Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

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.

Deperdussin 1911

Published: October 23rd, 2014     
Deperdussin 1911
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/48
Company: Round 2 Models

Background

Armand Deperdussin made a living as a silk broker but with the help of his technical advisor and designer Louis Bechereau, he built a number of interesting aircraft including the subject of this kit. The 1911 Deperdussin shared some similarities with its contempories such as a monoplane layout with conventional control surfaces except for wing warping in lieu of ailerons, its very shallow fuselage section characterized the Deperdussin. The pilot looked more like he was sitting on top of the aircraft then in it. This particular example was powered by a 50 HP Gnome Omega rotary engine.  The really cool thing about this aircraft is that a real example survives in the Shuttleworth collection in England and numerous utube videos show it in flight.

Russian ZiS-30 Self-Propelled Anti-tank Gun

Published: October 22nd, 2014     
Russian ZiS-30 Self-Propelled Anti-tank Gun
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35
Company: Mirror Models Ltd.

This is a new one to me; a Russian subject produced by an Irish company and manufactured by a Chinese company.  Corporate politics are beyond me.

In any case, what we’re dealing with here is a conversion of the ubiquitous and trusty little World War 2 Komsomolets artillery tractor into a tank hunter, mounting a hugely oversize 57mm gun.  Apparently only about 100 of these were made and used in the defense of Moscow.  I’ve always been a big fan of little tanks, and this one certainly fits the bill.  Never having made a model from Mirror Models, I was interested in the challenge and wanted to see what this was made of. 

Luftwaffe JG73 Operation Sniper 2003, Mig-29-12

Published: October 21st, 2014     
Luftwaffe JG73 Operation Sniper 2003, Mig-29-12
Reviewed by: Matt Quiroz, IPMS# 42772
Scale: 1/48
Company: Great Wall Hobby

I need to preface this review by saying I had a major setback towards the end of this build. All of the in progress pictures I had been taking were deleted on my computer somehow. I was able to recover some of them, but not all. I did my best to capture what I thought was important during the build. Hopefully the review will still be of use even without those photos’s I lost.

Pz.kpfw. 35 (t)

Published: October 21st, 2014     
Pz.kpfw. 35 (t)
Reviewed by: Ben Guenther, IPMS# 20101
Scale: 1/35
Company: Bronco Models

The Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) was one of two light tanks seized by the German army when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938-39.  Both light tanks were used to flesh out three German Panzer Divisions and were a very important element in the invasions of Poland (1939), France & the low countries (1940) and Russia in 1941.

The Czech firm Skoda was one of the leading producers of munitions, field guns and tanks in the 1930's. Their design of a light tank for the Czech army was the Lt Vz 35, which weighed 10.5 tons, had a 37mm main gun along with a 7.92mm MG in the turret and another 7.92mm MG in the front hull.  It was the equivalent of the German Panzer III.  When Germany took the Czech tanks they repainted them and changed their name to the Pz.Kpfw.35(t), the “t” being German for Czechoslovakia.  The production line was never restarted and by early 1942 the few remaining tanks, with no spare parts, were withdrawn from service.

USS Zumwalt DDG-1000

Published: October 21st, 2014     
USS Zumwalt DDG-1000
Reviewed by: Steve Zajac, IPMS# 34937
Scale: 1/700
Company: Dragon Models

The US Navy’s pending new guided-missile destroyer class looks like something entirely out of a science fiction movie. Known as the Zumwalt class (Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was the youngest officer ever to serve as Chief of Naval Operations, and he led the USN during the time of the Vietnam War), it features a wave-piercing hull and sleek form to reduce its radar cross-section. The first-of-class USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) was launched in October 2013 and she’s expected to reach initial operating capability in 2016 at a cost of about $1.4 billion. Only three 14,654-ton Zumwalt-class destroyers will be built by General Dynamics. With a crew of 142, USS Zumwalt will reach speeds of 30.3 knots. Her armament includes 20 MK 57 VLS missile modules, two 155mm guns and two Mk 46 30mm cannons, plus she will carry two SH-60 helicopters and three MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).  Author's note: the Zumwalt reminds me of the CSS Virginia ironclad.

