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  1. 1:35 Tractor Fordson N-big Plusmodel Catalogue #448 Available from Plusmodel for 70,20€ Tractors are, with a single doubt, not my candy shop… I totally out of my league here but I was very please when the postman bring me the latest release from Plusmodel, the Fordson N-big. Anyone that may have a little bit of interess in WWII Aircraft, already saw at least one photo with this little tractor, even if you didn`t notice that. For this review I made or try to made a little bit of home work and after researching a bit, I found a really nice article called “The Tractor that won the war” that focus the essentials about the history and the major role on backstage of the war. So let me share it: The tractor that won the war With the closure of the Ford plant in Southampton, I was thinking about the influence Ford has had on modern vehicles, and especially tractors. They produced a number of iconic and influential brands, but the Fordson Model N became widespread and familiar to many in the interwar period and during the Second World War. A Fordson Model N has pneumatic tyres, and the narrow mudguads suggest a fairly late manufacturing date, around the Second World War. The large crawler behind it is a Caterpillar D8 22A, which is in running order. This Fordson is most likely from the Second World war period, indicated by its narrow mudguards. Tractors like this were a common sigt throughout the coutnryside carrying out tasks vital to the war effort. Fordson Model N By the time Ford began producing the Fordson Model N the company had already established itself as a manufacturer of cheap and popular farm tractors. Ford began to displace other American companies, such as John Deere and International Harvester, as market leaders for UK tractor imports during the Great War, when the head for British Ford, Percival Perry, offered a prototype design of tractor to the Ministry of Munitions (MoM) for consideration. The MoM took this design on, and undertook to buy these tractors at cost plus $50 dollars per unit. Initially 5,000 units were ordered, but this was increased to 6,000, and the order was completed in April 1918. These early Fordson (Ford was prevented from using the Ford brand on tractor by an a tractor manufacturer who had already claimed the Ford tractor name, although his design didn’t prove successful) tractors had a Hercules engine (manufactured by Hercules Motor Corp., Canton, Ohio) the had six-spoke rear wheels and ladder radiator sides. This MoM tractor, as it came to be known, was eventually replaced by the Model F tractor. This was a very similar vehicle, but, from 1920, possessed a Ford engine which was still of the same basic pattern with four cylinders and rated at 1000rpm. The gearbox gave three forward speeds and one reverse and the total weight was of around 3000 pounds. The Fordson tractor became the most popular tractor in the UK, and was produced in Cork in Ireland. From 1928 the Cork plant produced the new Fordson Model N, until production was switched to Dagenham in 1933. In 1929 the Cork production facility was the largest tractor factory in the world at this time. The Fordson Model N ‘Standard’ Very similar to the Model F, the new tractor featured a conventional magneto in place of the Model T type coils and an increased bore engine with a maximum of 30hp when the new high compression head was specified. The engine was also available in either petrol or petrol-paraffin versions, while a heavier and redesigned front axle added more weight. The major differences visually were the cast front wheels instead of the spoked variety used previously as well as the use of full length rear mudguards fitted as standard (first offered on the Model F in its latter days of production). These long mudguards were intended to help reduce one of the Fordsons’ main disadvantages; in certain circumstances the tractor would rear up on its back wheels (from my own experience this wasn’t confined to Fordsons, I have seen our old McCormick International rear up when working or carrying weight on the rear). Unfortunately some drivers had been seriously injured or even killed when the tractor’s implement hit an obstruction in the soil sometimes causing the vehicle to tip backwards onto the operator himself. The long mudguards helped to prevent this to some degree and also provided space for two toolboxes. The new English built Model N looked a bit different to its Irish forebears. the long mudguards and the grey colour scheme were replaced. The colour scheme was replaced with dark blue models and orange models. The Fordson name was now cast into the radiator side panels and a new ribbed pattern cast into the radiator tank with the toolbox mounted on the dash. The tractor was available in two versions; the standard agricultural model with steel wheels, or the more versatile Land Utility model complete with pneumatic tyres. In 1935 lights and electric starter were available as options as was a rear power take off shaft. Two different gear ratios were also later made available, the standard box being referred to as the green spot version whilst a new low gear ratio option was introduced known as the red spot version. One of the main features of these tractors was the water-bath air cleaner which consisted of a header tank behind the engine block with an air intake mounted through the hollow steering wheel. An industrial type came with pneumatic tyres, electric lighting and horn and was used in a number of non-agricultural roles. In 1930 the Roadless Traction Company, which was based in Hounslow, Middlesex, built its first crawler conversion of a Fordson. These were originally a full track configuration with the tracks themselves made with special rubber-jointed track plates. 1937 saw the introduction of the new orange paint, known as Harvest Gold, was introduced, and an oil bath air cleaner replaced the old water-washer version. The old Fordson engine, still basically similar to the original, was now pushed to higher compression with an engine speed increase to 1200rpm, to give more power from the unit. This did cause some engine problems particularly with oil consumption and bearing failure, but the Fordson was still generally reliable. The orange tractors were still available either on steel wheels, as the Land Utility version on pneumatics, row-crop tricycle model or in industrial form (similar to the All-Around, which was a tricycle version with vee-twin front wheels and adjustable sliding rear axle, which had been aimed at the North American Market). Fordson was by this time the best-selling tractor in Britain, selling far better than any of the other manufacturers which were generally the more sophisticated American machines. However the Model N was beginning to get a reputation as a temperamental machine, difficult to start, especially when hot, and difficult to get into gear when cold (synchromesh gear boxes weren’t available for tractors for many years to come). This reputation was not helped by the changes made to its engine which made the orange tractor very prone to oiling its spark plugs when running; experienced operators would habitually keep a spare set warming on the cylinder head. The outbreak of World War II resulted in a change to green paintwork (apparently to try to make the rows of tractors at Dagenham look a bit less conspicuous to overflying enemy aircraft, certainly there was a major project to disguise manufacturing production, my Grandparents often told me about the trompe l’oeil images of terraced houses painted onto the rooves of factories in Birmingham). This version of the Standard Fordson became the only tractor produced in large numbers during the Second World War. The change to green was accompanied by a few alterations to the tractor itself and the difficulties associated with the engine problems on the orange tractors were addressed with changes to the head and pistons. The tractor that won the war With the threat of food shortages in mind and the war looming, the British Government and the Ford Motor Company came to a deal, whereby the government to stockpile 3000 Fordson tractors in readiness for the effects of the coming conflict. According to some sources the stockpiled tractors were all painted an all-over yellow colour to help identify these particular machines. When the war did arrive in August 1939 the 3000 Fordsons were joined by thousands more green Fordson N tractors produced at the Dagenham plant, at a rate of up to one hundred a day, throughout the war (the 100,000th Dagenham built tractor came off the production line on 10th November 1943) The Second World war, with it’s shortage of raw materials, and change in the composition of the work force, lead to a few changes, for example, the rear mudguards were made narrower, in an effort to save steel supplies. The hexagonal holes in the radiator casing were designed the spark plug to be held firmly, while the operator split it using the specialised Fordson spanner, allowing cleaning of the spark plug core. The Model N remained the same throughout the war years, although various different experiments were carried out with regards to engine types and different transmissions, many of which were used by the military as aircraft tugs and for general haulage duties, often with