Flettner Fi 282 V21 kolibri dn models masks for scale models review unboxing miniart v21

Flettner FL 282 V-21 Kolibri 1/35 by MiniArt

Intro:

Flettner FL 282 Kolibri is considered as the first production helicopter in the World. Not surprisingly it comes from Germany, where most of the technical innovations are being made, even up to date. For its time, the concept was revolutionary, and exceeded - by far - the dreams of many. Being an unseen flying machine at that point, it served a purpose as a proof of concept more than being an actual aircraft. From the practical standpoint it didn’t have the time to prove itself. Of course, this was typical for the era and especially the last couple of years of the Second World War. With that said, the Kolibri was and is a milestone in aviation history. It was about time for a model to be produced and luckily, in our case MiniArt did it. With their devotion to details and various engineering perspectives toward modeling, there can hardly be any better choice for a company to represent the Flettner Kolibri in scale.

Boxart:

Blue side walls of the glossy cardboard were what surprised me when I first saw the kit. Miniart kits are usually either orange or red on their sides and the blue brought a different idea. The color of the sky hints that the company will give us more in terms of flying machines. Let’s hope I’m right. The boxart is beautiful with a red Flettner FL 282 V-21 pictured on the apron, right next to a FW-190 in the background. The focus is toward the rotor and somehow it draws your attention to the fact that this is a helicopter. Very neatly, Miniart picked a picture when one of the rotor’s blades covers the swastika and that way the authenticity was kept in a special way. It is quite annoying when you see models with boxarts when this was deliberately erased. It might be forbidden in some countries but it is still a history and modeling is all about accuracy. Flettner Fi 282 V21 kolibri dn models masks for scale models review unboxing miniart colibri

Instructions:

The blue-ish appearance is transferred onto the instruction sheet. It starts with a description of the model and some facts.
  • Total Parts 189
  • Plastic parts 178
  • 11 Photo-Etched
The sheet continues with some pictures of the completed mode and parts description. Everything is high quality in terms of material and depiction. The steps themselves are not many. There are few devoted on the rear fuselage and its frame construction, a little more on the engine, which is superbly detailed and the rest is the tubular structure of the helicopter. The latter one includes rotor attachment, gearbox, fuel tanks and landing gear. Rotors’ blades are last, alongside with the cockpit, if one might call it that. It is very simple, as with the original of course, but it still presents a very nice touch.

Sprues:

There is a modest number of sprues, especially for Miniart kit. However, everything is made in their specific style and you can feel the touch of their precision all over. The frame tubing of the Flettner is very nicely represented and I feel that it might be even a bit too delicate. Flettner Fi 282 V21 kolibri dn models masks for scale models review unboxing miniart hummingbird The number of parts is not great, but this is an aircraft model, where this is common. On the other hand, the way that everything is engineered suggest that this isn’t a kit for an inexperienced modeler. It is demanding, due to the size and the fragility of the parts. The plastic is MiniArt’s standard medium gray, which is the new material that they are using in the last couple years. It is flexible and very suitable for projects featuring such tiny and fragile elements. Flettner Fi 282 V21 kolibri dn models masks for scale models reviewFlettner Fi 282 V21 kolibri dn models masks for scale models v21

Options:

There is one option included in the set. This is the V-21 version of the Flettner Kolibri. It is from Schweidnitz, Germany and it dates from the period from May till September of 1944. The V-21 was a twin seater version of the Kolibri with the observer standing in the rear fuselage facing backwards. Right there, on the sides there are the insignia and the letters defining the specific aircraft. Interestingly, there are crosses on the upper stabilizers and there are crosses plus letters on their undersides. On the vertical stabilizer there is a swastika and two tone paint scheme. On the bottom side of the helicopter there is the RLM 65 and on the sides and upper parts – RLM 71. In all, there isn’t much to that camouflage scheme, but the Kolibri’s charm comes from something else. Flettner Fi 282 V21 kolibri dn models masks for scale models review unboxing

Conclusion:

The first thing that struck me was that this box is small. But for such a small box, this kit contains a lot. The quality is exceeding the standards of today. The engineering is challenging, but for such small helicopter is perfectly matched. The simplicity of the real Kolibri is transferred into complex model which contains a lot of realism due to that same reason. It is true, that information about Flettner V-21 is not so much and there might be some doubts about the overall accuracy. But as far as I am familiar with MiniArt’s approach I am pretty sure that they took the job very seriously. The kit in my opinion is absolutely necessary for any helicopter modeler. For a Luftwaffe modelers this is also a must. It is different in appearance and contains meaning non-standard for the usual German WWII model. Either Fl 282 V-21 or any other version that MiniArt offers, don’t pass on that kit with ease. It deserves a lot. www.dnmodels.com
Read more...

