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.

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

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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miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

MiniArt New Tool T-34

 

New Tool T-34 is something that many wanted for quite some time now. Although not anything near as popular as the Panzer IVs that are now flooding the market, T-34 is a loved subject among modelers. It has its variations in 35th and 16th scale, but so far nobody managed to catch the perfect representation of that rather small vehicle in 35th scale.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

At the beginning, MiniArt were flooding the market with their brilliant T-series. That surprisingly started with T-44 and continued with T-54-1, -2 and -3. Then on, they turned towards more popular and widespread versions of the T-series, reaching their peak with Czech, Chinese and Polish options now available for purchase.

Those kits are very sophisticated and demanding. They are full with small parts, feature separate track links, photo-etch and most importantly - usually full interior as well. We have reviewed plenty of them, so if you are interested, search the blog for more info.

The T-34 just announced at the Toy Fair in Germany is a continuation of that tradition that MiniArt created with the tanks mentioned. This new T-34 will feature Interior and most likely will be one of the best releases in terms of accuracy compared to the competition.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

The reason for that assumption is because MiniArt are Ukrainian company, and Ukraine is one of the best places on earth to get information about old Soviet vehicles as the T-34. This to some extent answers the question why it took them so long to get it done. Knowing how deep they go into a project and how accurate they want it to be, it is only self-explanatory. Especially having in mind how many thousands of T-34s were produced during WWII. Plus the fact that variations existed in abundance. And made in different plants too.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

T-34, together with their new tooled Panzer IV and some upcoming /hopefully/ aircraft kits this year, 2020 MiniArt made a great start for that new Decade. 2020 seems to be very promising for armor modelers thus far too. Two of the 3 most important subjects of the Second World War are already covered by MiniArt. New tool T-34 or "The Hero tank" as it is famous in the former Soviet block is one. The other is the Panzer IV, which is, alongside with StuG III,  the most popular German armored vehicles of that same period. Only the StuG III in production is missing from MiniArt's line thus far. But we can strongly hope that this will change rather soon. And as far as the Panzer IV and T-34, well, knowing MiniArt we can count on long-lasting and abundant line of new kits with superb quality!

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Panzer IV from MiniArt in 35th scale dn models masks for scale models

Panzer IV from MiniArt in 35th scale

Panzer IV from MiniArt in 35th scale was the least expected kit on the Toy Fair in Germany this year. Although everybody hoped that MiniArt will, at some point, release continuation of their Panzer III nad StuG III pre-production vehicles, nobody dared to go that far. Not only MiniArt released a Panzer IV, but they did it announcing the latest model first, which is a very bold move. That only means that we can expect earlier versions quite soon and hopefully a long-lasting line of new generation, 21st century designed Panzer IV kits.

Dragon was to this date, the dominant Panzer producer on the market. Even with attempts from Takom and Border model, nobody else was daring the challenge DML on the most produced German armor of the Second World War. MiniArt Panzer IV is the first really serious threat to DML, even though Border model came really close recently.

Panzer IV from MiniArt in 35th scale dn models masks for scale models

But MiniArt Panzer IV is news, simply because the way MiniArt work. They do produce the thinnest photo-etch among all scale model producers on the planet. Schurzen on this version of Panzer IV are extremely delicate and thin in real life. This can be done only with photo-etch if you want sturdy, yet accurate and scale-proper appearance. Nobody stands a better change than MiniArt in that manner.

There is more...

If you are familiar with MiniArt's T-series of tanks and their tracks, you will know, that Panzer IV in 35th scale will probably feature such beautiful add-ons too, which means a lot. Remember the prices of the aftermarket tracks on the market? Imagine that is coming with your kit OOTB. Later models from DML came with DS tracks which was ridiculous for experience modelers, although well accepted from beginners. This won't happen with MiniArt. Just wait and see.

Panzer IV from MiniArt in 35th scale dn models masks for scale models

Panzer IV from MiniArt will be either the best kit out there, or it won't exist at all. This is how the Ukrainian maker does things. They do put a lot in a box, making almost all of their kits self-sufficient, eliminating the need for 9 out of 10 aftermarket goodies. They do keep their prices low too. So what can be more important on the armor scene than a new release of any decent Panzer IV tank?

