(For all those, who won’t read till the end – you can see more photos here)
Ajax was yesterday a place to be for all the modellers from far and wide. Ajax was again the home of the Annual model contest and of course I couldn’t miss this occasion. The popularity of this event is consistently high and this year wasn’t an exception. Yesterday’s attendance might have been boosted by the poor weather which could have eliminated other weekend plans of the modellers…
I tend to be critical about the presented models at the model shows, but this time I must admit that there were quite a few nice (and some more than nice) armour models out there. I didn’t have much time to check out pieces on display in non-armour categories, but from what I have seen in aircraft section, the quality seemed also very high.
Another announcement that I might have missed before is BMP-1 from Trumpeter. Yesterday I have checked the sprue shots released on the company’s website (see here). I am much more enthusiastic about this release than the previous BMP-3 kits that Trumpeter brought us recently. I never really got to understand why did they choose this particular one from all the available versions as the first to bring to market. BMP-3 is relatively new and has not seen much of action. As far as I have heard it isn’t selling particularly well.
On the other hand, the operational life of BMP-1 and BMP-2 variants is much longer and varied. Both vehicles, apart from being used by most of the countries of the former Warsaw pact, were extensively used in Yom Kippur war and the Soviet War in Afghanistan. Number of modifications, markings and camouflage schemes is innumerable. Not talking about the weathering potential…
As mentioned in my previous post, the last kit I got on Sunday is the Dragon’s Tiger I Mid Command Version, Winter 1943 production. Quite a long name, but given the number of Tiger variants I guess there is no other way to differentiate between all of them.
Now, I don’t consider myself a “Tigeroholic”, at least I haven’t built any Tiger so far. Nevertheless, when I counted the number of Tiger kits in my stash I came to number 5, meaning I might be exhibiting some early symptoms. I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on Tiger tanks, proof of which is the fact, that I have picked up this kit in a mistaken belief that it could be built without the need to add coat of zimmerit. After a short investigation on the internet I found out that this might be actually one of the first versions of Tiger I with zimmerit. A short study of the different versions and their representation in 1/35 scale reveals that while dragon has already produced quite a few versions of Tiger I, most of these are variations on the late version of this tank, all of them with zimmerit coat. There is Dragon’s Initial version, but this is simply too early version. Anybody looking to build the Tiger from the period between Kursk battle and end of 1943, is limited to the old Tamiya kit.
Another surprise announcement not that long time ago is really one of my favourites. You must admit that tank with two turrets is really cool…(of course unless you are sitting in it and trying to fight off Panzer IV). I personally like the box-art Hobby Boss has used for this kit.
Surface details are nice and molding, though not at a level of Dragon yet, is very fine too. I notice some delicate parts (handles) which were really nicely molded. The parts count is not that high, so the build could be quite a quick one. There are two photoetch sheets offered, so you might also avoid needing aftermarket sets.
Yesterday I have paid visit to Dave’s Hornet Hobbies store again. I must say that every time I visit that place I feel like a kid in the candy store. This time I picked up 3 kits that I brought home and of course I have spent some time inspecting them yesterday – Dragon’s Panzer IV/70 (A), Tiger I Mid version (Winter 143 Production) Command Vehicle by the same producer and T-26 by Hobby Boss. In the next few posts I will try to summarize my impression from these kits, starting with the Panzer IV/70 (A) aka Jagdpanzer.
Open bottle of champagne and sound some fanfare… This kit was announced almost 2 years ago and then it mysteriously disappeared from the news feed from Dragon for long time. Not sure what has happened, I really needed that kit about a year ago, but finally I had to use the L70/(V) version instead (Tristar has released their version of the vehicle in the meantime but as much as I had high expectations of it, I was deeply disappointed with the quality).
It almost seemed this summer is going to be quite time as far as the news from the armour kit producers are concerned and that I might actually have some time to finish my started builds. In the last few days (or rather weeks by now) however, quite a few interesting pieces were announced that I am definitely looking to get.This was mostly thanks to Bronco, bu some new name seem to be popping up on the market as well.
Bronco came out with quite a flurry of new releases of which following three are the most exciting for me:
North Africa seem to be ever popular theatre of operations and the Sd. Kfz. 233 as well as Humber Mk. II are more than welcome additions that have been missing on the market. Panzerjaeger II is also neat looking vehicle with very attractive camo scheme shown on the box art.
