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G'day Benchers! Dave, Ian and Julian are back with another (in lockdown again) episode.
As well as our usual whats new in the modelling world and our mail bag we are having a chat about what the ideal bench setup should be.
And in an exclusive for our On The Bench listeners the Scale Modellers Supply is offering a 10% discount on all orders from their website…..tune in to find out about this fantastic offer!
OKB Grigorov has provided yet another very submarine in this case it's the Italian Navy's in the Enrico Toti Class Submarine. These were built in the 1960's and were the first submarines designed and built in Italy since the second world war. They were designed as hunter killers and powered by a diesel-electric engine. They were very similar to the famous German type 205's. They saw service from 1965 to 1993.
Inside the box are two resin parts and one Photo Etch Sheet
The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate and 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 photoetch stand is an awesome addition to the kit.
The final part is painting. This is has joined my some navy 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
Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!
John P. Cann has written nine titles on Portugal's colonial actions in Angola. This book is part of Helion & Company's Africa@War Series - #42. John Cann is a Research Fellow and retired Professor of National Security Studies at Marine Corps University (www.usmcu.edu) in Quantico, Virginia. John Cann acknowledged the generous help of Lieutenant Colonel (Cavalry) Miguel Freire and Colonel (Cavalry) Paulo Manuel Madeira de Athayde Banazol for their help. In other words, the author learned about this topic from the horses' mouths, so to speak.
What You Get
An 11 11/16 X 8 1/4 inch softcover book of 96 pages (not counting covers) with color covers and four pages (i-iv) of eight color illustrations and photos in the middle. The book is chock-full of B&W photos and illustrations (~105), with 19 maps, the first being of Africa currently so the reader can keep track of locations. A large list of abbreviations and a short Acknowledgement go right into the brief Introduction, followed by five chapters, Selected Bibliography and Notes.
As a kid growing up watching the nightly news, the Angolan conflicts were mentioned, but details were scanty and the major interest was yet another Communist intervention (including Fidel Castro) at the time of the Vietnam War. This book helps sort out what was really going on in Angola during 1966-1974, and what Portugal did to keep hold of their colony with military action, specifically unusual tactics.
A history of Portugal from prehistoric times to the 1960s proved fascinating and gave important background to understand the courses of action outlines in this book. It is a short history of horse cavalry in general and Portuguese national history. This perspective helps to understand why Portugal used cavalry instead of "modern" equipment. The history of Portugal as a small but feisty colonial nation mixing it up with bigger European countries to carve up the world into their possessions in order to secure raw materials for growth and supremacy is something seldom considered, but is at the root of each soldier's lives and deaths.
The history of Portugal taking and defending its colonial African possession is given plenty of coverage, and goes into history of cavalry actions and why Portugal decided to use horses in 1966.
This book presents and analyzes the use of cavalry by Portuguese military in Angola from 1966-1974. The politics were complicated, and the factions numerous and ever-changing, but the focus is strictly on military training and action, not geopolitics.
Successes and failures were given equal attention so that military lessons can be learned, regardless of what is transporting the troops. The term dragoon defines horse-mounted infantry, with peculiar logistical needs and advantages for certain geographies. Cost of maintaining a war was only one reason to use dragoons - staying close to the indigenous people and troop mobility denied to other modes of transportation were other reasons.
The part I found interesting was the exceptional attention to training dragoons by Portugal throughout history, culminating in relatively modern warfare usage. The human-animal bond was another large part of being a dragoon. Ultimately, the logistics of providing feed and water to horses and mules was a major limiting factor for modern application of horse cavalry in military operations. Opponents learned to target the horses instead of the mounted troops for countering dragoons.
This quick-read book is an excellent abbreviated history of cavalry use and tactics from olden times up to today. Strengths and weaknesses of horse-mounted infantry (dragoons) was thoroughly explained and determined in actual war operations. In the right setting, dragoons can make sense for limited military operations, even now. Recommended if you like obscure military topics, cavalry, asymmetric forces, colonial domination and indigenous struggles for returning control of their lands.
Intro The M60A2 early type by AFV Club is another one of their M60 series of vehicles including the M60A1, M60A3, M60A2Early and later and the M728 CEV as well as several Foreign subjects based on the M60 series of tanks. The M60A2 early includes sprues from the common components of the hull and turret and running gear. M60A2 specific components are included to model the right vehicle. In this case the Gun barrel with the bore evacuator and the M60A2 turret and assemblies.