Well, the answer to that is: Panzer IV from MiniArt. It simply won't get any better than that. Not in 35th scale. Not with so much in one box. Not with the experience we have with MiniArt's Interior Kit series.

And that is why, this was probably the biggest news on the Toy Fair in Germany this year.

Great job MiniArt! 

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Su-30SM for the Blizzard Scheme DN Models Masks for scale models

Su-30SM for the Blizzard Scheme

Su-30SM is a variant of the famous Su-30MKI – the capable-of-all-defying-gravity maneuvers aircraft – that is designed specifically for the Russian Air Force. Its code name is Flanker-H and fits modern Russian requirements perfectly. That was achieved by “tuning-up” the MKI to the SM variant by providing the proper electronics, friend-foe systems and radios. Everything that Russian Defence Ministry thought it was make it the perfect military machine considering the specific needs.

Su-30MKI became famous for its Blizzard camouflage scheme, which became so inspiring, that the US Aggressor Squadron accepted as one of the variations for their F-16s. DN Models released the camo scheme for the Su-30 some time ago, based on the high demand for that camouflage mask set. However, up to recently, there were no kit on the market that would suit that camo scheme quite as good as any of the recent releases of the Su-30SM will.

Su-30SM Blizzard camo scheme Zvezda 1/72 DN Models Masks For Scale Models

The DN Models Su-30 Blizzard is available in two variants – 72nd and 48th scale. Zvezda covers the first one. Although not the perfect representation of Su-30 in 72nd, Zvezda’s kit is very suitable choice for building the SM and with very good accuracy too. There is some comments about the lack of proper “contemporary” riveting on that kit. However, the kit features the canard scheme, which in most of the other options is missing and needs to be substituted. That can be done only with resin or scratch built elements, both of which costs either time or money. Often times both.

Just recently, Kitty Hawk announced 48th scale version of Su-30SM. A “new tooling”, which is based on their Flanker line that is expanding rapidly last months. At least with expected releases. The quality of the kit will be similar to Kitty Hawk’s Su-35, which is considered “second best” on the market. However, for Su-30 variant, this will be probably the best kit out there as of the date of its release. Latter one should be either in the beginning or in the middle of 2020.

For both of those kits there are various camouflage schemes available, but none of those comes close to the Blizzard demo camouflage, which is by far one of the most attractive Sukhoi show-stoppers. Luckily, DN Models’ sets in both 48th and 72nd scale are based on HobbyBoss/Trumpeter kits, which in general are very accurate and will cover Zvezda 72nd and Kitty Hawk’s 48th tooling.

The release of both scales of masks sets might’ve been done a little bit too early for many, but now the kits are starting to appear and the pieces of the puzzle will click perfectly. Because if you are about to do a Su-30SM Flanker H, no matter 72nd or quarter scale, this camouflage is the way to go.

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mi24 hind zvezda new tool 2020 dn models masks for scale models

Mi-24 1//48 New Tool from Zvezda – Finally!

 

Mi-24 Hind is the best looking helicopter of all time, no doubt about that. Quarter scale scale model of that bird is available, but the quality of the kit is obsolete. Both in 72nd and 35th scale you can get the kit with toolings from Zvezda and Trumpeter respectively, but no new one dared to test the 48th scale market. Trumpeter promised a release of that in he early 2000s, with that promise re-appearing every once in a while. Even in 2019, there was a short announcement of their new tooling Mi-24 in 48th scale. So far, none of that happened. 

However, Zvezda dropped the bomb with a small hint about Mi-24 in 48th, although still considered pending release. In 2020 we are getting Hind from the Russian model maker in quarter scale. Considering the award winning 72nd scale tooling that they did a while ago, we should expect a very serious contender on the Mi-24 scene. Their 72nd scale kit is repacked by many and is constantly re-issued. It is small, but nevertheless it is a great kit to build and have. Eduard's first Limited Edition Dual Combo re-rapck release was sold out within a day. They had to re-release it due to the great interest. So imagine now a bigger and hopefully a better tooling of Mi-24. Wouldn't that be something?

