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  1. Mirror Models 1/35 Diamond T 968A Cargo Truck What a surprise when the postman delivered this yesterday... this is the brand new kit from Mirror Models of the Diamond T 968A Cargo truck with Hard Top Cab. Obviously, most of the kit is based on the Wrecker, which I am also building here on LSM, but don't fear. I don't intend to show only the differences between the two kits, but also cover the whole build in detail. I will discuss the little changes I have made to the kit learned from the Wrecker build and show how I've done these changes. There aren't many required, but you may be interested to see them? If you follow the instructions, the first stage in the assembly is to build the wheels. There are a couple of changes made here, 1. I haven't added the Brake drums to the wheels at this stage, preferring to add them to each axle as I go and 2. As with the wrecker, shim is required between the wheel rim halves if you're fussy like me. here's how I went about doing this..... Basically, when the wheel halves are put together there is a small gap at the join of the two wheel rim halves when the tyre join is good. The flat side of the tyre could be sanded, but I have chosen to shim the gap using 0.010" card, (Actually I have used two pieces of 0.005" card as I ran out of 0.010" sheet). I first cut the sheet into 12 off 18mm squares then glued them to the wheel halves with no hub. Once the glue has dried, I had to use superglue BTW, I roughly cut out the centre of the card. Then the two halves are glued together and clamped for a few hours to dry. I should mention that the best glue to use on this kit is Tamiya Extra thin Cement. Some other popular glues don't touch this plastic?? Here are three wheels ready for finishing. Then the excess sheet is sanded down to give a straight and cylindrical seamless join just like the real thing. So, just the twelve wheels to do, then it's time to move onto the engine, or chassis, or axles.....?????
  2. 1:35 U.S. Tracked Tractor (Military Crawler) USA D7 7M Tractor (Military Variant) Mirror Models Catalogue # 35850 Available from Creative Models for £39.99 The D7 caterpillar tractor was first produced in the U.S in 1938, and very commonly seen in its bulldozer guise. Known as the ‘Cat’, the type was designed for the U.S. military, and has served with distinction over numerous conflicts from WW2, right up to the illegal and destabilising invasion of Iraq. The Cat has been adapted continually over this time, being fitted with armoured cabs etc. and it is actually still possible to see many of these operating on farmland too, with the internet being an easy place to find these for sale at such a relatively cheap price for such a piece of history. You’ll notice that this release seems to have two names. When I ordered my samples from Creative, this release had, and still has, the D7 7M Tractor name, with a box art to match. The kit I was sent is indeed the same kit, and despite the box lid painting being the same, the rest of the box art is changed to a more attractive format, and the title ‘U.S. Tracked Tractor’ has now been used. I just thought I’d clear that up! For people like me, who know nothing about this subject, the D7 7M is a far more precise description. Mirror Models actually release this kit in both Tractor and Bulldozer format, meaning that if you wish to build the tractor, you can opt to buy the slightly cheaper kit and save the extra pennies. This kit is actually packed into quite a small box whose lid is bulging with plastic. The glossy lid depicts a green-painted WW2 era machine against a background that could be a destroyed German town or city. You will find a small number of images of the finished model on the box side, and very impressive this looks too. For those of you who aren’t acquainted with Mirror Models, this company is closely related to LZ Models, who produce resin kits. Mirror Models is Libor Zachoval’s injection moulded arm of his empire, with some kits still containing a number of chosen resin parts. This kit has no resin, but does have a couple of springs which can be used if you decide not to add the plating to the inner track area. Not all sprues within this release are individually bagged. To be honest, the fit in the box is so tight that it simply couldn’t be achieved. Still, all sprues are compactly packed and have suffered no damage as a result. In total, there are THIRTEEN sprues, packaged across 7 sleeves, with another two clear parts in a zip-lock sleeve. Plastic is moulded in a combination of brown and light grey. Two metal springs are also included, as is a small fret of PE and a single decal sheet for the two schemes on offer here. A rather agricultural instruction A4 instruction manual is supplied, and just to contrast, a super glossy colour scheme sheet printed in colour, and apparently sponsored by Mig’s Ammo brand of paint and weathering products. I’m not going to do a sprue by