MENG Model 9K37M1 Buk Air Defense System

Many kits are considered controversial, especially due to their history. Most of them are from the First and the Second World Wars. Not so many of the modern armor models, especially currently in use will spark such a debate as this one though. And as far as the information goes, besides MENG Model mentioned in that article, there are couple more options on the way from different manufacturers concerning the same subject. The latest that MENG Model announced was the 9K37M1 Air Defense Missile System, more popular as “Buk”. Buk is a self-propelled, medium-range, surface-to-air system, that entered service in the late 70s in the former Soviet Union. It is most famous as the system that shot down Malaysia 777 over Ukraine couple of years ago. Despite the fact that the Russians refused to take blame for the accident, investigators found proof that this was used by pro-russian separatists at the time of the unfortunate event and was part of a Russian regiment before that. That will bring a lot of sad memories for the thousands of people involved in one way or another with that tragic event, and now having it in 35th scale will cause the controversy mentioned above. It is nice to have a kit that can bring so much more than just being a beautifully painted and weathered scaled down model. Kits that brings memories about something are more than just a plastic with paint. They are quite often works of art, just like paintings. They can make you smile or ignite a dose of anger within you. They can even bring tears. Creating feelings means also that they are powerful tools and they are more than a lifeless toy. Something that builder managed to bring to life. Just like a beautiful song and its author. The Buk system that MENG Model is about to release is such a kit. What I think though is, that it is a bit too early to put this on the market. It is of course, nice to have a great addition to their beautiful and well detailed 35th sale line. However for many, Buk will always be a reminder of what happened to the people flying in that Boeing 777 over Ukraine. MH17 as many remembers it. Great loss of life and completely useless too. I am guessing that not many will reproduce the exact system that caused the tragedy of course, but still, the name Buk will always ring that wrong bell in many. Interestingly, as mentioned above, more of those are about to appear on the market in 35th scale. Again, surprisingly – closely released one to another. But that is not yet completely confirmed. On the other hand, one might hope that builders will make such kits, that will remind us properly about what happened and will make us think more often about MH17. Because thinking through the history is one of the ways to learn it. And once you know it, it is a great way to avoid it repeating itself. www.dnmodels.com
Read more...

Top 5 inspiration sources to get your modeling mojo back

Getting back in shape after a long break or just after a long period without modeling might be quite difficult. So, make it easier with the following 5 tips. They include 5 awesome sources of inspiration to get your modeling mojo back.
  • Historical movies. There are plenty of them in YouTube and in other video channels, as well as in a variety of other forms to suit your taste. Just pick up your favorite historical movie and try to transport yourself to the time period from that movie, and to get used to the atmosphere. It`s not obligatory to watch “Top Gun” if you want to make a F-14 Tomcat. Other great movies may range from historical documentary movies about the conflict zones where the Tomcat participated, to documentary movies about the construction of the plane. This will give you not only an enormous variety of reference materials and you could learn more about the real plane, but could also inspire you to get started your new model.
  • Posters and other paper artworks. They are definitely a great source of inspiration, because that`s their main purpose too. For example, let`s take the limited edition kit of Eduard – MiG 21 and the Scooter in 1/48, which arrive in one box, as well as accompanied by a huge poster depicting both planes flying in the air. This poster is definitely a must have as a background of your display case or just to hang it on a wall as a painting. When you watch it every day, it should be quite normal to get more and more inspired to start the new build. Another great tip is to get advantage of the beautiful colorful pages with the paint schemes in your model`s instruction manual and to make just about the same thing. Especially the bigger sheets with paint schemes can easily turn into a striking painting for your desktop. It`s not required a lot of talent for decoration for a DIY frame for the colorful pages.
  • Famous songs. For instance, if you plan to start a Vietnam-themed model – check out in internet some Vietnam-themed songs. There are many of them that are especially military oriented and that were produced during the Vietnam conflict period. Such iconic songs could easily make you dream of that bygone era and of the real flying machines, for example.
  • Military games. This is always another great idea to return your modeling mojo, of course if you are not a gaming enthusiast who can easily be tempted to play all day long instead of starting a new model. It comes to games like flying simulators, where your new model is future as a real vehicle and you could drive it, fly on it, etc.
  • Just pictures. Make yourself a collection with beautiful HD photos of the real subject of your model. Whether a collection with highly detailed close-up photos or a just a couple of pics at night, sunset, etc. – such pictures could easily inspire you to start the model. On the other hand, they could act as a wonderful source of reference photos too. Watch reviews over the internet about your model, search for the best tips in WIP videos, and just find what suits you best as a source of inspiration.
(source: www.fondospedia.com)
Read more...
dragon 6889 kugelblitz new release 2017 1-35 dn models

Upcoming: Dragon 6889 – Kugelblitz

Upcoming new release from Dragon (#6889) - the Kugelblitz - was just announced not long ago. Kugelblitz is very interesting and rare vehicle, of which only 5 were ever built. The urgent need of anti-aircraft vehicle for the Wehrmacht was increasing in the second half of the war and German engineers tried to adapt the chassis of Panzer IV /very widely used for various adaptations/ and make something new. The new concept featured fully closed turret, armored and fully rotating. It featured twin gun which after the war was adapted by many as a standard form for FLAK vehicles. In this particular application, the gun planned for mass production was Zwillingsflak 30mm MK 103 twin anti-aircraft gun. It is unclear was that vehicle used in combat. Some say Kugelblitz was used in last days of the war in Berlin. Nothing is confirmed by any documentation though. There is one surviving vehicle, which sits at the Lehrsammlung der Heeresflugabwehrschule, Rendsburg and unfortunately, not much is known about this interesting project. Dragon somehow got information about it and turned it into a plastic model. Accuracy is about to be judged, since the kit is upcoming. What is unclear too, is what parts will be featured in the kit. It might be a repack of the old version that we've seen before, or it might be something new. Maybe some Platz design will be incorporated. At this time one might only wonder. Hopefully, soon enough we will get the answer. Let's keep our hopes up, that a new tooling or at least partially retooled Kugelblitz is about to appear. It will be deeply appreciated!  
Read more...
miniart 37012 t-54-2 unboxing and review dn models

