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.

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

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.

mi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale modelsmi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale modelsmi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale modelsmi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale modelsmi24 zvezda in 48th scale review dn models masks for scale models

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.

mi-24 hind in 48th scale zvezda review dn models masks for scale models color profilemi-24 hind in 48th scale zvezda review dn models masks for scale models color profile

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.

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

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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KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

KLP Publishing – P-51 Mustang book

Intro

Mustang was always among favorite subjects for modelers and aviation historians. A plane designed for a tad over three months during late WWII, and yet still one of the most capable piston engine fighters ever made. It is self-explanatory why any modeler would like to have as much information about it as possible, especially when it comes down to building it. That is because, in historical terms, the plane is described thoroughly and actually, with many still flying nowadays and in private hands, its quite accessible for the interested parties. However, modeling-wise information is always welcomed. That is because there are many different manufacturers, different modeling approaches and ideas times more than modelers involved. Some, as we are about to see shortly – very successfully implemented.

Revell’s Mustang

There are plenty of new toolings from the last couple of years on the Mustang subject. We have two of the quarter scale in the last two years solely. Completely redesigned as well – one of them doesn’t even require glue to be completed! But since it is WWII warbird, the best way to approach it is always in larger scale. The square footprint of prop fighter planes of the Second World War is somehow generous towards our limited /well not for the lucky ones/ modeling space, thus we can get bigger models!

In 32nd scale there are three distinctive releases. Tamiya, which is a state of the art kit and my favorite, Zoukei-Mura, which gives different approach towards the model and lately, Revell as well. Latter one is the cheapest, most acceptable and last but not least, the reason for quite a few heated arguments between me and fellow modelers. It is the one that you can get easier than the rest, because it is available in many toy stores, while in the same time getting Zoukei-Mura can be a challenge. Tamiya, on the other hand has a hefty price tag compared to Revell, so that pretty much answers it for many modelers out there.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

That was forming my opinion that Revell is some sort of a second-grade kit compared to the other two and I strongly opposed any attempts from the fellow modelers to compare it to Tamiya. Zoukei-Mura, as we all know is a whole different animal. Anyhow, KLP Publishing changed my mind about Revell. It might sound weird, but actually seeing the whole process arranged and followed thoroughly, revealed the kit in different light and highlighted its potential.

The book

The book that KLP made for the Mustang is, as per usual in electronic format. KLP Publishing are working that way. And I can share a lot of my thoughts about how cool that is, but let’s stick to the facts and be objective as much as possible.

First, there is no paper with this book! You can have it only as a ebook. And if you ask me, that is superb decision. In a World that we consume times more than we have on our hands, this is the best way to go. Not only that, but it gives you plenty of additional options to work with. Recently published article about the Mini PCs in our modeling room might help you get the idea.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

KLP Publishing did it in very neatly arranged and logically presented format, starting with the description of the kit, slowly introducing the reader into the subject. Then on, with a smooth transition, it leaves you in the hands of the modeler that is the guest-star of the book, if I might say so. The book is about one single plane – true. However it is not a sole deed of the modeler, but rather a team work that helps the building process to shine, thanks to talent, work and clever forming of the information presented.

Many might think that this is similar to any of the magazines out there and there are plenty of builds that one can refer to. So why KLP? Well, there are many reasons, one of which is, that in reality this book has little to do with any magazine. It is really a book, even though in electronic format only, but is far from any of the magazines that you get on a regular basis out there. Maybe because it is about a single subject and the devotion was greater, or maybe because it is designed to be a proper book from the get go – whichever it is, this product gives different feel. It reveals small and intricate details, that you cannot get from a magazine. Somehow engages you with what’s in the builders head and reveals the whole building process as if you are being a live witness to it all.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

Details, complimented with high-res pictures are thoroughly described, leaving no stone unturned and are somewhat eye opening experience. At least for myself, a guy who was very skeptical about Revell’s Mustang, KLP Publishing did the job. But as the old saying goes: “You cannot learn what you think you already know”. Well, Mustang book from KLP proved me wrong. I really never knew. But now I do. Revell kit deserves respect.

Being KLP’s customer

Something very interesting about KLP Publishing has to be mentioned here. Something that almost nobody does nowadays. That is giving your client more than you promised. As once quoted: the best business model is – under-promise, over-deliver. KLP Publishing are the living proof of that moto.

How it works? Well, if there is an update on any of the products mentioned in the book, any reference or anything that is worth mentioning, KLP Publishing updates it in the book and then…

updates the existing customers for free.

That is right. Free. In other words, you don’t have to buy a new book every time it gets upgraded. Try and find that with any other publisher.

That is done solely thinking about the customer, but not from a business stand point. Since KLP Publishing is a product of modelers and is designed for and targets other modelers, nobody wanted to exploit the product to its maximum. Just the contrary. Everything that was done from KLP Publishing was with the idea to over-deliver especially with the format.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

The truth is, that many of the modelers are hoarders to some extent, that includes me. And in a material world, having a brick of a book on the shelf is an achievement of a sort. Knowing that, KLP did their best to justify their decision to go paperless, although for me this is already a sold idea. Just look at the Australian fires that are still happening and the extreme loss of life there. That would be enough for any human being to stop and think about it. How can we be more effective and more modest in our consuming? For one reason, not using that much paper is the way for me. And good luck with any of us recycling your modeling magazines…  

Pictures

That is tricky, considering the fact that each KLP book features different modeler, which means different photographing skill set. However, for the Mustang, our subject in this review – it looks superb. The pictures are clear and everything is visible. From my standpoint – a true skeptic on the Revell Mustang idea – pictures told a story that I will never forget.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

The focus –not literally – is pointed at the exact spot and gives you that “picture worth a thousand words” feel. The thing that did it for me was the contrast I got from what I saw in the review section with that dull Revell-looking plastic and the finished product, especially ones that show the spinner of the Mustang. That revealed so much information and emphasized on the end results, which contrasts with the kit contents a lot. And even though we all know that is a result of hard work and talent, the whole thing was presented by KLP in a way that made it unforgettable for me.

Saying it, I know that Revell fans will giggle at my original thoughts, but you must admit that I admitted my mistake! However I never would’ve known if it wasn’t for the KLP Publishing to show me.

Information at the end

Every time I start a project, sometimes even before I purchase the kit itself – I do a thorough research of its weaknesses and potential for aftermarket. Alongside with that I gather as much information as possible on the subject and arrange it in a package, that in my eyes will give me the best result possible. That is often time consuming, especially if there is no completed builds showing how other people did it.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

I’ve seen plenty of copy cats, for example many tanks did exactly as Michael Rinaldi described his process in the book, or Adam Wilder suggested in his works. I’ve seen it with planes too. But that is not the correct way to approach modeling. At least in my opinion. In the same time, knowing what you can do with your kit with all the aftermarket is almost mandatory nowadays with so much stuff out there.

KLP Publishing understood the importance of that and embedded all that information in the book. Mustang release end with a plethora of products, that will help you find your way to perfection. And that is the information that get updated when the creators find it reasonable to do so.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

That in my eyes is priceless. Because if you have such book for every kit out there, this would be the very first thing to purchase. And if you think I am exaggerating, think again, only after checking out the prices of the books in KLP, which by the way are in dollars, Australian…

Conclusion

As a continuation of the last paragraph, I must add that if it wasn’t for the rest /which was great/, that last info with all the books and the aftermarket at the end of KLP’s Mustang release would’ve done it for me. For a fraction of the expenses that one must do when starting a project, you get a map that outlines many potential ways of dealing with kit’s strengths and weaknesses. And as we all know, every kit has them.

KLP Publishing P-51 Mustang - review by DN Models

Bible, would be a word too strong for that book, but the only reason for that is that if it was a bible, it would’ve contain plenty of projects, not only one. But this is definitely a well described chapter of Mustang’s story in 32nd scale. And if we gather all the releases from KLP, we can easily start an Almanac of Large Scale modeling. One, that is contemporary and one that you can easily bring in your pocket on your high end mobile device. While in the same time use it on your large TV screen in your modeling room. Try that with a paper book. Let me know how it works.