We are at the end of 2019 and Zvezda are not famous for postponing their releases indefinitely, like AMK for example. So in the next few months, probably less than half a year ahead, we might be able to enjoy the mighty Hind in quarter scale. And if Zvezda manage to pull this off properly, it might become the best kit of the Hind in any scale. That is mostly due to its size. Because 72nd is a bit tiny, while 35th is a bit big and very demanding. 48th might be the best option for Mi-24 fans. Fingers crossed it will happen and it will be good as we wish it to be! We, at DN Models are ready for it. A whole line of 48th scale masks for the Mi-24 Hind is just around the corner!

 

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FJ-3 Fury Kitty Hawk 1/48 New Tool 2020 DN Models Masks for Scale Models

FJ-3 Fury 1/48 from Kitty Hawk coming in 2020

FJ-3 Fury Kitty Hawk 1/48 New Tool 2020 DN Models Masks for Scale Models

FJ-3 Fury is the navalised version of the mighty F-86 Sabre, which was used from US NAVY and Marine Corps. F-86 Sabre had its Soviet adversary in the face of MiG-15 and MiG-17, however none of those offered the potential to become a true carrier based aircraft. In this regard FJ-3 along with FJ-2 and FJ-4 were one of a kind planes for their era and even though somewhat forgotten nowadays, deserve a lot of respect.

We have plenty of kits in many scales when it comes down to the mighty Sabre. However, FJ-series are not included in that equation. It was about time to see such an option for quarter scale lovers and Kitty Hawk responded to the demand. Even though initially promised for 2019, FJ-3 fury from Kitty Hawk should appear in 2020, but rather soon as rumor goes. Probably in the first couple of months of the new decade.

FJ-3 Fury Kitty Hawk 1/48 New Tool 2020 DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The kit is promised to feature several interesting camo schemes, which you can see on the pictures in this article. Unlike the modern fighter jets of today, the first US jets were painted with bright colors and models of those are always an attractive sight. Sabre by itself is not a small jet per se, thus all those vivid options that we will receive with this Kitty Hawk release will make out of the kit one very shiny and bright piece of art.

FJ-3 Fury Kitty Hawk 1/48 New Tool 2020 DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The kit will be a complex one, like most of Kitty Hawk’s line of kits. It should present us with superb detail and couple of options to present the completed model. Based on the FJ-3 Fury, Kitty Hawk will soon release FJ-2 /which is available at some locations already/ as well as hopefully the FJ-4, with a fact in mind, that the latter one is very deep modification of the Sabre and while FJ-2 and FJ-3 are close, the Fourth is almost a completely new aircraft.

Future looks bright for the lovers of the early jet age planes, especially carrier based ones. FJ-3 Fury was produced in relatively modest numbers for its time, but despite that fact it is a memorable aircraft and a must for every modeler that builds US NAVY and US Marines planes. Thanx to Kitty Hawk, we will soon have that options in 48th scale. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of the line of carrier based Sabre siblings.

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Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Black Hawk by Kitty Hawk – MH-60L 1/35 Review

Intro:

Black Hawk Down is one of the very best war movies ever made. The flawless production, as well as the dynamics in the movie, made it one of the crown jewels in Ridley Scott’s portfolio. Not only that, but it made the Battle of Mogadishu famous Worldwide, and strengthened Black Hawk Helicopter fame as well. Black Hawk helicopter didn’t need any introduction even before that cinematic masterpiece, but after that, people somewhat started to respect the bird even more.

Kitty Hawk released 1/35 Little Bird helicopter with a boxart that was a scene from the battle of Mogadishu, which was a sign more or less. For Black Hawk lovers is was most definitely hope. In 35th scale, Academy’s obsolete toolings were not enough for the contemporary modeler. The market too, needed a new tooling of a modern helo in 35th scale, and alongside the most famous birds – AH-64 and Mil Mi-24, Black Hawk was very good contender.

