Category Archives: 1:72

Escala 1:72

(NEW) TOPOL SS-25 “SICKLE” 1:72 ZVEZDA – 5003 – InBox Review

TOPOL SS-25 “”SICKLE  Russian Ballistic missile launcher.

The RT-2PM Topol (Russian: РТ-2ПМ Тополь (“Poplar”); NATO reporting name SS-25 Sickle; GRAU designation: 15Ж58 (“15Zh58”); other designations: RS-12M Topol)[3] is a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile designed in the Soviet Union and in service with Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces.

The three stage solid propellant RT-2PM Topol is an improved mobile ICBM which replaced earlier outdated missile complexes. It emerged from the same line of development as mobile missiles such as the RT-21 Temp 2S and the RSD-10 Pioneer, and was deployed as a replacement for the widely deployed UR-100. The United States considered developing their own road-mobile ICBM called the Midgetman, but the program was canceled with the end of the Cold War.

Development of the RT-2PM was approved on July 19, 1977 and carried out by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology headed by A. D. Nadiradze. Flight tests were conducted on the Plesetsk test site from February through December 1985. The main problem that had to be overcome during this period was the development of battle management system. After the first test series was successfully conducted in April 1985, with the first regiment with Topol missiles put on alert in July 1985. Throughout this time work continued on improving the battle management system. The test missile firings were finally completed in December 1987. The first regiment of “Topol” missiles employing a modernized mobile command center (in the area of Irkutsk) were put on alert on May 27, 1988. After Nadiradze’s death in 1988 Boris N. Lapygin continued his work on the Topol missile.

A little bit about the box contents and quality.

The box itself is very large. As if 35 scale. Crazy amount of parts for 72 scale (309). Great quality. No burr and sink marks. Detailing is very good. Pleased even the presence of cables, molded integral detail. This will simplify the addition model details. The model has two versions of the assembly in the stowed position and launch.

Very nice wheels. On the photos I tried to show in more detail some interesting details. The only pity is that the box has only container but does not have the rocket missiles. It would be very epic assemble the model at the time of its launch, with clouds of smoke from the wool))))))

As a result, we can say that the model came out great. I hope the company “ZVEZDA”  continue the series of strategic and tactical systems of the Soviet Union: REDUT, ISCANDER…

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Model can be found in Ebay at good prices, take a look here.

 

 

Dragon – 7439 – Long Range Desert Group Patrol Car w/Lewis Gun

Recently I’ve seen a picture of a LRDG Chevy used by the British army in the desert in WWII, and I instantly fell in love with it. I checked the offer in 1/72 scale and found this Dragon kit. _MG_8313-004

Well, what’s inside this box doesn’t provide the quality you would normally expect from a Dragon kit… at least from their golden era. Though there are good parts, the general impression is the kit was done in a hurry.

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The biggest disappointment are the wheels; they are one piece, not like the CAD drawings on the box showing separate tires and wheel rims. All four road wheels look the same, but in reality the bolt circles of the back wheels is noticeably larger. The tire tread is not very deep and a there is an ugly moulding seam, whose removal will further damage the surface. And there is more bad news: all wheels were moulded with a hollow back!

So I’ve searched for a good PE set and Hauler came to my rescue. Besides metal parts, you get two beautiful Lee Enfields, a crate, some cans, a shovel – all in resin.

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Hauler also provides, as a separate upgrading set, four road wheels and two spares, an excellent representation of the real thing. _MG_8318-009

With the Dragon wheels.

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In conclusion, this is rather a mediocre kit compared with Dragon’s own high standard visible in their previous releases. At least an upgrade set for the wheels is a welcome addition.

Model available in our searcher, here.

Something moving in Poland…

Well, as for sure many of you know, this year, 2014, is the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War. Considering his start as September 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, although certainly other events preceding this data advocate Europe and World to war.
Is interesting, to have a brief idea, take a look at this Timeline in the WikiPedia.

But for our today’s proposal, we don’t wish to start any controversial, the Second World War started on 1st September 1939, at 4:45 a.m, is not our scope give any history lesson, so if you are interested on this, for sure you can find thousand of references in Internet, with different points of view about the conflict, facts, numbers, consequences and so.

We wish to talk today about a military genre, poorly covered in our favourite scale, 1/72, during decades, The World War II Polish Army, and overall, the early stages of the Second World War, from the invasion of Poland to the ‘Fall Gelb’.

FTFlogoWe will start talking about “First to Fight”, a commemorative publication raised in Poland, which also issue a related 1/72 scale model with each number, they have the support from IBG for the production and by now 5 numbers have been issued:

First to Fight – 05 – Polish TK3
First to Fight – 04 – SdKfz. 265 Panzerbefehlswagen I Ausf. B
First to Fight – 03 – C2P
First to Fight – 02 – Pz.Kpfw. IA
First to Fight – 01 – Polish TKS Light Tankette

And many more are to come, including an infantry figure set, a topic which previously, was only covered by the infamous Hät set, so we expect a lot of this range.
Their quality is good, although they are “fast kits”, and the models issued to the German Army are also very interesting ones. Another fact about this models, is his very cheap price, which make us wonder by an Italeri (ESCI) mould used for decades is so expensive, or Revell, or the worst case, Airfix.

