Top Gun 2 is coming. And will bring a storm with it!

For many, Top Gun was the spark that ignited the love for airplanes. Real and scaled down. Now, as Top Gun 2 filming has begun, there is a new wave of interest that is gaining speed. Fast jets, bikes, afterburners and speed.  It is no secret, that many were fascinated by the first movie, that made an icon out of the F-14 and a its great adversary companion - MiG-28. AKA F-5. Now, 33 years later, the sequel is in production and Super Hornet seems to be the star in this one.
Picture courtesy of Hasegawa USA
There were many speculations that F-35 will be the bird in Top Gun 2, but since there is only a single seater, the dialogue would be ruined. So the next best thing /actually better and in so many ways/ was the Super Hornet. Now, within a year or so, Top Gun 2 will hit the theaters and probably it will hit hard. For many modelers, A-4, F-5 and F-14 are favorite aircraft. The latter one especially. Plus Tamiya just announced the F-14D and soon we will see it from AMK. However, the subject is somewhat exploited already and no wonder: more than 3 decades from the initial release of the Top Gun have passed. Maverick's jet has been completed in all the scales by now, by almost every Tomcat lover.
Picture courtesy of
So now is the time for a fresh start, or more appropriately said: re-start. Modelling-wise of course. So as the Super Hornet has almost guaranteed role in the movie, there is no clear indication of what the enemies will be. Aggressors are still part of Top Gun though. Thus, we can elaborate on that for starters. Alongside with the Super Hornet, many NAVY Aggressors are currently flying and all of them are with various and beautiful schemes. As you know if you follow DN Models' line of products, we work a lot on Aggressor airplanes. We consider them fascinating and different in so many ways. They are wonderful and attractive basis for modeling and look stunningly different once built.
   Picture courtesy of
Now, since A-4 and F-5 Aggressors are not in the spotlight, F-16s and F/A-18s are the new players. And hopefully we will see a great deal of those in the upcoming Top Gun sequel too. New Aggressor schemes are based on some of the newest Russian camouflages and no wonder with all that tension between the Western World and Russia. And while many modelers often decide to re-create the originals like MiG-29s and various Flankers, the Aggressor squadron still attracts more attention than the originals. While F-16 has been painted in various and interesting options while in USAF service, like the Blizzard or the new Splinter schemes, there is still a lot that can be learned from the NAVY too. After all, if it wasn't for the Top Gun movie and the real Fighter Weapons School, many of those paint schemes would have not existed today. Remember, who made MiG-28 famous?!? On the other hand, imagine a modeling show without any differently painted F/A-18 Hornet or Super Hornet. All gray. That would be a bit dull, despite the numerous weathering tricks exploited constantly by the modelers. Now seeing a Hornet in a Tiger Scheme or a Splinter Aggressor is a different kind a deal. It spices up things a bit. So for now, that is pretty much all that can be said on the subject. But expect more on the Top Gun 2 and its star aircraft. Not only from DN Models, but from the manufacturers of models, decals and other accessories. It is pretty much a guarantee, that we will see a new Super Hornet kit soon and probably from more than one model maker. Depending on the enemy in Top Gun 2, we will get to see even more. From our point of view, we will try to provide some Top Gun 2 related mask sets. And plenty of them! Maybe not all of them directly related, but based on NAS Fallon /current Top Gun home/ airplanes in their various options. We gotta keep it real after all! But if the opportunity arises, there will be some masks based on the planes flying in Top Gun 2 too. There is a lot more to be worked on and probably the amount of interest regarding that subject isn't yet revealed itself in full scale. It is yet to see what the MiG-28 successors will be! We will discuss Top Gun 2 more soon. In the meantime we are working on new Aggressor schemes that you will get to enjoy and we're just getting started! So stay tuned...we do feel the need too!
                  Picture courtesy of Tom Cruise's Twitter Account