The ARCOVE report published in January 1958 recommended a major effort be directed toward the development by 1965 of a guided missile weapon system for future main battle tanks. Thus set in motion the development of the Combat Vehicle Weapons System Shillelagh (CVWS) which consisted of the 152mm XM81 gun launcher. This could fire conventional projectiles or the XM13 missile. The conventional projectiles had a completely combustible case and primer. The XM13 Shillelagh missile was ejected from the tank and a solid rocket motor propelled the missile to the target under the infrared line of sight guidance system. Development proceeded during the early 1960's and in July 1965 the M60A1E1 was type classified and 243 M1A1E1 turrets were procured with 1966 fiscal year funds and an additional 300 tanks were purchased with FY1967 funds. These were later standardized as the 152mm gun Full Tracked Combat Tank M60A2. Army figures show 540 M60A2 tanks produced. The consumable cartridge cases did not completely burn and left hot gasses and residue inside the breech, slowing the loading of subsequent rounds. This was addressed by fitting the closed breech scavenging system (CBSS). This was a high pressure compressed air system that injected 1000PSI air into the breech right after firing to clear the residue. These subsequently modified tanks can be identified by a bulge at the rear of the hull behind the engine and a gun tube without a bore evacuator (straight tube) The M60A2 tank was fielded to Armor units in Europe in 1975. Production was halted in 1975. Due to operational issues with the Missile and the fire control system the tank was phased out of service by 1980 with the rise of the deployment of High velocity Fin stabilized Sabot rounds that could be used by the M60A1 and the M60A3 tanks.
Opening the box.
There were approximately 15 sprues molded in clear, black and olive green plus the metal barrel, decals, vinyl components and tracks. Parts count is over 500
The instructions are a 20 page booklet with a color slick front page and the color slick 4 view schema rear page for the two decal options . There is a Sprue Tree map on page 19 and a notes and colors chart on page 2. There are 39 assembly steps. Discrepancies will be noted in the build notes. There is a separate color box art flyer.
Things to consider before building:
- You will have more parts than required to build the model since many common M60 parts aren't always used.
- The vinyl components(Main gun and commander machine gun shroud) can be glued with liquid cement, but be careful it will eat the plastic, work slowly and clamp or hold until parts are adhered, or use alternate cements
- Almost all the photo etch is used for the bustle rack bottoms and sides, you will mostly use these for strength during assembly since the tubing is styrene and delicate and difficult to arrange with the bracing. This will be the most difficult part of the assembly process.
- The Searchlight is a kit just by itself, 19 parts and photo etch. It's about the size of a sugar cube. Slow down for this step.
- In step 4 it shows Part O-1 being glued onto the hull rear underneath. Don't use this as it is for the late version and houses the CBSS air compressor, which is only needed on the late version of the kit. The towing pintle is also attached to this part, but the regular Tow pintle parts for the M60 tank hull are included (C10, 11, 12, 13) this will have to be fudged, since no drawing is available, but there are locating lines for the pintle arms on the hull. You will have to fill in the locator slots for part O-1. The correct grill doors are on the "C"sprue. C87, 88
Lower Hull and Suspension
- Steps 1-6 covers everything track and suspension related. It's very straight forward. Other bits included are the lighting and tow pintle, lifting eyes and bump stops.
- The shocks/snubbers and mounts(C9,D9,C17) need to be snapped together into upper, snubber lower mount first since it will be near impossible to do if you try to snap the snubber into the mounts after you glue them onto the hull and road wheel arm.
- Tow pintle, See above in things to consider.
- The road wheel arm has the torsion bar, which is keyed, molded on it, it will fit inside the mount holes, but the fit is tight, you may want to fit sand it so you don't break it while inserting it across the hull, Use caution.
- The road wheels have an O-ring sealed between them to retain on the road wheel axle. You might want to wait until after painting as the underside of the tank is pretty busy and the road wheels block painting a lot of that.
Upper Hull and Decks
- Step 7 is the driver's compartment. If you want that level of detail it is spread across the bottom hull, inside of the forward hull. It is very detailed and the parts are delicate and fragile, I kept breaking thin parts, so I closed it up and moved on.
- The drivers hatch is attached to a torsion bar that is glued onto the bottom side of the deck, it might be able to be just glued into the hole. The drivers vision blocks are pushed up from the inside of the deck, do this before you attach the front deck onto the hull. If you bypass the driver's compartment, this is easy to forget.
- In step 10 There are the grill door hinges that are on the outside of the hull at the rear (D22Rt Side D23 Lf Side) these are easy to miss so glue the grill doors on first then glue the back deck on to align everything. Do not use the indicated O2, O3 grill doors, use C87, 88 as those are for the earlier version without the Compressor see not in before you build above?
- The grill doors come in two flavors in Step 19, do not use C3, C34, C89 or K1 since those are for the M60A2 fording kit exhaust stack. I have never seen a picture of that fitted. Use C90 and fill the hole on the right rear grill door
- There are 10 top deck access doors that cover the gap between the hull and the back deck. There are triangular and "D" handles that go on the access grill covers, you just glued on. They are small and delicate and easily broken if you don't use a sharp cutter like a God Hand to trim them from the sprues. Tweezers will fling them everywhere if not careful as well. They really add the detail however so the attention will be rewarded.
- You may have to make a decision on when to put the track on. The instructions show them being applied before the fenders get glued on, you could leave them off if you are careful threading them over the sprockets and connecting them underneath. When in place, they obstruct airbrushing all the bits under the hull between the road wheels and fenders, Builder choice on when to thread the track. The under fender clearance is tight, but workable.
