Tag - trumpeter

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

A-26B Invader 1/32 from Hobby Boss

Intro

A-26B Invader is the first of the A-26/B-26 line that Hobby Boss releases. Invader is a legendary plane, that’s why there is no doubt that other variants will follow. Let’s start with that, that Invader often is quoted as the plane that fought in the three major US wars: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Many other conflicts as well. It takes something to be that sturdy and to survive through times when aviation technology was leaping every two years or so. Even more with two spinners attached.

Although later variants were modified and internally had little to do with the WWII examples, it was still the good ol’ A-26 in general. The plane was slightly ahead of its time with its sleek and sexy looks, laminar wing and speed achievements. It was a brain child of the genius Edward Heinemann, the same guy who designed Dauntless, A-1 Skyraider, A-4 Skyhawk and worked extensively on F-16.

The Invader, although somewhat lost in between the news about new and extremely fast jets for their time, atomic weapons and constant conflicts popping up here and there all the time, was still a very bright star in the aviation history if you take the time to explore it. In that terms, this kit can be considered overdue.

Packing

A-26B Invader is the typical Hobby Boss kit. It is packed the same way as Trumpeter and Hobby Boss always did it: in separate plastic bags, with couple sectors made from cardboard dividers. That’s in the box that is rather small for 32nd scale twin prop, but in the same time with enough space left to close the lid once you open and eventually re-arrange the order of the sprues.

Everything else is just like it always was, which is not a “top-notch“ appearance, but that is justified by the reasonable price tag and the fact that in the end, the box means nothing. The only thing that matters are the contents. And Hobby Boss are perfectly aware.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models instructions

Instructions

Those are located on the bottom beneath everything else. Unfortunately, the style remains unchanged after two decades of experience in scale model producing. It is not bad per se, but the change was requested million times on different web platforms from plenty of modelers. We are living in an era of highly competitive market of scale models, where companies with innovations and superb quality products bloom. Keeping the sheet the same like it was in 2001 is not a good option. After all, this is your guide for getting through the increasingly complex building processes. On the other hand, the latter hasn’t changed much for Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, so again, this is justified. HB kept this build simple and straight-forward, so if you are not overly pretentious, you will probably be able to accept what comes OOTB in terms of instructions.

Unfortunately, same goes for the color schemes, which provide three options, two US and one French, but without any explanation what so ever. Eventually, the modeler should find out what is being built by personal research.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models instruction sheet

Plastic

The quality of the Hobby Boss plastic is good. This A-26B Invader is no exception. It is what we know and love from the Chinese model maker. It sands well, it cuts well, it can sustain decent amount of abuse. What more can a modeler want?

There is a room for extra detailing, especially on a rivet level, but even as it is, the Invader comes with a decent texture. The kit features interior as well and the same goes for that. Again, thanx to the plastic that we are used to get from Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, one can easily conclude that cutaways will be very easily doable and probably almost mandatory with this kit.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

The sprues aren’t that many, but the focus isn’t on the part number as with armor kits. Just the contrary. That was the case with the Liberator recently released by the same company. So logically, here things are pretty much the same.

Speaking of which, Liberator was criticized widely for accuracy issues. There is a big BUT and the fact that there aren’t many other options on the market, so whoever wants to build – builds. The rest complain and search for discrepancies. Same goes for the Invader. And it is pretty sure that the accuracy will have flaws, possibly some major ones. But do we have an alternative?

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

Clear Parts

Clear parts can be described with one word only: Wonderful! Just take a look at the picture below: Clear parts a26b invader hobby boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

Decals

As mentioned above, the A-26B from Hobby Boss comes with three options. The decal sheet they are fitted in is not very large, although markings for this plane in this scale are more or less – substantial in size. Due to the lack of additional information though, aftermarket options will be probably more attractive than what we get OOTB. The reason is one – lack of information about the specific planes, two – more interesting and probably visually attractive options on the aftermarket scene.

With that said, the decals of Trumpeter/Hobby Boss were never an issue and if you want to stick to the box contents, they are more than acceptable option. With that scale though, decals are better put off and substituted with masks. This provides maximum realism and guarantees that there will be no issues with bubbles, silvering or ripped edges.

decals A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

Extras

The A-26B Invader kit features two extras: rubber tires and small PE sheet. Neither of those deserves attention though. Not that they are bad, on the contrary. They are acceptable. However, PE is rather thick and for such a big bird it is insufficient in terms of part numbers. Rubber tires are also kinda useless. They are stiff and cannot provide the sag required, thus exchanging those for resin aftermarket parts is the better option.

