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revell rafale honest review dn models masks for scale models

Revell Rafale in 48th scale – an honest Review

 

Intro

Let’s start with an odd fact. It is nearly the end of 2020 and there is still no new tooling of the Rafale and Eurofighter in 48th scale. The only decent ones that we have are Revell’s which are rather outdated. And that goes for both. Here we’re gonna focus our attention on the Dassault Rafale. Being the less popular of the two, Rafale’s representation is also the better one of them.

It might be surprising, but despite both being the last 4th generation fighters and somewhat symbolic to the end of an era, European modern fighter planes were left aside from the modeling scene. That comes even with the fact that both are still produced/sold and amazingly - last couple of years even better than before. But let’s not rush it. Maybe Revell releases aren’t bad, but actually the opposite.

The Box

When it comes down to boxes, Revell is defenitely on the weaker side. They never actually made a really imrpessing box and on top of that, even with good kits, the finished model pictured on their boxes are ridiculous. Very good example is the MiG-21SMT which was released lately. That is Eduard’s re-box and the kit as we all know is superb. But the pictures show rather mediocre completion and paint job that might be mistaken for 12 year old’s. That is exactly the opposite of what you are getting with Eduard’s Fishbeds.

Luckily, the Rafale that we are unboxing today does not feature pictures of the built kit on its sides. And thank God for that! Other than that – the box is the typical Revell, with side opening and rather thin materials. Both unpractical and also easily damageable. Not a lot of information on it too, but we are living in an age that this comes easy.

revell rafale honest review dn models masks for scale models

But wait. Oh no! There are built model pictures on the back of the box... But this time, it is not that bad. Actually this gives some justification of the real contents of this box. A rare sight and a pleasant one too. However, even with that said, if anyone from Revell is reading this – get rid of the pictures of completed models guys. This ruins the idea to some extent.

The boxart is decent, featuring a special scheme Rafale, making the overall look more impressive and tempting. Previous boxings of the same kit – which are several and date back from the end of the 90s – are also good, but probably this one is the best so far. This is something Revell did long ago with their F-16s and with others too. Germans are good with representing anniversary or special schemes airplanes. It is a clever marketting strategy as well.

When speaking about Rafale specifically, it is also worth mentioning that there were reboxings from other companies and all in all, M, B and C versions of the Rafale were all covered. We are looking at the latter version in this review. Among them all – this one is still the best in terms of packing appearance. In terms of contents – pretty much they are all close to another.

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Instructions

The instruction sheet is NOT the good old Revell that we are used to. This one is very improved. First thing to notice is that it features color. And it seems that this will make things a bit easier and definitely more pleasant for the eyes. Still it lacks the sophistications both in looks and information when compared to the best out there /ZM for example/, but it’s good. Quality of the paper is pretty decent and in general, for the price you pay for this release, it is over-delivery from Revell’s part. The color representation makes things a lot easier. German model maker made a good effort with it. Everything they picked – from the nuances through the icons and arrangement looks like a success story. Even if this is your first kit ever, the instructions are designed in a way to make your journey a breeze. Way to go Revell!

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Special emphasis on the paint sequence can be found in the end. The special scheme is splitted in two sections, the paint job you have to apply and the follow-up with decals. Again, clearly explained and in perfect coloring. No means were spared with this sheet. Nice touch, indeed.

Plastic

Here is probably the strongest side of Revell’s Rafale. After all, boxing and instructions are just means to an end of a sort. And the end result is made by platic. So it is time to get serious here:

Light gray platic, all packed together in an transparent envelope, with surprisingly good detail. Actually quite great. Here is a good place to mention, that this is probably one of the reasons why there are new and improved Rafale toolings out there. The first glance here is an absolute eye candy. The quality of the material is typical Revell, so no complaints about that either.

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Now, when it comes down to details, things probably get a step back. A small one though. When you dig deeper in your research, you might find that Hobby Boss released their representation of the Rafale. It is very very /actually suspiciously/ close to this one, but features more rivets here and there. Lacks some details too. But the step back that was mentioned above, is the fact that a good Rafale in 48th, would’ve featured both from those two kits’ strong sides in one boxing. There is a feeling that Revell could’ve added a touch or two more here and there.

