Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

Valentine Mk. IV Red Army with Crew

Published: December 14th, 2010     
Valentine Mk. IV Red Army with Crew
Reviewed by: Jim Stratton, IPMS# 20703
Scale: 1/35
Company: MiniArt

Introduction

The Valentine tank was designed by Vickers-Armstrong as a private venture and was offered to the British War Department in 1938. Production for the Valentine started in 1939 with an initial order for 250 tanks. Eventually more than 8,000 Valentines in 11 different marks as well as various purpose-built types were produced, accounting for approximately 25% of British wartime tank production. Over the length of the war it was produced in several variants including the Archer ATG with a 17pdr and the Bishop SPG with the 25pdr. The Valentine saw service on several fronts including North Africa, Italy, NWE and the Far East.

The Mk. IV Valentine was equipped with the British QF 2-pounder (40 mm) gun and the engine was a GMC 6004 diesel. The Mk. IV was exported extensively to the Soviet Union where, in spite of criticism for its weak gun, it was liked due to its small size and reliability as well as the good armor protection offered the crew. This is a welcome release that drastically updates the aging Dragon/Allan kit and will be welcomed by many Allied builders.

Me 163S "Habich" two-seat trainer glider

Published: December 12th, 2010     
Me 163S "Habich" two-seat trainer glider
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/72
Company: Pavla Models

First, thanks to Pavla for first producing and then providing this kit to IPMS/USA for review; your excellent products continue to amaze me!

This is an extremely simple kit; yet it has complexity in the fact that it is a limited production item and therefore has ejection pin towers for cleanup. Fortunately these are all on the inside of the kit parts... it also has extremely small photoetch; be forewarned if you are an old guy like me. The overall presentation is excellent; I had little or no issues with getting things in place. The instructions are basic diagrams, showing where everything is supposed to go. I caused a minor problem in that the rear cockpit needed to be installed a bit higher than I installed it, as there are no locating pins or rails. The kit contains a runner of parts, one Photoetch fret, two excellent clear canopies, and a decal sheet with optional Luftwaffe and Soviet "captured aircraft" markings.

German Br 57 Armored Locomotive

Published: December 9th, 2010     
German Br 57 Armored Locomotive
Reviewed by: Tom Moon, IPMS# 43192
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter

Roadbed parts come in a separate box and will make a roadbed long enough to hold the completed model.

This kit is a representation of the Br 57 Armored Locomotive. There was extensive use of armored trains by the Germans to provide rail security and to suppress partisan activities. Trumpeter has produced almost everything required to assemble an armored train except the tank carrier. This is only made by Ironside.

 

STUG IV early production w/Zimmerit

Published: December 9th, 2010     
STUG IV early production w/Zimmerit
Reviewed by: Ben Guenther, IPMS# 20101
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

Once again Dragon has taken a previously released armor kit and has added Zimmerit, re-releasing it as a new kit. This is a good thing if you don't feel you want to try to apply the Zimmerit using various types of putties and tools. To achieve this Dragon provides us with 26 plastic sprues of varying sizes. Two Brummbar sprues, four STUG III G sprues and only a few specifically for the STUG IV, most of the sprues are for the Panzer IV. Total part count comes to 751 parts; the number of unused parts is 207 leaving 544 parts to build the model. Several sprues have the same letter; Dragon gets around this by having one letter in black and the second same letter in blue. I mark the outside of the bags to make it easy to find the right sprue when I need it.

Steps 1-6 deal with assembling the lower hull, roadwheels, idlers and drive wheels. No problems here just make sure you know which particular tank you want to make as Dragon has several options and photos will help clear up which option you want to use.

German Kz 8cm GrW 42 Mortar

Published: December 9th, 2010     
German Kz 8cm GrW 42 Mortar
Reviewed by: Ken McDevitt, IPMS# 46356
Scale: 1/6
Company: Dragon Models

Description and History:

Quoting from Dragon's web sitde product description:

"The kurzer 8cm Granatwerfer 42 (abbreviated to kz 8cm GrW 42) was developed as a lighter version of the standard 8cm GrW 34 mortar. It was commonly referred to as Stummelwerfer ("stump-thrower") by troops. The smaller size made it particularly useful for German paratroopers who needed a weapon that was easier to move around, but still offered more punch than the diminutive 5cm leGrW 36.

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