The thing that is missing and will probably be one of the most important and almost mandatory add-on are the metal struts. One of the things that dictates their usage is the size and the weight of the plane in 32nd scale. The other is, that metal struts are often more detailed than the plastic OOTB parts, which in this scale is highly demanded option. So yes, there are extras that comes with the kit, but let’s get real – they are not enough nor at the required level.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models photo etch

Conclusion

Even if the above written might sound more on the negative side, the conclusion about this plane is mostly positive. All that is mentioned like a downsides is justified by the price and the fact that Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, despite their mass production of kits are a B player on the market. Even with that, they produce one of a kind kits on subjects that are with high demand.

Another thing mentioned above is that the Invader was overdue. This is another reason to get this kit immediately. It is a lovely looking plane and despite the expected inaccuracies /which OOTB builders prefer to forget/, the need for aftermarket and lack of historical reference, we have to give it to Hobby Boss. Another spot on hit, closely following the Liberator duo released last year.

So yes, the kit's worth it. It deserves attention and it looks great. You will never get the proper "A" quality from Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, but you will never get that subject from the A players either. So you cannot have your cake and eat it too …

www.dnmodels.com
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Unboxing and Review: 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Hobby Boss #81764 box

Unboxing and Review: 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Hobby Boss #81764

Intro:

This plane does not need an introduction. Every fan knows about it, simply because it fulfilled the task it was designed for perfectly. This is something between a first and second generation jet, designed in the early 50s. Surprisingly still in use to this day.

For years we had beautiful Hasegawa options in 48th and 32nd scale. They are still very good, and in my opinion, their quarter scale is unbeatable. But Hobby Boss did a very good attempt with releasing their own A-4 line, including A-4M, A-4E and A-4F. The kit is designed as a direct competitor to Hasegawa’s releases, but actually it can satisfy slightly different types of modelers.

Box and Contents:

Box is the standard Hobby Boss cardboard thing, nothing special nor too shiny. The colors are a bit pale and the explanations on the sides are not very sophisticated. Inside, everything is packed separately for protection. Nice execution which can be seen on every Trumpeter/HobbyBoss model.

Unboxing and Review: 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Hobby Boss #81764 ins

Instruction sheet, alongside with marketing leaflet can be found on the bottom. Instructions are aligned in landscape mode, pretty much like every Trumpeter kit that I’ve built. They are simple, easy to follow and clear of any unnecessary complications. Quality-wise they are far from the current standard, however price of the kit is too - far from today’s tags.

Unboxing and Review: 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Hobby Boss #81764 sheet

Sprues:

Again, typical Hobby Boss/Trumpeter stuff. Light gray plastic, flexible enough, with detail that is chunky more often than not. Lack of excessive riveting is visible on that kit, which I believe is not bad. After all, it is better to spend some time riveting by yourself, rather than deal with wrong lines done from the mad-riveter.

Detail is not consistent all over, but few Hobby Boss kits show such thing.  That doesn’t mean the kit is bad. Not at all. This A-4 is very decent piece of plastic and even though it has some flaws and questionable accuracy, I believe it is well worth the money.

Unboxing and Review: 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Hobby Boss #81764 plastic

Some of the kit’s surfaces like flaps for example are molded. With Hasegawa you get more movable and positionable parts. That is exactly what I meant in the beginning – this kit being aimed toward different kind of modeler. A modeler, that doesn’t want everything open, but prefer simplicity and in-flight or ready-to-fly modes.

For the latter ones, I trust that this kit is superior compared to Hasegawa’s.

Pictures show clearly the level of sophistication of this plastic piece and in my opinion they do not disappoint. The details might be insufficient for many, but they are not bad at all. One thing is certain – in order to achieve accuracy and stunning appearance, additional work will be needed.

Clear parts:

Clear parts are also mixed bag of things. They can show more detail, but they are not that bad. The level of transparency is good, which is the most important thing for me. Bending of the objects /seeing throught them/ is good /means minimal/, which is very important for that scale.

Another thing to mention is that they are not thick as you might expect them to be. Quite a pleasant surprise from Hobby Boss. After all, you get the clear parts separately covered and packed like a very delicate and precious item in this kit. It is because they actually are such. Good job!