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For some, it is acceptable, because some old-school riveting and re-scribing might do the job and transfer this Revell’s Rafale into a quarter scale perfection. But for many – and especially in 2020 – this shoud’ve been included in the release. Just a hint about Hobby Boss – you will need some aftermarket to make that one good enough.

There are some accuracy issues with Revell’s Rafale wich will be mentioned in a link below, but the overall feeling is pleasant and again, for the price tag of this kit is over-delivery from German model maker’s part.

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Clear Parts

This is one thing that can be imrpoved significantly, but unfortunately aftermarket companies are not interested in Revell’s Rafale that much. The main reason is that it seems accurate in shape and size, but the thickness and quality are looking exactly like they are 20 years old. When compare it to anything relased in the last 2-3 years, you can note the difference.

We are not saying it is not acceptable. On the contrary. But this is a small sign that Rafale needs a re-tooling from another company. Or the same company. Whatever. Maybe a re-scaling too, but that is antoher subject. After all, after 20+ years on the market, somethings gotta change. It is inevitable.

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Decals

Decals are one of the best features of this kit. They are printed in Italy and with the large parts that they represent, we must give it to the Revell’s and their choice of decal maker – this was a good call.

The transparent films are visible, but they look like troubleless fraction of the elements. If this was created by Cartograf, that would’ve been definitely the case. We’ve read that they are probably the design work of Syh@rt, which also is a promising information. Whichever it is, not a lot of complaints out there, especially when compared to Tamiya’s decals of the same period and scale. Once again – decal sheet is great with this release. Probably only masks could make this kit better in the end.

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Variants

If you think that the special scheme is the only one you get with this kit because of the specific boxart, you are wrong. There are two. And they are as follows:

  • Tigermeet 2012 – EC 5/330, BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan - Arctic Tiger
  • Normandie-Niemen 2017 - 30-GF EC 2/30, BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan

One is the standard low-visibility grey scheme, the other one is the Tigermeet variant, one of the many Tiger variables that Rafales comes with in real life.

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Conclusion

Revell’s Rafale is actually a great kit. Being an old timer from 1999, this was pretty much top of the line release back then. As of today, this is the best Rafale representation in any scale. The really nice feature of this kit is the price tag. That, added to the fact that it is modeler-friendly to some extent, make this purchase a reasonable one.

The more detailed review of Revell’s and Hobby Boss’ Rafales can be found here. A great modeler and a friend of ours built those two and noted the most significant issues found with them. Besides, this is one of the best modelers we know and we strongly urge you to take a look at his Rafales. They are both very inspirational.

But being an honest review, this lead to the conclusion that this kit is not perfect, even though very good. A combination of the price, good decals and minor flaws, makes this Rafale a very tempting option for experienced and novice modelers. The other way to go is to wait for a new release. Which will be unlikely to happen having Revell’s acceptable quality and price already present.

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Wiesel A1 TOW 1/16 from TAKOM dn models masks for scale models

Wiesel A1 TOW 1/16 from TAKOM

 

1/16 is  a scale that you see significantly less-often compared to 35th. Probably, because of the significant size of Abrams or Leopard tanks in 16th scale. But if you remember, few years back, there was a Hobby Boss Dora kit in 72nd scale, which actually was spot on, again for the very same reasons. So in other words, there are kits that are suitable for 35th scale, but there are many that are definitely not. 

Takom somehow hit the right spot again, with this upcoming release of Wiesel A1 tankette. Previous time they did it was with their 1/16 Renault FT, another tank that in 35th scale is too small to be interesting. Others followed too. And even though Wiesel A1 is far less popular than the legendary FT light tank, it will still fit the bill perfectly.

The major advantages of the models in scale 1/16 are the enormous amount of details that you can work with. Again, that isn't a good choice for larger vehicles /or probably is, but it is an expensive one/, mostly due to their size when assembled, but for smaller tanks this is quite an option. Wiesel A1 is a relatively tiny vehicle, which features enough details on its exterior and definitely deserves a model in 16th scale. And TAKOM calculated the situation with impressive precision.

