LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

LAP-7 Rocket launcher – Soviet’s interpretation of a Combat Ford

Historical note:

LAP-7 is built over a license-built Ford AA truck platform. Almost a million of those were built and used in various roles in the USSR. There is simply no surprises when it comes down to that truck, because you can find it in practically every role imaginable. LAP-7 was combat oriented vehicle. Resembling the famous Katiuysha, it bears some legendary signs typical for WWII era seen from the Soviet perspective.

Ford AA needs no introduction on the other hand. Neither this kit by itself. It is a continuation of a long line produced by MiniArt and for some time now. A line, with which modelers are very happy and that they embrace happily with each new release. The weirder - the better.

This is the latest release, #35277 and it seems that people are even happier with it. Especially if you count the reactions in the social networks. But there is no surprise in that fact. Because the tooling is really good and it comes as a great set. So let's take a closer look at it here.

LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

Boxing, Boxart and Instructions:

As with other GAZ-AA releases, the box isn't very big here either. It is part of WWII Military Miniature series and comes with grey sides and beautiful boxart. There is a LAP-7 firing, from what it seems to be a winter scene and a forest road. Exactly what the vehicle was made for. The first rocket seems to be missing, already fired probably, while the second is in the midst of its launch.

Very attractive and nicely done artwork.

Same goes for the instructions. Clearly depicted, without overcrowding with information, clarifications and what not. Despite the nature of the kit - being super-detailed and full with many small parts - the instruction sheet is perfectly understandable, even from novice modeler. However, the rest is not suitable for that part of the community. Some experience is needed for successful completion here. LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

Sprues:

Sprues are made from Grey plastic and are mostly the same ones that you get with the flat bed release from MiniArt. The kit features fantastic suspension, engine, gearbox and whatever you can think of, everything made from thin and flexible material. MiniArt are using nice plastic, supplied by Western European company nowadays, so small and intricate parts are not an issue, like it was before. I am mentioning that simply because this truck is full with small parts, especially on its suspension. Such detailing comes at a cost. There is no way around that.

LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

The sprue with the wheels is something that many love with GAZ-AA series from MiniArt. The wheels are separated into discs and if you glue them carefully, there is no need for aftermarket wheels, nor they will be anything that will come as a significant improvement either. The design of the wheels is very clever and I wonder for some time now, how come no other company haven't took that road yet.

The new sprues introduced in the kit are holding the rockets and the frame of the launcher, which sits on the top of the flat bed. The frame parts will require some proper alignment and patience while in the works. Not only that, but the texture allows for interesting weathering and one can truly apply himself working on the final look of the vehicle. All that thanks to the precise moulding and delicate work made from the Ukrainian model maker.

LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

There is a sprue with clear parts, which are very forgiving in my experience. Having built MiniArt's ambulance truck which is based on that very same vehicle, I must say that I dropped the ball with the clear parts more than once. However, never managed to damage the parts beyond repair. They can sustain harsh glues and not-so-subtle weathering too.

LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

Photo-Etch:

The PE sheet is not as big as the one you get with MiniArt's tanks, but it is with the same thickness. It is here mostly to add to the kit overall quality and contents OOTB, but frankly, with the precision that MiniArt demonstrate, even made solely from plastic, this kit would've showed similar detailing. For the photo-etch lovers though, MiniArt added a piece of metal. And as you can see from the pictures, it looks nice, even though it is not overly crowded and abundant in details. I trust that MiniArt added this not because they felt the need to, but because OOTB the kit have more complete and satisfactory look compared to a kit that will lack PE parts at all. Better have little than nothing. And that completes the contemporary look of the set too.

LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

Decals:

The decals are pretty much the same as the PE parts. In all my honesty, I believe that more people will choose to avoid the decals than to use them with this kit. Not due to the decal quality or anything, but because of the fact that this vehicle will look better with odd camouflage, winter scheme or a lot of weathering, than to show specific markings and information that most likely was lost at some point during its service career. With nearly one million built of the Model AA, it is highly unlikely that they were all accounted for and marked properly.

LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

Color Schemes:

There are two options included. Both are from 1942, one is from the Autumn period, other is from the Winter. Both are Red Army of course. Autumn vehicle is in camouflage colors, while winter one features partially winter camo, where one of the camouflage colors used during the summer is substituted with White. It is needless to say that the winter camo provides with a lot more options here.

However, whichever of the two you choose to build, have in mind that those trucks were so widely used /maybe not as LAP-7 specifically though/, that whatever camo scheme you choose to make, even captured vehiles - you will still be on the right direction. This is actually one of the highlights of this kit: you can go wild with camo schemes, weathering, battle damages or abandoned pieces. The only limit is your imagination. LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35LAP-7 Soviet Rocket Launcher MiniArt 35277 Review DN Models masks for scale models 1/35

Conclusion:

So in conclusion, this is another great release from MiniArt. One can make quite a nice collection with various tracks used in interesting roles and from the same manufacturer. Most definitely, this LAP-7 with its combat oriented purpose, will be one of the favorite options for WWII modelers.

The kit is absolutely sufficient out of the box and does not beg for any aftermarket, like most of the current releases from many of the competitive companies. Surprisingly, MiniArt managed to hit the soft spot again and present us with both interesting and obscure kit, which will be more than enough straight out of the box. And this is brilliant, simply because many modelers like to have all of those trucks with their versions, but they do not like to invest a lot in conversion sets or resin parts that are too expensive. So, MiniArt delivers. Again.

Highly Recommended for GAZ-AA lovers and Soviet WWII vehicles fans.

www.dnmodels.com

Read more...
Su-122-54 - Newest Member of the T-54/55 Family from MiniArt DN Models Masks For Scale Models

Su-122-54 – Newest Member of the T-54/55 Family from MiniArt

Introduction:

MiniArt projects are often oriented towards interesting and rare vehicles. Their latest – Su-122-54 – is just like that. A self-propelled howitzer that few have heard about. Don’t be fooled by the name: this isn’t the Su-122 from WWII that you all recognize. This is larger vehicle, with bigger gun and different platform.

Su-122-54 is based on T-54 tanks and is built on T-54 platform. If you find it hard to recognize, it is because the wheels spacing is altered and the gap that you see on T-54/55 series is moved backwards. The low silhouette and the big gun makes this Su-122-54 look intimidating and fierce war machine, however it never saw much action in its short career.

Boxart:

Boxart is typical for Interior kits from MiniArt – featuring beautiful artwork depicting a moving vehicle with what resembles to be some massive military exercise, typical for the Soviet Union armed forces during that period. S hare is crossing in front of the vehicle, just to spice up the picture and even though this isn’t an interior kit, the boxing is equal to one.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The difference, compared to other T-54/55 series from MiniArt is that it looks slightly thinner. And I mean interiored vehicles only here. I mention that because at first look you get a kit that seems like the interior series but it’s not. Not that this is a bad thing. If you ask me, just the contrary. It will speed up the build of this Su-122-54.

Instructions:

Despite the intimidating number of parts that MiniArt usually supply, the instructions are perfectly clear and understandable. They have outer pages that feature the color schemes and the sprue description and those are made from high quality glossy paper. The insides are not from glossy material nor feature colors, but the quality of everything else is kept.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Once you get through a step and complete a portion of the kit, on the next one it appears in darker shade in general, so to keep the focus on the new elements that are supposed to be installed. That might not sound like much, but it eases the job significantly. And it is also a nice touch.

Each step of the build is clearly understandable, without much text, but not oversimplified either. That doesn’t make the kit easier to build, but it add to the relief a bit. One must know that this is far from what beginners would want to mess with. But that is MiniArt’s way after all.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Sprues:

We have large number of parts, but considerably less than what we get with an interior kit. The suspension was given the proper attention, the exterior too, so everything is in order with the plastic. There is no compromises with anything and the sub-assemblies are as expected from MiniArt.

