inbox review italeri revell tamiya 35b lightning ii 1/72 dn models masks for scale models

Inbox Review of Italeri’s 1/72 F-35B Lightning II

 

One of the most innovative modelers that we know and have work with – Milan Mitev – is an avid fan of F-35 in its variations. With special interest in the B- version, Mr. Mitev gained a significant amount of knowledge about the kits representing this machine. If you remember, not so long ago, in DN Models’ channel on YouTube, we posted a transformation video of his Kitty Hawk F-35B. Besides amazing skills and engineering ideas, Mr. Mitev showed that even a mid-level quality kit can be turned into a superb miniature. That is why we count on Mr. Mitev’s expertise when it comes down to F-35 series, and this review will share is view of Italeri’s 72nd scale version of the aircraft released just last year. Tamiya will follow with their own repack of the kit, so we decided that it is worth the effort to share an expert view and opinion on smaller B version in scale.

 

Inbox Review of Italeri’s 1/72 scale F-35B Lightning II

  inbox review italeri revell tamiya 35b lightning ii 1/72 dn models masks for scale models

Although only about a year old, the Italeri’s 1/72 scale F-35B is an awesome model for its scale and it offers some unrivaled advantages over its predecessor kits. Actually, there are plenty of model kits of 1/72 scale Lightning II. This one impresses with the exceptional overall detail of the parts, although there are only about a hundred parts or maybe less. The box of the kit is very simple but very sturdy as well, because the kit is small in this scale. The F-35B Lightning II is not a big plane either. The box art is very nice and it depicts an English F-35B in a hovering position just like it is about to land vertically on a carrier. On the walls of the cardboard box you can see that the finished kit will become 21.7 cm in length once finished. Here is what’s inside:

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There are just two plastic bags and one small baggie for the canopy. All the plastic parts are spread on two big and one small sprue, without any flash issues whatsoever. It is a nice touch that the two halves of the fuselage are whole pieces, so it would be easier to adjust the proper symmetry and geometry of the model when you build it, even if you are novice. Another thing I should point out is the sharpness and the exceptional quality of the RAM patterns that cover the entire model, as well as the bomb/wheel bays underneath.

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Next up, another great advantage of this 1/72 scale kit by Italeri is the great variety of options that it provides directly OOB. Many of the plastic parts are duplicates that allow you to build your model in either flying or STOVL position, for example, there are two upper doors for the lift fan – one with and the one without the hinges. You will find in the manual further directions what parts you should choose and exactly at which step. Italeri also provided a full-size engine, including parts for the turbine and the compressor, although they could be barely seen once you finish your model. There is also an additional small sprue for the loadouts, which include two types of bombs and two types of missiles. There are also external pylons so you can jazz-up your model and add some external ordnance. Well, it wouldn’t be so stealthy, but on the box of the kit, you can also see the text ‘’U.S. version ‘’Beast Mode’’ external armament set included’’. The best thing is that there are parts for a loading cart included in the kit as well! You can make your own little diorama with the plane on the ground and in the process of armament loading, for example.

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The decals are on one small square sheet and they are very good indeed. They allow you to choose from three versions of the F-35B Lightning II – Italian, English and American. The paint guide shows the needed colors while the decals are illustrated via ‘’common parts’’ instructions and separate instructions for each of the three versions available. Also take into account that there is one additional page included to the instruction manual which has the corrected instructions for the decal arrangement and for the gluing of some parts, so make sure to consider it as well.

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Overall, the 1/72 Italeri kit of F-35B Lightning II is amazing! It offers much more advantages but it has some little cons as well. I can highly recommend it to you even as a first model, but keep in mind that the kit allows plenty of modifications and detailing, and it needs your precision skills for a flawless result. Finally, here is an overview of the pros and cons of this 1/72 scale kit:

  Pros: - Exceptionally detailed for its scale, especially the RAM patterns, the bomb and the wheel bays; - Tinted canopy without a seamline in the middle; - Plenty of ordnance including external pylons under the wings; - Numerous optional parts – open/closed panels, nozzle, etc. – for STOVL and in-flight mode; - Additional loadout cart for a diorama with an external bomb display; - Full-size and very detailed engine.   Cons: - No pilot figure; - No PE parts; - Rather plain cockpit; - There are distortions from the canopy.   www.dnmodels.com
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telford scale model world 2020 dn models masks for scale models

