals exceeded my expectations. One expects the decals to have distinct color separation, when appropriate, and these decals have sharp lines of separation between the colors. The dimensions of the various areas of the white, blue, and red on the Star and Bar markings are uniform and consistent. There isn't a problem with colors "bleeding" or off-center printing. The instruction sheet, showing the placement of the markings, is easy to read and interpret.

This decal sheet is highly recommended. The decals are of high quality and well worth the modest price. Thanks to Iliad Design for providing this product to IPMS for review.

1/35 Scale Panda-Hobby 9K330 Tor Air Defense System

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 16:37
Product Image Review Author:  Dan Brown Panda Hobby

The 9K330 Tor is the newest vehicle in the Russian arsenal for self contained anti-air missile defense system.  The missile system is the SA-15 Gauntlet and it is mounted in the 9K330 Tor tracked chassis.  The vehicle has an integrated rotating search radar, a tracking radar in the front of the turret, antennas for guidance and 6 vertically stored missiles in the center of the turret.  Interestingly, these missiles are stored internally and are launched similar to US naval vessels.  In 2016, Panda Hobby released the original version of this kit and it remains the only styrene kit of this subject.  This new release from 2019 adds replacement white metal tracks to the kit. 

 

The kit is packaged in the usual Panda Hobby box with a colorful print of the vehicle in service.  In the box are 6 sprues of tan plastic, 1 PE sheet, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet, 200mm of brass cable and a small plastic box containing all of the white metal track parts.  There are also separate parts for the turret top, radar front, and hull halves.  The moldings are well detailed and for the most part the parts are well molded.  However, I did run into a number of issues with short shot parts and some instances of flash.  I will call out the important ones as needed throughout the build.  The instructions are typical for Panda Hobby, with glossy covers and paper insides.  On the surface they look great with clear parts locations and breakdowns but there are a number of issues throughout that I will highlight.

 

I always start armor builds by skipping the suspension and road wheels until after the painting is complete.  So with this in mind, I started on step 2 with the addition of some suspension parts to the lower hull.  There are several parts omitted from this step, E40 is opposite of E39, E45 is opposite of E23, and E5 is used in place of E6 in some places.  Overall the fit of the parts is good but care is needed here to make sure the correct parts are used. 

 

In step 3, Part E7 is used but not called out and there are more of this part shown in use than are in the kit.  it has you using 6 in steps 2 and 3 but there are only 8 included.  I chose to fill the one in the center of the front plate in step 3.  Also in step 3, it shows Parts E2 in use but does not refer to them in any way, they are the small flat pieces shown in the second part of the step.  The last step of the lower hull is step 5 and there is another misprint here.  The instructions call out for Parts D63 and D63 but there is no D sprue, Parts G73 and G74 are the correct parts.  These parts are very thin and fragile with large sprue gates, so be careful. 

 

In step 6, assembly of the upper hull starts and there is another error in the instructions.  Part K22 is listed for the view ports.  There are clear parts that are exact copies of K22, GP5, but there is no call out.  I left these parts off until final assembly.  You have easy access to install them if you leave the closest hatches off.  I had no issues with the rest of the parts in this step but I left the cables and headlights off until final assembly.  The hatches added in this step are emblematic of this kit, nicely detailed but unable to be posed open. 

 

In step 7, PE13 is very tricky to bend because the instructions are a little vague and the part it attaches too, K23, can't quite be used as a guide. The part attaches to the top of the PE with no groove.  In this step I left a few parts off until final assembly, K33 was left off to provide access to the view port, K45/45 and L17/26 for painting.  Step 8 has some more errors in the instructions.  First, Parts K8 and K9 are swapped in the instructions and Part K9 may be a little short shot.  it is missing some hinge detail that should be there.  Next, K24 should actually be K51 and K23 should be K50.  Lastly in this step, there are two issues with the lights, GP3 and L21.  I found the fit of these parts pretty rough, if I were to build this kit again I would trim the pins off of L21.  Finally, there are four off these lights shown on the front of the tank on top of K44/45 but they are not called out in the instructions at all. 

 

I left both of the subassemblies from steps 8-9 off until after final painting.  The last step prior to turret assembly is step 11.  There were no major issues with this step but I have a few things to mention.  Part PE6 was very thin and easy to bend, so care is needed when removing it from the fret.  I left parts K42, K4, and K5 off until after final painting.  Also at this step I recommend painting the interior of the kit black.  There is no interior and you will be able to see the inside of the hull through the engine grates.  After this step I attached the top of the hull to the bottom at this step, strangely this is left until the last step of the build.  The only issue I noted here was that you could see straight through both of engine grates to the outside.  I recommend blocking off the back of one of the grates with sheet styrene. 

 

Moving on the turret assembly, this starts with the assembly of the main structure and a few subassemblies.  I had no issues with the assembly of the main turret or the sub-assemblies in step 14.  I did leave the photo etch in step 14 until after I had painted the inside of the assemblies black.  In step 14, I had some fit issues with the Part H11, it did not sit straight on the subassembly and may have been short shot.  I had to use superglue to attach and twist the part to fit.  In step 15, I left the radar assembly off until after final painting but I had no major issues with the rest of the parts in this step.

 

The final two assembly steps deal with the complicated build of the main radar array.  This assembly is extremely detailed but fairly troubled.  The parts are riddled with flash, short shots and instruction errors but with some effort the final product is worth it.  Assembly starts in the top right corner of step 16 with the internal structure.  Part G33 has a number of issues with short shot pins and other short shot parts.  Also Parts G25-G28 are weirdly molded, some seem short shot but it's hard to tell, I had to rebuild some of them with styrene rod.  Part G1 had a ton of flash and the right side of the attachment point to G33 was very thin and mis molded. 

