72nd scale returning to the spotlight?

Back in a day, when you open a Heller or Airfix catalogue, 72nd scale was all over it. Catalogues were small leaflets, not fancy too. Later on, Italeri and Revell started expanding their 48th line and slowly, the pages were equalized in numbers and content count. Rater quickly same happened with 32nd scale and at some point, 72nd scale became slightly obscured.

Reasons for that are many. Modelers prefer to work on larger pieces with age, more detail options embedded in 48th and larger scales and relatively acceptable size even for larger models. Then Trumpeter appeared and they tested the boundaries of 72nd scale. Unsuccessfully at their first attempt.

Nowadays things started to shift back. Not because modelers that are devoted 72nd scale builders are a huge crowd, nor that they are very vocal. But because of several scale models in 72nd scale that appeared and proved a point. A point that was debated for a long time – are 72nd scale kits sufficient to satisfy the detail demand of the experienced builders.

There were several hits from Trumpeter and AMK, Great Wall Hobby as well. But the company that made the real difference was Eduard. They released brilliant 72nd scale MiG-15, Fw-190 and MiG-21, which are extremely detailed. They are high-quality in terms of plastic, fit and decals. Accuracy is flawless. Very competitive to best 48th scale kits. Better then some too. So there the magic happened.

A lot of modelers that are devoted to the bigger scale bought some of those. Just for the sake of having such kit in their collection. I was one of them too. And once they opened the box, they were immediately hooked. I know at least couple of guys that built their kits putting aside everything else on the bench, simply because they looked so tempting.

So, is the market slowly shifting backwards?

Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a start. 72nd scale has a lot of advantages. Mostly – size-wise, the kits are very attractive. You can build ton of these and still have room for more. They are /or at least most of them/ cheaper. Compared to 48th and 32nd of course. Less plastic, smaller photo-etch and decal sheets and there you go. That cannot be said for all of the companies though. For example, G.W.H. F-15E or Trumpeter MiG-29 are very good, but expensive in 72nd scale. With that point, Eduard again smashes the competition. They produce the best 72nd scale kits nowadays and at the most affordable prices too.

Why that happened? Maybe, because Czechs have their history with 72nd scale. Maybe because 72nd scale was what we all grew with. Or maybe, because the scale offers extremely interesting way of approaching the hobby. Detail-wise and collection-wise.

True, there are kits that are limited to that scale. Like the Dora railway gun that Hobby Boss offers. Or Tupolev bombers from Trumpeter. Well, the latter ones are not limited to that scale per se, but the truth is that there are many versions and if you want them all, you either buy them in 72nd scale or you buy yourself another home and turn it into a scale modeling museum. Maybe that’s why Modelcollect offered their B-1B, B-2 and B-52s in 72nd, don’t you think?

But all things considered, Eduard did the breakthrough here. No doubt about it. Their MiG-15 and Fw-190 started it and MiG-21 nailed it. For good I believe. Why would anyone want to be limited to something? Do you stop watch your old favorite sitcoms because they are in 4:3 and now everything is 16:9? No. You just enjoy a different perspective. 

Same with modeling. What’s wrong in being back into the smaller scale? Nothing of course. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the hobby to its fullest. Just like in the old days.

www.dnmodels.com
picture courtesy of Eduard
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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
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Hobby Boss SPz Puma IFV – 1:35