specially built modifications. The need to produce war materials halted most other vehicle manufacture, making the Fordson the only tractor available in any quantity. The Fordson N was essentially a very simple tractor and was a very reliable machine overall and it became the tractor most often encountered by the hard-working women of the Land Army. The websitehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/74/a2054774.shtml features the story of one of these Land Girls, Mary Henson. She mentions using a Fordson, and some of the maintenance tasks she had to carry out. These Fordsons played a vital role in the efforts to combat the food shortages, as land was made to work harder, produce more, and more and more fallow and was pressed into service. With so many people involved in the war effort, the mechanisation of agriculture was necessary to allow the physical tasks to b completed. Tractors like the Fordson Model N allowed a Land army worker, or lone farmer to keep the and working, despite the lack of labour available. The Model N was produced until 1945 and by the end of the Second World War thousands of Fordsons were working in the fields of Britain and had been converted for a range of uses in agriculture and industry. The RAF used many of the Roadless crawlers (first produced in 1930) but preferred a half-track version to the original full-track version, as it was found that fitting a front axle to the crawlers (thus making them into half-track machines) made them more stable when hauling heavy loads. These were seen on the runways of the many grass airfields that were scattered all over the countryside during the war. Model N Industrial versions were also used by the RAF for aircraft tug duties, sometimes these were fitted with Brockhouse torque converter transmissions. A number conversions used the Model N Fordson as a base unit including road rollers, dump trucks and drainage machines. The tractor was often fitted with an extra slow reduction gearbox to help cope with the slow speeds necessary for such work. There were even some Fordson N conversions to diesel power and fitted with Perkins four cylinder diesel engines. Initially the diesel engine was slow to be accepted, but with improvements in the technology and they became more powerful farmers gradually came to see what benefits they had to offer in terms of reliability and fuel economy. This option was never offered as a factory standard. The Model N was replaced by a new Fordson tractor in 1945. Engine The Fordson Model N engine, lacked a pressure lubrication system and relied solely on “splash” caused partly by dippers on the big ends collecting oil from troughs in the sump and partly by the motion of the tractor. When the tractor was stationary and engaged on “Belt work” the sump needed to be kept up to the correct level. When running the engine on vaporizing oil it was most important to drain the sump every 50 hours and refill it to the correct level with S.A.E 30 oil. The Fordson tractor is a gauze screen, which is accessible when the plate is removed from the base of the sump. It acts as more of a sludge trap than a filter. The engine is designed with a “dam” which when the oil is circulated retains the oil passing it through this filter. If the oil becomes to thick the filter will become clogged and the oil will spill back over the dam and into the sump unfiltered Cooling System The engine was cooled by the circulation of water in the jackets round the cylinders. The heated water flowed by thermo-syphonic action, assisted by a pump at the front of the cylinder head to the radiator, and as it flowed downwards through the radiator tubes, it was cooled by the stream of air induced by the fan placed behind the radiator. On later models a radiator calorimeter, or temperature indicator, was fitted to the cast radiator top and enabled the operator to see at a glance if the cooling water was at the correct temperature. The water had to be cleaned daily or even more often if working hard. On cast water jacket systems holding a lot of water, it was be impracticable for cost reasons to use anti-freeze, as ell as this often being unavailable during the war period (see Mary Hensons story). Steering Box. On Model “F” and “N” tractor with the large water filled air cleaners the steering was lubricated partly by grease nipples and partly by sump “Fumes”. On the later (1937-1952 )oil filled air cleaner models the steering box was oil filled. The level needed to be checked every day-drain and refilled every 200 hours. Water filled cleaners had to have the level checked twice daily and be drained and flushed weekly. Rear Transmission The Fordson Gearbox and rear axle was a common chamber, the recommended lubricant was E.P 140 viscosity oil. According to West, the old thick oil really caused heavy gear drag, which helped tremendously to free the clutch on cold mornings. He reports that the old 140 oil was so thick that when repairing the tractor in winter he’d heard of farmers having to put a 5 gallon drum on the top of the primus stove 2 hours before it was needed to be poured into the tractor. The oil level had to be checked often, and changed frequently. (Resource: https://agriculturaltrainee.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/the-tractor-that-won-the-war/) Now back to the model kit, the box is a sturdy little box, quite resistant, with top flip opening. Cracking the box, lots of resin, a small decal sheet and an even smaller PE sheet. You got more than 40 resin parts, in a light grey color, with some cleaning to do. These flashes are quite easy to remove even with the hands. So it would not be a problem. The removing form the resin blocks would be a tedious task not because how many they are but fragile and quite small. The first thing that crosses my mind is that is a little tractor indeed, even with the Big on the name. Looking for the parts, the delicacy of many parts, this resin kit is not even for intermediate modellers. There`re lots of parts, and only two that I may consider part of the main body, each just turn the build a lot more challenging. The wheels are very well cast with all the tread detail, specially the rear ones. The rear ones bring the rim in other piece. The fitting of this two are crucial and testing in dry fit they really fit wheel in each other. The front wheels are in a single piece but these ones looks different for the one that are in the instructions picture. In the instructions, on the front page, there`s a pic with a Fordson N-Big and the front wheels do have some side tread, which there none on the model kit. Also the front rims looks bit different for the instruction pics. Not really an issue even because I believe that they are probably both true. I just the pic on the web (http://www.fordsontractorpages.nl/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6509&sid=e4101be9669ac3fd5a63c9612938366f) where you can see a Fordson N-Big droven by a women. Notice the front wheels. Exactly, no side tread and that are much alike the model ones! PERFECT! J The main body one this model, in fact doesn’t exist. You got the man pieces: the fuel tank and water tank model in a single piece (a very well cast one, with no bubbles or distortion, but with a little more cleaning to do by flash removing and some seams mould lines. This one will connect to the radiator (cast also in a single piece, with sharp details mainly the “fordson” very small letters on the side) and to a lower piece. This piece is the casted with the cylinder block, crank-shaft, clutch and goes all the way to the rear wheels latitude two other essential pieces: the differential and worm diver gear. All the engine compartment is fantastic detailed and nothing was left unthinking, so Plusmodel gives the modeler everything. The fan is not forgotten and barely seen and the fan pulling starting crack is made of a very thin resin piece. All other details are very well cast and care and time should be taken to remove these small and fragile parts from the resin blocks. On the top of the tractor, the very particular primary air that looks like a chimney, and is also in a solid resin part, well design and spot on. The driver compartment that is quite detail devoid, has all the details it needs. The seat is quite well molded, have a full steer wheel and all handles in fragile resin but with sharp detail. The small PE sheet 24 parts in brass giving very small details like nuts, little handles and engine fan. The little decal sheet has a good colour definition and ink pigmentation. This gives the modeler three option: - RAF 31234, Overall Dark Green - Medium Grey with yellow radiator cover with RAF inscription both side (box art) - Overall Dark Green with RAF inscription and white stencils on both sides of the tank. The instructions are in the traditional Plusmodel type, being two A4 sheets, folded in half, making a small booklet of 8 pages, with drawings of the several construction stage. You can see the Plusmodel did have the care to try their best to indicate the parts locations and connections between them, being easy to follow. Conclusion: This model is made by very small details on the engine and all support structure… basic that`s is the all model, because besides that and the wheels you only got the fuel tank, radiator and drive seat. The details of the casting are flawless and could find any resin distortion or bubbles, so quality control in Plusmodel is working at full speed. The subject is quite original and when full built, while small, it will caught attention at your local model show. This would be a fantastic addition to any tractor fan or just if you want something different on your collection but I also see this one with some trailer bombs right at the side of…. HK Lancaster in 1:32. This one is in 1:35 but the different is totally bearable for me… No issue for that… So my Fordson already have his destination full marked. Highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to Plusmodel for the review samples and all the support given. To purchase this directly, click THIS link.