 

The photo etch used in this step is very impressive but there are no folding lines for the edges.  There were some gaps after attaching Parts G34/35 to the G46/18 assembly that required filling.  There is also an error in the instructions in this step, Parts G32/G11 cannot be assembled as shown.  There is a piece of plastic molded onto Part G46 that prevents the radar assembly from being added to the G32/11 assembly.  You either need to swap the order of assembly or remove the ring from G46.  The location or G12 is unclear and it is near impossible to install at the point shown.  I had to cut the part in multiple pieces to thread it through the rear of the radar, It should be installed much earlier prior to adding G33.  Finally, G42/38 is difficult to attach to the center parts and the whole assembly is very fragile. 

 

Step 17 finishes the assembly of the radar.  Part G70 is impressive but there is a ton of flash on the part that will need to be cleaned up.  Parts G7-10 are swapped in this step, so pay attention when installing.  Part G50 is extremely short shot but I was able to rebuild it with some flat styrene.  I attempted to leave this radar assembly off until after painting and installing G30/54 into the turret.  Unfortunately, the fit is super tight and I had to remove the pins to install the radar anyways.  I had no major issues with the rest of the parts in steps 18-21. 

 

Returning to the suspension and the tracks.  I had no real issues with the installation of the trailing arms, but I left them off until after final painting to allow me to use the wheels to set the proper height.  The one major issue I had with the suspension was the wheels.  Most of the wheels seemed to be slightly mis-molded, basically short shot it the center of the tires.  It seemed like not enough plastic or pressure was applied to fill the mold out.  This leads to a lot of clean up work and should probably start with a fair amount of putty to fill the gaps.  I would definitely recommend looking for resin replacements for the wheels. 

 

The tracks are definitely the high point of this re-release.  They are well molded in white metal and while there are some issues with flash, there are plenty of extra links and the flash is easy to clean up.  The links are molded as a single piece and the track pins are included.  The track pins are keyed to only fit one way, one end is too big to fit into the link.  The instructions called for 114 links per side and this fit perfectly.  I painted the tracks with several coats of Tamiya XF-69 NATO black and had no issues with paint adhesion after the tracks were washed with white vinegar. 

 

Last but not least is the painting and decaling.  The kit provides two options for this vehicle.  The first option is a 3 color camouflage of black, olive green and tan with no unit markings.  The second is for an overall olive green and the unit marking 403.  All paint call outs are in Mr. Color paint codes with no references to other brands.  I primarily paint with Tamiya acrylics and chose to paint the three color camouflage.  The colors that I worked with were XF-58 Flat Olive Green, XF-69 NATO Black and XF-57 Buff.  I had no real problems with the decals but as I have worked with Panda kits before so I took no chances and laid them down into pools of Future before rolling over each decal with a Q-tip to remove the air. 

 

This is an interesting kit, overall it is a great kit and will build up to an impressive version of the vehicle.  It has been said in other reviews that this is a great time to be an air defense modeler, we have a huge selection of kits representing a huge variety of vehicles and this kit fills an important gap.  The build isn't complicated but the errors in the instructions and the issues with the molding make the build more difficult than it needs to be.  Due to the issues with this kit I can't recommend it to a beginner.  But if you've had a few kits under your belt and don't mind a little trouble shooting and elbow grease this kit is definitely worth it. 

 

Also I love the decision to include white metal tracks as standard, these are usually pretty high priced upgrade for an armor kit.  They defiantly make this rerelease worth it and I hope more companies follow this example.  I would definitely recommend this kit to anyone that is interested in modern Russian militarily vehicles or modern air-defense.  My thanks to Panda Models and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit. 

SINGLE NO. 14. MESSERSCHMITT ME-163B-1 KOMET

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 15:21
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Casemate Publishers

THE BOOK

This book is intended as a reference for anyone building a 1/72 or 1/48 scale model of a production Messerschmitt ME-163B.  It contains entirely visual references, and does not tell the developmental or operational history of the type, but this information is covered in so many other references, so that is not so important.  The modeling information, however, is extremely well done.  The scale drawings are very useful, and whoever made the photographs did a very good job of accessing the aircraft and picturing the details, especially the interior.  There are several ME-163's on display in museums, so with some cooperation with the curators, good photos are certainly obtainable.  There are some period photos included, some showing the equipment used by the crews during operations.  The cockpit interior views are especially good, and I think with these, a pilot could get in one of these and fly it, if he was that suicidal. Someone is currently flying a glider replica of the ME-163 in Europe, so there is at least one currently flying. I don't think it has ever had an engine

.

RECOMMENDATION

This is an extremely good little book, and should provide all of the references need for modeling the ME-163 in either scale.  If you are into Luftwaffe aircraft, don't miss out on this one. The price is right and you'll enjoy this one. Highly recommended. 

Israeli Dolphin Class Submarine

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 15:10
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided very nice Israeli Dolphin submarine which represent a diesel-electric submarine developed and constructed in Germany for the Israeli Navy. They were based on the export only German 209 class submarines. The Dolphin class entered service in May 1999 and are still active today.

 

  • Seven small resin parts
  • Two Photo Etch Sheets
  • One resin submarine
  •  

The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate parts that need careful removal from the resin bases.

There was no instruction sheet provided, this was not a problem as it was a simple build.

The Assembly is quick and easy.

The Resin stand is an awesome addition to the kit.

The final part is painting.

This is my forth one of these great kits and I really enjoy building these and they make a wonderful display all lined up.

Thanks go to OKB for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

Ilyushin Il-2 Schturmovik Two Seat Version

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 15:04
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Casemate Publishers

THE BOOK

This is a short publication that provides very accurate 4-view drawings of the Soviet two seat IL-2 Shturmovik armored attack bomber of World War II fame.  The drawings are done in 1/72 and 1/48 scale,  and provide information on several modifications of the aircraft, mainly armament upgrades, but there is no color or interior information.  There is an excellent photograph of a pristine IL-2 on the cover, and the book would be ideal for you if you were going to super-detail an IL-2 in either of those scales.  There are enough kits available of the aircraft to make getting the book worthwhile if you are working with kits of this aircraft.

 

RECOMMENDATION

This book contains excellent drawings of the aircraft in two scales. Recommended.