Telford Scale Model World 2020 – Cancelled

  Telford Scale Model World 2020 seems to be the latest Covid victim in these odd times. Apparently the event has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Believe in that pandemic or not, Telford 2020 seems doomed because of it. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons for this decision was based on the median age of the participants, which is kinda sad. This hobby, in the times that we live in, especially after 2008 economic crisis is blooming. Not many young ones joined obviously, making the average modeler a person with a decent amount of years behind his/her back. As with most of the Airshows and similar events in Europe and North America, scale modeling shows are being cancelled one by one and drop off of the calendar. Telford, being the definitive king of all the modeling events was the latest to be announced cancelled, although there were high hopes that because of its size, it will happen no matter what. That was a wrong assumption though and for many this year will be crippled by the virus not only because of stay-at-home initiative, but by the lack of any options what so ever to change the boring daily routine even for a short weekend. Another hope was based on the idea that the average modeler is an aged smart person, with decent amount of knowledge in history and thirst for wisdom, and that will eventually lead to responsible participants, wearing masks or whatever protective measurements are imposed on the participants. Models in general are not supposed to be touched by bare hands, thus this should help too. But in the end, all this was another wrong assumption. Aged modelers in that case, went into another class of risk assessment, which led to the final decision. A no-go. As a result, the biggest modeling contest on the planet won’t happen in 2020, joining the long line of activities killed by the COVID in the last 8-10 months. Not only that, but many of the long awaited releases will be either postponed or will be done online, which will definitely kill some of the fun and excitement. There are companies that are looking forward to this specific event to present their latest releases. On the other hand, the modelers are longing for that weekend where they can spend some time with fellow-thinkers and spend some hard-earned money on their favorite hobby. Good for modelers – good for modeling companies. Not in 2020 though. For many it seems like a ridiculous idea, but yes, this virus is killing of a lot more than people. It kills legacies and companies, one of which by the way is Wingnut Wings, a leader on the scale modeling market. Now it killed the biggest show on the planet. So what comes next? Let’s try and look it from the bright side, which by the way is very hard to be discovered. But yes, staying at home and fewer modeling shows will mean more actual modeling. And it will be done with the simple and firm idea, that this is a preparation. A preparation for the next show. In the next season. Maybe in 2021. Hopefully not 2022. Because one thing is sure, we will not be beaten by this thing. Whatever it is. We will beat it. And we might not be able to go to Telford this year. But it is sure as hell we will be on the first Telford event that happens after this madness. www.dnmodels.com
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A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

A-26B Invader 1/32 from Hobby Boss

Intro

A-26B Invader is the first of the A-26/B-26 line that Hobby Boss releases. Invader is a legendary plane, that’s why there is no doubt that other variants will follow. Let’s start with that, that Invader often is quoted as the plane that fought in the three major US wars: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Many other conflicts as well. It takes something to be that sturdy and to survive through times when aviation technology was leaping every two years or so. Even more with two spinners attached.

Although later variants were modified and internally had little to do with the WWII examples, it was still the good ol’ A-26 in general. The plane was slightly ahead of its time with its sleek and sexy looks, laminar wing and speed achievements. It was a brain child of the genius Edward Heinemann, the same guy who designed Dauntless, A-1 Skyraider, A-4 Skyhawk and worked extensively on F-16.

The Invader, although somewhat lost in between the news about new and extremely fast jets for their time, atomic weapons and constant conflicts popping up here and there all the time, was still a very bright star in the aviation history if you take the time to explore it. In that terms, this kit can be considered overdue.

Packing

A-26B Invader is the typical Hobby Boss kit. It is packed the same way as Trumpeter and Hobby Boss always did it: in separate plastic bags, with couple sectors made from cardboard dividers. That’s in the box that is rather small for 32nd scale twin prop, but in the same time with enough space left to close the lid once you open and eventually re-arrange the order of the sprues.

Everything else is just like it always was, which is not a “top-notch“ appearance, but that is justified by the reasonable price tag and the fact that in the end, the box means nothing. The only thing that matters are the contents. And Hobby Boss are perfectly aware.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models instructions

Instructions

Those are located on the bottom beneath everything else. Unfortunately, the style remains unchanged after two decades of experience in scale model producing. It is not bad per se, but the change was requested million times on different web platforms from plenty of modelers. We are living in an era of highly competitive market of scale models, where companies with innovations and superb quality products bloom. Keeping the sheet the same like it was in 2001 is not a good option. After all, this is your guide for getting through the increasingly complex building processes. On the other hand, the latter hasn’t changed much for Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, so again, this is justified. HB kept this build simple and straight-forward, so if you are not overly pretentious, you will probably be able to accept what comes OOTB in terms of instructions.

