Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

B-25H Mitchell Gunship

Published: November 4th, 2014     
B-25H Mitchell Gunship
Reviewed by: Jim Coatney, IPMS# 46815
Scale: 1/32
Company: H-K Models Co.

This is the third release, by HK Models, of their large-scale B-25, and in my opinion, the most interesting version. The B-25H was armed to the teeth, with fourteen .50 caliber machine guns (eight fixed forward and fired by the pilot) and a 75mm howitzer. The kit comes in a very large top-opening box, with another front-opening box inside. There are twenty-nine individually-packaged sprues, with a total of 563 parts. Slide molding is used to add nice details, like hollow barrels on the MGs and rifling on the 75mm gun.

Molding is very crisp, with good detail and little flash. However, mold lines are prominent on most parts, meaning a lot of cleanup is required. The box boasts over 500,000 rivets are molded into the model. Most of the rivets look very good, but along the top and bottom of the fuselage, they are shallow and elongated- likely due to limitations of the molds. The clear parts are crystal clear, although sprue attachment points are large.

F-101A/C Voodoo

Published: October 31st, 2014     
F-101A/C Voodoo
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Scale: 1/48
Company: Kitty Hawk

If you are like me, natural metal aircraft give you the shakes. But they are so awesome looking and the color schemes are fantastic, so when the KittyHawk Model F-101 came out, I could not resist. Let say a few things up front. If you are looking for review saying things are silly or ridiculous with the kit or how the third minor inlet was left off, you might want to go elsewhere. I am not going to use childish language in a review of the kit. On the other hand, if you want to find out how it fits, how to correct some issues, and how to get some paint on the plane, let’s dive in together.

KittyHawk’s kit comes on seven light-gray styrene sprues which have great surface detail, however, there are large sprue gates, and the plastic is fairly soft. In the box there are also kit decals, a photoetch seat, and a clear sprue. Looking at the parts breakdown, more variants are definitely coming. There are also several options for the modeler:

M6A1 Heavy Tank

Published: October 31st, 2014     
M6A1 Heavy Tank
Reviewed by: Eric Christianson, IPMS# 42218
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

The M6

The M6 Heavy Tank was designed and produced in small numbers during World War II, but never saw combat. By 1942, three prototypes were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The prototypes differed by power plant, transmission and hull assembly method - one had welded hull and two cast hull.

However by the time the M6 was ready for production, the Armored Corps had lost interest in the project. The advantages the M6 offered over medium tanks were offset partly by the shortcomings of the design. By the end of 1942, the Armored Corps were sure that the new M4 Sherman gave adequate solution for the present and the near future.

On 14 December 1944 the M6 was declared obsolete. Only forty units were produced and they never left US soil. Several toured the United States for propaganda purposes, where they gave performance displays (such as car crushing) at War Bond drives and the like. All were eventually scrapped except for a single T1E1 which is on display at the United States Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen, Maryland.

Pz.Bef.Wg.III Ausf.J w/Schurzen

Published: October 31st, 2014     
Pz.Bef.Wg.III Ausf.J w/Schurzen
Reviewed by: Eric Christianson, IPMS# 42218
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

Dragon Models offers a complete lineup of the Pz.Kpfw. III family tree in 1/35 scale, including several kits released in this past year alone. The subject of this review is the Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf J from their Smart Kit series. Pz.Bef.Wg., short for Panzerbefehlswagen, identifies the vehicle as a specialized command tank, containing long range radios.

The Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf J

The Panzer III was a medium-class tank that, at the outbreak of WWII, was designed to be the primary platform of the all-conquering panzer divisions. With the advent of more heavily armored and up-gunned enemy tanks, the role of the Panzer III became secondary to that of the Panzer IV, and its production finally ceased in 1943.

A number of specialized command tanks containing long-range radios were created based on standard gun tanks, such as the Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf J. As its name denotes, it was based on the Ausf J chassis, of which 2,616 were built by German factories from March 1941 to July 1942.

Ed 'Big Daddy" Roth '57 Chevy Bel Air

Published: October 31st, 2014     
Ed 'Big Daddy" Roth '57 Chevy Bel Air
Reviewed by: Bill O’Malley, IPMS# 46473
Scale: 1/25
Company: Revell, Inc.

This is a tough kit to assemble. Not that it's difficult, but the parts are rough, fit loose, and require a lot of cleanup of flash and ejection pins. Several of the parts have a copyright date of 1973 and the years have not been nice to this kit. The kit has some interesting detail, particularly on the engine and its internal compliments, but the molding has lost a lot of detail. There’s lots of flash to clean up and some of the ejection pins are almost big enough to have their own part number. The part fit is loose and difficult to align correctly.

The kit has options for three different versions: street, Roth, and a drag version. Kit includes choice of three different engine intakes and has opening doors and trunk lid.

