Tag - camouflage

su-34 trumpeter 01652 dn models mask set canopy camo wheels lights

DN Models masks for Trumpeter Su-34 1:72

DN Models masks are designed as a helping tool for camouflage schemes, canopies, wheels and lights. Various different scales and applications are available, but recently, 72nd scale came back to light. With the newest toolings in that scale, especially the wonderful designs from Trumpeter, many people increased the demand for add-ons, aftermarket parts and accessories for those. This includes masking solutions of course. Su-34 from Trumpeter in 72nd scale is very tempting offer on the market nowadays. The aircraft is new tooling, far better than the one Zvezda and Italeri offered/and still do/ in that same scale. The new technologies and the constantly increasing level of the modelers, creates new demand for newly tooled, high-accuracy, very-high-quality moldings, all of which Trumpeter's Su-34 incorporates. The Su-34 is not a new plane, I've seen it in Paris Air Show back in 1997. It is a mighty beast and although old design, the Fullback /NATO name for the Su-34/ gained popularity during the recent and endless Syrian conflict. This is a very agile fighter-bomber, built over the well-known and still adequate Su-27 platform. Su-34 is side-by-side configuration, which makes it a bit more interesting with its flat canopy, but the best thing about the plane is the sea camouflage. Cover Su-34 Canopy and Wheels 72th Canopy su-34 su-32fn fullback trumpeter italeri hobby boss hobbyboss zvezda Guided by those two factors, DN Models decided to give the fellow modelers a helping tool for both - the canopy and the camouflage. The first one is self explanatory. It is a must, especially in that scale, that will save you time and effort. Painting properly in 72nd scale is a hard task, and those who underestimate the possible damages from that process are mistaken. The camouflage option of the Su-34 Fullback is very attractive, but its a complex one. Although for 32nd scale this particular camo is a free-hand option and for 48th scale can be done with the help of blu-tak /and or masks/, for 72nd scale masking is the only option if you are not airbrush pro. The camo scheme is difficult because the colors are close nuances of blue-green tones, which with free-hand airbrushing might blur or lose their edges in 1/72. In the same time, Trumpeter kit offers a superb qualities, and to cope with that, we believe that masks are very good option to use for the purpose. Camouflage paint masks dn models su-34 fullback fighter bomber sukhoi su-32 1/72 trumpeter The camouflage is created based on the real aircraft, not trumpeter's schematics, which are slightly off. Of course, that still gives you the option to alter things a bit, but have in mind that Su-34 is basically standardized in its camo pattern, so it is advisable to follow the overall mask scheme. Hopefully, those two new products, including camouflage, wheels, lights and canopy masks will be a helping tool for many. Of course, we will soon start to work on the bigger scale too. The upcoming Kitty Hawk Su-34 in 48th scale is our main target, which so far seems to be the most accurate one. Unfortunately, with the accuracy issues demonstrated in the Hobby Boss release it dropped out of our list of projects. However, Trumpeter is superb kit, and in 72nd scale the plane is anything but small, so you will have fun with it no matter what scale you prefer! With that said, if you are interested in Trumpeter's Su-34 1:72, check out our store for those two masks sets. We wish you pleasant modeling and astonishing results! www.dnmodels.com
Mil Mi-24 dn models mask sets 72nd scale hind zvezda revell eduard limited edition

Mil Mi-24 Mask Sets. Camouflage and its tricks in 72nd scale.