sprue assessment here, but will show each one in turn, and in detail. Unlike aircraft, and even armour, this one isn’t too easy to write, unless you’re a tractor geek. You’ll note that the brown plastic is given over to the 5 sprues of workable tracks that are included. Each track comprises three parts, and there are thirty-six tracks per side. Compared with the Miniart kit, which has a different track breakdown, with a higher number of parts, this solution seems a little easier, and is certainly shown in the final number of actual kit parts. This release contains 520+ parts, in comparison to Miniart’s release with a hundred more; tracks playing a major factor in that figure. Mirror Model’s tracks are superbly moulded, with incredibly thin edges and some great linkage detail. A little work to build them, but you’ll be pleased to know that sprue gate connections are minimal. Drive and idler wheels are moulded across two identical sprues, as are the running wheels. Notice how each of these sprues has a series of extraneous hexagonal bolt heads moulded along two edges. Whether you use them here or not, these will come in particularly useful if you don’t have a specialised punch and die set. Parts are sharp, and where possible ejector pin positions are on tags that are connected to the part. As the engine on this kit is very much in the open, Mirror Models have made a fabulous job of recreating it. Some optional photo etch parts are also included, and really should be used as they are very easy to attach. This is a model where perhaps the engine should be painted separately to the main chassis, and attached towards the end of construction. A multi-part hood is included, and you will need to still make sure that some engine piping will protrude through the holes in the hood. So, build the hoof first and ensure you adapt the engine ancillary detail to suit it. You can decide whether to fit the bogey safety covers or not. If you choose to omit them, the metal springs can be fitted here. Word of warning though. It looks like you will need to cut to length and also grind the ends down to flatten them. In this respect, you may be best thinning the plastic on the covers and twisting it a little before fitting, for some added realism. As this model doesn’t contain the dozer parts, a small number of holes on the chasses will need to be filled. It may have been a better idea to have had these flashed over to drill out for the dozer option, but hey ho! Overall, detail is simply amazing, with a small number of options here and there, for such things as seat arms, and a small smattering of PE for the engine area, including a very nice radiator fan etc. Other PE parts are supplied for the running boards and cabin floor, and the latter is a far nicer option than the plastic alternative. In all, two frets of metal parts are included here. As this is a tractor too, a towing bracket is a feature of this release. Clear parts are included for headlights. I can see no moulded Caterpillar logo, or a decal for it, but my quick scan of the internet shows that these weren’t always present, so no problems there. Plastic is beautifully moulded, with great attention to detail, including bolt detail etc with the kit having a real feel of the subject at hand. Flash is negligible, and seams also nothing to be concerned about. No defects can be found. A single decal sheet is included, with the various military stars, codes and registrations, and these are of very high quality. Printing is glossy, and also reasonably thin, with minimal carrier film. As all printing is white, registration is academic. Those schemes are depicted on that shiny insert, with colours being given for Ammo paints only, which is a shame, although as you only have to choose between olive drab and sand, it’s no real hardship to source your own paint codes. I’m actually fairly disappointed with the instruction sheet. The construction sequences look murky, and parts fit appears to be ambiguous. When something is attached, there is then no image of it really in situ, meaning you might need to scour the finished images for some detail. Text notation is also in poor English and should have been corrected beforehand. No colour references are made throughout construction. Conclusion This kit is actually a very good kit, despite my complaints about the springs and the instruction manual. If you can get past that, what you have here is a very comprehensive and apparently accurate model of this very famous little workhorse. Detail is thorough, and most certainly appears to be a match for the Miniart release. I have those reservations about the instructions, which could cause some issues, but that’s the only real bad things here. This kit retails at just under £40, and I think for what is on offer, that’s a very fair price, and there is definitely a very reasonable amount of work for your cash here. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Creative Models for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