Very highly recommended, especially for Revell nay-sayers like myself.

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Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models boxart

Tamiya P-38 Lightning 1/48

Intro

Tamiya P-38 Lightning is not only among the newest airplane releases from the Japanese manufacturer, but as the rumors go – it is one of their best. Although almost all Tamiya releases are usually held to very high standards, there were some issues with Tamiya kits in the past. Maybe nothing too bad, usually decals, but nevertheless, modelers complained for this and that. Out of curiosity, as well as love for the legendary twin boom Lightning, we decided to take a peek inside of its box and decide for ourselves – is Tamiya P-38 is really their best quarter scale kit so far?

Tamiya P-38 was something that modelers longed for for quite some time. Although most of us expected it in 32nd scale, accompanying their brilliant Mosquito, Mustang and Corsair, Tamiya decided to do it in the smaller scale. Maybe this is not their last word, but we’ll see in time. P-38 Lightning is a legend. Not only because it was designed by the genius Kelly Johnson or that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry vanished without a trace in one, but because this was an extraordinary machine by all means.

For its time, the lightning was quite ahead in many terms, but none more important than its visual appearance. P-38 Lightning was famous for speed and it was loved by many, even though being outflown by other aircraft by the end of the war. Little more than 10 000 were built, which is quite a number. Much can be said about its history, but let’s focus on the Tamiya P-38 kit here.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models box

Boxing and Boxart

The kit comes in a medium sized box, typical for Tamiya, with light green on its sides and wrapped in a tight cellophane for protection. Once you open it, it is not crammed like many of the new kits that you get to see nowadays. Of course, you can expect certain finesse when it comes down to Tamiya. After all, they are best among them all! Everything inside is packed in separate envelopes, transparent and thick enough to protect the contents. There are metal weights, instructions and more, but we will talk about each down below.

The boxart features a Lockheed P-38 Lightning in flight, over an island, supposedly somewhere in the Pacific. At least color-wise, that is the first impression you get. The camouflage is nothing special, green on top, with lighter blueish-gray color on the belly. Only a small nose art with yellow letters “Miss Virginia” is visible with a number “147” beneath it. In front of that there are two aerial victories and one more, which isn’t exactly clear on the boxart. Probably a ship. The plane wears the old round stars, which are more discrete and somehow more subtle looking than the ones used later on. This Lightning clearly shows wire antennae, which are many and …well, they are about to be your problem. The description beneath is in blue letters, saying P-38F/G, hence – two versions are doable using this release.

So far, a great start!

Instructions

Tamiya P-38 Lightning comes with close to the standard leaflet type of instructions that you usually get with Tamiya’s 48th scale kits. It is close, because at first sight it looks like one of their leaflets, but when you get your hands on it, it is actually a booklet. Everything inside is thoroughly described with Japanese precision and represents one of the best instruction sheets on the market today. Simple, easy to understand and easy to follow.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models instructions 1

It is only in black and white, but that is due to the fact, that you actually don’t need color for the building process. That doesn’t go for the huge paint options guide, which we will discuss further down. We are talking only building instructions here.

Alongside with those two mentioned above, you get a small leaflet /the old style/ featuring some history fragments about the Lightning. Tamiya did a great job separating it from the instructions, and adding it to the kit in the first place. Lately, many manufacturers forget about this important add-on, which sometimes help young modelers develop affinity towards learning and exploring the real subject.

Lastly, there is a small single sheet showing how to use tools when you deal with scale models, which is another add-on oriented towards younger generation of model builders. Nothing overly important, just some nice fine touches from the Japanese model maker. However, sometimes – as we all know – small touches are everything!

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models instructions 2

Plastic

Material of the sprues is medium grey in color and at first glance it is nothing special. Tamiya are known for yellow, light grey or medium grey plastic, but whatever the color you might be getting, one thing is certain – quality of it is second to none. Same here. It just doesn’t get any better.

The detail of the surface is very good. Perfect would be too strong, considering the fact that some minor details can be eventually added. But it is darn close. Maybe some rivets and maybe some photo-etch elements might be added. But hey, let’s not forget about aftermarket companies that deal with PE and the fact that some modelers actually enjoy re-riveting their kits.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models sprueTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models sprue 2Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models fuselageTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models dashboardTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models cockpit partsTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models nose

The cockpit details are very close to what you might get with a resin substitute, practically eliminating the need of one. The pilot included represents the same case – resin figure is not needed. Of course, some might feel the need to add wires and cables here and there, but in general, for OOTB, this kit is a pure gem.

The wings, the upper parts of the engine nacelles and the nose are molded into one piece, which guarantees proper geometry. If you look closely, you will see details that are not visible at first glance, catching up perfectly the scale of things. Each of the twin booms are engineered to be a separate module, and this is only fraction of the small tricks that Tamiya used to make this kit a pleasure ride for the builder. Most definitely, they factored the alignment in that too.

Of course, the sophistication that we see with their 32nd scale kits is missing to some extent, but let’s not forget that we are talking quarter scale here. Besides, there are already companies that are aiming to produce resin parts, like superchargers and wheels, and we will eventually see more. Engines, open sections, etc.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models nose weightsTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models super-chargersTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models propellersTamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models wings

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models twin boom empennage

Antennae, mentioned above will be something that you will have to figure out by yourself. This is challenging, but on the other hand it gives an opportunity to recreate especially interesting and delicate kit if you do it properly. Luckily for the masters of the wiring, P-38 is abundant of those, and you will be able to make it shine. For everybody else, you can always leave those aside, and it is guaranteed, that the kit will look brilliantly even without them.

Clear Parts

Are really impressive. Those look somewhat better than what we are used to see with Tamiya. Maybe it was a false feeling, but we share nothing more than an opinion, and we thought that they look fantastic. There are two companies that we know of, that make superb clear parts. One is MiniArt, the other is Zoukei-Mura. This Tamiya P-38 Lightning seems to have beaten those two with this clear sprue. There is very /very!/ good transparency and the detail around the canopy is second to none. An option for open window is present and in general, if you manage to mask them out properly and work clean and careful around them, the end results will be fantastic.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models canopy

There is everything that you might wish for in a kit, especially considering the size of the canopy of P-38, plus the fact that its side windows not only look odd in reality, but are tricky to replicate in scale. Maybe that is why Tamiya put effort in this clear sprue. Or maybe they are just stepping up their game slowly but steadily, with each and every new release. Whatever the case is, this clear sprue is one of the best features of the kit according to our perception.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models canopy 2

Decals & Paint Masks

Tamiya P-38 Lightning comes with a small sheet of decals, which feature an interesting add-on. Those are mirror-like elements, which are embedded into the decal sheet. Other companies have done this too, but when it comes down to decal sheets, Tamiya have always experienced some issues with thickness. However, despite those mirror-like elements, the decals are pretty thin, even though we all know it could’ve been better.

In the same translucent envelope one can find a mask set, with all the outlines of the windows, however you should be aware that they are not pre-cut. One should use very sharp knife and cut the masks by oneself. That is done by cutting over the lines that are very clearly shown and in straight and firm cuts, so to keep the alignment proper. Overall, having those is a good add-on to any kit, however there are better options for that as well.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models decals

Speaking of which, both mentioned above are covered by DN Models already. Decals are always best substituted with masks. The reason is that the real-life way of painting aircraft was done exactly that way – using stencils. And windows paint masks from DN Models always comes already precisely cut. It is up to you to decide whether to use Tamiya’s decals and masks, or to go aftermarket for maximum realism, especially with the insignia and markings.

But back to the subject of Tamiya’s decals and paint masks – they are good for those who would like to stick to OOTB contents. There are many modelers devoted to building kits exactly as the manufacturer provided them, which is - of course - a great option. And Tamiya provided plenty to satisfy the needs for all – from beginners to the experts.