72nd scale camouflage often presents many challenges to even most experienced modelers. Free hand camouflages are almost impossible in that scale and if you are master airbrushing genius, using Harder & Steenbeck Infinity .15 nozzle, you will still lack any guarantee for success. Good thing here is the fact that the real aircraft are painted with quite sharp lines very often, which is due to the fact that masks are used for standard camo patterns from the manufacturers too. In this particular article, we will take a glimpse at Mil Mi-24. NATO codename Hind. Arguably most recognizable military helicopter in the World since the early 80s, this beast can be seen almost everywhere on the planet and in almost every conflict. Besides military applications, there are many used as civilian aircraft, owned by private collectors and flown regularly. Especially in the USA. So as you might guess, camo patterns for Mi-24 are various and interesting. Alongside with that, there are models in 48th, 35th and 72nd scale of that Soviet Helicopter in almost every modeling store. With that being said, we will focus on 72nd scale. If you wonder why, it is because rotor diameter of the helos often consume a lot of space and people either build folded rotor helicopters in parked position or make compromise with the scale so the rotor can spread its parts. One of the best kits ever produced in 72nd scale is Mi-24 from Zvezda. It is probably due to the facts mentioned above. Mil Mi-24 being the star of the helicopter show and because of the space taken from its 35th scale sibling /from Trumpeter/. Zvezda kit is constantly being repacked and reissued and you can find it in many different forms with all kinds of camouflages. Most popular ones are the standard Soviet camo used widely, probably most notably in Soviet War in Afghanistan as well as Czech Tiger camo, executed in two-tone blue-gray scheme. There are many others, like the Alien and Eagle airbrushed birds, but those are hard to be reproduced in real aircraft and I believe besides decals, in scale those are almost impossible. With both camouflages that I mentioned above, the free hand airbrushing is a problem. So few tips won't hurt anybody. As a start, I want to point your attention towards the fact that masks have been used on the real aircraft. Edges are pretty sharp and Soviets probably didn't mind to paint every camo pattern using only a picture as a reference. The other thing is, that 72 times smaller, the edge of the paint becomes very hard to be seen and in terms of reality - very difficult to imitate too. Most people either overdo the soft edge, or due to the difficult places to paint and odd shapes often mess up the scheme. So here the DN Models masks comes to help. The first two camo patterns that DN Models released were Czech Tiger camo and the Standard Soviet Cold War Mi-24. Both are very popular and in 72nd scale are indispensable tool for those who want to follow the correct patterns. They are both featured in Eduard's Limited Edition Mil Mi-24 Dual Combo set, being released twice for the last 18 months. They are also both very popular in that scale /72nd/ due to their original appearance and also both very difficult due to the size of the built helicopter. Eduard of course took care of their potential clients, supplying masks within their Limited Edition set, but not for the camouflages. mil mi-24 soviet russian camo typical 1980s 1/72 eduard revell zvezda academy

1980s 1/72 Standard Soviet Camouflaged Mil Mi-24 Hind

So we at DN Models decided that we will add our spices to the mix, presenting both of these camo schemes /initially, but soon more to follow/, including not only the proper camo patterns, but also wheels and canopy masks. The sets are very useful, due to the scale of the helicopter, and due to its shape. It features round shapes at some places, as well as wings. Quite unusual for a helo. The other thing worth mentioning is the fact that the weathering of the Standard Soviet Camo Scheme can be replicated a lot better when painted with masks. As you can see for yourself at the pictures here, the camo pattern ages quite odd, and this in 72nd scale will require a ton of work if all painted by freehand techniques only. Very challenging will be repeating the layers all over without messing things up. I speak from my experience... The insignia damage is also a challenge, but those techniques are more widely used in the larger scale and for heavily worn or damaged models. Which, is not bad, but it isn't the point of interest in this article. However, the camo pattern is and the options that DN Models masks give you will ease up your work substantially. They are re-usable, so this weathering tricks that you see here can be done in layers, using chipping technique, keeping the camo pattern the same way as with the first spray session. For the Czech Mi-24 Tiger camo, the weathering isn't the important part. The correct pattern of the painting is. Many try to do this by hand and at some point, usually later on within the painting they realize that something is wrong. Again - my personal experience here. So Tiger Camo masks are useful tool for that scale and subject. MI-24 Tiger Camo 1:72 mil mi 24 dn models tigermeet

1/72 Mi-24 Czech Tiger Camo

Of course, there are many Mi-24s with various paint schemes, varying from Flat White to splinter and Digital camo schemes. And DN Models will release some of those soon. But here we are discussing the most widely used ones and the initial ones from the Mi-24 series. Hopefully, you will find these handy and will be able to display more accurate and confidently built models at the shows. Of course, following our credo to help modelers, DN Models look forward for suggestions and requests for custom made camo scheme options, especially for subjects like Mi-24. Besides being the most recognizable military helicopter in the World it is one of the most loved sale model too! So have fun building that, and have fun using DN Models masks sets for it!  