To show how this models looks like, we specially lithe the excellent work done by Artur Wałachowski. To see more, a contest is spotted in the brand site, here.

First to Fight – 02 – Pz.Kpfw. IA - Painted by Artur Wałachowski
First to Fight – 02 – Pz.Kpfw. IA – Painted by Artur Wałachowski

First to Fight – 01 – Polish TKS - Painted by Artur Wałachowski
First to Fight – 01 – Polish TKS – Painted by Artur Wałachowski

At this point we must cite brands such S-Model, already doing a nice effort for early war subjects.
Previous to this one, only RPM have a decent range for the Polish Army.
To end with the scale models, we wish also to mention ACE, who has released a 37mm Polish AT Gun wz.36 and two early French army topics, 3,5t truck AHN and S.A. Mle 1934 25mm anti-tank gun.
So as you can see, the list is slowly growing , and we want more.

scibor-logoSo, with so many model ahead, more figures are needed !!!, while we wait for the First to Fight’s infantry set, some other are taking care of this gap. Scibor Monsterous Miniatures, a well know manufacturer of fine and impressive 28mm fantasy figures, has started an historic line, in 1/35 but also in 1/72 scale, dedicated, by now, only to cover the Polish Army.
By now they have 4 references (in 1/72 scale):

1×72 Polish Officers 1939 Set #1 72HM0008
1×72 Polish TKS Tankette Crew Set #1 72HM0003
1×72 Polish TKS Tankette Crew Set #2 72HM0005
1×72 PolishCKM Wz 1930 with Crew Set #1 72HM0006

In their immediate plans, Polish infantry 1939 and drivers for Polish Fiat 508 and C2P artillery tractor…

Scibor - Wz 1930
Scibor – Wz 1930
Scibor - Polish Officers
Scibor – Polish Officers

Scibor, we want Stanislaw Sosabowski in 1/72 scale !!! It’s indispensable to play a Bridge Too Far game.

And that’s all for today, we want more of this early war coverage, for our taste, operations during the invasion of Poland, also the ones during the operation Fall Gelb, can be very interesting for games, so more Polish, French, Dutch and Netherlands troops are needed !!!
We will keep an eye on further developments by Scibor, and each issue of First to Fight is added to our listing in the database section.

Zvezda – 5011 – IS-2 – Finished Model

This was my longest built to date. After the initial paint, I waited a couple of days, then applied the first oil wash in darker tones. I sealed it with Vallejo’s flat varnish, then added more oil colors, this time mixed to represent the dusted areas. Another coat of varnish, and then the final grease spots and other small details. For the first time I used Mig Jimenez Abteilung 502 oil colors, and I must say they are great.

The tracks were painted with Vallejo German Camo Black Brown, which is the best color in their range for bare metal. Some oil washes for the dust, then pigments and this is it. The raised surfaces on the tracks, as well as the contact surfaces of the road-wheels were “polished” with AK Dark Steel pigment, a GREAT product, also designed by Mig Jimenez. The shovel and cables were painted separately and added at the very end.

It’s time to work on the diorama!

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1/72 Trumpeter – 07272 – Jagdpanther, Finished model.

Little about history:

The Jagdpanther (German: “hunting panther”) was a tank destroyer built by Nazi Germany during World War II based on the chassis of the Panther tank. It entered service late in the war (1944) and saw service on the Eastern and Western fronts. The Jagdpanther combined the very powerful 8.8 cm PaK 43 cannon of the Tiger II and the characteristically excellent armor and suspension of the Panther chassis, although it suffered from the general poor state of Germany in the later part of the war, which resulted in small production numbers, shortage in spare parts and poor crew training.

About kit:

Models of “trumpeter” always very accurate and of good quality. This model is not exception. Kit is very easy-going, and does not require any modifications. Aside from a small amount of putty.

It is a pity that in 1:72 scale of Trumpeters sets do not have photo-etched parts.I think the bars on the engine compartment would be nice.

About painting: as in my past work, a little later I’ll show all the steps in a histogram. Like we Slavs saying “Better to see once than 100 times to hear” )

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The trumpeter model is available in Ebay through our listings here.

1/72 Trumpeter – 07284 – T-55 with BTU-55 (Iraq), Finished Model

Bulldozer T-55 BTU comes from battle tank T-55 1967 release. It is equipped with a dozer blade for earthworks. The equipment can also be used for stacking and explosion elongated charges with which usually created dividing strips in case of major fires.