T-54-2 Mod.1949 from MiniArt without Interior

T-54-2 was a huge hit when MiniArt released its interiored version not long ago. Now, we get mod.1949 again, but repacked for those who do not want to get into the insides of the tank but rather play it safe and keep it simple. T-54-2 is the second variant of the prototype, being upgraded from the T-54-1 variant. Although some sort of a pre-production vehicle, it was delivered to the army and more than 1200 were produced in total. In this case, the word "prototype" does not describe the vehicle exactly. As you know, MiniArt did them all, so I won't bother you with details and differences. We are focusing on #37012 and its qualities: The Box We have pretty much the same tank depicted on the boxart but lacking the background. More precisely - the background, since the soil is still here. The box colors are red and white with little orange on the sides so you can easily mistake 37004 for 37012 and the other way around. The nice logo saying "Interior KIT" is missing here but everything else feels quite similar and it is for a reason. The Instruction sheet The instruction sheet is made in typical MiniArt way - big and colorful. The color depictions are mostly on front and back showing several different versions of the vehicle. They are Soviet Green versions, pretty much equal one to another, with the numbers being the sole difference. I am sorry if you expected something else, but the appearance of the Soviet vehicles was always dull and boring.Then, there is a description of the sprues and of course - the building process begins. This time we are lacking the interior parts, so you can expect that the sheet will be substantially smaller than what we had in 37004. T-54-2 was a medium tank, so it is a rather mid-sized vehicle, but still the thing becomes crowded with details once build. Depiction of everything is clear and not overly crowded on each step, so to avoid confusion and complication. In that regard, the kit is suitable for beginners. However, the workable suspension, tracks and minor details lead to a different conclusion. The Plastic parts The plastic parts of this kit are - of course - the same like on the interiored T-54-2. They are made from the new plastic material and troubles with those should not be expected. Noticeable feature of the kit is the thickness of the parts - for example the turret or the fenders. They are thin enough, which avoids the need for sanding them down or replacing them with Photo-etch material. Nothing is perfect, but MiniArt got pretty close in that matter. Single piece gun barrel, tiny castings, texture on the wood - everything is precise and delicate. Smaller detail might give you some headache with their attachment points, so rotary tool for polishing might come handy. Same goes for the wheels in case you want to damage them. They, alongside the The Tracks are one of the highest points of this kit. On all the T-series from MiniArt they are superbly molded down to the smallest details. Even the castings with the numbers on the track links are there, which are so small, that are hard to be seen. Too bad that they will be hidden beneath the weathering. I have heard some controversial opinions about the tracks. Many people struggle to make them workable. This is mostly due to the over-glueing factor which many modelers suffer from. Myself included. In order to make it tough and sturdy, we apply more glue, which usually is useless. In this particular case - prevents the tracks from working. So be careful when you work with those. Test a few link at first, to see how much glue exactly will you need to keep everything moving. The Decals and Photo-Etch Decal sheet is small, featuring mostly three digit numbers. There is one two-digit and three marking for Fuel, Oil and D-10T - the gun of the T-54-2. They are most likely Begemot decals, but I cannot be certain for that. Just guessing by the looks. I do prefer using masks and in the DN Models store there is a set for Modern Russian vehicles. Although this isn't exactly modern vehicle, you can find that they are pretty similar and can be used. What can be used too, is the set for MiniArt's T-44 made by DN Models for that kit specifically. T-54-2 appeared just couple of years later, so they do correspond to the time and the style too. Photo-etch sheet of the T-54-2 is not big, but it features nice parts. There are the meshes, which are superb as always and the rest is small parts. Many of the PE stuff is so small that only tweezers and magnifying glass will help. On the other hand, the sheet is small because the detail made from plastic is delicate enough and that saved the day. Some people tend to sand their PE parts or their whole sheets before glueing. I do not recommend that with MiniArt. Or, if you do, try to be very delicate. I happen to ruin more than one detail, just because it is too "in scale" or too precise. It is a good thing for detail maniacs, but for work it causes some hassle and attention must be applied. Be careful is all I am suggesting. Conclusion: With total of over 700 parts, 625 plastic, 73 photo-etched and 16 clear ones, this kit is superb. With its workable torsion bars, complex tracks and many sub-assemblies, this kit is not for the beginner. Although, MiniArt tried to make it easier, removing the interior. It is a nice touch, since it is a waste to buy the interior kit and dump all that plastic just because you don't want it inside. Now, we have an option. And what is better than to have an option!? The kit is still one of the best tanks in 35th scale on the market and probably the best from the T-series. We have it with and without interior as well. Pretty much you get what you want, depending solely on your mood and goal. It is true that it becomes a crowded market with many kit variations and options, plus the fact that last couple of years we have similar subjects from different companies, and that makes it even more confusing. But hey, that was the same 30-40 years ago with the TV. From 15 channels, you jumped to 50 or 150 and many didn't knew what to do with so many. But is great to have abundance in that area, especially knowing that 15 years ago this hobby was considered obsolete and dying. MiniArt 37012 definitely worth your attention and it is a must for every T-series collector. I can only highly recommend this T-54-2, with the note that this is for a rather experienced modeler, no matter the lack of interior.
Read more...
MiniArt Type 170V German Passenger Car DN Models Saloon Unboxing Review 38008 dnmodels.com