  3. Here we have a build log of Mirror Models fairly new Diamond T Wrecker. There has been a lot said about this kit on various websites, complaining about issues such as difficult part identification and large sprue connectors, well, lets see just how much of a real problem these issues are?? I'll start by saying every part is identified by its part number and letter, yes, the numerals are small, but hey, we're into detailed scale modelling here? We must also consider the parts are put together by their relative assembly, for example the whole of sprue K is dedicated to the compressor. All the chassis x members are together in the correct order, same goes for the front winch. I mentioned this in my review, and now I've started the kit I can say the large gates are no problem whatsoever. The plastic is a joy to work with, it's not too hard or too soft and is very "durable". Even the thinnest of parts is easily cleaned up as it will flex rather than crack or snap. Tamiya Extra thin is the glue of choice for the kit, some glues don't work well at all. Remember, those large gates mean no ejector pin marks!!! (Except for the underside of the wrecker bed) You may have seen my review and thought to yourself, "That's a nice kit", but you may have also considered that these kits from the smaller companies are not up to scratch, with many fit issues and difficulties in building. Well, lets see about that?? I'll start with step one in the instructions.... wheel assembly. I hit a small problem straight away!! When assembling the wheel halves I noticed a gap in the wheel rim joint. I could have easily clamped the joint shut, but didn't want to risk the joint cracking later on. I cut some 19mm squares of 15 thou card and glued them to the outer wheel halves, then cut the bore out once dry. After gluing together a simple sanding will clean everything up, remembering that only the four outer rear rims will be visible anyway. You can see the plastic card inserts on the two top right wheels. Mirror models actually market a nice set of resin wheels if you want to avoid this little bit of extra work. On the subject of extras, there are also a PE set and soft top available, which I've ordered. I'll review them when they arrive. I wanted to show the lovely detail on the wheel hubs, and also how good the rear wheels look sat on them. to me these wheels just look "right". What do you think? I have started on the engine block and axles, here's where I am right now... The front axle is built up just like the real thing, with the hubs mounted on swivels, (Obviously there's no kingpins, but the ball is there). Only trouble is, the tie rod is designed to be glued into position, which would fix the hubs in one position, so I decided to drill the tie rod and hubs with a 0.5mm drill and pin the joint with brass rod. Now we have position-able wheels. I don't want to play with the truck, but I want the choice of angle to display the model. The detail on the brake backplates is astounding. The rear axles an their differentials are also multi piece assemblies, The detail is stunning in every area of the suspension. One part of this kit I really wanted to build was the Kellogg Compressor, which will be mounted behind the cab. It is a lovely little model in itself, built up from no less than 21 parts!! To show you just how small this compressor is, here it is on a bottle top... I have ordered the squadron walk around book so I can add some hoses and stuff to the model. the detail is so amazing in my opinion it would be a shame not to add at least a couple of flexi brake hoses. Thanks for looking.
  4. 1/35 USA Air Compressor Mirror Models Catalogue Number 35050 Available direct from LZ models at €TBA Here we have a brand new addition to the growing range of kits from Mirror Models in the form a beautifully rendered replica of the Kellogg compressor used both militarily and by civilians during and after WW2. The kit actually contains two full kits, presented in a sealed plastic bag measuring 150 x 250mm. Each sprue contains 21 parts to build one Compressor. Here you can see both sides of the Sprue. The wedge shaped parts are actually the bed sides for the wrecker. The Instructions are presented in Black and White on a double sided slip of paper. Having built one of these already as part of my Diamond T Wrecker Build, I can confirm the fit is pretty good. I actually used a drop of Mr Surfacer around the leg to cylinder joint, and took my time sanding the end of the cylinder, part K1 to blend it into the cylinder itself. Here's a couple of pics of the built item, before paint. Just in case you're wondering about the size of this little gem... These little compressors will be a great addition to your dioramas, especially if you're planning a garage scene or full on maintenance in the field scene. Thanks to Libor of Mirror models for this review sample, kindly sent direct from his premises in Ireland. Highly recommended.