F-16I Sufa unboxing – 1/48 Israeli Storm from Kinetic

There is something unique in the Israeli version of the iconic F-16 – maybe it is the unique three-color camouflage, which looks like a desert type camo and yet features fresh green nuances. Maybe they are the gorgeous animalistic tail markings that make the F-16I Sufa unique, or maybe both. In all cases – you get the awesome 1/48 scale rendering of the real deal out of this huge Kinetic box. The boxart depicts a Sufa with an eagle or a falcon on the tail, as well as decorated with quite a good amount of loadouts. The second thing that impressed me even before opening the box was the bottom right edge of the box, which shows the basic information about the content of this F-16I kit. The finished model will measure only some 30cm by 20cm, which is expected for a small plane such as the F-16I. However, the box of this small model contains more than 450 parts! Pretty interesting. So let`s get started with the unboxing review. The F-16I Sufa is famous as one of the widest exploited Israeli jet fighters, which along with the F-15I`s – are symbolic displays of the 3-colored Israeli camouflage scheme. The history of the model can be traced back to the last decade, when Kinetic offered a series of F-16 scale models. And the amazing Sufa camouflage still makes this F-16I model an irresistible subject for modeling. Even a quick first look at the kit is enough to understand that it is recommended mostly for advanced modelers or for the real pros. 450+ parts for such a small model is not an easy take. When you open the box, you might be stunned of the packing of the sprues. I came across just about three main bags full with sprues. Indeed, the bags are overwhelmingly stuffed with plastic, which leads to the biggest con/imperfection of this kit. Some bags hold 5-6 and even more sprues at once. The quality of the plastic is fabulous though – the parts have beautifully engraved panel lines, rivets, doors, tubes, wires and many other details, while the plastic sprues themselves are two-colored. This is not exactly advantageous, buts it`s interesting. Another thing that surprised me was one of the inner edges of the box, which holds a small triangular sheet with tiny little metal parts. While continuing with the unboxing of this Sufa kit, I quickly came across the instructions manual and the color markings that stay on the bottom of the box. The instruction manual looks rather like a small booklet, but it is a very good explanatory guide for the assembly of this 1/48 Sufa kit. Because of the small size of the manual – everything in it is quite small, including the lettering and the numbers, and it will require a little bit more attention to read. Here is an overview of the plastic parts in this 1/48 scale Kinetic kit: And an overview of the “soft” parts in this F-16I Sufa kit: I found these highlights of the kit as its greatest Pros: - Awesome riveting, panel lines and detailing of the surfaces. The rivets are everywhere and are very fine. The panel lines are not too deep, nor too fine. A lot of access doors and panels are engraved to put this Sufa kit even closer to the realm. - Replacement metal parts, respectively for the Pitot tube on the tip of the nose, and two small photo etch mesh screens which are to be fitted on the CFTs. - Decals for 4 airframes, respectively 2 from the Negev Squadron and 2 from the Bat Squadron. The differences are visible mostly on the tails of the Sufa, but in all cases – it comes to huge beautiful decals with falcons and bats. - A wide range of armament – from targeting to navigation pods, and from underwing fuel tanks to small rockets and bombs – there is everything in this Kinetic kit to overwhelm your model. This is especially essential for the Sufa, because the CFTs permit longer range without underwing fuel tanks, which on the other hand, means more space for loadouts. - Extreme attention to the smallest details – this is the first time I see so small details in a 1/48 scale kit, and I mean no photo etched or resin parts. Just regular OOB plastic parts. The Sufa is a rather small plane, but the attention to the smallest details is second to none – from antennas, to nodes, panels, probes, lights and many more. I also don`t mean replication of these parts via panel lines and engraving. This kit has a multitude of tiny little details as separate plastic parts. And as with every kit, this Kinetic F-16I kit has some Cons as well: - Unreliable packing. The inadequate packing is a big issue, because the kit is quite big and it`s not packed well. It`s only enough to imagine 450+ parts stuffed in just about three plastic bags to get a better idea on what we talk about. Some parts are broken, others are ripped off of their sprue gates, others are dramatically bent such as the airbrake. - Seamline along the entire canopy. Thankfully, the canopy and the other clear parts are stored in a small separate bag, and the canopy has no major scratches or indentations. However, it is not the perfect canopy – it has some great distortions and a molding line along its entire length, which will definitely require sanding and polishing.   Conclusion: The Kinetic`s Sufa is without a doubt one of the most detailed if not the most detailed F-16I in 1/48 scale. I have not seen that much F-16 models by myself, but I strolled through a few inbox reviews and videos, and the number of the parts  in this kit is something that you don`t want to underestimate. More than 450 parts let you to choose the best way to assemble your favorite Sufa airframe. Although F-16I is a small plane and the CFTs make it look a little bigger, this model features a lot of details - small and bigger, to combine into an overwhelmingly detailed and complex model. You can get this kit here: Kinetic F-16I Sufa 1/48