  2. 1:24 Bugatti Model 100 (P100) Record Plane Fisher Models Catalogue # GA-2401 Available from Fisher Models for $225.00 I’ve often heard it said and read that the Bugatti Model 100 was the aircraft that could’ve won the war in some form or other. Won it for the French against the Germans, and indeed won it for the Germans who would have used a captured design for themselves, against the allies. I don’t really subscribe to either of these arguments. It’s a flight of fantasy. A supposition about an aircraft that not only was designed as a racing aircraft, and indeed had never actually flown anyway, means that any data on performance simply doesn’t exist. The Germans, if having captured the machine after the fall of France, probably wouldn’t have used the machine for anything more than trials. I think it’s fair to say that Germany’s faith in their own technical ability, would have probably taken precedence over a rich man’s toy. Having said that, the design of the Model 100 really shouldn’t be kicked to the kerb. It truly was a revolutionary design, and way ahead of contemporary fighter design. Whether it could’ve been used for Military service is simply a matter of conjecture. Designed by Louis de Monge, Ettore Buggati’s chief designer, the Model 100 was actually powered by TWO Bugatti automotive engines that were fitted into the airframe at slightly opposing angles, driving two contra-rotating propellers. The design also incorporated an inverted V-tail layout that contained the engine’s cooling intakes, as well as a fully retractable undercarriage. Construction was also mainly of timber. This design was so promising that the French approached Bugatti with a proposal to utilise the Model 100 as a fighter aircraft, despite it being designed specifically for the Deutsche de la Meurthe cup race. History had caught up with Bugatti’s Model 100, and the machine wasn’t completed for the designated event, and as Hitler’s troops began their assault on Europe, the Model 100 was safely stashed away before being restored and put on display. The story doesn’t end there though. In fact, it continues today as a team of aero enthusiasts recreate the beautiful and unique lines of the Model 100, with a view to flying this reproduction and putting it through its paces. This model is produced in conjunction with these guys. You really must check out their website here If anyone was to produce a beautiful model kit of this aircraft, then Paul Fisher would be your man. In fact, many years ago, he released this subject in 1:48 scale, and those models not can fetch a pretty penny if found for sale. With Paul’s expertise in mind, he was commissioned to create this new 1:24 kit of what must surely be one of the most aesthetically pleasing machines ever to have not flown! This one comes in quite a large and sturdy corrugated cardboard box, with a top-opening lid. The actual product label is on the side of the box, and looks quite understated. Opening the box up, you see a real hallmark of Fisher’s releases; lots and lots of fine tissue paper. Main components such as the fuselage and wing, are wrapped in tissue, and the various zip-lock bags of smaller parts are tucked within the folds of tissue paper. Full marks for protecting the contents of this kit. Underneath all of the parts is the instruction manual and a small decal sheet for the cockpit instruments. There is no photo-etch required for this kit, as Paul has reproduced all detail in resin. FUSELAGE This part is copiously wrapped in tissue paper, and a quantity is also stuffed into the space between the fuselage walls, to help prevent any squashing inwards at this point. As the model has a fully detailed engine bay, the spine is cast separately, as can be seen here. Another point of note is that the inverted ‘V’ tail is cast in situ. The tail units on the P100 were smoothly faired into the fuselage, so this was simply the best way of ensuring that the clean lines of the Bugatti will translate through to your model kit. Please also note the fin intake vanes alone the leading edge of the tail surfaces, beautifully reproduced here. Being resin, there are some mould paring lines which need to be removed, and these are along the edges of the tail plane, and also on the underside of the nose area. A few swipes with a sanding stick should make those history. Some of the joint edges also want cleaning up, and a little filler where things are slightly jagged. There isn’t too much in the way of detail on the exterior. The P100 was mostly constructed of wood, and this was sanded smooth, sealed and filled etc, before being painted. Notice that there are two exhaust manifold fairings on the exterior; one for each of the two engines. There is some internal cockpit detail though, including floor and sidewall wiring and cast positions where the numerous cockpit internals will be placed. All elements within here are sharp and have excellent definition. WING This is an impressive, heavy, single piece casting that really has to be seen to gauge just how good it is. Externally, you will find no rivets etc. due to the Bugatti’s timber construction, but you will see some beautifully scribed panel lines, fabric tapes on the elevators, sharply defined louvres on the rear wing root, and nicely shaped wheel wells. The latter don’t contain any detail, with only minor detail being included during assembly, such as the strut pivot mounting plates. What detail there is, however, has been superbly executed by Paul Fisher, with the same attention to detail that we have come to expect from his work. It’s safe to say that the Bugatti’s slightly forward-swept wing form is perfectly captured here, along with the thin-edged wing root that mates up perfectly to the fuselage. Before the wing can be attached to the aircraft, you’ll have to assemble and fit an incredible amount of detail on the centre section. Here, both engines and associated hardware will be installed. Just make sure you follow the instructions carefully, and if in doubt, temporarily fit the fuselage to make certain that those parts will be properly encompassed within the sleek design. OTHER COMPONENTS Scattered around the various folds of protective tissue paper are another SIX bags of resin parts. I don’t think there’s strictly any rationale for what parts are bagged together, in the main, but these is a loose relation in some bags, such as main gear doors, wheels and struts etc. also packed in with the two contra-rotating propellers. One of these props is badly curled at the tip, but a dip is very hot water will fix that immediately as there is no physical damage. Let’s take a look at what these parts are, and there place in the bigger scheme of things, along with some photos to give you an idea of the detail that is present here. WALLET 1 As already mentioned, here you will find the main undercarriage struts, wheels, hubs etc. Note that the struts don’t actually have any reinforcement wire in them, but I’m very confident that if it’s not included here, then Paul knows it’s not needed. Strut detail is very simple, as per the real thing. I’m not sure whether you might need to add a hydraulic line to these, so check any reference you may have, with the Bugatti Project pages being probably the best reference you can access. The hubs fit neatly into the wheels, and then the cast lugs sit inside the strut forks. There is a little clean up to do on some parts, such as the paring line from the mould, seen along the outside of the wheels. As the wheels are tread-less, this is an easy task to accomplish. The main gear bay doors are cast as single pieces, complete with their folded appearance. Note also the small retraction arms in this packet too. Propellers are cast integrally to their spinner parts, and putting these together shows that they match perfectly. The edges of the prop blades are nice and thin too, and minimal clean-up will be required. WALLET 2 Quite a number of cockpit parts here, such as those sidewall consoles through which run the two power transmission shafts from the engines to the propellers. Sitting these inside the cockpit illustrates a perfect fit. For such a small, narrow cockpit, the Bugatti was picked with enough detail to more than satisfy the modeller. Take a look at the parts here, and you’ll see bulkheads, gearbox/prop-shaft unit, transverse plate with fairing and instrument detail, instrument panel that fits to the transverse plate, casting blocks with throttle details, levers, instruments etc., two part seat that’s very reminiscent of those seen in modern gliders, and lastly, two compressed