Kamazing Typhoon!

Russian Armored Vehicle Typhoon-K

Zvezda 1/35, Ref. 3701

‘Typhoon’ is a family of modern Russian mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) armoured vehicles developed from a common engine, suspension, protection and control systems.  Two, three and four axle vehicles are part of this family.  Over 100 companies are involved in the programme.

The Kamaz Typhoon-K that particularly interests us here is a large 6×6 APC designed for carrying up to 16 soldiers.  Introduced in 2015 in the Russian army, about 315 Typhoon-K are thought to be in service today with Russia’ special forces and military police, some of which were spotted in Syria as early as 2017.

Zvezda’s kit comes in a usual sturdy brown cardboard box and a full-colour attractive sleeve containing a lot of plastic, 372 separate parts moulded in grey and clear plastic and black rubber. Also included is some plastic mesh, silver stickers (for the mirrors), a decal sheet, a full-colour painting/decaling guide and a black & white building instruction booklet.

This is a large model, 22,7cm long when completed.  Allowed ‘out of the box’ options include open or closed rear hatch/door, open or closed roof hatches and open or closed cab doors, and three sets of markings for either a vehicle of the Russian Federation armed forces group in Syria (2017), one very similar belonging to the Far Eastern Military District (2018) and a slightly more colourful vehicle of the Russian special forces brigade, also in the Far East (2017).  

The chassis looks at first glance a little complicated to build, but with a bit of care and patience, it can surely offer a lot to those wanting more dynamic poses for their dioramas.   

With all those hatches and doors that can be left open, it’s good to see Zvezda have included a lot of parts to furnish the cab and rear cabin.  Templates are also given to cut the mesh so that it can cover up the various air intakes and exhaust grilles on the top of the hull.

The rubber tyres are very neat but, in my eyes, remain the weakest point of this pretty amazing kit: Weighting them down will be difficult to achieve.    

Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Zvezda & Domi Jadoul.  

http://www.zvezga.org.ru

Sleek New Airbus

Airbus A320neo Civil Airliner

Zvezda 1/144, Ref. 7037

The Airbus A319/320/321neo are part of a ‘second generation’ family of airliners built upon the successful ‘A319/A320/A321’ family designed during the latter part of the past century.  The more modern design first flew in 2014 and entered service with Lufthansa in early 2016 and, with over 7,000 aircraft ordered by more than 100 airlines, is so far the fastest-selling commercial aircraft ever designed.  The most important change from the earlier generation A320s is the provision of newer, larger, more powerful and more economical engines, and to less-attentive eyes, the addition of prominent ‘sharlets’ at the tip of the wings, also meant to improve the economics of the design.  Of course, the sharlets are being retrofitted to earlier models and this means we are back to the larger engines of the new gen aircraft as main distinguishing feature!  For your info, ‘neo’ stands for ‘new engine option’; the older design is now referred to as ‘ceo’, for ‘current engine option’.

Zvezda have over the past few years forever changed the way we look at those 1/144 airliners.  Theirs are truly superb scale replicas and they keep getting better and better!  This new release is the ‘basic’ variant of the new Airbus family, the A320neo. 

136 parts moulded in medium grey plastic, featuring restrained engraving throughout, 13 incredibly thin and transparent clear parts, well defined and printed decals and clear instructions, all for a very considerate price, we have by the looks of it yet another masterpiece from the Russian manufacturer.

Sure, some may prefer their airliners ‘windowless’, but if one does not fancy using the provided window strips, nor filling in the many holes with putty, the super thin plastic around the side windows will be perfect for the use of Clearfix (or any similar product).

But above all, consider the other features and options of this kit: landing gear in or out (a sturdy display stand is included!), leading edge slats in or out, flaps in or out, detailed cockpit and entry ‘hall’ (with separate main entry/exit door), superbly designed CFM engines, each with two separate compressor fans and separate intake lip (easing the painting of this item!); only the use of slide-molds could have done a better job as the engine inlets are still made of of two parts that may require a bit of putty to see joints eliminated (although said inlets are separate from the external ‘skin’ of the engine cowls and will therefore still be easy to turn into ‘seamless’ suckers!).

The decals provided by this boxing are for a single rather sleek-looking SAS A320neo, and includes silver-printed billboard-style titles for the front fuselage, the ‘coroguard’ wing panels and countless of ‘stencils’, the placement of which is shown in the accompanying full-colour ‘livery’. 