French Zouaves

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 14:47
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

Zouaves were a branch of light infantry serving in the French Army from 1830 to 1962.  Their flamboyant costumes were patterned after indigenous Algerian Berber troops, and were so popular that variations on this costume were adopted by countries worldwide, several zouave units serving with distinction in the American Civil War.  The French units served in these outfits for a brief time at the beginning of World War One, changing out to a khaki uniform in 1915.

 

ICM continues with its distinctive line of World War One infantry units with this new package of four zouaves, including three zouaves and an officer.  All come in the distinctive Berber-style uniform.  The kit also includes the comprehensive French equipment set released some time ago, so you'll have a LOT of spare parts to play with.

 

The poses are appropriate for a small vignette, as the officer has fallen (presumed shot).  A soldier is assisting him while one fires back at the offender and the other stands guard.

 

All soldiers wear the full backpack with spare shoes and other accoutrements as well as forage bags specific to each figure.  The officer is pretty thinly equipped, as he's only provided with a sword and a pistol, which he's gripping in one hand.  I trimmed off the sword loop as even at this early stage most officers weren't wearing ceremonial swords into battle.  Overall, not a lot of the included equipment sprue will be required: 3 rifles (with or without bayonet), bayonet sheaths and canteens.  One figure's backpack does not include the usual strapped-on mess plate, and in this case I added the mess pan from the equipment sprue.  Looking online, I found a nice shot of a zouave with an absolute mountain of mess gear strapped to his backpack - all of which would be easily reproducible with the material on the equipment sprue. 

 

Assembly is pretty standard stuff, although each soldier has ammunition pouches tailored to that specific figure, as they are often partially hidden by the short vest. The zouave firing the rifle has his arms separated at the elbow in order to permit more adjustment points while installing the gun.  Fit was about average, with a few spots needing filler to blend in properly, especially on the officer's long coat.  Conversion potential for the set is quite high, as a simple changeout of equipment could render these as Civil-War era or Franco-Prussian zouaves.

 

I did just a little detailing to refine these figures - I pyrograved the hair and tassels to give them a bit more texture and drilled out the sleeves where applicable.  Rifle slings were made from flattened solder.  I replaced the officer's integral pistol with the identical make from the equipment set, as it was more detailed and also more to scale.  Other than these modifications, the figures are essentially straight from the box, although they could certainly benefit with a swap-out of the heads for some Hornet replacements.

 

Painting, as you might guess, is a bit of a challenge.  Interestingly, the braid trim on all of the figures does NOT match the box art - and I believe it is the box art that is at fault.  The braid on the soldiers is not particularly easy to do, as the poses give you a number of hard-to-reach spots.  Care and patience are necessary, especially if you're only used to doing soldiers in drab.  The one figure that didn't fit so well into the vignette got a bit of special treatment - I gave him the typical summer pantaloons for something different, although they almost certainly did not wear these into the opening months of World War One.

 

Although I'm delighted with the choice of subject matter, I must admit I'm a bit disappointed with the actual figures.  The initial World War One figure sets released by ICM were sculpted by a true master.  They were real gems - as fine and detailed as any resin figures available.  They were, in fact, the very best styrene figures on the market anywhere, in my modest opinion.  These new figures, although adequate, more resemble something that might be manufactured by Tamiya, and thus represent a lowering of the sculpting standards that first became noticeable with ICM's Turkish infantry set. 

 

So overall, I'd give these figures an "A" for innovation and usefulness and a "C" for execution.  Despite everything, I've already purchased two more sets, as I will be sprucing them up with new equipment to represent some units from our own Civil War.  Hopefully ICM will continue releasing figure sets from this era - perhaps Belgians or Rumanians or artillery or aviation crew members, all of which would be more than welcome.  As always, I look forward to seeing what's next.

 

My thanks to ICM for their continued devotion to this fascinating period in history, and to IPMS/USA for a chance to check this kit out. 

 

Extra 300L / 330CL plus Photo Etch accessories set

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 14:24
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Hauler Brengun

Brengun brings a very welcome addition to the model aircraft market with this Extra 300L / 330 CL aerobatic plane. I have always wanted to build one and this release is most welcome.

  In the box is;

  • 2 x light grey Sprues
  • 1 x Clear canopy
  • 1 x Decal sheet
  • 1x Instruction booklet

The sprue is well molded with very little flash and very good detail. The only issue is the plastic is very soft.

 

Construction:

First is the construction stages A & B assemble parts of the cockpit. In Stage A where the seats and instrument panel are built, the PE set adds improved instrument panel and also seat belts. These are welcome additions to this very simple layout.

In stage B builds parts to the cockpit floor. The part numbers are missing from two parts which are in fact parts 21 and 23. At this stage the PE set replaces the pedals.

Stage C assembles the Propeller, and wings stabilizers. The stabilizers are both replaced with PE parts which are far better.

Stage D installs cockpit into the fuselage right half which was very easy.

The next stage assembles the fuselage and instrument panel, The halves do need some filling once assembled.

The wings and tails are assembled next all of which also need filling as they do not line up perfectly.

The underside parts and undercarriage are installed next. There is sink marks in parts 29 and 28 that need to be filled. Also, I drilled out the exhaust as this is solid. The wheel struts are very flimsy and are prone to collapsing as they attachments are not very large. I suggest adding a metal pin to both.

The PE stabilizers are added next and the tail wheel. Also, the PE set provides addition part to the aircraft like a step, wing tip stabilizers, antenna and tail wheel support. The Canopy is the last part to be attached.

Now you paint the scheme you like from the two options included and the relevant decals.

 

 

Summary

This was a very nice and simple kit and was fun to build. I highly recommend this kit.

Thanks go to Hauler/Brengun for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

ICM FWD Type B WWI US Army Truck

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 00:44
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves ICM

I had heard that ICM vehicle kits were a bit of trouble and that care was needed in building them. I can honestly say though that they did pretty well with this kit, which went together smoothly with very little fuss. It makes an interesting looking addition to my WWI model collection.