Not much here, the two tracks are some sort of synthetic rubber but it is connected by a pin so you don't need to glue it or staple it. The section that is pinned can be torn so be careful
- The Commander's cupola is steps 22-24. The turret build up is step 25-27
- The Tow Cable mounting brackets are PE that needs to be bent into a J shape and glued to the turret side, there are locating marks, but they are very light
- The rest of the turret is pretty straightforward, most everything has a good locator or fits well. Lots of bits.
- The Searchlight mounting brackets are fragile, so be careful. I somehow lost the alignment with the gun tube and it appears to point lower than the gun/launch tube. Pay attention during gluing as there is only one glue for the mounting arm and that is where I went wrong.
- The monumental struggle I had was with the bustle racks. The PE is a requirement to assist with the assembly to give it structure. The thin tubes are very fragile and are in one piece and have to be threaded through the mounting panels and get all the fiddley bit glued together, you need 5 hands to align and assemble it all. I had to repair everything at least once while trying to attach everything. I wish you all success if you take up this challenge. It looks nice when you get it attached and painted to hide all the glue. I recommend Bondic UV set adhesive to assist.
Painting and Finish
Primer and Pre-Shade
I started by applying a primer consisting of Krylon Color Master with Durable ColorMax Technology rattle can (Flat Black) paint. It has great thin coverage and quick drying time. I left it to dry overnight to make sure it was fully cured.
Airbrushing Mission Models Acrylics
I had to do some soul searching regarding the gloss OD finish. The M60 was developed and fielded during the Army's transition from Solid Olive Drab finishes. My research showed a lot of dark shade OD solid green tanks. As the MERDEC schemes were standardized, they were used as were some local adaptions. Also during this time, the M60A2 series was being phased out of the inventory, its service life was relatively short. That being said, I went with an OD scheme, I wasn't happy with the bottled Od as it appeared too green and not dark enough from what I remember of what I have seen, and what I saw in photos. So I settled on a darker shade. I mixed Mission Models MMP 026 US Army Olive Drab FS33070 and darkened it with MMP 035 NATO Black, which had a green tint. I mixed it 7 parts MMP-026 to 3 parts MMP-035 I then top coated it with MMP-008 Gloss Clear Coat
. The decals were fine; they went on easy and adhered no problems. I got in trouble with one decal that was not split across the tow cable and it folded in on itself, so ruined, I left it off.
I went back by hand and painted the heater exhaust pipe on the right fender, the machine gun barrel in the cupola and the end connectors and center guides on the track.
I was restrained on the weathering as most of my experience with tanks on European roads was mostly road wash and dust, not much mud, a little European splash mud from Vallejo and some AK Rain marks For NATO tanks. I then hit it with a dusting of Vallejo Model Air 71.027 Light Brown to dust it up and cut the glossiness without covering it over.
This early version of the M60A2 is well represented by the parts mix in this kit, but the instructions will have you build the wrong version with all the parts for the Closed Breech Scavenging System (CBSS) AFV Club produces the later version of that kit that would use that component and is most likely included in that kit as well. The kit parts pretty much have great fit and there are subtle locator marks for the tow cable PE and other parts. This basic chassis is used for multiple M60 Variant kits and has made use of the basic parts with multiple sprues to cover the subtle variants. The only really challenge I had was the bustle rack parts and assembly. Because the plastic components were so delicate and had unusual molding, it was very hard for me to assemble without breaking some of them.
I would like to thank AFV Club for the kit to review and IPMS for the opportunity to review this kit. Thanks for the crew support of the reviewers.
The Bucker Bu131D "Jungmann," which means "young man" or "cadet", was developed in the 1930s as a light primary trainer for all Luftwaffe pilots. Extremely small and agile, it was mostly steel tubing with a fabric covering, and proved so popular that over 200 are flying in private hands to this day. I even found an entire scene in the European "Tintin" series of comics which shows this durable little aircraft in the less-than-capable hands of Thomson and Thompson, twin detectives (see the Tintin adventure "The Black Island"). This model set offers not only the aircraft itself, but a pilot and a couple of handlers to go with it.
The aircraft: like the real deal, the model of this aircraft, even in 1/32nd scale, is pretty diminutive, and makes for a relatively fast build. However, due to the nature of the real trainer, some of the parts are exceedingly fragile and require extraordinary care when removing from the sprues. The landing gear brace, for instance, was broken on the tree in three different places even before I attempted to remove it.
Typically, the build begins with the cockpit area. The delicate tube framework is very well represented, although once again the parts are quite fragile. The control panels come in clear plastic with decals, and do a nice job of representing this area when finished properly. As with all ICM aircraft I've made so, far, no attempt has been made to represent the seat belts, so they'll either have to be found elsewhere or scratchbuilt. Both seats also have a moderately annoying mold mark in the center which will need rubbing out.