The main instruction sheet is ‘only’ black & white-printed.  Zvezda and Tamiya-equivalent colour references are given in the instructions.   

This looks like a cracking kit.  No doubt other liveries will be released in time by Zvezda, but aftermarket decal manufacturers are already hard at work and many options are already available from several sources.

Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Zvezda & Domi Jadoul.  

http://www.zvezga.org.ru

9/11 Lifesavers

First Responders

Paulus Victor 1/72 & 1/48, Ref. PV-002-72 & PV-002-48

The latest decal sheets coming from this very interesting Croatian company is dedicated to a number of UH-1 Hueys that were amongst the first responders at the Pentagon on that infamous day, the 11th of September 2001.

As usual with the work from this company, there has been an awful lot of research done on the subject and a lot of info is included with the actual decal sheet.  This Paulus Victor decal sheet comes in a A5-sized zip-lock bag containing an attractive full-colour envelope sporting the ‘box art’, advice on using the decals along with precise info and close up pictures showing off the various special features of the Hueys involved in this operation. 

The envelope itself contains a further full-colour instruction sheet offering historical background, useful advice on painting and weathering plus the actual 5-views (left & right side, top, bottom and front views) placement and colour (with Federal Standard references) instructions for each of the four Hueys that can be modelled with this sheet. 

Then obviously comes the proper decal sheet and a neat little ‘extra’ in the form of a National Guard sticker that may be a sweet little addition to any display base. 

Each of the four subjects is also pictured on this instruction sheet and links are given for a number of video clips that feature those particular machines.  Last but not least, the decal sheet includes a great number of extra markings that could be used on other Hueys, or other models.

The four Hueys for which full markings and stencils are provided are two UH-1Vs from the 121th Medical Company of the District of Columbia National Guard and two US Army UH-1Hs of the 12th Aviation Battalion, all based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, at the time of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

This is a highly professional-looking and cracking product that really brings History to life and literally pushed me to purchase a 1/72 Huey kit for immediate consumption!

Paulus Victor are a fairly recent arrival on the scale modelling scene; their first few decal sheets, all as well researched as this latest one, were aimed at the 1/144 military aviation enthusiast, but they are now getting involved with bigger scales such as 1/72 and 1/48, as is the case with this ‘First Responders’ sheet. 

Review & pictures by Domi Jadoul

http://www.paulusvictor.com

Dead-ended Panther

German Medium Tank VK. 3002 (DB) with suspension type II

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. 72086

What an awkward surprise for the Germans to face the unexpected T34/76 during the Barbarossa’s invasion of the Soviet Union in spring 1941. Pretty rapidly, in November 1941, the Heereswaffenamt outlined specifications for a whole new 30-35 tons class tank with sloping armor, large tracks to move on soft ground and a gun with a high muzzle velocity. Two industrial firms Daimler Bens (DB) and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nurnberg (MAN) were selected for the design of such new panzers and this resulted, in april 1942, in the presentation of two prototypes. The VK 3002 DB project, the subject of this OKB Grigorov release, showed a much higher degree of similarity with the actual T34/76 features than the MAN project (the one that would become the well-known Panther). This DB project was characterized by a turret with a 75 mm gun of 48 caliber located rather forward on the chassis, a running gear made of large road wheels mounted on external leaf springs and a MB 507 diesel engine.  If this DB project was technologically more attractive and was at first favored, the issues with the development of the engine and the turret, as well as the use of diesel fuel, not standard with the Wehrmacht, led to the selecting of the MAN project for mass production.

This VK. 3002 DB kit counts 82 parts nicely cast in a grey resin, with very fine details particularly the chassis or the hull and the tracks.

A photo-etched fret brings in an additional 12 parts, mostly for the benefit of the engine grids, tracks guards and the cupola lid; the latter two are too thin for my taste and may be reinforced with small layers of plastic card to give them a bit more consistency.  A nice metal barrel is also included and will do justice to the nicely detailed turret parts.

The instructions are clearly drawn and should ease the assembly.

Overall, this model is a very good and interesting representation of the unfortunate VK 3002 Daimler Bens project that, despite innovative and modern technical features, was not chosen for mass-production in 1941.

Bibliography:

Panzer, The German Tanks Encyclopedia; Caraktère, 2015;

The Spielberger German Armor & Military Vehicles Series. Vol. I, Panther & its Variants by Walter J. Spielberger; Schiffer, 1993.