 

The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company (FWD) was one of the first American companies to develop and produce all-wheel drive vehicles. The U.S. Army ordered 15,000 FWD Model B three ton trucks, known as Truck, 3 Ton, Model 1917, during WWI with over 14,000 delivered. Additional orders came from the United Kingdom and Russia.

 

What's Inside the Box

 

The kit comes as the standard ICM kit does--with a colorful box top that slides off of an enclosed brown cardboard box. Parts were packaged well and details were crisp with no flash to speak of.

 

  • 4 light gray plastic sprues
  • 1 small clear sprue
  • Decal sheet featuring two schemes
  • Instruction booklet

 

Construction

 

The first 30 steps cover construction of the lower frame and suspension. The only tricky spot was adding all the center pieces in between the two sides of the frame and getting everything lined up, but in the end things went smoothly. The wheels are made up of four parts each, with the two tire sides enclosing the rim. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get the parts clamped together enough to avoid a seam down the middle of the tire, but adding some thin putty in the cracks and applying some nail polish remover seemed to seal things up. The decal scheme art shows the seam, but everything I have found otherwise has it as solid rubber.

 

The radiator housing is next, comprised of four parts. Construction of the engine that is included in the kit was next and things went smoothly despite some of the small parts involved. I would have liked to have seen some painting instructions here as I had to rely on some restoration websites for references. After adding the engine, exhaust, power transfer box, and crankshafts, we move on to the construction of the treadplate step boards which have nice detail. From there we move onto the engine cover that locates the driver seat, as well as construction of the bonnet. After attaching all of the driver controls and fire extinguisher, louvered side panels, and cooling fan- we are next presented with the fuel tank and seat construction. The box art shows a canvas cover for the driver, but there are no parts present to represent it in the build. Between that and the fuel tank right behind the seat, it must've made for a pretty rugged ride! After attaching the front lamps and searchlight, stowage bin, and crankshaft, we move on to the construction of the bed.

 

The build-up involves a bottom piece with 5 crossbars underneath, a front panel, two side panels with supports, and a two-piece tailgate as well as two stowage boxes that fit underneath the front of the bed. The whole assembly fits onto the chassis with slots and tabs. You have the option of installing the tilt stowed or in place, with hoops for the former and five styrene parts representing the canvas for the latter. I opted for a combination of both after a tip from a friend on a forum--installing the hoops and then using plain old facial tissue with Future sprayed over it to conform to the hoops. I added some Value Gear crates and cargo with homemade labels and opted to have the canvas partly flipped up.

 

Painting and Weathering

 

There are two paint schemes offered in box- and the colors vary as long as you like khaki for the canvas and olive drab for the truck. The schemes include a U.S.-based Quartermaster Dept. truck and a French-based truck from 1918. The only splash of color comes from the embossed FWB logo on the radiator which is brass. I used Vallejo Model Air paints and AK Interactive and Mig Productions washes and pigments for the finish. No figures are included in the kit, but ICM makes a pair of driver figures that works well.

 

Conclusion

 

I couldn't have picked a better kit for my first ICM vehicle. The fit was near perfect and construction was not too fiddly despite all the steps to create the chassis and frame. I had the whole thing built up pretty quickly and am pleased with my attempt at recreating the canvas top. I would have liked to have seen the canvas cover for the driver, but I imagine someone with a modicum of scratch building skills could make up for the loss quite easily. It ends up being a nice looking truck to round out one's WWI collection.

My sincere thanks to ICM and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

Hungarian Armored Fighting Vehicles in the Second World War

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 00:05
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Pen & Sword

The coverage of WWII in print has been profound covering many aspects or the Untied States, Britain and Germany in the European theater. What hasn't been covered as well is the remainder of the Axis powers and their contributions and participation in the conflict. Writer Eduardo Manuel Gil Martinez aims to correct part of that with this book covering Hungarian Armor in WWII. The book covers from prewar to the end of WWII with superb period black and white photos and an explanation of the people, battles, and equipment involved.

The table of contents looks like this:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One- The Birth of the Hungarian Armored Forces
  • Chapter Two- The Second World War Begins
  • Chapter Three-Action in the Ukraine, 1942
  • Chapter Four- Reorganization After the Storm, 1943
  • Chapter Five- Defending Hungary, 1944
  • Chapter 6- The Swansong of the Hungarian Armored Forces, 1945
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliography

The book starts, as expected, in the beginning where the Hungarian armor was generally under-gunned and under-armored. Their initial armor covered in Chapters One and Two were wholly inadequate in that many only had machine guns for attack and armor that could be pierced by small caliber weapons. In addition, the Hungarian anti-tank guns literally bounced off the Russian armor it was facing. During this time, Mr. Martinez covers the battles, number of tanks lost, and how the battles evolved. As a summary, in the initial battles there were 200 officers and 2500 men dead as well as 1500 missing in action and 7500 injured. The armor did worse, with all Ansaldo tanks lost, 80% of the Toldi 1 medium tanks lost, and 90% of the rest. On the positive side. 8000 Russians, 65 guns and 50 tanks were captured by the Hungarians, but the costs were very. Very high. 

As the war progressed, German armor came to the forefront with the Hungarian forces. Many were license built by the Hungarian plants. Looking through chapters Three and Four, you will see pictures of Panzer 38, Panzer IV as well as improved support groups. Also covered in this section are the Anti-Aircraft tanks like the 40M Nimrod. The battles are covered again from the 1st Battle of Uryv to the 3rd Battle of Uryv. All of these are accompanied by excellent narrative and wonderful photos showing the Hungarians as they got better and better armor. I also want to say that the pictures are very crisp and clear too. 

Chapters Five and Six are in depth coverage of the defense of Hungary and the end of the war and the fighting. This is the largest section of the book and is well illustrated. One interesting point I discovered as I progressed through the boom as that the Hungarian Army actually operated in Poland for a period of time until pushed out by the Russian Army. The sacrifice these men made was terrible losing ALL of their tanks. Not even one survived. Also notable in this chapter is the use of German tanks and other weapons. While the Hungarians improved their armor, they were still behind the rest of the world. In the end, the Russians were too strong, and Budapest fell and slowly afterward the Axis abandoned Hungary. All of this is done in the context of the armor involved with great pictures of Panzer IV's and other armor in great pictures in Hungarian markings.

