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Found 14 results

  1. 1:35 Bergepanther Ausf.D – Umbau Seibert 1945 Takom Catalogue # 2102 With German armour growing bigger in the course of the war, the need for bigger recovery vehicles rose. One FAMO wasn’t enough anymore to pull a Panther or Tiger out of a ditch. As a matter of fact two Famo 18 ton vehicles were needed to pull one Tiger I tank. This is why the Panzer V Panther was chosen as the base for a new Bergepanzer: The Sd.Kfz. 179 Bergepanther. Still existing truck brand MAN was issued the order to produce the first batch which were delivered in June 1943. In total about 347 Bergepanthers were built on Panther Ausf A and G hulls with various lay-outs by different factories: MAN, Henschel and Demag. For this latter one please see James Hatch’s excellent reviewof the Ausf A version of this kit. Most of them containing a 40 Ton winch. This specific type was built by Sieber. If you are a U-boot nut this may sound familiar. Sieber was a company that had a lot of experience building U-boot hulls. They built / assembled 61 Bergepanthers Ausf.D (Umbau) between July 1944 and March 1945. The word ‘Umbau’ means ‘Conversion’. As you can see this Bergepanther resembles an ordinary Panther most. All it’s missing is it’s turret and transmission hatch and has a large round steel plate instead. The kit Takom is on a head to head race with Meng. Leaving Dragon and Tamiya in their wake. Where it used to be a no brainer buying a Tamiya kit for quality and fit and a Dragon kit for ease and detail, you now follow Takom’s and Meng’s releases with hawk-eye’s. With these two brands picking the same subjects over and over the battle for detail lifts their quality level to great heights. The boxes keep getting bigger and bigger, but the prices somehow stay in the green. I used to be an avid armour modeler and thought we were spoiled over our ears with detail, subjects and possibilities, but what this kit brings is something else… All this detail and what do we see in the end? You might want to make a cross section model. Check this out: I don’t think it’s fair to compare this kit to the 1995 Italeri Bergepanther nor the Revell or ICM offering. They all offer pretty basic kits that lack most of the interior. To get the full interior you would have to buy the resin Verlinden set, but that would still get you the early Maybach engine. None of the mainstream brands produced this particular late version of the Bergepanther: Ausf.D. For that you had to buy the Precision Models conversion set (which is not an easy find…). As you see a lot these days certain brands go head to head and tackle the same excotic subjects. I never got this… As it happens RFM (Rye Field Models) is releasing their own Bergepanther and knowing them, it will also feature a whole interior, just like their latest Sturmtiger. Takom: beware! The high heavy box is bursting with sprues and parts. 25 sprues in total (!). So I just started with studying the instructions, doing some research and unpacking the top sprue in the box. Overall the casting is really crisp with no flash anywhere. To be fair: Dragon, Meng and Tamiya have the same reputation. Hardly any cleanup needed. With a kit like this featuring a full interior the question is: where are the ejector marks?? More on that later. Another something to add here is that all parts on the sprue intended for the Early version are removed. This prevents an even more overload of parts, confusion, weigth and mistakes. Construction starts with the floorplate of the Bergepanther and is quickly followed by the gearbox and drivetrain. The suspension rods are then placed and we have seen this on other Panther kits, since they actually work on the finished model. Floorplate: Sprues A (2x) with the wheels. Lovely steel texture and bolt detail: Connected sprues E and D with the sprockets, suspension and various interior details. Drivers' seat with spring seat back: Periscopes. Usually these are provided in clear plastic. Since i never like that feature, I'm happy with grey plastic. Sprue E2: Sprue J2 with the jack, tools and towing cable eye lets: The tracks are done in an innovative way. Link and length, but with long stretches of track for the straight parts. The track horns for these stretches are all connected on one long sprue. You need to glue the whole stretch of horns to the track and only then cut the sprue loose. It will be interesting to see how this works. Word of caution: if you want to position this model in a diorama, the straight length of tracks on the bottom of the model will make it difficult to curve the track. So: this method saves time, but limits possibilities. There is also a handy tool / jig that helps you assemble the tracks before they go on the model. This way you can paint your tank and tracks separately. I like this. I’m curious to see whether my Friulmodel tracks fit on this kit. I think so… Sprue F (x2) and C 9x2) with the track links: The jig (x2) for left and right track assembly: On to the engine. This Maybach engine differs somewhat from the early Bergepanther. The detail is outstanding and so is the engineering. I reckon you only need some leadwire to spice things up here. When done, the complete engine drops in the hull of the tank. Just like on the real thing. Check out the differences in the early and late Maybach engines: Sprue N with the engine parts: Sprue J3: Sprue L: Engine piping with only a minimal seam line to remove: Sprue M: Sprue R2: Then work begins on the rear armour plate, grills and upper hull. Photo etch is supplied for all the engine grill meshes. All the tools that go on the sides of the Bergepanther are done nicely in injection moulded plastic, but I would recommend replacing the clasps with photo etch on a model with this much detail. I love the restrained surface texture on the hull, wheels and hatches. Sometimes this is overdone or omitted completely. It will be interesting to see how RFM approach this. As said in the introduction, ejector pin marks on a model that shows so much of it’s insides are crucial. Trust me: they’re hard to find and this saves you a lot of filling and sanding. I found a few on the insides of hatches but they’re not deep and probably disappear with some quick sanding. Sprue H3: Sprue K3 with front armor: Lovely steel surface texture and weld seams: The same goes for the upper part of the hull: One part you almost always want to replace with photo etch are the Schurzen panzer plates on the sides of the tank. In this case you may not have to. The plastic tapers to the sides, making it look much thinner than it actually is. Beware: if you want to remove one or two of these plates, you need to thin the new edges as well. The last items that go on the model are the wooden beam and crane. Real delicate with real chain provided that goes around the pully. Sprue Q2 with the crane and wooden beam: Exhaust stacks: Minimal ejector pin marks on the inside of the hatch: Delicate detail on the crane: Sprue U. Note the absence of the Early Bergepanther parts. Note the thin edges of the Schurzen panzer: Sprue G2: Delicate and refined wood texture on the wooden beam: Detailed Mg34. Only needs the barrel end drilled out: Copper wire, photo etch and chains: Note that the mesh isn't just a plate with holes but features overlapping wiring: Painting schemes Four full colour profiles are provided for you to choose from. All built in 1945 by the Seibert Factory. Reference photo’s are not provided and neither is information as to where what scheme was operational. You’ll find one in Winter camo and three three-tone camo patterns. What I love are the full colour 3d drawings on the last pages of the instruction booklet, showing you want needs to be painted in red brown primer and what need to be black or white. Lovely. Makes me thing of the 3D illustrated books by Kagero. A small sheet of decals is provided, giving you some data plates, markings and the instrument faces for the drivers’ compartment. The 3d drawings in the back of the booklet show you exactly where these go. The instruction manual: Conclusion This is an Epic kit with a dazzling amount of parts. It makes you forget your stash of DML/Dragon and Tamiya kits. The engineering is clever and the quality is top notch. The only thing I don’t like are the tracks that make it hard to position the tank on an un-even terrain. In terms of aftermarket this kit doesn’t need a lot. Maybe just some TLC in the outer detail, like photo etch clasps for the tools. This is a kit that I can whole heartedly recommend to any armour builder. I hope to see the first build here on LSM soon! PS: a fun detail. The brand name Continental is spelled fully and correct on the wheels. Dragon in the past placed the word: Continentau on them, since copyright and brand name protection didn’t allow them to use the name Continental. Wonder if laws changed? Thanks to Takom for supplying LSM with this sample.
