Black Hawk Up-close

UH-60 Black Hawk The US Army Tactical Transport Helicopter

By Robert Burik, Trackpad Publishing Ref. Rotor Books RB001,

The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk was designed to replace the aging Bell UH-1 Huey during the 1970s.  It made its combat debut in 1983 during the invasion of Grenada. Black Hawks have participated in every major US Army campaign since. Upgrades have included the UH-60L, UH-60A+ and UH-60M, all detailed in this book.

This is a welcome departure for Trackpad Publishing who have accustomed us with some truly excellent titles in the past, but all aimed at the AFV modeller.

This is the most thorough in-depth photo-study of this successful helicopter to be published to date, with 126 pages packed with over 400 detail colour pictures. This is a must for any helicopter modeller!

Snippet by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Trackpad Publishing.

Bigger, better Uhu

The Heinkel He 219-A Detailed Guide to The Luftwaffe’s Ultimate Nightfighter

Richard A. Franks, Airframe Album No 1 (Second Edition);

Valiant Wings Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-912932-18-4

Valiant Wings Publishing’s next title, to be published at the end of June 2021, returns to where the Airframe Album range started back in 2012 with a second, much expanded edition of our very first title in the series, The Heinkel He 219 – ADetailed Guide to The Luftwaffe’s Ultimate Nightfighter by Richard A. Franks

The Uhu is a popular aircraft modelling subject, as can be confirmed by the fact Valiant Wings Publishing had to reprint our first edition twice after our first run sold out in under two months. Much has changed regarding available knowledge and references concerning the type so it seemed right to re-introduce this title in expanded and revised format.

The modelling map of the He 219 has also changed considerably over the past nine years so this title will be a new book partly-rewritten, and expanded from the first edition to contain at least 128 pages packed with vital information that no active scale modeller and Luftwaffe enthusiast should be without.

It will contain:

40+ pages of technical information

20+ pages of walk-around images and technical diagrams

10+ pages of camouflage and markings

25+ pages of model builds and updated modelling information

150+ photographs including wartime images

Colour side views and four-views by Richard J. Caruana

3D isometric views of all variants by Jacek Jackiewicz & Juraj Jankovic

Specially commissioned extensive full kit builds by Libor Jekl & Steve A. Evans

New specially commissioned front cover artwork by Jerry Boucher

Snippet by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Valiant Wings Publishing.

Paper Panzer IV

German Medium Tank Pz. IV Ausf. L 9./B.W. development

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. 72092

This recent OKB Grigorov offering deals with a Wehrmacht plan to introduce, at the very end of 1942, a new Krupp-designed Pz.Kpfw. IV hull with a sloped glacis.  Beside a 50mm-thick sloped glacis, an 80mm-thick hull front, a 20mm-thick forward belly plate and the use of wider tracks would have greatly increased the weight of the vehicle.  This weight issue the high demand for ‘standard’ Pz.Kpfw IVs, it was decided to cancel the introduction of this 9./B.W. new hull and consequently it never was put into production.

The kit contains 111 finely cast parts, plus 2 metal plates with 50 photoetched parts, and a turned-metal barrel.  The quality is typical of this artisan with in particular a very nice and well detailed hull as seen here:

The trickiest part of the build will certainly be the bending of the (very neatly detailed) tracks around the drive sprockets and idlers.

The instruction sheet is quite clear and useful, in particular for the placement of the PE parts. 

It should be pointed out that on the instruction sheet, 4 types of turrets are proposed by OKB Grigorov to be fitted onto the 9./B.W. hull; those are references 72075, 79, 91, 92,  respectively the ones of the Kugelblitz, the late Pz.Kpfw. IV’s turret, the Krupp’s proposal modified Pz.Kpfw. IV’s turret (planed to be mounted on a Pz.Kpfw 38t chassis) and the Panther schmalturm.  Only the latter is included in this kit, and it is of corse the small turret with the 7.5 cm KwK L/70 gun that should have been fitted to the Panther Ausf. F but that was also offered by Krupp, in November 1944, for the Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis.  This was never carried out as it would have probably overloaded the Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis while the long barrel of the 7.5 cm KwK L/70 gun would have hindered movement of the tank.  Nevertheless, OKB Grigorov’s turret is a pure beauty and is provided with a metal barrel as well as a clear resin cupola.  


– Panzer Tracts N° 20-1 Paper Panzers. Panzerkampfwagen, Sturmgeschuetz, and Jagdpanzer. Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary L. Doyle. Panzer Tracts 2001;

– The Spielberger German armor & military vehicles series. Vol. IV : Panzer IV & its variants. Walter J. Spielberger 1993.

