It’s never been a more exciting time when it comes to kits at the moment, as well as the normal ranges of kits, and there are plenty of them, it seems that more and more obscure and less well known subjects are beginning to appear in kit form and the manufacturers aren’t scared of taking a gamble or two so it’s good to see the modellers repertoire expanded and I would hazard a guess that there are quite a few excited kit builders out there happy to see the subject they have been waiting for years for made real, and I am particularly happy to see Early versions of the Panzer mark three on offer..
MiniArt, a manufacturer based in the Ukraine has bitten the bullet and gone for the Mark III in it’s earliest and rarest forms, the B, C, and D, of which just a handful were built and most were pulled from service before the invasion of France and ended up as training school vehicles.
In truth they were simply pre production steps toward the best suspension/armour/gun combination of later production models but they are subjects which until now have not been touched on, and the kits are pretty interesting in scope if not sheer parts count!
In truth though the B,C and D are fairly close in design and look very similar, with maybe a little change to the suspension set up so it’s easy to alter the tooling to suit, I notice the A type is not on the list as it is very different in design, though i suspect we will see it appear before long.
What’s in the box? well over 1100 parts to be exact! and that is on a 1/35 scale model too, but to be fair a lot of them belong to the track system which is intricate to say the least but the nice thing is that it works and no glue is required, with a track setting jig and tiny pins which, once pushed in allow the tracks to pivot like the real thing….Fiddly but well worth the time taken, the rest of the kit seems well made with no flash, sink marks or obvious ejector pin marks, I do have the C model and bear in mind this is my first impression of it, and will be recording the build, but not quite yet as I have a couple of other kits on the go at the moment.
There are five options for you to choose from and they are all interesting examples, i will include a link to a more detailed review of a C so you can make up your own mind but I think they are well worth a try and as I said early Panzer threes are a subject that provide an interesting insight and a nice addition to your Panzer collection.
The little Renault was conceived to support the infantry in large numbers and literally swamp the battlefield creating far too many targets for the Germans to aim at and was originally nicknamed “Mosquito” although the FT-17 prefix stuck and it was built in several forms with either a Hotchkiss machine gun for anti personnel use or a small artillery piece designed to demolish concrete pill boxes and heavily defended areas.
Around 3000 were built and it has probably had the longest service record of any tank, serving in the Second world war and beyond, some were found in Afghanistan recently!
There are a few kits available with a couple of new additions just recently, the Polish company “RPM”, has been making them for a while now in 1/72 or 1/35 scale and though they are reasonable kits, there are aspects of them which a lot of modellers find frustrating, the instruction sheet in particular is very ambiguous and difficult to read whilst the one piece vinyl tracks are unglueable and lacking detail, that said, once together it looks like a very fair rendition of an FT.
Takom started the ball rolling recently with a very nice large 1/16th scale range of all the types used including the cast turret with 37mm Puteaux gun, or Hotchkiss MG, and the octagonal Berliet turret once again with a choice of armament, I will be getting one before long and I have seen one built up so to speak in the flesh and it looked awesome.
Meng have now joined the fray firstly with a 1/35 cast Girod turret type with Puteaux gun and a complete interior including Renault’s own 4.7 litre 4 cylinder engine. transmission and cooling system, the kit number is TS-008 the box is smaller than you would normally expect, sturdy and the artwork is good enough to frame, so what’s it like once the box is opened?
Well, being a small tank anyway the sprues and parts are fairly dinky, and there are a lot of parts for something so small!
but it’s all perfectly formed, no sink marks, no flash at all and the ejector pin marks are where you won’t see them, the tracks are all separate in a big and are one piece snap together items that have very good detailing.
all the interior is present including 40 separate 37mm shells you can drop into the turret ammo bin, the drivers controls are all there and the inner floor has an anti slip surface, there is even a starting handle so the tank commander/gunner can start the engine from the inside!
The engine is well detailed as is the transmission which you actually won’t see once the top hull plate is on I have added some spark plug leads to my engine just to add to the detail and will have the twin engine inspection covers open so it can be shown off, the driver’s and commander’s turret doors will also be open as the interior really does need to be shown on this one.
Instructions are in book form and well laid out and there are four options to choose from though there is only one WW1 option available, the rest are WW2 and includes a captured German one with a Reibel machine gun, there is also a small piece of photo etched brass to add a little more detail..
Another Meng FT has very recently joined this one and though it’s essentially the same apart from the Berliet turret and machine gun, this one is cheaper though as it does not include the engine/transmission but the rest of the interior is there, and you do get a really cool diorama with it which builds up really well, so you pays your money and takes your choice, all I will say is if you want one and who wouldn’t, be prepared for some tricky building and a lot of the components are very small so a bit of experience in modelling would be advantageous, that said, it would be a lovely little addition to any great war collection.
Or rather, “Death of an Airbrush compressor”.
This sort of thing always happens at the most inopportune moments, mainly when money is tight and any cash you have is saved for a different purpose, like an imminent MOT for my motorcycle, but at the same time it’s probably for the best as my little compressor was a few years old and was getting a bit breathless so I think an upgrade is on the cards…
As a chap who enjoys all aspects of modelling, I suppose it was inevitable that eventually I would dip a toe in the water so to speak and try an airbrush as they lend a new dimension to painting, the good old hairy sticks are fine and will always have a place in the modellers arsenal but if you need a good uniform coat and doing large areas as well, I don’t think an airbrush can be beat, but, like anything, you get what you pay for, and a cheap airbrush/compressor combination is ok as a starter to learn on but the results are never going to be spot on and they can be frustrating to use so if you are seriously considering adding one to your repertoire get the best you can afford to start with, my little cheapo lasted a good while before the crank broke so I can honestly say I got my money’s worth, but it was never able to provide the pressure to do even the most modest jobs and got very hot doing it, that plus an airbrush which constantly blocked up and played up made the air turn blue and it could sometimes ruin an otherwise nicely put together kit.
So this time I am going for a good strong compressor with a 3 litre tank and a good quality airbrush.
I think the “on demand” type of compressor is ok only for small jobs, a decent sized tank is the only way to go and prevents “pulsing” where the pressure rises and falls quickly giving a varying spray pattern which isn’t desirable.
So whilst waiting for my new toy to arrive, I have resorted to the hairy stick doing some detail work to my little Renault FT17, a cracking little kit which I will be talking about soon, also in the pipeline, a build log of my German A7V by Meng, the only German tank built in the great war and a review of the MarkV male tank also by meng.
It may seem a little biased right now with armour being reviewed so I also have some great Aircraft kits to look at including some of the old school Airfix 1\24 kits and a rather nice pair of rare bombers from Revell.
A rather nice 1\350 scale Liberty ship from WW2 by Trumpeter, A Mirage british flower class corvette also in 1\350 and plenty of other great and not so great kits!