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  1. Hi all, In a drive to push our armour side of large scale modelling, what better a way that to get some great names on board! In that light, we'd like to welcome Rye Field Models as sponsors of LSM. We will be bringing their new releases to the forum as soon we receive them here, and look to forum build up, and for magazine publication where we can. RFM are a fairly new player to the market, with a steady stream of releases over the last 3yrs. We recently published their brand new Panther Ausf.G kit HERE, and will next be looking at their 2016 Tiger I Mid-Production release, with full interior. This will then be followed by the unusual T-34 'Egyptian' So, welcome to RFM!!!
  2. 1:35 Russian T-80UD MBT Trumpeter Catalogue # 09527 The T-80 is a third-generation main battle tank (MBT) designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. When it entered service in 1976, it was the first MBT in the world to feature a powerful multifuel turbine engine as its main propulsion engine. The T-80U was last produced in a factory in Omsk, Russia, while the T-80UD and further-developed T-84 continue to be produced in Ukraine. The T-80 is similar in layout to the T-64; the driver's compartment is on the centre line at the front, the two-man turret is in the centre with gunner on the left and commander on the right, and the engine is rear mounted. The original T-80 design uses a 1,000hp gas turbine instead of a 750-horsepower diesel engine, although some later variants of the T-80 revert to diesel engine usage. The gearbox is different, with five forward and one reverse gear, instead of seven forward and one reverse. Suspension reverts from pneumatic to torsion bar, with six forged steel-aluminium rubber-tired road wheels on each side, with the tracks driven by rear sprockets. The glacis is of laminate armour and the turret is armoured steel. The turret houses the same 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore gun as the T-72, which can fire anti-tank guided missiles as well as regular ordnance. A disadvantage highlighted during combat in Chechnya was the vulnerability of the T-80BV to catastrophic explosion. The reason given by US and Russian experts is the vulnerability of stored semi-combustible propellant charges and missiles when contacted by the molten metal jet from the penetration of a HEAT warhead, causing the entire ammunition load to explode. In parallel with the T-80U and Russia in general, the Morozov Bureau in Ukraine developed a diesel-powered version, the T-80UD. It is powered by the 1,000-hp 6TD-1 6-cylinder multi-fuel two-stroke turbo-piston diesel engine, ensuring high fuel efficiency and a long cruising range. The T-80UD shares most of the T-80U's improvements but can be distinguished from it by a different engine deck and distinctive smoke-mortar array and turret stowage boxes. It retains the remotely-controlled commander's machine gun. About 500 T-80UD tanks were built in the Malyshev plant between 1987 and 1991. Extract from Wikipedia The kit This is certainly a large (48cm x 30cm x 8cm), reasonably weighty and full box of styrene, and Trumpeter say this kit has approx. 940 parts, so it’s no weekend project either. The box art depicts a T-80 on some sort of drive-past/parade on Red Square in Moscow and shows the lines of this vehicle off to a real advantage. Including this 2017 release, Trumpeter’s T-80 has seen around 9 incarnations (including the T-84), up to press, with this of course being the T-80UD, in Russian service. Inside the box, we have a total of 21 sprues, with most of these in light grey plastic, four in brown, and three in an off-white vinyl which can be cemented with your regular brand. These are packaged individually, mostly, except for the multiples of the same sprue. In the middle of the box, another separate box with a product lid, contains the lower hull, turret, rear engine deck, some of those smaller sprues, decals, braided copper wire, and PE fret. In all, a very busy and attractive kit. It's generally accepted that the base T-80 is a pretty accurate depiction of this Soviet beast, so I won’t be looking at any elements of accuracy here, plus I’m not qualified to comment on them either. Construction of this kit is broken down into 32 stages over 20 pages, and begins with assembly of the idler, drive and road wheels, spread out over the first six sprues. We then plough onto what I think is the most impressive part of this kit, and that is the slide-moulded lower hull. Typically designed as a bathtub part, the details are just amazing, including the lower forward glacis, torsion bar fairings, access panels etc. Tensioner wheel mounts are also integral, and the various weld seams look excellent. Road wheel holes are also keyed to accept the swing arms and ensure they angle properly. Some rather nifty PE clasps also store what looks to be a section of a log, perhaps for vehicle recovery if bogged down. The log itself is moulded on a flexible vinyl sprue. The lower hull is massively detailed with a