The engine is nicely represented. I was intending to display this with the panels open, but encountered my only real glitch in the assembly, which was at least partially my own fault. Unbeknownst to me, ICM includes two complete sets of engine shrouds, although the unused set is not shown in the parts layout page at all, leading me to believe that the first pieces I spotted were the only choices. Since the engine panels start at the cockpit, these erroneous parts were already completely locked into place when I discovered my mistake. Fortunately, the kit includes both entire sets of parts, so that I could install the other set without things turning into a total disaster. The only part I needed to fabricate was the single exhaust pipe rather than multiple exhausts intended for this version of the aircraft. Be careful when you get to this stage and be sure to check the part numbers carefully to avoid my mistake.
Speaking of the engine panels, this section is composed of more than half a dozen parts, all of which have to be fit very carefully so as not to throw off the entire front end of the fuselage. Even with my best efforts I needed a little putty to smooth things out appropriately.
At this point you'll be facing the rigging of this model, which can be performed in a wide variety of ways. Personally, I found drilling holes in the appropriate locations, then feeding lines through the wings and clipping and sanding after the fact to be the simplest way to complete this. This kit requires about as much rigging as the average World War One aircraft, so be prepared to be patient. Because of my pre-drilling, I managed to accomplish this stage in about an hour and a half. Unlike ICM's Gloster Gladiator model which I'd previously made, the schematics do not offer quite as good a view of the rigging locations, which made puzzling out some of the details a bit more challenging. I referenced the box art when things got fuzzy, so I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything.
Although there is certainly a wide range of interesting color schemes for this aircraft, I chose the comparatively bland box art depiction, as I thought it best represented the most typical appearance of these machines in their training role. Even so, I think the final piece is interesting enough, especially with the decals adding a splash of color. The decals laid down very well with little to no silvering, although you will need to locate a set of small swastikas for the tail, as none are included.
The figures: As mentioned before, this kit comes with a set of figures which include a cadet completing his parachute harness with the assistance of a couple of ground personnel. All figures are in a robust 1/32nd scale and all are wearing some version of the same zippered overalls. Because of the nature of the build, putty will be needed to smooth out the seams in the overalls. Be aware that the part numbers on the instructions are not entirely accurate, so test fit before gluing. The cadet pilot figure comes with a host of straps and certainly does a good job of depicting the complexity of the parachute harness. A little patience is required to get all the strap parts in their proper positions.
Although the outfits depicted require only a limited pallet, you'll find plenty of small details to paint. I particularly liked the challenge of the parachute harness, which gave me a LOT of detail to add on. My pictures, alas, don't do them justice, but they really are quite nice when done. Altogether, this set works together very well indeed and will look good in any aircraft dio of your choice.
All in all, this is an excellent reproduction of this essential trainer aircraft as well as a faithful representation of the men who worked and flew it. Together, they are terrific value for the money and make a really nice addition to any good Luftwaffe collection. I'm delighted with both kits and thoroughly enjoyed the build, even when I was screwing up. My heartfelt thanks to IPMS/USA for a chance to build this set as well as to ICM for continuing to provide fascinating additions to the world of 1/32nd scale aircraft models. Be safe, everyone, and happy modeling!
Platz Hobby currently produces 334 kits in 1/144 scale, and in addition to their F6F-3 release, I was fortunate enough to receive this two-plane kit for review. In addition to the parts for two aircraft there are markings for three different planes included. Construction was quick, and the detail is very good for this scale. Modelers familiar with working with small parts should not have issues building this release, and I would highly recommend it.
For those not aware, the Skyhawk started life as a fighter design, but as the US Navy had other aircraft being looked at for this role, it was suggested that Douglas continue the design as an attack aircraft. The specifications were for the plane to be able to carry 2000 pounds of weapons (including nuclear), have a combat radius of 345 miles with a top speed of 500 miles per hour, and a maximum takeoff weight of less than 30,000 pounds. Ed Heinemann responded with an aircraft that had a flight radius of 460 miles with a top speed of 600 mph, and a gross weight of only 14,000 pounds. The preliminary mock-up was inspected in February 1952, and Douglas rolled the first XA4D-1 out of the El Segundo, California plant in February 1954. The Skyhawk received several nicknames during its career including, "Heinemann's Hot Rod", "Bantam Bomber", "Kiddiecar", "Scooter", and "Tinker Toy Bomber".
This release from Platz contains three light gray sprues along with one clear sprue for each plane. The decals are made by Cartograf and provide the famous "Lady Jessie" markings worn on the number 1 plane of the VA-164 Ghost Riders in 1969 and 1972 as well as a Blue Tail Flies plane in 1969. The "Lady Jessie" markings were first worn on squadron plane 406 flown by Commander R.C. Perry to honor his friend and former employer who sent care packages to the squadron from her casino. After Perry died in combat (in a different plane) and 406 was lost in combat (with pilot Lt. Commander Barr), the name was carried on the squadron Commanding Officer's plane (401).
Construction is straight forward, and I did not need to use any filler on the seams of these planes. While there is no control panel included, it would be very difficult to see once the canopy is in place and the frames are painted. I did have to play with the fit of the canopy a little, but this was not a daunting task. I also had to replace the forward antenna on one of the planes as I managed to break it off during construction. My one building tip is to add some weight to the front of the plane prior to gluing the fuselage halves together (probably behind the cockpit rear wall).