All the fans of the Canadian armour must have been pleased by the announcement by a new name among the plastic kit producers – Mirror models. They have announce series of vehicles based on the C15 chassis:
Mirror models already release some sprue shots, which are very promising.
Hobby Boss promised us already some time ago two additions to the family of Russian armour:
T-26 is quite interesting one, it came as a nice surprise and I guess there is not many of us who know a lot about this tank.Twin-turret version of T-26 is definitely most welcome. I hope HB will follow with the polish 7TP version soon, as this sports much more interesting camo schemes.
Let’s just hope that these releases will come soon, not like Dragon’s Panzer IV/L70 (A) which was promised last February and I am still waiting for it or AFV’s Dorchester that was supposed to come this June…
World of the web seems to be full of inspiration for a modeller these days (what the heck did we do without internet…?). It may sometimes take time to find something interesting in the flood of information (among all the offers for cheap Viagra), but some of the finds I have made recently are definitely worth being put into the favorites group:
Very nice blog of a fellow modeller from Voronezh. Even if you don’t speak russki, it is worth seeing. The JSU-122 featuring on the home page is definitely an inspiration for my JSU-122S in progress:
If you are into dioramas, than you will definitely love this site. I have actually found this modeller on the facebook. The quality of Nico’s ground & building painting & weathering is in my opinion second to none and there are actually some very useful videos of the techniques used:
French armour is somehow black sheep of today’s world of armour modelling, but if you are looking for some French tanks, here you can find some excellent ones. I simply love Emilien’s Renault D1…and there’s more:
This week I have paid visit to my favourite local hobby store – Hornet Hobbies and finally brought home Meng’s new kit. Being in the process of building Merkava IV by Hobby Boss I decided to try Meng’s kit. Since its release it has been earnings praise all over the web so I wanted to see what the quality really is.
Having a chance to inspect the kit I must say that the first impression is very favourable. The level of detail is high as well as overall quality of moulding. One particular piece over which I have previously voiced my concern was the ball & chain armour at the rear of the turret. Meng provided this moulded in plastic which did not sound very promising. After seeing this part I must however admit that the moulding is extremely well done and will not necessarily require replacement. The only tricky part will be removal of these pars from the sprue as each individual chain & ball has sprue attachment point at its end.
Also as mentioned before, no photoetch is provided as part of the kit, the need for any such part is to be seen. Given the popularity of this kit I believe aftermarket won’t let us wait too long for them.
One particular area, where this kit really stands out in my opinion is quality of instructions. Not only that there is no garbled english translation, Meng has really paid attention to this part, so often overlooked by other producers.
I was personally impressed by the fact that Meng has provided more that just a series of pictures on how to assemble the kit. At the beginning few words from Michael Mass on the birth of this model as well as about the Merkava III tank itself made me feel that Meng does not consider instructions a kit part best suited to cut costs. Instructions itself are well laid out and clear. Colour templates outlining markings and painting also add a nice touch. Unfortunately, one thing I would welcome is the color reference guide for Tamiya paints. For some reason no producer (apart from Tamiya itself) provides this.
Overall I am looking forward to build this kit, there’s already plenty of builds under way on the web, so this should help to address any issues, though it seems there won’t be many of those.
When starting this kit I have planned to stick to what is in the box as it seemed there should be enough to build a nice kit with it. Now, as is usually the case, the deeper I get into the construction phase, the more I realize that this or that part should better be replaced with some aftermarket alternative as it really does not meet my standards.
Just a few in-progress pictures from the Merkava IV build. Construction is going bit slow as I am still finishing weathering on other kits and there is a lot of cleaning to be done on this one. At the same time I am deciding which parts of the photoetch set I am going to use and planning the order of construction accordingly.
Having been inspired by the upcoming releases I decided to start working on the Merkava IV from Hobby Boss while finishing the Ka-Mi (I am in the weathering stage which is sometimes rather lengthy).
I am quite a fan of IDF vehicles (for those who haven’t noticed from my collection of finished models) and Merkava IV was sitting on my shelf since it’s been released.
This kit “enjoyed” its share of negative publicity which affected its sales. The problem with the suspension arms positioning being the most prominent one, there are solutions how this can be fixed, these however require major surgery of the kit parts (lower hull and lower hull armour plate). Somehow I was not keen on getting into this and wanted to build the kit not straight out of the box, but without a lot of converting and scratchbuilding. I decided to get Eduard’s photoetch set for this kit, but as usual will be selective in terms of which parts of it will be used.