Decals and Options:

Decals are represented by a sheet, which includes two marking options. Nothing much to say about those, other than they are standard quality for Hobby Boss. Many question their accuracy, including me, so I would stick to aftermarket deals or masks.

Unboxing and Review: 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Hobby Boss #81764 decals

The two options are interesting, one is unusual camouflage and the other one is with high-visibility markings. However, based on what Skyhawk was used for and how widely, I trust that this is only a touch of the surface. If you dig deeper, you will find endless options for various wonderful paint options.

Especially Top Gun A-4Es, which are interestingly painted and worn altogether. Sky is the limit for the Skyhawk. Truly.

Conclusion:

Very tricky here. How exactly do I start the conclusion? I have one of two choices: Mixed bag or I like it. It is indeed a mixed bag and inferior to Hasegawa in more than one ways. However, I like it because it is just about enough and will satisfy many. Especially those who would like to make it in an in-flight mode.

The price is acceptable. Low for today’s standards. However, the quality is not up to those either. But after all, you can get it and try to make most of it, or just complain about the quality and wait for another decade or two for a new and improved tooling.

I would say, go for it. It’s not a bad kit and with a little effort you can improve it and beat the competition. After all it is a Skyhawk. Attention is deserved.

www.dnmodels.com
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A Challenge: P-40 from Trumpeter in 35th scale

Trumpeter surprised with their AT-T artillery prime mover not so long ago. It is a vehicle that seems boring and dull, but actually has a great potential for weathering and participation in various dioramas. It was part of the Soviet /and their allied/ forces and was built in pretty decent numbers, which gives even more options for the modeler. A great hit from the Chinese model maker. Shortly after, my personal favorite of the series: A Trench Digging Machine called BTM-3 was released. This is more complex vehicle and respectively - a model that is more demanding. It is something that one armor lover will fell in love with at first glance. It is difficult to comprehend its shape and mechanics. Besides, its role as trench digger is something odd and kinda obsolete. That adds to its charm. However, another version of the vehicle exists and it is also very intriguing: A P-40 Armour, NATO designation - Long Track. This is the same vehicle/AT-T/, but featuring a huge antenna on its top. Something, that in scale is very hard to be replicated. So far, a resin substitute from Panzershop was /and still is/ available. It is insanely high-priced, hard to be finished and challenging. A kit, that still needs a basic platform over which it should be built and Friul tracks, which are again - expensive. Just recently, Trumpeter announced that they will end this P-40 monopoly and release their own version of the P-40, this time with plastic only. No resin, no aftermarket needed, no unnecessary challenges. Price-wise - more acceptable too. It will be more expensive than their basic AT-T model, but hopefully not by much. Probably close to what is the price of the BTM-3. All of that - good news. The P-40 antenna, although still not clear 100%, will be most likely photo-etched elements which need soldering. That is pure speculation at this point, but eventually, basic photo-etch skills won't be sufficient for this kit to be completed decently. On the other hand, the resin cutting and gluing with cyano glue aren't gonna be needed, since we have a perfectly sound plastic material from Trumpeter usually. So even more demanding, the P-40 will be acceptable for even inexperienced modelers. Instead of conclusion: hopefully this P-40 kit will appear shortly on the shelves and as mentioned above, will be reasonably priced. It is more than certain, that it will draw a lot attention and many fans will be happy. Let's hope that there will be no big discrepancies with the real thing and the engineering will be sound. So get your soldering machine ready, and stay tuned! Soon we will have one more beautiful beast in 35th scale available! www.dnmodels.com
Pictures featuring the resin/PE model are courtesy of PanzerShop
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Tiger I – Trumpeter New Tooling 35th Scale