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About kit:

It going very simple, like any set of Trumpeter.I did not like rail thin, which I immediately got rid of. Replaced them from stretched sprue. In the box are terrible vinyl tracks. But there was nothing to replace them. Model to be interesting, I added rubber sheets and chain.

There no historical reference. This collective image of many Iraqi tanks.The model was painted with acrylic paint, tinted oil paints and MIG pigments.

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This model can be found through our utility here.
 

Zvezda – 5011 – IS-2 – Base Coat

After the construction, I sprayed the model with Vallejo white acrylic primer (polyurethane), but I ended up with a grainy surface and not much adherence to the model. So I had to remove it and apply a new coat of Tamiya white primer from a can. Is lacquer based and worked better as it leaves a very smooth and hard surface.

After the primer, I covered the whole tank with Vallejo Russian Green and applied a little color modulation on more exposed areas. The white stripes and the turret numbers are hand brushed as it were in reality.

Next, I will apply an yellow oil filter to lighten up the green, and the rest of the weathering techniques. _MG_8042-006 _MG_8045-004 _MG_8046-003 _MG_8047-002 _MG_8048-001 _MG_8043-005

 

1/72 – UM – 322 – SU-12, Work in Progress

SU-12 Soviet self-propelled artillery chassis trucks “Morland” and GAZ-AAA. Armed with short-76.2-mm cannon sample 1927 installed on column book-rests on the installation location of the cargo hold.

The Kit is very simple and neat. Several items was made ​​of tinplate. Replaced some parts that are not too ambitious such holes for viewing slots in the gun’s shield.
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Painting: Base, color modulation, chipping, dark brown and light dusty wash…

This is a small tutorial on the work done.Maybe it will help someone to work on such a small scale.Used only art paints (acrylic and oil), so I can not give numbers of model paints.After the final of this model, I’ll post a similar tutorial.

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More to come soon !!

 

Zvezda – 5011 – IS-2 – Construction Done

First of all, I will say that this is the my favorite WW2 tank: impressive, efficient and “sexy”. It was Soviet Union’s breakthrough after the KV tank family, a predecessor and the starting point of all modern Russian heavy tanks.

After the turret construction I started to work on the upper hull, by removing the original plastic fenders and replacing them with ones made from beer can foils. There is a photo-etched set from Part for the old PST and Italieri kits, but it doesn’t provide the fenders. The advantage of working with thin aluminium foils is that you can easily bend it; my reference pictures showed some very battered tanks, and all of them had bend, broken or missing parts of the fenders.

The joining lines on the nose of the tank are way too sharp and pronounced, so I had to sand it to gave a more rounded appearance. I then brushed and stippled a thin layer of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to obtain a rough casting texture, just like for the turret.

Next were the air intakes and their mesh screens. Zvezda offers a quite acceptable plastic replica, even better looking the the ones from Part’s set, which are nothing but some holes drilled into a brass plate. A Lipton tea bag proved again to be a great substitute, and I will definitely use it in my future builds.

I than added the MasterClub hexagonal bolts, after shaving off the original ones. I’ve described the whole process here. The lifting rings and other few small but time consuming details were next. The gun travel lock came from the Italieri kit, as it has superior details. The towing cables are from Eureka XXL and were a great addition.

One of the most difficult challenge was to make the supports of the side barrels. I used the main supporting ribs from Part (again, shortened with few millimeters), and glued can foil strips on top.

After that I moved to the lower hull, by adding the ammo loading hatch, which was missing. The tracks are very easy to work with, but unfortunately you can’t obtain a proper amount of track sag, or at least I couldn’t. The tracks are not attached permanently, for an easy painting, and I think is better to assemble them by gluing the ends and shave off the mounting lugs. This way you can test the sag and the tracks can easily be removed for painting (for this, the outer half of the road wheels and sprockets shouldn’t be glued permanently).

All in all, this is a good kit, but with a few shortcomings. I could add some more about other details, but I will let the photos speak for themselves. Most important, this kit provides a good foundation for those obsessed with details, like myself.

_MG_7948-001 _MG_7949-002 _MG_7950-003 _MG_7951-004 _MG_7953-006 _MG_7954-007 _MG_7955-008 _MG_7957-010 _MG_7959-012 _MG_7960-013 _MG_7962-015 A photo with the resin base, somewhere on the outskirts of Berlin, spring 1945 🙂_MG_7961-014

UM(MT) – 404 – Т-26Т+ ACE – 72216 – 10,5 cm leFH 18, 1:72

T-26T – the pre-war Soviet tractor.

History.

According to the adopted “Program tank-tractor weapons the Red Army” was assumed on the basis of the production of tractors tanks.. The project is of such a machine , which received the name of ” Fighter “, was made ​​on the basis of the T -19 in 1930 , but mass production did not go, because the preference was given to a similar car on the chassis of the T -26. In the spring of 1932 at KB Voroshilov plant were developed two projects artillery tractors – one with a canvas top , the other with armored. Both projects were launched in the series in 1933.