How to avoid typical issues with decals like silvering

How to avoid typical issues with decals? In a word: masks! From silvering and misaligned decals, to very thick and fragile old decals – you can really get rid of these issues just by using masks. Of course, not every decal can be replaced with a mask and it is not always possible. So, how about reducing the time for cutting, soaking and gluing the decals? With the pre-cut masks, you have more time to take good care of the choice of paint type, color and brand. The pre-cut masks can be used a number of times if handled properly and if stored justly, so even if you make two exactly the same models – you can use just one set of masks instead of buying more decals. To choose when to use masks instead of decals is usually easy and it is mostly related to the desire of avoiding the usual issues that can appear when using decals. For instance, let`s take a look at a couple common mistakes or issues that may appear when using decals:
  • Problems with very old decals. They are usually very thin or very thick, but not normal. Some very old decals might be yellowish or some kind of discoloration might be clearly noticeable. The decals in the very old kits are much more vulnerable to cracks and even they can easily break apart if not handled carefully.
  • Applying the wrong decal setting solution or applying it in a wrong way. Some decals require a minute or two for soaking in a softening solution, but other decals require more time. So, you may want to use a stronger setting solution and thus risk to damage the decal. Other decal setting solutions can cause an unwanted effect to the base coat of paint or lacquer.
  • Silvering is a common problem with just about all the decals, except for the best decals from the highest quality. If you don`t use any kind of setting solution – then, the unwanted silvering effect may appear easier.
  • Very difficult or impossible alignment. This could happen with the very long and spacious decals, which require to apply water or decal setting solution onto quite a larger surface of the model. In this case, the big decal could easily touch a dry painted surface and stick to it quite persistently. Aligning such a decal to its exact place could be quite a time-consuming exercise.
These are only the main issues with the decals, which could easily be avoided just by using masks. There are numerous options to replace a huge big decal with a mask, for example – you could make your own template with masking tape. Some kits have sheets with pre-cut masks included in them, such as the Eduard`s Limited Edition kits. Some online stores sell only masks as optional upgrades for a variety of models. Or else, try the DN-models masks, which offer a wide choice of applications – from typical canopy masks to paint only the frames, to masks for big and difficult camouflage patterns. Cover 2s19 splinter camo (site)2
source: http://web.ipmsusa3.org
source: www.hobbyworld-usa.com
The application of the masks is easy and sometimes quite trickier, than using a simple decal, but the final effect will be much more realistic. It`s just how the vehicles are painted in the real world – by applying coats of paint over templates or masks. Also, the choice of paint could be trickier, but if you do it properly – you could get an even better effect than with the normal decals.