  2. 1/35 Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior Takom Catalogue # TAK2097 The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V. The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank's effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, its weight is more like that of a heavy tank, as its weight of 44.8 tons puts it roughly in the same category as the American M26 Pershing (41.7 tons), British Churchill (40.7 tons) and the Soviet IS-2 (46 tons) heavy tanks. The tank had a very high power to weight ratio however, making it extremely mobile regardless of its weight. Its weight still caused heavy tank-esque problems however, such as an inability to cross certain bridges. Extract from Wikipedia The kit Without a doubt, this is most certainly the year of the Panther. It must be a trait in armour modelling circles that those modellers are happy and grateful to see different companies try their hand at subjects such as this. If this was a Mustang or Bf 109, the whinge-fest would be on about everybody releasing the same subject. Personally, I am super-pleased to see new incarnations of the Panther, and in brand-new tooling also. Takom’s plans for the 2018 are very much Panther related, with 3 kits now in circulation, and a further five that will come to market, including two Bergepanther variants (cue the excitement with the latter!). We have been lucky enough to receive the Ausf.A Early Production, which we see in this review, and the Ausf.A Late Production which Jeroen Peters will look at in the very near future. One of the hallmarks of these initial Panther Ausf.A kits from Takom is the austere box art. Printed on a plain white box lid, the illustration is a simple line drawing, with the kit title. However, on the sides, we have some nice colour illustrations of cutaway and interior sections of the new kit, definitely supplying a little eye-candy to proceedings. Now, lift that lid at your peril, because removing those contents and getting them back in again afterwards will be a task. The box is absolutely crammed with styrene, as you can imagine with this being a full interiorkit. Each of the TWENTY-NINE light grey sprues is packaged into a separate sleeve to protect the many small and fragile parts. As well as those, a turret and upper hull are included, as well as two track building guides that we’ll look at soon. To complete the package, we have two small decal sheets, a PE fret, lengths of copper cable, a flexible hose, and a very thick instruction manual. These last items are packed into multiple sleeves that are then packed with the manual. One thing I simply can’t do here is to give a sprue by sprue résumé, due to the complexity of the kit. Instead, I will look at features and engineering break down of this release. Getting started A quick look around the kit contents and you’ll notice a lack of the usual bathtub-style lower hull. For their Panther releases, Takom has chosen to break down everything into constituent components, such as the hull floor, hull sides and forward lower glacis, although the latter is fitted to an inner plate that is connected to the floor. The reasoning behind this is to make everything as accessible as possible to the modeller as they progress through these easy hull construction stages where the frames, transmission, brake drums and torsion bars are to be fitted. Unlike Rye Field Model, Takom provides the lower hull frames as plastic parts, as opposed to their competitor who supply these in photo-etch. Both options work great for me, with perhaps the plastic parts being easier to fit and align. They are also moulded, as with the rest of the interior, with huge finesse. A few very light ejector pin marks are found here and there, but these seem to be hidden by subsequent construction. Before the sides are fitted to the hull floor, they are fitted out internally with the brake drums etc. These side plates are moulded with the torsion tube sleeves in situ, so there shouldn’t be any wall to wall alignment issues. With the walls complete, these glue into place. Takom would have you insert the torsion bars before this, and as they don’t extend to the hull exterior, it might be wise to do as they say, but dry fit them in case you have any minor alignment issues that could arise from gluing them in place from the start. The swing arms are next to be fitted, and to help with absolute positioning, two plastic jigs are included. These have alignment holes for the swing arm axles to fit into. Takom hasn’t designed this kit to have articulated swing arms, so if you want to pose the model whilst sitting on uneven ground, this is the time for you to look at that and mock things up for later. It’s now the time for the interior to be fitted out, and this is no quick task. Apart from the many ammunition shells and their storage racks, you also have what is probably the busiest detailed interior that I’ve seen in any kit thus far. Work progresses with the installation of the crew seats (moulded rear spring detail unlike the PE of the RFM release), interior walls and bulkheads, radio sets, drive shaft, and turret floor. Also of note are that the boxed ammunition shells only have the protruding tip as a part, with the box below them being hollow. Certainly makes more sense that depicting the full ammunition body. I hope you didn’t throw away the swing arm guides as these are now used to create the shape of the tracks. Onto the guides will plug the drive and idler wheels (no glue!) and then the tracks can be formed over the curves of the guide, with the drive/idler/track assembly being transferred to your lower hull. FOUR sprues of track links and associated parts are included, incorporating several completed sections of track, along with many separate links. None of the track links have moulded horns. These are provided as separate parts that are moulded to a tree that you install as a single piece, and then when dry, snip away the tree from the tracks. That’s a smart move that will save some swearing. The Panther’s Maybach engine is faithfully reproduced and is a project in itself, complete with its plumbing that interconnects to the engine bay walls. This, along with fuel tanks, engine cooling apparatus and more internal framing. This is a model for which you will need to carefully plan each painting and weathering stage ahead of getting to that part. A single-piece upper hull is included with sections missing for the crew compartment, engine and engine cooling. These are moulded as separate parts, thus maximising the opportunity to show the interior of the model to its fullest potential. Even so, you would still be limited, under normal circumstances, to pose these off in any realistic way, unless you created a factory diorama of the Panther being built. Still, we know all those detail goodies are in there, so that’s all that reallymatters. That turret is obviously the main feature of this kitty, and this of course is resplendent in amazing interior details. The turret itself is moulded as lid and sides, with the front and rear plates being separate. Plate and weld seam details are superb. Of course, there is an amount of moulded detail within the roof interior, pertaining mostly to electrical conduits etc. I find it most odd that Takom chose to mould, in raised detail, the kit year and serial adjacent to the actual details! Working hinges are provided for the escape hatch on the rear face, and the cupola is supplied with a single-piece ring that contains the shrouds for the periscopes. With this glued in situ, the ring can be cut away, leaving the shrouds in the correct position. External detail is again excellent with the cupola mounted MG, etc but the interior is spectacular. If it’s supposed to be in there, the chances are that Takom has faithfully reproduced it, including turret traverse motors, gun counterbalance, hydraulic drive, loader/gunner/commander seats, azimuth etc. The gun breech is superbly detailed, and like it or not, the barrel in this release is plastic, albeit single part, with separate three-piece muzzle brake. A flexible hose is supplied for the turret interior. Where RFM added a little extra was by means of showing any plumbing and wiring that would be in this area so that the modeller could add it him/herself. You’d be best to avail yourself of the required information and add it yourself from lead wire too. PE For such a comprehensive kit, there is surprisingly little PE in this release, with Takom opting to create many of the finer parts in standard injection plastic. Only six pieces of photo-etch are included in this release, and these are for the engine cooling grilles on the rear top deck. The mesh is certainly fine enough to pass muster, and the quality is excellent. Decals Two small decal sheets are included, with one for the various external numbers etc. and the other being for the many pieces of ammunition and other internal details. There is no printing manufacturer on the sheets, but they are very thin with solid colour, minimal carrier film and in perfect register. The four schemes in this release are: Panther Ausf.A, ‘701’, Panzer Regiment 23 Panther Ausf.A, ‘18’, 16 Panzer Division, Russia, 1944 Panther Ausf.A, ‘233’, Pz.Lehr. of 1. Kompanie, 12 Julio, Normandy, 1944 Panther Ausf.A, ‘221’, 16 Panzer Division Instructions A 34-page A4 manual is included (landscape format) which breaks the Panther down into 64 constructional sequences. Don’t let that fool you though, as you can probably triple that number with the addition of sub-stages per sequence. As I said, this is no quick project. The cover of the manual gives a history of the type and we then get a comprehensive parts map showing each sprue, decal sheet and PE fret. Most of the constructional imagery, provided as shaded illustrations, is printed on matt paper except for where corresponding leaves are printed on gloss for the numerous colour illustrations, courtesy of AMMO. These images provide priceless info on interior painting and will save us countless hours trawling the information either online or in books. Painting reference is also provided in AMMO reference codes. The last pages of the manual are given over to the four schemes provided with this kit, printed in glossy colour and with more AMMO paint references to negotiate. Inside the manual, a small correction sheet is included for the track building section. As the basis of this kit is the same as for the other two Panther’s in this specific Ausf.A range, a number of parts in this kit won’t be used. I would have liked to have seen the redundant parts shaded on the sprue map, but they aren’t. Conclusion As an extra to this article, I’ll build this model straight from box and leave it unpainted, so you can see how things go together and gauge the construction for yourself. I’ll add any relevant notes as I go along and mention if I encounter any issues that you should be aware of. In all though, this is another epic release of 2018, along with the slightly earlier Rye Field Model kit. For the sheer amount of plastic that you get though, and the pleasure you’ll derive from this build, the cost is pretty hard to beat, especially as I compare this against aircraft kits that I usually build. Armour certainly seems to provide more value for money, and at the moment, more detail for your buck! Very highly recommended! My sincere thanks to the good folks at MBK Distribution for sending us this sample.