air bottles that sit either side of the sleeved prop shafts in the forward fuse. I’m very impressed with the instrument panels. The instrument fascias are bold, and also blank, to accommodate instrument decals that are included. At the rear of the panels, the instrument bodies can be seen. Again, a little wiring here should be all that’s required. Don’t think that any of this detail is wasted either, as the Bugatti has an impressive canopy that will show everything you include. WALLET 3 We venture into the rear engine compartment now, with a number of associated parts. These include forward and aft magnetos, oil pump/shaft, equipment mounting platform, radiator, air ducting unit, coils, oil tank, header tank, and casting blocks containing numerous timing gears….all of course essential for a high performance racing aircraft. Many parts here are either lugged or tabbed for precision assembly, and as before, the detail is just incredible. You really won’t want to glue the spine over this area when completed, and nor should you! WALLETS 4 & 5 These are pretty similar in content and almost identical in remit. They both concern the dual engine installations. The lower crankcase of each engine is buried deep within the fuselage, and simply won’t be seen. Paul has used this for his benefit by making that lower area a block that plugs into the wing centre area, onto which the rest of the engine is built. These packets contain cylinder head blocks, crankcases, intake and exhaust manifolds, a strip of spark plugs, blower and drive unit, camshaft drive, and water cooling piping. Despite the apparent complexity of the finished arrangement, this actually looks quite simple to assemble and should cause zero problems….as long as you have patience for those spark plugs! Some wiring is all that’s required here. WALLET 6 The last packet contains the spine, complete with vents and intakes, plus a gorgeous clear resin canopy that’s wrapped up in tissue paper. Clarity is extremely good, and framing detail means that this should be easy to mask and spray. There’s also a small decal sheet for the instruments, designed by Airscale and printed by Fantasy Printshop, so quality really is assured. INSTRUCTIONS Fisher’s instructions are driven by their photographic illustrations, depicted in black and white, but with descriptive text that helps you with every single area of construction. As this model is very intuitive with regards to design, many components are quite obvious when it comes to their location. Simple colour notes are given on the front page, but there is some confusion as to the interior colours as these no longer exist on the original. Suggestions are given, as well as for external colours and the use of Bugatti motorcar reference for the engine bay. Conclusion This is an absolute STONKING release from Fisher Models, and depicts this iconic aircraft in its most beautiful form, complete with an amazing interior. Remember, this is also a 1:24 model, despite the model’s wingspan of around 1ft. This means it should also fit comfortably in your display cabinet too as it’s around the same size as a 1:32 single seat fighter. Production quality is first rate. If anyone knows how to master and produce a whole resin model, it’s Paul Fisher. This isn’t a cheap model, relatively speaking, but is still very good value for money when you consider the subject and amount of resin included. It’s also a real showstopper, in terms of style and execution. This will soon be rolling from my workshop, but finished in bare wood and metal, and not the racing blue you would expect. I just hope it turns out well. If not, it was Paul’s suggestion!! If you are keen on this kit, remember that there are only to be 200 made!! VERY highly recommended! My sincere thanks to Paul Fisher of Fisher Models for this review sample and build opportunity. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  3. 1:35 U.S. Motor Grader Plusmodel Catalogue #425 Available from Plusmodel for 119,10€ And U.S. Army Earth Movers Part One (U.S. WWII Dozers, Graders and Scrapers) WWP (Wings & Wheels Publications) Catalogue R075 (ISBN 978-80-87509-29-6) Available from WWP for 32 € Maybe it`s a coincidence or maybe not, but this year, as Caterpillar announce on their website, marks the 75th anniversary of the No. 12 Motor Grader. This machine was originally introduced as the "Caterpillar Diesel No. 12 Auto Patrol" in the summer of 1938, but was soon renamed as a "Motor Grader" just one year later. Weighing in at 20,360 pounds, the No. 12 Auto Patrol featured a 12-foot blade, had six forward speeds and two reverse speeds. This machine, as well as other auto patrol models, was primarily used in the building of roads and snow removal. The No. 12 Motor Grader has seen multiple advancements over the past 75 years. Caterpillar introduced articulated frames into its Motor Grader product line in 1973 with the 12G. The 12H increased productivity even further with a new electronically controlled eight-speed transmission and a redesigned cab providing operators with a better view when it was released in 1995. The No. 12 Motor Grader is currently being produced at the North Little Rock Facility, Caterpillar Brasil Ltd. and Caterpillar Suzhou Company Ltd. "For 75 years, we have continued to innovate and deliver a superior product - looking back to when the No.12 was created and its evolution over time is impressive," said Pat O'Connell, Worldwide Motor Grader Product Manager. "Cutting edge then and still today - it's exciting to think about what the future holds for our great machines. My personal thanks to the many generations of the global Caterpillar team who have developed, built and supported this highly successful machine." Only four other machines produced by Caterpillar have ever reached a 75th anniversary - the D6, D7 and D8 Tractors in 2010 and the D4 Tractor in 2011. The No. 12 Motor Grader is the first product that is not a tractor to reach this milestone. In 1939, the Motor Grader had his engine replaced. It was powered by a 6-cylinder diesel engine CAT D4600 Model 12 of 66hp with type 6M and 70hp with type 9k (info taken from the WWP book). Check here for more info: http://www.caterpillar.com/en/news/caterpillarNews/h/no-12-motor-grader-celebrates-75-years-of-production.html) Well as you can see on the text, today I`m going to make a double review, for two different items that are connect and should be consider together, because it`s really worth it as you will see. Plusmodel once again launch an esoteric subject that has been waited for some and a totally new thing to others. Be honest who every thought to see a Grader tractor on model kit form? Even in resin? Well not me. For two reasons, the first one is to be such an esoteric subject and the second one it will be a complex mechanical engineering machine and in consequence a complex model kit. On the other hand, WWP launch a book with lots of walkarounds of several dozers and grades. The first look on both items reveals that quality is the main word. The Grader has tons of resins parts, all of them, in a quick look in a perfect casting. Turning to the WWP book it has a soft cover with a real Cat D8 at present day. A brief disclaimer before going: the photos I took of the book are in low quality (iphone ones - to protect copyright). The book paper is with satin finish of very good quality, with more than 300 pictures of the real vehicles and more than 50 war pics. So are 156 pages of fantastic pictures. The goal of this book is primarily to give modelers a tool. And that`s is totally right… It`s a tool and a very useful one. This book start with a small history of Earth Movers, giving at the same time, it`s index. So there´s in deep details photos of “Clark Airborne CA-1 Dozer”, “Cleveland Tractor Company M2 Airfield Tractor”, “Internacional Haverter M1 Crane Tractor”, “Allis Chalmers HD-15A Bulldozer”, “Athey 6-ton Tracked Trailer”, “CAT D-2, D-4, D-7, D-8”, “LeT LS Scraper”, “Galion 101 Motor Grader” and the last but not the least CAT 12 Motor Grader. The chapter with the ugly Grader, but so ugly that is beautiful, is from page 136 to 155. Also there a very small chapter with only war photos of International Harvester TD-9 and TD-14 Tractors. Some pics for all the info that you can get for this fantastic book. Besides the walkaround with lots of details photos of the restored example that is Marshall Museum at Overloon, NL, you get 5 war pictures with U.S. Motor Grader CAT 12 at works in several environments, photos that I haven`t seen before. Very nice ones. Speaking of war photos, the ones on the book are just awesome, with tons of ideas for vignettes or dioramas, with lots of aircraft on it… So lots of projects are popping up on my brain… The chapter is sub-divided in sub-chapter by sections of the Grader, like the front axle, steering and chafts, or engine details, giving the modeler an easy guide to see and help in detail the grader. As you can see the paper, color and impression quality are at top level. Now, moving along to the US Grader from Plusmodel, in fact if you look to it, is just look like the front of modern tractor with articulate frames and a huge blade to level land for airfields and road surfaces works. One thing is for sure: this is a quite different looks AFV (soft-skin) vehicle and for sure, and just