Paint Options

There are two variants included with this Tamiya release. Well, three if you pick DN Models' set instead. But back to Tamiya:

First one is “White 147”, the one depicted on the boxart. Here /remember the boxart description?/, on the color profiles you can see more clearly that the victories are two aerials /Japanese aircraft/ and one battleship. Simple camo scheme – top is green, bottom is grey. The plane belonged to 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, 13th Air Force, Guadalcanal, April 1943.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models ver.1

The second one is ”White 33”, 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, Port Moresby, late 1942. Again, same colors, but this time with prop spinners painted in blue and beneath them and on both engines, shark mouths. Again, if you remember the boxart section of this review – as expected, both aircraft were Pacific planes. So Tamiya’s first impression from the boxart is spot on.

The most interesting thing to mention about this color guide is the size. It is folded and it looks like it is A4 or Folio, but actually when you unfold it is double sided, full color close to A2 in size. It represents the size of the kit exactly, which helps in many ways. First, you can use it to create your own stencils, in case Tamiya decals or DN Models masks isn’t gonna cut it for you. Second, you can easily prep a base, knowing the exact appearance of the airplane, which quite often spares time and is less risky for the built model. In addition to that, you get to see how it will look actually, because apparently, there are still manufacturers that present only one of the sides and some even go that far, that forget to put colors on their color paint schemes. Not here. Tamiya did it perfectly.

Tamiya P-38 Lightning #61120 review unboxing DN Models masks for scale models ver.2

Conclusion

Well, this is all about Tamiya P-38 Lightning in 48th scale. Or at least this is their first option from the line that might evolve from that bird. Tamiya are not like Hasegawa, so they won’t go bananas releasing every possible variant and paint scheme out there, however we can expect couple more at the very least.

As far as the quality goes, this might not be the best Tamiya kit ever, because it can hardly compete with their larger scale options, but if we talk strictly 48th scale, this is very close to perfection. Let’s not forget, that Tamiya’s Thunderbolts, their Me-109 and their fresh Spitfire were also considered “the very best in scale” once. The truth is, that this is a unicorn kind of a thing. There is no “best”. For anything.

However, this Tamiya P-38 Lightning is most definitely the ultimate P-38 in any scale up to this point, and it is damn well guaranteed, that the quality is here. The fit will be perfect, the engineering will be at the highest level possible and the price is very acceptable. Besides, let’s not forget that once you get used to Tamiya quality, everything else will present unwanted challenges and will most likely be laughed at.

So if you wanna build a P-38 Lightning, Tamiya is your answer. If you are flexible in scale – this kit will be our nicest option of them all too. Most accurate too. As with most Tamiya releases, this is extremely highly recommended. From beginners to pro’s, this kits delivers and will leave you with pleasant experience and satisfaction, still unmatched by any other manufacturer on the planet.

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pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

PL-01 Polish Light Tank Prototype – Takom #2127

 

Intro:

Polish Light Tank prototype, or PL-01 as it is more popular, is one of the few conceptually new designs for tanks in the recent years. Excluding the Armata platform which is with uncertain future and the rumors that there might be a Merkava V prototype, there are no others on the scene. Everybody is using the old platforms, upgrading them with new electronics and polishing the areas which prove to be problematic.

In that respect, PL-01 is something very interesting and rare and we will hopefully see it in the future as a production vehicle. The concept was first presented in 2013, as a joint venture between OBRUM from Poland and BAE Systems from UK. Strange co-operation, but nevertheless, a new concept of a tank was born. PL-01 is said to feature remote control turret and 3 man crew, but since it is a prototype it is too early to conclude about what the production vehicle might look like or feature. One thing is certain – from the outside it looks like a tank variant of the F-117 Stealth fighter jet, with cool small LED headlights, out-of-this-world shapes and smooth and low appearance.

Takom definitely surprised armor modelers with this release. Although many wanted this tank in 35th scale, few dared to hope for an actual plastic model. Takom proved them wrong. It might never become a real tank per se, but PL-01 will most definitely will be something on the scale modeling shows in the coming years.

Boxing:

The box is made in the typical Takom style. That includes the boxart as well. However, there are few differences that are worth mentioning. First one is that the box came in cellophane, maybe because it was an US domestic order. In Europe, every time you buy a Takom, you get it just as a box, no transparent packing. Nothing of big importance, but probably something that has its explanation.

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

Usual box that you get from Takom is thicker than what you get with this PL-01. We don’t put a lot of attention in the material or the box thickness, however, some people like to put their kits one over another and those piles can easily get 7 feet high, which might present a slight problem. Other than that, probably this way of packing /with lighter and thinner materials/ is more environmental friendly, which is the most important thing nowadays.

Boxart is showing the PL-01 prototype next to a T-55 tank, all made with nice and vivid colors. On one of the sides you can see two of the camouflages included in this kit and on the other- the sprues, decals and the PE sheet. Latter one are not that intriguing, but both the camo profiles shown are very attractive. One is digital, the other one is 3-tone hard-edge khaki one. A bit later on that though.

Instructions

Landscape oriented, Takom instructions are as usual – clear and easy to follow. Black and white, without many sub-assemblies on each step, they are suitable even for the youngest modelers out there. This can be used as a first kit with ease, both because of its engineering and instructions.

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

The instruction sheet is packed altogether with a small PE sheet and the decals. We’ll talk more about those two later, but as far as the instructions go, everything seems perfectly fine. The booklet features four camouflage schemes which are done in color. They are positioned at one of the booklet ends and they unfold, giving the feel that they are separate part of the instructions.

The material is good and the printing quality is great too, with only one letdown that we have to mention – the color schemes depict tanks that are too small, especially when it comes down to the Digital Camo scheme. But maybe, some company that makes aftermarket masks for scale models will take care of that soon enough!

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

Plastic

Plastic wise, Takom are well respected in the armor-scale-modeling World. The details might not be as tiny and delicate as with MENG Models’ kits, however Takom has another upside. Tamiya is a company that stands out among everybody else as a benchmark for quality in all respects. They too do not offer the thinnest and most delicate details, especially for armor kits. However, the simplicity of their builds as well as the organization of the whole process – instruction-wise, engineering and etc. is superb. Takom are very close to that in many respects and that goes for their plastic too.

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

The material is easy to be worked with. It sands nicely and modifications and alterations are a breeze. Another example and explanation to that is that MiniArt and Takom share T-54/55 series as well as M3 Grant/Lee series in 35th scale. While with MiniArt everything is about precision and perfection in scale, with Takom everything is more user-friendly especially to novice modelers. That describes the plastic as well, and summarizing, we might say that if you want to go the easy way, Takom is your path.

This obviously does not touch directly the stealth-tank subject, because of the simplicity of the outer appearance. However, braking down the elements and the way the assembly process goes, everything is nice and it is done with care for the builder. The rest is self- explanatory when you look at the pictures.

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

Paint Options

As mentioned before, we have four options and the only letdown of the instruction sheet is the fact that the tanks are too small. Especially for the Digital Camo scheme. However, each of those, besides the one depicted on the box are what-if vehicles. This has its up and downs, about which we will talk in the conclusion.

With that said, the camouflage options are beautiful and they should turn this futuristic tank into a piece of art. Especially if you do some weathering and recreate a vehicle that is already used and worn. Even if you stick to the prototype version it is still acceptable having in mind the various effects that can be achieved with single tone variations and shadings, especially on flat surfaces. Latter ones are plenty on this PL-01. A great canvas to some extent.

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

Decals, Clear parts and Photo-Etch

The Photo-Etch sheet is so small that it doesn’t need comments of any kind. However, there is an aftermarket set with some PE goodies from Voyager Model on the market, which even though nothing overly special, can spice up things a little bit. Besides, this PL-01 kit is a fresh release and we can expect more from the producers in the future. Everything is kinda limited if you come to think of it, because of its outer stealth shape and flat surfaces. Still, with some imagination, more PE sets can be created.