Review & pictures by Jean-Paul Oudinet.

shop.okbgrigorov.com

Big Jets Galore

Hangar No1 – Special Jet Fighters, by Jarek Rydzynski & René Joyal

Joycraft Productions

Those of us that share our hobby on the Net probably know Jarek Rydzynski who has been showing off his unique models on his website and his Facebook page.  Number of us have, no doubt, right-clicked and saved some of his pictures on our hard drives…

Recently, the very enthusiast Canadian René Joyal and Jarek have teamed up for a first book in which they describe the builds of six jets.  Three of those are the work of Jarek (Revell 1/32 Tornado ECR, Kinetic 1/48 F/A-18A Hornet and Revell 1/32 F-4F Phantom), while René is the ‘author’ of the other three (Academy 1/32 F-16D Block 52, Trumpeter 1/48 Su-24M Fencer D and Italeri 1/32 CF-104 Starfighter).

The hardbacked, landscape-format book counts no less than 140 pages.  The text is in English. The pictures are of great quality throughout and the printing is excellent.

The six builds are based on recent kits of good quality upgraded with various aftermarket sets from well-known manufacturers.  The main stages are very well illustrated and detailed, with great info about the various tools used.  Jarek’s passion for stencils (that he designs and sells), oil paints and acrylic pencils for his weathering stages is really well explained through pictures and text. A photo shoot concludes each of the six builds.

The book also features some beautiful air-to-air shots taken by polish photographer Slawek ‘Hesja’ Krainiewski, himself highly-renown on the Net.  Pictures that have greatly inspired René for his 1/32 models.   

This is the kind of publication that one needs when lacking inspiration.  It gives a clear insight on how to build modern jet in a large scale.  René hints at a second book in the series, let’s hope so!

Review by Luc Colin ; pictures by Luc Colin & Joycraft Productions.

http://joycraft.ca/

Far-eastern MBT Goodies

Wheels for Type 74

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. S72471

We can only applaud OKB Grigorov’s regular and continual release of upgrades for modern armour, in this case a resin set of beautifully cast resin road wheels that we assume could be used on the 2005 1/72 Trumpeter kit of the Japanese Type 74 MBT, or the more recent offerings from De Agostini (die-cast) and Pit-Road. 

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

www.shop.okbgrigorov.com

High-octane Early Spitfire

Spitfire Mk.IIa

Eduard ‘ProfiPACK Edition’ 1/48, Ref. 82153

The Spitfire Mk.II series was built in about 920 units: it was an upgrade of the Spitfire Mk.I thanks to (amongst other things) the installation of a more powerful engine, the Merlin XII of 1.150 hp (instead of the 1.030 hp-rated engine for the Mk.I). This engine also used 100-octane fuel (instead of 87-octane on the Spit Mk.I).  The new Rotol propeller introduced during the Mk.I production run was installed as standard on the Mk.II. The engine was started with the Coffman pyrotechnic system, that required the fitting of a drop-shaped blister on the right hand fairing of the engine, one of the distinguishing feature of this Mk.II.  The armament was identical to that of the Spitfire Mk.Ia, that is four Browning .30 (7.7 mm) machine guns in each wing.

After giving us a superb Spitfire Mk.I in 2020, it is only logical that, given the commonality of many parts, the Mk.II caught Eduard’s attention.  Let us specify from the outset that it is indeed the IIa, not the IIb version featuring two machine guns of each wing replaced by a single 20mm gun.  And considering the number of pieces not to be used – there are 87 for the Mk.IIa – we can safely bet that a Mk.V will follow soon.

As mentioned in the title, this is a ProfiPACK edition: in addition to the six frames of injection-moulded plastic parts, one of which has the transparent parts, there is also a colour photoetched fret as well as a set of masks for the wheels, gun sight and cockpit glass parts. It is worth noting the change in style of the box, where the orange colour characteristic of the ProfiPACK editions has given way to a wood imitation, which gives a certain cachet to the packaging…

The construction obviously starts with the cockpit which, as we are used to at Eduard’s, is superbly detailed and gives pride of place to the use of photoetching, sometimes even offering the choice between it or a plastic part. Before gluing the fuselage halves, don’t forget to drill the small hole for the Coffman starter blister! Once the fuselage is closed, construction should proceed faster.  Of note are the separate ailerons, elevators and rudder, but there is no separate flaps. There is a choice between an open or closed canopy; this choice also exists for the small access door to the cockpit.