The box that I got came a bit smashed, but surprisingly, no parts were damaged on the inside. Everything is packed into one big envelope, so one might expect to see damages. But no. It was nice to see that everything was intact and in order. Nevermind that the envelope is crowded. It was OK.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

That speaks a lot about the new plastic material that MiniArt are using, which is flexible and doesn’t show the troubles that the companies were ill-famous about before. Even the thinnest parts can be bend /to a reasonable amount of course/ without cracking and working with it is now fun.

The abundance of sprues and elements is justified by the separate track links, sub-assemblies of the stowage boxes and suspension and exterior parts, which can satisfy even the most picky modelers in terms of kit quality. That makes the Ukrainian company very competitive and there is hardly any manufacturer as of this day, that can provide enough to compete in terms of detailing. Out of the box, the kit is brilliant.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Decals and Paint Options:

Decal sheet is relatively small. It features technical stencils in Russian and combination of numbers for the sides of the vehicle. Su-122-54 was used in 50s and 60s and lack of any specific insignia is self-explanatory. The carrier film is barely visible and the decals look thin. The sheet is product of Decograph, a company that MiniArt chose as a supplier for their decal range.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

There are three options included in this kit, which explains the decal size and its contents. All the vehicles are Soviet Army and from the same era – 50s-60s of the 20th century. Two of the vehicles are painted in single-tone camouflage scheme. Khaki green, slightly paler than what we are used to see on Soviet tanks.

The third option is winter camouflage and it represents the most interesting of the three, since a lot can be done over the painting and the weathering of the vehicle. It is unlikely that those vehicles were painted in other than green, so winter camouflage is one thing that can improve the options included and MiniArt wisely used it.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Of course, due to the lack of pictures and information about this vehicle, most of the realism cannot be confirmed and that gives the modeler a certain opportunity to alter the appearance to match one’s personal taste. After all, only 77 examples of the Su-122-54 were produced, thus playing with the final result is pretty much mandatory for any experience modeler. There is simply nothing else one can rely on building this piece.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Photo-Etch:

As expected, the photo-etch from MiniArt is extraordinary. It is flexible, thin and most importantly very nicely executed. Especially the meshes. They are fragile and one can hardly believe that the details can be so small. But somehow MiniArt managed to do it.

I would suggest to avoid sanding those, or at least if one insists, it should be done with care. I had my fair share of damaged meshes, mostly due to me being unprepared, so I am giving my two cents here to try and spare you the eventual trouble.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The rests are straps and some plates holding some of the plastic parts, which is nothing overly interesting, still spicing up the kit just about enough to satisfy the photo-etch fans out there. During the build, every once in a while you have to add PE parts here and there and in the end that adds to the fun of the process.

Conclusion:

This vehicle is a total mystery to me. Probably to many others as well. The only reason I know about it is MiniArt and when I started researching I found some information shared through War Thunder fans, which obviously used it in the gameplay.

Not surprisingly, MiniArt came up with something rare and interesting yet again. The kit is accurate most likely, considering where MiniArt are located and where those 122-54s were used. Researching about it might be a problem, but if you are not that into historical accuracy, one can turn this kit into a brilliant model, knowing what you get OOTB.

Ukrainian model maker widens the T-54 family and this seems to be a long-lasting process, since so many were build and transformed in one way or another. This member of the family is hardly recognizable, yet interesting and even without interior – demanding. It bears all the qualities of a MiniArt kit and it is a must have for any Soviet armor fan.

www.dnmodels.com
Read more...