From Revell’s website:

Sopwith Camel F.1 “First World War Centenary”

Published: October 30th, 2014     
Sopwith Camel F.1 “First World War Centenary”
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/32
Company: Academy

Many moons ago, long before Roden or Wingnuts, Hobbycraft made the first generally available, inexpensive plastic kit of a World War 1 aircraft in 1/32 scale. As an avid large scale aircraft enthusiast, I was thrilled to see the Sopwith Camel model hit the shelves and was delighted by the Nieuport 17 and Spad XIII that followed. Unfortunately, they didn’t pursue this line very far, ultimately releasing a Fokker Triplane that proved virtually unbuildable. Since then, of course, other companies have jumped on this bandwagon and done very well, although the prices asked have more often than not deterred me from adding their offerings to my collection.

While I was thrilled to see the initial release of the Hobbycraft Sopwith Camel, it was not without its flaws. It featured grossly exaggerated ribs on the wings and tail, oversized rigging loops as part of the struts, an oddly shaped tail skid, and for some reason, machine guns designed to be mounted upside down! Very strange. Nonetheless, it was the only product of its type on the market, and with a little TLC could be made into a very passable likeness of this spunky aircraft.

U-Boat Aces – Limited Edition

Published: October 30th, 2014     
U-Boat Aces – Limited Edition
Reviewed by: Dave and Camden Koukol, IPMS# 48287
Scale: 1/700
Company: Hasegawa

Background

Characterized as the longest naval battle in history by British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, The Battle of the Atlantic was conducted from the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 through the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Crucial to the survival of Great Britain was the island nation’s ability to receive military and general material aid from North America via the sea lanes of the Atlantic Ocean.  To disrupt and ultimately destroy this sea bridge, the German navy engaged in a ruthless and relentless campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant and military shipping carrying aid to the British Isles.  Two of the most effective and prominent German unterseeboot (U-Boat) designs of the period were the Type VIIC and Type IXC boats, both providing extremely lethal and efficient fighting platforms for many of Nazi Germany’s celebrated “U-Boat Aces.”

Half Moon Sailing Ship

Published: October 27th, 2014     
Half Moon Sailing Ship
Reviewed by: Dave Koukol, IPMS# 46287
Scale: 1/170
Company: Lindberg/Round 2

Background

The Half Moon, captained by Englishman Henry Hudson under commission to the Dutch Republic, was charged with covertly finding a westerly passage to China in the early 1600s. In 1609, Half Moon sailed into what is now New York Harbor and later sailed and explored the mid-Atlantic region as far south as the Chesapeake Bay.

The Kit

Originally released by Pyro in the 1960s, Half Moon later found her way into the Lindberg Line portfolio, and finally into Round 2 Models’ fold in 2014 (still bearing the Lindberg brand). Comprised of 22 parts molded in white styrene on hefty sprue trees, instructions, and full color decals, this classic kit has weathered its 50-year life surprisingly well. Conspicuously absent, however, are ratlines and rigging diagrams. Although detail is coarse by modern standards, the basics are present for a decent beginner or nostalgia build.

MiG-21R

Published: October 25th, 2014     
MiG-21R
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard

Background

In December 1979 armed forces of the former United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), entered the country of Afghanistan under the auspices of a treaty signed with the newly formed Afghan government. The Soviets goal was to provide support and stability for the new regime. After establishing themselves in the major cities, the campaign became a reactive back and forth with the Afghan rebels known as the Mujahedeen. Before 1986 air superiority was assured as the Hind 24s and Su 25s could survive anything the rebels could shoot at them. In 1986 the U.S. indirectly provided the “freedom fighters”’ with stinger missiles. With aircraft loses averaging one per day, the USSR would eventually pull out of the conflict and demobilize. The 263rd Independent Reconnaissance Squadron was one of the units that mobilized in country early in the conflict. Stationed both at Bagram and Kabul was the Mig 21R, white 24, depicted in this kit.

German Military Bicycle, WWII era

Published: October 25th, 2014     
German Military Bicycle, WWII era
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead, IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/35
Company: Master Box

If you are looking to add something unique to your collection of 1/35 scale German military vehicles, or to spice up your next diorama, you may want to consider the bicycle that was recently released by Master Box Limited.  Although it is a challenging build, those modelers with photo etch parts experience will be able to turn out one of the implements used by the German Army throughout World War 2 that does not get a lot of press. 

As the onset of WWII approached, most nations were putting the simple bicycle to use as a means of faster transportation for troops and messengers that did not rely on anything but the power of the rider.  In researching my build, I found a multitude of online photographs of bicycles in numerous settings, and carrying various loads.  As part of the German “blitzkrieg” offense, bicycles provided a convenient way to move troops without the expense of using motorized vehicles.  Although there were variants purposely built for the use of the Army, there were also civilian variants that were put to use to provide even more bicycles when manufacturers could not keep up with the demand.

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