Monday, 29 July 2013

Me 262 Schwalbe

The Me 262 'Schwalbe' or Swallow is the first ever operational jet fighter developed by Messerschmitt for the Luftwaffe in 1941 to 1944. About 1450 where build in a few different versions (two seater, night fighter, light bomber etc.) Needless to say both allied and sovjet forces took great interest in captured examples. A myriad of information can be found at the Wikipedia page about the Me 262.

In 2011 (could be earlier) trumpeter released two versions of the Me 262, the A1a (fighter) and A2a (bomber) version in 1/144 scale. Two nice bonuses are included, the first is a Sd.Kfz.9 'kettengrad' to tow the aircraft around the airfield and the second is an option between an open and closed nose cone, truly unique in this scale! I bought both kits and made the A2a version immediately.

The aircraft is made out of 21 parts, the kettengrad from two and four parts made up the bombs and missile array. The parts fit quite well and the whole kit seems to be engineered to fit without glue. This makes that you have to press certain parts together with quite some force. The aircraft is also tail heavy so a counterweight has to be installed, unfortunately there is no place for this. The cockpit is made out of one part and looks very good. I added two thin strips of metal sheet as seatbelt. Two marking options are provided on a color sheet.

I think this is a very good and modern model of a Me 262. The inclusion of a Kettengrad, two types of bombs and a color printed painting scheme make this truly a 'luxury' edition of this kit. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

M36 90mm GMC

Not surprisingly war war II led to an arms race between allied and axis forces. For armoured vehicles such as tanks this meant thicker armor and heavier guns. One of the products of this arms race was the 'M36 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage'. This was essentially the same vehicle as the M10 tank destroyer but mounted with a 90mm gun able to engage german heavy tanks from distances larger then 500m. The gun was not as good as the British 17-pdr mounted in the Achilles and Sherman Firefly but it was in high demand by the allied troops. The M36 has quite an interesting and long operational history (more can be read at the Wikipedia page).


A M36 used during the '90's in the Balkan


A M36 used in the Korean war


A M36 crossing a field in, as I have understood, Luxemburg


A Dutch M36

The M36 has not received a lot of attention from manufactures in both 1/35 as 1/72 scale which I find strange. With it's interesting history, cool looking angular armor, big gun and diverse camouflage options it is as interesting as any german subject from a modellers perspective. 3 models are available however, from Extra Tech (with an interior), Fujimi (1/76 with an interior) and Armourfast (fastbuild kit). I made the Armourfast model and used parts from Fujimi's kit to add missing details such as headlights, lifting hooks and the turrets interior.

I painted my M36 in a Winter camouflage scheme. On to the pictures:

The armorfast M36 is recommend for wargamers or modellers who want to make a M36 and have some suitable spare parts laying around. If you really want to make a high quality model with very sharp details the ExtraTech model might be more suitable although I haven't seen that model myself.