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German Main Battle Tank Leopard 1A3/A4

Published: March 9th, 2014     
German Main Battle Tank Leopard 1A3/A4
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Scale: 1/35
Company: Meng Models

We have not had a new kit of the Leopard 1 series of tanks in decades, so it was good to see the up and coming firm of Meng Models taking on the task of giving the modeler a state of the art kit to add to their collection of late 20th century MBT’s.  So how did they do??

The modeler should first start the build process by carefully reading the instructions in order to familiarize themselves with the four different options available in this kit.  Each color and marking option has appropriate alternative parts including different drive sprockets, rear upper hull engine deck options, and main gun sighting options.  So check these options out, and mark your instructions accordingly so as to avoid any possibility of a mix up during construction.

French FT-17 Light Tank (Cast Turret)

Published: March 8th, 2014     
French FT-17 Light Tank (Cast Turret)
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Scale: 1/35
Company: Meng Models

The 100th Anniversary of the tank going into combat takes place in September 2016, and as this anniversary draws closer I have become fascinated with these first creaking, clattering vehicles of death; part of the first modern industrial war in history.  And while the British Army’s rhomboid shaped monsters that took part in that engagement at Flers-Courcelette during the Battle of the Somme were the first tanks to see service, the diminutive French FT-17 can legitimately lay claim to be the great grandfather of the modern tank: the first fully tracked armored vehicle with a rotating turret.  And as luck would have it, Meng Models have produced a simply magnificent model kit of this seminal vehicle.  Not only is this model exquisitely detailed, it is fully detailed, as it comes with a very complete interior.

What’s In The Box

Firstly, let me say what a lovely box Meng has packaged this kit in!  Extremely sturdy, in order to protect the parts within, with a lovely full color painting of the FT-17 on the box top, done in a satin finish.

U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot with Ejection Seat for F-8E/H/J/K Crusader

Published: March 8th, 2014     
U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot with Ejection Seat for F-8E/H/J/K Crusader
Reviewed by: Bill Kluge, IPMS# 4589
Scale: 1/48
Company: Aerobonus

Aerobonus continues to expand its range of pilot/ejection seat combos with this Crusader pilot seated in his Martin Baker Mk7 seat. The arms and head are separate attachments, allowing for some variation with the positioning of each attachment. The detailing of the g-suit and survival vest easily defines these garments as separate from the flight suits. All the belts, straps and buckles are minutely detailed. The separate arms and head allows you to more easily position them after the seats are installed in the cockpit, so that they’re not interfering with the fit, and more realistically seated in the cockpit.

The only omission is that there’s no oxygen mask included. If one is needed, an option would be to use the head from the kit’s pilot, with its visor down and the mask strapped to the pilot’s face. The drawback is that the kit pilot’s head is larger, so some reshaping, especially in the back, will have to be done. Or, you could trim the helmet away from the mask if you wish to attach the mask to the vest. Test fitting the seat into the kit’s cockpit indicated a snug fit, so some light trimming will insure a good match.

F4F Wildcat Pitot Tubes

Published: March 7th, 2014     
F4F Wildcat Pitot Tubes
Reviewed by: David Wrinkle, IPMS# 45869
Scale: 1/48
Company: Quickboost

Upfront, I want to thank Aires and Quickboost for providing these fine aftermarket bits for our beloved models and to the IPMS USA a big thank you for allowing me to review this Quickboost product.

Admittedly I am proud of the fact I love the stubby World War II fighter.  The Rita, Buffalo and certainly the Grumman Wildcat.   I have several in my stash including the Hobby Boss and Tamiya 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcats kits.

I snagged the Quickboost pitots for the Wildcat before even looking closely at the pitot tubes. Both kits are F4F-4’s and thus use the stubby angled pitot tube mounted near the port wingtip.  No problem here, Quickboost provides both the angled pitot found on the F4F-4 as well as the longer straight version found on the F4F-3’s.  Just a quick look at the comparison photos you will see the resin replacement parts are much less bulky and more defined than the stock parts. Unfortunately I don’t have a F4F-3 to compare the longer style pitot.

Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero

Published: March 7th, 2014     
Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero
Reviewed by: Andrew Fuller, IPMS# 49099
Scale: 1/48
Company: Revell, Inc.

Manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the A6M5 Zero was a long range fighter aircraft flown by the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service. Its first flight was on April 1st 1939 and entered service on July 1st 1940. More than ten thousand Zero aircraft were built.

Revell brings us another easy and fun to build kit. Being a skill level 2 kit, detail is a bit sparse in the cockpit department.  It consists of only a pilot figure and a decaled instrument panel.  Regardless, of the lean detail, this is a great little kit. The Zero is moulded in grey, and panel lines and detair are raised.