BTM-3 a pleasant surprise

BTM-3 is a vehicle that I fell in love with the moment I first saw. It is an odd looking thing with unusual purpose. It is a tractor, modified to be a trench digging machine, working with high speed. It looks like a regular artillery tractor, but is equipped with a rotary tool, which is huge and goes behind and below the tractor, digging trenches fast and easy. This is an engineering vehicle, and fits the same class as D9R Doobi, which Meng Model released couple of years back. The Doobie became hit the moment it hit the stores and I am certain that this BTM-3 will do exactly the same. It is true, that Trumpeter are not so sophisticated models like Meng, however they are nice and the fit is great, they are not over engineered and are very pleasant to work with. Not only that, but they are available almost everywhere in the World, which is a great advantage. Just for example, before release of the second D9R Doobi from Meng /the one with the bar armor/, the kit was in high demand and was hard to be found. Some even speculated that the reason behind that might be some rights-issues with Caterpillar. Anyhow, BTM-3 is something that I like a lot, and honestly - never expected to see the light of day. However, Trumpeter did it again! They announced very interesting, unusual and spectacularly looking /once built/ machine, which is usually not in the spotlight, but we all know it is working behind the curtain! I cannot wait to get my hands on the kit. The BTM-3 will be one of the projects that I will try to get as soon as possible, and build it according to an example that I have available for looking 4 miles from home! picture is courtesy of Trumpeter
Read more...

2S3 Akatsiya – Cold War Howitzer from Trumpeter 1:35

2S3 Akatsiya is the answer to the American M109 artillery piece. Its development started in the late 60s, and continued till 1971, when the first examples were accepted into service. It is a tracked vehicle, based on D-20 artillery gun, 152.4mm and its more popular by the name Akatsiya, than 2S3. It can fire up to 4 rounds in minute, which is very slow by the current standards, but 40 years ago it was decent. The vehicle was very maneuverable and gained popularity due to that fact. It saw service in many conflicts, most notable of those being Soviet-Afghan War, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, Syrian War and Ukrainian War. It is still in use today, and it is known as reliable and effective artillery piece, despite the fact that there are few newer generations howitzers available. Later versions of 2S3 were modified by the Russians with 155mm gun, new navigation and computers, and are still very popular. In this article, we will take a look at Trumpeter's Early Akatsiya, but have in mind that they have released "Late" one as well. This kit was missing for quite a while, and was very warmly welcomed when it came out in 2013. It was designed the previous year, and as you will see it feature most of the parts required by modelers from a 21st century kit. The box is typical Trumpeter, a bit thin-ish I might add, for that vehicle. It containes 530+ parts, and two different camo schemes. Along the goodies, are 30 sprues with individual track links, photo-etch set and very clean cast parts with a lot of details. All the welding marks are there, alongside many handles and rivets, which are quite realistic. Although at first it looks like a dull project in general, once built, the 2S3 is surprisingly good looking vehicle. The attention to detail that Trumpeter applied is visible on almost every part. Wheels are one good example for that. The threads and the hubs are looking superb, not too overdone, nor too simplified. Tracks as I mentioned above, are within 30 sprues, which are each shaped like a protective cage, and it is visible that the links are clickable. That eliminates the need of aftermarket tracks which usually is the biggest spend for a armor kit, sometimes even exceeding the price of the model itself. Trumpeter have proven their quality tracks, and I must say, that my experience, especially with their Su-122 and Komintern left me very satisfied with the results. As with them, the plastic material is brown, and the only difference I see here is that these promises to be more flexible because of the way they were engineered. The gun barrel is two halves, which is a bit of a let down. Trumpeter have shown before that they can do better. The detail there is not bad, but I would go for an aftermarket option. There is one, but I am not sure about the availability, depending on where you're located on the planet. Photo-etch and the decals are nothing special or major, but with Trumpeter they are always there. That is important. Photo etch is a bit thick, and Voyager might come handy here with their photo-etch set for the fenders and other add ons. The decals have all the numbers from 1 till 9, including zeros, and also the old USSR logos. They are two camo schemes - parade one and three tone camo, but the decals provide you with a lot more if you have some fantasy and picture sources. Overall, this will build into wonderful kit, and can be done OOTB, which makes it a good investment. The size is more than I expected, and especially with those separate track links and the attention to the minor details, Trumpeter won me. I choose the old Akatsiya because it is more widely used and gives you more options for camouflages, weathering and damages. However if you want, you can always get the Late version, as well as the Gvozdika, which is based on another chassis. Trumpeter made those kit too. I find this kit highly attractive, and highly recommended! You can get this kit here: 2S3 Akatsiya from Trumpeter 1/35 - Early version
Read more...