  3. When I was in Telford last year, Jim gave me a couple of armour kits to build for LSM. One of them was Takom's 1/16 IJA Type 94 Tankette. This will be pretty much OOB as there seems to be no AM for this kit as of yet. I was thinking of building it as the Australian capture Tankette that I saw at Canberra's War Memorial storage facility last year, but it turns out that is a late variant with the larger idler wheel. Looks to be a cool kit, if you haven't seen it yet, check out Jim's review here -
  4. Latest project is a American Heavy tank T30/34 I will be building the T34 version and i will be using the plan camouflage scheme. I will also be trying weathering powder to put on the lower hull, tracks and on some other areas. i will also be putting weathering on parts like exhausts and gun muzzle.
  5. 1:35 Bergepanther Ausf.A – Assembled by Demag Takom Catalogue # 2101 The Bergepanther was an armoured recovery vehicle version of the "Panther" (Sd.Kfz. 179), often referred to only as "Bergepanther". The idea of a modified Panther emerged in 1943, due to problems in the recovery of heavy and medium tanks. The half-track vehicles previously used for salvaging, were rarely able to successfully recover a Panther or Tiger. Using another Tiger or Panther as a tow vehicle was also strictly prohibited, as this could result in the loss of both tanks. The first Bergepanther to be completed was based on the Panther Ausf. D, in which the turret was left off by the manufacturer (MAN). Henschel, Daimler-Benz and Demag (Deutsche Maschinenbau-Aktiengesellschaft) eventually took on Bergepanther production. The crew consisted of at least three soldiers, with two of those operating the newly installed salvage apparatus. Where the turret was originally installed, was now a square wooden and metal structure which sat atop the new internal winch, with a 40-ton tow capability. A large sponson fitted to the stern, served as support. The Bergepanther was quite reliable and could be used even under enemy fire because of its armour protection. From 1943 to 1945, about 339 Bergepanther all types were built by MAN, Henschel, Daimler-Benz (Factory Berlin-Marienfelde) and Demag. Adapted from Wikipedia.de The kit With the abundance of Panther kits that seem to have swamped the market this year, I somehow get the feeling that the turretless Bergepanther is what many modellers have reallywanted to see. Whilst we have indeed had the Bergepanther in 1:35 before, from ICM/Revell, and Italeri, these kits stretch back in origin between 13 and 25 years respectively. A modern tooling of this is what was seriously needed, so I can indeed understand the excitement in the armour-modelling community. This kit is based on the 2018 tooling of Takom’s amazing Panther kit releases (check out our LSM Pilot build HERE), and even better, Takom has just released this in both Ausf.A and Ausf.D flavours. Today I’ll be looking at the Ausf.A version. We have also been sent the other kit which will be reviewed in the very near future by Jeroen Peters. Takom seem to be the masters of very cool box art when it comes to armour kits. This one shows a sort of rear, three-quarter view of this unusual vehicle, obviously chosen as you can see all the general modifications from that angle. Even without the turret and interior, this kit packs a serious plastic punch with its new winch and wooden upper hull structures, etc. In fact, opening that lid will prove what a task it will be to get all of the styrene back in the box, once removed. It took three attempts for me after completing my photography. In total, this kit contains TWENTY-FIVE sprues of light grey plastic, one upper hull moulding, one photo-etch fret, braided copper wire, two sizes of metal chain, nylon cord, and a single decal sheet. All sprues are individually bagged except for the multiples. The remaining, whilst occupying the same sleeve, are folded over on themselves so the contents don’t foul each other. Lastly, two black plastic track assembly guides are supplied. These also serve as alignment tools for the swing arms. Invariably, quite a portion of this new release will be the same as that of the Panther Ausf.A I reviewed HERE, and the recent Zimmerit Ausf.A that I looked at HERE. As with these previous releases, this new Bergepanther also has a full interior. For clarity, areas of this review will mirror that of the previous, with the exception of the new sprues. I feel this is a better way to present this article instead of just showing you new parts and then having to run off and read about the standard Ausf.A sections. A quick look around the kit contents and you’ll notice a lack of the usual bathtub-style lower hull. For their Bergepanther releases, Takom has chosen to break down everything into constituent components, such as the hull floor, hull sides and forward lower glacis, although the latter is fitted to an inner plate that is connected to the floor. The reasoning behind this is to make everything as accessible as possible to the modeller as they progress through these easy hull construction stages where the frames, transmission, brake drums and torsion bars are to be fitted. Unlike Rye Field Model, Takom provides the lower hull frames as plastic parts, as opposed to their competitor who supply these in photo-etch. Both options work great for me, with perhaps the plastic parts being easier to fit and align. They are also moulded, as with the rest of the interior, with huge finesse. My test assembly of the initial release proved that this is a superbly engineered and moulded kit that should present no problems, provided you follow the chronology. A few very light ejector pin marks are found here and there, but these seem to be hidden by subsequent construction. Before the sides are fitted to the hull floor, they are fitted out internally with the brake drums etc. These side plates are moulded with the torsion tube sleeves in situ, so there shouldn’t be any wall to wall alignment issues. With the walls complete, these glue into place. Takom would have you insert the torsion bars before this, and as they don’t extend to the hull exterior, it might be wise to do as they say, but dry fit them in case you have any minor alignment issues that could arise from gluing them in place from the start. The swing arms are next to be fitted, and to help with absolute positioning, two plastic jigs are included. These have alignment holes for the swing arm axles to fit into. Takom hasn’t designed this kit to have articulated swing arms, so if you want to pose the model whilst sitting on uneven ground, this is the time for you to look at that and mock things up for later. It’s now the time for the interior to be fitted out, and this is no quick task, even with the lack of ammunition/storage in the Bergepanther. Even without the many ammunition shells and their storage racks, you still have what is probably one of the busiest detailed interior that I’ve seen in any kit thus far. Work progresses with the installation of the crew seats (moulded rear spring detail unlike the PE of the RFM release), interior walls and bulkheads, radio sets, drive shaft. No turret floor is fitted to this machine as even this element was removed during the conversion process. I hope you didn’t throw away the swing arm guides as these are now used to create the shape of the tracks. Onto the guides will plug the drive and idler wheels (no glue!) and then the tracks can be formed over the curves of the guide, with the drive/idler/track assembly being transferred to your lower hull. FOUR sprues of track links and associated parts are included, incorporating several completed sections of track, along with many separate links. None of the track links have moulded horns. These are provided as separate parts that are moulded to a tree that you install as a single piece, and then when dry, snip away the tree from the tracks. That’s a smart move that will save some swearing. After building the demonstration model, I can tell you that the tracks assembly without any trouble whatsoever. The Bergepanther’s Maybach engine is faithfully reproduced and is a project in itself, complete with its plumbing that interconnects to the engine bay walls. This, along with fuel tanks, engine cooling apparatus and more internal framing. This is a model for which you will need to carefully plan each painting and weathering stage ahead of getting to that part. You will need to ensure careful and accurate alignment of the engine for it to be able to mount properly and accept the plumbing. It’s a very cramped compartment back there! A single-piece upper hull is included with sections missing for the crew compartment, engine and engine cooling. These are moulded as separate parts, thus maximising the opportunity to show the interior of the model to its fullest potential. Even so, you would still be limited, under normal circumstances, to pose these off in any realistic way. The best plan with the Bergepanther would be to leave the wooden structure un-glued so that it could be viewed by lifting it off. The driver access plate on the upper hull, won’t be fitted to the Bergepanther, allowing a minimum of immediate interior visibility as it will still be somewhat hidden under the tarpaulin that extends from the front of the wooden structure. A bit like an early version of a sun-roof! This kit has SEVEN new sprues that are of course specific to this version of Bergepanther and/or the Ausf.D release. In the case of the latter, the Bergepanther-specific sprues in this kit are devoid of the parts for the other version, as can clearly be seen by the large voids in some areas. One standard Panther sprue also has many parts missing, as they aren’t pertinent to the Bergepanther. The new sprues have the same detail hallmarks that we can see from the rest of this kit, with rather nice moulding touches too, such as the integral chain detail (metal