Clear parts are represented on a small sprue but they are important in this case. The lights on this tank are tiny and are LEDs, however that creates some demand in terms of quality and clarity. They seem OK at first glance, but maybe the plastic is not the best out there.

pl-01 polish light tank takom 2127 unboxing review dn models masks for scale models

Decals are also limited in size. Besides the chevrons, the prototype signs and Polish flags, there is nothing worth mentioning. Those are too, limited mostly for the version depicted on the box. When it comes down to other camo schemes, you can go with your imagination. In real life for example, this tank can belong to any NATO country and even more. You can go with whatever you can dig from your stash of decals. Maybe even US or Russian markings. Who would challenge the authenticity?! We’re talking about the eventual future after all…

Conclusion:

This is one of the few models on the market designed for pure fun. There is no accuracy-burden, no camouflage variations that somebody might challenge as inadequate, nothing of that kind. It is just a plastic kit that you should get, glue and paint in almost every imaginable way possible. You can make it worn out or beaten, or brand new just like the original one. Camouflage schemes presented in the set are just a fraction of what can be done with this kit. You can experiment with digital or splinter camouflages as well as invent your own, which – who knows – someday might catch some interest from the military.

This kit is a blank piece of canvas that the modeler can paint on and release the full power of one’s own imagination and creativity. This is why, this kit is among the best on the market today. It might not represent a production tank, but it can be turned into anything you like. After all, if PL-01 happens to become a real mass-produced vehicle, it is up to current kids imagination what it will look like on the battlefield. They will be the ones who will use and abuse it, they will be the ones who will build on it and improve it.

Very highly recommended, especially due to its nature as a basis for creativity limitlessness.

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T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models boxart

T-55A mod.1981 – MiniArt #37020

Intro:

In 1981, T-55 was already an obsolete tank. It was replaced by more modern and advanced vehicles, already in mass production. Nevertheless, T-55 still had some potential, as a platform and as a concept. Some improvements were already implemented during decades of service life and some are about to be introduced.

The kit we’re looking at today is the 1981 version of T-55A. A tank that served in Soviet-Afghan war and a tank, that still serves many as of today. By saying that, I am not exactly sure, was that 1981 mod, or it was a late 70s thing, because once I stumbled upon a picture of similar tank and in the description there was the year 1980. In fact, it is very hard to tell when it comes down to Soviet military.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Anyway, this is one of the latest releases from MiniArt and a continuation of their T-55/55 line.

Boxart:

Of all the boxarts that MiniArt gave us so far, the Tirans and the T-55s were the best. At least in my opinion. And of all T-55s, this is the nicest one. The reason for that is the vividness of it all, which somehow adds to the box appearance. MiniArt’s boxes are with orange on their sides and this T-55A looks fantastic in the camouflage scheme presented.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models boxart

The camouflage itself is something that I haven’t seen before, but with so many produced, it is always a possibility. Besides, the Soviet green is not the best choice for all the boxarts anyhow. So I would give MiniArt 10 out of 10 for this picture and the choice they made.

Instructions:

The standard booklet for MiniArt is the case here, but instead of writing much about it like I usually do, I will substitute with pictures this time. What you see on those pictures is in general what you will find in the instruction sheet. They are very nicely arranged in understandable and professional manner. That doesn’t ease up much the building process though, because this is one very complex model to complete.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

There are a lot of sub-assemblies, mostly concerning the interior of the tank. Not only of course, but that is where the most challenging areas are. The stowage boxes and some of the external elements are too, quite tricky at some places. But in general, experienced modeler will be perfectly capable of completing this tank with time and some patience. For the beginners, this isn’t the best choice.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Plastic:

This T-55A mod.1981 features interior, thus the sprues are numerous and filled with many small parts. That it very scary on one hand, but on the other, it shows the quality of the material. This is a plastic that comes from Western Europe, something that MiniArt picked couple of years ago, mostly because of their demanding engineering. Such small parts and tiny elements require flexible and easy-to-work-with plastic.

That goes for all the elements included, but especially for the fuel lines, handles and similar items. The quality of the tracks too. Speaking of the latter, they are the best molded track links that I’ve ever seen. Too bad that most of the tiniest details will remain hidden beneath the dirt and the mud that will be applied on the track length.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

All the edges are sharp and clearly molded, same goes for corrugations and even the imitation of fabric materials. There is some flash here and there, but that was inevitable considering the amount of details included. It is nothing that you cannot cope with and if you think you will have troubles with the flash, think of the rest, this kit might be the wrong choice for you.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models tracksT55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models turretT55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Photo-Etch, Decals, Clear parts:

Let’s start with the clear parts. They are the most insignificant part of the kit in my opinion. Nobody associates a tank with clear parts, especially not a T-series one. Aside from that, a person who is specialized in T-55 and professional tanker, told me once that once he saw how Panzer IV prisms look and how they were designed, then he understood what a piece of garbage T-55 prisms were.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Decals are mostly numbers, with a flag and the anchor of the Soviet NAVY included, but besides the last two, there is nothing overly interesting with them. They are placed on a blue-ish decal sheet, 16cm x 4cm in size and with the typical quality for Ukrainian made decals. Some of those tanks lacked numbers in reality, others were hand painted and there is that third group, that featured a mix of partially visible numbers who were covered with newly painted, often different style numbers, sometimes even different font on both sides of the vehicle. So the possibilities are pretty much endless here.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models decals

Photo-Etch is most definitely the highlight of all those elements in that section. I know, for many it is annoying part of the building, but some love it. MiniArt obviously respect the photo-etch as a concept, considering that each of their high-end kit features decently large PE set in it. Last couple of years they even pack it separately, in small cardboard envelope, both – for additional protection and for marketing purposes. In my opinion, both goals achieved in very elegant manner too.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models photo etch

With this T-55A mod.1981 we have three PE sheets, all of them with different sizes and each and every one of them abundant in details. The intimidating thing here is that the only large sections of those PE sheets are the engine grill meshes. The rest is small and intricate and most definitely will be mind-blowing too if properly applied.

Variants:

The pictures here are the basic options presented by MiniArt, but as you might guess, that is only the surface of a very, very deep lake. We have winter camouflage, as well as the one depicted on the box and of course – standard Soviet Green which is dull, however perfect basis for shading and various weathering and chipping techniques.

Beneath that, and this is not even considering the numerous numbers on the decal sheet, we have unlimited options in terms of colors, damages and so on. Especially based on the detailing of the kit as a whole. In my opinion, it is useless to point out specific variant of such widely used vehicle, because day to day, with so many numbers, well, you get my point.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models variants

With all that said, MiniArt made their effort to gather additional information, but they showed some reservations, stating that this is “Recommended color” or scheme, which was very clever from their part. We all know modelers are very punctual and they are strict when it comes down to realism. That concerns the above written – with so many numbers, one cannot be sure, except if one wasn’t in direct contact with the specific vehicle. So good choice from MiniArt approaching such delicate subject.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models winter camouflage

Conclusion:

T-55 and T-54s are legends by any means. And MiniArt shows their appreciation in very professional manner with this release. As with their previous ones, including Tiran versions and the Chinese Type 59, they managed to dominate the T-series line of any maker and in any scale. Saying that, I must add that this comes at a price. Truly, this is the best T-55 line of kits ever made. But it is also very challenging for the builder. This isn’t a kit that a beginner would want to mess with. With that said, this appears to be perfect release for experienced and professional modelers and will most likely bring a lot of joy for them.

MiniArt took a different road compared to the competition and are aimed at proving what a contemporary kit should look like through their eyes. With their upcoming release of Focke Wulf What If project, they are also declaring their intentions to step into the aircraft arena. Considering this T-55 and its bells and whistles here, that is both thrilling and intimidating. However, whatever the outcome might be, the modelers will be the winners, especially with the demonstrated level of detailing.

Highly recommended kit!

