Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

German Wehrmacht Bivouac (3 Figures Set with Zeltbahn)

Published: September 26th, 2014     
German Wehrmacht Bivouac (3 Figures Set with Zeltbahn)
Reviewed by: Tom Moon, IPMS# 43192
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

This set is of 3 figures and a zeltbahn (tent). These figures are in a rest area and are shown just settling in.  The box art and instructions are on the back of the box and shows the figures in a completed state. This illustration by Ronald Volstad is a fairly accurate representation of the 3 figures and a great depiction of the camouflage on the tent.

This set had very minimal flash, and no ejection pin marks. What mold lines that were there were easily removed with a sharp blade. There are no decals, and the painting instructions are just for the major items. The paint colors are coded only for Testors and Mr. Color.

Somewhere in the Middle East

Published: September 26th, 2014     
Somewhere in the Middle East
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35
Company: Master Box

One of the things I find fascinating about Masterbox’s approach to figure modeling is the technique they use to arrive at a given product.  For most companies, sculptors make the desired figures, then illustrators create the box art to match the sculpts.  Masterbox reverses the process by permitting illustrators to paint scenarios (quite beautifully, I may add) then sculptors do their best to reproduce the illustrations within the limitations of injection molding.  What this means is that Masterbox is indisputably the top of the industry in creating imaginative, innovative plastic figures.  This set is no exception.

In essence, this is one of Masterbox’s “dioramas in a box” that they are so renowned for – five figures all on one sprue.  In this case, a US military “advisor” and his local militia assistants are relaxing after capturing an enemy combatant in a hot zone.  The advisor is calling in air support to pick them and their captive up.  All of this is clearly depicted in the stances of the figures provided.

Jungle Patrol

Published: September 26th, 2014     
Jungle Patrol
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35
Company: Master Box

This package represents a small unit in Vietnam, including a commander, M60 gunner and two riflemen, all in typical jungle fatigues as seen in the 1960’s.  A second sprue provides additional equipment, with suitable weapons and an assortment of headgear, including covered helmets, two types of boonie cap, and Marine visored “covers” for each soldier.  All figures feature additional arms and heads to vary the poses.  In a very real sense, this kit is designed to offer the modeler anything from a standard infantry patrol (either Army or Marine) to a Special Forces patrol.  Therefore, these figures are a lot more versatile than the title suggests, and could be used in scenarios ranging from jungle duty to fighting in the streets of Hue.

All four figures come in the traditional figure breakdown for plastic figures of this type – legs, torso, arms and heads, although additional parts are used to create separate jacket skirts and even the large thigh pockets for the pants.  Each figure is supplied with a large quantity of gear so you can load these down for an extended patrol in “the bush.” 

Kawasaki OH-6J Cayuse

Published: September 24th, 2014     
Kawasaki OH-6J Cayuse
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/72
Company: AZ Model

The Aircraft

Hughes Aircraft originally developed the OH-6 series of helicopters.  With corporate takeovers and sales, the MD 500 series is built in Mesa Arizona by MD Helicopters.  The OH-6J was built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan.

The original OH-6 was called the “Light Observation Helicopter”, which became “Loach”.  The reason for the OH-6 was that in 1964 the US Army was ordered to turn all fixed wing aircraft over to the US Air Force.  This meant the loss to the Army of the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog.  The Loach was used as a replacement, utilized for forward observation, artillery spotting and air support with rocket pods, TOW or Hellfire, and gun pods available.

The Kit

The kit comes as one large sprue with the basic helo parts, one smaller sprue with the parts specific to this kit, and a clear sprue.  The 1.5 by 2 inch decal sheet covers the four helos depicted on the box back.  Because this is a limited run kit the sprue connections to the parts are somewhat heavy, but the connections tended to not interfere with assembly as long as they were carefully cut.

Bussing-NAG 5 cm KwK 39/IL/60

Published: September 23rd, 2014     
Bussing-NAG 5 cm KwK 39/IL/60
Reviewed by: John Shimek, IPMS# 4899
Scale: 1/72
Company: AMC Models

The Bussing-NAG 5 cm KwK 39/IL/60 four-wheel German armored car is one of two prototypes of this nature built. Historical reference for these vehicles is very hard to come by. However, it is known that they were in fact built but never put into production. It is also accepted that they were in fact field-tested, but it is debated as to which unit actually tested them. Some sources saying it was the 12th SS Panzer division, but again, there is no definitive proof of this as the data does not exist to confirm this information. There were two paint schemes observed in a photo that exists: one dark yellow and one with a yellow and green camo scheme (with a hard-to-discern pattern). The box art depicts a two-tone camo scheme, so I followed that suggestion based on discussions I had on the Axis WWII forum of the Missing-Lynx armor web site.

Thames Panel Truck

Published: September 22nd, 2014     
Thames Panel Truck
Reviewed by: Jim Stepanek, IPMS# 48016
Scale: 1/25
Company: Revell, Inc.