The german tankette, although not very popular and camera-friendly in real life, especially compared to the latest tanks, is actually interesting for the modelers. Both Revell and AFV Club have proven that over the years. In smaller scale of course. Now for the devoted fans, January 2021 is coming with the bigger and hopefully deeply re-engineered version of the Wiesel A1 TOW, which will probably be the start. And by that, we mean a new line of kits, with various options, because Wiesel has few of them that needs to be represented as models. 

Takom are one of the companies that are not releasing many kits as Trumpeter do on an annual basis. They are more modest and careful when expanding their catalogue. But sometimes when they do, they announce very interesting and potentially celebrity-type kits. Most likely, Wiesel A1 TOW will be one of those.

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tornado gr.4 italeri 2513 review dn models masks for scale models

Tornado GR.4 from Italeri in 32nd – #ITA2513

 

Intro

Panavia Tornado is one of those kits that many longed for, but never really received. Well, at least not a contemporary release. Argument will arise immediately, that Revell delivered not so long ago. That is true to some extent. Their 32nd scale kit is not bad at all, but it is not at the level of 2010s, let alone 2020s.  The quarter scale release was good too, but far from what we’ve seen recently from the various manufacturers that appeared suddenly on the market after 2008 crisis. So to those who are still in doubt, no, Revell Tornadoes were not that good and considering present day, they are mid-quality products to put it mildly.

Autumn 2020, Italeri enters. Not before couple of postponed announcements, but still, the new and re-tooled Tornado is here. The story that Italeri are about to tell us starts with GR.4. The British version that was retired just recently and is still in the spotlight due to that same fact.

tornado gr.4 italeri 2513 review dn models masks for scale models box

Boxing

GR.4 in low-vis light-gray scheme is depicted on the box. That was the standard for British Tonkas, with some minor exceptions concerning conflicts or anniversaries. The box quality itself is very good, it is a top-opener, with firm lid and made from high quality materials. It is also thick, which at first glance shows that the kit features plenty of parts and when you open it, it is all there as expected. Actually, the very first impression is quite strong – two booklets, one with instructions, one with color schemes, superb decal sheet /as expected/, PE and light gray plastic sprues, separately packed in transparent envelopes. A promising start from the Italians.

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Instructions

The first of the two booklets is featuring the building process. It is horizontally depicted and greyscale in appearance. If you encountered Trumpeter instructions before, you will see the resemblance, however with Italeri here, we have improved quality overall. Some of the steps feature minor description, but nothing serious like you might find in Zoukei-Mura kits for example.

Special attention is dedicated to various elements of the build, especially the engines. Everything that features different positions, like reverse thrusters or any of the wing elements is carefully depicted, so there is not much of a chance for you to miss the option. Latter one doesn’t concern experienced modelers much, but it is still a good attention to the detail from Italeri’s part.

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Plastic Parts

Italeri’s plastic is on the soft-ish side of things and this comes from experience. That doesn’t mean it is bad, but some modelers prefer it differently. Actually, for a novice modeler, Italeri’s plastic is kind of a blessing, because it is generally easy to work with. Tornado GR.4 doesn’t show anything different.

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The detail is very crisp and the plastic imperfections are minimal. There are plenty of rivets and panel lines, all of which are with decent quality. Something, that cannot be said for all other competitive companies in 32nd scale. Based on the GR.4 contents, it is safe to say that Italeri left nice playground for the aftermarket maniacs, but if you want to build the Tonka OOTB, it will be enough as it is.

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There is plenty of aircraft details, plenty of weapons and most importantly, several variations of presentation. One of the best choices is the engine out variant, which can be easily substituted on the aircraft if you get an aftermarket exhausts, which are on the way already. Pretty similar to Tamiya’s F-16 approach. As a matter of fact, same here goes for the cockpit and the radar. They can be improved, but with the example with the engines specifically – well, there you will not only improve, but will extend the kit appearance also.

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PE

Tornado GR.4 features one sheet of photo-etch parts, which are relatively thin. Thinner compared to Trumpeter for sure. The parts are seatbelts, small vortex generators for the vertical fin, cockpit elements and such, and even though not significantly important – a nice add-on to the OOTB #2513 release.