Most of these machines have been lost in the first weeks of ’41, along with the other equipment of the Red Army. That’s why I decided to make it a tractor of German howitzers.

The model has been refined. Made the right hitch. Did the stairs in front. Thinning fender. And a little bit of different small parts .At the beginning model has been painted in the ” field green”. Then covered with hairspray, and painted in German gray. Next chipped. Assembling the model has not caused problems.

With howitzer was a bit more of a problem with the assembly. Since this ACE. But a little patience, and as usual the set of “ACE” can get something decent. Howitzer is painted in the same color as the tractor. Some color modulation, pigments and toning oil.

Vignette made ​​of plaster. Grass – Sanitary flax. pillar – toothpick.

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OKB Grigorov resin tracks

I received recently two sets of probably the best aftermarket resin tracks currently available. They are produced by OKB Grigorov from Bulgaria and released this year, if I’m correct. I have a Panzer IV Ausf. G from Dragon (1/72) and I wanted a pair of Winterketten under its road-wheels and nothing will do better than this set from OKB Grigorov. I also bough a set of early tracks for Panther, with Zvezda’s Ausf. D on my mind. Details on both these sets are breathtaking; the Panther tracks have hollow guide horns, and, to my knowledge, this was never achieved so far in Braille scale. OKB Grigorov supplies other superb track sets, and I will definitely buy more: Panzer III/IV (also with hollow guide horns), Ostketten, Panther late tracks, T34 etc.

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Panther early tracks (the black ones are from Zvezda):

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The Winterketten:

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More than highly recommended!

Zvezda – 5011 – IS-2 – MasterClub bolts

I wanted to improve the bolts for my IS-2 from Zvezda (1/72), as the ones on the real tank are hexagonal, not round. So I’ve searched the web and came across this Russian company called MasterClub which had exactly what I needed: 0.5 mm hexagonal bolts “on a turn key basis”. I think there is not a single kind of bolts and nuts this company doesn’t supply. For under 10 EUR via eBay (plus transport) I got myself 180 tiny little bolts.

The bag:

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The bolts:

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I made the first attempt on the rear engine access plate. Just drilled the holes and inserted the bolts, and at the end I added a small drop of superglue on the inside face. The original plastic pull rings (which look quite good) were replaced also. Zvezda did a terrific job with those weld seams around the hinges.

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A closeup, to see the hexagonal shape of the bolt.

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I think these bolts really improve the look of a model, especially in larger scales, where you can actually see the difference. Highly recommended!

1/72 PST+Zebrano – 72004 – KV-7 (KV-6 SPG) Stalin’s Leviathan, Finished

A bit of history :

KV -7 ( Object 227 ) – Experimental Soviet heavy self-propelled gun ( SPG ) of the period of the Great Patriotic War.This war machine was developed design office Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant ( CHKZ ) in November 1941 under the leadership of Joseph Yakovlevich Kotin , Chief Designer of Russian heavy tanks and self-propelled guns of the time. In the creation of the KV- 7 also participated LE Sychev ( chief engineer ) , GN Moskvin , weapons designer of the Ural Heavy Machinery Plant ( UZTM ) KN Ilyin and GS Efimov . The car was first built in the Soviet heavy self-propelled guns during World War II. Although adopted the Workers ‘ and Peasants’ Red Army KV-7 has not been taken and the standard was not made, resulting in its development experience has allowed later in a very short time to create a serial SPG in this class.

This set consists of quite old kit PST and additional details from the company Zebrano. Of the additions Zebrano has 3 metal barrel and resin turret.

Set at first glance looks poor, but the assembly does not cause problems. Detailing is not bad, but almost all of the small details come together with one large piece. Casting quality is not bad, but the tracks are made fairly primitive, but better than the Pegasus)).In this work, there is no historical authenticity, because after the unsuccessful tests this tank was dismantled for scrap. But in my work, I gave him a second life to some alternative history. The upper armor plate I had left in the primer color, as is sometimes done in Panzerwaffe 46. Model painted as usual with artistic acrylic Polycolor, MIG pigments, and oils.

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1/72 – UM – 214 – M4A2 with M1 Dozer Blade, FINISHED Model.

A bit of history:

The destruction generated by military operations, and various obstacles deployed by the Axis forces to slow down the progress of the Allied armour led to the need for a dozer tank. The US Army needed an armoured dozer able to clear roads, fill in ditches and bomb craters, clear rubble and move destroyed vehicles blocking roadways. The allied armies used several types of bulldozer, however, these machines were un-armoured and could be used only in zones far away from the frontline.

This is one of my first works in the scale of 72th, after 35th scale of the model I have tried to carry out a full list of all the weathering techniques.

