Today I have picked up the package from SKP (it took only a week to have it shipped from Czech republic to Canada) and was eager to see how the content will measure against the expectations.
I haven’t before seen or built any of the SKP kits and was quite curious what the quality of this kit will be. I have only opened and inspected the content so far, so this is definitely not a review, rather a summary of first impressions.
When opening the box there is few things one will notice. There are only 3 sprues with plastic parts, but quite a number of other pieces – large photoetch fret, four bags of resin parts, another small color photoetch fret for lenses.
Casting and detail of the plastic parts is very nice and reminds me of the sharpness of resin castings. The kit does not include any interior, which may prove to be a handicap when compared to the recently announced AFV kit, which (judging from the available information) should provide interior as well. Saying this, one would assume that the kit will be an easy build with very limited number of parts – at the end, Dorchester is basically a box on wheels. This is however not true with this kit. Having a look at all the goodies – photoetch and resin parts (this is truly a multimedia kit), and having even brief look at the instructions makes it clear, that there is quite a bit of detail provided for the exterior of the vehicle.
At first sight I was afraid that the styrene used by SKP will be rather stiff, it really looks and feels like resin. I tried to cut one part from the sprue and I think the styrene is similar to other producer (may be a bit harder than the one I am used to with Dragon kits) and should be OK. The main vehicle body parts are rather thick, but since no interior is provided this should not be a problem. Windows and doors are moulded as part of the body of the vehicle, and having them opened might get bit difficult. Sprue attachment points are also bit thicker compared to other producers, but I haven’t noticed any that would cause noticeable problems.
The wheels are very nice and crisp and are surprisingly wide give its diameter (I think this adds to the unusual shape and proportions of the vehicle). Other parts provided in resin include hinges for the doors, bolts, parts for the transmission as well as retractable sun shades and its frame.
Photoetch frame is really large with number of details and looks to be very finely done.
Markings provided are for 4 vehicles as was apparent from the already released pictures.
Decals are very well done – I dare to say one of the best I have seen in term of the level of detail. There is very nice marking for the Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade, though my choice will be the one of the 2nd Armoured Division in Libya 1941.
Overall I am very pleased with the kit. However, I am afraid that the kit will be overlooked given that AFV, being more established brand, announced the same kit shortly after SKP and might thus attract more fans. This will be rather unfortunate, because the kit is very nice with sharp and crisp details, lot of photoetch and resin parts and attractive camo and marking options.
Given that assembly of the main body is rather straightforward, I will try to start a quick build over the next days to see how the kit measures in terms of fit of parts. I am not an expert on technical accuracy, so if you are looking for information on how the kit measures against the actual vehicle, I am not the person to say.
I apologize, the quality of the photos is not great, but my photography skills are limited. Anyhow, enjoy…