alternative provided), and the various winching wheels with their grooves. Of course, the recovery spade which raises and lowers from the rear of the Bergepanther, is also a beautiful piece of moulding that employs the latest techniques available to companies such as Takom. There isn’t any option for posing anything in an open position on the wooden structure, so you may want to leave loose. A very fine wood grain detail is moulded over such parts, and the large metal straps, locking clasps and brackets are superbly depicted. Also of note is the tarpaulin with its realistic sagging texture. I would’ve liked to have seen an option for this to be retracted, but we can’t have everything! Photo-etch, chain. etc. For such a comprehensive kit, there is surprisingly little PE in this release, with Takom opting to create many of the finer parts in standard injection plastic. Only six pieces of photo-etch are included in this release, and these are for the engine cooling grilles on the rear top deck. The mesh is certainly fine enough to pass muster, and the quality is excellent. Two small lengths of chain are supplied, of different gauges. These are of course for the block and tackle/pulley system that hangs from the Bergepanther’s lifting arm, and a section for the arm itself. Whilst the arm has a superb section of filigree-moulded chain, you may want to use a real section for more authenticity. It could come in quite useful too if the plastic detail breaks under ham-fistedness. Decals The decal sheet is quite small and contains the markings for FOUR schemes. Printing is thin, has minimal carrier film and is in perfect register. Those schemes are: Western Front, 1945 Captured, Bovington, 1945 Hungary, 1945 Western Front, 1943 Instructions A 34-page A4 manual is included (landscape format) which breaks the Bergepanther down into 54 constructional sequences. Don’t let that fool you though, as you can probably triple that number with the addition of sub-stages per sequence. As I said, this is no quick project. The cover of the manual gives a history of the type and we then get a comprehensive parts map showing each sprue, decal sheet and PE fret. Most of the constructional imagery, provided as shaded illustrations, is printed on matt paper except for where corresponding leaves are printed on gloss for the numerous colour illustrations, courtesy of AMMO. These images provide priceless info on interior painting and will save us countless hours trawling the information either online or in books. Painting reference is also provided in AMMO reference codes. The last pages of the manual are given over to the four schemes provided with this kit, printed in glossy colour and with more AMMO paint references to negotiate. Inside the manual, a small correction sheet is included for the track building section. Conclusion For me, I put this as perhaps being the best Panther/Panther-relative kit that Takom has yet produced. It has everything in that it’s one of the most detailed 1/35 models on the market, plus the esoteric-factor. This really is one that will catch the eye in your cabinet or model display stand. It really does cry out for a diorama though, showing off the best elements of the Ausf.A design to their maximum potential. My sincere thanks to Takom for sending out this kit for review here on LSM. To buy this kit, check out your favourite local or online retailer.
  6. Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior We recently looked at Takoms 1/35 Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior kit (Catalogue # TAK2097) HERE. For a while, us folks at LSM wanted to create a series of very short test fit/build articles with very brief notes/annotation. You could call these 'build reviews', and as such, we've added this section in our review area. Takom's new Panther kit is amazingly complex with a very high parts count, but the model builds extremely well as per kit, with just a few notes needed with regards to building chronology. Let's take a look at our very first LSM Pilot. This kit has a very small number of ejector pin towers, but they tend to be in unobtrusive areas, such as we see in the rear of the engine bay area. The lower hull looks like a road map for a Tetris game, but it provides the positive design engineering that you need for these important first stages. So far, so good. Not much to report in these first steps, and everything fits superbly. Takom chose to use thin plastic parts for the frames in the belly of the Panther, unlike the PE ones in the Rye Field kit. Both options will work well, but take care with the plastic parts because they are are a little flimsy. The transmission unit builds with little fuss, but be wary of the instructions. Here, as in many other places, your worst enemy are the tiny, ambiguous drawings. Never has the saying 'test fit ten times and glue once' been more pertinent. This unit fits well to the base due to the flexibility of the hull floor and various frames. Just make sure that all is dry before you start to manipulate things to fit the transmission unit. Detail parts are added to the interior hull sides. Again, location points are key here so as not to misplace parts that will foul anything else in the crammed hull. A quick test fit of the sides to the lower hull gives me a good idea of how I will fit the numerous torsion bars... Takom would have you more or less install the torsion bars like this, but it can be awkward. Forget this method... ...and slide them through the frames first, followed by added the hull sides. When the hull sides are in place, the torsion bars can be slotted up into the semi-circular holes provided, and a small quantity of cement used to lock them in place. You can really begin to see how cramped this model will become in the later stages, although nothing is really giving any cause for concern with the number of parts involved, and depth of detail. To help with swing arm alignment and later track assembly, Takom has included two jigs that slot over the swing arms whilst the glue dries. Wheels, wheels and more wheels... The Panther's interleaved wheels are now fitted. Note that the rearmost, outside wheel is DRY FITTED, or you will NOT be able to fit the idler wheel later. Takom doesn't clearly indicate this, so beware... Work on the interior begins. Just a few parts to start, but you'll soon see the interior fill up. Again, Takom is quite ambiguous with exact location, so you need to carefully study the drawings and the various keyed parts. Sometimes, they aren't too obvious. Attention is temporarily paid to the engine bay, with the installation of the firewall and side bulkheads. The latter tend to float around a little until the bay is fitted out. Ironic that very little of this will be seen unless you build a factory/workshop diorama. Many of these subassemblies begin to have more understandable location points as construction begins to advance. Remember to fit the rearmost ammunition storage BEFORE the rear floor goes down or you will struggle. Don't ask me how I know. To ensure that the track sections (both individual links and link lengths) fit properly, the orientation of the drive while is crucial. here you can see how the jig defines that key position. Each link comprises of 3 parts, but these horns are added in strips to the track sprues. They are then glued and when dry, the sprues are snipped away. Simples! Maybach construction begins. Amazingly detailed with layers of detail upon detail. No special instructions for fitting the engine. Everything goes exactly as it should, even with all the various lengths of plumbing. here is a finished track, still sat on the jig. The lowest section is dry fitted and fill be fitted once the tracks are fitted to the tank. Tracks fitted! Zero drama, even for an airplane guy like myself. Takom's approach works superbly. Takom would have you fit the side sections once the ammunition etc. are installed. DON'T DO THAT! You can manipulate the sides much easier with them bare, and only them add the extra details once the glue is fully cures. All internal ammunition and equipment are now installed. This is one seriously busy hull. Enjoy that view whilst you can. The engine bay is now complete too. Here you see the rear face fitted out without glue. Again, it's easier to fit the plate before adding any glue. For this early version, some external details needed to be shaved off. I also opt to fit out the panels on the upper hull before installing to the lower hull. Things are just less fragile this way. Of course, a few internal details are to be added, as well as the main internal armoured glacis. A superb fit, even with all the internal detail. It could've gone so, so wrong, but I think the success is more done to Takom's engineering and not my luck. Note also that this is fitted BEFORE the hull is fitted out with frames, tracks and pioneer tools. Much better than Takom's approach of fitting this stuff beforehand. Hull just about fitted out. The periscope shrouds are fitted whilst on their mini-sprue, aiding alignment. Once set, the sprue is removed. Et voila!! Turret interior detail is excellent, but WHY did Takom choose to mould the kit serial and date inside!!!!?? On yours, this will of course need to be removed. Quite complicated-looking, but relatively simple to build. Even the breech loading block slides up and down. If the barrel were hollow, this would be amazing to be able to see right through to the muzzle. Here you can see that I pulled the loading block downwards (view from underside) Various drive mechanisms are installed, for turret transverse. Lower turret fitted out, complete with crew seats. The detail is astonishing. Will it all fit in the turret though? The answer is YES! Here's the finished turret, complete with barrel and muzzle. The model is finished! Hope you like it!! Thanks to MBK Distribution for supplying this kit for us to review and build.