The conclusion of the book is grim with many of the surviving Hungarians being deported to Siberian labor camps and many not ever coming home. This book is a great historical look at the Hungarian armor and battles of WWII but it also a tribute to the men of Hungary who fought against overwhelming odds in outdated equipment to protect their homeland.

Highly recommended for both its text and pictures. It truly sheds light on a smaller part of the war but certainly not a less significant part. My thanks to Pen & Sword and Casemate Publishing  for the chance to review this item.

Detail & Scale F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super Hornet

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 22:57
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Detail & Scale, Inc.

Detail and Scale is an iconic brand in the aircraft modeling world. Bert Kinzey and friends have been putting out top quality aircraft books for decades and this latest release covering the F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler is no exception. Also, this is version two as the original was released back in the early 2000's. The book is available in two formats- traditional book and electronic e-book. This review covers the paperback version. Let's dive in and see why these books are meant for both aircraft enthusiasts and modelers.

Let's start with the table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Super Hornet Origins and Development
  • Aircraft and Systems Overview
  • The EA-18G Growler
  • Flight Test and Operational History
  • On the Horizon: Super Hornets and Growlers for the 2020s & Beyond
  • Super Hornet Gallery
    • Super Hornet Sukhoi Killer
  • Growler Gallery
  • Super Hornet Details
    • Cockpit Details
    • Windscreen and Canopy Details
    • Fuselage Details
    • Wing & Wing Fold Details
    • Tail Details
    • Landing Gear and Gear Wells Details
    • Engine Details
    • External Stores Pylon Details
    • Weapons Detail
    • Pod & Tank Details
    • SHARP &IRST21 Details
    • EA-18G Details
  • Modelers Section

Overall, each section is lavishly illustrated and contains excellent color photos, great references and in depth detail about the section being discussed. Let's look in depth at a couple sections.

The Super Hornet Gallery was the first section that caught my eye. This part includes 15 pictures of mostly CAG Super Hornets with very cool and highly visible markings. One of my favorites is the red, white and blue scheme for F/A-18F BuNo. 166804 from VFA-2 Bounty Hunters. The picture is great but below it is contained great info such as background on the unit's history, where the "Langley Stripe" came from, and its home base of NAS Lemoore. Each picture has the same wonderful information, and for me it is a great assist in picking one of the many schemes for a build. This same treatment is given to six of the EA-18G Growlers in their own section.

The Super Hornet Detail section is a modeler's dream and starts with the cockpit and ends with the weapons and Growler Details. There are 46 (yes forty-six!) pages of detail shots of all parts of the plane, its weapons, pods, landing gear, etc.  Each detail shot contains a written paragraph covering any details for that section. For example, the section covering the cockpit covers different block versions of the aircraft with details for which each panel is used for and the differences in the blocks. Photography is perfect. Super detailers will need this section.

Lastly, I wanted to take a look at Modelers Section which is specific to the Detail & Scale world. In this section, there are reviews of the available kits in scales ranging from 1/144 all the way to 1/32. They are sorted by manufacturer and reviewed for accuracy. Each scale also gives a recommended kit as the "best" and why. Interspersed in the words are eleven spectacular builds with details about the kit, modeler, and what the kit represents. For the first time builder, this gives great information about each kit, its advantages and shortcomings, and will allow the modeler to address them if they choose.

Wow! This is an excellent addition to the Detail & Scale legacy.  For history buffs, it's there; for modelers, there is everything you need to pick a kit, super detail a kit, or pick a set of markings to use. Highly recommended and I would even say mandatory for Super Hornet/Growler builders.

My thanks to Bert Kinzey and all the excellent people at Detail & Scale for the opportunity to review this book.

Meng M4A3E2 ‘Jumbo’

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 20:56
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy Meng Model

Background

'The new German tanks were the headache of ordinary Sherman tanks. The mass production of the M26 Pershing was still some time away. The M4A3E2, a special Sherman variant nicknamed "Jumbo" was thus born. It received much thicker chassis and turret armor on the basis of M4A3. It could withstand the shot of large caliber German tank guns and anti-tank guns. Later, it was refitted the 76mm main gun and had better anti-armor capability. In the end of December 1944, a "Jumbo" tank of the 4th Armored Division under the command of Patton led a unit of U.S. soldiers to break the German Siege of Bastogne and joined forces with the 101st Airborne Division. This operation reversed the situation of the Battle of the Bulge.

The latest MENG Sherman series product, TS-045 U.S. Assault Tank M4A3E2 Jumbo kit completely replicates the special "Jumbo" Sherman exterior details. The entirely different front and side hull armor, and brand-new turret and mantlet profile have been properly represented. It will be the most unique one in your Sherman collection.'

That basic knowledge of this version of the Sherman tank is derived from several primary sources: the Wikipedia web page (  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman_variants  ), and the Tanks Cyclopedia site on the M4AE3E2 variant, specifically (  https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/m4a3e2-jumbo-assault-tank  ), as well as my personal observations in and around Bastogne during several visits there.

 This Kit Box

There are literally hundreds of parts included in this kit from Meng, including a small PE tree and some very nice decals including those from the well-known and photographed 'Cobra King' tank.  There are eleven main sprue trees, two clear trees, five assorted part trees, an optional set of rubber band tracks, eight metal volute springs, decal sheet and a brass PE fret.  The instruction booklet is 31 pages, including a type history and the specific history of the key featured 'Cobra King' tank.  There is an explanation of the various construction icons as they are called out in the step-by-step guide.

The box art is for the Cobra King tank featuring an appropriate snow scene from its use in the crucial battle of the bulge in Bastogne.

The Instructions

As mentioned, the surface details appear to faithfully reproduce the rough surface of the Sherman, including the extra six layers of armor shielding for the frontal and side areas.  There are several barrels included (with the longer version called out for the last depicted tank) including both a nice turned aluminum barrel in addition to the plastic ones.  