Green came out a little more green than allies, but I did not repaint it all over again. Dozer blade I dyed in three stages.The first struck a subterranean dark red (the color of burnished steel), then the method of hairspray struck green, a little flush green, repeated the same trick with Metallic paint. Model painted as usual with artistic acrylic Polycolor, MIG pigments, and oils.

Assemble this kit was easy. Problems perhaps made ​​only tracks. A little bit of Tamiya putty and the model is ready.

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This is an out production set, but from time to time, some one appear on Ebay, see here.

Zvezda – 5011 – IS-2 – Turret Construction Review

I started the construction of this kit with the intention to build an IS-2 that took part in the battle for Berlin. I plan to place it in a small diorama at the end.

During my research I’ve learned that IS-2 turrets were made by three different factories: UZTM, Hammer & Sickle and Factory no. 200. I opted for a Factory 200 turret, as the tank I want to build seems to have all its trademarks. Among these, some are quite noticeable: low casting seam, smooth commander’s cupola, big numbers on the back – usually one letter and a digit above a group of three digits.

Unfortunately, Zvezda provides a muzzle brake that is too short, so I had to buy an aftermarket one from Aber, which is far from being perfect. I had to rework the muzzle brake, as it lacks all of its casting marks and contours.

The rain guard above gun mantlet lacks the hinged front section so I had to improvise one. I added pistol ports and the caps of the gun trunnions by cutting small styrene discs. I thought the Mk. IV visors were too small so I replaced them with new ones made from scraps.

I added grab handles and textured the surface with Mr. Surfacer 1000. An old Italieri IS-2 provided a nice option for the commander’s cupola hatch, and has some interior details. Though remained closed, I decided to stick with Zvezda’s loader’s hatch, as I think it has very nice details. There are two pairs of bolts on this hatch that must be shaved off and replaced with holes with the same diameter.

The round mobile part of the 7.62 mm DT machine gun was taken from Italieri IS-2, as Zvezda’s seemed a little too flat compared to the real thing. I replaced the barrel with a syringe needle and added few bolts and other small details. The casting numbers are made from brass wire and simply glued into place.

muzzle brake

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Self-propelled 15cm sIG-33/2 auf Jagpanzer 38(t), UM, finished

This self-propelled gun was planned as a replacement for not much successful SPG  “Grille”. Later, as an attempt was made to set the base s.IG.33 light tank destroyer Jagdpanzer 38 (t) «Hetzer”, but according to historian Thomas Yenttsa, documentary evidence of serial production of this model no. Issued SPG Grille fought until the end of the war, now aware of one survivor of this type of car is exhibited at the Museum of Aberdeen Proving Ground U.S. Army.

I made this SPG as field modification. With add-on armor that I do not crumble in camouflage. Camouflage the rest of the armor I picked up from the standard three-color camouflage of Hetzer. Model painted as usual with artistic acrylic Polycolor, MIG pigments, and oils.

This set was fairly easy to assemble, and did not bring problems to fix some of the shortcomings casting.

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This model and all the UM range can be found through our utility here.

12.8 cm Kanone 81(K-81/2), ACE, Finished

12.8 cm Kanone 81(K-81/2) was a German heavy anti-tank gun designed to fight against heavy Soviet tanks like IS-2. The German army had encountered the Russian 122 mm guns and had issued a requirement for a similar weapon. Approximately 50 barrels and breeches were used on existing carriages. The weapon that used the ex-French GPF-T carriage was known as the K 81/1 while the K 81/2 used the ex-Russian A-19/ML-20 carriages with shield and balancing gear removed. the cradle and recoil system were discarded and the 128mm gun was mounted in a ring cradle similar to that used on the 81/1. Another version K 81/2 was also built, in which original Russian equilibrators were retained.

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I would like to start with the quality of this kit. In the tradition of ACE casting quality is not very good, but this set is not worse or better than other sets of ACE. It will take a lot of patience to clear items from the remains of molds. But it will be rewarded with an excellent model in the end. Kit has a lot of details for this scale. The model can be assembled as in marching and firing position. For marching position provides transport trolley.

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Model painted as usual with artistic acrylic Polycolor, MIG pigments, and oils. To make the model look more dramatic I painted the carriage in dark red primer. This is typical of the last months of the war, when the equipment could get to the fight not fully colored, because of the grip of time due to the advancing Allied troops. I didn’t much spoil this model with mud, as it did for urban combat. By using this pigment: light dust and concrete.

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This model can be found through our utility here.

UM – 387 – Self Propelled Gun SU-122P – Finished Model

SU-122P – Soviet experimental self-propelled gun, created on the basis of self-propelled gun SU-100. Not commercially produced.

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The model is going without historical reference. Since I do not like clean and brand-new models, which is why doing this model after many battles. I used only Italian art paint Polycolor, and weathered it with oils and MIG pigments. I made model with some minor modifications, but basically kit is made out of the box.

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This model and the full UM range can be found through our utility here.