Review and pictures by Jean-Paul Oudinet.

Amazing First!

Panther A + 16t Strabokan Crane

Suyata 1/48, Ref. 001

402 plastic parts for the Panther, a further 253 for the crane, 15 PE parts, nylon string, metal cable, two decal sheets (including a textured one for the zimmerit coating) and a 24.5 x 21.5cm base makes this kit a really stunning release from a relative newcomer in the hobby, whose previous releases have been scale modelling tools and highly acclaimed chibi aircraft and SF/F subjects.

The level of detail is very high, the Panther in particular having a full interior provided.   Critics may say that more PE parts should have been provided, that the crane can ‘only’ be modelled ‘in action’, that the track horns are not hollowed out,..  Frankly, given the scale, the price, the quality of the mouldings, this is quite an amazing kit. 

The instruction booklet is clear and precise, includes MIG/AMMO colour references; four camo options are offered for the Panther, two for the crane.

The crane has not been offered in this scale yet, but the Panther has of course, particularly by Tamiya and comparison between the two kits appear to favour Suyata’s…  This is certainly a manufacturer that needs to have an eye kept on.  This Panther boxing is the first of a series of 1/48 AFV kits, with a double kit T-90A & GAZ-233014 being released next, and to be followed by (and perhaps less surprisingly) a Tiger.

Review and pictures by Fabrice Weindorf.

Belgian Flak in Detail

Belgium’s Gepard -Anti-aircraft Leopard

Patrick Winnepenninckx, Trackpad Publishing, Foto Focus Series

Just about to hit us is the latest title from Trackpad publishing dealing with modern Belgian armour, Belgium’s Gepard.  This is a much welcome addition to this series of books that can truly be qualified as ‘by modellers, for modellers’.

This is also the final book dealing with the Belgian Leopard and its variants.  Previously released were volumes about the Bergepanzer 2 and Bergepanzer 2000, the Pionierpanzer, the Leguan and of course the two variants of the MBT (including the Driver Trainer). 

This new book, 104 page-long, A4 landscape format, is, like its predecessors, the ultimate ‘Walkaround’ reference for scale modellers, with 350 close-up pictures of the internal and external features and details. It’s all there!

The book should also be useful to those interested in the German Gepard, as the differences are few.

The previous release in this series is still rather warm from the press, and we wanted to remind our readers of its availability, with a few ‘insights’:

Review by Dominique Jadoul, pictures by Trackpad Publishing.

Good to be Belgian…

WWI Belgian Infantry (tbc)

ICM 1/35, Ref. 35680

It’s probably never been so good to model Belgian subjects, particularly in the larger scales.  CSM’s 1/35 Minerva armoured car and ICM’s still very recent and well thought of 1/32 Gloster Gladiator and Fiat CR.42 come to mind… 

Things are going to get better with ICM’s forthcoming release of early WWI Belgian Infantry.  Who, just a few years back would have thought this possible, and coming in injected plastic on top of that!

Now as depicted on those pictures, there are still a number of approximations and missing details (weapons, hats,..) that, we understand, are being corrected (with the help of Belgian modellers and historians), and we certainly look forward to seeing and reviewing the final, corrected figures at some stage.  Well done, ICM, great choice of subjects!

Snippet by Domi Jadoul; photos by ICM.

Tank-busting Bible

The Henschel Hs 129 – A Detailed Guide to the Luftwaffe’s Panzerjäger.

Richard A. Franks, Valiant Wings Publishing, Airframe Album No. 17


The 17th title in the Airframe Album series will no doubt be a great asset to anyone tackling the 1/32 Zoukei-Mura Henschel Hs-129, or any other kit in any scale for that matter! 

The 162 pages are filled with flight manual and parts catalogue excerpts and other period illustrations and pictures, colour profiles, painting and marking notes, 3D isometric views of all variants, list of all available kits, accessories and decals and a detailed build of the afore-mentioned 1/32 kit (Hs 129B-3?R3 to be precise). 

A must-have for anyone interested in the Luftwaffe!

Snippet by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Valiant Wings Publishing.

Making Waves!

Modelling Naval Ships in Small Scales

Mike McCabe, Crowood, 2021, ISBN 978-1-78500-50-4

From the complete beginner to the experienced modeller, there is certainly something in this title for all modellers interested in building scale model ships. 

With a focus on the most popular kit scales in the waterline style, the book follows the techniques used in building model ships from a basic ‘out of the box’ kit to a complex larger scale model involving different skills.

Chapters on building resin kits, painting and weathering, rigging and creating water effects are included; the book is packed with tip and tricks for making more realistic models.