for that is a show stopper. The kit according with the box, has 236 resin parts, one photo-etched sheet and one decal sheet for two schemes. Ah, and also a CD-Rom that says: U.S grader. Starting for this one, I really thought that CD brings some pics of the real thing… But no… Thought still is quite add to the model. Giving the modeler several pictures for the work in progress of the model, it`s real helpful, so it acts like a compliment to the instructions. All resin bits come in several plastic bags and very well wrapped in bubble wrap and all the inside package is well made to protect all the parts from breaking down. Cracking the box, tons of resin just pop up from the inside of a average size and sturdy box. The resin is in a light gray color, with their usually casting system. This model has really a large number of very small resin parts, and one of my initial concerns was how was the casting of that small parts… well, being Plusmodel I wasn`t very worry, and I didn`t have any reasons for that. All the parts are perfectly cast, with no bubbles at all, with some top noch details… Real outstanding if you see the enormity of very small parts… every single part is perfect. Just looking at the box art (with a beautiful model example) lots of small details can be easily detected with a brief look. Even thought, and without fear, Plusmodel give all the life and plenty of details, with tons of small pieces, perfectly cast with no distortion, that bring to life the fantastic grader. The main chassis of the lower frame is in one piece which for me is quite a nice touch, considering that there`s no alignment to be made in a piece that is central to all model balance. I have seen model (short-run) with this part in several pieces and the modeler just will have a rough time in putting all that parts full aligned. On the main, the undercarriage has great detail with wheels suspensions, gearbox and transfer case under the engine. The front axle is full reproduce with all the detail. Well there´s no much in it because doesn`t have springs, so it just axle with two wheels. Taking of wheels, these are in single pieces, with easy removable resin block, very well ast and lovely detail. Right behind the front axle and before the blade, there`s a rake for ripping ground. Plusmodel give here another challenge (besides the all kit being a challenge by its own nature) to the modeler: the rake teeth´s are made one be one… Will not be easy to align properly all those teeth’s. WWP book really help here because the instructions are a bit omissive in this point about the connections points of the racks. The steering of the “thing” goes through thin cardan shafts alongside the main chassis from the cabin to the top of the central spine frame. All the entire system was all mechanic with no hydraulics, turning this vehicle very much appreciate by the troops. This systems is easily seen on the several pictures taken form the restored model. WWP give a great attention to the systems and their chafts and steering. Plusmodel took all the care to deal with it, because is quite visible, and reproduce it with the chafts coming out from the cabin alongside with the steering wheels and cables. Also some wire, four to be precise… not much but its a lot for a AFV… Well it has more wire the my Junkers J.I from WnW. The lower frame and the most complex part of this model, is perfectly reproduce, with all the complicated system of the rotation of the blade on a toothed circle with connection with several shaft. All is obtain with a mix of resin and photo-etched. The 12-foot blade has its forms spot on, with scale thickness and sharp details. Beside the WIP pics on the CD, WWP reveals here and again a great help for the modeler with several pictures of the lower frame with different angles. The drivers compartiment is very well detail… there`s no much to see but Plusmodel put all the details in. A crucial help is giving by WWP, concerning the dashboard and other itens paint as no reference is given on Plusmodel. One of the main piece of this model is the big engine that will be wide open. So Plusmodel take their time in put all the details they could get on the part of the model. Just for the engine Plusmodel take four pages of the instructions. All the details are there, just need to add some cable wires. And for that you will really need the US Army Earth Movers book, with great pics of the engine and lots of close-ups for the superdetailers. And this engine is bagain for it. The massive front radiator is very well cast with some lovely “caterpillar” words on the top and side. The photo-etched sheet comes with the lower and complex system part, one of the most important one, the teeth’s wheel detail. The decal sheet is a quite small with some markings which have a good color and a very good registration. Turning my attention to the instructions. You got a small A5 booklet with satin paper. Nice touch. All the drawings are very comprehensive and more intuitive. Have been much lucky in reviewing other Plusmodel items in the past and these instructions are better than the others. Also here you can see how complex this model kit is: 27 pages of instructions. Two markings options are given: one with an american star and reference number on the central axle. and other with a shamrock . Well, as in some resin kits, and this one is no exception (and for me is and always will a downside) there no references about these vehicles… we have to guess and searching on our references. Or just have the WWP book. It´s all there. The first decal option is for the 817th Engineer Aviation Battalion, Italy, 1943. So the second option is U.S. Grader CAT 12 from 1878th Engineer Aviation Battalion - Okinawa, Ryukyu Retto, May 1945. Real pics from the actual Grader in WWII. Left side top photo is the 1st option. Right side page, is 2nd decal option. CONCLUSION Wow… long review… never expect to be so long… And I must say that the WPP U.S. Army Earth Movers was essential to really understand all the complexity of the U.S. Motor Grader CAT 12, and the model itself. As usually, the quality is present in all Plusmodel items and this is no exception… I believe it raise the bar to Plusmodel itself because it`s such a fantastic looking model kit, with some gorgeous details with some tiny resin parts so well cast.This model is not for beginners, not only by complexity of the model itself but also being a resin kit with some measurements of the shaft with lots of dryfitting.The U.S. Army Earth Movers, part I has much more to see, besides CAT 12. But if only for this model, I believe that it is quite essential because it gives several angles of the complex vehicle, essential during the construction of this beast.You can have the model alone without the WWP book, but that`s not the same thing… And if you are an AFV modeler, I know for a certain that you will get some of the fantastic dozers that are coming to town from others manufactures, like the D7. So I give several thumbs up to both items. Highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to Petr from PLUSMODEL and Frantisek from Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) for the review samples and all the support given. To purchase the US Grader directly, click THIS link and for the WWP Earth Movers, click THIS link.
  4. 1:32 de Havilland Sea Hornet NF.21 HpH Catalogue # HPH32024R Available from HpH for €184,00 When we think of de Havilland, perhaps the type which most comes to mind is the Mosquito. The versatile 'Wooden Wonder', whilst being used for just about every conceivable type of mission, also provided the de Havilland team with a wealth of technical information which would later be used to develop their next fighter design; the Hornet. This aircraft took the wooden fighter concept to the very stage, incorporating split landing flaps, laminar flow wing, and a lower wing surface and ailerons which were bonded with an aluminium skin, allowing for greater airframe stresses. The Hornet also had slimline Merlin engines whose propellers rotated in opposite directions, reducing torque, and the need to lean on the stick whilst taking off. A great field of view was afforded to the pilot, due to the cockpit being placed right at the front of the nose. It was envisage from an early stage that the Hornet could be adapted for aircraft carrier use, and as a result, the F.20, NF21 and Pr22 were developed. The types naturally low landing speed made it ideal for carrier-based operations, and the design modifications included folding wings, cropped wing tips, fuselage reinforcement related to the arrestor hook, and hydraulic oleo legs instead of the rubber compression system of the regular Hornet. The night fighter derivative (the subject of the kit) was also fitted with a second cockpit in the mid-rear fuselage, incorporating the tell-tale glass dome on the aircraft's spine. The NF21 also has exhaust dampers and radar equipment. de Havilland Hornet, giving an overall impression of the Naval variant. First flown in 1944, the type entered service in 1946, and continued to serve until 1956, by which time, the jet-age was beginning to pretty much outclass even the fastest piston engine fighters that were available. Eric 'Winkle' Brown conducted the carrier landing tests for the Sea Hornet, and described the type as being one which