Big machines have always been a thing in the USSR, and that is definitily true for both aircraft and tanks before WWII. In April 1941 some 20 proposals for a super heavy tank competed within the Kotin design bureau. War interrupted this madhouse, all guns built for the design were destroyed. However since men continue to obsess with heavy tanks that were never built in metal – what you will see below is the winning one in resin.
This post is a special treat, as it’s the first time I am getting a kit that is not available in the market yet. In fact I am lucky to have been the first to get a copy of OKB Grigorov’s Chaffee outside the factory and OKB themselves.
Onto the shots. 4 grey sprues, well over 200 parts, some great detail, all hatches open, separate OVM tools and a lot more!!!
Let’s start with the hull parts.
Note detail on the conical return roller bases, the suspension arm sockets and bump stops, the shock absorber attachment points. The suspension arms are separate parts as are the final drive housing covers.
L-29 Delfin was the main jet trainer of the Warsaw pact countries for over 30 years. Since it was introduced there have been 3 kits in 1/72: Kopro, Bilek and Special Hobby, none of which did justice to this important aircraft. Luckily in 2016 Avantgarde Model Kits brought a contemporary model to the market, 3 years after their 48th scale kit was introduced. AMK’s first 1/72 release features 4 grey and 1 transparent part trees in plastic, a fret with photoetched parts, and a large decal sheet with markings for 5 different aircraft.
AMK’s beautifully crafted Kfir kit in 1/72 is the latest addition in my collection. I love the way this kit is prepared, molded, detailed, the abundant loadout and 2 airframe versions with 5 decal options it provides, all at a very affordable price. Just look at the loaded box!
8 part trees for the airframe itself, 4 types of weapons in more than sufficient quantities and large decal sheet for 4 different operators.
Instruction sheet: long fold-out affair rather than a booklet. Simple black and white diagrams with enough space for notes, logical sequence and clear part placement.
Strictly following the beaten path of releasing two opposing sets each time, Zvezda has provided a VVS ground crew to match the Luftwaffe set 6188.
There’s a reason the review is uploaded after the German crew – the kit has something special in it. Figures are made after the characters from the Soviet movie “Only Old Men Are Going to Battle” – a fragment is shown below:
Just have a look at these two (esp. the one on the left):
and you will understand what I mean.
Now… “Old men” is rather used for experienced ones rather than aged. In war where life expectancy on the battlefield was measured in hours and medals were presented for surviving 20 combat flights you could consider such a veteran the squadron’s old man. But I digress.
In recent years Zvezda has released multiple snap-fit aircraft kits in 1/72 scale that include excellent pilot figures. They have now “gone full circle” by releasing ground crews to accompany these kits. First off – the Luftwaffe crew.
As shown on the now-standard box – there are 5 figures, a bomb trolley with a bomb, a fuel drum and a jerry can included. As with some other sets you can either use a single base for all the guys, or use individual ones.
Typical for the Art of tactic game series the plastic is light gray, parts are on 2 sprues.
The Soviet union started the war with the F-22 and USV divisional guns as the mainstays of its artillery. In 1942 they were replaced by the lighter, faster-firing and more modern ZIS-3 design that was more suited to war time production and maintenance capabilities of the vast country. Over 45,000 guns were built during war years; many were towed, some served on anti-tank SPGs like the SU-76 and SU-76M.
Italeri and UM have already produced kits of the subject, the first one even included crew in winter uniform. My personal opinion is that either kit suffer from oversimplification, so the kit from Zvezda is a welcome addition to the market despite positioned as the wargaming piece that the Italeri rendition is.
Italeri, Heller, and more recently Roden and Dragon have released PAK-40 in 1/72. There have also been wargaming models in the scale.
Italeri’s crew are softer plastic than I like, Dragon’s “bundle” with the PAK-36 and 5 crewfigures is excellent, but hard to find and expensive. Preiser’s 5-member gun crew is similarly elusive, but tops all of them.
The cons above – along with aggressive pricing of about $3 – puts Zvezda’s new set at a very competitive position, despite the crew consisting of just 3 figures. The two sprues are molded in grey and reasonably well-detailed.
The Bf (or Me) 109 needs no introduction. It is such an important aircraft in the history of aviation (and the world) that I am unable to think of a mainstream modelling company that has NOT offered a version of the 109. In 2014 Eduard unsurprisingly extended their product line with a G-6, the most numerous of the WWII versions.
There are just 4 sprues in the standard box (used for most 1/48 scale aircraft the company produces AND the Royal Class editions), so contents will rattle about as you’re taking it home. Thankfully all frames are tightly packed in sealing bags and there is little to no chance parts will be damaged.