Sukhoi Su-34 /Su-32FN/ Fullback – Kitty Hawk 1:48

Su-32FN as I remember it from my teens, or Su-34 as it is more popular nowadays, is one of the coolest looking multi-role jets of the Russians. Up until the Syrian war, and its short participation in it, Su-34 was somehow forgotten project, pushed to the second row by Su-30 and its derivatives. Probably for commercial reasons, Russians decided to use Su-34 alongside with the old Su-24 and bomb in Syria. Results so far are one Su-24 shot down, and total success for the Fullback. Maybe the reasons for that are various, but whatever the case is, Su-34 deserves a lot more attention that it is getting and not only - it deserves a nice scale model representation. So far, Italeri and Zvezda had Su-32FN / Su-34 in 72nd scale but as you can expect, the quality and the accuracy of those were quite low. During 2016, Hobby Boss promised to release 48th scale tooling of it, which was promising /and still is/ but associated delays with it brought some disappointment. We are soon to enter in the third quarter of the year, and the kit is still nowhere close. Kitty Hawk, obviously saw the gap here, and announced their own tooling of Su-34 Fullback. It is hard to say /from this point of view/ which one will be better. Trumpeter and HobbyBoss in 48th scale tend to be a bit simplified kits. Kitty Hawk with their 48th scale line proven to be very satisfactory, but their MiG-25 showed some engineering flaws and inaccuracies. Of course it is understandable for such a project - MiG-25 being very obscure subject - but same goes for the Su-34 Fullback. Anyhow, in 48th scale now we have two Su-34s upcoming, with most likely very different engineering approaches. The scale is big, and probably this will be the top scale for KittyHawk, however, if the subject becomes famous, HobbyBoss are very likely to expand it via Trumpeter into 32nd scale monster. I will be surprised if this is the end of the 48th scale Su-34 Fullback battle. I assume that very soon Kinetic or AMK or whoever will try to score with the same subject. I am not sure how much Su-34s Russians managed to sell after their Syria campaign, but one thing is certain - they definitely will sell a lot from plastic!  

Why masks are the way to go

Decals are getting obsolete Especially when dealing with armor, in-between stages like applying decals is not only difficult, but useless. There are many reasons supporting this theory, but the main one is the usage of gloss coating. Texture of the armored vehicles is something that modelers count on for realism, weathering and overall quality of the kit molding. Texture though, is the main enemy of the gloss coat. In its essence, the gloss coat should be spotless and as shiny as possible. It has to be extremely smooth and equal all around. This means, - covering heavy texture in this case - that we need to fill up all the surface with gloss varnish, eliminate the texture roughness /which is similar to matt varnish in genearal/ and then apply decals. Then cover them with another layer of varnish, eventually satin, and then go on with the weathering.
adam wilder plz 05 dn models digital camo mask set meng model 1_35 howitzer SPHPLZ 05 Meng Model in progress, courtesy of Adam Wilder
The salvation in that situation comes with very high-quality decals, which are not usually found in the regular model kits, with a few exceptions. So, the only two ways avoiding that problem is with masks for the big signs, and with dry-transfers for the small markings. Luckily, tanks does not have too much small numbers or letters /like the Phantom F-4 for example/, so that saves time, effort and gloss varnish. Then to the rescue comes the different options provided from the mask sets. In the real world, masking is the technique preferred when comes down to painting insignia on the tanks. It was like that since the dawn of the tank production, with few exceptions, where application of the markings was done in the field without masking or stencils. So realism to its maximum can be achieved through that technique. It is basically the closest thing to the real world, just like with the metal aftermarket tracks or gun barrels. Many different options Additionally, masks give you the option to weather them separately, using different mediums like worn or chipping effects, salt method or any other tricks in the book. Basically, masking and painting the numbers can be done over a sealing coat of sating, /which is either way advisable when you seal your previous layers/ so that means a whole new paint layer to be worked with. Through the relatively short existence of DN Models, we discovered, that masters are really enjoying that technique, but it is not a trademark for them only. It is essential for everybody though, since the "fashion" and the movements in scale modeling is more or less dictated by them. More and more people discover the opportunities that masks present you with and we at DN Models believe that the future of armor modeling markings is exactly there. michael rinaldi tankart4 mask set german disc camo dn models 1/35 set Decals are more expensive, it is a one time deal and there are additional risks when varnishing, while applying /several unpleasant paint discolorations noted on the last IPMS nationals in US and not only there/ and when weathering. On the other hand, masks are re-usable, they are exact replica of the technique used in real life and they can be weathered as an additional layer which what are they in their essence. Having in mind, that every single airplane or helicopter model nowadays corresponds to at least 5 armor model kits being released, he future of modeling is with mask usage. Even with airplanes and ships. And this is not only for the markings, but for the camouflages, transparent parts /canopies and periscopes/ and even wheel painting. If you haven't tested masking with your armor model, you should give it a go!

