Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

SAAB 91 Safir B/C/D

Published: May 9th, 2015     
SAAB 91 Safir B/C/D
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/48
Company: Tarangus

Introduction

Seeing the end of WWII in sight SAAB decided to design an aircraft for the civilian market. That design, the Safir (Saphire), started as a three seater with a 147 HP Gipsy Major X inline engine. Subsequent versions had horizontally opposed four cylinder engines of 190 HP (B/C version) and 180 HP in the D model. The chief designer A.J. Anderson had previously worked for Bucker hence this aircrafts strong resemblance to the Bestmann trainer. The Safir was purchased by several air forces. The subject of this build is a SAAB 91D model operated by the Finnish Air Force, one of ten D models purchased by Finland. Several were purchased for the civilian market. A total of 323 Safirs were built.

Honda HSR500 “1989 WGP500 Champion”

Published: May 7th, 2015     
Honda HSR500 “1989 WGP500 Champion”
Reviewed by: Tom Moon, IPMS# 43192
Scale: 1/12
Company: Hasegawa

After winning the 1988 WGP500 for Yamaha, Eddie Lawson jumped ship and went to ride for Honda. Despite extremely stiff competition at events all over the world, Eddie Lawson's finishes were consistently in the top two, with four first place finishes. With all his wins combined, Eddie won the 1989 Grand Prix Championships for the Rothmans-Kanemoto-Honda team, making him the only rider in history to win two consecutive championships with two different teams..

Hasegawa’s offering of the Honda NSR500 has 192 parts included in the kit, including a clear windshield, two rubber tires, four metal screws, a metal spring, and two colors (black and clear) of rubber tubing. The body panels and wheels are molded in white, while the other sprues are in a medium gray. There are three options for front forks, Inverted Suspension (I used this option), Suspension upright and Carbon brakes. The kit comes in a typical top-opening box, and the sprues are bagged in groups by color. There are 2 printed decal sheets, one for the model, and one for the tires, but I could not find any indications of where these tire decals were to be used.

German Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf.E/F

Published: May 7th, 2015     
German Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf.E/F
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Scale: 1/48
Company: Tamiya

During the early 1930’s, the nation of Czechoslovakia was a leading European arms manufacturer, whose armaments industry was dominated by the giant Skoda conglomerate. In 1933-34, Skoda produced what became known as the LT vz.35 light tank, and this was accepted into the Czech Army, becoming its main tank. However, the tank suffered from numerous flaws, and was much disliked by its crews. Enter the firm of CKD, a conglomeration of various engineering firms, one of whose acquisitions was the Praga Works, makers of trucks/passenger vehicles/tractors. Praga decided to go into the tank building business, selling its products both to the Czech Army, and a number of export markets. With the poor experience with the LT vs.35 in their minds, as well as the need for rearmament due to the rise of Nazi Germany on its border, the Czech military looked around for a new tank design. Praga offered up its TNH design, which proved very reliable and certainly better than anything Skoda had to offer. After exhaustive trials, the Czech military accepted the Praga design, placing orders for 150 vehicles in July 1938 for the new tank, designated LT vz.38.

Sd.Kfz.165 Hummel-Wespe

Published: May 4th, 2015     
Sd.Kfz.165 Hummel-Wespe
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1:35
Company: Dragon Models

Dragon Models has released a new boxing of their Hummel self-propelled artillery. This is the Hummel Wespe, with the 10.5 cm gun (instead of the typical 15 cm). The smaller gun meant extra rounds could be carried in the vehicle.

This kit is based on the excellent Dragon Hummel kit, with new sprues for the smaller gun, a modified fighting compartment, and new racks for the extra ammo.

The hull and running gear is based on the Panzer IV, with an excellent level of detail. The road wheels are of the rubber rim style. I was pleasantly surprised to see all the rivets, access panels, and overall surface detail of the hull and front armor pieces. It does look “like the part”. The tracks are of the DS kind and have good detail as well.

The fighting compartment has very nice surface detail, and while some aftermarket parts are likely to be made for it, I doubt they will be required. Multiple racks, boxes, a fire extinguisher (at least I think that is what it is), all kind of fittings, plus braces/brackets, make it very busy. All of this detail has raised detail that would take dry-brushing really well and will help to show detail.

Tiger I – Ver. MID – 70th Anniversary Normandy

Published: May 3rd, 2015     
Tiger I – Ver. MID – 70th Anniversary Normandy
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/35
Company: Academy

Academy is re-releasing their 1/35 Tiger I, this one being the “Mid” version and in a special boxing for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

Upon opening a large box you are greeted by 10 sprues –many of which are part of the “early” boxing- plus two small photo-etch frets (engine grille covers/zimmerit tool) and plastic tracks, representing the “combat” (wide) tracks.