Tiger I is arguably the most famous tank of the World War II and for some - the most famous tank ever. Tiger I is a powerful machine, worked from the deserts of Africa to the colds of Eastern Front and proven to be a formidable weapon. That is the reason why many companies release this kit and compete with each other which one will be more accurate, more detailed and featuring more parts. Last couple of years we witnessed Tiger Is with full interior, complex builds, with and without Zimmerit and so on. For the stuff that is missing from the kits there is a ton of aftermarket available and even with that companies are still interested in that beast. Trumpeter are not famous for their accuracy per se. So Tiger I is a challenge for them on almost every level. However, Trumpeter are a company that works and evolves constantly and for the last 15 years of me following their production, they sometimes left me amazed of what they are capable of. Just couple of days before Telford Scale Model event, Trumpeter announced two Tiger I's both based on a new tooling. We know that Panther is in the works and not only from them but Meng and Takom too, so that came as a surprise. A clever move too. Trumpeter gave us the boxart and the item numbers too: Trumpeter 09539 and 09540. Both of them feature Zimmerit coating on the boxart but it is still unclear what exactly will be included in the box. Considering their last releases, like MT-LBs, BTMs and large ballistic missiles, I can expect a lot from those sets here. Trumpeter are improving by the minute and let us not forget that those two Tiger I's come at a very difficult and competitive times. However, knowing their overall level I have my doubts that aftermarket will be absolutely necessary to complete the Tiger in acceptable fashion. Which is not bad actually. Even perfect kits are being upgraded more often than not, simply because some aftermarket is slightly better or even because it looks more attractive before priming. So if Trumpeter gives us decent in accuracy and detailing Tiger, I believe we will have a winner. Let's not forget too, that World of Tanks fans are playing this beast and most of them want one in their collection, on the shelf right next to the WOT Gameplay DVDs. So Trumpeter did a great thing releasing that. It might not be the perfect example of Tiger I in 35th scale, but it will be simpler than Dragon and after all, the hope that the new tooling will be better is still here. www.dnmodels.com
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Kitty Hawk 1/35 Killer Egg AH-6J

MH-6 /AH-6/ or Little Bird, is an attack helicopter used for special operations in the United States Army. It is also known as Killer Egg due to its distinctive shape. It was used in Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mogadishu /Somalia/ - all of them, places with specific requirements and somewhat obscure in strategic sense involvements. If you have seen the movie "Black Hawk Dawn" you will be familiar with the case. That makes it quite an interesting object for modeling and Kitty Hawk delivers a 35th scale option for its fans. Killer Egg is not a big helicopter, so the scale is pretty self-explanatory in this case. We have a lot of helicopters in 35th scale available, however US birds are somewhat pushed back from the main stage by Mi-24s, Mi-17s /Trumpeter/ and some Eurocopters /Revell/. The rest is mostly Academy and they suffer from age problems. They do have their own version of the Little Bird, but it very old tooling and probably will be unsatisfactory for most of the modelers. With their beautiful Venom and Huey, Kitty Hawk filled a gap in 48th scale market and are now a benchmark in it. The promise of a bigger Huey is undoubtedly the most anticipated one, but the AH-6 is a promising kit too. Both are on the way, however the Killer Egg will be the first to hit the shelves most likely. What we have seen so far are some pictures of the built helo, in two variations: with and without armament, with engine, beautifully crafted clear parts and realistic main rotor. Latter one is a usual trouble-maker for modelers, since the bending of the blades is rarely replicated with precision. Surprisingly, here everything looks good enough and for myself the biggest surprise was that it looks thin and in scale. That is, of course, the toughest challenge for the manufacturer. I cannot say more than this, not before I get my hands on the model, which I hope will happen soon, but at first glance it looks more than promising. Masks are being contemplated for the Little Bird AH-6, since it features rather large clear parts and they will be more than useful. DN Models will try to be there in time for the fellow modelers. Hopefully we will get it soon and right after - the bigger scale Huey. Kitty Hawk are definitely gaining popularity among Rotorcraft modelers and they are building a name for a very serious player on the scale modeling market! You can guess from the pictures: engine, photo-etch parts, wonderful details - helicopter lovers will be busy for years to come with what's on the horizon. All of that is great news and proves that this hobby is not dying like most of the people think. Just the contrary - plastic modeling is in resurrection phase.
Pictures used are from LSP.
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EF-111 Inbox Review – 1/48 by HobbyBoss