There are 12 stainless volute springs.  These are beautifully made of wound stainless steel, which look exactly like the real springs; unfortunately, one primed and painted they are hardly visible--and only known to the builder.  On the outside of the volute spring box is another small but nice touch: two very small (but very detailed and printed) boxes--one for a case of Jack Daniels Kentucky bourbon and a case of Chesterfield cigarettes.  These replicas may be cut out and added to the details attached to the sides of the finished Jumbo.

The Build

I followed the basic step-by-step in the kit instructions thereby eliminating almost all of the pitfalls which accompany most of my modeling projects.  Initially you need to decide which variant you intend to model, though these differences appear to be basically related to the decals with the kit (two additional sets of markings for other US Army and one French vehicles).  As I have done with other kit manufacturers, this MENG kit follows a usual pattern in its assembly, though the surface finish and amount of kit details are more complete.  As you move along, the very heavy surface armor plates are added as one of the distinctive features of the Jumbo Sherman.

One of the optional features provided by Meng is two sets of tracks:  one of the standby 'rubber band' style, and the far more challenging ejection molding types.  Another feature is the inclusion of the 'duckbill' extensions for the 156 individual track segments, should you be so inclined.  The rubber band tracks do not permit the use of plastic cement, as sometimes possible, but the details appear to be great and their use will save countless hours of very demanding effort, should you choose to use them.

The track assembly is the major hurdle and requires a considerable effort.  Each piece requires a great deal of effort from the modeler, which I must admit rewards he or she with the finest individual track detail I've seen.  The final track sections are constructed using a small jig provided in the kit (though after some initial effort, I wound up using only the bottom portion of the jig).

Adding the duckbills is definitely a chore, though the results are very rewarding.  These are officially known as 'extended end connectors' though as a 'duck-bill' and normally referred to as 'duckbill EECs'.

Painting, Finishing and Final Assembly

 I began my painting for this Sherman using Mission Models MMS-001 Black Primer, followed by a thinned layer of Mig Russian Green Primer A.Mig-2009 and a final coat of MMP-024 US Army Olive Drab FS 319, Worn Black Grey Tires (MMP-105)  

From my long-time friend and mentor, Ted Holowchuk, I have adopted this process: using a high-quality lacquer thinner (Ditzler DTL 876), Duracryl Clear Gloss (now marketed by PPG; DCA 468) and finally Testor's Dullcoat (product # 1160X).  After a gloss coat, I then applied a pin wash depicting rust and weathering around all of the raised details.  After decaling I dry brushed some smaller details (such as wood handles and metal pieces) were picked out using the appropriate colors.  I completed my dry brushings using my old standby Winsor & Newton's Artist Oil color Naples Yellow Light, No. 426 to provide added surface highlighting.

Decals

The kit contains four separate sets of decals, though I have chosen the 'Cobra

King' decals.  Interesting, there are several very good articles reporting the history of this specific Army tank and its restoration (referenced below in the URL references).

https://www.army.mil/article/17393/cobra_king_led_4th_armored_division_column_that_relieved_bastogne_during_battle_of_the_b

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/a-battered-world-war-ii-hero-of-bastogne-gets-a-new-home-museum-built-around-it-1.481411

https://armyhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Cobra-King-Story.pdf

http://www.americainwwii.com/articles/cobra-king-today/

Overall Evaluation

This is a beautiful kit in almost every sense of the word.  The basic engineering, construction, fit of all parts and surface details are exquisite.  As previously noted, I am far from an expert on the Sherman models, but I am impressed with this model of the M4A3E2 Jumbo.  I am thankful to both IPMS-USA and MENG Models for the opportunity to review this kit, which I highly recommend.

Clarcat Typ B Royal Navy deck Tractor

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 11:03
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Hauler Brengun

 

Brengun has released a great accessory to add to a WWII Royal Navy Aircraft carrier diorama. This a tractor used in the later part of WWII on aircraft carrier to move aircraft around the deck.

   In the box is;

  • 15 x light grey Resin parts
  • 1 x Decal sheet
  • 1x Instruction sheet

The resin is well molded with very little flash and great detail. The only issue I found was the two larger parts have large resin parts to be removed which has to be done very carefully. Also, the review kit had one of the two part 5's missing which I made a scratch one up.

 

Construction:

First is the construction is the main body and the control parts, steering wheel, levers and pedals. Be careful installing the pedals as they are tightly spaced. I also drilled out the holes for the parts to be installed easier.

The wheels and accessories are added next. The front wheel bay needs to be enlarged to allow the wheel to be installed correctly.

Now you need to select which of the two offer options you want to complete. There is one from HMS Victorious 1944 or HMS Triumph 1948. I opted for the HMS Victorious.

You now paint the tractor and add the decals.

 

Summary

This was a very nice and simple kit and a great addition to any a diorama.

Thanks go to Hauler/Brengun for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

Benz Patent-Motorwagen 1886

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 10:51
Product Image Review Author:  Mark Costello ICM

ICM is a Ukrainian manufacturer and this kit is a 1/24 scale model of the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the first patented production motorized automobile.  The kit is all new for January of 2020.

Kit

The kit comes packaged in a sturdy box that once the liftoff lid is removed, reveals another foldup lid on the box bottom.  There is 1 bag consisting of 4 sprues of grey plastic parts, 77 in total. There is also a cardboard envelope containing a sheet of 12 brass photoetch parts for the wheel spokes and chains with sprockets.  There are no decals or clear parts needed for this vehicle.  Also included in the box is a printed copy of part of the patent application from 1886.  It is printed on heavy cardstock and is weathered to look old.

The plastic is soft, well detailed and easy to work with. There is very little flash, only on a couple of parts and very few sink marks/ejector pin marks, less than 10 that need to be dealt with.  Many of the parts have mold seams that will need to be cleaned up, but because of the softness of the plastic, it cleans up quickly. 