  7. 1/16 Imperial Japanese Army Type 94 Tankette Takom Catalogue # 1006 Available for around £50 The Type 94 tankette (Japanese: 九四式軽装甲車, Kyūyon-shiki keisōkōsha, literally "94 type light armored car", also known as TK that is abbreviation of "Tokushu Keninsha" that means special tractor, was a tankette used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Nomonhan against the Soviet Union, and in World War II. Although tankettes were often used as ammunition tractors, and general infantry support, they were designed for reconnaissance, and not for direct combat. The lightweight Type 94 proved effective in China as the Chinese National Revolutionary Army consisted of only three tank battalions to oppose them, and those tank battalions only consisted of some British export models and Italian CV-33 tankettes. As with nearly all tankettes built in the 1920s and 1930s, they had thin armour that could be penetrated by .50 calibre machine gun fire at 600 yards range. The design of the Type 94 began in 1932. Development was then given to Tokyo Gas and Electric Industry (later known as Hino Motors) in 1933, and an experimental model was completed in 1934. It was a small light tracked vehicle with a turret armed with one machine gun. For cargo transportation it pulled an ammunition trailer. The hull of the Type 94 was of riveted and welded construction, with a front-mounted engine with the driver to the right. The engine was an air-cooled petrol motor that developed 35hp at 2,500 rpm. The commander stood in a small unpowered turret at the rear of the hull. A large door in the rear of the hull accessed the storage compartment. With the start of World War II, a number of Type 94s were issued to each Japanese infantry division in the Pacific theatre, with a tracked trailer. They saw action in Burma, the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines and on a number of islands in the South Pacific Mandate. Some were also assigned to Imperial Japanese Navy Land Forces. A detachment of eight Type 94 tankettes forming the 56th Infantry Group Tankette Unit (Also named the Anai tankette unit, after the name of their captain), part of the "Sakaguchi Detachment", had a notable role in the Japanese conquest of Java, engaging a large enemy element on 2 March and routing them, capturing a bridge on the same night, and at dawn overrunning a position of 600 enemy soldiers on the opposite bank, and participating in offensive operations that led to the surrender of Dutch forces on the next few days near Surakarta. Extract from Wikipedia The kit This kit is the initial release of the Type 94 Tankette, hitting the market only within the last 2 months. Another Late Production version will be released here soon, with the Japanese markets already seeing this new version. For a 1/16 kit, the box for this model kit is relatively small, as befits such a vehicle of such stature. Despite the size of this little vehicle, the kit box itself is pretty full. Please note that this model does notoffer a full interior as with very recent Takom kits. Takom’s Type 94 Tankette comprises of 9 sprues of light grey styrene, two clear sprues and two lengths of grey vinyl track of the same shade as the styrene. Sprues are packaged separately except for the multiples of the same sprue. A single PE fret is also included, as is a single decal sheet. The instruction manual is a 16-page landscape format publication, roughly A4 in size and with fold out colour illustrations at the rear. Hull This single-piece moulding is of the typical bathtub-style design and is very deep in form, whilst being short from front to back, indicating the squat nature of the Type 24. The part itself is quite simple, with only the very basics needed in side detail, and numerous dome-headed rivets covering the various faces of the part. Takom has designed the rear hull plate as a separate part. No sprue is connected to this, but there is the tiniest of styrene nubs on the underside that needs a quick trim. Sprue A (x2) We first take a look at a sprue for which two sets are included. Here we have the majority of the parts that concern the running gear etc. Note that the forward drive wheels are moulded with the inner toothed rim separate to the outer portion, and these are fitted with a whole row of locating pins to as to ensure alignment of inner and outer teeth. The roadwheels are moulded with the main rim separate to the inner spoked hub. Orientation of these isn’t important. The rest of this sprue is taken over with the parts for the bogies and the transverse spring suspension that was a quirk of this little vehicle. Takom has used slide-moulding to recreate that hefty spring, and it does actually look very good, despite the fact that it will be hidden behind a separate cover. Plenty of scope for building this with a lost or damaged cover, maybe. The Type 94 consists of two bogies per side that are connected to this transverse spring suspension. Sprue B (x2) These very small sprues contain the idler wheel, moulded in the same two-part style of the drive wheels. A very small number of other parts are included here, such as the idler hub and tensioner for the same said wheel. Sprue D Here we have both full-length fenders, front fender hinged flaps, idler tensioner mechanism, machine gun and associated parts (gun scope etc.), forward light bracket. The only thing I would do with the gun’s sleeve is to drill the holes out. Note that the mounting brackets for the fenders are separately moulded and included on Sprue A. Sprue E Even in 1/16 scale, it’s pretty clear how small this little vehicle was by the paucity of the turret. This is moulded as halves instead of the recent trend in making these as more or less a single piece. External plating and raised rivet detail is excellent, but there are limitations in this unless you opt for more expensive slide-moulding. That factor here involved the raised/domed rivets at the front and back of the turret, which can’t be created properly in a conventional rigid steel mould. To fix this, Takom has included a number of small rivets that are moulded onto the sprue itself. These will need to be shaved off and applied as per instructions. Other parts on this include the turret lid and hinged door, plus the turret base, mantlet, vision ports and escape hatch. Sprue H Takom have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure all the various hatches etc can be posed open, but you need to remember that this model has no interior. Some of these hatches are rather large in 1/16, so it would seem nonsensical to do this unless you planned on some serious scratch-building. Nonetheless, the options are there. Here you can see the full upper hull with the various openings, and plated that create the raised, angular portions of the upper hull. Again, all hatches themselves are moulded with interior/underside details, should you want to pose them open. The rear hull plate with its access hatch and door can be seen here. This sprue really contains the rest of the parts for the tank superstructure, such as the drive wheel gear housings, towing hook with its leaf-spring mounting, pioneer tool (spade), jack, multipart exhaust, storage boxes, headlight, etc. Sprue J A single sprue contains the individual track links for this kit, with there being 85 per side. Takom are actually very generous here as they supply a total of 200 track parts, giving you 30 spare parts. These appear to click together, but at this stage I’ve not tested their fit. Crucially, moulding here is excellent with only sprue gate clean-up really being required. These are also moulded with their horns in situ. A benefit of separate track links is the ability to create a reasonably realistic sag, unlike vinyl which can be more difficult to manipulate into the most realistic pose. Sprue K I’m not really a fan of figures, primarily because I’m not very good at figure painting! Takom has, however, included a very nice styrene figure which takes up all of this sprue. He comprises of 15 parts, with separate face, neck collar, boots etc. and the uniform has been very nicely recreated. He should look superb when complete. There is actually a fifteenth part on the clear sprue, for his goggles. A very nice little touch. Sculpture of his face is perfect, with a suitably Japanese appearance. Vinyl Tracks I’m not really a fan of vinyl tracks or wheels etc, but Takom does give you the option of using these instead of the individual links. Moulded in the same colour as the kit styrene, these provide a much simpler alternative to the separate links, in case that option doesn’t suit you. Photo Etch A single fret contains just three pieces of PE. The largest is for the mesh gate that surrounds the exhaust, and the other parts are for the straps that hold the fender-mounted jack in place. Production is excellent with a nice interleaved mesh effect on the exhaust covering, and minimal gates to cut through to remove the parts. Clear Parts Only two parts here, on two tiny sprues. These contain the figure’s goggles and the tankette headlight lens. Superbly clear and with minimal gate connections too. Decals Just one decal sheet is provided for the three included schemes. Printing is suitably thin, with solid colour, minimal carrier film and perfect registration. Instructions The 16-page manual starts with a potted history of the type and includes a parts map for reference. Construction is broken down into 21 easy to follow stages with clear line drawing illustrations. General paint references are provided at the front of the manual with Mig AMMO colours. Mig also provides the colour illustrations for the schemes at the back of the manual, by means of a fold-out section. Conclusion There’s no doubt that this is a very unusual and well-executed rendition of this diminutive vehicle, and certainly allows the modeller to create something very unusual for their display shelf. The kit itself is fairly basic but doesn’t really need to be anything else as Takom has covered just about all detail and angles here. I think I would’ve liked to have seen an interior with the kit, as they included with their Renault FT release though. Still, for me, I’d build this with all hatches and ports closed, so the interior wouldn’t really matter to me. I think the figure would be best represented by him standing next to the tank. Quality is pure Takom with superb tooling and moulding and detail. In all, not too expensive a kit either, and definitely one you should contemplate if you’re having Panther burnout! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Takom for the review sample seen here. Check out your regular online retailers for this kit. It should be in the shops around now.