2S19 Msta-S 152mm Russian Self-Propelled Howitzer

2S19 Msta-S is a modern Russian Self-Propelled howitzer named after a Russian river, an important water route, part of the connecting route between Baltic and Black seas in the not-so-distant past. The vehicle itself is probably named after it, because it is a connection between the missing links in the modern Russian armor, and being a very important part of the land systems itself. As an artillery piece is sits right next to Panzerhaubitze PzH2000, PLZ 05, K9 Thunder and latest versions of Paladin. Especially the improved modern versions of 2S19. It also adds-on a segment of specific capabilities in the line of very wide range of systems used by the Russian Army like TOS-1A Buratino, BM-21 Grad and BM-30 Smerch. Msta-S is based on T-80 tank hull, but fitted with T-72 Engine. Sort of a hybrid in between those two vehicles, it started as a project back in the 80s, under code name Obyekt 316 or Ferma. It entered service is 1989, but first saw action in Second Chechen War 10 years later. It was also used in 2014 War in Donbass, by both sides. Separatists having only one captured, against Ukrainian Army who have it in service. Allegedly. It is a successor of 2S3 Akatsya Self-propelled artillery howitzer, and it is produced by Uraltransmash. 2S19 is used by Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Morocco and of course - Russia. Recently it gained popularity with the show that it pulled off at the RAE 2013 and 2015, where splinter camo schemes were shown on both old and improved versions of Msta. Some demo firings were shown to the public, promoting this vehicle to potential new buyers. In 2013, Trumpeter released 35th scale 2S19 SPH #05574. The kit features one thousand /1000+!!/ parts and it is 34cm long once built. Everything is packed in their well-known boxes with green-blue-ish color and it is approximately the same size as their T-62/T-72 series of kits. Thousand parts might sound scary for inexperienced modelers, however it isn't. Trumpeter kits are really close as an idea to Tamiya, and they are more or less shake-and-bake thing. Yes, in this particular case this is not exactly right, but with minor skills and eventually some help, even the less experienced modeler can cope with that howitzer. For intermediate to advanced ones, it is a jewel. It presents various opportunities for improvements, weathering and camouflage schemes. The box is stashed, tracks are separate links on different sprues made from brown plastic. There are two PE sheets and a metal tow cable. Detail is second to none and I doubt that any company could've done it better. In 2016 Zvezda announced that they will release their own tooling of Msta-S, but it is not yet clear when and what it will be exactly. So for the moment, the only available choice is Trumpeter 05574 and it is not a bad one at all! Maybe, and I am speculating here - Trumpeter evaluated a museum article, and in reality it is not exactly the same as the operational Msta-S vehicles. But this is only my thoughts exposed here. They are based on the very similar camouflage presented in the kit, which resembles the one in their artillery museum, and not that of a service vehicles. However, the one in the St. Petersburg museum might be exactly matching the operational 2S19, so again - that is only my thoughts shared here. The sprues are full with minor parts and they are molded very clearly. At first glance, the only let down seen is the two piece gun barrel, and its two piece muzzle brake. Experts here and there mention, that it is a bit shorter than it should be. This is switchable for an aftermarket one from Orange Hobby or Magic Models. Trumpeter Msta-S is doable with their own barrel of course, but if you don't like sanding and putty, and you are measuring every millimeter,  metal gun barrel might be the way to go. It is not that expensive and adds realism to the kit. Detail of the Photo-Etch set is at high level, although compared to Meng Model or MiniArt for example, it is thicker and a bit chunky-looking. But they are second to none in that matter, so it is normal to have PE parts which are not exactly perfect in a Trumpeter kit. Still very good though. Photo-etch