Unfortunately, same goes for the color schemes, which provide three options, two US and one French, but without any explanation what so ever. Eventually, the modeler should find out what is being built by personal research.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models instruction sheet

Plastic

The quality of the Hobby Boss plastic is good. This A-26B Invader is no exception. It is what we know and love from the Chinese model maker. It sands well, it cuts well, it can sustain decent amount of abuse. What more can a modeler want?

There is a room for extra detailing, especially on a rivet level, but even as it is, the Invader comes with a decent texture. The kit features interior as well and the same goes for that. Again, thanx to the plastic that we are used to get from Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, one can easily conclude that cutaways will be very easily doable and probably almost mandatory with this kit.

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The sprues aren’t that many, but the focus isn’t on the part number as with armor kits. Just the contrary. That was the case with the Liberator recently released by the same company. So logically, here things are pretty much the same.

Speaking of which, Liberator was criticized widely for accuracy issues. There is a big BUT and the fact that there aren’t many other options on the market, so whoever wants to build – builds. The rest complain and search for discrepancies. Same goes for the Invader. And it is pretty sure that the accuracy will have flaws, possibly some major ones. But do we have an alternative?

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Clear Parts

Clear parts can be described with one word only: Wonderful! Just take a look at the picture below: Clear parts a26b invader hobby boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

Decals

As mentioned above, the A-26B from Hobby Boss comes with three options. The decal sheet they are fitted in is not very large, although markings for this plane in this scale are more or less – substantial in size. Due to the lack of additional information though, aftermarket options will be probably more attractive than what we get OOTB. The reason is one – lack of information about the specific planes, two – more interesting and probably visually attractive options on the aftermarket scene.

With that said, the decals of Trumpeter/Hobby Boss were never an issue and if you want to stick to the box contents, they are more than acceptable option. With that scale though, decals are better put off and substituted with masks. This provides maximum realism and guarantees that there will be no issues with bubbles, silvering or ripped edges.

decals A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

Extras

The A-26B Invader kit features two extras: rubber tires and small PE sheet. Neither of those deserves attention though. Not that they are bad, on the contrary. They are acceptable. However, PE is rather thick and for such a big bird it is insufficient in terms of part numbers. Rubber tires are also kinda useless. They are stiff and cannot provide the sag required, thus exchanging those for resin aftermarket parts is the better option.

The thing that is missing and will probably be one of the most important and almost mandatory add-on are the metal struts. One of the things that dictates their usage is the size and the weight of the plane in 32nd scale. The other is, that metal struts are often more detailed than the plastic OOTB parts, which in this scale is highly demanded option. So yes, there are extras that comes with the kit, but let’s get real – they are not enough nor at the required level.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models photo etch

Conclusion

Even if the above written might sound more on the negative side, the conclusion about this plane is mostly positive. All that is mentioned like a downsides is justified by the price and the fact that Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, despite their mass production of kits are a B player on the market. Even with that, they produce one of a kind kits on subjects that are with high demand.

Another thing mentioned above is that the Invader was overdue. This is another reason to get this kit immediately. It is a lovely looking plane and despite the expected inaccuracies /which OOTB builders prefer to forget/, the need for aftermarket and lack of historical reference, we have to give it to Hobby Boss. Another spot on hit, closely following the Liberator duo released last year.

So yes, the kit's worth it. It deserves attention and it looks great. You will never get the proper "A" quality from Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, but you will never get that subject from the A players either. So you cannot have your cake and eat it too …

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Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th scale - Unboxing and Review dn models masks for scale models

Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th scale – Unboxing and Review

Intro

Mi-24 in quarter scale was long due. In the most popular scale and being the most popular attack helicopter in the World, it was a blasphemy to not have a decent kit in 48th so far. And if you are thinking: "Revell/Monogram was there!" the answer is "No". That was not contemporary kit and with the fact that we have relatively recent toolings of Mi-24 in 72nd and in 35th scale makes it even more irrelevant than it already is.

Zvezda, after an year or so of hints and promises finally got us the treat we've all been waiting for. With the fact that they have the award winning 72nd scale Hind that is constantly being re-packed and re-released and the other fact that they probably have the best source of accurate info about the Hind, hopes are very high for this release. So let's dig into the box of this new Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th and see how the Russians did their homework.

mi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale models

Box

Boxart of the Zvezda Mi-24 in 48th scale is very good. As with all their recent releases, Zvezda managed to make a first good impression with their bright yellow-sided box and the Hind in flight depicted on it. The box itself is rather large and the sprues are loose inside, which was kind of a surprise. The room inside is the exact opposite of what we are getting with some other companies that over-flow their boxes with sprues and plastic bags. And it is not any better either. On both sides of this spectrum the lack of decent boxing ideas is showing vividly.