  5. 1/35 M36 Truck Gun Ring Mount with M2 Browning Gun LZ Models Catalogue Number 35442 Available direct from LZ models at €15.00 Following my Review of the lovely Mirror Models Diamond T Wrecker and on-going Build, I would like to share with you a little aftermarket accessory set from LZ models, Libor's sister company to Mirror Models. If you decide not to use the Soft Top option, you may decide you'd like to add a little aggression to your soft skin Wrecker by adding this M36 Gun Ring Mount? In fact, this ring mount could be used on other trucks also... As you can see, the detail offered in this update set is nothing short of brilliant!! Note the finely cast clamps at the base of the tubes, also of note are the nut and bolt heads. The set arrives packaged in a 90 x 130mm sealed bag, with the resin parts wrapped in Bubble wrap. My sample arrived direct from LZ models in Ireland totally undamaged.There is no evidence of any bubbling or major distortion. The set contains 16 resin parts, plus 36 lovely little bolt heads, attached to their casting bloc in groups of 12. There is also a small PE fret containing 11 parts and measuring 55 x 12mm. the PE fret is sealed on both sides with plastic film, which I personally like very much as it prevents the parts being "picked" off the fret when slid along a surface and also helps prevent satisfying the hunger of the dreaded carpet monster. You also get a small piece of wire in the set. The cast detail on the resin parts is up there with the best aftermarket suppliers, note the well cast breech and cooling jacket on the barrel shown here. Some more close up detail on the mounting arms and ancillaries. Bolt head detail on the ring itself. The instructions are included as a colour printed double sided A4 sheet of paper. They are very clear and even include an original period drawing of the gun ring mount. So there you have it, a reasonably priced upgrade for your Mirror Models Diamond T or other Allied Truck kit, although this set is designed to be fitted to the Diamond t 969A Wrecker with soft top, as shown in the instructions. Thank you very much to Libor from Mirror/LZ models for this review sample. Watch this site for a build feature soon. Highly recommended.
  6. 1/35 Diamond T 969A Wrecker Mirror Models Catalogue Number 35801 Available direct from LZ models at €55.00 For many years the modelling fraternity has been waiting for an injection moulded Diamond T in 1/35 scale, low and behold, we get two at the same time!! The Merit Models 980/981 M19 Tank Transporter has recently been released, but if, like me you are a real fan of everything Diamond T, you will want to buy both kits!! Sure, the 980/1 is a big old hulk of a truck, but this 969A Wrecker is so sweet, you just have to have one!! Mirror models is a fairly new company, who make a small range of kits, all being unusual subjects not commonly covered by the big injection moulded manufacturers. They make a great little line up of CMP chassis' based vehicles with resin and PE in most kits. So, on to the subject for this review, the 969A Wrecker. This is one of those models that you just "need" when you see it built up, it certainly captured my imagination when I saw the beautiful example built at Milton Keynes today!! I will say this has to be the most crammed box of plastic out there!! Once you take the 12 Sprues out of the box you will not get them back in easily!! On top of the 12 Sprues of grey plastic and one of clear, you get a small decal sheet, two frets of Photo Etch, some rope and a chain. Did I mention the box is crammed full!! On the side of the box there is a brief description of the contents which don't go half way to explaining just how good this kit is. Now, if you've heard of this kit, you will have no doubt read about all the so called "issues" with it. Basically people are slating the kit for having very heavy gates on every part, which will make some difficult to remove from the sprue. I intend to use a razor saw, which will make light work of the job, especially as the gates are so shallow. Yes, they are wide, but on the whole they are very shallow. Stop and think for a moment though, the wide gates are there for a reason... there are no ejector pin marks on any of the parts!! Alleluia!!! If you want a quick build kit, pass this one by, with over 570 parts and all the clean up you'd expect from a limited run kit this won't be a weekends work to complete, but just think, after all the work is done, how satisfying it will feel knowing that you actually "built the model rather than just "put it together" So, lets look at all these Sprues in more detail... There are probably going to be more variants of this truck released from Mirror Models, as the Sprues don't follow the alphabet entirely?? We have one off A, B x 4,C,D K,S, U,X and Y x 2. Sprue A contains 68 parts, mostly major chassis parts and axles. The chequer plate on the steps is some of the best I've ever seen in injection moulded plastic. Note the holes all over the sprue. This would normally indicate moulding issues, but all the actual parts look fine on my sample. Lovely detail on the transfer case halves.. Sprue B has some small suspension components and the wheel halves, made up of 19 parts. There are two of these Sprues in the kit. Crisp detail on the wheel hubs. Mirror Models have made a set of resin wheels for this kit, should you wish to upgrade. I personally think the injection moulded