meshes are actually quite nice. They are comparable with the ones from the competitors mentioned above. The ones that looks thick to me are the parts that go on the top of the turret, but their overall idea is to look like that, so besides the thickness of the metal sheet itself, they are OK too. The suspension of Msta-S is a complex one in real life. There are shock absorbers which add additional stability when driving on a road and preventing the useless movement of the howitzer in its working condition. The corrugation of those parts is particularly nice, and it's a shame that they are somewhat hidden once everything is built. Wheels are also threaded pretty nicely and in general, the suspension detail is very good. The fenders have plenty of stowage boxes, which are not only molded perfectly, but they have additional handles from the photo etch sheets which adds more spice to the meal. I can guarantee that this will play with the nerves of non-patient modelers like myself, but in the end it will worth it. Especially before priming, the kit looks quite stunning. Tracks are made from 174 parts in total for both lengths and there is a tool-like molded plastic which helps you with the alignment of the track length. This was something that I first saw with Meng kits, but this molding was designed in 2012 and I am not sure which of those companies came up with it first. The turret also have some photo etch material over it. Very pleasantly looking is the detail over it - the rivets, the doors and the handles. Photo etch over the top also makes it pretty stunning once built before priming. The thing that seems intimidating is the separate conveyor for the ground ammo loading which is located in the back of the vehicle. It requires attention because there are several sub-assemblies and they include small parts, alignment and some PE too. Other than that, everything on the top part seems easy and straight forward. There are some complications with the anti-aircraft gun assembly /at least for me/ but they are there for every Russian tank with that. The camo schemes presented in the kit are two. There is one which is simple dark green, Russian Army logo and white number "341". That is pretty much all I can tell about it. The second one is Russian Army again, but this time modern colors, with sandy brown, light green and black. This is one more attractive option, although as I mentioned above, the camouflage with the soft edges of the paint does not seem like the one seen on the BMP-3s, T-90s and other modern vehicles in the Russian army. Whatever the case is, there are options for you to buy a camouflage masks set for a regular modern colors version from DN Models. That is standard modern Russian Army from the late 2000s, and early 2010s. In addition to that, the splinter camo showed on the last couple RAEs - on the T-90s, BMPTs and 2S19s is also available as a mask set as well. It is suitable for both: this version and the later version of Msta-S /2S19M2/. Depending on their final reveal, it will eventually fit the Zvezda kit too. Splinter camo scheme by itself, no matter on Msta or Terminator is very very attractive one, and DN Models wouldn't miss the opportunity to provide the modelers with that helping tool. In conclusion, I must say that this is a superb kit, with wonderful tooling. Suspension is great, the turret is complex enough to satisfy the pretentious modelers too. Tracks are very nice, and even though there are aftermarket sets from Trumpeter and other companies, I would still stick to the kit ones. The only let down is the gun barrel which might be a bit shorter than it has to be and the fact that is two halfs instead of one whole piece. That can be replaced with a metal one for sure. Overall I recommend this kit to any Russian Army collector or howitzer lover like myself. Honestly, I don't believe that Zvezda will pull off something much better if any at all. The kit worth every dime! Highly recommended! You can get this kit here: Trumpeter 2S19 Msta-S 152mm SPH Splinter camo mask set: RAE 2013 / RAE 2015 2S19s Modern Russian Army camo: 2S19 camouflage Modern Russian Army Check out the video unboxing too: https://youtu.be/aaFE1grgEG0  
Read more...