MiniArt Type 170V German Passenger Car (Saloon) – Unboxing & Review

MiniArt Type 170V #38008 is the latest of the Type 170 series released by the Ukranian company. Previously, we have seen Cabrio, Staff and Personnel cars, and now we have the standard civilian version. Mercedes-Benz W136 was a line of 4 cylinder vehicles very popular during their time. The W136 was widely used and for many purposes and thus this car is one of the legends of its time. Many variants survived throughout the years, working hard throughout the 50s, and even 60s. MiniArt version of Type 170V is one of the two toolings available on the market. Other one is Master Box LTD variations of the W136, which are very nice models indeed. They came to the market shortly before MiniArt and has been retooled once since. Nevertheless, the MiniArt kit still holds the crown when it comes down to Mercedes-Benz Type 170, and here we'll see why. The box: The box is very lavishly made for that small vehicle. Beautiful boxart, great colors and 11 color variations of the vehicle depicted on the sides of it. We have a lady passenger right next to the Mercedes-Benz W136 Type 170V, parked right next to Junkers Ju-52 in its passenger version, probably Lufthansa bird. Very neat and attractive! The instructions: They are the typical new MiniArt style with very nice execution, colorful and with thorough depiction of everything. This small Mercedes features many goodies and careful instruction follow up will be needed for successful completion of the build. The sheet itself is almost as big as the ones that we have featured in their tank sets, /the ones without interior of course/ which can give you a hint about the complexity of the vehicle. The Sprues: The Sprues are a few, but with a lot of small details all over them. There is a cardboard box holding the upper part of the vehicle's body. That helps it be kept safe and sound, since it is fragile and delicate part. Especially nice is the engine of course, showing many small engravings and details and the only unfortunate thing here is that the weathering should be subtle, since the car was very reliable and technically sophisticated for its time. Not a bad thing of course, since we have shining outside appearance which will draw attention there. We have a sprue with the lady passenger depicted on the boxart. This is made from the softish plastic material typical for MiniArt figures. The hair here is very realistic, the skin texture too. Although a bit exaggerated in appearance, once primed and painted the skin looks very convincing. PE and Decals: Small photo etch sheet is featured with many nice add ons. The front PE grill is the main advantage over Master Box kit and it is superbly delicate. I have some doubts about how this can be painted without clogging the tiny holes, but since it has been done before, it can be done again. Thin and delicate photo-etch sheet with no comparison or substitute on the market. 40 of those parts in total is what we have in MiniArt 38008 Type 170V. The decals are not many, but they are nice, specifically good looking one being the Deutche Post decal. It is over a green/black painted vehicle - standard for Deutche Post scheme for decades. The other specific looking vehicle is a taxi from West Berlin, sometime in the 50s. Variants included: In addition to those two mentioned above, we have most of the vehicles being two-tone painted cars,the standard for the period and for the appearance of this old-fashioned cars. There are single-tone colored ones, but in my opinion they do not present any specific interest. 11 variants is a lot and it will be hard to choose from the ones presented. Deutsche Reichsbahn is one of the other ones that struck me as very interesting one. Being red on the top and bottom with a wide white stripe along the bonnet and the doors. Superbly attractive in my opinion. We have one from Deutsche ReichPost as well. Bright red and shiny. Overall - wonderful options thanx to MiniArt! Conclusion: The conclusion is known already. I wrote it in the beginning of the article and for fans of Mercedes-Benz Typ 170 this is not a new kit. With its nearly 300 parts and 11 color variations /depicted on the box/, MiniArt #38008 is one of the most abundant kits when it comes down to variations and details. We have many versions already released and this one just adds another option for a modeler to buy and build. Surprisingly, the small things are improved with MiniArt kits throughout the life of the model, like decal options, boxes and instructions but most of all, the plastic. This kit is definitely made from the new material, which is not certain if you buy some of the older versions. It is a Western European product, compared to the Russian plastic from the not-so-distant past and with the fiddly parts in the set, this is a potential alert. New material can suffer a lot more and gives you more flexibility and pleasure during the build. So even if you have an older Typ 170 from MiniArt in stash, this one here worth buying too. For a more thorough review for those who are not deeply familiar with the subject, check out my YouTube channel for the video. In the meantime about this kit - Highly Recommended.
Read more...
MiniArt T-54-2 DN Models Review 37004 tank

T-54-2 – MiniArt #37004 Full Interior, New Version.