  8. 1/35 Panther A mid-late w/Zimmerit & full interior Sd.Kfz.267/Sd.Kfz.171 2 in 1 Takom Catalogue # 2100 Available for around £50 The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the Mark V. The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. It is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I, it had more efficient frontal hull armour, better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements but did not provide enough high explosive firepower against infantry. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. The overall design remained somewhat over-engineered. The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank's effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, its weight is more like that of a heavy tank, as its weight of 44.8 tons puts it roughly in the same category as the American M26 Pershing (41.7 tons), British Churchill (40.7 tons) and the Soviet IS-2 (46 tons) heavy tanks. The tank had a very high power to weight ratio however, making it extremely mobile regardless of its weight. Its weight still caused heavy tank-esque problems however, such as an inability to cross certain bridges. Extract from Wikipedia The kit Well, this kit is another much-anticipated Panther release from Takom, following closely on the heels of their three recent Ausf.A series kits (early, mid-early, late production). This one fills the missing ‘mid-late’hole from the initial releases, but also comes resplendent in a covering of faux-Zimmerit! Yes, no trowelling modelling putty and agonising over the appearance and pattern of the finished application. The hard work is done for you. Oh, I don’t think I mentioned, but this kit, like the others, also has a highly detailed full interior too. What more could you want? This release is packaged into the same size box as the previous Panther kits, but instead of the austere main box art, this particular offering has some rather nice full-colour art on the lid, depicting a three-quarter view of the beast, coated in all that lovely Zimmerit. As with the other releases, the box sides show colour renders of the interior of the tank as a taste for what to expect. Some images of the Ausf.A Early Production kit, under construction our for LSM Pilots project. Inside the box, TWENTY-NINE light grey sprues are either packed separately or in multiples with the cellophane folded between them, so they don’t foul each other. Note that there are no clear parts for the periscopes, so these will need to be painted carefully to represent reflective glass. Still not too hard to do, but clear parts would’ve been nice. The box is absolutely crammed with styrene, as you can imagine with this being a full interior kit. As well as the sprues, a turret and upper hull are included, as well as two track building guides that we’ll look at soon. To complete the package, we have two small decal sheets, a PE fret containing 7 parts, lengths of copper cable, a flexible hose, and a very thick 40-page instruction manual. These last items are packed into multiple sleeves that are then packed with the manual. One thing I simply can’t do here is to give a sprue by sprue résumé, due to the complexity of the kit. Instead, I will look at features and engineering break down of this release. Please remember that several of the sprues in this release are newly tooled to represent the Zimmerit coating. I will of course look at these with some detail photographs. Getting started A quick look around the kit contents and you’ll notice a lack of the usual bathtub-style lower hull. For their Panther releases, Takom has chosen to break down everything into constituent components, such as the hull floor, hull sides and forward lower glacis, although the latter is fitted to an inner plate that is connected to the floor. The reasoning behind this is to make everything as accessible as possible to the modeller as they progress through these easy hull construction stages where the frames, transmission, brake drums and torsion bars are to be fitted. Unlike Rye Field Model, Takom provides the lower hull frames as plastic parts, as opposed to their competitor who supply these in photo-etch. Both options work great for me, with perhaps the plastic parts being easier to fit and align. They are also moulded, as with the rest of the interior, with huge finesse. The swing arms are next to be fitted, and to help with absolute positioning, two plastic jigs are included. These have alignment holes for the swing arm axles to fit into. Takom hasn’t designed this kit to have articulated swing arms, so if you want to pose the model whilst sitting on uneven ground, this is the time for you to look at that and mock things up for later. It’s now the time for the interior to be fitted out, and this is no quick task. Apart from the many ammunition shells and their storage racks, you also have what is probably the busiest detailed interior that I’ve seen in any kit thus far. Work progresses with the installation of the crew seats (moulded rear spring detail unlike the PE of the RFM release), interior walls and bulkheads, radio sets, drive shaft, and turret floor. Also, of note are that the boxed ammunition shells only have the protruding tip as a part, with the box below them being hollow. This certainly makes more sense that depicting the full ammunition body. I hope you didn’t throw away the swing arm guides as these are now used to create the shape of the tracks. Onto the guides will plug the drive and idler wheels (no glue!) and then the tracks can be formed over the curves of the guide, with the drive/idler/track assembly being transferred to your lower hull. FOUR sprues of track links and associated parts are included, incorporating several completed sections of track, along with many separate links. None of the track links have moulded horns. These are provided as separate parts that are moulded to a tree that you install as a single piece, and then when dry, snip away the tree from the tracks. That’s a smart move that will save some swearing. Having just made a set of these for one of the initial releases, I can say that the approach is trouble-free and stressless. The Panther’s Maybach engine is faithfully reproduced and is a project in itself, complete with its plumbing that interconnects to the engine bay walls. This, along with fuel tanks, engine cooling apparatus and more internal framing. This is a model for which you will need to carefully plan each painting and weathering stage ahead of getting to that part. A single-piece upper hull is included with sections missing for the crew compartment, engine and engine cooling. These are moulded as separate parts, thus maximising the opportunity to show the interior of the model to its fullest potential. Even so, you would still be limited, under normal circumstances, to pose these off in any realistic way, unless you created a factory diorama of the Panther being built. Still, we know all those detail goodies are in there, so that’s all that really matters. Note again the excellent rendition of Zimmerit on this piece, continuing through the main external areas of this specific release. That turret is obviously the main feature of this kitty, and this of course is resplendent in amazing interior details. The turret itself is moulded as lid and sides, with the front and rear plates being separate. Plate and weld seam details are superb. Of course, there is an amount of moulded detail within the roof interior, pertaining mostly to electrical conduits etc. I find it most odd that Takom chose to mould, in raised detail, the kit year and serial adjacent to the actual details! Working hinges are provided for the escape hatch on the rear face, and the cupola is supplied with a single-piece ring that contains the shrouds for the periscopes. With this glued in situ, the ring can be cut away, leaving the shrouds in the correct position. External Zimmerit detail is again excellent, and of course there is the cupola mounted MG, etc. but the interior is spectacular. If it’s supposed to be in there, the chances are that Takom has faithfully reproduced it, including turret traverse motors, gun counterbalance, hydraulic drive, loader/gunner/commander seats, azimuth etc. The gun breech is superbly detailed, and like it or not, the barrel in this release is plastic, albeit single part, with separate three-piece muzzle brake. A flexible hose is supplied for the turret interior. Where RFM added a little extra was by means of showing any plumbing and wiring that would be in this area so that the modeller could add it him/herself. You’d be best to avail yourself of the required information and add it yourself from lead wire too. For such a comprehensive kit, there is surprisingly little PE in this release, with Takom opting to create many of the finer parts in standard injection plastic. Only six pieces of photo-etch are included in this release, and these are for the engine cooling grilles on the rear top deck. The mesh is certainly fine enough to pass muster, and the quality is excellent. Decals Two small decal sheets are included, with one for the various external numbers etc. and the other being for the many pieces of ammunition and