Tiger Model gaining speed

Tiger Model is relatively new and unknown company, which gained popularity mostly with their AMX-30B2 Brennus release. Meng missed that opportunity and Tiger Model quickly took that chair. After a while, they announced very attractive new coming kits, like their Nagamchon, their Abrams in 72nd scale and their AMX-10RCR. Still, nobody knows where they came from. Some even speculate that Tiger Model is a company which is a derivative of Tamiya, because their approach to engineering the models is very close and the details is almost the same. That isn't confirmed of course, and I doubt that if Tamiya invested into another smaller sub-company, they will announce it out in the open to please the public. Anyhow, Tiger Model is gaining speed quite fast. Having in mind that a kit mold machines usually cost something like 100 000 US dollars, you can imagine what can of an investment we are looking at here. And Tiger Model keeps announcing new kits with new interesting ideas behind them. They just announced their new tool of T-90MS, which Trumpeter are cooking up in the oven. They seem to have better overall quality compared to Trumpeter, but it is not yet certain what will be the final result with the measurements. Anyhow, Tiger model adds some clever things to their models, like the stickers for the sprues, metal gun barrels and colorful window options. That is not that much, but just enough to make your day! The other thing that you can notice when you get any Tiger Model kit is the quality of the box. Nowadays, this is very very important, and they did great job with it. And of course - they are not over-engineered. I am not certain where they got their info about T-90MS, which is brand new /old-ish/ thing, but they are about to hit the market with it, and let's hope it will be as good as their Nagmachon. They got it quite right there, and the other news is that they are releasing Early version of Nagamachon, with open top, without the bar armor and with a very fancy antenna. Still its not clear - as mentioned above - what we will be getting and how high it will be rated, but considering what we have until now, we might expect very nice kits from Tiger Model this summer! They are gaining speed, and adding Russian Modern armor and IDF stuff to their line which is usually a winning strategy!
all pictures are courtesy of Tiger Model

China’s Big Gun – PLZ-05 from Meng Model

China's ambitions to become a world power are starting to be acknowledged by all, and that include model making companies. Being a Hong Kong company, Meng Model is not exactly what you would call "Chinese company", although on paper is exactly what it is. And me, not being their most devoted fan, was pretty skeptic when they announced a "new release", again promised to be very interesting and unusual. Then they released this kit. And slammed my expectations to the wall. This is not only rare vehicle, but modern, obscured in secrecy, unpopular /in the news and videos/ and most importantly - unexpected from a modeling company. I've said pretty much all I think in the video below, and here I will try to mention what I missed to say. First is the history of it. China begun developing this howitzer in the late 90s, or at least it is believed so. According to different sources, the first prototype was completed in 2003, and the People's Liberation Army of China begun accepting it into service in 2007. Others claim that it was accepted in 2009, but that really doesn't matter, as long as we know that now it is in active service.  It is developed by Norinco company as a successor to PLZ-45 which have some reputation and it is used by several armies around the World. Little is known about its combat experience, although it was used in local conflicts several times. Improved variant of PLZ-45 is the vehicle of our interest here, and unfortunately we know little about it. It is believed to be driven by 800-1000HP diesel engine, depending on the modification, maybe, but just maybe made by Deutz. The main gun is 155mm, with a barrel lenght caliber 52 or 55. Firing range is aboce 50km, believed to be 53km. It is a tracked vehicle with torsion bar suspension and with some armor, but not heavy one. Eventually to provide protection from small arms and battlefield shrapnels. The total weight of it is supposed to be 35 000kg. The turret resembles the one of 2S19 MSTA, and some claim that the semi-automatic ammunition loading system is copied from it too. It is claimed that there is an export and domestic market version which differ one from another. The kit is simple, which is not typical for Meng Model, but I mos' def' dig that!! It features goodies as a metal gun barrel, active suspension, 3 camo schemes, clear parts and nice decals. Being one of my favorite subjects, the Self-propelled howitzers were somewhat dull subjects up until last couple of years. Now Meng gave us this and alongside with PZH 2000 /2 versions/ and its AUF 1, the filled the gap that many wanted filled. I hope you will enjoy the video, and feel free to ask me whatever question about it anytime! You can get this kit here: Meng PLZ05
Picture of the real vehicle in the article is taken from ausairpower site