T-54-2 tank is the first improved variant of the vehicle /T-54 tank/, featuring new wider tracks, different turret, improved armor in the front parts and it lacks the fender’s machine gun. The production started in 1949 and the T-54-2 was produced until 1951, when T-54-3, further improvement of the concept, replaced it on the production line. More than 1200 were built and were used with the Soviet forces, with no records about combat use. There is some information about its usage in some Middle-Eastern conflicts, but nothing that is confirmed. Just rumors. The Box: MiniArt T-54-2 is the second kit that the Ukrainian Company releases in 35th scale from T-54 line. The first one was the initial version – T-54-1. Soon it will be followed by more, but in this article we will focus on kit #37004. It is a full interior kit, packed in a nice big box, with orange sides. This was the first difference that I noted – before with T-44 and the T-54-1, the boxes were red on the sides, and now we have a new color, which probably might be used from now on with MiniArt’s kits. Opening the box, the neat arrangement is the first thing that catches the eye of the modeler. It is a deep one, with barely enough space for everything. That is the reason why MiniArt chose to pre-pack the sprues in separate bags. We have two transparent packages – one for the track sprues, which also holds one engine sprue, and one bigger – holding the larger sprues, the clear parts, photo-etch and decals. The instruction sheet: Instruction sheet in the form of a nice booklet is on the bottom and it is quite thick too. The quality here Is very high and can be compared only to Eduard and Meng booklets. We have color inside, as well as quality tank profiles for the marking options. Also clear depiction of the sprues and the paints to be used. As with the other T- series, the booklet of MiniArt’s T-54-2 features the build of the tank with all of its interior. That includes driver’s compartment, fighting compartment, complete engine and nice goodies like all the ammo and small details, plus active suspension. Sprues in General: We have a nice detailing on the underside of the fenders, featuring photo-etch parts and many other things around the whole build, which makes that T-54-2 one of the best kits available on the market. The texture on the turret and hatches is realistically represented, with welding lines nicely replicated all over the vehicle. Everything is thin and delicate, and requires attention. Another example we have with the track links. On the underside of those we have molded the production markings, which are so small, that you will need a magnifier to see them clearly and up-close. They will remain hidden behind the weathering probably, but in case you want to make a museum piece or not-so-weathered tank, MiniArt kept an option open for you. Fuel lines are great, thin and flexible enough. Made from the new plastic material that MiniArt is using for year and a half now. All small details too. In general, everything looks very promising! The Engine Parts: T-54-2, as T-44, T-44M and other nice MiniArt kits comes with an engine. Very cool one, with little- to no-room for improvement with scratch build. The V-54 engine here is something that you can easily take out of the box /and the context of the kit/ and build it as a stand-alone separate kit by itself. Not surprisingly, MiniArt sells similar engines as a separate item numbers. It is well detailed, all-round plastic piece of art, with all details needed to make a perfect replica of the real V-54 in scale. As suggested, you might complete the engine and install it into the built T-54-2 here, but in my personal opinion, that is the secured way to lose some of the details that comes with the kit out of the box. For me, hiding this inside of the engine bay, with that little visible space left is just a waste of one perfectly looking engine. I would better leave that aside, and close the empty engine compartment, just to show off that V-54 outside.   The DShK sprue: Here aftermarket companies lost the battle. Or almost. A very nice try with the gun made by MiniArt with #37004. Hopefully, not only with it. The gun has some geometry in real life and everything is spread onto one sprue with fine details and little to clean. Properly explained in the instruction sheet and how it should look from the front. That is very nice touch and the only thing I would’ve added is metal gun barrel for the tank and for the DShK. Even though the tank barrel is one-piece part. The Photo-Etch parts: Two thin sheets with almost 100 details on them. Especially nice are the engine meshes. They are very thin and you have to be extra cautious when sanding them if you ever decide to take that risk. Some other small parts like brackets or under fender details are there too. Maybe there could’ve been more, but for me that is plenty! Not many love PE details but nowadays this is a must and MiniArt’s T-54-2 has just enough for the perfect job! Decals and Clear Parts: Clear parts are not the most important thing when it comes down to tanks. Especially older models like T-54-2. Here we have a sprue though, crisp and nice, with periscopes and small details all over it and it is clear enough to use its transparency to brag about. However, we all know that in the real life those parts quickly become dirty and hardly visible on the vehicle, so in case you want to go down the realistic road, you won’t pay much attention to that. The decals of the T-54-2 are another not-so-interesting part of the kit. We have small blue-ish sheet with some small writings like “Fuel” and “Oil” in Russian, as well as some numeric combinations. Decals that comes from MiniArt usually are nothing exceptional and this sheet is like that as well. It isn’t Cartograf, so you cannot expect much from it. It will work fine probably, but I bet that a tank without any markings will do pretty much the same job for you. Marking options: We have 6 in total. They are all from the 50s. All – Soviet/Russian Green painted T-54-2, all with three-number combos on the turret. Some feature additional small decals, but nothing special. The problem with the marking options is that there isn’t much information about this T-54-2 in general. It was quickly replaced by the latter versions of T-54 and T-55 and soon after, T-62. So with such small produced numbers /for a tank of course/, it is no wonder that the marking options are almost equal in appearance and kinda boring. This isn’t anything else but a poor history keeping. Soviets, with their secrecy mania often neglected technological advances of the era, throwing the period into oblivion, not allowing proper documentation to be made. Especially for military stuff. Tanks for example… No pictures, no videos, or if any – the less the better! Conclusion: So we have 1007 parts. 899 from grey plastic and 16 from clear. The rest 92 are photo-etch details. We have active suspension, V-54 engine, one piece gun-barrel, wonderful DShK gun, full stack of ammo /for more than one thank if you ask me!/, full interior and wonderful tracks. Very nice stowage bag, better compared to the previous kits, beneath fenders details, even a shell that is to be placed in the loading mechanism of the gun! Positionable hatches, fuel lines etc. Not so high points are the decals and the marking options, but hey, you don’t get almost perfect kits every day! So I must only recommend this kit. With 1200+ T-54-2 built, this is not so rare tank and has its place in the history. With this kit, which is definitely the best in line of T-54, this is a must for every Soviet armour fan. The price is right and it is suitable for mid- and up-level modelers. Beginners will struggle, but that does not mean that some of the interior cannot be left aside. My verdict – 9 out of  10. Great job! You can get this kit here: MiniArt #37004
Read more...
Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 Review DN Models sd.ah.32

Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 with Sd.Ah.32/1 Trailer 1/35

Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 is a German Halftrack based on Sd.Kfz.250 and used as an ammunition carrier. It was built by Demag AG and Wegmann during 1940 and then by Deutsche Werke in 1941. A little over 400 vehicles were built and they saw action at the first stages of the war. The ammo carrier was used to support StuG III carrying 75mm shells, as for that purpose a trailer was designed. It was Sonder-Anhänger (Sd. Ah.) für Munition (7,5 cm) (Sd. Ah. 32/1), and the combination between it and Sd.Kfz.252 is now easily recognized by every StuG III fan, especially those who love the initial versions of the Sturmgeschutz. This kit was missing from the modeling scene for many years, with only 1/72 and resin /1:35/ options available. Dragon released early versions of STUG III recently andquickly realized the need of such an add on to their line. So, several months after their STUG III ausf.E , DML came up with the long awaited new tooling of the small ammo carrier. What we have is a good looking box, not very small, probably because of the Full Interior featured in the Sd.Kfz.252. In 1/35, the vehicle is quite small though. The boxart is very neat, featuring a Sd.Kfz.252 with Sd.Ah 32/1 trailer, re-supplying a Stug III on the background. The fields behind it imply that this is Ukraine, but I am not sure that the vehicles of that kind were sent there. For European theater I am certain though. The back of the box also shows some renders of the model kit, showing some of its highlights. Among those are some PE parts, magic tracks, 7.5cm shells. Full interior is also mentioned, although with the overall size of the Sd.Kfz.252 in 35th scale this is close to a nightmare. It is interesting, because in order to show the interior, the openings of the vehicle are quite limiting. So you either have to do some cutaways, or make a lot of pictures and close it forever. The instruction sheet: At first glance we have typical Dragon Smart Kit sheet. Once opened, the pictures seen show the well known arrangements of the build, which is completed in 26 steps. Once thing I notice is that there are simplified here and there. Usually, we have most of the details of the kit represented and on the mid- and final steps here we have that too. In the beginning though, for whatever reason, Dragon made the vehicle quite simple, track lengths without texture, just two outlines from each side. One can only guess the reason for that.
Check out how simple is everything to the left, compared to the right
One step of the instruction sheet took my attention immediately: this is Step 9, the engine build. There we have different colors and even a short one, it is depicted clearly and differs a lot from the initial ones. Not yet certain are there any mistakes, but I guess there will be. If you continue to read you will find out why I think that. The sprues: We don't have an overcrowded box with the Dragon Sd.Kfz.252, like we are used to with other DML kits. Everything is sealed in separate envelopes and luckily, since the box of my half-track arrived severely damaged. Now, the fact that everything was sealed and that the box contents are rather sparse saved the day! In this particular case it was a good thing. It will ring a bell though, with 410+ parts, full interior and a DML kit, to have such small sprue number. Not necessarily a bad thing though. It might turn out really good once built. What I note is that the quality if the plastic is somehow doubtful. Yes, there are sprues with the well known Dragon plastic. But some of them appears to be different to my eye. Some of the details are perfect, some - a bit chunky. I have no idea is it my immagination here or Dragon changed something with this Sd.Kfz.252. The seats are beautiful, with the springs on the back, the gauges on the dashboard, texture on the seats. But still something is strange. I won't comment anymore here, I will leave you with the pictures so you be the one to judge. The additional parts: In an envelope we have the decals and three add-ons. Those are two photo-etch sheets and a metal tow cable. The smaller PE is 2 x 1cm /!!!/  and represents the bottom of the cartridges which goes in the Sd.Ah 32/1 trailer of the Dragon Sd.Kfz.252. They are optionable, since the trailer doors might be closed when you build the kit. The other PE sheet is bigger: 2,3 x 5cm and holds the grills on the engine hood, some belts and other tiny parts. Both photo-etch sheets very thin and delicate, some of the best that came out from Dragon so far. One of the high points of the Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 set for sure! In the envelope we also find a metal tow cable, described to be 270mm, however mine is 170mm. I am no saying fraud! here, I assume instructions were messed up. Like always with Dragon kits. Sd.Kfz.252 is a rather small vehicle as I mentioned numerous times here and 170mm cable is more than enough. The tracks: Magic tracks with Dragon Sd.Kfz.252!!! Wonderful news, besides the size. As you can see on the pictures shown, we are talking few millimeters here and two parts per track link. Many many track links too. They appears to be workable, although with that size it might