PZH 2000 Howitzer in F.C. Schalke 04 demo colors

PZH 2000 Howitzer is considered by many to be the best howitzer in the modern armor world. It is newer than many of its competitors and it is German - which guarantees its quality more or less. PZH 2000 is famous for his very high rate of fire - 10 to 13 rounds per minute and in between those two numbers stays only the heat. Even if it is 10 per minute it is extremely high rate for a howitzer with that caliber - 155mm. It is used by the armed forces of Italy, Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Qatar, Croatia and Germany and it is a main option for the obsolete versions of M109 in many other NATO countries. Panzerhaubitze 2000 is a product of Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. Again - names that stood over time and scream "quality". The kit for this particular project is from Meng Model, who have released two options on the market in 2014 and 2015. The second one is with additional armor and won't be our point of interest here. The first one is the one that it is used for the build and it is the correct one needed. The scale model kit itself is very accurate, with active suspension, movable tracks, metal gun barrel, photo-etch and many bells and whistles, typical for 21st century scale model kit. There is a substitute for it, in the face of Revell old-ish PZH-2000, which is cheaper and not so up-to-date. It is till usable, but many will pass on that because Meng Model is superior on many different levels. Meng is easy to be build and with great fit and realism. This is what we all aim for after all. The camo scheme is bright blue with white logos, soccer balls and stars all around it. It is dedicated to F.C. Schalke 04, one of the most famous and oldest German Football /soccer/ clubs. They have won seven German Championships and one UEFA Cup throughout their career, and are one of the most fan-devoted and fan-oriented clubs on the planet. The club has 140,000 members, making it the second-largest sports club in Germany and the sixth-largest sports club in the world in terms of membership. Ain't that a fan base?!? No wonder that somebody decided to paint one big gun in the colors of the club. It is fairly easily applicable over a 35th scale Panzerhaubitze 2000, when using DN Models mask set for it. It is designed for both Revell and Meng kits and are relatively easy to use. The only problem that might arise for un-experienced modelers are the thin lines between the ball's spots which should be made by hand, but nothing un-doable after all. The blue of the FC Schalke 04 is not a color that can easily be found in the color tables of Vallejo, Tamiya or MIG, however you can mix it by yourself using different paints from all of the brands available, or use some of the sci-fi colors. As a reference, the web is full with Schalke pictures, and it won't be a problem. Overall the project is relatively easy one, considering the minimal weathering of the tank and the availability of the mask set. The only challenge might be to get the proper shade of the blue, but even that is nothing that cannot be solved. Having in mind that the PZH 2000 is rather big even in 35th scale, it promises to be very attractive kit once finished, especially placed amongst dark, muddy and beaten armored vehicles in the same category and scale. A definite show-stopper! Thanx to my friend Michael for his pictures and will to build that kit as a test bed for DN Models F.C. Schalke 04 set. Take a look at the video he made, and take a closer look at his channel, it is definitely worth it!
Read more...

Patriot System – Trumpeter, then Dragon and now another one!?!?

Patriot is definitely a behemoth of a kit in 35th scale. It went extremely popular subject once Trumpeter announced their release in 2015, but shortly after they made some changes. The whole Patriot System is a huge thing. It contains a tractor vehicle /HEMTT M983/ and a launching station /M901/. The second one holds AN/MPQ-53 Radar set of MIM-104 Patriot SAM System (PAC-2). So cleverly, Trumpeter decided to separate the kits for two obvious reasons: the price of the whole set and the size of the box.
Trumpeter HEMTT M983

Trumpeter HEMTT M983

Price is something you can live with, but imagine a box weighting several pounds and the transportation costs for that, not to mention the questions from some of your lovely wives once the kit arrives. Lucky for me, mine is a modeler too :) That on the other hand didn't stopped Dragon /DML/ from announcing their own new tooling of a Patriot system with MIM-104B and SAM System PAC-1, which is a bit different version of the same thing. However, what we recently have here, is a third party in that Patriot game - the AFV Club. And they did the most tricky thing ever, getting Patriot from Trumpeter /the sprues only/ and repacking it, spicing it up with their perspective of a good model kit. Including photo-etch parts, resin parts, new wiring and some different decals.
M901 Launching Station & AN/MPQ-53 Radar set of MIM-104 Patriot SAM System PAC-2 Trumpeter #01022 1:35

Trumpeter M901 Launching Station

I cannot talk about Dragon Patriot yet, since it is not out and I haven't got my hands around it. But for Trumpeter, I can tell you that it is very nice kit, although a lot of modelers complain about missing details and the usual subjects of "what if Trumpeter added...". Yeah. I know it is boring, but hey, Patriot system is one helluva big kit and I agree that it deserves a bit extra attention to detail, especially for what we pay for it!
Dragon Patriot System Due out sometime 2016

Dragon Patriot System

So AFV Club eventually heard the cry and they repacked everything, with - supposedly - the bits missing from Trumpeter release. I thought Eduard and Wingman are best in doing that - repacking kits with add-ons, turning them into super-kits and for little extra money to please the most pretentious modelers. But obviously AFV Club entered the game too.

