Friday, 20 June 2014

Small review of Revell 03198 GTK BOXER GTFz A1 ( 1/72 )

Revell released it's latest piece of modern armor, the GTK Boxer GTFzA1 APC (Kit No. 03198) two days ago so let's have a look at what is in the box! You find 7 sprues with 107 parts. Usually quite a lot of parts are reserved for the chassis in these type of vehicles but this one also has a very large amount for the super structure. One sprue has clear parts for the drives hatch, their also is a basic interior for the drivers compartment. Usually the thread pattern of the wheels is a weak part in injection moulded kits. Revell actually builds the wheels from 3 'disks' instead of two on this model to overcome this problem.

Let's take a look at the sprue's:

The clear parts.


The underside of the main body and the 'inner wheel disk' providing extra thread pattern detail on upper left corner of the photo.

Rear and upper part of the roof, again the bolts and anti-slip surface giving these sort of vehicles their distinct look are very well done.

Frontal part of the roof, very good detail here.

A photo of all sprue's. The detail photo's are more informative but this what you should find in the box:

This looks like a nice model to build and paint with very good detail. You can choose between the standard NATO three tone camouflage of a dessert themed three tone camouflage.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

A small news item from MiniArt

A small news item from Mini Art appeared on their website yesterday stating they moved their company to Kiev following the annexation/secession of Crimea:

"Dear Modelers and Customers, as you may know our country have faced many problems this year.

Situation in Ukraine and particularly in Crimea forced us to relocate business to the capital of our country - Kiev.

All facilities was transported successfully and we were able to keep all our key personnel.

Right now MiniArt is in reorganization period but it's planned to restart all activities in nearest future. We are already preparing new models for release and soon will announce what these models are.

We would like to thank all of you for the concern and support in these difficult and full of changes time for our company.

MiniArt team"

Although it is true that worse things are happening at this moment in Ukraine, having to leave your home, company and start over again is a very costly and damaging thing as well. I wish all employee's of MiniArt and their family's success and goodluck (re)starting their lives and hopefully all of Ukraine sees the end of this crisis soon.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ace M2A1 howitzer (Kit No. 72527) & M5 Gun (Kit No. 72528)

Ace released several models in the past months including also the M2A1 105mm howitzer (kit No. 72527) and the M5 AT gun (kit. No 72528).

The M2A1 howitzer was first produced in 1941 for the US Army and was used on all fronts during world war II as a light howitzer. It became a successful export product and has been used by over 50 countries for decades. The Canadian army still uses this howitzer although it has of course been modernised with new parts.

The M5 AT gun, a 76,2 mm AT gun mounted on the same carriage as the M2A1 howitzer, was not such a successful product.Developed and 2500 pieces build during WWII it was already being phased out of service during that war as the armor penetration capacity of the shells the gun fired was a bit to weak and it offered the crew too little protection against machine gun fire and HE shells from tanks. The US army opted for tank destroyers like the M10 Wolverine, M18 Hellcat and M36 Jackson instead since they could move and gave the crew better protection. The gun was towed by M3 halftracks, a version of this halftrack with the gun actually mounted on the vehicle also existed. Ace's model features the early type of gun shield. Later in the war this shield was changed to larger ony offering a bit better protection for the gun crews.

The models

Since the carriage for both the howitzer and AT gun are identical, the corresponding parts of the models are identical as well. The difference between the models are in two sprues containing the gun barrels and shields:
These parts are quite well molded, certainly for a model from Ace. Sanding away flash and mold seams still is necessary but not on the scale I'm used to from this company. The instructions are a bit of a puzzle as they again don't feature part numbers, these have to be found on a 'map' of the sprue on the instructions. Because these are guns they gave quite a lot of small parts not having a very distinct shape from each other (especially when it comes to the targeting mechanism) the map is quite needed. The fit of the parts is very good and I had no trouble assembling the gun although carefully looking at the instructions and using some common sense is needed. The only part I dad difficulty fitting was the part with teeth used to point the gun sideways. The part to which you have to attach the gun shield too was drawn only partially which was not very clear. The gun shield can be attached in one way so you'll find that out soon enough.

I build the M5 AT gun. Instructions give you three painting options, all olive drab with no decals so there are all the same. To add a bit more color to the gun I weathered it with chalk to simulate snow. On to the photo's (The last few pictures are of the gun towed by a GMC truck to give an impression of the size of the gun, others are the gun with the British 17-pdr AT gun):

I recommend these models to any modeller willing to put effort in building a model from a less the absolute top manufacturer. gun models are usually a bit more complicated then tank models but one of these might be a good first gun model.