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F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet Landing Gear (Hasegawa)

Published: March 3rd, 2019     
F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet Landing Gear (Hasegawa)
Reviewed by: Max Welliver, IPMS# 50498
Scale: 1/72
Company: Scale Aircraft Conversions

A nice addition to Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) already impressive array of aftermarket landing gear is the set for the F/A-18 A, B, C, and D. The parts are made of white metal and include three separate landing gear pieces, as well as a metal tree with two landing gear support pieces.

A few mold seams are apparent on the shock absorbers of both the main and the nose gear, but they can easily be sanded or scraped off carefully with an X-Acto knife. Be careful to not bend the soft metal when cleaning up the parts. Also, the molded plastic nose gear cover that comes in the Hasegawa kit will have to be glued to the metal. A touch of super glue does the trick.

I primed the gear with Vallejo black primer before painting them in flat white. If no primer is used, the base color easily rubs off the metal. After the white dried, I painted the exposed shock absorbers a metallic silver, according to reference photos. Hasegawa's wheels were then super glued to the gear pins.

After a gloss coat of Future, a black oil wash was added to the landing gear; making all the great details pop.

34/85 Zavod 183 Mod. 44

Published: March 3rd, 2019     
34/85 Zavod 183 Mod. 44
Reviewed by: Michael Reeves, IPMS# 51129
Scale: 1/35
Company: Italeri

Introduction

You can't enter a discussion of World War II tanks that made an impact on the course of the war without the T-34 coming up somewhere along the line. While it was a surprise to the Soviets to see their "allies" attacking, the grit and determination of Soviet industry did not leave the attacks unanswered. While it may not be as aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, the design of the sloped frontal armor, rough weld lines, and wide tracks to accommodate Mother Russia's terrible winters made it more than able to be up to the task of staving off German armor. Starting out with the 76mm cannon to fight off the Panzer III's and IV's of the time, the advances in design allowed for a new turret to house the much more powerful 85mm long barrel gun- which was more than a match for the dreaded Tigers and Panthers.

Professional Sprue Cutter - 2175ET

Published: March 2nd, 2019     
Professional Sprue Cutter - 2175ET
Reviewed by: John Noack, IPMS# 23017
Scale: NA
Company: Xuron Corporation

Our good friend and supporter Abby Robey of Xuron supplied several new tools to us for review. Up first is this sprue cutter. Like all of Xuron's tools, this is a finely crafted tool that will deliver years of service if properly used. That means plastic only - the fine cutting edges are shaped to deliver a near-flush cut on soft plastic - use them on metal and you'll damage that edge.

I did a test cut on a standard sprue runner from the Eduard Spitfire I'm reviewing - take a look at the results in photo 3. Even on a relatively thick piece of styrene, the tool delivers a near-perpendicular cut through the runner. Moving on to "normal" usage, I removed one of the horizontal stabilizers from its tree - note (photo 4) that the resulting cut is almost perfectly flush. Cleaning up parts is my least favorite part of building; these cutters will reduce the magnitude of that tedious task. Highly recommended!

Thanks go out to Abby at Xuron for the opportunity to review this tool.

Professional Sprue Cutter - TK3600

Published: March 2nd, 2019     
Professional Sprue Cutter - TK3600
Reviewed by: John Noack, IPMS# 23017
Scale: NA
Company: Xuron Corporation

Here's the second review of some new tools from our friends at Xuron up in Saco, ME.

The Photo-Etch Tool Kit consists of three discrete tools:

  • Model 9180ET Professional Photo-Etch Scissor
  • Model 450 Tweezer Nose Pliers
  • Model 575 Micro Bending Pliers

I'm currently working on an Eduard Spitfire in 1/72 scale with some incredibly tiny p/e parts, several of which have found their way to carpet heaven. Using the tweezer pliers to hold parts, and the extremely sharp scissors to cut them, I've eliminated the problem. Figure X shows the results of cutting the cockpit armor plate part off the p/e fret - almost no cleanup required. A couple of swipes with a sanding stick while holding the part with the tweezer nose pliers and I am done.

Highly recommended as an alternative to hours spent under the workbench searching for bits of brass! Thanks go out to Abby at Xuron for the opportunity to review this tool set

Smolensk 1943: The Red Army’s Relentless Advance

Published: March 2nd, 2019     
Smolensk 1943: The Red Army’s Relentless Advance
Author: Author: Robert Forczyk Illustrator: Adam Hook
Reviewed by: Mike Lamm, IPMS# 50139
Company: Osprey Publishing

Osprey's Campaign series of books is a well-established line covering some of the more famous campaigns in military history. The series started 29 years ago with the Normandy landings and with this installment, Smolensk 1943 being one of their latest releases.

As the battles around Kursk were winding down, Joseph Stalin began setting his sights on the next largest German army on the Soviet's Western front the German Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Center). Operation Suvorov would launch the Soviet Western Front and Kalinin Front armies against the numerically inferior German forces concentrated around the city of Smolensk. The Soviet forces consisted of over 1.2 million soldiers, outnumbering the Germans by a ratio of nearly 3:1, but the Germans had held the area for nearly two years prior to the Soviet offensive and were able to prepare strong defensive positions that Soviet reconnaissance and planning had not accounted for at the time of the attack. The Soviet offensive launched at the start of August of 1943, but ultimate Soviet victory was not achieved until early October costing both sides huge losses of men and materiel.

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