I used Stynylrez White primer for the underside and control surfaces and Model Master Acryl Gloss Gull Gray for the fuselage, wings, and canopy. The gun barrels received Scale 75 Black Metal as did the tip of the refueling probe, the landing gear door edges are Vallejo Red, the engine exhaust and refueling probe end (excluding the tip) are Vallejo Natural Steel, and the surface above the exhaust is AK True Metal Gun Metal. Decals settled just fine with Micro Set over an Alclad Aqua Gloss finish (I still applied a coat of Micro Sol out of habit), and I sealed the planes with Alclad Light Sheen.
My hits for this release are the level of detail for the scale, the clean moldings and tight fits, and the great markings. Even though two of the markings are for the same plane, there are clear differences between 1969 and 1972. I liked the way that some of the decals included multiple individual markings as it would be very challenging to add each one individually in this scale.
My only real miss would be the failure to mention adding some weight up front to keep the nose of the planes down. I should have known better, but honestly did not think of this until I was airbrushing the white primer. I corrected this by squeezing a lead fishing weight into a shape that would fit in the back end of the plane as I left off the exhaust nozzle during painting. While not really a miss, centerline fuel tanks and loads for the pylons would have been a nice touch. I would also add that technically the forward slats fall forward when an A-4 is parked, so the planes represented in the kit would be in flight, but there is no option for a pilot to represent this.
On a side note, I did not catch that the Blue Tail Flies marking for the tail goes above and below the tail control surfaces. As I painted the planes with these in place, I had to cut a slit in the decals to get them to fit correctly. Of course the better approach would be to place the decals and then add the control surfaces afterward.
As mentioned up front, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add a couple of A-4Fs to their 1/144 collection, especially "Lady Jessie". Modelers with experience in working with small parts should have no issues with building this kit and adding the decals.
I would like to thank the folks at Platz Hobby for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review. I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help John with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.
The Enrico Toti (S506) was the lead boat in its namesake class of Italian submarines. The keel was laid in 1965, she was launched in 1967, commissioned in 1968, and was decommissioned in 1992. In 2005 the boat was moved by land to Milan, where she resides today in the Museum of Science and Technology "Leonardo da Vinci". Called "pocket submarines" due to their diminutive size, the boats of this class were intended only to operate in the Mediterranean Sea, mostly to patrol the Channel of Sicily and participate in NATO exercises. The boat is 151.6 feet long, has a 15.4 feet beam, and has a draught of 18.7 feet. The two Fiat diesels provided power to the diesel-electric drive that would propel the boat at 14 knots surfaced, or 15 knots submerged. The crew consisted of 4 officers and 22 sailors, and she was armed with four 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Still a fairly recent addition to the IPMS Review Corps suppliers is OKB Grigorov, which started business in 2003 in the European Union. This kit is a simple affair consisting of a hull, six deck empennages for the modernized sub, and a cone for the propeller, all of which are cast in gray resin. The propeller along with a four-piece display stand are photoetched brass. Inside the box, the hull was separately wrapped in a foam sheet, and then it and the other contents were enclosed in bubble wrap.
Construction was quick, as one would expect with the limited number of parts. For 1/700 scale, the propeller looks close to photos I found online of the real one. My one caution is that a modeler will need to be experienced with small parts, otherwise there will be some frustration. I utilized Stynylrez Black for the lower hull and display stand, while Model Master Acryl Gunship Gray was used for the upper hull. I liked the color of the photoetched propeller, so no paint was added to it, but it was sealed, along with the rest of the boat, with Alclad Klear Cote Matte after washes of Tamiya Panel Line Wash Dark Gray.
As far as my hits are concerned, this is a unique offering and the moldings are nice and crisp; the ease of construction make this something that modelers with limited experience with resin can build without too much difficulty. The brass propeller looks convincing and it was easy to set the blade angles to more closely match those used on the real submarine, in addition, the photoetched base is ideal for a boat of this size.
My only real miss for this release is that I would have liked a small decal sheet for the hull markings and perhaps something for the base.
Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add this historic submarine to their 1/700 scale collection. Most modelers will have little difficulty assembling the kit, but will need some experience with small parts.
I would like to thank the folks at OKB Grigorov for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review. I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help him with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.
NOTE: The link to the Nu Nu Upgrade set is http://www.platz-hobby.com/products/8131.html . The price is $30.00
Platz Models has a large and extensive line of plastic model kits: everything from small scale (1/144) aircraft to military ships. They do partner with smaller, niche manufacturers of plastic model kits. That symbiosis provides both Platz and those other kit manufacturers with market access and diversity of product. One of those relationships is with another Japanese manufacturer: Nu Nu Model kits.
Nu Nu Model kits is principally involved with manufacturing modern 1/24th scale racing cars, notably Grand Prix GT3 cars. For those that may be unfamiliar with sports car racing, click this Wikipedia link and you'll have more than enough information to join in any conversation about the sport.