other internal details. There is no printing manufacturer on the sheets, but they are very thin with solid colour, minimal carrier film and in perfect register. The five schemes in this release are: Panther A, 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 1, France 1944 Panther A, 3Kompanie, Pz. Reg. Grossdeutschland, France, June 1944 Panther A, Stab I Abteilung SS Pz.Reg. 2, France 1944 Panther A, 4 Kompanie SS Pz.Reg. 2, Mont Ormel, Italy 1944 Panther A, Regiment Grossdeutschland, Jassy Romania, April 1944 Instructions A 40-page A4 manual is included (landscape format) which breaks the Panther down into 64 constructional sequences with numerous sub-stages. As I said, this is no quick project. The cover of the manual gives a history of the type and we then get a comprehensive parts map showing each sprue, decal sheet and PE fret. Most of the constructional imagery, provided as shaded illustrations, is printed on matt paper except for where corresponding leaves are printed on gloss for the numerous colour illustrations, courtesy of AMMO. These images provide priceless info on interior painting and will save us countless hours trawling the information either online or in books. Painting reference is also provided in AMMO reference codes. The last pages of the manual are given over to the four schemes provided with this kit, printed in glossy colour and with more AMMO paint references to negotiate. Inside the manual, a small correction sheet is included for the track building section. Conclusion I’ve already sacrificed my initial Panther Ausf.A Early Production kit on the altar of test fit and a construction guide (for which I enclose a couple of images in this review). Despite the apparent complexity of the kit, I can say, unequivocally, that this model will fit together with a minimum of issues. Applying Zimmerit is also something that some modellers would be inclined to shy away from because of the patterns used or how to apply it properly, but with this kit, there are no such hurdles to overcome. Takom has created a very realistic ant-magnetic putty pattern, complete with the natural unevenness that would be seen. You can of course add damage to this wherever you wish, using a curved scalpel blade. There is a tiny amount of moulded damage too, so how you finally depict things is up to you. My only niggle is the lack of clear parts for the periscopes, but it’s certainly no deal breaker as you can either paint the grey plastic accordingly or use acetate. In all, a top-notch release that adds to the year’s score of new Panther kits. Very highly recommended! My sincere thanks to the good people at Takom for sending this review sample you see here.
  9. 1/35 V-2 Rocket, Meillerwagen, Hanomag SS100 Takom Catalogue # 2030 Available from Modellbau-Koenig for €79,50 The V-2 (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, "Retribution Weapon 2"), technical name Aggregat 4 (A4), was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile with a liquid-propellant rocket engine was developed during the Second World War in Germany as a "vengeance weapon", assigned to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket also became the first artificial object to cross the boundary of space with the vertical launch of MW 18014 on 20 June 1944. Research into military use of long range rockets began when the studies of graduate student Wernher von Braun attracted the attention of the German Army. A series of prototypes culminated in the A-4, which went to war as the V-2. Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, first London and later Antwerp and Liège. According to a 2011 BBC documentary, the attacks from V2s resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel, and a further 12,000 forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners died as a result of their forced participation in the production of the weapons. The A-4 used a 74% ethanol/water mixture (B-Stoff) for fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) (A-Stoff) for oxidizer. At launch the A-4 propelled itself for up to 65 seconds on its own power, and a program motor controlled the pitch to the specified angle at engine shutdown, after which the rocket continued on a ballistic free-fall trajectory. The rocket reached a height of 80 km (50 mi) after shutting off the engine. The V-2 was guided by four external rudders on the tail fins, and four internal graphite vanes in the jet stream at the exit of the motor. The LEV-3 guidance system consisted of two free gyroscopes (a horizontal and a vertical) for lateral stabilization, and a PIGA accelerometer to control engine cut-off at a specified velocity. The V-2 was launched from a pre-surveyed location, so the distance and azimuth to the target were known. Fin 1 of the missile was aligned to the target azimuth. V-2 rocket on a surviving Meillerwagen (photo, author) As Germany collapsed, teams from the Allied forces—the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union—raced to capture key German manufacturing sites and technology. Wernher von Braun and over 100 key V-2 personnel surrendered to the Americans. Eventually, many of the original V-2 team ended up working at the Redstone Arsenal. The US also captured enough V-2 hardware to build approximately 80 of the missiles. The Soviets gained possession of the V-2 manufacturing facilities after the war, re-established V-2 production, and moved it to the Soviet Union. (Courtesy of Wikipedia) The kit This is actually the second Takom release of the V-2, with the initial kit containing just the rocket itself. This more comprehensive boxing contains not only the V-2 Meillerwagen that was designed to carry and cradle the rocket, but also the Hanomag SS100 heavy road tractor. Lastly, if you wish to display the V-2 in its deployed position, then parts are also included for the launching platform. In fact, the only thing this set really misses is the liquid oxygen and other fuelling tanks. I’d like to think we’d eventually see those. For the moment though, let’s look at the main event. This is a large box, and it is absolutely crammed full of plastic and other goodies, which isn’t surprising when you consider it contains three kits (four if you include the small launch platform). As with much Takom artwork, this one certainly pleases. A Meillerwagen is shown raising the rocket into position onto the launching platform whilst a previously launched weapon is seen rising into the air in the distance. One side of the box shows the Hanomag and trailer, with the V-2 in lowered position. The other has a sprue and contents map, showing that this project is no weekender. Inside the box there are a total of SEVENTEEN light grey sprues that are all bagged individually (except for the main rocket parts), one clear sprue, one small PE fret, two packets containing a total of 15 vinyl tyres, two brass chains, and two small decal sheets. Yup, a real package! Two instruction booklets are included. One of these concerns the Hanomag alone (as this was a separate release), and the other deals with the Meillerwagen, V-2, and the launching platform. Several painting options are included for all individual components. Hanomag Having already seen a release of this as a standalone kit in 2016, it made total sense to include it as part of the V-2 Meillerwagen release we see here. A total of SEVEN sprues and ONE clear sprue go into the construction of this robust-looking vehicle, as well as 7 of the 15 vinyl tyres included in this release. Reading a small number of online accounts regarding the specific Hanomag release, construction appears to be a trouble-free process, and this would look to be the case when you look at the kit engineering. Despite that fact, the Hanomag SS100 is packed full of detail. Construction takes place over 26 stages within the manual, with all of these being depicted in greyscale renders that reference any RLM colours used, as well as codes for Mig Ammo paints. Mig have partnered with Takom to bring you their own colour call-outs and profiles for their releases. Four schemes are supplied for the Hanomag, all with starkly different appearances. These are for vehicles that were used at Peenemunde, Tempelhof, Mittelwerk (Nordhausen), and Belgium. I’m not really sure that all of these schemes were for use in V-2 deployment, for example, the Telmpelhof vehicle. Unless my history serves me incorrectly, no V-2 was fired from Berlin!! \ The model includes detailed chassis, with engine, transmission, exhaust system, fuel tanks, and suspension. It’s quite deceptive when you look at the sprues, as the chassis itself is constructed from a number of innocuous looking beams etc. that don’t really make any sense until you look at the in constructional context. This approach certainly adds to the parts and sprue count, and should be real fun to build. I’ll certainly be expecting this when I begin this soon for Military Illustrated Modeller. Like them or not, you get vinyl tyres in this release. These are all supplied off-sprue, so there is no clean-up to do with them. The seam is almost invisible, and moulding detail includes the manufacturer identifying lettering on the side of them. Kit design allows