wheels are lovely once built and painted. here things get a little confusing?? This Sprue is also B, containing no less than 91 parts. Note the springs are moulded in two halves each. it means you'll have a seam to deal with, but there are no sink marks whatsoever. There are also two of these Sprues in the box. Some very crisp detailing on this mounting part. Moving on, we now look at Sprue C. made up of 67 parts, mainly covering engine components. the basic engine looks good built up, but would really stand out in the crowd if you some hosing and wiring were added. The built example I saw at MK had the bonnet open and the engine looked great OOB. The steering wheel is exquisite!! More crisp moulding on the fan belt and pulleys.. And the engine block halves.. Here we have a concoction of Sprues.. The engine cover and fender parts are on Sprue D, made up of 25 parts. The Kellogg Compressor uses the 23 parts of Sprue K and the two wedge parts are X parts for the main bed. Note we get another steering wheel here?? Note the beautifully moulded engine cover louvers. no need for a risky opening up session here.. As previously mentioned, some of the nicest chequer plate moulding I have ever seen. In scale and just right on depth. Note the seam to the side of the plate, again, well rendered. Sprue S next... Just 21 parts make up this sprue, which is all the parts needed for a soft top cab, maybe we will be getting a hard top version in the near future? I have noticed that the doors are incorrectly referred to in the instructions as "D" parts. Errors like this are common in short run kits. A crisply moulded dash panel. Gauge faces are included on the decal sheet, all you need to do is apply a blob of gloss black into each gauge and then apply the white decals. The cab floor, note again the gorgeous chequer plate, you'd never guess I like this chequer plate would you?? Sprue X is made up of 56 parts, all used in the wrecker bed and accessories. Again the surface detail here is very nice indeed. You may have read about the issues with the "Massive" sink marks in the flat bed.. I thought I'd take a shot just to show you all how "Bad" things really are, not bad at all really!! Now, don't get me wrong, but I think this is perfectly acceptable, and very easy to fix with a little Mr Surfacer. We must remember this is a limited run kit. The next four pics show the detail front and back of the forward and rear mudguards. Two points to not here.. the pressing detail is mirrored front and rear of each panel and no ejector pin marks!!! Alleluia!!! Rear............. Forward............ The last of the grey Sprues, Y, is up now. There are two of these Sprues in the kit, each made up of 53 parts. These parts are for the booms and other "Wrecker" bits and bobs. The booms are positively exquisite. I was convinced they were made up of PE when I saw the built and painted ones, but no, all made up of Injection moulded plastic!! The Wrecker hooks are nicely rendered as can be seen here.. The clear sprue, U is up next. The windscreen and light lenses are all that is here, but they are very clear indeed. We also get a bag of PE, Decals, Rope and chain. the PE is coated in plastic film, which is a nice touch in my opinion and prevents the parts pinging off into the carpet monsters mouth. The rope is nice and apparently "fluff free". The main PE sheet has various straps and buckles, the cooling fan and pioneer tool trays. The smaller sheet consists of two sprockets for the wrecker winch. The decal sheet measures 105 x 46 mm, printed with in black and white. The black square top right is for the winch control on the wrecker, a nice little touch... So, there we have it, a new plastic kit of a tough and well respected WW2 US soft skin truck. Mirror models have linked up with LZ models, where you can buy the kit itself and some upgrades. I have ordered the canvas roof and PE set, purely because they are so reasonably priced at only €3 and €14 respectively. I will review them as soon as they arrive. now we will have a browse through the instructions. Short run kits are sometimes supplied with a CD or DVD for the instructions, I'm pleased Mirror Models have gone to the trouble of printing out the instructions on A4 paper. There are 10 sheets in all, printed on both sides. There are line drawings, photographs and 3d CAD images throughout. I will show them here and make notes where appropriate... Sheet One, ensure to get the correct stagger in your tread pattern... Page 4, pay attention to squareness and flatness here.. Note that C59 and C60 may need slight modification here. Refer to Mirror Models website So, in summary, this is a very well detailed kit which will give many hours of enjoyment to the experienced modeller. If you're looking for a shake and bake kit that you can build in a weekend with a sharp knife and a file walk on by... Likewise, if you're a beginner, you might want to give this one a miss, you could always buy it for later on when you have mastered the art of modelling a little better?? I will thoroughly enjoy building this. I think I'll start right away? The first step of building this will be a good rinse in some dish soap in the sink. It appears to be quite oily so will pose problems when it comes to painting it. Thanks to my pocket for buying this kit and thanks to Mirror Models for producing it. To see the kit build go here
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