The Revell Thames Panel Truck is a cool little kit.  There’s some flash, thin hinges, and misalignment of parts, but it’s still a very cool kit.

Engine

The engine – maybe an Olds – is set up to be built as with fuel injection.  Since I planned to build a street version, I wanted something more street capable so I put a dual quad setup on top.

Chassis

Not much to the chassis and it has several tiny little parts – especially on the front end.  Most of the suspension pieces are chrome so the glue points need to be scraped to the bare plastic.  Be careful – some of the parts are very small.

Interior

The minimal interior is terrific for a gas coupe but a street rod needs more comfort, so the kit seats went to the parts bin in favor of more comfortable Recaro bucket seats.  Flocking was added as well as an aluminum steering column with turn signal lever.  The kit butterfly steering wheel was replaced with a different unit.

Flower Class Corvette Spiraea

Published: September 22nd, 2014     
Flower Class Corvette Spiraea
Reviewed by: James Binder,, IPMS# 49206
Scale: 1/350
Company: Mirage Hobby

This kit comes to us from Mirage Models out of Poland and is the third boxing of this type of ship, the other two kits in the series being the HMS Anchusa and the HMS Zinnia. The kit itself is molded in a medium gray and consists of three sprues marked A,B,E (more on this in the review). The sprue connection points are a bit thicker than on a Revell or Tamyia kit, but are fairly easy to cut through with a number 11 blade or a breeze for a razor saw. The kit also gives you photoetch railings and main mast ladder and a small decal sheet with the ID numbers for the boat and a British Naval Flag for the rear flagstaff.

This is my first ship model in probably 25 years but I thought it would be a good kit to try to get back into the ship arena. Not overly large or a lot of pieces and from the photos I had seen of other builds it would build up into a nice little ship. It was interesting to research and I found that ships and their camouflage patterns changed as much and as often, if not more so, than the aircraft I was used to building.

Soviet JS-4 Heavy Tank

Published: September 21st, 2014     
Soviet JS-4 Heavy Tank
Reviewed by: Bart Cusumano, IPMS# 31882
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter

To say that the appearance of this kit was a surprise to me, is an understatement!  Lately, it seems that all we ever get on the ‘new’ kit front is another  Panther-this or Tiger-that.  A JS-4?  Wow!  I mean, the JS-4 was a pretty obscure piece of Soviet armor.  Originally developed in competition with the IS-3, the JS-4 (or IS-4, but we’ll stick to the kit name) referred to as Object 245, was, like the IS-3, an extensive redesign of the IS-2.  The hull was lengthened with an extra set of road wheels added and an improved engine.  The turret and hull were both up-armored.  While other alternatives were considered, the IS-2’s 122mm gun was retained for the JS-4.  Technical data derived from the study of German wartime Panther tanks was utilized in the layout of the JS-4’s engine cooling system.  Although the tank was approved for mass production in 1948, only 200 were produced due to disappointing  speed and mobility.  Can you say “obscure’?  Many of the 200 were shipped off to the Russian Far East in 1950 in preparation for the planned Soviet intervention in the Korean War.  Of course, this never came to

Sd.Kfz.167 Stug. IV ‘LAST PRODUCTION’

Published: September 21st, 2014     
Sd.Kfz.167 Stug. IV ‘LAST PRODUCTION’
Reviewed by: Keith Gervasi, IPMS# 44177
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

History

(From the Dragon web site) The Sturmgeschütz IV (also known as Sd.Kfz.167) was an assault gun produced in similar fashion to the more numerically common StuG.III. However, as its name suggests, it was based on the hull of the Panzer IV tank rather than the Panzer III. This came about because Alkett (a manufacturer of the StuG.III) was bombed in November 1943. Therefore, in an effort to increase assault gun production numbers, Krupp installed slightly modified StuG.III superstructures on the chassis of the Panzer IV. After production was approved on 6 December 1943, Krupp proceeded to build 1,108 StuG.IV vehicles between December 1943 and May 1945. While this number was far less than the StuG.III, Krupp did help ensure continuity of assault gun production. Crewed by four men, the StuG.IV proved an effective tank hunter. It weighed 23 tonnes and was armed with a capable 7.5cm StuK40 L/48 gun.

Middle East Diorama

Published: September 21st, 2014     
Middle East Diorama
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35th
Company: MiniArt

I must confess at the outset of this review that I am not, for the most part, a fan of vacuform diorama buildings.  I will always prefer ceramic which is far easier for me to assemble and paint.  That being said, I was quite curious to tackle this kind of project and found myself quite impressed with this kit.

My first impression of this kit came before I even opened the box.  It was remarkably heavy - not what I’d expected of a kit that was largely vacuform parts.  However, on opening the box I could see why – the nine vacuform sheets are quite stout, with remarkable detail on roughly 74 parts.  The kit also comes with five sprues of injection molded details, making a total of well over 150 parts – far more than will be needed in this diorama.  Everything you desire to create a large and detailed diorama is provided here, including the base.  There is a LOT of plastic in this kit.

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