1/72 IS-2 Comparison: Zvezda, Italieri and PST

This is my all-time favorite tank and I wanted to build it for a long time; I already had Italieri and PST kits and I was ready for a kitbash. However, when I heard Zvezda will release its own version (a snap fit), and knowing the quality of its earlier releases (T34, Tiger I and Panther Ausf D), I decided to wait. And the wait was worthwhile. This is not a comprehensive review, just a few shots with the main parts (I didn’t removed the flash on any part, just detached it from the sprues).

The boxes:

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The upper hull (Zvezda on the left, Italieri in the middle, and PST on the right). Italieri’s hull is a little bit short, both Zvezda and PST seem to have the right proportions, Zvezda has the nicest details of all:

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Lower hulls (same order). I took an extra shot with Zvezda’s lower hull, looks like Dragon style, with superb details :

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Tracks:

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Road-wheels:

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Wheel drives:

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Gun barrels. I added the metal Aber barrel just for comparison. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think this is Zvezda’s only soft spot: the gun muzzle brake is maybe a little too short.

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The turrets. Italieri is the only one with a very nice cast texture (present on the hull also). All Zvezda hatches are closed (maybe another minus).

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General shots with Zvezda kit sprues. The DSzK 12.7mm machine gun has amazing details, and I think is the best plastic replica in 1/72.

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I think the conclusion is obvious: Zvezda IS-2 is the best on the 1/72 market today.
All the models showed here can be found through our utility in Ebay.

Strelets Normans (M001)

A nice set this one, the style is classic Strelets but the sculpting  is really very good., good proportions and poses,  clear details and vitually no Flash at all. They are made of  slightly hard plastic which always makes removing any Flash much easier and    as always,   I recommend using a razor blade, (which needs cutting to a point to enable you to get in all the small Corners) to remove any Flash.

4 sprues of 12 figs in different poses which makes 48 figures in a box. 4 figures on each sprue have ring Hands to take the weapons (which are attched to the sprue) which means that with a bit of swopping of weapons more variety can be added without any conversion. Simple conversions would be to simply replace some of the attached weapons with spears axes  or swords, which given the Forward facing poses be no problem even for a begginner. Simply remove the attached weapon flush with the Hand, use a needle to create a hole, a larger needle to expand the hole into a ring Hand and add weapon.

Historically, they represent the period well and as the styles of dress,weapons were pretty generic across Europe at the time they can be recruited into a Norman army,and mixed with the HaT El Cid  they create a really good shield wall,

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All twelve poses together ..

Some of the shields have embossed Patterns on them. Normally this would annoy me, I don´t like embossed Patterns on shields, surcoats etc, but in this case they are quite good, especially the Dragon ones. To avoid repeat designs along the shield line the embossed Patterns can be easily removed with a scalpel / razorblade. Two of the shields Need attaching but this is not a Problem, no glue being neccessary as they fit firmly onto the pegs.

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The figures are dressed in  a  range of styles, chainmail, padded surcoats and leather surcoats with studs.

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As I have siad, they  mix very well alongside the El Cid Figures from HaT and if you add a couple of the Strelets Normans on the march figures as commanders you can  create a really good looking shield wall.

This set and all the Strelets range can be found in Ebay trough our utility here.

1/72 – Roden 706 – Sd.Kfz.233 “STUMMEL”

Sd.Kfz.233 “STUMMEL”

During the initial stages of WWII (1939 – 1941) heavy eight-wheeled armored cars of the Sd.Kfz. 231 (8-Rad), Sd.Kfz. 232 (8-Rad) and Sd.Kfz.263 (8-Rad) types were widely used in all the major theaters of war with considerable success. Reconnaissance and support of the front line were still their primary missions, however quite often when fulfilling these missions (especially on the Eastern Front), reconnaissance units met with strong opposition from the enemy, often including artillery. This problem could be resolved only by the introduction of a special support vehicle with a higher caliber armament, teamed up with the reconnaissance units, already equipped with standard Sd.Kfz. 231 (8-Rad), Sd.Kfz.232 (8-Rad), and Sd.Kfz.263 (8-Rad) cars.
As part of the experimentation, in 1942 at the Bussing-NAG plant, the 75mm KwK L/24 gun was mounted on one of the regular Sd.Kfz. 231 (8-Rad). Due to the short length of the barrel, this gun was nicknamed ‘Stumpy’. Though the dimensions of this gun were insignificant, it was still too big for the armored body of the Sd.Kfz. 231 (8-Rad), therefore its design had to be modified. The turret was completely demounted, and most of the equipment unrelated to artillery support was removed. In spite of all these measures, the crew decreased from four to three persons due to the lack of free space inside the armored body.
The vehicle turned out to be very successful, but it was never put into serial production. Relatively small numbers of these vehicles were needed for artillery support; also after continuous military action more and more Sd.Kfz.231 (8-Rad), Sd.Kfz.232 (8-Rad), Sd.Kfz.263 (8-Rad) were being returned to plants in Germany. As a result, the heavy armored artillery support vehicle Sd.Kfz.233 (the name of the new development) was built at the Bussing-NAG plant. Construction was undertaken using parts from its predecessors. However, unlike them, the Sd.Kfz. 233 did not have ‘8-Rad’ in its type name, since the analogous six-wheeled vehicle did not exist.
The Sd.Kfz. 233 proved to be a serious weapon. The major threat for these vehicles came from ground attack aircraft – the big opening on the top of their armored bodies was very vulnerable to bombs or strafing. Despite the small quantity of Sd.Kfz.233 built, they were actively used in every theater of conflict, from 1942 until the final days of the war.