USV-BR 76mm Gun Mod. 1941 – 4 in 1 kit from MiniArt

Most of the experienced modelers are quite familiar with Dragon's 3in1 series of kits, giving you three options in one box. They were very popular, and still are actually, though the quality of the contents dropped. I never expected to see anything similar, but MiniArt keep surprising me lately, and they introduced me to a kit, that is not 3in1 but 4in1 set. Not only that, but rather than having one of three options in one box, here we have four separate kits combined into one packing! Of course, we are not talking 4 different Panzers here, but a Gun, combined with Limber, crew and ammunition boxes.
the ammo boxes
These four are usually sold separately, and not at a great price, but still, sometimes people avoid buying kits like limber or stowage only. What MiniArt did, was to get a very nice and popular soviet divisional gun, and combine it with whatever it takes to make it a good stand-alone model and more. I won't bother you with history here, but instead I will leave that for the end. The kits themselves are made from 456 details, 40 of which are photo etched. There are 6 options for painting the gun, with decals for 4 of them. There is a crew of 5, which is pretty much all that you need to make this gun 'Alive' on a vignette or a small diorama. They are soviet soldiers with helmets and standard uniforms. So far we have two sets. But let's get back to the gun. Many of its parts are with optional positioning, and with sub-assemblies it gives the modeler countless options for finishing. My favorite one when it comes to artillery is firing position, which here is an option. Even the locking mechanisms are depicted perfectly, although they are rather small parts. There will be tricks in that kit, I can assure you that! The rivets, the small details - including handles, tubes, locks and so on, are recreated with extreme precision. I cannot speak about accuracy, but nobody that hasn't been around the real thing with a ruler can. Honestly. Two things need special attention: the Photo-etch parts for it, and the tires. PEs are delicate and small, but they add an enormous amount of "life" inside of the build, being stuff that could've been easily casted from plastic. Nevertheless, MiniArt decided to take the road less traveled, and get themselves through the hassle of making the kit more modeler-oriented, instead of pure profit. Mos Def any novice will encounter troubles with those, but for the rest, this is better than the competition for sure. MiniArt fit is one of the best known on the market, so if enough care and attention is applied, it will be rewarded in the end. The tires are a state of the art as well. As with most of MiniArt's kits they are made from several discs which supposed to be glued one to another. That seems odd at first glance, but when you start building them, you can quickly come to the conclusion that this is one of the best ways to save the thread from damaging and get accurate plastic version of the tire. Purely from engineering point of view. The rims are separate, which gives you the additional option for weathering the wheels or replicating damages over them. Detail is nearly perfect, having all the letters on the side of the tire, just like on the real ones. Absolutely the same goes for the tires of the Limber /model 1942,  52-R-353M /, which is the third kit in that same box. They are different in size and model, but with the same good quality of manufacture. This kit by itself is not an easy one either, having many thin and delicate rods molded separately, which have to be assembled and placed on the top of it, and that needs a lot of patience and skills. On the other hand the kit is made from MiniArt's new plastic material, which promises no troubles with cracking parts, so only experience is what you need at that point of the build. Again, brackets, suspension, and every small detail is there, existing and giving modeler's eye a pure pleasure. And not only that, but again - two options. For horse towing, or truck towing. This must be reviewed as a stand-alone kit, really. It is delicate, and by itself it would be enough to look great at a wooden pad. The fourth, and last kit which we can find in the box is the ammo boxes. And though it might seem that 'boxes' are pretty much 6 parts in total per box, this is not the case here. MiniArt made their name exactly for what it stands for - art. These are, by far the best ammo boxes that I've seen. They have the detail of resin, but they are not one piece that you have to sand off. No guys, they are made from many separate parts, including the sides and the holders for the shells, and the shells themselves. There are even decals for them. Both - the shells and crates. And the shells are three types - empty ones, and two other types of unused ones. Of course, you can disperse those around the gun if you are doing diorama, having all types of things to show - used or in a position of loading. Whatever you might think of. Which actually is the strong side of MiniArt - they give you most of what you might need in one kit, not like other companies that keep the price low but diversify the goodies into separate kits or leaving some of the job unfinished and making more room for aftermarket companies. This is something that is made from modelers for modelers. It is not just a business, it is pure art! Summarizing everything, we have six options:
  1. Red Army, Moscow 1941
  2. Red Army, Western Front December 1941 /Winter Camoufalge/
  3. Red Army unknown unit 1942
  4. Captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, October 1943 - original soviet camo scheme
  5. Red Army winter 43-44, semi-winter camoflage scheme
  6. 889th Artillery Regiment, 387th Infantry Division, 2nd Ukrainian Front, May 1945 - with 5 white star markings for five destroyed Nazi tanks.
And this goes about a gun which has a real rich history, meaning more options for building. Now back to the history: this is a divisional gun built in the Soviet Union which entered service in late 30s. The kit's version is a -BR version, which is slightly different from the original model. Suspension and barrel was different, and the whole thing itself was produced in different factory.  The gun was named "divisional" because was issued to batteries and was under the direct control division headquarters. Around 10 000 were built, but its unclear how many from which variant. Of course, the information might be incorrect, having in mind that the mania of mass producing military subjects was the main idea back then. Interesting fact is that there were few of those captured from the Wehrmacht and redone as an anti-tank guns with few modifications.  Romanians captured a lot of those during operation Barbarossa as well. In both cases of captured guns, they were used mostly to fill the gaps, rather as a main players, because they weren't considered that effective. That goes for the soviet usage as well. The gun was too big, too heavy and have some odd engineering solutions, which led to its replacement with ZiS-3 - much cheaper to be produced and had overall simplicity in production and usage terms. Despite the fact it was obsolete then, the model of this gun is still very interesting add-on to any collection, and its options of completion are countless! Thanx to MiniArt for the sample and stay tuned for the build review! You can get this kit here: MiniArt USV-BR 1/35

