Category Archives: Kit reviews

Scale model kit reviews

Academy 1/144 F-15A

Academy 1/144 F-15A
Academy 1/144 F-15A

It’s been some time since an aircraft has been featured on this site, so here’s one completed last year. It’s LS’s ancient 1/144 F-15A, later packed by Academy/Minicraft (and perhaps a few other companies. Inside you will discover a rather schematic scaled-down version of the famous aircraft. Panel lines are engraved, but are deep and wide, especially so in the vertical stabilizers.

There are no pylons whatsoever. Armament is limited to 4xAIM-7 Sparrows, there is no centerline hardpoint/wetpoint with fuel tank, and no trace of Sidewinders at all. No cockpit is provided, there is a transparent canopy that covers the nothing underneath. No probes or antennae whatsoever, and you can forger about the dropped flaps on the boxart.

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Zvezda 1/72 Russian Missile System “Topol” (SS-25 Sickle), kit 5003

Zvezda 1:72 Russian Missile System Topol (SS-25 Sickle)
Zvezda 1:72 Russian Missile System Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

The expected kit of 2013, which did not show up until mid-February 2014. Here it is in all its 300+ part glory.

What you will notice is not just the 2 options – there are two full suspension sets for either option:

– set on the ground under the full 100 ton load,

– and “jacked up – wheels hanging” pose, ready for launch. All parts modified, including wishbones and driveshafts drooping,  steering rods also extended.

The two hydraulic portals that lift the whole TEL up also have different parts for the two modes, as do the support plates and the “fifth leg” behind the right cockpit.

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Bronco 1/35 SU-152 Early, kit CB35113

Bronco 1/35 SU-152 Early Box top
Box top

Bronco has released two versions of the legendary Zveroboi SPG (popular nickname for the SU-152): early (the subject of this review) and late production. Confusingly the kit of the late variety appeared first, and this kit was released a few months later – in the beginning of 2013.

The sprue count alone is staggering: there are 59 sprues, including 1 with clear parts and the hull tub. A PE fret, decal sheet and two lengths of braided copper wire complete the kit.

Sprue A contains parts that are applicable to the entire KV-1 line and derivatives. Fenders and engine deck are marked “Not for use” in the parts plan.

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UM 1/72 T-34/76 mod. 1940 with L-11 gun, kit 336

UM 1/72 T-34/76 mod. 1940 with L-11 gun, kit 336
UM 1/72 T-34/76 mod. 1940 with L-11 gun, kit 336

Early T-34s tend to be underrepresented in modelling, so it’s really nice that UM has taken care of them. I bough this kit in the beginning of the year because I only had mod. 1943 in my collection.

I’ll start with the PE and the decals (click on an image to see it full size). PE is really crude, especially the net over the engine. There are also the bolt-on armor for the MG and the ubiquitous tandem lumber saw.

UM 1/72 T-34/76 mod. 1940 with L-11 gun, kit 336
UM 1/72 T-34/76 mod. 1940 with L-11 gun, kit 336

Decals for two machines:

– red star + white 25 from 11th mechanized corps in July 1941;

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Revell 1/72 Pz. Kpfw. VI Ausf. E, kit 03116

The Tiger tank needs no introduction, so I’ll get straight to the model kit.

The Revell offering has been around for more than a decade – it was the first MODERN rendition of this important machine after the Hasegawa and Fujimi (which is 1/76) offerings. Technology advances have made the inclusion of much better detail possible, so at the time of release the model was what we call “state of the art”. After the very early H model came the late Ausf. E, with the appropriate changes – new wheels and different right turret half.

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Zvezda’s 1/72 IS-2, kit 5011 – an inbox review

Zvezda's 1/72 IS-2, kit 5011 Box top
Zvezda’s 1/72 IS-2, kit 5011 Box top

Earlier this month the long-awaited Zvezda quick-build IS-2 finally reached the local hobby shops, so I was quick to grab myself a copy. It’s close to an year late and I was anxious to see what do we actually get.

There are a hull tub (discussed lower), two grey sprues with parts for the hull and turret, a black one for the tracks, decals for 1 main variant (as on the box top) and additional generic numbers.

The first sprue shows the upper hull and most of the suspension and running gear parts. Yes, just as advertised the set does represent the later war production variety, the IS-2m with the “straight nose”, so it supplements rather than replaces the Italeri kit. As opposed to the Italeri kit, the cooling louvres here are molded angled, with spaces between them, so you can see through the grid.

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Dragon 6739 1/35 SdKfz 10/4 fur 2cm FLAK 30

Dragon 6739 1/35 SdKfz 10/4 Boxtop
Boxtop

Sprue A – 90 parts for the suspension, engine covers and firewall, front lights, fenders, instrument panel, etc.

Dragon 6739 1/35 SdKfz 10/4 Sprue A
Sprue A

Dragon has put its favorite slide molding routine through its paces in this kit, and even without it the effort is still rather impressive. The cooling gills on the bonnet halves have been molded through – and most other kits will require a PE set for this. Also, the pattern on the radiator is discernible even if you look through the delicately molded guard grille.

Dragon 6739 1/35 SdKfz 10/4 Sprue A bottom
Sprue A bottom

The heat shield for the muffler also has its cooling gills molded as the real deal, so your weathering efforts here will be worthwhile. Delicate suspension parts and mirror supports, as well as lightbulbs molded in the bottom of the headlamp reflectors really contribute to the feeling you’re dealing with first-rate kit.

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Konbanwa, Tamiya san! Tamiya’s 1/48 J2M3 kit

Now the Raiden (or Jack as it’s more familiar to the English speakers) might not have been as popular as the Type 0 (A6M), yet to me it represents the change in Japanese philosophy of building military aircraft. The J2M was not transformation of a different type of aircraft, was designed with a powerful engine from the outset, wasn’t supposed to carry 7,7 mm guns and many more firsts. It’s also my first ever Tamiya kit 🙂

I’ve been looking for a 72nd scale model for a while, but Hasegawa’s kit was hard to find and not really worth the price asked. So when this “second-hand” kit showed up for about $10 I didn’t give it any second thoughts.

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Zvezda 1/72 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf D, kit 5010

Zvezda 1/72 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf D, kit 5010 Boxart
Boxart

Well it’s finally out. After two years of promises and a lot of online desperation on modellers’ end it’s in the shops and tonight it reaches my bench.

Two sprues of sand-colored plastic, a black sprue for the threads (total part count is 97) and a small decal sheet plus instructions and safety precautions for $8. Let’s see what’s in.

Zvezda 1/72 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf D, kit 5010 Sprue 1
Sprue 1

I am impressed! Part of the roadwheels are molded as a single detail, however the suspension arms are separate parts, as are the OVM tools! I am sure modellers will find something else to complain about, however before I actually start building the kit I will only comment on the way this kit is molded and so far it looks rather good to me.

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Dragon’s 1/35 StuG IV Late Production, kit 6211

After leading for years with its early model StuG IV, in the spring of 2012 DML has released a kit representing the late variety – a welcome addition to the fleet of German vehicles.

Dragon 1/35 StuG IV Late, kit 6211, Box top
Box top

The model is a mix of sprues from existing sprues and a new parts that cater for the parts that are specific to the late production vehicles. Let’s go through the box.

The first thing you notice is that the box is packed with 29 (!) sprues, 4 sheets with metal parts and 216 Magic Link tracks for 1242 parts (if my counting is correct). Sprues are carefully packed together to save space, and putting them back in could turn to be quite the 3D puzzle 🙂

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