The part count is considerable (over 250 parts) however several pieces won’t be needed. I estimate a bit over 200 parts are required to complete this model. All the parts are crisp, perfectly molded and have no flash.

This boxing does not include the full interior –as other boxings- but it has a new tooled turret. I will be honest, it looks very similar to the original one (still included in the box) however it is possible to see a slightly asymmetry when looking at it from the top. It is very subtle, but it is there.

VCL Light Amphibious Tank

Published: May 2nd, 2015     
VCL Light Amphibious Tank
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1:35
Company: Riich Models

Those who know my modeling proclivities are well aware that I’m always fascinated by the small and obscure.  This model, the first from this company if the kit number is to be believed, fits both of these categories nicely.

The Vickers-Carden-Lloyd amphibious tank was first developed in 1931 in England and the basic design served as the foundation for the successful Russian T-33, T-37, T-38 and T-41.  The specific vehicle modeled in this kit, however, fared far less ably and was much less known.  Just a few of this particular mark were built for export – about fifty overall with the lion’s share going to China.  Its record of military action with the Chinese is also brief, as they were called into action only once in 1938 to attack invading Japanese forces.  The armored column was attacked en route by Japanese bombers, however, leaving only a single example intact and functional.  This sole survivor was brought back to base and served for training purposes for the remainder of the war.  Hence none of this make ever had the opportunity to fire its guns in anger.

De Haviland Hornet F.1

Published: May 2nd, 2015     
De Haviland Hornet F.1
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Trumpeter

Trumpeter from China has released the first of a series of boxings for the deHavilland Hornet. This boxing represents the Mk.1F, with two other boxings scheduled for release later this year.

Upon opening the box you find 7 sprues (one clear) with about 80 parts in sharp and flash free plastic. Also a decal sheet for two finishing options - both overall silver - is provided.

I have read in British websites that there are some shape issues around the nose, the fuselage length and with panel lines that should not be there. I am not an expert on the Hornet, so I cannot speak to that. Please do your own research on the accuracy component of this model.

WWII US Army Aircraft Mechanics

Published: May 1st, 2015     
WWII US Army Aircraft Mechanics
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1:48
Company: Aires Hobby Models

Thanks to Aires Hobby Models for sending these excellent diorama figures for review.  Thank you to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for letting me review them!  I am very appreciative of the chance to contribute back to the scale-modeling community.

This review covers four separate releases that complement each other very nicely.  The four figures represent WWII U. S. Army aircraft mechanics in the Pacific Theater.  One mechanic figure is pushing upward, perhaps against a fuel tank or engine part, another could be wiping down or polishing, and another figure is mopping up.  The last figure is taking a rest on a footlocker sipping a bottled beverage. They are all cast in gray resin with protective pour plugs surrounding the figures.  I found the resin to have a very nice balance of workability and strength.  I had no troubles with brittle parts or needing to do excessive sanding.  Flash was minimal and easily removed when present. 

USMC F/A 18D

Published: May 1st, 2015     
USMC F/A 18D
Reviewed by: Joe Porche’, IPMS# 20296
Scale: 1/32
Company: Academy

History

The F/A-18D is a two seat variant of the early McDonald Douglas Hornet. The rear seat of this variation is configured to allow a Marine Corps naval flight officer to function as the system and weapons officer similar to that of the F-15E Strike Eagle rear seater. In this roll there are no flight controls situated in the rear cockpit. With the US Marine Corp the F/A-18D serves primarily as a night attack bomber and forward air controller.

These modern D models are the result of a block upgrades in 1987 and 1989 which gave the Hornet the capacity to carry new missiles and air-to-ground weapons. Now fitted with forward looking infrared, night vision goggles, multi function color displays and moving maps the Hornet is capable to strike anytime of day or weather deep behind enemy lines.

Vanguard Satellite

Published: April 30th, 2015     
Vanguard Satellite
Reviewed by: Ron Bell, IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/1
Company: Round 2 Models

The Satellite

Planning started for the Vanguard program in 1955. Both the launch vehicle and the satellite were to be named Vanguard, the only time that has happened in the U.S. space program. There were several "marks" of the satellite varying in size from 20 inches down to 6 inches in diameter with varying instrumentation on board and the first was slated to go up during the International Geophysical Year of 1958. The Martin Company developed the rocket and the Naval Research Laboratory developed the satellite.