Inside sprues are packed by more than one in an envelope, with couple of other plastic zip-locks holding the decals, the clear parts and at the bottom - instructions and color profiles. All of this, at first sight not very intriguing nor overly aesthetic, especially considering a box that is at least 30% larger than needed to hold all this. But let's not make any snap judgements. 

mi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale models instruction sheet

Instructions

The instruction sheet that comes with this Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is not far from what we've seen from the Russian model maker. It is black and white, printed on not very sophisticated paper, looking more rugged and straight forward compared to the modern scale model kits. Of course, that is not necessarily a bad thing, just something that shows a lack of finesse when put side by side with the competition.

The steps aren't many and does not feature much, which shows that the kit is not a giant leap over 72nd scale engineering-wise. On top of that specific description of some of the details is not present, but again - that simplifies the whole building process. Now think of the other perspective - if you are a novice or a kid just stepping into the hobby: the less is more. Which in this case can be considered the up-side.

mi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale models instructions

Plastic

This Mi-24 from Zvezda in 48th scale is very impressive plastic-wise. Somehow it looks refined and the material - improved. Now this might be the initial excitement talking, but the surface seems crisp, there is no flash and the detail looks very good. This is Zvezda after all and let's not fool ourselves - they are not A-lister when it comes down to scale model production. But for a company that delivers decent kits at very affordable prices - this is a good looking helo. Another point here is that they are delivering Mi-24 in 48th scale which is a beast of its own class and that adds to the statement above.

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The lack of rivets in 2020 is somewhat disappointing, but again - this is Zvezda. Finesse is not their middle name and probably never will be. However, this - for every relatively experienced builder - is not a problem. There are plenty of riveting tools and plenty of information on Mi-24 Hind subject that might help solve this minor issue. Besides, even if that wasn't the case and we had plenty of rivets here, experienced modelers would've added something here and there. It is simply inevitable. And if that might be some sort of consolation - there are couple of pilots on the sprues. A nice add-on for those who would present this Mi-24 Hind in-flight.

All jokes aside - plastic is good and the detail is decent too.

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Clear Parts

Unfortunately same thing cannot be said about the clear parts. Even in 2020, Zvezda clear parts are not good enough. They are neither transparent enough, nor are crisp and impressive. True - this is a helicopter AKA flying tank and clear parts can be easily considered a secondary detail, however there is a trick here. With age, real Hinds show yellow-ish appearance, similar but slightly milder compared to the Soviet airplanes. For example MiG-31. That, with this material would be a challenge to reproduce and unfortunately there is no aftermarket that will help with this Zvezda here. At least not yet. But don't get your hopes up, since for their 72nd scale kit there is still no help on that end.

At first they look cool. Maybe only the sprue frame being bendy hints about the real quality here. But when you look closely - there is huge image bendings, scratches on the surface and in general - soft-ish material with lack of crisp details. Not overly awful, but not very good either. So so.

mi24 zvezda in 48th scale unboxing review clear parts dn models masks for scale models 

Color Profiles

Here we have some improvement finally. While before with Zvezda one of the biggest let downs were color profiles lacking any color what so ever, here we have something different. It might be only one sheet with depictions on both of its sides, but we have color. And that probably adds to the total cost of the production and might be a tough decision for Zvezda, but this is something that you cannot avoid improving. So Zvezda did it.

Zvezda kits are famous mostly with their price tags. Nobody can beat them on that arena. But that comes with some sacrifices, plenty of which are mentioned above. And a question arises from that - why invest in significantly larger-than-needed box with plenty of colors and not add color profiles? Well, they did it the other way this time. It is not like Eduard Limited Edition Mi-24 re-pack but it is definitely acceptable here. Besides Eduard re-packing this quarter scale beast is probably a matter of time. So we can only hope.

mi-24 hind in 48th scale zvezda review dn models masks for scale models color profilemi-24 hind in 48th scale zvezda review dn models masks for scale models color profile

Decals

Two sheets of decals are present, packed in zip-lock envelope for extra protection. They seems to be printed by "Zvezda" if we consider the logo on them to be the proof of that. Blue-ish appearance and very thin surface, nothing different from the regular Zvezda that you know and have built. Plenty of aftermarket options are available to substitute that, because let's face it - with this platform, modelers sticking to the OOTB paint options won't be the case. Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is gem in the scale and its overall existence, so you can count on that plenty of aftermarket decals will show up.

mi24 zvezda in 48th scale review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Conclusion

Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is a precious add on to the quarter scale line. Despite all of the minor let-downs mentioned above, this kit is very good investment. The price beats all that is mentioned above and counter-balance all missed from the Russian model maker. A long road is ahead of Zvezda if they want to became an A-list model maker, but they are definitely going that way. Slowly, but in the right direction. This kit is the living proof of that fact.