The instructions have full color first and last pages, the last being a full color 3-view of the vehicle. The inner pages have black and white drawings with red paint callouts and step numbers. Paint callouts are for Revell and Tamiya paints. 

 

Construction

Assembly starts off with the multipiece frame.  I taped the crossmembers in their locations while the main frame pieces were glued to maintain alignment and to keep the frame straight while the glue dried.  All parts have pin/tab and hole/slot connections, so alignment and part locations are positive.  For glue, I used a combination of Tamiya Extra Thin, Tamiya Extra Thin Quick Setting and CA (generic). Step 3 has you install the drive pulley, but I waited to install it until close to the end of construction.  I glued all the crossmembers, axle, step and front wheel forks to the frame so I could paint it all in one step.  This meant skipping around in the instructions, but I thought the glue joints would be better if I could glue before painting.

The engine builds up nicely and is well detailed.  Careful masking is needed to paint all the different colors. There are some very tiny parts that get attached to the engine, be careful cutting them off the trees and cleaning them up. After painting all the subassemblies for the engine, I glued it together before attaching it to the completed and painted frame. The carburetor (A42 and A35) and the fuel tank were also assembled and painted before adding them to the frame.

The floorboard is made up of three parts and I glued all three together before painting them.  The instructions call for part A55 to be painted steel, but in all the reference photos I could find, it was a wooden piece.  The wooded box for the battery goes together well.  I carefully glued the seat arm rest rails to the seat back before painting.  I used the seat and its wooden base to make sure the arm rest rails and seat back were in the proper position.  They are delicate but fit together perfectly.

There are two options included for the drive pulleys and belt.  You can either use parts A43 and A44, which have part of the drive belt molded on them, or A45 and A46 which are smooth. If you use A43 and A44, you then attach two plastic parts for the drive belt. If you use A45 and A46, the instructions tell you to scratch build a drive belt.  I chose to scratch build the drive belt as I wasn't confident I could fill the seams where the plastic belts joined the pulleys.  I used plain-old masking tape for the belt. I placed two pieces of tape sticky side to sticky side, so I had a double thickness and the cut out a strip the width of the plastic parts and painted it with a light coat of Tamiya XF-2 Flat White, so it would look a little off-white.

The drive sprockets and chains are made up of three photoetch pieces for each side.  I used toothpicks sanded down to the right diameter to hold the three parts in alignment while I glued them together with CA.  These assemblies fit perfectly and really look like chains when finished.

The wheels are made up of plastic centers, photoetch spokes and plastic rims/tires. There is also a jig for the assembly of the tires and it all works very well. The sprue trees for the rims have alignment pins on them that fit into the jig to hold the rim in the proper position.  You have to cut the tree attachment cleanly away from the ring around the rim part to make it sit in the jig correctly. Each rim half has depressions in it for the ends of the photoetch spokes to sit in. For the rear wheels, there is a tool, C1 included to use to push the center of the spokes down.  For the front wheel, you are supposed to use the hub A31 to push down the center of the spokes.  I found that hard to do as the pointed ends of the hub stuck into my fingers.  I ended up making a little tool out of a piece of sheet styrene, a piece of piano wire and some styrene tubing (see picture) that allowed me to push the spokes down easily.  Once the ends of the spokes go into their depressions in the rim, the center stays in place and you don't have to push down on it anymore.  I ended up bending the ends of the spokes a little bit, so they would sit flatter in the depressions, your results may vary. I used a tiny amount of CA on each of the spoke ends to hold them in place.  I painted each assembled wheel/spoke half before gluing the halves together.  I had to sand the insides of the rims where the spokes attach to get them flat before I could glue them together.  Make sure you put the hub in the center before gluing the halves together!  The assembled wheel is very sturdy. The only downside to the wheels is that there is no real definition between the rubber tire and metal rim.

After painting everything, I glued the engine, carburetor, fuel tank and fuel line to the frame.  I then installed the drive pulleys and attached the masking tape drive belt.  Make sure you add the twist to the belt when you install it.  After that, I added the battery box, footboard, seat and steering column.  The drive chains and tires were then added, and the vehicle was complete.

 

 Paint

I used a combination of Tamiya, Vallejo Metal Color and Alclad II paints depending on the color I needed.  I primed the metal parts with Tamiya Grey Primer before painting.  The instructions call out for the frame and tires to be painted in black.  Some of my reference photos show it black, but most show them being a dark green.  I decided I liked the green better and used Tamiya XF-11 J.A. Green straight from the bottle.  For the engine block, drive pulley and flywheel, the instructions call out for either black or red. Most of my references show them a dark red, but I also saw black and green.  I mixed a couple of drops of Tamiya X-18 Semigloss Black into some Tamiya XF-7 Flat Red to make a darker red color.  For the woodwork, I painted a base color of XF-57 Buff. When that was dry, I used a brown colored pencil and drew on some woodgrain.  This was then overcoated with a thin coat of Tamiya X-26 Clear Orange. The seat was painted with Tamiya XF-69 Nato Black and then drybrushed with a dark grey. I used Alclad II ALC 109 Polished Brass and ALC 110 Copper for the brightwork.  I mixed up various shades of Alclad II Steel and Aluminum to get the different metal tones.

 

 

Conclusion

Overall, this was a very pleasant kit tobuild. It builds up quickly as there really wasn't much to the actual vehicle. The completed kit is quite small, approximately 4 inches long. Some of the parts are very tiny and require care in removing them from the sprue and cleaning them up. The finished kit looks correct and if you wanted to super detail it, there wouldn't be that much to add.  It is only missing a few electrical connections and hoses. I would highly recommend this kit to anyone.

 

There is an interesting page about the Patent-Motorwagen on the Mercedes-Benz website that goes into detail about the automobile.  https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/classic/history/benz-patent-motor-car/

 

I would like to thank ICM and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to build and review this kit. 

The Browning High-Power Pistol

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 00:46
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Osprey Publishing

Osprey Publishing has been providing books for enthusiasts since 1968 and since then it has grown, evolved and taken on new challenges until it stands today as one of the most successful examples of niche publishing around.

