Friday, 27 July 2012

Le char français

The LeClerc is the main battle tank of the French amry at this moment and was introduced in 1985. It is in full use by the French army since 1992 and also by the United Arad Emirates. 6 versions exist named designated T.1 too T.6 which differ on the outside only in detail. The tank is armed with a 120mm gun, a 12,7mm machine gun mounted co-axialy too the main gun and a 7,62mm machinegun on the turret roof. The tank has a crew of only 3. A unique feature of the LeClerc is it's modular armor which can be easily replaced and adapted. The only other tank which has such a 'flexible' kind of armor is the Japanese Type 10 introduced in 2010. My guess is this system will be followed more in the future.

Revell is the only manufacturer producing a 1/72 plastic scale model of this warmachine, kit no. 03131 which is currently out of production. Perhaps they will release it later this year, any way I was able to buy the last one from an old stock at the revellspecialist.

The model is one of Revell's top products in my vieuw, the fit of the parts is flawless and detail outstaning. No model is perfect ofcourse and same goes for this one; 6 bolts on the side of the 'box' on the barrel are missing but that is about it. I hardly made any ajustments during the build, I only added a paper between the turret and the barrel to simulate the rubber seal placed there on the real vehicle. I also sanded the rubber side skirts too a more realistic, narrow, width, after this I bended them so make them look a bit warped. The antenna's are made from plastic rods. Three very basic ajustments done in a few minutes. Very nice to build a simple model after the 3 months I spend on the 'Black prince at Crècy' diorama. I painted the tank white to represent a UN vehicle. Revell provides no markings for this version so the UN signs had to be painted by hand. The final though was the application of pastels to represent sand and sooth from the exhaust.

A few pictures of the real vehicle. There doesn't seem to be a standard places where the 'UN' marks must be placed on the tanks but they are mainly concentrated on the turret.

On too the pictures of the model, as always click on them for a larger version:

A close of the turret

The sideskirts sanded and warped.

This is a very attractive modelkit of a futuristic looking tank, especially when it comes to the the turret. I hope Revell will release it again in the near future. It is released by their asian branche however. Recommended for all fans of modern armor, absolute beginners included.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Roman Legionary II Century A.D.

MiniArt managed to get a very realistic face with an interesting expression on the figure.
The roman legionairy is very well know as the backbone of the roman army. Infantry always was very important in European armies and the legionair represents one of the heights of European militairy history in this respect.

During the ca. 1000 years the roman empire existed the equipment, weapons and look of the legionair changed considerably. Most know are the legionairs from the 'imperial period', those with the segmented armor instead of chainmail.
MiniArt made a nice plastic model of this soldier in 1/16 scale. Being made of plastic the price at the moment is about €15,00 a lot less then white metal offerings giving almost everyone the change to build and paint this large scale recreation of history.
But how good is this large scale representation of the imperial legionair? I made it model a few years ago but remenber it very well. It is cast in normal styreen with a lot of flash that had to be removed. The best way to do this is by building the model in subassemblies and sand them before gluing the whole thing together. When building the model the experience is the same as with a ACE model; A lot of flash but all parts fit. Once the flash has been removed you have a plastic jewel. It was a bit hard to fix the body to the 'skirt' but this is general a difficult part when building large scale figures. Gluing the gladius (sword) to the belt is not difficult but almost impossible to do realisticly. Apart from this there are no special things to mention about this figure. I guess this figure is quite suitable for the beginner too, but patience is needed.

Enough talked, on too the pictures!

(That's right, the shield is detailed on the backside as well!)

A decal is availible for the shield but I liked this patern more so I hand painted it:

I recommend this figure to everyone on a budget wanting to build a large scale figure. Basic modeling skills and patience will be needed. Miniart has a whole series of historical minatures with romans, greeks, late medieval knights, the rennaicance, napolic wars and a samourai. From the roman eara the following kits are availible:
  • 16007 Roman Legionairy I Century A.D.
  • 16008 Pretorian Guard II Century A.D.
  • 16009 Roman Legionairy II Century A.D.
MiniArt is working on a figure of a gladiator, kit no. 16029. For more figures and photo's of the sprues see the MiniArt website.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sd.Kfz. 7 Revell 03186

UPDATE: I noticed some questions arose on webfora regarding the wheels and front of the model. I added better pictures of these:

A few days ago Revell released there model of the Sd.Kfz. 7 prime mover of the german army during WWII.

It is quite some years ago a manufacurer released model of the Sd.Kfz. 7 It was Hasegawa in the '80's which and their version is quite a nice model. But how does Revell's reïncarnation of the Sd.Kfz. 7 looks like? The question can be aswered with: 'Impresse' Let's take a look at the parts! Wheels & tracks: The wheels are very detailed, the also have a raised rim seperating the wheel center from the rubber ring around it. This was not the case on the Hasegawa model. The tracks are made out of one plastic part which has to be bend around the weels. Revell suggests using warm water to make the tracks softer but there is absolutely no need for this, the tracks go around the road wheels easily without heating. There tracks are also incredably detailed, even the holes in the track sides are present. When I tried to put the tracks on I found them to be 2 links to long which is easily solved by removing two links. Finally the model is delivered with 3 track lengths, one spare in case something goes wrong.

Smaller parts: Smaller parts make up a detailed in- and underside. The underside won't be seen unfortunately but it is very detailed containing fueltanks, winch, the underside of the engine, transmission housing and the complete exaust. Levers for the driver, headlights and with indicator rods are also among the smaller parts of this model. For the storage rack on the back of the vehicle some plastic has to be bend again This went without problems aswell because the parts are thinner at the bending places. A piece of acetate film has to be cut to size to simulate the window.

Large parts: The largest parts are the chassis, sides and canvas cover. The sides feature the possibility to open the storagespaces in the rear of the vehicle. Revell also provides a 'face' for that space representing stored munition. The casvas is nicely moulded too. There is no detail in the inside but the outside suggests where the frame is underneath. The rivets are a bit small for my taste but are probably in scale.

Is there anything not too like? In my kit there was a sinkhole in the part containing the window and there are two punchmarks in the front parts near the headlights. Also no anti slip patern is featured on the floor and the daskboard is provided in the form of decals and is not molded in.

Verdict So is this a kit of the Sd.Kfz.7 worthy of the 21st century? It definitely is. Although it is not perfect it is certainly a lot better then the models availible until now. If you put the Hasegawa and Revell offering together for example the difference in the running gear will be most obvious. Also the headlights of the Hasegawa version will be grotesk. The canvas of the Revell model does fit the Hasegawa model after removing the 'folded' canvas molded on as standard by Hasegawa. If you have two Revell models, the spare tracks might be use full to replace the rubber tracks on the Hasagawa vehicle. Two last pictures of the almost completed vehicle:
This model offers enough a make a very good Sd.Kfz. 7 and provides some spare parts. Recommended.