Fully illustrated showing the methods used, this is a handbook that is sure to be a constant reference!  In the form of a step-by=step guide, the reader is taken through four complete builds. Special attention is paid to the use of photo-etched parts, while there are sections devoted to submarines, rough water effects, making flags and many other details needed to produce an eye-catching model.

Written by a well-known modeller and kit producer, this will be an invaluable addition to any ship modeller, or would-be ship modeller!

Review by Domi Jadoul; photos by Mike McCabe & Crowood.

Russian Mustang

Russian 2-axle Military Truck K-4350

Zvezda 1/35, Ref. 3692

The K-4350 truck is part of the ‘Mustang’ family of vehicles designed by car manufacturer KAMA for the Russian army.  It entered service in 1995 and is still operational today.  It is a two-axle 4×4 able to carry 30 to 40 soldiers or a load of 4 tons.  A 240hp diesel engine gives it a maximum speed of 100km/h on road with a range of 1,100km.

The Zvezda model is 22,7cm long, made up of no less than 485 parts on seven sprues of light grey plastic, one of clear plastic and one of black vinyl for the five tyres.  A decal sheet, chrome stickers for mirrors, a nylon thread for the towing cable, a black & white instruction sheet and a full-colour painting/decaling guide are also included.

The sheer amount of plastic and the large number of parts, along with the quality of those parts hit you upon opening the cardboard box.  The engine and the chassis are particularly well detailed.  Care will be required to remove some small parts from the sprues .

The rear canvas can be put on or left off, and the cab can be tilted to reveal the engine.

Markings are provided for a brand new K-4350 just out of the factory, one belonging to the Voluntary Society of Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy of Russia, Moscow region, one from the OMSK Armoured Engineering University of the Ministry of Defence and, finally, one belonging to the Western Military District, spotted at the 2019 Victory Parade.

All in all, a very nice kit, an impressive model that will please the amateurs of modern military vehicles.

Review by Daniel Clamot; pictures by Daniel Clamot & Zvezda.

Universal Warrior

Soviet Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle BRDM-2

Zvezda 1/35, Ref. 3638

Entering service in the Soviet army in 1962, the BRDM-2 is an amphibious armoured patrol car used ever since by the Soviet Union and then Russia.  Over 7,200 vehicles have been built and were widely exported.  BRDM-2s are still operational in over 60 countries literally from A to Z all over the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe!

The ‘basic’ variant is characterised by its conical turret and armament, taken from the earlier BTR-60.  A number of variants have seen the light of day since 1962 but this is the basic variant that Zvezda has just released in 1/35. 

The box is rather large for the contents, but the runners are tightly contained within plastic bags, preventing damage to the parts.  There are only 124 parts, including 5 (very hard) vinyl tires. 

A small sheet of transparent plastic, a decal sheet, a black & white instruction sheet and a A5-sized full-colour sheet provides the painting and decalling instructions. The vehicle is rather simple, hence the relatively small number of parts, but the chassis and suspension, along with the central small wheels (provided in hard plastic) are well detailed. 

A bit of flash is apparent here and there, rather surprisingly considering the quality of other recent Zvezda releases, but it’s nothing to really worry about. 

Although no interior is provided (only 124 parts, remember?) the crew hatches and armoured visors are separate items and could be left open.  Those hatches were and still are the ‘Achille heel’ of the vehicle, all located at the front, they do not offer much protection to the crew in normal time, let alone during a precipitated exit!

Some annoying moulding rings appear on one side of each of the 5 vinyl tyres and on the underside of the hull.  They will not be visible once the finished model is on its wheels though.

Two types of rear hull plate are offered in the kit, only one of them being referenced in the instruction sheet.  The differences are few, and my (limited) knowledge of this vehicle does not allow me to explain the second plate’s reason of being just yet!  I assume Zvezda will release other variants of the BRDM-2 at some stage…  It would make commercial sense, I think.

For those interested in 1/35 post WW2 Soviet vehicles, or exotic AFVs, this release will certainly be very welcome.  Some interesting conversion jobs could easily be done, such as the addition of an aircraft rocket-launcher pod above the roof.  Those in the mood for derelict vehicles (Chernobyl, for instance!) will also probably be interested by this kit, as pictures of ‘dead’ BRDM-2s abound on the web.

Zvezda offers a number of options for colour scheme, an all green Soviet vehicle from the marine brigade of the Black Sea Fleet in 1980, a Russian vehicle in a three tone camouflage during the 1990s, an East German one, a Czechoslovakian one and a Polish one, all in green overall scheme, the later in 1994.  The number of exciting possibilities is rather high if looking a little bit more further afield, some Afghan vehicles coming to mind!

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

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