One of Platz/ NuNu Model kits recent offerings is the BMW M6, 2018 Macau GP GT3 Race Winner. This is actually a re-release of a 2017 kit of the BMW M6 that features updated decals and new parts to faithfully reproduce the 2018 Macau race winner. The updated decals provide all the badges (sponsor logos, etc.) and the color panels featured on this car. Additionally, there is a decal for an on-car 'shout out' to long time team principal Charly Lamm.
This is a curbside model and as such has no engine but there is a complete interior with all driver controls, detailed suspension bits, and a nicely molded safety/roll cage. This kit is molded in several colors (white, gray, black, clear bits, and some chrome plated parts) and I suppose you could build this kit without painting.
For the serious car modeler there is a companion up-grade set available, also from Platz /Nu Nu. The up-grade set has a fret of photo-etch that includes disc brake pads, mesh for some air intakes, safety netting for the roll cage, replacement uprights for the rear spoiler, replacement wind shield wipers and blades, and all the bits (buckles, latches, seat belt material) you'll need to fashion a realistic, five point safety harness.
There are also three, small sheets of carbon fiber decals for the lower chassis included with the up-grade set. There are more carbon fiber decals than are called for in the placement instructions so I just went with the obvious ones. Nevertheless, those decals go down nice 'n easy.
All of this may seem daunting to some but the provided instructions are well drawn which makes using this up-grade set simple and easy. The photo etch bits are either direct replacements for the kit part or simply overlay the existing part.
Assemble of the "Beemer" begins with the lower chassis to which are attached the front wheel spindles, brake/rotor assemblies, and portions of the exhaust system. Exercise some caution while assembling the front suspension as those bits are positionable.
Again, as this is a curbside model all you get are the exhaust outlets as opposed the the whole system. A word of caution: the exhaust tips protrude a tad from the car body and might cause some fit issues when you get to mating the car body assembly with the chassis. Might be prudent to leave those exhaust stubs off until after everything is buttoned up?
Rear suspension bits go on next as do the radiator and air outlet assemblies. Assembly graduates to the driver compartment with seat, foot pedals, and a detailed dash panel. This is the area of building where you get to put the roll/safety cage together. The roll/safety cage is quite visible. As such this area, with minor flash, mold seams, and visible ejector pin marks, really should be removed. Nothing horrendous but it will be noticeable if you don't deal with it. It should also be noted that after cleaning all those bits, the cage parts go together easily. I used the roll cage locating holes, located on the driver's compartment (part # B14) as a jig to aid assembly.
The dash and instrument panel assembly gets added to the roll cage before both are attached to the driver's compartment. Don't concern yourself with gluing it (dash panel assembly) as there are pins on either side of the dash panel that fit into slots on the driver compartment side panels. Do concern yourself with attaching the photo etched safety webbing from the upgrade set at this stage. You will need to consult some references (search BMW M6 GT3 interior) to find the proper location for that webbing as the instructions are vague on the subject. I added some spare bits to the ends of that webbing to represent the attachment buckles.
You can elect to replace the seat belt decal with a more realistic version using the upgrade set. That set has all the metal bits and strapping material that you will need. Curiously neither the kit nor the upgrade set provide a separate manufacturer's decal for the safety harness. The 'Sabelt' logo is printed on the decal version of the seat belt so I suppose you could do a bit of surgery and add it that way.
If you are new to after market seat belts, you will need to check references for the attachment points on the chassis for the safety harness. Those attachment points are somewhat intuitive but the assembly instructions are void of that information. I did find a short (5:14) 'How To' video on YouTube that you might helpful if you're new to aftermarket safety belts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3xcOjW-69k .
There are some other driver compartment pieces that may require care when installing; particularly parts # A24/#B6/#B7. Those pieces represent portions of an air intake, cooling system on the prototype. Parts #B6 and #B7 ( connecting flanges) attach to a large pipe that mate up with air inlet detentions on the body of the BMW. The engineering on the kit is such that that isn't a huge problem but it is something to be aware as you assembly your own BMW M6.
The roll cage gets attached to the lower chassis/driver compartment. Additional suspension (shock absorbers, etc.) bits go on next as do the wheel/tire assemblies The tires and wheels are separate parts which will facilitate painting. The vinyl tires are well molded but do have a pronounced taper. That taper doesn't affect the end look but seems to be an engineering 'trick' to aid sliding the tires onto the rims. Decals are provided for the tire labeling (Pirelli). The upgrade set includes fronts for the disc brakes that simply overlay the kit part.
Details (rear view mirrors, antenna, etc.) are the next items added to the car body. This step is more about the window glazing but windshield wiper assemblies are also in the mix. Those wiper blade assemblies can be replaced with some photo etched version courtesy of the upgrade set. I went with a hybrid approach with the wiper blades on my model. I used the plastic wiper arms and replaced the blades with the photo etched version.