be a challenge to keep the pins unglued. I have a certain experience with the Sd.Kfz.251 and Sd.Kfz. 7/2. Tracks are time consuming! Is one thing I can promise you. They are not for the faint hearted or nervous modelers. Nor for a novice. So keep that in mind when scouting for Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 or any other German half-track from Dragon. The decals: We have 4,5 x 6cm sheet here, which as everything else resembles a different scale, not 1/35. On it, we have WH- license plate letters, followed by 1-9 and 0 numbers, total in three sizes. Pretty much every vehicle number you can think of is available, just if you have that information. I doubt that many will find it though, since the vehicle is rare for its time, not to mention the lack of nice pictures with the license plates visible. We have also white outlines for the fenders and the from plate. They are where the mentioned license numbers sits on. The German cross of course, and few emblems, on of which is visible on the boxart. Those decals are NOT replaceable by whatever mask set, so DN Models won't be able to help here. If you wonder why...Way too tiny. Besides, if you don't trust Dragon decals, an aftermarket sets are available for Sd.Kfz.252, if, for whatever reason you want to use some. In my personal opinion, everything is good enough to go just with the crosses and eventually add an emblem or two. The other insignia or numbers can be covered in mud or winter wash. Overall - a good small sheet of decals here. Paint & Markings: We have 4 options. For what I know about the Sd.Kfz.252, it was used in Europe and I am not sure about Eastern front. However, the first glimpse that I had on the boxart reminded me of Ukraine, with that wheat field in the background. For those of you who haven't heard about it, Ukraine is famous for wheat fields and that was one of the reasons Hitler wanted that area and probably it has something to do with the nowadays troubles there. Anyway - proving my point of the boxart, Dragon added options for one unidentified unit in 1943 and three for the Eastern Front. Maybe my boxart impression was correct after all! We have three dark grey vehicles, typical for the era of course. 2/StuG.Abt.243, Eastern Front 1942 Infantry Division Großdeutschland - Eastern Front 1942 StuG.Abt.226, Eastern Front 1942 and an unidentified Unit from 1943 mentioned above, which differ from the rest with its two tone camouflage. I haven't seen any picture of two tone camouflaged Sd.Kfz.252 but I have seen several with Winter Wash, so I assume you can go ahead and proceed with your imagination for all four of those. Not a bad choice for camouflages here and hopefully they are correct ones! Conclusion: DML6718 is one very anticipated add-on to every collection, especially for STUG fans. Among half-track lovers this is also a precious kit, especially the full interior considered. Even small, the vehicle have its own identity, which is without substitute. The plastic quality here is with some unanswered questions, as will be the plastic tires for some modelers. This is mostly because it is a mixed bag of Sd.Kfz.250, Sd.Kfz.251 and new Dragon Sd.Kfz.252. However, the overall appearance and the fact that we have Magic Tracks in the set makes this kit an interesting one. With over 410 parts in the set, the only probable let-down of that Sd.Kfz.252 might be the price. I got mine for $65 delivered, but you can expect that to go around $55 very soon. I might add that the kit is not suitable for a start-up modelers, since it is very little overall. The tracks might cause a lot of fuss - again due to the size. Also painting the ammo. But if you add this Sd.Kfz.252 with its Sd.Ah.32/1 trailer next to Dragon early STUGs, you will have a beautiful set comparable with a painting! If you are a fan of the early days of the WWII, you probably gonna love it!  
Read more...

Magnets for augmented reality in scale modeling

Magnets for augmented reality in scale modeling

Great painting, awesome weathering, bright colors, perfect shapes – all these are key elements for a more realistic looking scale mode. Maybe the only better thing is to make something strange with your model, for example to embed lights, glue the flaps and the ailerons in an angled position, or else – make them movable! That last thing is what it is all about when it comes to using magnets for scale modeling. magnets
                                                                                                        Source: www.coolmagnetman.com
There are magnets with different shapes and sizes, and some of the smallest ones can reach a thickness of only 1 mm. Thanks to these magnets, you could make some details in your plastic model to move and rotate, for example, moveable flaps, slats and elevators. The small magnets can be used just about everywhere in the plastic model, even if you want to make detachable ordnance like drop tanks, bombs and missiles. This will change completely the appearance of your finished scale model and if you really use magnets in as many places as possible – your model could transform itself into 2 or 3 models in 1.
                                                                                                                 Source: www.amazon.co.uk