Colored hoses visible here

  I cannot say that this step was a necessity, because we have Voyager PE upgrade set for Trumpeter and not only that, but the Patriot System kit is a challenge even for experienced modelers, thus they will know how to scratch super detail the thing. Yet, AFV Club is covering slightly different market and that was another reason to do it that way.

The Launching System M901

A trailer of the Patriot System

I am pretty sure most of you will be pleased to see it in the stores soon! I will be! You can get two Trumpeter kit here /same sprues/: Launching Station HEMTT Tractor Watch the Trumpeter kits reviewed here:  
Pictures of the AFV Club Patriot System seen in the article are from various sources, mainly AFV Club Facebook Page
 
Read more...

Stalinetz ChTZ-65 Tractor 1/35 Trumpeter

Since I first built D9 Doobi bulldozer by Meng in the summer of 2013, I fell in love with model tractors. Not just because every boy likes heavy machinery or construction vehicles, but because from the modeling point of view, tractors are very interesting subject. They are heavily used in real life, and in the same time poorly maintained. On top of that, this particular model  - ChTZ-65 - was build in tens of thousands in USSR. It was a copy of a Caterpillar design. On the field it had many add-ons and there are also many different options you can recreate. That makes it almost certain, that whatever you decide to build - it would've existed somewhere at some point. This is artillery towing tractor, and besides towing the guns, it was put into a lot of different activities, and as you might guess Russians didn't payed much attention to its looks. Dirt, rust, chipping or whatever! Modeler's dream!
There are many built kits out there, and every single one of them has charm and is one of a kind. As a stand-alone model, or a diorama, it is perfect because it immediately grabs attention and sympathy. Amazing items were towed with those: from tree branches, through howitzers and even houses! You can check www.youtube.com for reference!
So, to make mine different, I decided to add scratch-built hood and add extra hooks for tow chain in the back. I've seen a lot of different versions of that out there, but decided to stay away from the cliche. In my mind was building one with whatever I can find, as if I owned the real tractor and had spare materials in my back yard just lying around. I thought this should add specific and personal touch to the model.
I built the hood from sim card holder. Yep, cell-phone SIM. Not the with the card in it of course. The struts are made from wood and from spare plastic parts, and the bases for the four columns are thin metal plates, similar to PE parts. The hooks are metal too, and the chain is an aftermarket item of which I have some for sale, but a bit more weathered.
The structure of the hood was separated until the very last moment, when I placed the exhaust. I did that to make it look more real - the tractor itself and the hood wasn't together all along its service life, and were made from different materials, therefore, they were weathered in different conditions, and their worn is in different stages. Painting and treating of the parts was also different.
To blend it all I used some final touches of pigments, pastels and dust weathering.
 
The installation of the hood was kinda tricky, since it has to be attached to already weathered part of the model. I wanted to do some damage on the side plates /or skirts, whatever their name is/ but then - the hood might just not attach itself nicely onto a bent parts, so I skipped the idea.
At first the tracks and the wheels were movable, but then I glued the wheels just for safety /long transportation distance/. The track line is click-click system and can be removed and placed again. So if tracks needed a change of appearance, instead of turning the wheels, just remove and attach the tracks again.
The model is nice, but in order to make it look perfect, you need to get aftermarket engine for it. Not just due to the "resin fever" running around last couple of years, but because the real tractors tend to overheat, and was driven with side panels of the bonnet off. Since Trumpeter left an empty engine compartment, LZ Models come as a saviour. They make engine set, as well as other goodies for that kit. If you are interested in it, you definitely should check them out. They have very cool GAS conversion of the model, as well as Caterpillar SIXTY conversion, which is great looking tractor.
I've built two more of these, besides the one shown here. They sold pretty fast, so now I built them upon request. Scratch built hood or OOB, as well as Nazi captured version. Feel free to contact me if interested. The prices start around $190 and up, and depend on how much aftermarket or scratch do you want to put in the model.
Hope that you like it!
Read more...