deployable plate that may be something to do with RPG defence or similar. I’m not too sure. In front of this will fit four sections of flexible, cementable vinyl that seem to form a skirt. It’s definitely a nice touch. Trumpeter has moulded the upper hull as two main parts with separate reactive armour panel for the forward glacis and a rather nice slide-moulded engine vent for the rear. The latter is bagged separately within the interior box of the kit and needs almost zero clean-up before use. PE engine screen grilles are supplied for this model, as seems to be standard these days. Many of the included parts make up the tracks. These are made up entirely out of individual links, and on top of that, you’ll need to fit the horn to each one. Each side has 82 links, and a jig is included to help you assemble these. They do appear to be workable, or at least to some degree so you can assemble the whole length and then apply to the tank. These parts are moulded in brown styrene, for reasons unknown. I’m rather impressed with the kit fenders. As with many areas of this kit (turret, tow cable ends etc.), slide moulding has been employed to create a truly 3D part without the need for awkward construction, especially on the forward end of the fenders where many curves are present. More slide-moulding excellence with the turret. This complex shape has a realistic cast effect, and a separate lower mounting plate. There isn’t any internal detail here, but you can of course pose the gunner/commander hatches in the open position. You’d be better off filling the void with a crew member though. The reactive armour bricks fit separately to the turret. In fact, when you attach all of the various bricks and stowage, very little of that texture seems to be seen! A three-part barrel is included and for this specific kit, a flexible vinyl mantlet is to be used. A single decal sheet is included with simple, white printing. This appears to be nice and thin and with minimal carrier film. Three schemes are included with this release, and they are unidentified on the colour sheet that’s included. Paint references are supplied for Mr Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol colours. Trumpeter’s instructions are nice and simple to follow, even with a model with almost 1000 parts. Illustrations are in simple line drawing format and everything is clearly annotated where necessary. Conclusion An impressive kit in many ways, including overall detail, complexity of slide-moulded parts, stature and overall presence. I quite like Russian armour, just from its appearance in comparison to regular Western subjects, and this kit ticks all the right boxes. My sincere thanks to Pocketbond for sending this kit for us to review. To purchase, check out your favourite Trumpeter retailer.
  3. 1:72 Pz.Kpfw II Ausf. J (VK16.01) Flyhawk Models Catalogue # FH3005-001 Available from Hobby Link Japan for ¥3,300 (approx. £24) Ok, so what is a large scale aircraft guy doing reviewing a tiny 1:72 kit, especially when it’s armour. The answer is simple. If a kit is beautifully made and presented, and the subject appeals, then I will happily take a closer look. Hell, I might even build it! Imagine that! The thing that particularly attracts me to Flyhawk is that these seem to be the DML kits of the 1:72 world, and they are so sweet, it’s like tasting candy, or cuddling up with a nice hot, malted milk drink. Have I lost the plot? Probably….. Flyhawk’s armour range comes in the most attractive little boxes, with simple yet effective artwork. The back of the box shows the finished subject, complete with PE (yes, in this scale, supplied as standard), and the box sides show other releases in this range. Actually, the box isn’t strictly that. This is an outside box sleeve, and when you remove this, there is a very rigid corrugated box within, and this has a flap you lift, then reveals the contents of this top-opening package. Underneath the instructions sheet, the box is lined with a grey foam liner that is specifically cut to fit the shape of the sprues within. Removing the top layer, and then a photo etch sheet, then reveals more sprues that are packed into shaped foam, and boy, are you in for a treat. No sprues are bagged. This simply isn’t necessary when you see how the foam protects the parts. The kit itself contains the following: 11 grey plastic sprues 2 black plastic sprues 1 sheet of photo etch parts 1 decal sheet 1 piece of nylon cord For a small kit, the Pz.Kpfw II certainly packs a parts-number punch. In fact, it actually looks like a 1:35 kit that has been miniaturised. Whilst not all tank tracks, for example, are individual, those that roll around the drive and idler wheels are separate parts. The main lengths are single pieces though. Flayhawk’s instructions for this are specific, with coloured ink showing where you need to bend the straight lengths, and also add the individual links into the chain. I really think there’s nothing to fear here, and that’s coming from a large-scale guy. The moulding of these tracks is also remarkable, with