By M.Mitev
The majestic Raven is a well-known kit by HobbyBoss and it originates back to the very beginning of the decade, and is the last of a series of Aardvark kits, and I had the opportunity to crack up the box just a few days ago. This is one huge piece of a monstrous kit and is something that I experienced for the first time – in terms of rivet detailing of the plastic surfaces and just the size of such a 1/48 scale kit. At the top right corner of the box, one can see that the finished EF-111 model measures some half a meter by half a meter, while the box is… BIG. The boxart is captivating due to the serenity that these clean planes provide, especially when flying in tandem and when viewed from a distance, in the sky. Inside the box, there is no empty space and in the meantime – all is packed justly and is organized in an easy to understand manner. There are two gigantic sprues that take place on top of the other “things”, while the other “things” are subdivided into a small cardboard box with parts, as well as numerous typical (smaller) sprues in plastic bags. This ensures enough rigidity and therefore safety for the most delicate parts, while the clear parts are hidden in the smaller box so any chance of unwanted frictions or scratches is avoided. Let`s take a look at what`s inside this EF-111 Raven by HobbyBoss. At first glance, the good amount of rivets took my attention, because it is essential for the final look of the model. The more the rivets – the better. In this EF-111 case – the rivets are everywhere and the best part is that they are flawless. Neither too deep, nor too big, just perfect. The panel lines also. They all are very subtle and clean, which will make the combination of rivets/panel lines really unobtrusive – just like on the real Raven. When viewed from far – it is a clean and picturesque plane, but when viewed from close – this monster is quite dotted by rivets and is highlighted by clearly visible panel lines. My next big impression about this 1/48 Raven was about the content of the small side box – it holds clear parts, rubber tires and both main parts of the fuselage. They are these two major upper and lower parts of the fuselage that are a true showcase of the beauty of the riveting, and all this is provided OOB by HobbyBoss. Then, while strolling through the sprues, I came across the sprue with the ejection cockpit module and with the major parts from the nose section. These big pieces helped me imagine the final size and scale of the model, which will really be spectacular. Maybe because of the wide two-seater cockpit with side-by-side seats, which I see such a part for the first time, I don`t know yet. Or maybe it`s because of the strange cockpit module, which looks like a small flying vehicle by itself. However, this sprue is beautiful. The EF-111 kit is amazing not only because of the quality of the plastic parts, which is absolutely amazing, but also because of the numerous options provided when assembling this model. First, let`s start with the plastic details – they are really nicely molded with no dramatic (major) traces from pin marks, ejectors or other imperfections. Just about every sprue is packed in its own individual plastic bag and thus all the tiny little details are stored safely and the organization is easy although the hundreds of parts. The Instruction manual is also perfect – neither too long and overwhelming, nor to short and simple. Only a quick trip through the pages was enough to get more insight into how to build this 1/48 Raven. Along with the instruction manual are stored the decal sheets, which interestingly enough, have much more decals than I have expected. EF-111 is a rather clean of markings plane, but indeed it has a lot of small instructional markings. There are two EF-111 airframes, which can be made out of the decals in the box: EF-111A 67-0037 and EF-111 66-0013, both from the USAF. My preferences are for the first airframe (67-0037), because of the beautiful cat sign on the nose, perhaps it symbolizes a leopard or a puma, I don`t exactly know. This EF-111 from HobbyBoss is so impeccable that I don`t know from where to start with the pros. The cons are almost non existing here. So, I will try to organize only the pros in the form of the greatest benefits from this kit: Benefit 1: Extensive rivets and panel lines. I already mentioned this exceptional feature of the kit, but I can`t miss to add it to one of the kit`s greatest benefits too. There are rivets everywhere – on the wings and on the fuselage parts, as well as on the smaller details like bay walls, doors, etc. Yet the riveting is not perfect, because there are rivets from just one type. If you want to make them more abundant and different – just add a small amount of different rivets and you will get the desired result. But most of them are already on the plastic parts and they really look gorgeous! Benefit 2: Flawlessly crystal-clear canopy. Beside from the two options to display the cockpit – with open and closed canopy – the clear parts are simply flawless. The clear surfaces are embraced by thicker frames, which are riveted and finely engraved. The clear surfaces themselves are so thin that their transparency permits to read letters with almost no distortion at all, no matter the angle or the distance. There are no seamlines in the mid of the parts too, which will mean no overwhelming sanding and polishing of these delicate parts. This is very important, because after all – this is EF-111 and its cockpit is a gigantic side-by-side cockpit, and respectively the canopies are much larger than in most of the 1/48 models. Benefit 3: Positional wings. Actually, they are designed to choose from two modes – fully swept back wings or wings in a max-span mode. However, with a couple of little modifications – the wings can easily be made movable. Probably it would be enough only to cut the smaller inner pins, make a linking mechanism for both wings, and replace the plastic piece for the glove behind the wings with a textile one. Plus, the detailing of the wings is outrageous. They have rivets everywhere, as well as flaps, slats, spoilers and other surfaces as separate parts. Benefit 4: Optional parts. There are so many parts throughout the sprues that after a more comprehensive look, you can see things (or options), which are not mentioned in the manual. Others are discretely mentioned as “unused part numbers” in a small corner of the second page of the instruction manual. For instance, such parts are the cowlings for the intakes – there are two types of inlet cowls, respectively two with smaller auxiliary intake veins, and two with movable inlet cowls. Other optional parts are the numerous jamming pods in the kit, which are typical for the Raven, but there is also a huge laser guidance pod with its huge rotational base, which is a really big and interesting addition. Benefit 5: Pretty accurate and detailed landing gears, and landing gear bays. The Raven has unsurpassed landing gears, which function is normally hard to understand. In the real plane, the landing gear bays are overwhelming in cables, wires, hydraulics, struts and other details. In this 1/48 scale Raven – there are overwhelming details on some parts too. The complexity of the landing gears and their bays is very well represented into this model. An amazing benefit if you display the Raven with lowered landing gears! I can`t miss in this inbox review one major issue about the kit though. It is something really major. It`s true that I have not assembled this kit before and I can`t be certain, but at least it looks like a major issue. Luckily – it can be corrected with some complex modifications. What I`m talking about is the location of the engines and their compressor faces. They are, simply put – partially hidden behind the side walls of the main landing gear bays. This will interrupt the clear sight of the compressors through the inlets, which is just not pleasant, especially if you like the beautiful sights of the compressors through the intakes. For a plane with long almost straight inlet ducts, such as  the EF-111, the compressors of the engines should be clearly visible from the intakes. Without assembling this kit by myself, I could suggest the following tips: 1 – Reshape part C41 according to the red highlights. This will widen the locations of the compressor fans and will put them closer to the fuselage walls, and thus will free the view from the edges of the main landing gear bay side walls; 2 - Thin the side walls of the bay from the outer sides (from the intake sides) according to the red highlights and wipe off away as much material as possible. This should free the view through the intakes even more and thus will reduce the distance between the engine compressors. 3 – Make a simple scratchbuild duct to insulate the inlet path. The duct is almost perfectly round closer to the engines, so it should be easier to make. The goal is to create a clean inlet path to the engine faces and make them visible as circles. And that`s it – it should work or at least will provide a better view to the engines.  
(copyright Luc Colin, www.primeportal.net)
And another small disadvantage, which is nothing important, but just makes me a little annoyed. It comes to the huge bomb bay, which is gigantic – it covers just about the entire space between the two landing gear bays. Most of all – in the kit are provided very well detailed parts for this bomb bay. Unluckily, the Raven features a huge canoe-like transmitting pod on the underbelly and that`s exactly where is located the bomb bay. This means that the bomb bay with its huge size and well-detailed parts, have to stay closed. But that`s the Raven – its transmitting equipment is internal and that`s why it is unique. Not to mention that this inbox review is for the EF-111 kit, but it can easily be converted in other versions thanks to the numerous optional parts. Overall, after unboxing the 1/48 scale EF-111 Raven, I quickly saw that it could become a monster model and this is mostly due to the unique construction of the plane. The cockpit is with two side-by side seats, which leads to a much wider nose section, and therefore the fuselage is longer, and the wings are bigger. Not to mention the enormous vertical stabilizer of the EF-111, which is so huge, because there is only one vertical stabilizer for such a big plane. And it is topped by the massive receiving pod, which finishes the iconic silhouette of the EF-111 Raven. The price is different, depending in which part of the World you live in. Honestly put, it varies a lot, but with deeper research, you can still find this relatively old tooling at a lower quotes. Having that in mind, you probably should look at the model as an investment, rather than a standart scale model kit purchase. Highly recommended kit! You can get Hobby Boss' F-111 variants here: EF-111 Raven FB-111 Aardvark F-111A Aardvark Australian F-111C Pig F-111D/E Aardvark
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Sukhoi Su-34 /Su-32FN/ Fullback – Kitty Hawk 1:48