made the 'deepest impression' on him during his long and illustrious career. A testament to the de Havilland design team, and what was essentially an excellent, robust and even aerobatic fighter aircraft. As modellers, we really are truly spoilt these days. I still have to pinch myself to believe that we are seeing subjects that we never thought would ever emerge in 1/32, such as the B-25, P-61, Me 410, Catalina etc. Along with those subjects that we thought unlikely due to sheer scale, are those which we simply never thought would ever hit the radar of any manufacturer. One of those is the remarkable de Havilland Sea Hornet. Being no regular injection-moulded kit, this isn't one which your average modeller should consider tackling unless that have had experience on a simpler full resin kit before, but what HpH offers here is a unique chance to build this unusual type in large scale, and with detail that is just jaw dropping. I picked up our review sample which at Scale Model World, Telford, back in early November, and managed to take time out with the guys to discuss their work, including the forthcoming 1:32 Focke-Wulf Fw 189 which we will also review here. I also saw their 1:48 Concorde release. Exciting times for us modellers, indeed. Whilst the box for this release takes up quite a reasonable piece of work bench real estate, it's actually quite shallow, being only around a couple of inches in height. Don't let that fool you though. That box is extremely sturdy, and sports an attractive lid label which shows both marking schemes in profile. In order to protect the parts inside the box, compartments have been created which are tailored to fit the fuselage halves and the wing panels. Other compartments contain zip lock bags which are carefully filled with the remainder of the parts. Some bags contain flat sheets of resin parts, whilst others contain the more substantial pieces. One bag contains the clear resin parts. On top of the compartments is a large wallet which holds an instruction manual on CD, some HpH promotional material, THREE frets of photo-etch parts (one colour printed), a sleeve of wire, and also some turned metal parts. There is also a set of laser cut HGW seatbelts included, as well as a single decal sheet and a set of pre-cut masks for the canopies. In all, a very complete package. I do admit that I quite like the CD format for the instructions, but as my MacBook has no optical drive, I have to port the data over to a pen drive, using my wife's laptop. No big deal though.... Oh, did I mention the chocolate? FUSELAGE Firstly, those fuselage halves. These are further protected with a piece of bubble-wrap, and the parts are simply one of the many highlights in this kit. Cast as full length pieces, with a separate fin, the exterior is necessarily spare in detail, with just a few panel lines and port detail present, as well as the belly gun troughs and shell ejection chute holes. This is of course due to the fact the Sea Hornet had a laminated and moulded wooden fuselage. You will need to remove a small number of areas that are webbed over with thin resin. These include the cockpit and wind entry point. There is also a very thin casting block which runs the length of the fuselage. This can actually be removed with a few cuts from a sharp knife, before being sanded back to profile. Clean up time should be minimal. Now, internally is where the fun really is. Whilst the pilot's cockpit is built up entirely from separate parts, the rear cockpit has much of its detail cast into the walls, including avionics units, wiring and structural elements. See for yourself just how great this looks. The avionics units are designed to be fitted with colour photo-etch parts for detail, and of course there is a whole other raft of other internal detail which supplements what you already see. This area is better catered for than most kit small, you can still see this area by looking through the lower entry hatch, which can of course be posed in an open position. There are positions running down the length of the interior into which you can place an alignment pin, meaning that bringing the halves together should be relatively easy, assuming that prepared the facing edges first. WINGS Lower wing panels These are cast as traditional upper and lower plates, with a narrow casting block which runs down the leading edge of each part. This might sound onerous when it comes to removal, but it really isn't. The position and contact area of the block means that removal should actually be quite a quick affair, and final sanding can be completed when the upper and lower panels are joined together. Upper wing panels incorporate the rear section of the engine nacelle fairing, and the leading edge intake channels are also neatly cast. Again, through necessity, upper wing surface detail is very restrained, being composed of wood on the original aircraft. Panel lines are finely scribed, and some rivet/fastener detail is present, especially around the leading edge. Flip the panel over and you will see a partial rendering of the inner landing flap area. This will be further enhanced by the addition of rib detail parts. Wheel bay roof detail is also finely cast, and together with the separate walls and ancillary parts, these will be extremely detailed once built up. Maybe just a little extra wiring in there, but even that isn't really needed. Upper wing panels The wing undersides are a little more detailed due to the aluminium that was used to clad the timber. You'll see more in the way of rivets and panel lines. Notice the resin webs which fair over the nacelle/wheel bay openings. Of course, these will need to be trimmed away, and are only here as an aid to casting, and to supply a little extra strength whilst in the box. Each wing panel also has a series of positions within, into which the wing spar will fit. This provides necessary wing strength, and a means to align the wings when assembled to the model. Now, onto the zip-lock wallets of resin parts. These seem to have been packed so that specific areas of the model are kept together, making them generally easier to find. Remember that this is a model which contains several hundred parts, so anything HpH can do to assist the modeller in finding the part they want, is most definitely welcome. PACKET 1 A number of resin parts are cast onto thin wafers, and these will simply need cutting from the wafer, and the rear of the part grinding away by a tiny fraction of a millimetre. In most cases, I suspect you won't need to bother, and you can make the junction as which the part needs to fit, a little wider. This wallet holds a total of EIGHT delicate wafers, between them containing over EIGHTY parts. Generally, it looks like all parts included here are for both cockpits, including multi-part instrument panel, consoles, avionics, detailed bulkheads, pilot seat parts etc. Detail is quite remarkable, and you very much feel that there really isn't anything to add. Now, I did say that most parts here were generally for the cockpit. There are in fact three wafers with a low parts count that are for internal wing radiators, exhaust stub bases and the split landing flaps. You might have thought that these would have been PE creations, but no. These parts are actually extremely fine and I consider a better alternative. PACKET 2 Quite a large bag, and a heavy one too. There are two other wafers in here, and these contain the spinners, spinner mounting blocks, bulb nose, centrally mounted wing spar and also wonderfully detailed wheel hubs. You will have to drill the central shaft-mounting hole into the rear of the spinner though. I'm afraid that's a quirk of design, but the plus side is that there's no real casting block to remove. Propeller blades are cast onto their own individual blocks, but be careful, as these are handed, depending on whether they are to fit to the port or starboard engine. There is no tool provided which allows you to set the same pitch per blade. You will need to come up with your only solution for this. If the weight of a resin model causes concern, then don't worry about it. Here, you will find the sharply detailed main gear struts, complete with their locking lugs. You'll just need to drill these out. The strength of the undercarriage legs comes from a steel rod inserted into them during the casting process. Thin resin walls connect these to the casting blocks, as with the main wheels themselves. I don't know how HpH produce their masters (hi-res 3D printing?), but the tread on the wheels is probably the very best I've seen on resin wheels. They also have a flat on them that connects them to the block, proper. A steel wire also reinforces the tail wheel strut and an anti-skid tail wheel will just need a little more work to remove it from its block. Other parts in this bag include detailed main gear doors, instrument panel shroud, undercarriage actuator struts, fuel tanks, super-detailed cockpit floor, and bomb mounting pylons. It's very obvious that HpH have done their very best to make sure that there is as little resin to cut through and clean up as possible, when it comes to utilising each part. PACKET 3 All control surfaces are cast as separate entities here, with only a thin resin wall holding them to their respective casting blocks. All end facing connecting points are