Top Ten AFV Models

This article will refer to the newest models out there. And by “newest” I mean the ones that went out on the market last 5-6 years. We are living in the golden age of modeling, since having all that technology, ease of communication and information flow, there are plenty of opportunities to make wonderful replica in scale. And many do it. The good thing is, that the modeling is not just about airplanes and tanks anymore. It has gone far beyond that point. Nowadays you can find model of almost everything produced in fair quantities and used somewhere, somehow. Before it was Tamiya, Revell, Humbrol and
Airfix. Now there are tens of companies, who engineer, produce and sell thousands of different models, improvements of the old releases or completely new ones.
This Top Ten will feature models that are proven to be liked and welcomed among the most pretentious modelers. Sometimes not being the most interesting subjects, they are considered works of art. Not only due to their accuracy, but engineering, materials, options for aftermarket use and so on.
I know that many of you out there might disagree with the “ten best” but even then, you will have to admit that they worth it as products.
So, lets begin.

10th place: Meng Model Merkava III.D 1/35

For sure this is considered to be one of the most accurate and beautiful models out there. Ball and Chain set which is usually a problem with Hobby Boss kits here is from plastic and its an easy job. It has a lot of options for iprovements with minor detailing, but even OOTB is great. I would say only the huge amount of small parts can be a hassle. Everything else is great!

9th place: Xact Models T-80U 1/35

Aside from the instruction sheed, nothing bad can be told about that one. Ukrainian company made a huge statement with T-80U, and put themselves on the map for sure. Great detail, great moulding, great surface detail, no flash, great box – everything! Well done, well done! Its not a job for a newbie, but then again, do you know any newbie that will buy T-80U for a start-up model? Come on!

8th place: Hobby Boss Dora Railway Gun 1/72

I doubt that somebody can talk about the accuracy of that one, since not a lot of info was left nowadays. But imagine a model 1m long, and in 1/72 scale!? That’s worth the money too! Hobby Boss are not among my favorite companies, but they did extremely interesting subject with that one. Not only that – they found the perfect ballance between size and scale. Consider that there is a company that makes that model in 35th scale, but it weight more than 20 pounds as far as I know. Besides, who has 2 meters of space for one single model? Detail of this one is great, but it is a complicated one. You gotta know what you are doing, or better stay aside.
Crisp, clean parts. Good fit, but even in 72nd scale, a HUGE model once built.

7th place: Meng Model D9 Doobi 1/35

What can I say about that one…I’ve built three of those for the first 6 months after it was released. Movable shovel, movable rear digger, amazing cockpit details and transparent parts which does not turn foggy so easily. Perfect tracks, movable. Everything is great about it, but it is a bit complicated. It has its building tricks.

6th place: DML M1A2 SEP 1/35

Not much to say about Dragon M1A2 #3536. It is as good as #3535 which is famous to be the best Abrams model ever built. OOTB it is a perfect piece of art, and its all up to the modeler what can squeeze out of it. Everything about it is great. Detail, accuracy. Well, maybe the price is a bit high, but then, probably in the end it will worth it! Besided it features the Tank of all Tanks. The best, undefeated – Abrams. A jet, or a tank?? What is it?

5th place: Trumpeter German 8.8 Flak 18 Selbstfahrlafette 1/35

“Extremely accurate” one of my fellow modelers said recently about it. It features Maybach engine. Complete engine. So, money from resin kit saved. It features metal gun barrel. Again – money from aftermarket barrel saved. Tracks are great – Friul is not needed. Well, so far I see 4 in 1. And the price is like its only one inside the box. Trouble-free in terms of building. When it comes to Trumpy models, that is a rare case. Something is usually wrong somewhere at some point. Not with this one. It is an interesting subject too. Great for a diorama or add-on to another Wehrmacht vehicle. Highly recommended!
Oh, almost forgot – the barrel is rifled. Holy coolishness!