MiG-29SMT 9-19 from Trumpeter in 72nd scale

MiG-29SMT 9-19 from Trumpeter in 72nd scale is the newest kit I got in my stash. I dumped 1/72nd scale models years ago. So I bought this kit for tryouts. Tryout some masks for the SMT, tryout the scale improvements over the years, tryout newest Trumpeter additions. MiG-29SMT is not among my favorite planes, but is among my favorite MiG-29s. It is the newest addition to the line, and as with the MiG-21SMT, we have a very pumped-up basic airframe, designed to catch up with time and competition. The results most likely will be rather poor, but still for aviation lovers, this will be a nice addition to MiG-29 line. This goes for modelers too. MiG-29SMT has been offered already, in 48th scale and this time from Great Wall Hobby. Trumpeter promised 32nd scale version in 2017. So, 72nd scale version was - in my eyes - a good idea to see what we are about to get with this MiG-29SMT. And I was in for a big surprise... The Scale: During the last almost two decades, since I stopped using 72nd scale, things changed. With so many improvements in quality and mouldings, so many new companies, 72nd scale changed into a rather interesting area, than the basics that we had back in the 90s. Now it is very true, that this scale is suitable for bigger planes - jets larger than F-111 and Su-24, old 4 engine bombers and so on. But things with scale modeling moved so quickly last decade or so, that nowadays 72nd scale kits are better than 90s 48th scale ones. Even 32nd. This MiG-29SMT 9-19 is the perfect example. The box: Small soft and in well known blue colors, Trumpeter's MiG-29SMT 9-19 box is what we are used to get from Trumpeter. The boxart is very intriguing though. Also the description on the sides. For 72nd scale box it is pretty good, not to mention that a lot of other companies like Revell and Italeri continue to issue their kits with their old and inferior boxes. A good job from Trumpeter. The Sprues: So amazing! So so amazing.... MiG-29SMT 9-19 caught me by surprise: the upper and the lower parts of the body were the first two parts that I saw. And it struck me as lightning! This thing really is great! Besides the obvious thickness problems that we encounter even in 32nd scale, everything else seemed just in place. All the rivets are here, all the panel lines. The fit in between those two halves is almost perfect. Besides, the ailerons on the MiG-29 has been designed to move slightly upwards for additional stability at high speeds and we have that too. We had it with MiG-29 from GWH, and probably with their MiG-29SMT 9-19. Here of course, due to the scale we have it exaggerated and not slightly. But it is here and that is what's important and impressive! The nozzles are thick and rough and could've been better. Thee are substitutes for those already. The intakes on the other hand are again quite nice. This goes for the wheel wells, their doors and horizontal stabilizers. Some of the external fuel tanks are with some issues, but the cockpit and the gear struts are great too. The nose cone ass well. Vertical stabilizers are thick but state of the art when it comes down to engraving. I've seen so much worse and even on 48th scale...with kits released after year 2000... The decals: MiG-29SMT 9-19 features two sheets of decals: 11 x 11cm and 11 x 12cm. The larger one includes mostly technical markings which are tiny and very very delicate. Surprisingly, they seemed a lot to me. Even more than what we have in Academy's MiG-29 in 48th scale. The other markings - the red stars and VVS Rossii /Russian Federation Air Force/ are clear and nicely colored. They also feature the serial number of the aircraft and more technical markings. Those two sheets looks thin and you have to deal with them for a while, since there are tens of decals to be placed. Surprisingly for MiG-29... The Clear parts: MiG-29SMT 9-19 feature pretty much the same canopy as the older MiG-29 versions. Here we have that packed separately and carefully covered with a white sheet. Trumpeter does that for their most delicate parts on various kits and they did that here too. It is visible from the get go, that the advanced technologies and the quality materials helped here. The clear is clearer than a lot of the 48th scale kits that I've seen through my life and even with that not-so-favorite subject of mine, I gotta give it to Trumpeter for the effort. There is some thickness issues here, but still - we are talking 1/72 MiG-29SMT here. The Color Schemes: They are pretty much the same, although there are two of them. The new grey-scale splinter camo, typical solely for MiG-29SMT 9-19. This is rather new approach to the camouflaging of Russian modern aircraft. Similar thing we have with their PAK-FA project but that is only preliminary stuff. With MiG-29SMT 9-19 we have it in serial production. The schemes are printed on nice colored sheet with thorough description of decals and their place. It is two sided one, but the jets looks similar. That is supported with another similar sheet for the pylons and the ordnance, again in full color. The instructions: are well know aircraft instruction leaflets that we get with Trumpeter kits. If you have dealt with those, you will know that for 32nd, 48th and 72nd scale they are pretty much the same. Black and white, horizontally placed on the leaflet with clear depictions. Rarely some errors. Since the build here is simple and straight-forward one, there isn't much to say about them. The weapons: We have enough of those with MiG-29SMT 9-19 from Trumpeter. Although with full metal gear the plane doesn't look so attractive and rarely flies, Trumpeter did their best to give us as much as possible adding this much of an ordnance. Most intriguing are the sprues with both types of R-27 rockets, R-27R and R-27T. Other ones are nice too, but those are done with some special attention. Pretty nice job! Conclusion: MiG-29SMT 9-19 from Trumpeter is one damn fine kit! I was away from 72nd scale for almost two decades and I lost track to most of the production there, but a gem! All the details included and the fact that this is comparable with some 48th scale kits is simply stunning for me! I cannot wait to compare it side by side with GWH MiG-29SMT 9-19, as well as the upcoming 9-19 by Trumpeter in 32nd scale. What can I say?! The camo is great, the price is low /after all it is 72nd scale/, the detail is great and most importantly it is suitable for all ages and types of modelers. From the beginner to the expert! Very highly recommended!!!! You can get this kit here: MiG-29SMT 9-19 1/72 Trumpeter  
bmpt-72 Terminator II 4611 Tiger Model Unboxing Review DN Models mask set Camo 691 × 441