Different applications of the magnets:

  • Magnet attracted by another magnet. This opt gives the strongest force of attraction and according to the strengths of the different magnets – the total force accumulates and can reach up to 1 kg. This specific application is required for places, where a lot of force is needed to slightly bent the detail and ensure the best possible fit.
  • Metal surface attracted by a magnet. This is a slightly less powerful solution, but in some cases it is all that`s enough to make one part attract to another part safely and sufficiently. The size of the metal surface is from another importance for the total strength of attraction. This opt is recommended for smaller details like attaching only weapon pylons to the underwing mounting holes.
  • Magnets with space between. According to the size of the magnets – they can provide a great force of attraction, but only a small amount of it is needed to ensure the proper fit. Another case is when the detail has to be attracted by the magnet and to move freely in the same time, such as the doors of a landing wheel bay. In this case, the magnets can be used in the opposite poles to hold the door closed when the landing wheel is retracted, or vice-versa – the magnets can be glued in a way to repel each other, which will help the doors stay open.
   
                                                                                                          Source: www.dansdata.com

How to conceal the magnets for an even greater augmented reality?

There are numerous ways to hide the magnets by embedding into the plastic, by painting the magnets with the same color as the surrounding area, and more. Take a look at a couple more ways to conceal a magnet in a scale model:
  • Add wires, cables or other extra details over the magnets. This means that you will prevent the magnets from a direct contact and thus the attraction force will be smaller, however, it would be impossible to identify the shapes of a magnet if it is hidden under other details.
  • Changing the texture of the magnets. Even a small piece of masking tape will be enough to change the glossy texture of a magnet and to make it almost invisible.
  • A proper weathering. From glue traces around or even over the magnet, to using simple drybrushing techniques – there are plenty of ways to hide the magnet by weathering the area.
Of course, the use of magnets in scale modeling has its own challenges and cons, but let`s face it – the magnets are the key for augmented reality.
                                                                                                            Source: www.amazon.com
Read more...

BTR-80A in 35th scale from Trumpeter

BTR-80A is a Soviet wheeled APC designed and developed during the late 70s and early 80s, and entered into service in 1986. It immediately entered the Soviet War in Afghanistan and little by little was accepted by the armies of many countries where it prove to be successful design. The new turret and diesel engine are the main differences compared to the previous models, but not only. All the small improvements like smoke grenade launchers, new intercom system, infra-red sight and many more, made the BTR-80 a lot different than BTR-70 on which it is mainly based. Nowadays it is used all around the World in almost every possible weather condition and war scenario, including UN missions. Therefore, having a model of this vehicle is essential for Soviet/Russian model fans, and Trumpeter gave us a decent one. There is an options from Dragon/Italeri/Zvezda, but they lack the qualities of Trumpeter in almost any way. Trumpeter's BTR series are so far unmatched in design and quality. They released standard BTR-80 in 2013 and an year later, BTR-80A - with a turret and different camo. The kit features interior - although not complete one - with very decent qualities. There is no engine, but the seats for the soldiers are there, as the detailed drivers deck, turret firing system and ammo boxes. The doors and hatches of the vehicle are positionable, which obviously will give you the option to show off the insides once built. There is a lot of room for minor improvements, which are limited only by modeler's fantasy and personal goals. There are over 500 parts, with quality at a very high level in terms of detailing. I must say that this BTR-80 is one of the stars of the Trumpeter's collection. Especially the rims and the upper hull - most of the small moldings there are superb! The vinyl tires are decent but there are already tons of aftermarket wheels for off- on- road options with slightly different shapes and sizes and most importantly - superior quality. The photo-etch is separated in two sheets, not very big but enough to satisfy the basic need. Something that many other companies till omit to include in their new releases. Trumpeter's PE parts are a bit thick-ish but this isn't a problem especially when it comes down to APCs and tanks. Clear parts and decals are very nice, and although limited painting options included /considering the widespread use of the model only, not as a stand-alone kit/ I believe most of the BTR-80 fans will be happy with what's in the box. Here it is important to add the fact, that aftermarket decal companies have flooded the market with several different and unusual options lately, including some from the Syria and Ukraine wars with rather interesting camo schemes. There are also mask sets, including DN Models options /Check the store for Modern Russian Masks/, which are suitable for this vehicle and gives you a wider range of BTRs to recreate in scale. Overall, for the price, this kit is a pretty nice investment. The Trumpeter engineers managed to highlight the most important parts of this kit, the ones that are mostly visible and very attractive. This not only allows for weathering but also for a stunning results in a relatively un-weathered model, just because all the detail needed is already there. BTR-80A, with its turret is the one that I prefer because of the turret and it's overall "combat vision" compared to BTR-80. However both kits are equally nice and it is a matter of preference or, a matter of particular subject. As mentioned above, this vehicle is used Worldwide and almost everywhere, so who knows what one can find once the research starts. With no doubts, I can only highly recommend this kit to any Soviet/Russian model fan. As with all the other BTR series from Trumpeter, this is a spot-on! You can get this kit here: BTR-80A Trumpeter www.dnmodels.com
Read more...