Model is very fine, no burr or sink marks, no curvature on parts.
Some small parts have been done by scratch, as side fasteners, clamps for cans, anterior antennae (from stretched sprue) and canvas.
Acrylic paints, oil weathering and pigments.

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This model can be found in our Ebay searcher utility here.

1/72 – PST – 72059 – KV-220

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The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov and used by the Red Army during World War II. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early part of the war, especially during the first year of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

KV-220 (Object 220) – Was an experimental tank based on KV-1. Longer chassis (7 rollers per side). Armor – 100mm. New 850 hp V-2SN engine with turbocharging. New diamond-shaped turret and 85mm F-30 cannon. One prototype was constructed in 1941. The tank was lost in battle.

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You can fin this model in our utility here.

Cromwell Mk. IV – Revell 1/72

When I heard Revell reissued its Cromwell Mk IV in late 2012, I wanted to build one; this is one of their greatest kits and perhaps one of the best in 1/72 scale, every nut and bolt is in its place. I thought I could use a photo-etched set from Part, but this Cromwell is one of those rare kits so well detailed it makes the PE upgrade almost useless; some kit parts are even better than PE replacement options. The Aber gun barrel though is a nice addition.

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The assembly of the kit is easy enough, but some special attention is required at several construction sequences; dry fitting and good reference photos makes this job a lot easier. For example, I hastily glued the rear hull plate only to find out it was too low. Luckily, only a couple a minutes passed and I was able to undo with minimum damage. I was not the only unfortunate who made this error, as I later discovered. That’s why a good research before every building is a must.

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The tracks are Revell style: link & length type, with few longer sections, very well detailed on both sides. As I’ve learned from other builders of this kit, it is better to switch the top and the bottom sections, as the top section is a little longer and connects better with the other sections under the road-wheels. Cromwell doesn’t have return rollers, so you don’t have to worry about the track sag.

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The turret is nicely done, with the bolted armour plates as separate parts. Only the commander hatch can be left open; I detailed it with eight bolts and the closing mechanism. Other additions were the antenna mount and the searchlight prop from the PE set, and the wirings of the searchlight.  I also drilled both MG barrels and the searchlight to better represent the lenses and added periscope covers.

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In my opinion, the only parts that are a little overscaled and need to be replaced are the front light guards. Just use the plastic part from the kit as template and bend an ordinary brass wire into shape. I also wanted to add the tow cables, as Revell didn’t provide it; at least I could use the plastic eye loops. However, I discovered the Cromwell towing cables were quite complex in reality, and very hard to replicate in 1/72 scale, so I gave up.; I scratched the supporting brackets of the cable, though.

One detail that I spotted on the reference photos and baffled my mind was the supporting arm mounted on the right front fender with a steel rod at its end. I find out it was some kind of an orientation device for the driver. A missing detail from the kit are the little fender headlights; I made them from styrene and added wirings. The side fenders and the running gear are not glued permanently, so I will be able to paint them more easily.

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Revell changed the markings from the old decal sheet. The incorrect white “45” on a red square for the 11th Armoured Division is now replaced by a black “40” over white. I don’t know if this is correct, some modelers pointed out that a white “45” over green/blue is more historically accurate. The other marking is Cromwell Mk.IV of 2nd Squadron, 2nd Battalion, Reconnaissance Regiment of the Welsh Guards Armoured Division, Normandy, France, summer 1944.

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In conclusion, this is an excellent kit, with lots of room for details, but easy to build just “out of the box”. Highly recommended!

Zvezda 1/72 Panther Ausf D

Ever since I build Zvezda’s excellent T-34 snap kit, I’ve been looking forward for their next releases in 1/72 scale: a Panther Ausf D and an IS-2. While the IS-2 launching was postponed several times, the Panther finally arrived in late 2012. Dragon released its own Panther Ausf D in 2012, marketed also as “early”, but it seems it is a mix of early and late Ausf D features. Though Dragon offers a really nice and highly detailed kit, it seems Zvezda’s Panther is a more accurate early D version. And, much more cheaper!