BMPT-72 Terminator II from Tiger Model. Unboxing and Review

BMPT-72 Terminator II: Some background: BMPT-72 Terminator II is a fire support vehicle, inspired by BMPT Terminator, based on a T-72 tank chassis. In general the main difference is that the BMPT-72 is a retrofit design, oriented toward T-72 operators who wants to modernize their army for less money, unlike standard BMPT which is supposed to be a new production. It is not certain what are the capabilities of the BMPT as a concept, but it is supposedly based on the experience of the Soviet/Russian army in Afghanistan and Checnen wars. It is noted in several articles that the -72 is oriented mostly towards urban warfare. In the last couple of RAEs /Russian Arms Expo's/ the BMPT is used as a show-off vehicle, but as with many Russian build machines, the show is the last stop probably for most of them. The name Terminator II is also an odd one, since it is not exactly clear what will be Terminated by it, let alone the suffix "II", which reminds to the masses of the famous Cameron/Schwarzenegger movie. But maybe that was another marketing trick used by UralVagonZavod. Maybe the future will tell, is this a formidable and sophisticated weapon system or it is just another modification of the obsolete T-72. The box: The kit from Tiger Model was succeeded by Trumpeter's announcement of their own version, which is not yet on the market. Tiger managed to pull out the rabbit of the hat first. Not only that, but they provided a very nice box, colorful and sturdy. The top is glossy, with bright and playful colors. The sides are with vehicle profiles and renders of the parts, decal and photo-etch show-offs. Nice logos, QR codes and hints about the contest of the box and its goodies. The boxart - a BMPT-72 Terminator II which looks a lot like a promo pictue from UVZ, at one of the RAE shows. Overall, very neat first impression! One of the best on the armor market, probably as good as Meng Model's boxes. The instructions: The instruction sheet is a booklet, black & white not overly thick. The instructions are only that, no colorful schemes, no useless explanations. Right to the point. Everything here resembles Tamiya: the step numbers, icons, tools drawings, the way that Tamiya engineers their instruction sheets/leaflets. The paper is not-so bright white as with the Japanese company, but it is very good. Very thorough description of every step, particularly nice on the suspension. Every arm is marked with number and you cannot go wrong with it. Simple, clear separation of the steps and their details. A little chance to miss something or confuse it like with Dragon for example. Also, an additional sheet with track assembly instructions is provided. Nothing too complex there, but there is a tool included, so just in case, Tiger Model added a little something there too. The Sprues: Before going to the plastic, I must add a very neat add-on from Tiger Model: a sticker sheet, with colorful sticker for every sprue. This will prevent the unusual roaming through the box every time you might need some part from another sprue. This, if I am not mistaken is also a Tamiya's idea dated back in time. Different colors for each sprue too. Small, but nice add-on, pleasant for the eye and useful during the build. The box is not overcrowded like Meng or some of the Trumpeter boxes, but has a decent number of plastic sprues inside. Again Tamiya resemblance with the plastic material. Something in between Tamiya and Takom is what we have here, with superb quality and exciting details. Not a lot of ejection pin marks, little to-none flash and flexible material.   Tracks are on separate black sprues. Clear parts too - separated. There are poly caps on a different material sprue too. Every sprue /besides the wheels which are combined/ packed in plastic soft envelope, exactly like Tamiya does their packing, with metal staples closing it. The top of the turret - enclosed in a separate soft plastic box with a clear cover. Very delicate! The add-ons: We have a nice decals set, but nothing too special. Small, compact, just enough for the vehicle. The photo-etch sheet though is a gem: engraved with Tiger Model logo and 28 types of PE parts in it. Packed over a black thin and soft cardboard-like material, it shines! The material is softer than Trumpeter but thicker than MiniArt, which is just about the gold standard! Nice touch here too! A flexible metal towing rope. Something, that some of you might be used to with the older DML kits, but rarely seen today. Even if present, for example with Trumpeter stuff, not even close to the quality of this one here. Even though the cable isn't particularly interested when you look at the BMPT-72 Terminator II, Tiger Model did that