Platz/NuNu provides decals for the weather stripping that surrounds the window components, saving you the need to mask and paint some difficult areas. [Fun Fact: The sheet with the weather stripping decals are identified with numbers, the assembly/placement instructions identifies them with letters. :) It isn't impossible (think jigsaw puzzle) to figure out which one goes where, just use the illustration (Step 14) in the instructions to identify the correct position of a particular decal.] But in their defense, the window parts do fit just so.
Before mating the body to the chassis you attach the headlamp/taillight bezels (chrome plated bits) as well as the glass that covers same. Several screens are replicated by cutting a piece of mesh, included with the kit, or you can use the handy metal replacement part from, you guessed it, the upgrade set. I'm beginning to think it would just be foolish to build this kit without it.
There is a feature on the real BMW M6. That is the darkened headlamp bezels. This aspect is faithfully reproduced by the kit manufacture and much appreciated. As with any model, your own expertise will dictate how you go about assembling this kit. I would advise leaving some of the fiddly bits (exhaust tips, wiper blade assemblies, rear spoiler, etc.) off until final assembly and decaling is all said and done.
Having mated the body to the chassis, the last step is placing all the decals on your BMW M6 GP racer. That step is made easier with the placement guide in the assembly instructions. Note that some of the larger color panels need to be placed before adding the smaller logos and such. Don't fret. Platz/ NuNu makes all this perfectly clear on the decal placement guide.
Something that I missed is that a portion of the rear car body needs to be painted black before you begin applying all those decals. It could just be a language problem (remember I don't read or speak Japanese) but that step wasn't that obvious, to me, from the assembly instructions.
It might help you to note that the artwork (decals) follow the panel lines on the car. You might also find it helpful to view the finished model on Platz's website. This will give you a good idea how all the decals work in concert with one another on the car. http://www.platz-hobby.com/products/9617.html
This BMW M6 GP G3 race winner from Platz/Nu Nu Model kits is a grand model. Assembly is not much of a chore. There is more mold line clean-up than what one would expect but nothing that approaches a deal breaker when it comes to getting one of these kits for your very own. Matting the body to the chassis can be fiddly. Begin that process at the rear and bringing the body down toward the front of the car worked best for me. And, maybe leave the tires/wheels off 'til the last.
This model will make a beautiful, colorful addition to your collection. Besides, having the model in your collection will help with imagining yourself in the car as you watch a short, on-board video of Augusto Farfus (a BMW team driver) taking a lap at Macau. Note the circuit map taped to the dash.
I've watched this video clip several times and it's kinda fun to try and figure out where on the course the driver is in relationship to that map. (A copy of the map is included on the decal sheet). Besides watching it is also a good way to pick up some ideas should you wish to add more detail to the driver's compartment. Enjoy!
My thanks to Platz/NuNu and IPMS/USA for the review copy.
Bottom Line Up Front: This most recent addition to the Osprey Men-at-Arms Series does its best to make sense of a confusing subject, to the Japanese civil wars of the 1860s and 1870s period. It is well illustrated and provides rudimentary information that is fairly easy to understand.
- Historical Background
- The Boshin War, 1868-1869
- Intermission, 1869-1877
- The Satsuma Rebellion, 1877
- Japanese Forces, 1840-1868
- Armies of the Boshin War
- Armies of the Satsuma Rebellion
- Select Bibliography
- Plate Commentaries
Japanese Armies 1868-1877 describes the conflict between the fledgling Japanese central government and provincial Samurai clans. It narrates the central governments struggle to create a modern military from the feudal samurai military system and the resistance to this process by the conservative Samurai leaders.
The book provides a basic chronicle of the civil war between the government armies and the provincial armies of the feudal Samurai leaders. The weakest point of the book is the lack of maps illustrating the troop movements throughout the various campaigns. Readers who are unfamiliar with Japanese geography will be at a disadvantage.
The author included an excellent bibliography which contains most of the premier works on this period of Japanese history. There is also a comprehensive index which makes this book a useful research tool.
There is a serious error on page 10 where conservative feudal samurai military leader Saigo Takamori is described as a daimyo, or 'feudal lord'. Takamori was actually heir to a fairly low-ranking samurai in southern Japan.
Japanese Armies 1868-1877 is about the length and depth of a master's-level term paper, so this is not an in-depth work. Still, it is worth the price for someone wanting to take a first look into the period or to brush up and clarify their knowledge.
Many thanks to Osprey for the review copy.
The Sd. Kfz. 251/8 was the ambulance version of the personnel carrier halftrack built by Hanomag. The vehicle was known in the Wehrmacht as the Krankenpanzerwagen, (armored ambulance). It could carry 8 "walking wounded" or 2 stretcher patients and 4 seated casualties.
There are 4 sprues in the box, along with the decals and instructions. No clear parts. I pretty much followed the instructions as far as assembly, starting with the interior and then putting the top and bottom of the main compartment together. I did take a picture of the interior before I did the final assembly, because that's the last time anyone's going to see the driver's compartment, since there are no windows or openings.
I painted the entire vehicle panzer dark gray, including the wheels and the suspension parts. I then painted it with panzer schokobraun in stripes for the camouflage. I then painted the black tires on the track suspension and assembled the suspension parts.