Now aftermarket companies have the word next. With photo-etch, resin add-ons, decals and more. We at DN Models will try to dig into this subject with some camouflage masks and canopy sets that will eventually ease up the building process. But there will be plenty of others too, especially improving the kit's minor weaknesses. Overall, this is highly recommended kit that will quickly become a best-seller and hopefully will set the beginning of a new long line of Hind variants in 48th scale. So don't wait too long, because probably plenty are on order already and you might miss to get yours in time!

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shipping to UK 2020 dn models masks for scale models

Answering a Question to Our UK Clients

 

Since the end of January we've received plenty of similar questions from our UK customers. It is all about the orders and how things will continue after Brexit. Lately, Corona Virus too. Although this article mostly concerns Brexit, the issues with the parcels to the United Kingdom is an unanswered question in both of the cases. Luckily, we can try to clear some things up a bit here.

Up to this point, there is absolutely no change with the UK parcels. Time frames are pretty much the same, although some delays are expected. Latter one concerns crippled transport system caused by the Covid-19 panic. However, with Brexit, so far nothing has changed.  Parcels come and go same as before. Official news state that tax-wise one year after the Brexit things will continue the same way as before. After the end of 2020 is not exactly clear what comes next, but supposedly there will be a deal between EU and UK. Anyhow, this is months from now and the virus situation adds to that too. So first let's get throughout 2020 and worry about that afterwards. 

Considering how everything is going sideways currently, we can expect that in 2021 there will be some relaxed measures and slow changes that will help additionally. With that said, there is no way to predict is there gonna be some drastic changes or not. Some overseas countries are now banned and normal postal services are halted indefinitely. However, even with Brexit and Corona Virus, United Kingdom is not among those. We can still provide normal services and you will be able to get your parcels in timely manner and without any additional taxes or charges. Everything is still the same as the year before and the year before that.

In 2021 things might or might not change. This is a variable that is yet to be defined and the Worldwide /Covid-19/ confusion is the main reason why. From our end, all we can do is try and provide the same service as before, at least to an extent that concerns our activities. With that article we sincerely hope that some questions are answered and our UK clients will be satisfied and more relaxed. However, feel free to email us with additional questions that might arise now or in the future. As always we will be happy to help!

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wingnut wings dn models masks for scale models

Wingnut Wings End Rumors

Wingnut Wings are among the top 5 companies for scale models currently. Their high-quality and nicely packed kits are an example for what  a contemporary scale model should look like. Unfortunately, usually those who are at the top of the food chain suffer first when large scale unpredicted events happen. One such event is the Corona Virus panic, that closed many at home and limited tons of services Worldwide.

Looking at it from a modeler's perspective, this is nothing but good news. You can stay and work at home, waiting for the virus to go away, or whatever the agenda is. That means more time, more relaxed environment and in the end - more models completed. This is all good news but only for the ones who has everything in stash. From another perspective, companies cannot sell their stuff and even if they do, means of transporting it are crippled. That means that salaries are to be blocked, production slowed and many other downsides of such a situation.

The first alleged victim of this is seems to be emerging and the rumor is that it is Wingnut Wings. So unfortunate if that is true. Because they are one of the best. And being an example of a fast downfall is a shame. Now, with all their hardware it is highly unlikely they will disappear completely. Probably somebody will buy them off and sell them under another brand.

However, this might mean that their upcoming Lancasters are never to be happening, as well as other probable changes. One such change might be that the engineering and project processes are gonna be disrupted under another name. It also might mean that someone will buy them off - maybe Trumpeter/HobbyBoss  -and will sell them with all that they have currently. Nothing new. Just to capitalize on the leftovers. It is not clear yet.

We can only hope that Wingnut Wings going away is just a rumor or a preliminary news, which are to be dealt with. Maybe someone will step up and help. Maybe we can all do. We should wait it out and see. It is an option for Wingnut to reach out and ask modelers for their action. Because of jokers like AMK can survive prolonged and false promises with years, it will be a shame to let WnW drown.