effort too. Then we have two metal gun barrels. Packed in a separate box, just like the turret top. This is the cream of the cake in my opinion. They are delicate, precise, nothing close to the mediocre plastic gun barrels. BMPT and BMPT-72 has delicate barrels, which aftermarket companies supply for the other BMPT makers. Here Tiger Model spared us the hassle of buying aftermarket, providing the metal parts OOTB. The muzzle breaks are with clean cuts, no flash, no troubles what so ever. Just beautiful! The engineering: It seems to me that we have a winner here too. Comparing the Meng BMPT with Tiger BMPT-72 Terminator II, I found to have twice as much parts with Meng, but not that nice of a detail and engraving. Unusually complicated builds are thrown away with Tiger, presenting the modeler with just the right amount of part count to give you pleasure and spare you the hassle. Even with the tracks. Which are workable as you might guess from the pictures. We have detailed caps and brackets, texture on the track pads, tire treads on the wheels, welding lines along the metal assembly. We also have poly caps holding the upper and the lower part together, as we've used to see in Academy and Tamiya. Another resemblance with the Japanese company here... Fenders are superb, with curves along the imitated rubber parts of them, fine rivets and even better L-shaped hooks. Sprockets are well defined, clearly molded. Stowage boxes as well. Even though most of them are molded onto the upper part, they are not a tiny bit lesser in quality compared to Meng or Trumpeter. Just the contrary. They look better. Definition of every part here is helpful especially with those who love to prime and seal after, witch several varnish layers. No detail will be hidden. We have workable suspension, movable turret and hatches which are positionable but can be made into movable quite easily. In addition to all that we have antitank missiles included. The camofulage options: BMPT-72 Terminator II is seen mostly at the military equipment shows. As you might guess, the camo schemes are primarily demonstration ones. They are quite similar to the splinter camo used with the BMPT Terminator. We have a nice colorful with four variants of BMPT-72 Terminator II camo. Three splinter camo versions, including the famous Gray one, - which is a lot of people's favorite - and a Modern Russian semi-soft edge scheme, with the new red stars design. They are all clearly depicted, but execution of those, considering the turret shape won't be an easy task. DN Models steps up here, providing several new sets for the popular BMPT-72 camouflages. The masks that are designed for the standard BMPT are very popular among modelers and DN Models would never miss a chance to introduce new products which will be handy for airbrushing odd and difficult camo schemes. Since BMPT series are one of our favorite subjects, you can check the store for Terminator II versions if you need help with the painting process! Conclusion: We have:
  • Brand new tooling
  • Photo-etch sheet
  • Metal gun barrels
  • Metal Tow Rope
  • Workable suspension
  • 4 independent anti-tank missiles
  • Workable tracks
  • 4 Camo schemes
This is one fine kit I must tell ya! If you don't know who the maker is, you can easily mistake it with Tamiya. Instructions, plastic bags, plastic quality - everything resembles Tamiya. There are differences of course. For example the nice PE sheet which is something that Tamiya rarely uses, and not in this brass color. Also the metal gun barrels as well as the workable tracks. I checked the dimensions, since the first impression that I got was that the hull is too small for T-72. However it matches it almost perfectly with slight differences here and there. The detail of the engravings is better here, although many will scream for Meng, I know. But the truth is that this kit looks better. It has just enough parts, not unusual and useless complications. At the same time we have workable suspension and tracks, movable turret and most importantly - several different mediums: PE, Metal, three kinds of plastic and a towing rope. Just enough to satisfy the needs of the most picky ones among the modelers. Not to mention the camo schemes. They are definitely better than the standard BMPTs, probably because this is a second generation /sort of/ of that vehicle. Alongside the nice touches in the kit: packing, sprue stickers, wonderful boxart, I consider this to be among the nicest choices for a modern AFV in 35th sale on the market. The price is not bad at all and it is almost perfect OOTB. Highly recommended all together with Tiger Model as a company! You can get the kit HERE Check out the DN Models Shop for Camo Paint masks for the BMPT-72.