About myself

Hey there! My name is Mitko, and I am glad that you are reading this! Since this blog is about my models, I will not waste your time with info about me - I will just jump to my modeling experience. I started in 1990. I was 10 then. F-15 1/72 was my first model. Since then, I devoted myself to aviation. Professionally too, but also in the hobby. My scale was growing, along with my skills. I ended up in 32nd, mostly jets. At some point, I decided to make it little more profitable, and started selling my models. And since its fairly difficult to ship built planes in that scale around the world, I tried to make some AFV models. Actually tanks were something that I loved and admired as a kid, since my father was a commander of a tank during his army service. So with my newly rediscovered love, and using knowledge from aviation modeling, I switched mostly to AFVs. I found them easy to ship all around the world, safer too, and most important - they are a lot faster builds then aircraft. Once into that, I found out that weathering is the key to successful model, and along with that discovery, I saw a whole new world of scale modeling hobby. So many options of vehicles, at so many possible scenes, that compared to airplane modeling, especially jets, made me feel like I am 10 again. Last years, many manufacturers brought a lot of stuff making modeler's life easy, so I bought some of them and got into the 1/35th scale mud. And I dug deep. Of course, in time, you got your favorite model makers. So, as I am a huge fan of Japanese engineering, and with my aircraft experience - I love Tamiya. However, nowadays, there are a lot more - Dragon, MENG, AFV Club, Bronco. I got attached to modern IDF models. They are interesting subjects, and I have built and sold many of them. I also love WWII vehicles, mostly big ones - King Tiger, JSU-152 stuff like that. My personal preference is to self-propelled vehicles, but I like tanks too. My favorite subjects are Jagd /panzer/panther/tiger series, Doher/Paladin, SU/JSU. On a commission I built almost everything, as long as it is decent model, and me, with the future owner, agreed upon looks, aftermarket /if any/, camouflage and of course - price. Last one is variable as many of you might guess. I have built models for 3 times their price, which is regular in that business, but I have built models for 11 times their price too. It varies. I would take airplane commissions, but consider 40-50% higher prices then the regular, because they are slower builds and difficult to be shipped. I can take orders for diorama pads,but again, if you are interested in that, you can always contact me for further info. So, that is all I guess. Again, thank you for being here, visiting my blog, I appreciate the interest! Look forward hearing from you! Have fun!