There are sections of the Tornado GR.4 that can be further altered and significantly improved with photo-etch elements /on the vertical fin again/, especially in this large scale, but there is most likely an upcoming sets that will deal with that. Aftermarket companies will take care of it.

tornado gr.4 italeri 2513 review dn models masks for scale models

Clear Parts

Clear parts are pretty nice, but are nothing overly impressive. At this time, before the building process even started, it is difficult to judge how much they can be abused with different glue types and masking, but they seem to be the standard quality offered by Italeri which guarantees decency.

Tornado is a twin-seater, so there is plenty of transparent space to see the cockpit through. It is important to get through this step of the build with attention and care, plus some helping materials eventually.

tornado gr.4 italeri 2513 review dn models masks for scale models

Color Schemes

Italeri’s Tonka GR.4 comes with a superb painting and decals guide in a form of a separate booklet. In size it is the same as the instructions, but it is in color. It features four RAF GR.4s.

  • “Danger Mouse” - ZA 542, Operation “Telic”, Iraq, 2003
  • “Dumbusters” – ZA 367, Operation “Herrick”, Afghanistan, 2010
  • “Gold Stars” – ZA 542, Operation “Ellamy”, Gioia Del Colle, Italy, 2011
  • “Tornado Farewell” – ZA 775, Special Livery, 2019

All four are the same color scheme, excluding the Farewell option, which is a black tale with specific markings. On that one, there are other variations too, slightly different, but not included in this kit. Only aftermarket options.

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Decals

A superb decal sheets comes with Tornado GR.4 #2513 from Italeri. As expected. It features great decal quality, thin material and it is easy to be used. All due to the regular quality of Italeri’s decals, which are usually Cartograf’s. And as we all know – they are the best in business.

There are aftermarket options for decals and masks that can substitute this, but if you are not well into the deep with your modeling skills and goals, this decal sheet will be quite satisfactory. It provides all that one might need from a kit in 2020.

tornado gr.4 italeri 2513 review dn models masks for scale models

Conclusion

Tornado GR.4 from Italeri can receive only praise and glory from the first look we had. It is definitely a step up from Revell’s releases and it seems to have addressed some of the flaws of the German kit. They are mostly time/age -related, but are there nevertheless.

So is it worth it? Definitely.

It is a kit that can be competitive for the years to come and most likely Italeri will follow this Tornado GR.4 release with Tonka GR.1, then ECR, IDS and more. That seems promising, considering the Saudi Arabia option with its stunning camouflage, probably the best one any Tornado ever used. Early Italian versions, tanker options and so on – are too, a great basis for nice modeling time.

This kit is very highly recommended, based on its box contents, new design, great price and promising future.

Great job from Italeri!

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Pros: - Exceptionally detailed for its scale, especially the RAM patterns, the bomb and the wheel bays; - Tinted canopy without a seamline in the middle; - Plenty of ordnance including external pylons under the wings; - Numerous optional parts – open/closed panels, nozzle, etc. – for STOVL and in-flight mode; - Additional loadout cart for a diorama with an external bomb display; - Full-size and very detailed engine.   Cons: - No pilot figure; - No PE parts; - Rather plain cockpit; - There are distortions from the canopy.   www.dnmodels.com
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Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th scale - Unboxing and Review dn models masks for scale models

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

Intro

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

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

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Box

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

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

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

Instructions

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

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

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

Plastic

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

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

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

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Clear Parts

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

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

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

Color Profiles

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

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

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Decals

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

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Conclusion

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

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

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Answering a Question to Our UK Clients

 

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

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

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

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

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wingnut wings dn models masks for scale models

Wingnut Wings End Rumors

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

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

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

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

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

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London Omnibus MiniArt 38021 dn models masks for scale models

London Omnibus – MiniArt #38021

Intro

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

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The Box

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

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

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Instructions

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

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

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Plastic

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

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

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

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Photo Etch

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

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Decal sheet

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

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

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Clear parts

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

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Conclusion

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

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

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kitty hawk huey uh-1b kh5001 dn models masks for scale models

Kitty Hawk Huey UH-1B

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

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

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

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

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yuma open air museum arizona dn models masks for scale models 2020

Yuma Open Air Museum – Arizona

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

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

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

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

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

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

yuma open air museum arizona dn models masks for scale models 2020

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

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