4th place: DML Panzer IV Ausf.F2/G/ 1/35

So much competition on the market when it comes to Nazi tanks…and even more when it comes to Panzer IV. Truth to be told, it is amazing that we can even find a model that can be called “best of” among that abundance of options.  If it wasn’t the typical mess up with the instructions, that would be easily on 2nd place. Great detail, great moulding, great everything, and most of all – ACCURACY. Historical accuracy of that particular type and model. If you want Panzer IV – THIS IS THE ONE. End of story.

3rd place: AFV Club Churchill Mk.IV AVRE 1/35

Superb! Complicated model, suitable only for experienced modelers, but again – SUPERB! Great fit, great detailing, even greater final looks. It offers a lot of aftermarket options for further development. And as we all know, most of the modelers are praying every night to get that kind of a deal! It has vinyl, it has PE, it has transparent, it has metal. All-in-one. Don’t waste time, go on and get it! You won’t regret it! I never liked Churchill tanks that much. With this one, I can easily go with two in my stash. Consider that! If you don’t believe me, check out the reviews in the web.

2nd place: Meng Model A39 Tortoise 1/35

This one requires attention to details. Some of the moulding is not perfect, some of the parts need cleaning. But in the matter of originality, engineering and appearance, it gets 10 out of 10. Not many companies will risk with that beast. Its not even known among inexperienced modelers. They usually go: “Torto..wha?” Yeah, but NO. This is a piece of art. Meng have masterminded the New Modeling Order. Don’t miss that one. Amazing add-on to every collection.

And the 1st place is going to…: Bronco Su-152 /KV-14/ 1/35

You want accuracy – you have it. You want interrior – you have it. You want size – well, that too! Details, tracks, moulds, …EVERYTHING is great about that one. There is so many amazing things about that model, that I cannot even start pointing them out. You gotta have it. If you are into AFV modeling, even though you might not like russian armor, you gotta have it! It is a must! Workable torsion bars, perfectly replicated gun barrel, engine… what else can you wish for? There are two options #35113 and #35109. My recommendation:

As you can see, Meng Model can be found three times in top ten. DML can be found two. And Dragon are on the market ten times longer than Meng. Easy to do the math, right?! Obviously, the devotion and the quality in Meng headquarters is superb! Great job you guys! Great job!!!!
You can also discover, that Hobby Boss and Trumpeter, which are not usually famous for their accuracy, have too found their way to the Top Ten. Considering their production diversity that isn’t much of an achievement, but again, its worth to test those two particular items.
Xact Models are The All-Star company if you ask me. Their first hit, and they are in top ten. How about that, eh? Who would’ve thought that a newcomer from Ukraine will hit so hard? Not me.
AFV Club are very very famous about doing great and accurate models. Not very suitable for green modelers, with all those small parts, but very well worth every penny when it comes to the heavy hitters in the modeling world. I think they are the most successful company of them all  /shown above/, since they might not have many models in top ten, but I believe that from 11 to 20, its all their spots. So even though not 10 points, they definitely have a lot of stuff that gets 7 or 8 out of 10. Others /companies/ mentioned above cannot say that about their products. Good job AFV Club!
And not surprisingly, setting the new standard for quality and originality – Bronco. This is the company, that with that particular item, has blown all the others far away into deep space. Their model is not even close to the rest in the Top Ten. They have done something amazing, and if we have to be frank, it gets 99 points out of a hundred. The one that takes second place in this comparison chart, with a lot of effort would’ve take 80 at the most. So Bronco are with big advantage compared to the rest. That of course does not mean inadequacy for others. It only means that there are a lot of improvements on every level with that hobby, and we can only expect the best from now on. It also means that Bronco have incorporated the most interesting and original improvements and ideas into one item. That is something we all expect from modeling companies! Any of the two options of KV-14 that they offer on the market currently, can be easily called the best AFV model ever made! Without a doubt!
Job well done!