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Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 1/35 by ICM

The Hanomag

Although manufactured by Hanomag, Skoda, Horch and others, the Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack became known simply as “The Hanomag”. This is probably the most recognizable infantry vehicle of the Second World War. It is like that because it is one of the most numerous – more than 15 000 were built and widely used by the Wehrmacht. There were four different modifications of Sd.Kfz.251 and each of them had sub-variants, totaling more than 20 options based on the original design.

The initial idea was quickly developed and expanded, and from simple troop carrier, the Hanomag turned into a platform for many various roles, such as reconnaissance, support, communication and fightning. With that said, it is pretty clear that such a vehicle has to have various options for scale modeling purposes as it did in real life, and in fact it does.

There are many boxings available as of today. From AFV Club, through Zvezda, Tamiya, Dragon and Revell. All in 35th scale. Dragon and AFV are considered the leaders when it comes down to 251, but is that going to last? Here, we’re going to take a look at a new offering, this time from ICM which is on the market for less than 12 months. It is fresh and it comes from an Ukrainian model maker with a good name and reputation. So without further ado, let’s take a peak in the box.

Boxing

ICM provided a very nice and freshly looking box, with bright sky and spring grass, over which a Sd.Kfz.251 just rolled on. It is a part of a fighting scene, but it looks vivid and pleasant, lacking the grim appearance that we are used to. The box itself is not big, and it looks smaller than some 72nd scale offerings. Compact and cozy when you peak inside.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Once removing the lid, there is a box made of cardboard which is with closed top, something that few companies choose as an option. Inside, there is an envelope holding the sprues and all that provides pretty secure packing for this rather small vehicle. On the bottom there is an instruction sheet, with the small decal sheet inside of it.

Everything is packed so one can easily open everything and then put it back in and most importantly, close the box afterwards. Some of you might think this is a joke, but lately, many models are crammed in their boxes, which often times leads to unwanted damages and even without them – to unpleasant bulges of the original packings. Then, to more complex stashing.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Instructions

The instruction sheet is in a form of /approx./ an A4 booklet that starts with basic info about the Hanomag and ends with the color schemes that you can choose from. The information is sparse, but considering that some makers lack such page completely, we have to give it to ICM.

Once the build starts, everything is clearly depicted and logically arranged. There is no unnecessary complications, nor too many explanations accompanying the steps. There is color here and there, but it is only a guidelines in red and nothing way too motley.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

From the instruction sheet one can quickly grasp that the kit is thought of inside and out. There is an engine, nice suspension, interior features and details even where you have to stuck a dental mirror to enjoy. ICM did leave some space for aftermarket producers to intervene, but OOTB is pretty satisfactory detailing with this Sd.Kfz.251. It is an open bed with this vehicle and that attention was mandatory for every company with self-respect. Great job from ICM if you ask me.

This detailing and attention is all over the whole build and it concerns every element. Something that if you don’t get from the pictures of the instructions, you will easily get looking at the plastic. And as far as the paint options go at the end of this sheet, we will get back to that later in the article.

Plastic

The plastic is light gray and looks pretty decent at first glance. It is flexible, but not soft to the point where it might cause troubles. On the sprues there are no elements that are moulded with embedded tension, but even if there were, the material allows for corrections. That is encouraging, especially when someone gets an ICM kit for the first time. The price of the kits from the Ukrainian manufacturer is rather low, so the good news here are that this is not based on the lack of quality.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

The details are all over and very intriguing. Nothing is overdone with this kit, nor too complicated. Just the contrary. For me it is inevitable to compare ICM with MiniArt, since they both origin from the same country. My conclusion is that ICM is more user-friendly, although MiniArt offer a lot more sophistication. With that said, I must add that MiniArt, especially their tanks are not suitable for beginner modelers, while this Hanomag here will be just fine in the hands of inexperienced modeler. And since we are talking sprues here, the quality is similar at first glance.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

The other parallel that has to be drawn is between companies that already offer Sd.Kfz.251. In my opinion, only Dragon offers better kit as a whole and if we talk solely about the plastic, AFV club are also very good in terms of material. Zvezda not so much and Tamiya does not have better detail compared to ICM. So all in all, everything comes down a personal preference, availability and likeness of any particular manufacturer. One thing is certain – ICM Hanomag hit very hard with this release.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models The tools and wheels are very nicely moulded, with thin details and nice engravings. There are many small parts too, which show a certain amount of devotion from the Ukrainian model maker and promises a straight-forward building when you add the instructions and the sprues in one equation. Especially interesting are the radios, the floor corrugation, wheel details and weapons. Overall conclusion about the plastic – fascinating!

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Rubber parts/Tracks

The rubber parts are the front tires and the tracks. The tires are logically made from that material and look decent. Although not the best choice, the material is acceptable. The tire deformations will be a tricky thing to replicate, but that is not the worst thing with this kit.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

The real let down comes from the fact, that the tracks are made from this same material. Vinyl tracks are possibly the worst thing that can happen to an experienced modeler. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, ICM picked the vinyl as an option. Same thing happened with other Sd.Kfz. 251 makers, but this is the newest tooling of them all, so such a choice is not reasonable to me. Of course, substitutes for both the tires and the tracks are available, but that’s beyond the point here. The vinyl tracks would not be well accepted by experienced builders and they even might spoil the purchase for some. The thing is, that in order to really make this a great kit, you will need aftermarket tracks. And since ICM already started a line of Sd.Kfz. 251s, I wonder, how long it will take before they offer a set with plastic tracks as an optional add-on. Such thing will somewhat redeem the situation with their Hanomag line. And if they decide that they won’t offer such a set, most likely somebody else will.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Decals

We have a small decal sheet. It is a blue base, with the ICM logo in the bottom corner. I cannot suggest who made the decals, but there are options from producers that come from Ukraine, so it is either of them probably. Nobody complained of the quality so far.

There are a couple of Wehrmacht license plates, few crosses and few other smaller items on that sheet. Nothing major. Nice quality, thin carrier film, barely visible. For the crosses it is certain, that masking out and painting the crosses will be the better option, but for the small items and the license plates, the decals are still the best possible option.  Probably the only one too. It is worth mentioning that there are plenty of aftermarket decal producers for the Hanomag vehicles, so even if you are not happy with those, there are plenty of other options too.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Paint Options

All the four vehicles included in this set wear dark grey camouflage, typical for early Wehrmacht vehicles.

  • Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. A 1.Pz.D. France, May 1940
  • Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. A 2.Pz.D. Greece, May 1941
  • Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. A 1.Pz.D. Russia, July 1941
  • Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. A 1.Pz.D. Russia, November 1941

They look equal, although for me, the vehicle used in Greece is of particular interest. There are interesting fragments of history when it comes down to German invasion of Greece and there will be options for recreating an interesting vehicle or diorama based on that. Of course, France and Russia will offer plenty too, especially the last option, which might be done with winter camouflage as well.

Sd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale modelsSd.Kfz. 2511 Ausf.A Hanomag Halftrack 135 by ICM dn models masks for scale models

Conclusion

This is the first Sd.Kfz.251 that ICM released and that was less than a year ago. Since then, the Ukrainian model maker have expanded their line and it seems like this is just the beginning. With more than 20 variations of this vehicle and the fact that it was produced in huge numbers, the options are limitless. Hopefully ICM will exploit the subject deeply.

The kit is very good out of the box, with the tracks being its only serious let down. However, the amount of detail and the overall quality covers for that to some extent. There are interior elements, engine, nice tiny little details and great attention to the small and intricate pieces of the real vehicle, that make this kit truly shine.

The reasonable price is another major plus for this ICM release and I trust that it will be well accepted overall. There are plenty of aftermarket options for the tracks, tires and a lot of photo-etch, which can alter this kit to another level easily. ICM provided a superb basis suitable for very wide range of modelers, which make this a great choice for Hanomag fans. The beginners can enjoy it OOTB, while for the more experienced, there is a lot to be used to upgrade it. Great job from ICM!

Definitely one of the nicest options of Sd.Kfz. 251 on the market today.