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London Omnibus MiniArt 38021 dn models masks for scale models

London Omnibus – MiniArt #38021

Intro

In London, meaning of transportation has evolved, but the general idea stayed the same for the last century or so. Being one of the World centers in more than one means, London was always a magnet for millions. That of course means that you need to have some way of making those people move. And that is a science, not just a technology offering. London Omnibus from MiniArt is a interesting glimpse into a time long gone. But not only. It is also an idea, what was the basis for a modern city transport. Particularly that city transport. On top of that, it is another offering in 35th scale with civilian appearance. Something colorful to cheer the modeling benches at scale model shows. Because some of us are a bit tired of death selling machines. 

London Omnibus MiniArt 38021 dn models masks for scale models

The Box

comes in bright colors as you might expect for such a kit. Besides, MiniArt are good at that part. Their boxes are always vivid. London Omnibus with its general appearance - bright colors, commercial stickers and tall profile - ads to that. As with the vehicle colors, the box itself is made in red. Something that you cannot miss on the shelf while looking around in your modeling shop.

On the sides you can find the standard kit description and on one of them there are couple of profiles included. Those differ slightly from the Omnibus depicted on the boxart, but in general bring the same idea. If you look closely, you will see that this will not be an easy task modeling-wise. There are plenty of decals, plenty of windows and - most challenging probably - the London Omnibus comes in red. As we all know - white, yellow and red are pretty tricky to be represented accurately. 

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Instructions

MiniArt provides clear and easy to follow instructions in general. As usual, the building steps are presented in minimalistic black and white appearance. The color is kept for the painting guide and advertisement suggestions. Latter one being plenty, considering that you can switch in between what's given in the box and create your own combo.

Another interesting thing to mention is the color of the vehicle depicted on the color profiles. This was truly - a bright red Omnibus. But for its time. From our current perspective, the colors are pale and dull looking. Something that MiniArt caught perfectly. The contrast is clearly visible when you compare London Omnibus color to MiniArt's logo. And that only adds to the realism and the feeling that you are building something from about 110 years ago.

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Plastic

Light grey, packed in a plastic envelope alongside the photo-etch cardboard packing, the plastic is what we usually get from the Ukrainian model maker. The sprues aren't that many, especially comparing this kit to MiniArt's tank or tractor offerings. Besides, the space is mostly taken bu the chassis parts. Sounds interesting? It is, but it is also very challenging.

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The alignment of the chassis elements will be a job very demanding and will push away some of the younger modelers with less experience. That of course, has a different perspective. The ones who know what they are dealing with - being MiniArt - know what to expect. And that is one very complex and cleverly engineered model, that will bring a lot of joy during the building process. There is an engine, transmission, suspension elements and plenty of other add-ons. Those are not only interesting to be built, but present an enormous options for weathering and representation.

Actually, exactly half of the building steps are dedicated to the area that is beneath the bus. So even if you decide to leave it at that and present it as a rotten wreckage, there still will be enough to show.

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Photo Etch

In this kit MiniArt saved us the hassle of dealing with a lot of photo-etch. Maybe because they left the challenging part for the windows and the advertising options on the sides of this London Omnibus. PE parts are rather large ones and this won't be anything compared to some of their T-55 offerings. Here we get just a normal, simple PE sheet, that anyone can cope with.

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Decal sheet

Is not big, because ads are positioned on the instruction sheet. This decision can be criticized by many and to some reasonable extent too. Because the quality of MiniArt's decals is good and some of the adds could've been done with that in mind. However, most of the adds are way too big and as you can see this decal sheet features mostly small items. So MiniArt decided to separate the two.

That is another addition to the fact that this kit is not for inexperience model builders. It is hard to imagine that this can be built successfully if among the first couple kits, because there is so much to think about and so much to expect and avoid. But MiniArt have always been oriented towards different audience, which comes at a price.

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Clear parts

Of this London Omnibus are very important as you might've guessed already. Good news is, that knowing the quality of the windows that MiniArt offered in their Tram series, this will be a breeze here. But that is only if you have dealt with the Trams already. For the regular armor modeler, so many windows will be a masking nightmare. Interestingly, MiniArt's clear parts are very sturdy and can sustain decent amount of abuse before show some visible damage. With that said, one must approach this kit with care and patience, but most importantly - with a plan.

