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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 Diamond T 968A Cargo Truck with Hard Top Cab Mirror Models Catalogue Number 35803 Available direct from LZ models at €50.00 For many years the modelling fraternity has been waiting for an injection moulded Diamond T in 1/35 scale, low and behold, we had two at the same time and now there's a third kid on the block!! The Merit Models 980/981 M19 Tank Transporter has recently been released, as has the 969A Wrecker from Mirror Models which is a very nice kit indeed. Now mirror Models have released the second 'T' in their range in the form of this 986 A Cargo truck. The Diamond T 4 ton series of trucks were all built on basically the same chassis, using the same power plant and six wheel drive. Pretty much all the trucks had a 151in wheel base, as per this kit, except the Pontoon truck which had a 172 in wheelbase. Production of the hard top cab ceased in June/July 1943, and the soft top cab was fitted to all models. 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. They have now started on the Diamond T 4 Ton chassis by the look of things, promising a Dump Truck and a special purpose truck in the near future. So, on to the subject for this review, the 968A Cargo Truck. This is a very crammed box of plastic!! Once you take the 10 Sprues out of the box you will not get them back in easily!! On top of the 9 Sprues of grey plastic and one of clear, you get a small decal sheet, a Photo Etch fret, vac formed cargo canvas roof and some rope. Although most of this kit is identical to the wrecker, I will do a full review here, rather than refer you to the wrecker and just show the differences here. Mirror Models have received some criticism on other websites regarding the size of the sprue gates, small id numbering on the Sprues and poor packaging. I will state here and now that none of these issues detract from the finished model and have been addressed on this kit. Libor has reduced the gate size on this kits new Sprues, enlarged the numbers and used sealed bags much like the Eduard type with a folded glued flap at one end. There are various statements that parts have been improved on this kit over the wrecker, in my opinion nothing needed improving!! Enough of that.. what's this kit all about?? I believe this is the first colour box art from Mirror Models, very nice in my opinion... On the side of the box there is a colour 3 view of the truck, less canvas. The first of the Sprues, A, provides the main chassis rails, crossmembers and drivetrain. all moulding is crisp with well defined bolt heads and casting ribs where required. There are two Sprues labelled 'B' and there are two of each of them, totalling four B Sprues. The smaller Sprue covers the wheel parts, the larger is filled with various parts such as axles, springs and suspension components. The moulding on the leaf springs is exquisite. Note they are moulded as halves, to avoid sink marks, which are very difficult to sort out on the sides of leaf spring stacks. You will notice throughout this kit, the minimal use of ejector pins on actual components, a godsend!! Sprue C is also from the Wrecker kit and includes all the engine components. It should be noted that the plastic used in the production of this kit is very nice to work with. It is neither soft nor hard, but has pliable tough nature to it. even the thinnest of parts will flex without snapping, but will spring back into shape immediately. Again, Sprue D is from the Wrecker kit. We still have the open louvers in the hood panels and gorgeous chequer plate moulding on the fenders. Now we move onto the first of the dedicated hard top Sprues, S. here you can see the use of the larger id numbers and smaller, lessened gates. It's nice to see a manufacturer listen to it's customers.... We have beautifully moulded door interior detail, note, no ejector pin marks!! The second dedicated Sprue is 'X', covering the cargo bed. Again, we can see the reduced gates and larger part numbers. There doesn't appear to be any wood grain detail on the side rails, which is probably better absent than overdone?? Would it actually be seen in 1/35 scale anyway? The rear facing mud flaps are lovely, with exquisite moulding on both sides... The last Sprue we will look at dedicated to this kit is the clear sprue, 'U'. When I say clear, I mean CLEAR!! Here we can see there is no distortion whatsoever when looking through a windscreen panel. The Vac-formed canvas for the Cargo bed is just that.. vac-formed which I am not a great fan of, but Mirror Models suggest using tools to score and bend to your hearts content, or even using it to mould a new canvas from tissue paper and white glue??Now there's a good idea!! It's nice to see they have included the cargo canvas, giving us the choice to use it or not. There is one sheet of PE in the kit, measuring 105 x 30mm with 21 parts such as the engine fan and forward mud-guards. There is also a small Decal sheet measuring 105 x 50mm supplied giving two serial numbers and all your dashboard gauges. Note there is also a short piece of thread supplied for the winch. The other side of the PE fret is shown next.. Next up we have the Decal sheet blown up, making it all so much clearer The Instructions are supplied as 8 sheets of double sided black and white A4 paper. Again, there have been complaints about this format, but I really do like it. I find it much easier to flick from page to page rather than go through a book style set up or even worse a map style fold up sheet. You will see over the next 16 shots how clear and complete the instructions are. This kit is definitely not for beginners as it is quite a complex model to build, which makes it so much fun for the more experienced modeller. It is far from a shake and bake kit, but is not as bad as some reviews or comments of the wrecker would have you believe. There will be pin holes too small for their mating pin and some faces will need a light sanding to smooth them out before gluing... this is modelling after all!! When finished you will proudly say, "I did that". Thanks go out to Mirror models for supplying this lovely kit for review and build here on LSM. I look forward to building their upcoming releases, including a WW2 caterpillar D7 tractor I have started a build log for this kit here. Go take a look, it's a really nice kit to build...if it's anything like the Wrecker?
  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 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.
  5. 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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