Zvezda T-14 Armata with UralVagonZavod 1/35

T-14 Armata is the newest Russian Main battle tank demonstrated to the public. It is based on so called: Armata Universal Combat platform. This is design meant to be used for several different vehicles, only one of which is the main battle tank T-14 Armata. It is also know by the name Obyekt 148. Russian Army plans to use it as a Main tank, replacing T-90 and its derivatives, which is supposedly about to happen before year 2020. Alongside T-15 /the successor of Infantry Fighting Vehicles based on the Armata platform/, those two represent the newest generation in design and technology when it comes down to armored vehicles. There are of course rumors that Germany/France, USA and even Israel are currently working on next generation tanks, but those are only rumors. T-14 armata 1_35 dn models unboxing review zvezda russian MBT 1Shortly after the 2015 Victory Parade, Takom and Panda released 35th scale versions of this tank. Shortly afterwords, rumors appeared that they are not accurate and are more like speculations of the real thing, instead of a precise scale model. Happily, in the short half ot 2016, Zvezda announced that they are about to release their own version of T-14 Armata. Not only that, but Zvezda designed their T-14 alongside Ural Vagon Zavod - UVZ, the factory which produces the real thing! This is very interesting combination and if we can count on honesty here /this is Army stuff after all!/ the scale model is to be the best representation of the real Armata in scale. On the back of the box we have description of what Armata is, not without the typical Russian propaganda, model's length, parts total number, some pictures of the built model and a QR code. The latter one seems to be non-working, however it is a huge leap ahead compared to what we had before with Zvezda kits. Inside, there are few milk-ish plastic envelopes containing the sprues, a leaflet with instructions and a plastic zip-bag holding the clear parts, two types plastic meshes and decals. Sprues seems to be acceptable in terms of quality. They lack texture but the details is pretty good. There is an improvement in Zvezda's quality of engineering. Still, the plastic probably needs to be changed in order for Zvezda to play with in the "A" league. I haven't seen or heard of any serious troubles with the material, so texture is not going to be an issue for most modelers, especially those good with some primers available on the market. After all, there are several coats of different mediums before the final result and as a base, this plastic is acceptable, especially considering the price of the kit. Instructions are a letdown, no doubt about it. They are short leaflet, resembling Tamiya's foldings, only black and white, without many explanation what is what /seen on many new instruction sheets recently/ and poor camouflage schemes. Camo scheems actually are the worst part of the instructions and of the Zvezda kit. There are only two profiles, one of which is the three tone camo. Except for the boxart, which shows 3/4 upper look of Armata, there is no way for the modelers gussing how the camo pattern continues. This is pretty lame decision in general. There is a get-outta-jail-free-card for Zvezda in this case - the fact that there are no Armatas in camouflage shown yet. So since this is probably artist fiction, the modeler can experiment with the pattern as well. However, compared with Takom's brilliant camo schemes in their Armata, this instruction leaflet is purely worthless. The single tone camo scheme is self explanatory. But yeah. Bad call with the instructions. Clear parts are small, hardly visible on a tank, but they are good. I like the overall look of that sprue. The meshes are palstic - again Tamiya like - and it will be great if somebody releases a photo-etch substitute for that. Maybe DN Models sometime soon? Who knows... Decals are /as far as I was informed/ Begemot, which if true, is a decent choice. No information on new markings besides the parade vehicles though. So again - too fresh of a subject to comment. But they are not bad. The tracks are just like the ones we've already seen in Zvezda's T-90 and BMPT Terminator. In this case, fenders are hiding most of it, so this is a useful add-on, and I prefer it, especially for modern tanks. I like the way Zvezda did their track and I love their molding. So for me this is a rather high point in this kit. The gun barrel is - unfortunately - a two piece solution. This is old and obsolete way of doing things but again - price is some sort of an excuse for that decision. Metal gun barrel is out of the question of course - they didn't put in PE material nor color instructions, so metal gun barrel is beyond reasonable wishful thinking. Thankfully, Voyager Model already released one on the market, just in case you want to superdetail your Armata. At the price of the kit itself probably... Voyager also did some smoke dischargers for Takom's kit, which might come handy here and Friul announced Metal Track set. It seems like the Armata Market is growing. In conclusion: this is a very good kit for extremely competitive price. Takom's T-14 Armata for example is twice the money, with less accuracy. Yes, the instructions are nothing special and the camo schemes sucks /politely said/, but folks, this is Zvezda. They are gaining speed at the moment and we must give them that. They are working hard to be competitive and with that tempo in 7-10 years they will be at very high level. With those prices they offer killer kits. Never mind the market, Zvezda is cheap enough everywhere. The most important fact in this particular case is the accuracy which is not comparable with the competition. Actually, there is no competition for Zvezda. UralVagonZavod got their back for the T-14 Armata, and that's it. Nobody can beat that. Most likely, the Russians won't let them. So I can only highly recommend this kit. Just for the price. Or just for the accuracy. Or just for the fact that if you need to be accurate when painting, so far there are only single tone Russian green camo schemes shown to public. We gotta give them that - Zvezda made a great kit. Kurganetz, Koalitzia, Boomerang are also on their way. Probably with low prices. Hopefully their camo schemes will be better. But yeah, for now - go for the Zvezda's new T-14 Armata. Looks great and it's cheap. What can be better than that? Check back with DN Models soon for masks sets for Armata Tanks.