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Conclusion

London Omnibus is a nostalgic offering. It brings you back to an age long gone. With the bright appearance and numerous adds, it will definitely bring a smile on many faces when displayed completed. Kits as this one are not a common sight and we must give it to MiniArt for their effort.

On the other end of the spectrum, this kit is a challenge even for the experienced modelers out there. There are different mediums such as decals, adds from paper, clear parts and metal. To be successful with that, you must know your way around modeling. Alignment of the chassis will be an issue for some, painting in red colors too. But in general, this kit is a step aside from the armor road that many take in 35th scale. It will definitely be a fun one!

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Kitty Hawk Huey UH-1B

Kitty Hawk Huey UH-1B in 35th scale. New tooling. Isn't that great? You bet it is! And finally, after years of its initial announcement, Kitty Hawk released a boxart of the UH-1B 1/35, #KH5001. That happens amidst weird times for all of the inhabitants of our Planet. Being forced to keep social distancing, on a brink of a new economic crisis and with expectations of unpredictable changes, at least we get some good news. Because if now is not the time for staying home and making models, when will be it?

The Huey we expected from Kitty Hawk was different version. Couple of years ago, we were hinted that later variants will be released - either D or H. Vietnam era legends. And they probably will be. But when, this isn't exactly clear. Actually, same goes for KH5001 - UH-1B. Don't let the news of the boxart fool you. Kitty Hawk are not a company that keeps their deadlines or promises accurately. And we are not talking Hollywood postponements of the upcoming movies due to the virus panic. Nope. Even in perfect times, most of the new comers on the scale modeling market does not respect the time frames of their releases. Even though those time frames were set by themselves.

However, being a hobby that requires time and patience, scale modeling and its fans can tolerate extended deadlines. And with that said, the UH-1B will appear rather soon eventually. One of the reasons for that being the fact, that now people are forced to stay home, or at least limit their movement around. That eliminates traveling abroad and vacations too. So we take it that Kitty Hawk are not stupid and they, as many others will exploit the opportunity of releasing new and interesting kits. Maybe latter one being the reason why B version appears first too.

Kitty Hawk Huey is already available in 48th scale, for those who do not want to wait and want to start immediately. But we all have been waiting for this 35th scale release. And even though it took a while it will be great to have it. So brace yourselves helo fans, a new era in plastic modeling is on the horizon! And if you wanna wait for the 35th in those strange times that we live in, you can always count on Hollywood. Legendary movies like Apocalypse Now and We Were Soldiers are here to stay and keep you home, but more importantly - to motivate you for this upcoming 35th scale beauty. Use your time wisely!

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Yuma Open Air Museum – Arizona

Yuma Open Air Museum is one of those interesting and hidden places, about which you never hear much. It is in the middle of nowhere, people don’t talk about it much and it is made somewhat irrelevant for many. That shouldn’t fool you though. This place has a lot for armor fans and modelers, despite not being in the spotlight. It is somewhat an Oasis in the desert. Without palms and water, but with heavy metal armored vehicles instead.

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It is located in the middle of the desert, in the state of Arizona, close to California. Close to Yuma. We will leave it at that, so you can do your due diligence and look for it in Google. Hopefully, that will make it a little more popular, at least in the search engine. It is actually easy one to get to, but it is not one that you hear much about.

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Despite that, as you can see from the pictures here, there are nice exhibits, maintained in very good condition. Now it is not clear which helps more for that - is it the weather in Arizona, or it is whoever take care of them, but it is probably a little bit of both. Armor vehicles are placed on round concrete pads, which are all over the place and most of them are taken. The empty ones hint that there will be more to come, hopefully in the near future.

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This is not a huge place, nor it features a lot of exhibits, like some of the other armor museums that we’ve described here on this blog. However, this is one of the coolest ones we’ve been to. Because it is not only about the number of armor pieces shown, but also the arrangement, the maintenance and most importantly the atmosphere of the place.

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Yuma Open Air Museum is definitely one with atmosphere. At first, we’ve thought, that it is an Air Museum, but it is an armored one. Excluding one Cobra helicopter placed on a pylon close by. Right next to the entrance of the military facility in the vicinity of the museum grounds. With that said, still it was a pleasant surprise.

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We know that for some of our readers, Arizona is far from home, but still many visit California often. And if you are an armor fan, a modeler or just a museum lover, well, this place is located at an acceptable drive distance from Los Angeles and Sand Diego. Even from Las Vegas, Nevada. All of those mentioned - often visited by tourists abroad. So our suggestion: if you like armor, you are OK with driving, do your research and pay a visit to this place. It is an open air museum, you just park and visit. The weather is good almost all of the time, and the exhibits, well, you can judge from the pictures.