I was very pleased with the fit of all of these parts. The only place I had any fit issue was the rear doors on the "passenger" compartment, which had a small gap. The body and the wheels went together very nicely.
I applied the decals at this time. My experience is that the more small and delicate parts I have on the model when I put on decals, the more I have to reinstall or repair. The decals came off the backing paper nicely, and were tough enough to be moved into position without tearing or folding. I did have a little trouble with the L shaped markings on the rear fenders, as they wanted to fold. But I convinced them to lie flat. Once the decals were dried, I sprayed a coat of Testors Acrylic Flat to reduce the shine from the Future and to protect the decals.
Next it was time to install the tracks. The tracks are "length and link" and do present some interesting moments during assembly. The length sections went onto the wheels quite nicely, and the individual links were put on the drive sprockets, they behaved well. But when it came time to put the links on the rear wheels, they would invariably turn 90 degrees so that the slot which was supposed to fit the next track link would go around the wheel. These were tiny parts, and just getting ahold of them with tweezers and reinstalling them was an exercise in miniature dexterity. I used Testors liquid cement thickened with tube glue to give me a sticky surface to put the track link on, and some time to do the reinstallation.
I installed the finished track sections. They went into position neatly, and I was happy with that. I then installed the front tires and the headlights.
And the model was finished. I am happy with it.
Recommended. This kit has some intricate track parts, but the fit is good and the decals are very good.
Many thanks to MRC and Italeri for the kit, and to IPMS USA for the chance to build something a little different.
Manufactured by the Stoewer Company, as well as BMW and Hanomag since 1936, the light uniform all-road car (leichten gelande Einhets Personen-Kraftwagen) possessed all-wheel drive, independent suspension, and a simplified open body. This particular body, the Kfz.2, was a three-seat communication car with a Torn. Fu.b1 radio set.
The kit consists of 5 styrene sprues, one clear sprue, and a small sheet of decals that represent the four featured schemes in the kit. Construction begins with the chassis, and over the course of the first thirteen assembly steps, you've handled 45 parts. Everything goes together pretty smoothly however.
The next thirteen steps have you assembling the engine and inserting it onto the chassis. It builds into quite a nice little kit all itself. Following that, we move onto the floor of the car, adding the fuel tank, bracket, rear reflector, and fuel tank nozzle. This is then added to the chassis.
Assembly of the wheels follows-- each made up of three parts. Installing them is a bit tricky-- you not only have to put them onto the axle, but also line up a top and bottom slot and this is not so easy to do as you can't see so well to do it and if things aren't installed exactly in place in previous steps, it is tricky. The radiator, firewall, instrument panel, and fiddly bits are next. Extreme care should be taken here-- the handles and pedals and such break very easily. Decals are included for the gauges which is a nice touch.
The side panels get added next and this was very fiddly as there are not the best attachment points to assemble things together. It was a bit of a guessing game. They then have you add the partition for the rear seat and the rear panel. The three part hood fits quite nicely in place over the engine and has great detail. The front seats and fenders are next. The seats lack detail and one of the seat back's inner face had a hard to reach sink mark inside. A three part brush guard and bumper assembly is next, followed by three Kar 95 rifles to be placed in the three crew positions. The gear lever is added here as well, but was snapped in half on the sprue...so I replaced it with wire.
Doors, rear deck, windshield, and steering wheel come next. The windshield sort of lays on top of a groove, so you have to decide if you want it in place or laying down. A four part folded canopy is next and lays nicely on the rear edge of the car. The radio set and cabinet is then added to the deck. A few decals can be added to the dials. My only complaint is that one would think there would be a headset of some sort included in the kit-- it is difficult to use a radio without one. I'll grab a set from the spares to fill in this needed detail as soon as I find one. There are parts for either a long or short rear antenna. After adding all the rear fiddly bits (rear lights, license plate, etc), we add the tools, headlights, side mirror, and other small bits. The wipers ended up flying off into the ether when I tried trimming off the sprue bits...so I laid my windshield down to hide their absence. At this, construction is done.
Painting and Weathering
As mentioned before, there are four schemes in the kit. Three are in Panzer Grey with one based in France and two in Russia, I chose the fourth scheme, a DAK scheme from the Ramcke Brigade based in Libya. I used a Krylon primer gray for the base coat, and then a coat of hairspray. I then sprayed on a custom mix of Tamiya paints for the desert yellow. I then used an old toothbrush with water to wear down to the primer coat where sand may have been kicked up to damage the paint. I didn't use too many decals in this scheme, but what I did use went on smoothly. I finished weathering by applying some oil paint rendering and AMMO washes and pigments.
This was a nice little kit that went together pretty smoothly. I would've liked to have seen some figures, but there are some pretty good sets from Dragon and Master Box that fit the bill. Other than the lack of true attachment points for the cab sides and no headgear for the radio set, I would heartily recommend this kit to anyone looking to add to their German arsenal. I am grateful to ICM and IPMS-USA for the review sample.