On the liveries side, five options are available in a period ranging from April 1941 to January 1942; three have the original camouflage of Dark Green and Dark Earth, the two other Spits are already painted with the new shades, Dark Earth being replaced by Ocean Grey (or maybe Mixed Grey?) and the lower surfaces painted in Medium Sea Grey.

No option however for a Mk.IIa of the 350 (Belgian) Sqn RAF… Indeed, when the 350 was created in November 1941, it was initially equipped with the Spitfire Mk.IIa.  Fortunately, our friend Syh@rt will come to the rescue and we will find the necessary decals to make either the MN-A (P7297) in December 1941, or the MN-F (P7976) in April 1942 in the set 48/908 dedicated to the Spitfires of the “350e Escadrille”.

Review by Didier Waelkens, pictures by Eduard & SyHart Decal.

www.eduard.com

Feline-footed T-34

Wheels for T-34, adapted Panther wheels type 1

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. S72457

Photographic evidence shows that Panther roadwheels were fitted to some Soviet T-34/76s, T-34/85s and SU-85s, possibly as an expedient before proper repair could be carried out.  They were usually fitted to stations 2 and 4, probably because they were weaker by design than the Soviet wheels.   

OKB Grigorov offers a way to modify your 1/72 Soviet AFVs without raiding your German AFV stock, with this resin set that includes 10 Panther road wheels (that is 10 inner and 10 outer wheels).  Quality castings and fine details as one can expect from this Bulgarian artisan.

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

www.shop.okbgrigorov.com

Blue Mirage

Mirage IIIE 13-QG ’25 years of Mirage IIIE’ EC-1-13 Artois 1990

SyHart Decal 1/72 & 1/48, Ref. 72-123 & 48-123

Back in 1990, to celebrate 25 years of Mirage IIIE service within the French Air Force, aircraft no. 426, 13-HQ, was given a special all-blue scheme bearing the Artois colours and the insignias of all squadrons that flew (or were still flying) Mirage IIIEs.

This celebratory Mirage IIIE is the subject of SyHart’s latest decal sheet, released in both 1/72 and 1/48.  We look forward to seeing this a little bit more closely!  

Snippet by Domi Jadoul, pictures by SyHart Decal

http://www.syhartdecal.fr

Low-cost Armour

German Light Tank Pz. Kpfw. 38 mit 7.5 cm KwK 40 (L /48)

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. 72077

The Light Tank Pz. Kpfw. 38 mit 7.5 cm KwK 40 (L /48) belongs to a series of conceptual designs proposed by Krupp in November 1943 to Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen and to Wa Pruef 6.   The aim was to increase the armament of all panzers and jagdpanzers while using the least amount of armour. If the effectiveness of all weapons was to be increased, the significant redesign of current models and the consequent disruption of production lines were one of the reasons these models were never put into production, or even tested. The paper panzer proposed here is the result of the mounting of a modified Pz. Kpfw. IV turret on a panzerjaeger 38t chassis. The new planned Pz. Kpfw. IV turret would have featured a six-sided form, a flat gun mantle, no vision nor pistol ports and two hatches in the roof.  Only one simplified hatch in the left side and a 7.5 cm Kw. K. L/48 were to be installed. This turret project was however dropped in July 1944.

The OKB Grigorov cardboard box contains 44 parts in grey resin, one photo-etched fret with 23 parts and, a nice touch, a turned-metal barrel.  Most of the photo-etched parts are dedicated to the chassis. The long sections of tracks are nicely cast as but will have to be bent around the drive sprockets and idlers.  On the top, various hatches can be left open and can thus give access to the turret and hull. The resin pieces are finely detailed and should be easily removed from their pouring blocks.  A clear and simple instruction sheet is also included and will ease the build.  Although, no decal nor painting advice is included, everyone can use their imagination to represent an interesting panzer project as no such vehicle was ever built. This is an interesting kit for those who are interested by the Panzerwaffe and its potential evolution.

Some bibliographical reference is available from: Panzer Tracts N° 20-1 Paper Panzers, Panzerkampfwagen, Sturmgeschuetz, and Jagdpanzer. Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle.

Review & pictures by Jean-Paul Oudinet.

shop.okbgrigorov.com

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