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For those of you who can't go that far, well, check out the link here. We've made a walkaround of the Sherman, since we thought that this is the most interesting exhibit for the modeling fans. It is not nearly enough to cover what you can see in the Yuma Open Air Museum, but at least will give you some hint and hopefully - some help while modeling the M4 tank.

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miniart fuel oil drums 35613 review dn models masks for scale models

MiniArt Fuel & Oil Drums 1930-50s

 

MiniArt Fuel & Oil Drums 1930-50s is an accessories set in 35th scale, designed as an add-on. That would serve plenty of purposes for various modelers and their ventures. From stowage, through vignette accessories, throughout full diorama sets, this is one of MiniArt's sets that is spot on release for almost every modeler out there.

Back in a day, when modeling was more or less Airfix, Heller and Tamiya, such sets were missing from the scene. They were longed for, scratch built, home-made-designed, and always presented a challenge. The bitter truth for many modelers out there was, that if you don't have higher creativity talents and you are not flexible with the items and materials used, you could hardly get yourself such an item. Those were different times.

Nowadays, there is almost everything on the market. Recently a set of pigeons appeared, as well as plenty resin animals, like dogs, cats, sheep, etc. In that regard MiniArt Fuel & Oil Drums set was only a matter of time. Along with their other Buildings & Accessories Series, this set comes with plenty to cover your basic needs.

The box

that this set comes with is a small and with soft sides, slightly different than what you get with MiniArt's bigger kits. It is - as always - with beautiful boxart, featuring a very clear representation of the contents. In this case - a nice set of various drums and couple of hand pumps in two of them. Color-wise it is attractive and it is made in a way that you can hardly resist when you see it on the shelf of your local store. The sides of the box are black, which is standard for smaller sets from MiniArt like the one we are describing here.

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The instructions

are printed on the back of that same box. The back of the box is divided into three sections. The upper one features the building instructions, the second one - the color section of the instruction "sheet". Those two take up about 90% of the back. On the very bottom, there is a short paint guide, featuring most of the famous brands, among which surprisingly Mission Models are present. They are relatively new producer on the market and it is nice to see that MiniArt are fast and flexible on providing that.

The color schemes are very important with this specific item. Fuel and oil drums come in bright colors, usually specific for the manufacturer. But that is only part of the thing - they usually get very worn with age and work on that matter in scale is practically endless. You can play with variations, weathering techniques and actual physical damage of the parts, in order to get the perfect representation of the worn and often battered drum.

The plastic

is light grey and is packed in a small plastic envelope all together with the decals. This time, almost not flash was found on the sprues, which are repetitive and rather simple. Not always is this the case with MiniArt. The only delicate details featured are the hand pumps, but this shouldn't fool you: the level of detailing over the parts - even though simple by themselves - is very high.

Three distinctive drum types are visible, but probably with little imagination those can be altered into more options. Fit seems to be very good with the couple of the drum types that we tested. Small gaps should be easily filled with putty and without much trouble. Besides, those drums with their bright appearance of red, blue, green or any combo of those usually draws attention to another direction.

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Decals

are presented on a small long and narrow sheet. Not all the decals are equal in numbers. For example - Azur and Leuna, Agip and Rhena are 2 of each. While BP, Shell and Sinclair are 6 of each. And Gulf and Esso are two. With that said we all know, that usually with age those types of oil product containers are often repainted or worn enough, to erase any markings what so ever. Which gives even broader spectrum of opportunities. However if you decide to use the decals, stay assured that their thickness, colors and overall quality are all great. 

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Conclusion

This MiniArt Fuel and Oil Drums set is great addition to any vignette or diorama and is warmly welcomed by modelers. Along with the Jerry Cans and Road Signs that MiniArt offers, this represent a good and complete set of offerings to cover the basic needs for any modeler. In addition to that, there are plenty of others in the Accessories series by the Ukrainian company, that can give you a complete diorama from one manufacturer.

Those can be combined with plenty of 1930s and on vehicles, even up to this day. Modern times, especially where there are regional low-key barely- or no- funded conflicts are full with examples of older stuff like those drums. And from modeling stand point, they will look a lot more attractive if represented worn, battered and old, rather then being shiny and brand new.

MiniArt made another good set, that was missing from the benches before. Nowadays however, you can find almost everything in terms of modeling. And it is a blessing, that we have companies that think in that direction, rather than focusing only on the best selling subjects out there.

Highly recommended!

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