Mirage IIICJ Weekend Edition

Published: October 19th, 2014     
Mirage IIICJ Weekend Edition
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard

The Eduard 1/48 scale Mirage IIIC is a well-known kit, and it is nice to see it re-released. Despite some known issues, it still builds into a nice replica of the French interceptor.

The kit comes molded in light gray plastic, with a total of 167 parts on eight sprues, plus a small sprue of clear parts. The decals are printed by Eduard and are opaque and in register. There is neither PE nor masks in this Weekend Edition boxing. However, this particular review model was built in conjunction with another reviewed item, Eduard's Mirage IIICJ Weekend Photoetch Set #49659, which provided photoetch for the cockpit.

Panzerjaeger II fuer 7.62cm PaK 36 (Sd.Kfz.132) "Marder II D"

Published: October 19th, 2014     
Panzerjaeger II fuer 7.62cm PaK 36 (Sd.Kfz.132) "Marder II D"
Reviewed by: Tim Funnell, IPMS# 48350
Scale: 1/35
Company: Bronco Models

Bronco Models has released a kit of the Marder IID, so let’s take a look at what's in the box. This was my first Bronco kit, and I was pleased to find the box was completely full. Inside you will find:

  • 16 sprues in dark yellow plastic
  • 4 track sprues molded in brown plastic
  • 1 clear sprue of periscopes
  • 1 photoetch fret
  • 1 decal sheet with many unit markings
  • A 31-page color instruction booklet with 9 marking options, each with a front, rear, and side view in color. Color callouts are for Mr. Hobby, Hobbycolor, Humbrol, and Tamiya paints.
  • 1 color poster of the box art on the lid

The steps are pretty self-explanatory in the instruction book and are easy to follow. One thing to note, there are a lot of very small parts and some of the steps are very complicated. There is also a lot of internal detail that won't be seen once the kit is complete. Below, I’ll highlight the steps that require some extra attention.

TF-9J Cougar

Published: October 18th, 2014     
TF-9J Cougar
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/48
Company: Kitty Hawk

First, thank you to the wonderful folks at KittyHawk Model for providing a welcome addition to early US Navy jet modelers, the TF-9J Cougar. This new release from KittyHawk fills a long-standing gap in 1/48 scale USN jets. KittyHawk subjects are starting to fill out my collection more and more!

Presentation (how the kit looks in the box)

The kit arrived in a stout 14 x 10 x 2.5 inch cardboard box with a colorful lid showing a TF-9J of H&MS-13 on a mission over Vietnam. The five gray sprue trees, as well as the single clear sprue, were enclosed in separate, loosely stapled poly bags. The photoetch fret was well protected, and the decal sheets were protected in plastic. The decals included options for four different aircraft in a variety of configurations and markings. Two of the sprue trees were thicker than usual giving excellent support to the parts. No mold release agent was observed. Some parts had very thin flash edges that were easily removed with a fingernail.

M48A3 Mod.B

Published: October 15th, 2014     
M48A3 Mod.B
Reviewed by: Dave Koukol, IPMS# 46287
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

Background

Designed to fulfill a requirement by the United States Army and Marine Corps for a main battle tank to replace the M4 Shermans and M46 Pershings of the 1940’s, the M48 Patton tank found its place America’s armor hall of fame as the United States’ main battle tank from the early 1950’s through the early 1970’s.  Originally fitted with gasoline engines, early M48’s were limited in range and were prone to erupt in flames when struck by hostile fire, thus necessitating the need for an improved version with increase range and less susceptible to secondary explosions and fire when impacted by enemy rounds.  Enter the M48A3 variant, equipped with a new diesel engine and improved drive train and fire control system.  In addition to production of new M48A3’s, earlier M48 variants were retrofitted to the M48A3 standard, and became the primary US tank during the Vietnam era.  By the early 1970’s the M48 gave way to the M60, which was eventually superseded by the M1A1 Abrams in the early 1980’s.