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Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G Mid/Late 2 in 1 1/35

A Strong Start:

Border Model is a company that few have heard of. They haven’t produced any injection moulding kits up till now, nor there is any information that were involved in supporting activity of such kind. Apparently, that was not an argument strong enough to stop them from entering the scale modeling scene and not only that, but enter it with a big bang.

That loud bang came from the fact, that they are stepping into the light with no other, but Panzer IV tank, which is an object of great and passionate discussions for decades now. The Panzer IV in real life is nothing short of a legend, but in modeling World it is one of the most discussed objects, due to its accuracy, numerous variants and endless camouflage schemes.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

So far Dragon was the company that was considered the most wanted when it comes down to Panzer IV. Actually, Dragon is considered as the best armor producer in regards to WWII period in general. They have been criticized for some accuracy issues /mostly due to version mixing in the boxes/, some instruction flaws and fluctuating quality of the combinations – some kits feature separate track links, others rubber tracks, some have enough metal and PE, others barely. But even with that, nobody came close to their quality.

Border model made an attempt to play on that scene and here we’re about to see what they did and how well they did it, because Panzer IV is a game only for A-listers.

Boxing:

The box of the Border’s first kit looks very neat. It is professionally made in all aspects and one might think that they got the know-how from somewhere. Many modelers speculated that TAKOM has something to do with this kit, due to similarity of the boxart. We have a winter scene with Panzer IV over a partially snowed field, with battle smokes in the rear. Similar, to what some of the TAKOM kits already showed. In colors, in appearance, in everything. It is only a speculation though. Maybe the same person painted the pictures.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

The sides of the box show profiles of some of the Panzer IV color options included in this kit. They are plenty, because the kit is 2 in 1. There are also basic color guides for each of those mentioned, but it is only basic thing. Just to spice up the appearance of the box in general. Successfully actually.

A short description is added too, but as with the first Trumpeter kits, the description was written with someone with not-so-good knowledge in English. It seems chaotic and you must devote yourself to catch what exactly the writer wanted to say. Many word repetitions, no clear structure. This, so far appears to be the only let down of the boxing. Maybe not very important for many, especially Panzer IV experts, but still.

Instructions:

The booklet with the instruction sheet is about an A4 in size. It is made from glossy paper, with the boxart and the sprue description instead of a front cover and a Tank You note on a black background alongside with Panzer IV profile drawing instead of a back cover.

There is a page dedicated to the tank with two black and white pictures and then the building process starts. Every step is clearly depicted, without any overcrowding or confusing parts. There are some explanation in Chinese which were not translated. They are not many but this seems to be a small problem within the instruction sheet.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

The optional parts are here and there, which is understandable, considering that this kit is 2 in 1, so various small parts can be interchanged in between versions. Most likely, this will be the first of many Panzer IV variations. Especially if the very first kit of Border happens to be a commercial success.

The last couple of pages are dedicated to the color schemes. Everything is abundant in color and is very professionally executed. There are /what seems to be/ two companies engaged in this part of the instruction sheet. AMMO by Mig on one hand and Transform, a company that I haven’t heard much about. The latter one has a Chameleon on the logo and maybe are part of Border or work closely with them, since this can be seen on the sides of the box lid as well. Mig profiles seems more refined and nicely done, however Transform did a great and on top of that they provide some colors. Again, very little information about those.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

Plastic:

One of the most important aspects with every new kit producer is the quality of the plastic and the way everything is molded. The plastic here is light gray, flexible and thin. At first glance – very promising. The quality of everything also appears to be very good. By that I mean molding qualities, detail qualities, attention to detail, etc.

For example, the tires are labeled Continental, not like Dragon kits where you can get U at the end. Nothing major, but a nice first impression. The parallel with DML kit is inevitable as you might guess and one must admit, that here the quality is very close. It is definitely not better, for several reasons, like for example the overall feel of the material and the looks on the inner sides of the turret for example. DML plastic is more refined in that matter. However on the outside, everything looks great. Besides, we have no unusual complications with anything with this kit.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

On the other hand, this kit smashes the competition that is not Dragon. Italeri, Academy or Tamiya are all sent into oblivion. For example Zvezda Panzer IV looks decades behind Border in terms of plastic quality, detail and kit contents. And their Panzer is treated with a lot of respect, in terms of new releases in the last couple of years. Everything with the other Panzer IV manufacturers is thicker and lack the finesse that Border kit presents.

As far as the fit goes, it is too early to draw any conclusions and the same goes for the accuracy of the versions included. There are handful of real Panzer IV experts that can give adequate opinion and probably most of them will refrain from giving something definitive. After all, this is Border’s first model and it is way too early to tell what will be the future of this Panzer IV and how the company will cope with any eventual flaws in terms of accuracy and realism. Only time will tell.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

Tracks:

This is a tricky part when it comes down to armor kits. While some prefer to go down the aftermarket road all the time, others are satisfied with single track links offered by some of the companies out there. The thing is, single links are great but are tedious to be completed and often times, sag is represented in a wrong way. Border selected the road in between. Here, there are track lengths, made from plastic, which look a lot more realistic compared to DS tracks that DML offer for some of their Panzer IVs. That saves a lot of time building it link by link. On top of that, Border added a sag for the upper part of the track length, which helps with positioning and guarantees satisfactory realism.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

On the other hand, there are ejector pin marks on those track lengths here and they are not a few. Nothing that should discourage you from getting the kit, but still far from perfect. Options to make additional damages will require aftermarket and that is another down side of this decision. All in all, if you decide to build this Panzer IV in orderly condition, you will be just fine. Some sanding and filling the gaps and you'll be OK. But if you want to do something else involving the tracks, those in the kit won't do the job.

PE & Metal Parts:

One of the strengths of Border’s Panzer IV are the PE and metal parts that the company added. While Dragon gained their fame /to some extent/ because of such add-ons, in time they started to disappoint their customers with cutting off some of those precious metal or PE parts in their kits. I assume that Border understood that, learned a lesson and added enough to satisfy their customers from the start. Hopefully they will not follow DML in their strategy for the future of course.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

In the kit we have a metal tow cable, made from flexible material that even if you don’t use with your build, will be very useful at some point in your armor modelling ventures. Alongside with that, we get schurzen plates, made from photo-etch and with nice execution, plus they are /again/ a quantum leap when compared with Zvezda kit for example.

It doesn’t end there though. We have another PE sheet with more parts, like for example some clamps, which armor modelers adore. And again, it doesn’t end here either. We also have metal gun barrel and smoke dischargers too. The latter ones are not the best metal substitutes out there, nevertheless, being in the kit is a pleasant surprise and we have to give it to Border for their effort.

Paint Options:

Plenty here and presented in very pleasant manner, as mentioned above in the instructions’ section. Most of the vehicles are from the Eastern front as one might expect and of course, as the boxart suggests. However, there are examples from Italy and Tunisia.

Almost everything is included. Single-, two- and three-tone camouflages, as well as winter washed Panzer IV are presented. It is understandable, considering the fact that from the thousands of Panzer IVs used you could probably find many of each and in various stages of wear and tear, which makes your option limitless. With that in mind, Border added a handful of options, which will get modelers’ admirations and warm welcome.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale modelsBorder Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

Such an abundance can be confusing sometimes and the decision which of the ones depicted to make might be problematic, especially for the young fellows which will get this as their first kit. The solution is, as always – get more than one box. However, having plenty is always better than having only one or two color options. It definitely won’t hurt anybody.

Masks:

There is a sheet of camouflage masks included in this kit. What I've heard is that this is an add-on only for the first batch of Panzer IVs, but so far everyone I know who got the kit found them inside. Anyhow, the mask sheet covers one of the camo schemes and probably will be useful for some. In my opinion they are a bit thick and are made from material that I am not familiar with. How strong it will adhere to the surface while in the painting process also is not clear.