So after an early announcement and the regular several release date changes, we received a new tooling of the Black Hawk from Kitty Hawk. Now let’s take a closer look at this kit and how well Kitty Hawk managed to deal with the challenge. Being the first one of a long line of versions, this deserves fair amount of attention.

Boxart:

Battle of Mogadishu seems to have been the basis for the boxart of this kit. The whole appearance: color-wise, action-wise, etc., seems very close to the Little Bird release of that same company. The movie, as many of you might remember, had some sort of grim appearance, probably based on more black color used overall. The boxart creates that same feeling.

It is very important for many, how the boxart will look. Kitty Hawk made their effort and the boxart here looks fantastic. That goes for the whole box of course, but the first thing that catches the attention in the picture of the top of the box, and here we have a brilliant execution.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Instructions:

Kitty Hawk make their instructions in an odd manner, placing the color schemes just in the middle of the booklet. That leave you no other option but to remove them for which some craftsmanship and thick tweezers will be needed most likely.

Overall, everything seems arranged nicely, however, it lacks a lot of information for this to be called satisfactory instruction sheet. By that I mean the fact that this helicopter is crammed with details on the inside, and there is not enough information about what is what and how it should be painted properly. There are basics, but this kit is massive, thus this will be all visible – no room for errors, half-measures or mediocre work. Especially with that price tag.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The interior itself is enclosed in a capsule of a sort, which is placed in between the two halves of the Black Hawk. That capsule will be the most challenging part of the build in my opinion. Actually, it probably won’t be for Black Hawk experts and those who have the option of being in touch with the bird in real life. But I feel the need to remind Kitty Hawk that not all of the modelers live nearby Black Hawks, nor reference material is accessible for everybody easily. It is not free either.

So some improvement on that part of the instruction sheet is definitely needed. I can understand why this is skipped in an airplane model, but this beast here demands further explanation. Besides there are engines which /if you stick only to Kitty Hawk’s instructions/ will be left partially painted and will look under-detailed just because nobody gave enough attention to the instruction sheet regarding that section.

With that said, I can understand that Kitty Hawk is not Zoukei-Mura, but again – with that price – Kitty Hawk should’ve added more. Maybe booklet with picture references at least. Anything. Just not leave it like it is.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Plastic:

The plastic is light grey, with very good detailing overall and qualities, that have been well-accepted by modelers over time. With the fact that Kitty Hawk are not one of the old and established manufacturers, they’ve done pretty good choice with the plastic.

Engineering-wise there are some questionable decisions and you can get that simply by looking at the sprues. There is /at least to my understanding/ better approach to build a helicopter with an interior, plus the fact that there is way too many sub-assemblies, but the two halves of the kit could’ve been separated into more sections, for example the tail boom and/or the nose section. Probably the focus that Kitty Hawk had was oriented towards something more innovative. Who knows?

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Fit is yet to be tested and that requires more than one opinion. I am mentioning that because quite often, there are praise words said and written about a kit, that later appears to be with questionable qualities overall. That might be the case here too. Although I doubt it in all my honesty. Maybe there will be some tricky areas, but I can trust Kitty Hawk in general. Probably that was one of the reasons for the two huge halves of the fuselage as well. We’re soon to find out. But again – wait for what at least few modelers have to say about it.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Clear Parts:

The experience that I have and have shared with others in regards to Kitty Hawk clear parts is overall satisfactory. As with the grey plastic, there are some odd engineering decisions, but I can live with that. The thing that might be challenging is the fact that even though nicely packaged, some of the clear parts arrive with slight damages and some detached from the sprue. It is not that often, but it happens.

That is the thing that will eventually bother some modelers. Contrary to that, the plastic is clear and does not bend the light too much, although in general is far from perfect. Actually, the execution here is so-so, but as mentioned above: satisfactory. Definitely not the best nor the worst out there.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

DN Models has a mask set for the clear parts, and most likely will follow the whole line that Kitty Hawk is about to release. The main reason for that is the number of windows of this Black Hawk and the challenges that this might present to the modeler. Not only in real life, but in modeling, helicopters are complex machines and require additional attention compared to fixed wing aircraft. So this set might come as some form of relief.