Hobby Boss SPz Puma IFV is an upcoming release from Trumpeter's subsidiary in 35th scale. As far as the information goes so far, this is a 2018 release but it is not yet clear when this will happen during the forthcoming 12 months. Based on the fact that there is still no boxart for the SPz Puma, it might take a while for the Chinese company to make this happen. Hobby Boss gave a number to the Puma IFV kit - 83899, which is pretty much a guarantee that this will happen soon. So, for the impatient ones - stay calm, we will soon have it! 35th scale market begs for more vehicles like that. SPz Puma is a tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle and it is a relatively new design. Since not many new vehicles of that kind are being developed lately, it will be a good addition to Hobby Boss' line. Other than that, we have a lot released lately, but mostly those are vehicles that are re-designed and look slightly differently, although based on one same base platform. Like T-72 for example. If you roam through the timeline that Trumpeter has, you will see that there are tens of options, but that is basically the same thing. SPz Puma is different. This is a German Army vehicle, designed in the 2000s, with production started around 2010 and currently replacing old vehicles. That will continue until 2020 based on the predictions. The vehicle itself looks a bit futuristic and features a standard NATO camouflage scheme, a turret and a spacecraft-like gun on it, more or less making it a step aside from the road well known in modeling. It is far from a Leopard, Abrams, Bradley or any of the T-series that we are used to build. It is a good thing of course, since NATO armor fans will have more for their collections. That, with the fact that Hobby Boss and Trumpeter are constantly improving their designs makes this release a tempting one. In my personal opinion, that is a bold move in a direction that is still un-explored widely enough and that is always welcomed in scale modeling! www.dnmodels.com
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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)
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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!  
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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.
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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
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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
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Masks vs. Decals – top differences which will help you to pick the right technique

Masks vs. Decals - top differences

Painting decals is a much easier solution for the final touches of your scale model and the best way to do it is to use pre-cut masks. They have many other unsurpassed advantages, but the decals like we all know them make no exception too. The decals are colorful, very delicate and captivating, but with the masks – you actually paint the decal by yourself. Check out the other top differences between masks and decals.

Decals

The decals are by far the best solution for models in a very small scale, such as 1:144 or 1/72 models. The finest lettering of the tiny decals is contrasting and much more pronounced, than if you use masks as decals. Not to mention the technical difficulties when replacing the smallest decals with masks, so undoubtly it is recommended to use high quality decals for the smallest scale models of tanks, aircrafts, cars or other vehicles. Another great advantage of the decals is the big “open time” for adjusting the decal itself – first wet the surface and the decal, then place the decal onto its position by sliding it over the wet surface, and touch the decal with something dry to get rid of the moisture, and the decal is set. By contrast to the masks, which are sticky and can`t be adjusted once placed onto the surface. They have to be detached and attached again after the small correction. And the third main difference is that once dry, the decals usually have to be protected with a coat of lacquer to seal the surface and prepare it for a further treatment. decals, paint masks
                                                                                                         Source: www.hyperscale.com

Masks

The masks – they require just a hint more attention during the application, because the exact location is essential for a good result. Although slightly transparent and the surface of the model is visible, the masks have an adhesive layer that restricts their free movement like with the decals. Second, this adhesive surface of the masks makes them much better for application over curved surfaces, than the typical decals. Third, by using masks, you actually take full advantage of a number of loopholes for finalizing your scale model. There is no need of chemical setting solutions like with the decals, nor need of decal setters, etc. There is no waiting time too, because the greatest difference in this method is in the use of paint instead of decals. A fast-drying paint like an acrylic paint provides a very quick drying time and the masks are ready for peeling off of the model almost immediately after painting. So, the next major difference is in the opportunity to adjust the color or the nuance of the paint – something that is impossible if using decals. masks, paint masks masks vs, paint masks, decals
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Tristar’s Brummbar – From HobbyBoss this time.