Leroy Thompson trained and advised military and police special operations units around the world, focusing especially on the tactical use of firearms. He has had over 50 books published and more recent titles include The Hostage Rescue Manual, The Counterinsurgency Manual and Secret Techniques of the Elite Forces. He has also had various firearms books published including Great Combat Handguns, and appeared as a weapons expert on documentaries for Discovery, National Geographic and the BBC.  He lives in Missouri, USA.

Adam Hook studied graphic design, and began his work as an illustrator in 1983. He specializes in detailed historical reconstructions.  Adam has illustrated Osprey titles on subjects as diverse as the Aztecs, the Ancient Greeks, Roman battle tactics, several 19th-century American subjects, the modern Chinese Army, and a number of books in the Fortress series. His work is featured in exhibitions and publications throughout the world.  Adam Hook delivered the battle scene paintings for this book.  Check out his webpage at: http://www.adamhookillustration.com/. Adam Hook now lives in East Sussex, UK.  

Alan Gilliland was born in Malaya in 1949 and now lives in Lincolnshire, UK.  Alan Gilliland spent 18 years as the graphics editor of the UK's Daily Telegraph, winning 19 awards in that time. He now writes, illustrates, and publishes fiction (www.ravensquill.com), as well as illustrating for a variety of publishers including Osprey. Check him out at alangillilandillustration.blogspot.com

and https://reedsy.com/alan-gilliland .  Alan Gilliland provided the cut-away illustrations for this volume.

Osprey's 73rd book in the Weapon series is a square back soft cover including 80 glossy paper pages.  The upper front cover features a color photograph of early Belgian military High-Power FN35.  The bottom of the front cover features a color photograph of a British army soldier firing a FN L9A1 on a range at Basra, Iraq, in 2006.  I counted 28 black and white pictures, 58 color photographs, one color labeled cut-away illustration, one black and white drawing of John Browning's original patent, and three color paintings. Adam Hook contributes the three battle-scene color paintings, including two, 2-page spreads. Alan Gilliland provides the labeled color cutaway illustrations of the 9x19mm Browning GP 35.

Designed by John Browning as an improvement on the Colt 1911, the High-Power was introduced by FN in 1935.  What made the High-Power was the use of a staggered cartridge magazine, enabling the pistol to carry 13 rounds.  One of the most highly used military pistols of the 20th century, the High-Power saw combat from WWII through current day.  FN ended its 82-run of manufacturing the High-Power in 2017, but it is still built under license.  

Leroy Thompson ably describes the original design and evolution of the Browning High-Power to meet French design requirements, even though the French did not end up ordering the new design.  The last model, the Mark III was introduced in 1989.  FN did veer from the standard 9x19 mm cartridge and introduced the .40 S&W cartridge to meet the US market, but it was ultimately not successful.  The second part of the book goes into detail with the service of the High-Power around the world.  Finally, the last part discusses the impact that the High-Power and a nice discussion of its competitors. The contents include:

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Editor's Note

Artist's Note

Introduction

Development - Towards the High-Power

  • The M1900
  • The M1903
  • The M1910
  • The M1910/22
  • Designing the High-Power [Page 10]
  • The Colt M1911 and its Influence
  • The M1923 and M1928
  • Refining the High-Power
  • The High-Power Exposed [Color Cut-Away Labeled Illustration]
  • The Shoulder Stock
  • Post-War Modifications
  • New Directions
  • Three New Models
  • Browning Arms Hi-Powers in the US| Market
  • The Mark II
  • 7.65x21mm High-Powers
  • The Mark III
  • .40 S&W High Powers

Use: The High-Power Goes to War

  • Early Adoption [Page 28]
  • Belgian High-Powers at War
  • The High-Power in German Service
  • The Inglis High-Power
  • Chinese High-Powers
  • Canada Adopts the High-Power
  • Operation Varsity, March 1945 [2-page Color Illustration]
  • Britain Follows Suit
  • FN After the German Occupation
  • Post-War Canadian High-Powers [Page 44]
  • Lightening the High-Power
  • Inglis Pistols in Other Hands
  • The High-Power in Europe
  • British Special Forces and the High-Power [Page 49]
  • Royal Military Police Close Protection Teams
  • Armed Metropolitan Police Units and the High-Power
  • The High-Power in the Americas
  • The FBI Hostage Rescue Team and the Browning High-Power
  • The High-Power in Africa
  • The Mozambique Drill
  • The High-Power in Asia
  • The High-Power in the Chinese Civil War [2-page Color Illustration]
  • The High-Power in Vietnam
  • Afghanistan 2012 [1-page Color Illustration] [Page 61]
  • Select High-Powers
  • The High-Power in the Middle East
  • The High-Power in Iraqi Service

Impact: An Influential Handgun

  • The High-Power and Its Competitors
  • The High-Power's Design Influence
  • Licensed and Unlicensed Manufacturers of the High-Power
  • Replacing the High-Power
  • Customizing the High-Power

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

I found the initial design and development quite interesting.  John Browning had sold the rights to the guns he designed to Colt in the United States.  What this meant was that one of his major designs, the 1911, restricted his future designs.  John Browning had begun a relationship with FN for ex-US marketing of his semi-automatic 7.65 Browning for which Colt had no interest in. This relationship eventually evolved into the 9x19mm High-Power pistol.  John Browning actually provided Colt with two prototypes for Colt's approval.  Although Colt had no interest, Colt did file the patents for John Browning in 1923.  An interesting footnote is that the Colt 1911 patent expired in 1928.

I really appreciated the structure that Osprey's Weapon Series utilizes, starting with the origin of the selected weapon and the following discussion on its development, operational use, and finally a summary of its effectiveness in the 'Conclusion' chapter.  Leroy Thompson provides an easy read with plenty of photographs that support the storyline.  The labeled cutaway illustrations provide insight into the machine gun's operation through Alan Gilliland's full color illustrations.   Adam Hook's color paintings put you into the battle in three different eras.  I was able to read the book easily over two evenings. If you own one the previous releases in the Weapon series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!