Photo-etch:

Two PE sheets are included with this release. One of them is filled with equal elements, representing two types of seat belts. The other is filled with various parts, and they all look great. They are not thick and the material is OK to work with. Besides, there is some sort of a challenge, even only at first glance.

Not that Kitty Hawk are overly famous with their photo-etch, but with this release I think that they scored very nicely. The best thing about it is the variety of different parts /only on one of the sheets though/, that will definitely spice up the Black Hawk here. I am rarely thrilled with photo-etch, but I liked the inclusion here a lot.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Decals:

As with the photo-etch elements, the decal sheets are two. One of them is representing the dashboard and the side panels of the Black Hawk and for many will be useless. Master modelers usually prefer to paint, weather and modify the cockpit by themselves.

The other one features the stealth-insignia, the aviation art and the technical markings. Some of the latter ones are yellow, there are white lines too, but dark colors dominate the decal sheet. Now, as you might imagine, black helicopter with darker colored decals will be a challenge. First, to make the decals visible despite the fact that the colors will be awfully close. Second, the carrier film is very challenging on a dark base, which is the case here.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

With that said, I must add that there is no complaints regarding Kitty Hawk’s decals, so whoever has experience will be perfectly fine with that. That, and the fact that at first look the decals look very nice indeed and it is probably one of the highs of this kit.

Variants:

All of the variants included in this released are from 1993, Somalia. All of them are Special Operations helicopters and all seems like gunship oriented vehicles. The difference is the numbers and the small aviation art on the sides of the Black Hawks included.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

On the boxart though, there is the logo of Werner’s Wings, which is a hint, that promises a lot more upcoming. As we know Fl. Werner Jr. is one of the Gurus of helicopter modeling and we can expect not only decals, but resin add-ons and variations based on that release.

Not that four variants are not enough, but in general they are very similar one to another and that might cause some frustration among modelers. Of course, if you are devoted fan of the Black Hawk, there are many more that you can explore, but for the regular MH-60 fans, Kitty Hawk placed all the bets on Somalia ’93.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Conclusion:

First and most important is how this kit compares to Academy’s tooling. And the answer is simple: it is way better. Especially detail-wise. This is a kit that follows all the trends in scale modeling and possesses all the qualities that modelers require from the detailing of the surface. Both, inside and out, the kit is superior to Academy, but that is only logical if you compare the prices of both toolings.

As a stand-alone release, this kit is one of the best works from Kitty Hawk. Although not with the smartest engineering and with some unusual complications in different areas, this should turn into a very decent representation of the Black Hawk in 35th scale. Maybe some aftermarket will try to improve the tooling here and there, but overall Kitty Hawk deserve a praise.

Prise-wise this is one of their boldest attempts in any scale, but considering the need for a new-tooling 35th scale Black Hawk, that price is most likely justified. If you are not ready to pay what they ask, you will have to struggle with Academy and the results will hardly be comparable.

Even with everything mentioned above, the kit is good and is a must for every helicopter modeler in 35th scale. There is no information for another tooling of the Black Hawk upcoming, but there is a line coming up from Kitty Hawk with various of Black Hawk’s siblings. That should say enough.

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f-14 amk super tomcat false engagements companies

Modeling Companies Engagements

We are definitely living in the golden age of scale modeling. While only 2 decades ago this hobby was considered a dying occupation, nowadays modeling companies are competing fiercely to be the first with the new tooling of something or to be the one with the most variations of particular subject released. The competitive spirit is dominating and it is everywhere, on every level. From being the one with the most accurate kit, to the one with most options or the first one on the market. Something like the cold war between USA and USSR, both pushing it to the limit to out-pace each other in whatever possible way they could. However, here we are talking not about two, but tens of companies, both old and new, experienced and not. So the fight is a bit chaotic and definitely more ruthless.