cast with 'drilled' ends, allowing the modeller to easily pin these to the models. All flying and control surfaces here have finely engraved panel lines and riveting. External fuel tank mounting pylons, found here also, exhibit the same refined levels of detail. My fin has a couple of small holes that need fixing. They look like there is a hollow space within the rear of the fin, but can't see a reason for it. PACKET 4 There are two identical casting blocks here which contain the detailed inner walls for the wheel well bays, and also a single one containing the forward gear mounding wheel well bulkheads, rear cockpit bulkheads and also the rear crew access door. A little resin will need to be removed from flashed over areas. Two smaller casting blocks contain some rear cockpit parts, as well as the arrestor hook assembly. Lastly, the exhaust flame damping shrouds are included here. These last parts are very thin, and you will need to open up the gas ejector ports. \ PACKET 5 Only four pieces here, but pretty important; the engine/gear nacelles. There is the smallest hint of a warp on one of mine, but these are so thinly cast that it will be so easy to pull everything back into alignment. The solid, inner rear of the nacelle incorporates a pin and socket that provides initial alignment. From here, everything should be easy to pull into place. Again, some resin webs to remove; namely for the exhaust and the bay opening. As will most large parts here, there is a little minor flash to remove. A minor casting block exists around the spinner area, connected via a thin resin wall. Detail both internally and externally is very good, being both subtle and attractive. PACKET 6 If you thought the resin parts were petering out at this point, then think again. This smaller bag is just jammed with the stuff. In here we have the majority of the smaller detail parts, such as landing flap inner ribs, resin connecting pins for main assemblies, fishtail exhausts with the most amazingly thin walls and deep openings, to name but a few. You can see from the photo just exactly what's in here. Hollow exhaust manifold Bombs are included, with a fin section that is separate (and very thin), as well as other small cockpit detail. If you can think of any small parts, the chances are they will be included here. Casting is great. PACKET 7 A small packet containing two identical casting blocks that hold some of the longer and thinner parts of the Sea Hornet. Protective walls have been added to the ends of the block to help prevent any breakage to the thin, vulnerable parts. PACKET 8 If there is just one thing I don't like in HpH kits, it the packing of multiple clear resin parts into a single bag. I don't suppose it really causes an issue, but I'm quite funny about it, in case of any damage that could be caused. HpH are the kings of crystal clear resin casting, and these parts are virtually optically perfect. They look as good as some of the best injection parts you'll see. There are some incredibly minor imperfections in places, but you need to look for them. Even those will disappear in a quick bath of Klear. Quite remarkable. Parts exist for the canopies, of course, as well as gun sight, wing lights and crew entry window on rear access door. Casting blocks tend to be large, but connected via thin walls. Be very careful with these parts.... The first thing I'll do here is to pack these parts into separate bags! RESIN SUMMARY I don't think I've noticed any more than a dozen bubbles in the whole kit. And those are below the surface, with no breakthrough. There are those couple of unexplained holes on the fin, but they will be easy to fill. HpH casting really is excellent, and the thoughtful placement of casting blocks will mean a pleasurable build. Some resin exhibits a little mould release agent, so ensure you wash everything with mild detergent before you start to work. PHOTO ETCH There are THREE frets supplied in this release, with one of them being printed in colour. All are made by Eduard, so you know that these are about as good as you are likely to find when it comes to production standards and fit. That colour fret contains all of the instrument panel sections that are printed with the instruments. It's not too obvious with the instructions, but you actually have a choice with the instrument panel. You can either use the resin rear parts and add the colour printed, laminate fascia/instrument ensemble, or you can use the colour instruments with the resin fascia and mix things up yourself. There are also other colour printed avionics units to be found here, as well as various levers and switches, plus the seatbelt buckles for the HGW seatbelts. The other two bare brass frets are sure designed for those who like to work with PE. There's no shortage here whatsoever. You will find numerous cockpit parts here, such as various avionics frames, rudder pedal swing brackets, and details for ammunition drums, to name but a few, but the majority of parts aren't connected with the crew positions. Instead, you'll find such parts as flanges, optional wing radiator meshes (if the moulded detail doesn't cut it for you), radiator vents, gear door actuators, landing flap parts, bomb sway shackles, rocket clasps etc. Production is by Eduard, and there is nothing at all to criticise here. SEATBELTS If you've never seen or heard of HGW's amazing textile seatbelts, you really ought to read some of the reviews we have on this website. They are printed onto a textile sheet, and are laser cut. They are about as photo-realistic as you can hope to get, and they can also be weathered with oils and enamels. This set is specifically designed for this kit, and they are simplicity itself to assemble. I consider the inclusion of to be a real bonus. MASKS A small sheet of sharply cut vinyl masks will provide all you need to mask off the main canopy and the edge of the rear glass dome. You will need to fill in any open spaces for the main hood and dome with pieces of masking tape, or scrap material from the included mask sheet. TURNED METAL PARTS Have you seen those amazing rocket sets for the 1:24 Hawker Typhoon, from Master Model? Well, these are the equivalent in 1:32! A small wallet contains some beautifully turned and smooth rocket heads, separate rocket bodies with a cross machined into the base (for fin insertion), turned and hollow pitot, and some (as yet) unidentified shorter lengths of brass tube. DECALS A single, large decal sheet is included, containing markings for TWO schemes. I think the sheet is locally made, but looks excellent. Decals are thin, have minimal carrier film, solid and authentic colour, and are in perfect register. They feel of them is very reminiscent of the best Cartograf that I am used to seeing. A full set of stencils is also included. The two schemes are: DH Sea Hornet NF.21, second prototype, PX239, Farnborough, 1947 – 1948 DH Sea Hornet NF.21, VZ672, 809 Squadron FAA, HMS Vengeance, 1951 Instructions As I have already said, these are CD-based, and you'll need to dump the images (JPG) to your computer. There is no Acrobat version this time, which is a shame. Instructions are clear, and look simple to follow for the most part. I found that actually looking at the parts in conjunction with the images does tend to help with any ambiguity, so if in doubt....don't just try to understand the images! Colour call outs are given throughout for regular paint colours. You'll need to do a little referencing in order to ascertain exact interior colours, but as no machines exist any longer, who's going to argue with your choice? Both colour schemes are presented here, showing each machine in various profile forms. Decal placement and colour scheme are easy to follow. Conclusion This kit just screams out to be built, and I will do just that as soon as current magazine commitments are completed. HpH design their kits with maximum buildability and maximum detail, and make the whole process look very simple. However, this is no kit for a beginner. You really need to be au fait with resin and have some experience of whole-resin kits under your belt before you attempt anything like this. I adore the de Havilland wooden fighters, and to see this kitted in my preferred scale is a dream come true. These kits, for me, are an event, and no just another project. All I can say about this is that it's...... EXTREMELY highly recommended! My sincere thanks to HpH for the review sample. To purchase directly, please click THIS link. James H