them giving the larger scale a serious run for their money. You’ll notice just how fine, in fact, filigree, these parts are, and not a single sign of flash anywhere. Sprue gates are also amazingly fine, meaning minimal clean up before assembly. There are two of these black sprues included (one for each side). Just make sure you pop the removed parts in a small tub for safety, as I don’t know if any spare links are included. Of course, there are a small number that will be fitted to the hull, as the tanks actual spare track parts. If we’re looking at tracks, then we may as well take a peek at the drive and idler, as well as the running gear. The latter parts are moulded onto a single sprue, and they are just as gorgeous as the tracks themselves, incorporating intricate spokes and exceptional bolt and rim detail. Notice how these parts are engineered too. A number of these wheels are moulded with connection arms and aren’t separate. These connections won’t be visible when assembled, and they add to the simplification of the wheel arrangement, as well as ensuring they all look even when fitted. Drive and idler wheels are included on the turret sprue, along with the drive transmission housing parts. I really hope my photos here do these justice. Now let’s look at that turret. This is moulded in four main parts; base, turret, front and mantlet. I sincerely hope you can see the weld detail on the main turret part here. This is just amazing. Sprue gate attachments are also on the lower face of the turret and not the detail surface. This is a trend I’m seeing more often these days, and it’s one I like. The hull is just amazing. I’d love to share with you far more than my photographs allow, so I hope you can see what I do here. This is a two-part assembly, with the upper and lower hulls making up that remit. The only sprue attachment here is a small length of plastic that sits in the turret ring. That’s it…..simples! External detail looks thorough and complete with fine rear louvres/hinged panels over the engine bay, plate and port detail, and the finest aerial whip mount you’ve ever seen. Moulded as a separate part is the forward plate onto which the vision ports are mounted. Detail is as thorough on the lower hull, including the rivet and port detail on the underside. Note that this part is moulded with the torsion arms for fitting the wheels. Both upper and lower hull parts fit together with precision that I can only class as scary! No gaps to be seen, and you could even believe that they were integrally moulded when seen. Both of thee parts are dry assembled and then fitted into the foam insert for protection within the box. The split forward and rear fenders of the Pz.I are supplied as separate parts that are again, very highly detailed with strake rib, and hinge detail where appropriate. Some PE detail will need to be added to these, in the form of stiffening fillets. The undersides of the fenders won’t be seen, and as such, this is where the minimal ejector pin marks are hidden. In fact, there is no issue with such marks anywhere on this kit, with all ejection points generally being ‘off part’, and carried on the sprue itself. Interlocking sprues!!!! The remainder of parts include the fragile-looking tools, gun and muzzle etc. Again, the detail is as good as most large-scale counterpart kits. I really would use a razor saw to remove the majority of parts, so as not to load them with any uneven pressure that using cutters, could apply. In between the foam layers, lays a piece of stiffening card, inside a clear sleeve. Inserted in here is a single photo-etch metal fret, a single decal sheet, and a length of nylon cord for the towing cable. The PE contains grilles for the engine louvres, stiffening ribs for the fenders, clamps for securing the spare track links, and a small number of lugs for lifting the turret into position. Quality is excellent, with small tags to aid clean removal. The single decal sheet contains the markings for TWO options. These are: 13. Verstaerkte Polizei – Panzer – Kompanie Pz.Abt.z.b.V.66, Autumn 1942 Decal production is nice and thin, with true colours and everything in perfect register. Instructions These take the form of a small, glossy sheet of paper that is folded in half. Construction is completed over 8 simple stages, PE parts being easily deciphered from the plastic ones. Colours are given for the scheme, with Mr Hobby and Tamiya codes supplied. The schemes themselves are printed in full colour to aid the modeller. Conclusion This, simply put, is an amazing little kit that is bursting with both buldability and wow factor. It’s also perfectly engineered and the detail really is outstanding. You might pay a little more for this than a contemporary kit of the same scale, but you really do get what you pay for, and these appear to be the Gold Standard of 1:72 armour kits. I know I’ve seen nothing as good as these, ever. Watch out for a magazine build as soon as I can clear out my workshop! VERY highly recommended My sincere thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE.