Su-32FN as I remember it from my teens, or Su-34 as it is more popular nowadays, is one of the coolest looking multi-role jets of the Russians. Up until the Syrian war, and its short participation in it, Su-34 was somehow forgotten project, pushed to the second row by Su-30 and its derivatives. Probably for commercial reasons, Russians decided to use Su-34 alongside with the old Su-24 and bomb in Syria. Results so far are one Su-24 shot down, and total success for the Fullback. Maybe the reasons for that are various, but whatever the case is, Su-34 deserves a lot more attention that it is getting and not only - it deserves a nice scale model representation. So far, Italeri and Zvezda had Su-32FN / Su-34 in 72nd scale but as you can expect, the quality and the accuracy of those were quite low. During 2016, Hobby Boss promised to release 48th scale tooling of it, which was promising /and still is/ but associated delays with it brought some disappointment. We are soon to enter in the third quarter of the year, and the kit is still nowhere close. Kitty Hawk, obviously saw the gap here, and announced their own tooling of Su-34 Fullback. It is hard to say /from this point of view/ which one will be better. Trumpeter and HobbyBoss in 48th scale tend to be a bit simplified kits. Kitty Hawk with their 48th scale line proven to be very satisfactory, but their MiG-25 showed some engineering flaws and inaccuracies. Of course it is understandable for such a project - MiG-25 being very obscure subject - but same goes for the Su-34 Fullback. Anyhow, in 48th scale now we have two Su-34s upcoming, with most likely very different engineering approaches. The scale is big, and probably this will be the top scale for KittyHawk, however, if the subject becomes famous, HobbyBoss are very likely to expand it via Trumpeter into 32nd scale monster. I will be surprised if this is the end of the 48th scale Su-34 Fullback battle. I assume that very soon Kinetic or AMK or whoever will try to score with the same subject. I am not sure how much Su-34s Russians managed to sell after their Syria campaign, but one thing is certain - they definitely will sell a lot from plastic!  
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BTM-3 a pleasant surprise