The major players on the market are clear for decades already. Nobody can stand next to Tamiya, and the rest, like Hasegawa, Airfix, Revell and Academy are steadily improving their production to keep competitiveness. With that said, the most interesting battles are between the new producers, the ones that are here for only couple of years and are not abundant in toolings, at least not yet. Some like MENG and Takom somehow managed to get to the surface, but there are many others that are not yet there.

The problem with that is with the engagements that they take and promises that they make. There are many examples of new toolings promised, that never get to see the light of day. Those are promised not only by the inexperienced companies either. Good example is the ballistic rocket Mount Elbrus that MENG advertised for a while and then it vanished into the thin air. Another one is with the Rochev/Doher from Kinetic which is still a mystery. But the kings of false promises are AMK. Nobody can beat that company's absurd deadlines. Their ridiculous promises about their F-14 cannot be compared with no other company.

f-14 amk super tomcat false engagements companies

Probably the reason was their MiG-31, which is a good kit, but not without flaws like promoted. It has some issues, and in the end it appears that it is the same if you go for Hobby Boss, because in both cases you don't get a perfect tooling anyhow. However, the rumors in modeling groups, forums and what not are often a big problem when it comes down to objective information and conclusions. So, to some extent, AMK MiG-31 became famous like a super-kit, which is not, without competition - which it has, and without flaws - and there are enough of those too. Kinda false advertising, unfortunately from mouth to mouth.

So based on that illusion of the perfect kit, AMK believed in the legend that some of their fans created and info about new Etendard, three MiG-25 versions and what not appeared online. But they are still struggling to deliver their F-14, while in the same time Tamiya released two options, which even though probably less detailed will be as accurate as needed and very user-friendly for sure. Not only that, but Great Wall Hobby announced their own tooling of F-14 which probably killed the AMK long-awaited-tooling for good. Well, not exactly killed it, because maybe sometime in this century AMK F-14 will happen, but what for? If G.W.H. release their own, it will be greatly detailed and the waiting will be over for many. I doubt that anybody will wait specifically for the manufacturer logo on the box.

f-14 tomcat great wall hobby new tooling dn models 1/48

And why are those companies refuse to take responsibility for their false promises and keep their fans and clients waiting? Is it so hard to admit that they were wrong about their deadlines and production problems? We all have heard the reasons, but in the end every manufacturer struggles with more or less the same problems. Some manage to deal with them, others blame it one something or someone.

In the end, there is no actual deadlines or release dates and F-14, Ballistic Meng, Rochev/Doher, Italeri's Tornado and many others might never happen. The pre-orders were a useless endeavor, the weeks waiting turned to months, months are turning into years now. Yet somehow some modelers still believe and keep on waiting. Their explanation is: "why not, it is only a hobby". Why then is all this useless talk about the accuracy? Or toolings or innovations? If it is only a hobby, go on, get the kit you want, they all have available substitutes. Since it is only a hobby it wouldn't matter much, would it? There is Tamiya F-14, which is by any means beautiful and pleasant to work with kit, or AFV club IDF M109 options. Why wait for more false promises?

The slap that those promises deserve is retract the pre-orders made and leave the company hanging. Because in the end as a client, the only thing that one can do to rebel against some insolent company and their false promises is stop buying from them for good. If there is a need for that specific kit or tooling, someone more serious and more devoted will come up with a solution. Pretty much what G.W.H. did with their F-14 announcement.

In the other case, one must live with the fact that someone is taking them for fools and testing their patience's boundaries. While in the same time wanting their money. Which being a good company is logically the last thing to do. Because if the company does not respect their own clients, they do not deserve them in the first place.

P.S. And let's not forget TAN Model with their Bucaneer and Su-33, as well as their long line of announced kits in production that haven't seen the light of day yet. And probably never will. At least they do abstain from repeating the lies every other annual quarter.