  4. 1:35 Detail sets for Tamiya Mk.IV Male Eduard Catalogue # see article for price and code Available from Eduard I have to admit it. I recently succumbed and bought the new Tamiya Mk.IV 'Male' tank when I attended the Bolton IPMS model show in January. The thing it, I'm an aircraft guy. Wingy things are about all I really know, but I really couldn't resist this when I saw it for sale with a trader. My main area of interest is World War 1, so I felt that I could sort of extend my remit to the rather brutal and agricultural-looking Mk.IV tank. I once built the Emhar kit (much maligned IMHO), and my friend finished that for me while I had other commitments, so now it was time to redeem myself. Those purveyors of the PE aftermarket set, Eduard, have just sent me TWO new sets designed for this model, so let's see what they offer. 36302, Mk.IV male exterior, 14,95€ 36303, Mk.IV male interior, 27,75€ Mk.IV male exterior Both of these sets are packaged into Eduard's familiar slim, re-sealable wallet, and this particular set is the most minor of the upgrade sets. If you've seen the Tamiya kit, then you will appreciate that it is already beautifully and accurately detailed. This set presents one small PE fret measuring around 70mm x 70mm and containing approximately 80 parts. Some of these are quite small and repetitive, such as the 35 incredibly tiny hexagonal nuts. What this set does offer though is a chance to refine those details which always would have benefitted from a PE part, and these include various grab handles and extraneous, thin plate parts onto which some of these handles fasten to. One focal area which does benefit from a PE makeover are the two forward vision hatches. The kit does indeed supply these are parts which can be posed in an open position, but that of course highlights the thickness of the part. While Tamiya did a great job here, the double-thickness, folded metal parts with separate viewing flap, will no doubt be an improvement here, no matter how slight. Also provided as a metal replacement are the walls that surround the rear section of the exhaust pipe. I don't know what gauge metal was used on the real thing, but the PE parts are certainly finer in their representation. For me, one of the biggest improvements is for the external ladder which allows a crewman to access the roof of the vehicle. To fit the PE ladder, you will need to file away the moulded detail, and this will take some care and patience. The multipart ladder, with individual rungs is certainly a much nicer looking option. Other parts included here are some fine chains for viewing ports etc. and various stiffening brackets. Mk.IV male interior This is a set which really means business, but still really requires to you perhaps source some of your own accompanying detail, or to scratchbuild yourself. This substantial set contains TWO large PE frets which measure around 145mm x 100mm. You do need to know that including this set will mean that you have to scrap that lovely (?) electric motor ensemble that you can use to make the tank run on its own tracks. However, while this set includes a lot of interior detail, I think it perhaps falls a little short of including all of it. You will also need to look to see if you can source a Daimler-Foster 16 litre engine! It is of course possible to try your hand at this yourself. You may even wonder why you'd bother as you won't see it, but then again, that would apply to this set itself, unless you create cutaway sections. Anyway, onto what's on offer here...... From the very outset, you'll need to start removing plastic from both the interior floor and inner walls. You also need to scrap the inner plastic bulkhead, part C4. That's about as much preparation as required to install this set. Within the hull, there is a natural void between the inner and outer main side walls around which the tracks roll, and this needs to be rectified. This set provides detailed inner wall panels which come complete with ammunition stores (shelves etc) detail. Eduard have packed quite a bit of detail into these areas, but they only cover what can be (possibly) immediately seen through any open ports/orifices as these PE wall panels only sort the detail out to either side of the inner sponson areas, which carry the side guns. There is also a little inner sponson detail such as the circular flange upon which the gun mount is seated, and a riveted plate at the intersection of the gun wall and the angled armour beneath this. Looking at photos of the interior of the Mk.IV male, and having been inside one at Bovington Tank Museum, it can clearly be seen that Eduard's attempt to recreate the interior is one which is designed to give either a rudimentary impression when peeking in from outside, or a good start on which to try to recreate the complete interior. As I say, there is no engine or plumbing and drivers cab etc. and Eduard's main interior really concentrates on the central raised unit which runs from front to back, and would normally include the engine. This unit contains a stowage compartment (with simulated wooden lid), an oil tank and an area where I think the engine would normally reside. This is straddled by a number of PE bulkheads with a beam running over them. I'm not massively familiar with the foibles of the Mk.IV interior, and this appears to give the modeller something to work with, and a good starting point for further detail. Conclusion Both of these sets are worthwhile, but for different reasons. The exterior set fives a little extra finesse to Tamiya's own superb creation, and the interior is good for perhaps going a stage further with your detail. I don't honestly see that installing this without taking things further, is actually worth the effort, as what you can see internally is so seriously restricted that you'd need a micro camera on a stalk to see inside.....either that, or you build the model as a cutaway, but then you will most definitely need to take that interior detailing a stage further. Recommended My sincere thanks to Eduard for these review sets. To purchase directly, click the links in the review. James H
  5. Dear participants, In this thread you can post a / some pics of your finished Ostfront builds. Would you please also open a thread with your finished model as subject in the dedicated "Finished Armour models" section? Upside for this way of operating is that finished build threads aren't too fragmented but easily found in one section while we have in this thread one place were ALL the Ostfront builds come together! Thanks, Erik.