Tristar's kits are no longer out on the market. Although wonderful kits, some of them featuring interior, Tristar's vehicles didn't survive the harsh market environment. Nothing to wonder, having in mind that better and better kits are released every week from all the newcomers like Takom, Meng Model, Amusing Hobby and so on. However, HobbyBoss are out there for quite a while, and although not official, we wall assume that they are one with Trumpeter, and they are only second to Tamiya in size. Maybe not for long too. So Hobby Boss came to the rescue, and bought the moldings from Tristar, repacking their kits and releasing them under HB serial numbers, with the same qualities, and almost exact same boxes. For Tristar fans is not all gone! Their kits are famous to be very nice, and when they were active /Tristar I mean/, they were considered as one of the best options. Some of the engineering decisions are not embraced warmly but even fiddly, the vehicles were very attractive once finished. Same goes for every kit of their line, and the Brummbar which are we looking at today is no difference from the rule. What we have on the market as Sd.Kfz.166 are Tamiya's relatively old tooling, Dragon's two toolings /1994 and 2008/ the second one of which is probably the best kit out there and repacks of those /Cyber Hobby, CMK/. Of course Tristar/Hobby Boss too. Being a rather unpopular subject, Sd.Kfz.166 Sturmpanzer /or Stupa as popular among the soldiers/ is also not so much represented in plastic. The late version is almost impossible to be found, with early and mid production vehicles available from the manufacturers mentioned above. Tristar's kit is available in two options - early- and mid- production, with and without interior. Now, repacked by Hobby Boss, the price is in the lower end for 35th scale kit and with the same quality. For the faint hearted, the interior version is not an option. It has many tricky assemblies, which combined with the large PE sheets and the single track lengths will drain your energy. The standard kit /w/out interior/ is acceptable though, even for novice modelers. It is important to say that the alignment of the turret, which is from many parts /not like DML's one piece/ might present you a problem, as well as the tracks. And if with the tracks you can get aftermarket as Friuls or any others, turret is not interchangable. So have that in mind. The kit is molded in yellow plastic, rather stiff and old-school looking. It looks like Academy or some older Hobby Boss kits, rather than new HB or Trumpeter. The photo-etch sheets are the same as with Tristar, so I cannot speculate which company made those, but they are nice for sure. Tracks are from different plastic, dark in color but again - tricky to assemble. They are not that good compared to Magic Tracks but are far better than any vinyl substitute. More than 900 parts in total, around 50 of which are PE, this is a project that requires time. The accuracy of the Tristar Brummbar has been discussed a lot over the last years and in general the opinion is that it is good enough. The price was a major issue back in a day, but not anymore. My personal opinion of the kit is that Hobby boss eventually should've released it in better plastic material, more soft and eventually add a thing or two just so to spice it up a bit. After all, the design is from 2008 and it is guaranteed that the industry has gone a long way since then. The tracks are something that I would eventually change for metal substitute too. Although nice, with all the shurzen on the sides, mounting plastic /eventually un-modified and hard to move/ tracks might be risky, compared to metal parts which are workable and won't give you a lot of trouble. In the end, the time spent to build either one of those will be pretty much the same. Now the million dollar question is: "How this compares to Dragon?". Well, to be frank, if money are no option, I would get DML or both. Dragon kit is a bit more sophisticated in terms of engineering, and even though some of their kits have inaccuracies, the Tristar/Hobby Boss Stupa lacks the finesse of DML. The turret for example, some of the small assemblies - all those things are a bit overdone with Tristar. Brummbar is a rather brick-like looking vehicle, so overcomplicating it won't help per se. Also, the tracks of Tristar are inferior. Here I must add, that Dragon's latest kits as we all know does not include magic tracks, so that beats DML. But if you get an older issue, probably Dragon is the better Brummbar. Hobby Boss Sd.Kfz. 166 is a really good thing though. The price is halfway to Dragon's and for what you get in the box it is a deal! The thing that you will require additionally, if you don't get metal tracks or some other aftermarket stuff like metal gun barrel or anything else, is patience. With enough patience, tracks can be modified to be fully workable, designing them exactly as Friuls. The stiffness of the plastic is not a "real" issue, nor the complication of the assembly. The camouflages are not so many, since the Brummbar was produced in couple of hundred vehicles only, but with disc camo mask sets /check the DN Models Store link above/ and/or properly weathered vehicle, you will squeeze a lot from this kit. It is true, that I mentioned some let downs above, but overall the kit is great. Is not the best, but it is close. And the price get it even closer. So, if you are a fan, go on and hit it. There is a link just below: Tristar / Hobby Boss Brummbar Sd.Kfz. 166
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