Tos-1A Rocket Launcher – 1:35 Trumpeter 05582

Tos-1 is one of these weird looking Russian vehicles, that only Russians can come up with. It looks like artillery piece, but it is actually assigned to NBC Defence Forces. It reminds about the Katiyusha concept, and probably it was inspired by it, but it way more deadly, and more accurate. For whatever its worth, it might be said that this is one dead spreading machine, and it is scary. In its essence, it is a rocket launcher, but is also a thermobaric weapon mounted on the chassis of the versatile T-72. That means that it is more close to a weapon of mass destruction, rather than a conventional artillery piece, howitzer or a tank. It was first used back in the late 80s, against the Afghanistans in Panjshir Valley and it served more like a psychological weapon than a tactical or strategic act. It was covered in secrecy, and in the next 10 years, nobody from the outside knew nothing about it. It was shown to the public in the end of the century, and by that time it already was with some undergoing modifications. Later on, TOS-1 was used in Syria, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts, with last know usage only few weeks prior to that article appearance. The TOS-1 is rocket launcher equipped with 24 unguided rockets, featuring thermobaric warheads. It fires with a quick bursts, and it can launches all of its rockets within 12 seconds. TOS-1 range is relatively short - 3500m, hence the need of a tank chassis for a base as an improved protection. It has a laser range finder, ballistic computer and complicated aiming sight, for improved accuracy. Currently, it is used by Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria and Kazakhstan. There are some reports of units being used in the rebel zones of Ukraine too. The kit from Trumpeter is a stashed box, with more than 1000 parts in it, and it is based on their very popular T-72 tank. It has all the bells and whistles of the lower part of the T-72, but that is not the important area here. The missing turret and what we have instead of it is the general difference. Trumpeter made nice effort with their TOS-1 kit, providing very fine detail, flash free, good fit and relatively accurate depiction. I mean the upper parts here, but we know that the lower body is already recognized as worthy by the modelers who built some of their T-72 line. The rocket launcher is molded with all the rockets inside, however somewhere I saw a photo etch set to modify launchers of the BM-21 GRAD, so most likely with a little will, here it can be done too. The whole upper part of the TOS-1 is movable and it looks pretty straight-forward assembly. The welding marks can bee seen everywhere, and are clear and delicate. There are two round pads for positioning the TOS-1 into a firing position, attached to the back of the vehicle. They are also depicted clearly, and are with optionable /up-down/ bonus. The lower part of the hull is the well known T-72. Nicely detailed engine deck, photo etch all over it. Fenders with clear details, no flash and wonderful curvature of the rubber skirts. Wheels and sprockets with nice threads and details. Some flash can be seen on the sprockets, but it is nothing to worry about. It is definitely not good that we have it, but this is the only flash that I've seen on the kit, so anybody can live with it. Tracks are nice, and somehow eliminate the need of aftermarket ones. They are made from different plastic and are brown in color. They are also individual track links with hollow 'teeth' that hold the pads together. It will be a tedious job to assemble those, and you need more than 300 on both sides, but in the end it will worth the patience. The alignment might be tricky, but the upper side of the track length remain beneath the fenders which will easy the process. For making our life easier, Trumpeter provided a plastic tool attach to each track sprue, representing a straight line for proper alignment of the length which is on the top and bottom sides of the track lengths. Photo etch is represented by two sheets of gold-ish metal plates, slightly ticker than needed, but that is typical for Trumpeter. One of those holds the T-72 standard features, like the small round pieces that goes all over the turret and are a nightmare to be positioned, as well as the meshes for the engine deck. On the other PE sheet there are some of the fender boxes add-ons, and some parts which are supposed to go on the T-90 set, and are not used here. The log is attached to a sprue that comes from a tank, because there is a gun barrel mantled which also is not to be used, but its worth mentioning that the sprue is made from some sort of a rubber or resin, which is rather odd. I assume it is like that because the log goes into PE brackets, and to avoid damages and unneeded complications, Trumpeter decided to give us soft-ish material instead of regular plastic. The clear parts are few, but are there, and they are nice enough as well as the decals. There are all the numbers available, and logo with both USSR and RF /Russian Federation/ signs beneath it. Also the KB Transmash /factory name/ is available, eventually for a demo vehicle painted in single tone green camo. The camouflages are two. The one mentioned above, and one with the modern Russian colors, which I doubt is very accurate. There are other options of course, and plenty of pictures in the web. Very attractive are the splinter camo scheme demonstrated at the last Russian Arms Expo, as well as the Iraqi camouflage seen on some YouTube videos. The difference there is that the fenders of the Iraqi vehicles are with additional side plate armor, and it is highly possible that their TOS-1s to be based on T-90 chassis, like most of the newer vehicles are.   TOS-1 from Trumpeter is very interesting and challenging build of an unusual vehicle. The kit is not something fresh on the market, but the TOS-1 by itself is very popular on the news last year. It is seen firing in Syria and near Ukrainian border, as well as some information of use in Nagorno-Karabakh is here. That makes it very attractive for hobbyists and presents very nice options for different builds and dioramas. My conclusion is, that this kit is well worth the money, and it will be nice addition to every collection. It is an odd looking vehicle, a complex build, and it is far from standard looking tanks. The plastic parts are clear, crisp and there is no need of aftermarket parts, so the money spent are to be justified. It is one kit not to be skipped! You can get this kit here: TOS-1A Multiple Rocket Launcher Camouflage masks from DN Models available here: TOS-1 Modern Russian Camo  