  5. 1:35 Renault R-40 [Pz.Kpfw 40R 736(f)] Brach Model Catalogue #BM100 Available from Brach Model for 98€ The Renault R40 is the final variation of the R35. It was developed by the Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) which introduced a brand new and better suspension that consisted of 12 pairs of small road-wheels on each side mounted in pairs, vertical coil springs, and protective skirting plates. This vehicle mounted the long barreled 37mm SA38 L/33 gun in the APX-R1 turret and had an AMX crossing tail. A little bit less than 120 tanks had been built from 10th May on only and put into service with the serial number 51541 to 51658. They equipped the 40e BCC (30 R40 and 15 R35), the 48e BCC (29 R40 and 16 R35), the reconstituted 28e BCC (24 R40 and 21 R35) in beginning June and two Polish companies in France (companies "Pagézy" and "Chabowski" with 15 R40 each). The dimensions of this light tank: Weight: 12t Length: 4.02m Width: 1.87m Height: 2.13m Crew: 2 men Other technical information: -Maximum armor: 43mm (APX-R turret is cast and hull is cast armor + RHA bolted elements) -Maximum speed: 20-23 km/h (Renault engine, 4 cylinders, gasoline, 85 hp, 5880 cm3, water cooled) -Transmission : 4 forward, 1 reverse. -Autonomy : 140 km -Armament: a 37mm SA38 L/33 gun and a 7.5mm MAC1931 CMG (42 AP, 58 HE and 3000 cartridges - elevation of -16 to +20° and traverse of 5° right and 5° left but could be blocked to aim only with the turret rotation) - 37mm SA38 L/33 - in German service : 3.7cm KwK 143(f) -Theoretical rate of fire : 15 rpm -Traverse of 5° right and 5° left (could be blocked to aim only with the turret rotation) -Telescopic sight : 4x (L.767 telescopic sight, range drum up to 1400m for the APC shells and 1600m for the coaxial MG, field of view 11.25°, + reticle) -Practical AT range : 600-800m -Ammunitions : Obus de rupture Mle1938 (APC) - in German service : Pzgr 146(f), Caliber : 37x149R mm, weight of projectile : 0.700 kg, length f projectile : 103mm, V° = 705 m/s, penetration : 30mm /30° at 400m. -German tests with 3.7cm Pzgr 146(f) (source : Jentz): 100 meters = 29mm /30° 500 meters = 23mm /30° 1000 meters = 16mm /30° 1500 meters = 12mm /30° -Obus explosif Mle1938 (HE) - in German service : Sprgr 145(f) Caliber : 37x149R mm Weight of projectile : 0.670 kg (60 g explosive) Length of projectile : 110mm V° = 600 m/sEquipped with a long RSA Mle1938 fuze (Source: David Lehmann, German Documents from the National Archives, Panzertruppen) Looking at the Renault R40 (and also the R35) looks like we`re looking at an improved version of the Renaul FT, because it has their similarities, first by the arrangement of compartments (driver in the front hull, and rear mounted engine) and the unditching tail. We can look at them and say: for sure, these ones are “brothers”. There`s a review for a model kit that I was eager to put my hand on. I was lucky enough to have this opportunity to review it. Well, just enough chat and let`s go to the kit. Unboxing: The box is quite big for the relative small tank. The packaging of this kit is top notch. It`s a sturdy and well padded package. We notice that there is affection and dedication in the product and that such care with conditioning parts is because the manufacturer knows what the modeler wants and how they want. For modelers to modelers. The masters are done by Luciano Brach, a real genius and a gentleman too. The resin pieces come in various separates bags, having had the care of the big parts are not the same bags that small pieces and even inside the box are very remote and styrofoam in the middle, thus showing care in packaging, and all done to avoid any broken parts. This kit has 292 resin parts (104 are tracks links), a photo-etched sheet, a small acetate sheet (with instruments panels) and a towing cable (tread). Also have a small instructions booklet and a small sheet for three markings options (two French and one German). The resin is a light/medium grey resin, very well cast, with some very good details. In all the pieces I look for any bubble or distortion and I didn`t find any on my sample. This is an excellent example of resin art. Unlike some resin armor kits, the hull is not cast in a single piece, but similarly to a regular styrene model, with a hull top and bottom. This is a beauty, casting is superb and smooth and highly detailed. Casting blocks and some flash is present but are light and easily cleaned up. The tracks are individually cast resin links. The thing is so pretty in the box it is almost a shame to build it. The casting is very nice with no noticeable imperfections in my sample. The casting block and excess resin should be very simple to remove. In resin kits can some parts be warp or distort (although dipping in warm water and straightening will easily remedy this) but in this samples no warp in any pieces, especially in the fenders. Opening all the bags, I immediately come across the complete interior of the inner hull with the exception of the engine bay. I confess I was not expecting that this kit had much of the interior which was a real surprise and very nice. Interior The kit includes a hull interior (the lower hull is made by 3 pieces: the floor and the two sides). The hull floor and transmission are cast in one single piece, with a good attention to details, with no warp, and anti-slice floor as well. Both hull sides are also very well cast and very good surface detail and with an easy cleaning. The entire interior is well rendered and detailed. There is a separate upgrade kit for the engine (catalogue #BM079 - to get it directly from Brach Model, click here.) All the hatches are separate including the engine area. All the driver's seat is complete with seat in photogravure and resin, gearbox, turn right and turn left brakes levers, pedals and instrument panel. You will also get the two ammunitions racks with ammunition to put on it. In the end you will get a full and busy interior right from the box. Main body Being a resin kit, that`s mean that the surface detail can be very delicate. So the upper hull surface parts and the turret has a definite cast texture and fine recessed detail. Two outstanding cast resin pieces. I was quite surprise also with the fenders. A single resin piece, very well cast. These two pieces are delicate and thin with a very appropriate scale without need of a photo-etched. Despite being a single piece, both fenders show no distortion or warp which it`s a very good signal of the resin quality and the production control by Brach Model. The unditching tail (reminiscent of a close “relative” – The FT J ) is very well detail, and looks like quite simply of put it all together. Wheels and suspension: The inner and idler wheels and upper wheels have a fantastic detail and very little to clean making this operation quite more pleasant. Has we said before, the Renault R40 had 12 pairs of small road-wheels on each side mounted in pairs in each side of the hull. Regarding to this point I was a bit afraid because the alignment of all 12 wheels. However quite frankly I was very surprise and happy the clever solution. Luciano Brach decided to group the pneumatic suspension and structure, making a single piece formed by the suspension and two wheels attached. Every single one, has a locating point allowing the modeler a greater security in alignment of all wheels relative to the hull. Tracks links The kit includes link-to-link resin tracks, with quite good detail and no cleaning need. The instructions don`t mention if they intended to click together so I tried so link them. My first thought was: these resin tracks can be a quite a task. So I decided to try out. They are intended to click together, and they really click together. A delicate but simply task that in 30 seconds, I could easily in 30 seconds mount a track portion. Fantastic track links Passing now the the photoetched, there is 72 parts, since the interior to exterior detail, mainly being clamps, Renault placard, exhaust cover, etc, giving extra detail to the model. The sheet is very well achieved, appearing to be quite easy to work out, small connections points and easy bending. Instructions The instruction sheet is not a Meng ou Tamiya ones. This model is intented for experient modeller, and for that I do know that this instructions would not be a problem. There`s is no other information concerning decals or paint color guide for interior or camouflage, with no indications. With this instructions the modeler will not need to use references to find the correct location of parts, but will need to dig out their references for interior and exterior/camouflage painting guides. Decals The small sheet with three options is well registered, good colour saturation and quite thin. As we said, no color indications for the camouflage. Was quite hard to photograph the decal sheet because all the registration is in white. Conclusion Man I just love this lovelly Brach Models Renaul R40. All of the resin is beautifully cast and has no flaw. There is a little flash in some areas, but this is so thin and will be easy to remove. None of the castings suffer from seam lines, and while some items are cast on communal casting blocks, a small number are cast in a shallow mould and just have a thin membrane of resin to remove from between the parts, like the wheels sets and tracks. Looking at the limited reference I do have, and with Google being my friend, Brach Models do seem to have pretty good job of the look of the beauty. As far as accuracy goes, I have to admit I'm no expert on the Renault R40, but as far I can see, it really looks like the real thing. Pricey? This is no mass-produced TamigawaMeng kit. If you want a unique model that will stand out in any model contest or in your collection this is the one for you, or if you simply want to have a very good example of a Renault R40, just go for it, because it`s worth it. Very highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to Brach Models for shipping this out to us in such a speedy manner. To purchase this directly, click THIS link. (Full build model, courtesy from Brach Model)
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