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Inside the box there are two sand coloured sprues with kit parts, a separate black sprue with the tracks, a decal sheet and instructions. IMG_6482-004 IMG_6486-006

All hatches are closed, so I’m sure some modelers will complain, but personally I don’t mind. Instead, I welcome a few really nice touches, as the weld seams, separate OVM tools and tow cables, and very good molded gun so there will be no need for an after-market one.

The track runs are one-piece with grooves molded-in that will help bending the tracks around the idlers and driver wheels. Again, the details on the tracks is very good.

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The kit doesn’t provide the mesh screens for the engine deck, but this can be solved with a photo-etched set.

Decals are well printed and provide two marking options – both from the battle of Kursk.

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Instructions are clear and concise and are offered both in Russian and English.

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In conclusion, this is a very good and accurate kit. It should be recommended also for its highly competitive price. I will probably buy a PE set from Part and with other few minor improvements I’m sure it will turn out into a fine looking model.

Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C – S Model, finished

After the construction of this kit, I continued with painting and weathering. I like the Panzer grey colour, but I find it quite difficult to bring it to life.

The turret doesn’t have decals because the yellow numbers turned green, through a mysterious chemical process, or maybe just because they were too thin. There are also white numbers on the decal sheet, but I finished it without registration.

The weathering was made with oils and Vallejo pigments.

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Though marketed as a quick assembling kit, this Pz II from S-Model turns into a great little tanks, with lots of potential for upgrading.

nº14 – Altaya Panzer – Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger II Ausf. B (Sd.Kfz. 182) Porsche Turret

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger II Ausf. B (Sd.Kfz. 182) Porsche Turret

Pz.Abt 503 Normandie France 1944

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This beast of war was armed with the formidable 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 gun, capable to knock out any allied tank and a thick armor .
The model showed here, with the Porsche turret prototype correspond to the first Tiger II who saw action in Normandie.
Due to problems to manufacture curved bulge on the turret’s left side, this turret was not manufactured in large numbers, around 50 of them were mounted on Henschel hull and saw action so, and did not enter in production phase, which was won by the Henschel factory. Main differences between Porsche and Henschel design were in the hull, transmission, suspension and automotive features.

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The Altaya model show an interesting camouflage pattern and no more, details are not good, specially exhausts, tools in the hull and aerial.

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Subscription Gift – Altaya Panzer – Dragon Wagon

This was a Subscription gift.
It’s strange that in a collection dedicated only to German World War II vehicles both gifts were allied vehicles, but it was so.

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The model came in two parts, both manufactured in plastic, the 6×6 armored tractor (M26) and the 40-ton trailer (M15).

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Average detail level is quite good, in fact it looks quite better than other models in the collection, although the uniform colour contributes to mask some defects.

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This formidable truck were in service till 1955, entering in Europe in 1944. Without the trailer it also was used as recovery vehicle.

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nº21 – Altaya – M20 Armoured Utility Car

6th Cavalry Regiment – Germany 1945.

Technical Details
4 Crew.
1 M2 – 12.7mm
560Km range.

The M20 is a variant of the M8 Greyhound, with the turret replaced with a low armored open-topped superstructure and an anti-aircraft ring mount for a .50-in M2 heavy machine gun. It was used mainly for command purpose and forward reconnaissance tasks.

Ford produced around 3,680 units during years 1943 and 1944.

The Altaya model don’t make a favor tho this nice vehicle, all details are very basic, the MG, the interior detail and so. The rough aerials don’t contribute at all to beautify the model, so this is not the best in the collection.

Maybe after so many Altaya models in our hands we are tired to see same basic detail and problems in all the models. Their good points are just a few, while poor points are a well bunch. Better options for this vehicle are available in the market, they are expensive, it’s true, but the difference in the quality is also very appreciable.

Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C from S-Model PS720001

The announcement of this kit was received with enthusiasm by many modelers in 1/72 scale, as a decent Panzer II was eagerly waited. S-Model delivers a very nice quick-build version, with an excellent moulding quality, but also with few shortcomings.

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The good news is there are in fact two kits in the box, packed in two identical bags.

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And there’s even more: the box includes a small PE fret (exhaust cover and a plate for identification number) and two turned brass gun barrels to replace the plastic ones, which are also very detailed. Besides that, S-Models included two MG34 with tripods (I don’t know why, but a welcomed addition for a diorama).

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I started the construction with the intention to build it out of the box. For those who want to add a few extra details, there are some things to consider: the lifting hooks on the front are missing, there is no horn, and also the towing pintle is missing. The tracks, though very well engineered (they come together as a single piece with the road wheels), are lacking in details as compared to the rest of the kit. There is also a very annoying seam line on the face of the tracks. The hatches on the turret can be represented both opened or closed (there are parts for both options). No interior detail, though. I drilled the headlights and the exhaust, and probably I will add other details later.

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In conclusion, this is a very fine kit, which can be built into a good model with minimum effort, with plenty of details.
Buy this set though our utility saving some money here.