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

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

BMPT-72 Terminator II from Tiger Model in 35th scale

BMPT-72 Terminator II was unveiled in 2013 at Russian Arms Expo - RAE 2013, and is a successor of BMPT Terminator vehicle. It is also based on T-72 hull, but unlike brand new BMPTs, the BMPT-72 is offered as an upgrade kit for old T-72 hulls. That means cheaper and more reliable investment, which makes it very popular for countries with lower army budgets and which still have old T-72s in their inventory. In addition to that, Russian factories won't be used for the upgrade, but instead - home based facilities of the potential clients will be where the upgrades will be done. That lowers the costs and still gives the eventual buyers an upgraded vehicle, which in the same time is almost home-made. Trumpeter delayed their BMPT kit for a while and I thought that while waiting on them to decide what to do, we might witness a very clever trick, upgrading their initial plans /overshadowed by Meng and Zvezda successful kits/ and instead of feeding us with another standard BMPT, they will be clever enough to shoot us straight into the stratosphere with a BMPT-72 instead. That didn't happened exactly as I speculated, although their BMPT is a bit different. Now, Tiger Model did the decisive step into the wild, and announced a brand new BMPT-72 which is about to be released very soon. It might be an 1st of April joke, but I doubt it. For those of you who don't know, the BMPT-72 ATGM launchers are covered with armor and they sit differently compared to the standard BMPT. The demo vehicles were camouflaged very nicely in pale grey colors, probably as a marketing trick to differ them from the original BMPT even though the splinter camo is almost the same /you can expect BMPT-72 Mask Set from DN Models very soon!/. Nevertheless, it looks like a new vehicle, and it is more close to what we expected from the name "Terminator". If you've seen the movies, and I can bet you have, you will see the resemblance between the Terminator drones and the BMPT-72 ATGMs. Not like the standard BMPT - more more beautiful. Also, what we got from Tiger Model with their Nagmachon, promises a very nice looking kit in 35th scale, which I am pretty sure will be hit by the competitors /Meng, Zvezda and Trumpeter/ very soon. But as we all know - the sooner the better, which will most likely make Tiger Model the winner here. Whatever the case is, we still don't have enough info about the kit. Nor price. I will update you as soon as possible, just like I did with the standard BMPTs. I planned to make a full comparison between Trumpeter and Meng, just like I did with Zvezda and Meng /see the video below/, but I doubt that I will do that now. Rather a full unboxing and review for Tiger Model Terminator II. Maybe a comparison with Trumpeter, but at a later stage. Now, the most important thing regarding this subject is to get the box delivered as soon as possible! Stay tuned!
pictures in the article are taken from various web sources. Mostly from RAEs.