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StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models Boxart

StuG III 0-Series Unboxing – MiniArt #35210

Intro:

StuG III is the most produced German Fighting Armored vehicle of the Second World War. It is not surprising, that this is one of the most looked for and built scale models too. Especially in 35th scale. Most of the StuGs available on the market today are good representations and cover most of the popular versions. If not covered, those versions are doable with a little aftermarket help. Mostly Dragon Models and Tamiya dominate that market, although recently, Bronco entered that game too.

MiniArt are about to say something on that subject too. Being a company that focuses on interesting and rare options of famous vehicles, the Ukrainian model maker surprised us with a pre-production series of StuG III: 0-series. Only five of these were vehicles ever produced, if the sources I’ve read are correct. They were used primarily for training, but some of them were eventually sent to the front at some point.

The main difference between those and the first production StuGs are the suspension and the wheels, which are 8 per side, instead of 6, standard for the StuG IIIs of the production series. The other thing that is tempting here is that MiniArt already have several Panzer III versions with that suspension and the kits are very well accepted, which promises a good StuG option. The pre-production Panzers available from the Ukrainian manufacturer are beautiful although demanding kits, and we have nothing short of that to expect with this StuG here too.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models sprues contents

Box & Boxart:

The box, compared to the size of the T-54 series from MiniArt seems little thin and skinny. That shouldn’t fool you though. StuG is little smaller as a vehicle and the lack of long barrel and huge wheels somehow adds to the size chosen from the Ukrainian model maker.

The boxart is beautiful, showing a stationary StuG III in a forest, hinting that this vehicle wasn’t used that much in its service history. You’ve seen other manufacturers boxes I presume. All that you can see on them is action. Not here. The colors are rather dark, but even with that the StuG’s grey silhouette is depicted to draw attention. It looks big, although in reality this isn’t the case. It bears specific presence and is one of the nicest MiniArt boxarts out there in my opinion.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models instrucitons

Instructions:

Are sharp and clearly depicted. A special attention is devoted to the suspension of the StuG. As with initial series Panzer III from MiniArt, that is the main difference between pre-production and standard-production vehicles. A decent number of parts is included here, plus the fact that the tracks are separate links, pretty much like Modelkasten set, without the price tag of course.

There are some interior elements but it isn’t full interior set. However, the sheets demand your full attention and I trust that this sheet, however clearly presented will be still a challenge for novice modeler.

Sprues:

Decent amount of space in the box is taken from the sprues that holds the tracks and their pins. They are beautifully executed, eliminating the need of aftermarket tracks which does two things. First is – saves a lot of money, considering Friul and Modelcasten prices, and second – extend the time to be spend building this kit. They can be great add-on but it comes at a price and that is time and patience from the builder’s perspective.

Rest of the sprues are standard for MiniArt as quality and a little less as quantity. Latter one is very good, since tracks won’t be a hassle as they are with the T-series of MiniArt. There, you have so much to build on the vehicle itself, that the tracks are your last concern and they might come a bit too much for some.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models sprues

Detail is at a great level, better than any StuG currently on the market. Fine parts, small and intricate elements are what define the sprues, except for the hull elements. Suspension was given a fair amount of attention, including sufficient number of parts too.

Most importantly, the material that the sprue are made of is high-quality plastic, flexible and allowing for easy work. Problems with cracking and breaking parts is avoided, making the small and numerous parts acceptable burden and even a pleasant experience for many.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models sprues

Decals & Photo-etch:

Decal sheet is small and practically features 3 letters, two crosses and two symbols. Understandably, considering the limited run of the 0-Series StuG III and the fact that Germans were not that into huge markings of their military vehicles.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models decals

The Photo-etch on the other hand speaks serious business. There are not many big items from PE on the Miniart’s StuG, but there are plenty small ones. Brackets, handles and light covers, all of which made from very thin and flexible material, specific for MiniArt.

Those who hasn’t dealt with MiniArt’s photo-etch should be aware, that sanding should be done with care. The PE sheet is so thin, that damages are easily done. That is the price of perfection of course.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models PE

Paint Options:

Dark grey can summarize it all. But not so fast. There are three versions, equally looking, but different in terms of decals. They are from different periods from 1939 till 1941. All from Juterbog, Germany. One of them is with German cross on the side, and other two feature letters.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models color schemes

I don’t want to put too much attention here, because single-tone camouflages are not about the markings, but about the way they can be weathered. That goes in 100% with this vehicle, especially with those dark colors which allow for serious modulation and weathering techniques.