The kit went together nicely, and the fit of all parts were very precise. Other than some very minor "flash"on a few of the parts, the only predicament I encountered were the 4 small locating tabs on the bottom of the canopy.  These locating tabes had to be removed to ensure the canopy had a flush fit with the fuselage.

The decals are crisp and bright, and were applied using decal setting solution to achieve a painted on look, even with the raised rivet and panel line details.

Gloster Meteor MK 4

Published: March 7th, 2014     
Gloster Meteor MK 4
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/32
Company: H-K Models Co.

Mr. Neil Yan and the wonderful folks at HK Models deserve tremendous thanks for providing this review kit.  I appreciate their work to bring new and unusual subjects to the scale modeling community.  The IPMS/USA Reviewer Corps also deserves thanks for giving me the kit to review.  I am only one member of a large staff in the Reviewer Corps, and I appreciate all the tireless team and individual work that goes into getting the material out to be reviewed and the finished write-ups published.

The Meteor appeared late in WW2 as a counter to the V-1 threat to England.  It was the first operational Allied jet fighter, operated primarily by the RAF throughout its history.  The design of the Meteor might seem primitive by today’s standards, but it truly was groundbreaking at the time.  Many versions of the Meteor were developed, including stints as turboprop and ejection-seat test beds.  HK Models chose the MK 4 version for their new kit.

Japan Ground Self Defense Force 3-1/2 ton Fuel Tank Vehicle

Published: March 7th, 2014     
Japan Ground Self Defense Force 3-1/2 ton Fuel Tank Vehicle
Reviewed by: Marc Blackburn, IPMS# 42892
Scale: 1/72
Company: Aoshima

Aoshima has released a number of vehicles of Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), including this little gem. I don’t know anything about the ground equipment of the JGSDF, but this is what’s included as a description, “JGSDF 31/2 ton Fuel truck is mainly assigned to Logistic Support Regiment, utilized for fuel supply to tanks, armored vehicles, and other various vehicles in the field. It has “Ki” (danger) marking just like civilian vehicles.” This is one of a series of service vehicles in the JGSF that Aoshima offers in 1/72 scale.

French Char 2C Super Heavy Tank

Published: March 5th, 2014     
French Char 2C Super Heavy Tank
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Scale: 1/35
Company: Meng Models

Following on from their superb yet diminutive FT-17 WW1 French tank, Meng Models of China provides the modeling public with a colossus of a tank model, the French Char 2C.  Like the FT-17, the Char 2C was born during the years of battle in World War One, but came too late in the piece to see combat.  Before the prototype was even completed, an order was placed for 300 of these gargantuan beasts, but due to the war coming to an end, this order was subsequently cancelled, and only 10 Char 2C’s were eventually delivered in 1921, becoming the largest tank ever to enter service in any of the world’s armies.  The 10 vehicles went on to become mainly propaganda vehicles, “staring” in various cinematic productions to show the strength of the French military machine.  Each of the ten tanks was named after the ancient regions of France: Poitou, Provence, Picardie, Alsace, Bretagne, Touraine, Anjou, Normandie, Berry and Champagne.  Normandie was renamed Lorraine in 1939.  And while to the French public these tanks gained a reputation as super tanks, land battleships in fact, the French military knew different, and they were never put into battle.  Rather

F6F-5 Hellcat Weekend Edition

Published: March 5th, 2014     
F6F-5 Hellcat Weekend Edition
Reviewed by: Steve Collins, IPMS# 33811
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard

Everybody probably knows that Eduard has a series of Hellcats available in 1/72. Everyone probably also knows that one of their competitors has released a similar series. The question arises as to which kit is better. In my opinion, the answer is a qualified neither. Both kits have strengths and weaknesses. I’ll be discussing those of the Eduard kit.

Messerschmitt Me 410

Published: March 5th, 2014     
Messerschmitt Me 410
Author: Robert Peczkowski
Reviewed by: Paul Mahoney, IPMS# 8943
Company: MMP Books

With the recent releases (and re-releases) of a few Me 410 kits, MMP’s book on the aircraft is quite timely.

The first 10 (out of 120) pages of this book describe the rather convoluted developmental history of the Messerschmitt Me 410, actually starting with the Me 210.  The blurred lines between what constitutes a late Me 210 and an early Me 410 are well described.  In fact, as the lineage is so confusing, MMP provides a good flowchart to clear it all up.  At the end of this section are a brief few paragraphs describing the remaining two surviving examples of the aircraft (photos of these appear later).