Su-27UB Ukrainian Flanker Twin Seater pt.3

So, after painting and varnishing the whole giant aircraft /and it is big, believe me!/ I discovered another wonderful thing out there, in the modeling market: LindenHill decals. Thanks to Guy from Linden, I got those amazing decals: The decals from LindenHill If you didn't scrolled down to the end of the page, you would still want to see the pictures at the end of the article.
decals makes it a whole new aircraft...
These are absolutely the best decals I've ever worked with. Note that I am not making publicity for Linden. Not a chance! But hey, they are so cool looking and easy to work with! Actually, you might skip the decal solutions with those if you are working with the right water temperature. At this stage I discovered that not all of the stencils that I got with Begemot sheet are needed. The Ukrainian birds were repainted and eventually lost some of the markings.
note the different coloring of this picture and the previous one
As it appears on the pictures, there were no issues with the decals. No torn ones, no smashed or damaged ones. So this went very smooth.
Nozzle removed for easier access
After completing all the decal work, I varnished all with gloss Vallejo varnish, and immediately, before it cured, with Satin Vallejo varnish. This gave the aircraft more "metal" look. All gloss is never good for a model. All matt either. If you get close and personal with a real jet you will realize that it is glossy. Its made from metal after all. Anyway, in a model, in order to make it look more realistic, you need to have dull finish. But again, to dull will be too much. So you gotta learn the trick to make it look real when looked from close distance.
almost done here
After all that amazing decal experience, I added some stains, some weathering caused by flying through clouds and moist areas, some stains blown from the moving parts access points and joints.
I gave it a bit for the landing gear and mostly lower parts, which aren't visible that much, but I wanted to make it look as the real deal. Actually, in order to get a good model, you gotta exaggerate a bit everything. Not in my case. I wanted it pure and simple. Some of the decals needed a bit more dirt, but I loved them so much, that I left them the way you are see them on the pictures.
So after around 60 days of work, spread out within 3 months time, I finished the thing!
I didn't expect to receive such warm comments for it, but I did. It brought me two medals so far, one gold and one silver. Now the aircraft is for sale, but if no one gets it by the summer, I will give it couple of more shots at the contests around here.
I made special case for it, but its too big to just sit around in a house. It is better to be shown at some exhibition or museum since it is attractive.
The main reason for me to publish it just now, is the whole situation in Ukraine. I feel very sorry for all people there, who suffer from the Russian aggression. I would love to dedicate my work with this particular airplane to all Ukrainians and show my support to that wonderful nation!
I pray for quick resolution of that problem and  hope that Ukraine will see the end of the problems soon!
I think you made the right choice and you will soon see the results of your hard work!
Good luck Ukraine!
For the rest you can check out here:
Special thanx to Guy from Linden and Olivier "Red Dog"! Without your help this project would not see the light of the day!

Su-27UB Ukrainian Flanker Twin Seater pt.1

This is a project that I started in 2010 and finished in 2011. It took me something like 60 working days, but it was mostly around X-mas holidays and those 60 days were not straight but within 3 months. The project itself was is and eventually will be /for me/ an ambitious one, since it is hard in terms of painting, transporting, and keeping safe even on the shelf. Anyway, without further explanation, I will try to describe here what I've done and how I've done it, and I hope you will like it, and eventually try one for yourself!
The kit that I got was Trumpeter 1/32 Su-27UB Twin Seater Flanker-C. Flanker-C is a trainer version, and if you might wonder why I chose this particular version, I will answer like that: Click here! This is the single most amazing photo of one of the coolest looking jet fighters in the World. Typically, I am not an admirer of anything Russian, just the contrary. But I have had several interactions with Su-27 family around the World and I believe that even though soviet jets are somehow unrefined and are lacking vital stuff /for an aircraft/ this one stands out. The kit is not the best either. It has some errors to be corrected and some instructions tricks which I will point out later in the article. To get it more accurately done I got for it Eduard PE cockpit and masks, Quickboost ejections seats, Aires nozzles, Begemot stenicils set and LindenHill Decals. At a later stage I realized two things: I needed resin weighted wheels and resin cockpit. Eduard cockpit color is not accurate at all. Neither do the final effect of finished cockpit worth the efforts. Its some kind of childish looking, and seems to lack the 3D appearance. The last is obvious since it is PE and not resin, but having in mind the scale it is even more annoying.
The wheels are OK, but they are originally rubber ones, and hard too, so once build it stays with more tension then needed. Few pictures of the process:
Flaps can be movable. I tend to avoid movable parts though.
This is completely hidden, so it was a waste of time to paint and weather it. Anyway...
Rims looks like they were driven through the sidewalk. And on many soviet planes they are looking exactly like that.
Quickboost seats are very high quality. I recommend them to anyone who wants resin in the cockpit. They look pretty much 100% accurate and scaled down properly. I love to paint with airbrush and with resin is better to do most of the things with brush, but it all depends on each one's personal preferences.
There are two big problems that I've encountered while working on that plane. The first one is the wings attachment and the second is the intakes parts attachment. The wings are showed to be attached first one to another /upper-lower part/ and then to the body. Or it was the other way round? I don't remember. However, the instructions should not be followed. I believe it was firstly attach upper part of the wing to the upper body, and then continue with adjusting rest of the parts one to another. What are you gonna do? Trumpeter... The other problem for me were the intakes. There are aftermarket intakes but I didn't bothered with them. I think Zactoman does that, and as all of his stuff, they are amazing, but not for me, at least not this time. I have used ton of putty and another ton of super glue to fix all the troubles there, plus I spent two days rescribing all of the rivets, and thank you Radu for your tool! In the end? Jury of four, and I mean IPMS contest didn't managed to find any troubles with the intakes! Ha! For the rest you can check out: Part 2 and Part 3