Most of the Panzer IVs of that time were hand painted though and some will find the masks useful only to outline the camo pattern. Hard edges are something that you can hardly find on Panzer IVs on the Eastern Front, that is for sure. Good to have them though, especially for someone who wants to replicate the exact copy of the scheme presented. There is no easier way than using masks for scale modeling.

Border Model Sd.Kfz. 161 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G MidLate 2 in 1 135 review dn models masks for scale models

Conclusion:

Being Border’s first effort and with such a demanding subject, I must say I am impressed with the achievement that the Chinese company demonstrated. Aside from the accuracy, which I will leave to Panzer IV experts, this kit is very good and faces competition only in Dragon kits. Avoiding the accuracy discussion is not because I think the kit is inaccurate. On the contrary. It looks pretty much like all the other Panzer IVs and actually the plastic is better than in the most of them. However, there are some tricky places and some tiny little details that might eventually spoil it for some of the modelers out there. Not necessarily of course, but again, only time will tell.

In general, the kit is very good and the minor let downs in terms of English description or some engineering decisions can be easily put behind, considering that there are nice metal add-ons, 2 versions and for example bonus T-34 tracks for additional armor. Alongside with that, we get plenty of options and almost a certain promise, that there will be more from Border in the near future.

Being very pleased with their first release, I can only wish Border Model - Godspeed and keep up the good work! We look forward for more!

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

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

Introduction:

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

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

Boxart:

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

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

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

Instructions:

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

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

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

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

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

Sprues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decals and Paint Options:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo-Etch:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

Sparmax Flyer Airbrush – a review

Intro:

The first time I saw the the Flyer from Sparmax I was beyond surprised. I have couple of their products on my bench that I use on regular basis. The newest item that I got was quite different. And by that I mean not bad or good, but approached with different perspective from the manufacturer. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise, but let me fill you in how I got to that point.

The Flyer, as this airbrush is called, appeared different and was made from plastic, but not only that. It grip resembles some pistol grip airbrushes, but it is limited to its vertical structure, missing the metal pieces which are standard for an airbrush. By that I mean the “gun point” that you use to aim and shoot.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models  

On top of it the jar /or maybe I should call it a cartridge/ of paint is placed, and the whole thing when prepped for work resembles the tranquilizer guns seen in some sci-fi movies. Sparmax Flyer is made of plastic – predominantly – and it has black body with orange trigger and transparent top where you can see the color and quantity of paint.

To be frank, the start was rather disappointing. But you should never judge things from the first glimpse.

The ergonomics:

Time for the first kiss. I gotta admit, the grip is very nice and the airbrush fits in your palm, allowing firm grip and easy trigger control. It is not heavy, probably due to plastics which is being made from and especially when the paint comes to its last drops in the jar. But even full, the 15 ml fluid bottle is not much of a weight changer.

If you haven’t used pistol grip airbrush, getting used to the Flyer will present some time-challenge. I have been into pistol-grip airbrushes for more than 8 years already and the transfer was an easy one. The lack of an extension of the business end of the Flyer is somewhat odd though.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

With that said, I have to add, that this isn’t a precise airbrush. This is far from the snipers which are with .15 or .2mm needle/nozzle combos. The nozzle here is .4mm but for more than one reasons, the control is very limited. In general, this is an airbrush which is contemplated to be used for general airbrushing over large areas.

The working pattern:

That take us to this very next step. How does it work? For the rugged looks that it has, it gives stellar performance actually. How did Sparmax made the magic? I have no idea. The results are even coats, great atomization, unified and smooth surface results and trouble-less performance.

From the very first session, the airbrush completed the tasks that I had in my mind. Which was spraying over a flat surface and with single layer. What I tried was primer and paint, intentionally missing the clear coats. From my experience, if you can do primer and paint, clears are a breeze.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

There were no hick-ups, no un-even areas nor any other troubles or mishaps. Some of these you can easily get with Chinese cheapos, especially single-action ones. For my surprise this toy-ish looking chunk of plastic did the job better than those and with finesse.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

It is difficult to get used to the distance from which you should apply the material. Again, lack of extension of the business end justifies that /my point from the beginning – the missing “gun point” that you use to aim and shoot/. But in few minutes everything comes into place and comfort kicks in.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

The desired add-on:

Air pressure regulator that I have from Sparmax did great deal of work with my initial trials. I consider this /or such/ add-on a must if you plan to use Sparmax Flyer. The standard 1/8” hose fitting allows for easy attachment of such, as well as an moisture trap along the line. The latter one is very adequate add-on too, since this airbrush is air-grizzler and with air often comes the water.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

However, the add-on that I enjoyed the most and will use every time with the Flyer is the air pressure regulator or Air Control Valve as Sparmax call it.

The bottle(s):

The Fluid bottle of the Sparmax Flyer is more than just a bottle. The nozzle of the airbrush is embedded in it. I got lucky, because I got two separate bottle from the get go. Thus two nozzles. No cleaning needed, at least not so often. However, in my case the second fluid bottle was a bonus. Originally, the airbrush comes with only one.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale modelsSparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

The fact that the nozzle is included though, makes me think that there is no way to get one too many of these. Each paint in separate jar, with its own nozzle, well, it doesn’t get any better than that. Or does it? Yeah, maybe when self-cleaning airbrushes appear on the market. But I doubt it, since I remember the self-cleaning VHS tape recorders. Do you?

Conclusion:

Sparmax Flyer is one odd bird. It has primitive appearance, but it works perfectly fine. Besides, it is very fancy for non-professional airbrush users. It resembles that tranquilizer gun from Total Recall –Schwarzenegger classic – where they injected his neck with a sedative from something that I think was the Flyer prototype. I am joking of course.

Sparmax flyer review dn models masks for scale models

The airbrush is very good entry level tool and even for advanced users, it will do most of the general work, especially if you work on large areas. Control-wise is limited. Sometimes that can be annoying. But if you are entering the airbrush realm with it, you won’t notice that. Even if you do, you wouldn’t mind, trust me. It saves a lot of trouble being what it is.

I have to admit, at first glance, I underestimated it. And I was wrong. It is pretty neat airbrush. The looks can be deceiving…

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Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura: A-12 version in 32nd scale.

Do-335:

Extreme is the word that describes this airplane when you come to think of it. It was heavy, non-standard twin engine beast, not only being the fastest prop that Luftwaffe had in WWII, but also filled with innovations hardly seen before.

The unique design of push-pull engine concept eliminated the turning tendencies typical for twins that have their power plants on the wings. Not only that, but the rear prop defined the need for an ejection seat which was something revolutionary for the time.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 review by dn models masks for scale models

It was huge and scary looking compared to the contemporary fighters and even though propeller driven and in the dawn of the jet age, it was proving a concept that still stands to this day. If it wasn’t for this beast, the idea of a heavy twin interceptors would’ve been different. Thus, you can easily consider this the grand- grand- daddy of designs such as MiG-25 and F-15.

Only around 40 were built and of those, very few were twin-seaters like the model of the subject in this article. Actually, according to some sources, most of the planes were pre-production/prototype versions. The actual production Do-335 were built in extremely modest numbers: 11 single seaters and 2 twin-seaters. However, sources vary in their conclusions and being the end of the Second World War nobody can tell with absolute certainty.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 review by dn models masks for scale models

Box:

Zoukei-Mura are a company that accepts nothing but the best and does no compromises with their kits. The boxes are always perfect and so is the case with the Do-335 A-12. It comes as with their other Luftwaffe planes, glossy and high-quality appearance, with yellow sides and beautiful boxart.

Once you lift the lid, the cardboard case enclosed from all sides is what you see. This adds to the curiosity and the childish-tension feeling that we all get the first time we open the box of the newest kit we get. The cardboard is top quality as everything else with this set.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 review by dn models masks for scale models

Beneath it, a crowded box with separately packed sprues opens the door to another dimension of modeling, different from what you are used to. Instructions are two sets, packed independently from each-other. The sprues are two types: standard gray plastic, and semi-transparent ones, with milk-ish appearance and fantastic texture. Of course, there are some sprues for the clear parts too. To be perfectly honest, even the plastic bags that holds everything are nicer than everybody else’s. At this point of your introduction to the kit, especially if it is your first Zoukei-Mura, you will be completely enchanted. It simply doesn’t get any better than this. Trust me on that.