In my opinion, the cross will be sufficient and the rest will be painting techniques.

StuG III 0-series Miniart 35210 Unboxing Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models color II

Conclusion:

This kits is accurate, according to various sources and StuG experts. It is also challenging and not suitable for beginners, which makes it even more attractive. The fact that the hull is divided into separate parts changes a lot, especially when comparing that to Tamiya or DML. The level of detailing is superb as with almost every MiniArt kit and the set by itself is absolutely self-sufficient.

The elimination of the need of any aftermarket is vital here, which added to the price makes this StuG III irresistible offer. MiniArt continue to surprise with gorgeous kits that are below the medium prices on the market and in the same time above the average quality.

This StuG III is hopefully a start of a new line of StuGs which, if released by MiniArt will mark a whole new era in StuG modeling. MiniArt’s approach towards suspension, interior and photo-etch quality is one of a kind and if they release the later version of the StuG it is certain that they will eliminate all competition on that particular scene.

Highly recommended, borderline to mandatory!

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Messerschmitt Gigant in 144th scale by G.W.H dn models masks for scale models 144th

Messerschmitt Gigant in 144th scale by G.W.H

Messerschmitt Gigant was a German military transport airplane from the Second World War. The name Gigant is perfect for that beast-of-a-plane. It measured more than 28m in length and with more than 55m wingspan. For the time, this was a monstrosity. It started as a glider and it was developed into a engine-driven beast of a plane.

Messerschmit Gigant

also known as Me-323 was built between 1942 and 1944. Only 198 were built, a number way too low for the standards of the Second World War. However, due to its size and appearance, it made its mark onto the aviation history.

It is hard to get a model of that plane. Simply because it is gigantic. Messerschmitt Me-109s or Me-262s can be found in almost every scale. Not this Messerschmitt. However, this is about to be updated and Great Wall Hobby are bringing the news this time.

They recently announced a new tooling of Messerschmitt Gigant, more specifically Me-323 D-1 version of it. It will be in 144th scale and it is understandable. It will be way too big if it was otherwise. The truth is, that this aircraft its not the most famous bird of the war, and even though interesting, it is highly unlikely modelers to want to spare so much space for it. By "so much" I mean if it was released in larger scale. The technology of today allow us to receive toys of all scales and sizes and at some point maybe some company will bring this monster to 48th scale or above.

However, to be suited perfectly, probably 144th and 72nd are the best scales for that beast. Probably due to that, Great Wall Hobby are testing the grounds with their release. With the quality of their moldings in 72nd scale they proved a point. Now, in 72nd almost everything comes with satisfactory details. Thus, Me-323 Messerschmitt Gigant in 144 will probably suffice. 

Messerschmitt Gigant in 144th scale by G.W.H dn models masks for scale models sprues

Why would 144th be enough?

Well, originally the aircraft was contemplated as a glider. Gliders are in general simple and smooth. This plane doesn't have too much details and 144th scale will give us the perfect combination in between size and quality. In general, Me-323 was a pretty simple construction. The only thing more complex will be the fact that there were 6 engines present. Maybe the camouflage will be challenging. Most definitely, adding details to those engines will be a difficult task too. But again, 144th should do.

After all, it is better to have the Messerschmitt Gigant in your collection small, than not to have it at all, right?

So, we are about to see what G.W.H will deliver. I want to add that the initial info states that the kit is actually a Pit Road tooling. Anyhow, both are scheduled for 2018 release which will either happen at Telford IPMS show or it will be delayed for 2019. What I trust is, that this 144th scale Gigant will be better than Italeri's 72nd scale representation that we have on the market. Both - detail- and engineering-wise. Hopefully the price will be affordable too. Because too much is coming our way in 2019. And all of it is very promising.

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