BTM-3 is a vehicle that I fell in love with the moment I first saw. It is an odd looking thing with unusual purpose. It is a tractor, modified to be a trench digging machine, working with high speed. It looks like a regular artillery tractor, but is equipped with a rotary tool, which is huge and goes behind and below the tractor, digging trenches fast and easy. This is an engineering vehicle, and fits the same class as D9R Doobi, which Meng Model released couple of years back. The Doobie became hit the moment it hit the stores and I am certain that this BTM-3 will do exactly the same. It is true, that Trumpeter are not so sophisticated models like Meng, however they are nice and the fit is great, they are not over engineered and are very pleasant to work with. Not only that, but they are available almost everywhere in the World, which is a great advantage. Just for example, before release of the second D9R Doobi from Meng /the one with the bar armor/, the kit was in high demand and was hard to be found. Some even speculated that the reason behind that might be some rights-issues with Caterpillar. Anyhow, BTM-3 is something that I like a lot, and honestly - never expected to see the light of day. However, Trumpeter did it again! They announced very interesting, unusual and spectacularly looking /once built/ machine, which is usually not in the spotlight, but we all know it is working behind the curtain! I cannot wait to get my hands on the kit. The BTM-3 will be one of the projects that I will try to get as soon as possible, and build it according to an example that I have available for looking 4 miles from home! picture is courtesy of Trumpeter
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T-90MS 2013 model from Trumpeter

T-90MS was just announced from Tiger Model and as we already are used to see, another announcement came - this time Trumpeter. They already had T-90MS planned, but they added one more kit to the line of their T-90s. The kit will be released as Trumpeter 09524 and will come directly after their initial T-90MS. Tagil version that they are doing now is inspired by the RAE 2013 expo, at which many /obviously/ modeling companies went to gather intel on new machines, camouflage schemes and so on. It is a good thing that we are having such a development of the T-90 range, since this is probably the last of its kind MBT. It is based on T-72 and it is replaced by Armata complex, so there will be nothing similar to it soon. Interesting thing with the T-90MS is that this particular model incorporates everything we had in T-72 MBT, and in addition to that we are looking at completely new and re-designed tank, featuring almost all of the new technologies and innovations. It looks quite differently than the regular T-90A, mostly because of its turret. The 2013 version that Trumpeter will produce will feature all of the small components added /or removed/ to the 2011 version, and it will be due to one's personal preferences which one to get. Knowing the quality of Trumpeter kits, which is not bad at all, we might expect very nice add on to the T-90 line. The other interesting thing will be a comparison between this kit /any of the versions of Trumpeter/ and the Tiger Model freshly announced T-90MS. There will be more on this subject soon, but for now, what we have is only this announcement. Once the T-90MS Tagil comes out on the shelves we can expect a lot of reviews and opinions, especially from the T-90 experts!
picture is courtesy of Trumpeter
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Tiger Model gaining speed

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