Instructions:

There are two sheets included. Surprisingly, one is for the initial version of the Pfeil that Zoukei-Mura released back in 2016 – the A-0. The second one is very thin and features the differences you have to apply while assembling the Do-335 Anteater. It also includes the color schemes for the specific plane.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale models

It is rather odd on one hand. Why wouldn’t that kit get its own set of instructions, but instead get a patch only? Maybe that is a good thing, since thorough research of the sheet is needed well ahead of the assembly process. On the other hand, Zoukei-Mura eventually will keep the price a bit lower using that technique. I am not certain, only guessing here.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale modelsDo-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale models

Anyhow, the instruction sheet is the standard bundle of info typical for the Japanese model maker. There is SWS information blocks, which feature valuable and hard to find tips about the planes and its assembly. Also, alignment guidelines are included, which is the first thing IPMS judges look for in a kit. What’s the point in having perfectly painted and weathered kit with misaligned forms? It could never fly in reality, so there your work goes in the bin. Well, not if you follow through here.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale models

The sheet by itself is a booklet that will take decent amount of time for reading, even if you don’t assemble the plane in the same time. So you can imagine that this is one very well thought-through guide, designed for modelers who are very devoted and patient.

Sprues:

The grey plastic sprues feature superb details on every single piece molded onto them. I will be cheap on words here, compensating with pictures. That will do the job better. It is important to add, that the plastic that Zoukei-Mura featured in Do-335 Anteater /and their other kits/ is of very high quality. Especially when sanding, you can enjoy it to the maximum.

Zoukei-Mura went deep enough to depict the cylinders and the pistons inside, impeller of the turbocharger, perfectly shaped openings of the exhaust system. There are cables, rivets and all kinds of goodies in the cockpit too. Simply put, no stone was left unturned.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 grey sprues review by dn models masks for scale models sprues

Semi Clear Sprues:

The second set of sprues are the milk-ish ones. They feature the control surfaces, the outer parts of the aircraft and the outer parts of the wings. In one word, the skin. All those parts are designed in a way that can be used as they are. No primer, no paint. Nothing.

Even if you decide to show everything inside and apply them directly over the built skeleton of the aircraft, they will fit perfectly and will unveil the beauty of this scale model. Of course, for the purpose you should approach the building process and more specifically - application and type of glue differently.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models

Those parts are not perfectly clear. Nor should they be. Transparency is just enough so you can peak beneath and enjoy. However, if you ask me, I would paint all over. If I would like to show something, I would be cutting through some of the parts, exposing the internals, as if someone just ripped a panel or two off of the plane.

Again, pictures will say more than any text could possibly can. The really important thing here is the option added. Transparency is not for everyone. Some love it, others hates it. Zoukei-Mura managed to please both sides.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models

Clear Parts:

The Do-335 A-12 Anteater features dual separated tandem cockpit layout, which are embedded on different levels in the fuselage of the plane. They feature decent number of frames and are similar but not equal in appearance. One of those is a single-piece, while the other have the front windshield divided from the rest of the canopy. In addition to that there are spares from the original A-0 included.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

The sprues are made from high-quality material and looking through the windows doesn’t bend the light significantly. In other words – realistic to the highest level in the industry. They are both very well detailed, featuring even the tiny vent windows that are present on the sides of the real aircraft. Modelers/Glider pilots probably will smirk here.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

There is special attention devoted to the semi-transparent canopy bed, with tension dividers /to be removed/ placed in order to avoid bending and provide a guarantee for a perfect fit and alignment. The only thing needed here are the highest-quality sprue cutters that you can get. Everything is delicate and demands attention. In the same time the parts are thoroughly thought through and you will easily achieve superb results if using good tools.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

Decals:

Two decal sheets are included. Printed by Cartograf. Pretty much enough said. But let’s elaborate on those. The smaller sheet features small dashboard decal and two white numbers – 112. In addition to that there is an option for separate decal gauges. Each one cut neatly if you want to weather the dashboard first and then put only the dial faces in each’s own bed.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

Same thing is done with the other sheet which is larger and features everything else needed. Again, complete dashboard decal and separate gauges. In addition to that, technical markings – yellow, red, white. Crosses and letters, which – considering the manufacturer – will be nothing short of perfect.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

Transparent film on each decal is barely visible and the thickness of the carrier material /light blue/ suggests flawless work too. I will conclude with what I pointed out in the start – Cartograf. Enough said.

Masks:

Masks are separated alongside with each instruction sheet. Zoukei-Mura simply included an add-on to the original single-seater packing. Masks are cut into a green vinyl material, which is unknown for me, even though I am familiar with many brands and models. There are barely any shrinking with Zoukei-Mura’s material and the masks are cut perfectly for the purpose. Maybe some will prefer Kabuki tape, but I can assure you – these will do the job perfectly.

Canopies are abundant in framework, so adding masks was unavoidable, epsecially if the Japanese kit maker wanted to hold the reputation of one of the top modeling companies in the World. Nice touch, to which DN Models probably will add mask set for the Insignia of the Do-335 A-12 Anteater. Not that decals are bad, but masks for scale models always give you the best possible realism. In whatever scale.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models masks canopy

Accessories:

Zoukei-Mura offer some additional sets for the Do-335 Anteater available on their site. First and most important of those is the Concept Note dedicated to the single seater. You can learn more about it here.

Parts and accessories are offered too. Those include photo-etch parts for the instrument panel and seatbelts, pilot figures, metal gear struts, weighted tires, metal machine gun barrels/pitot tube/antenna set, resin/pe bomb set, PE radiator set and of course – proper color set from Vallejo.

My opinion on those is, that not everything is needed. However, this is only my perspective of modeling and you will most likely disagree with the most of it. Anyhow, here it goes: No on the bomb set and the PE instruments. Both will deteriorate the appearance instead of improving it. Pilots too /but some figure masters will strongly disagree here/.

Metal machine guns, antenna and pitot are mandatory, as well as metal gear struts combined with the weighted tires option. Photo-etch radiator set probably will make the Do-335 Anteater even more attractive.

As for the color set, since Vallejo are demanding I would suggest another approach. I have no troubles with those, but people often do and there is something else too. Once, not so long ago I heard a rumor about a possible collaboration between Zoukei-Mura and Mission Models Paints. Mission Models are far better paints than Vallejo and their derivatives. They are abundant in colors and I trust that they are the best match for the quality of the Do-335 Anteater. Maybe Mr. Paint too.

Conclusion:

This is one insanely nice kit. The quality is unmatched. The details are perfect. The options for modeling are practically endless. Dornier Do-335 Anteater is huge in 32nd scale and that is demanding, both in modeling and space terms. Not for inexperienced modeler, this kit is designed in a way that will please even the most demanding glue sniffers. Even though a novice modeler won’t be able to comprehend the complexity of the kit, if one builds couple of Tamiya’s 48th scale Pfeils, this can be a step up from those, due to the brilliant instruction sheets and the out-of-this World engineering.

This kit is miracle, as with all Zoukei-Mura creations. The price is high, but please trust me on that, it is under-estimation of the quality that Japanese maker provides in return. Even if it was 50% more expensive, it would’ve deserved every single penny.

Highly recommended is an understatement. Saying that would be like saying that a tsunami wave is a slight water displacement around the shore. This Do-335 A-12 Anteater is a complex engineering miracle, a product of a genius mind. There is nothing on the market that comes close to it. From the packing to the very last tiny bit of plastic detail, it is a masterpiece. It is pleasing, intriguing and satisfying, deeply inspiring and in the same time humbling experience even for the top expert modeler.

It simply doesn’t get any better than this.

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