the front wheels to be positioned together via a working linkage. Cab detailing is very good, and also quite simplistic, as is commensurate with the real thing. It appears that the doors can be posed in the open position, but there are internal door panels that are fitted when the external doors are secured within the frame. Manual illustration doesn’t show an optional position for the doors, other than closed. Meillerwagen At first glance, this looks to be a daunting-looking project, but having seen one of these being built on YouTube, and thanks to some nice engineering and quirky construction, it appears that you end up with something quite complex in appearance, but relatively easy to build. There are six sprues associated with this vehicle, although not exclusively. There are some parts on them associated with the launch platform too, which appeared to have been cut down for the release of the separate V-2 rocket in 2016. Here, those sprues are included in their un-butchered format. Another twenty-four steps are given over to the construction of this behemoth, with that figure doubling or trebling if you look at the various sub-assemblies contained therein. These stages are shown in a separate manual to the Hanomag, and also containing illustration for building the V-2 and launching platform. As with the Hanomag, multiple colour options are provided for the Meillerwagen. These are for two machines that operated in Holland in 1944, with one being overall grey, and the more attractive unit carrying the Dunkelgelb, Olivgrun and Shokobraun (Schokoladenbraun?) colours. I don’t know if you’d need to pair the Meillerwagen colour with the Hanomag. It would be quite attractive if you could use odd colours and certainly some visual stimuli. The Meillerwagen can be built with the lift frame either raised or lowered, and the upper collar can be posed in an open or closed position. The frame contains operating platforms that can be suitably posed, and with these are included two lengths of brass chain for the crew safety barrier. Eight further vinyl tyres are included for the construction of the Meillerwagen. A series of Hydrogen Peroxide tanks are included within the frame. A single PE fret provides a small number of parts for the Meillerwagen, and shares itself with a few small details designated for the rocket. V-2 and launching platform I suppose it’s ironic that the real star of the show is the one with the least number of parts, but that really doesn’t matter, as detail is every bit as good as that of the Hanomag and Meillerwagen. The rocket comprises of separate front and rear sections, supplied as halves, with the connection ring that fits between them, as per the real thing. Into the lower halves fit the exhaust nozzle and the graphite steering paddles that sat in the rocket’s thrust gases, guiding the V-2 onto its path of destruction. The rocket fins are separate parts, to be plugged into the lower half. Without a doubt, even in 1/35 scale, this is an imposing creation. Externally, detail is given as fine panel lines and rows of recessed rivets. Cleaning up the seams will mean that some of this may be lost, so make sure that Rosie is available to put back what might disappear under a sanding stick. The rocket is supplied on two sprues, with the main body parts being separate and in their own clear sleeves. PE is supplied for hatch latches and the strap which holds the rocket onto the Meillerwagen whilst in transit and being erected. There are six colour schemes for the rockets, ranging from those built for deployment and test. Whilst there are camouflage options, I still prefer the black/white quartered unit whose colours were apparently to gauge telemetry when launched. Lastly, the launching platform. As the Meillerwagen is raised, the rocket base is located to the launching platform before the vehicle moves away and the rocket is ready to fire. This little kit comprises the thrust table with its scalloped sides to equally deflect the thrust outwards, manually-operated jacks, and a geared table onto which the rocket sits. A total of around 40 parts comprise this unit. Decals Two small sheets are included for the Hanomag and rocket. These simply contain things such as serials and stencilling for the rocket, and military registration plates and instruments for the Hanomag. These are nicely printed by Cartograf and in perfect register. Conclusion The only things missing here are the fuelling tanker and the firing cabin. Maybe we’ll see those eventually. Having said that, this is a superb representation of the rocket and her delivery/deployment train, in the most intricate of detail. Once you get all the sprues out of the box, you’ll be hard-pushed to get them to fit back in there, there really is so much plastic to work with. This brings me onto the price. MBK is selling this kit for €79,50, and I think that represents excellent value for money for what is really quite an amazing kit of what was ground-breaking technology at the time, leading onto what eventually became a part of America’s space programme and the moon landings. This is no weekend project (except maybe for the rocket itself), and I think you’ll need a little patience for the Meillerwagen, but the payoff will be a stunning model that will be very different to others on the shelf. My sincere thanks to Modellbau-Koenig and Uschi van der Rosten for the sample reviewed here.
  10. 1/35 Mk.A Whippet Medium tank Takom # 03.02.2025 Available from Pocketbond for £ 39,99 Introduction What we have here is one of the first operational tanks. With the sudden sprouting of WWI kits in large scale, this is a very welcome but also logical release. It’s one of the first tanks that actually started to look a little bit like the tank we know today. A first hint of a turret and the tracks not running at the height of upper body of the tank. After the MK.I and MK.IV the need rose for a smaller and faster tank. William Tritton (designer of the Mother tank) came up with the idea to develop a smaller and faster tank that could use the gaps in the enemy defences made by the bigger tanks. Since the machine gun was one of the most feared and loved weapons of WWI, this fast tank was to have an armoured machine gun nest firing in all directions. Tests were done with a rotating turret, but time pressure (deadline: July 1917) obstructed this. William Tritton named his tank Whippet for it’s speed: powered by two Tylor 45hp engines. The same engines that powered the double decker busses! The difficulty in the setup was that each engine powered one track. This called for serious driving skills in a time where training time was scarce. All in all this tank was developed over a one year period. The deadline was not made, but in October they were ready to go to France. The first missions consisted of covering retreating troops but later on they finally got the role they were designed for! Fighting alongside the heavier tanks and penetrating enemy lines where they would reap havoc. Despite their lack of thick armour (8 – 14 mm) they proved to be successful. One story stand out: That of one Whippet called ‘The Musical Box’. It got separated from it’s unit behind enemy lines. There it fought like a beast wiping out an entire camp, a motorized column, machine gun nests, an artillery unit and an observation post. Eventually it was stopped by a direct hit, but it had already made it’s point… The Whippet had some downsides. It’s thin armour. The four machine guns crowded the fixated turret with their butt stocks. And the steering engineering proved way to complex. Even for a trained driver. In the end all 200 orders for the Whippet were built. After the war some went to units in Ireland and some went to Russia. They even upgraded a few with a French 37mm gun. Six were sold to Japan where it was carefully studied and used as a starting point for Japanese tank design. The Whippet in Japanese service (not the towing cable carried on the side): Survivors for reference As far as I could find there are X surviving Whippets around today. Which means we are lucky to have various walkarounds available on the net. Here is one from the Brussels Army museum: http://svsm.org/gallery/whippet_bru And here is one from the Worthington Tank Park in Canada: http://svsm.org/gallery/whippet_wor The surviving Whippet in the Brussels Army museum: The kit The first thing I noticed is the small box it comes in which doesn’t really reflect the size of the tank, which is substantial (for a medium tank). Contents: 7 grey sprues hold all the parts, a bag of separate and movable track links, one small photo etch sheet and decals for no less than 7 schemes. On the first page of the instruction booklet and additional sprue (F) is mentioned, along with a resin commander figure and decals are mentioned. These are only included in an exclusive limited edition and will let you build the Japanese version. By the looks of it sprue F holds 2 japanese machine guns. Lets walk through the instruction steps One thing I simply hate about building armour kits is the laborious work of cleaning up the wheels, sprockets and return rollers. When a kit has a lot of flash this means hours of cleaning up the mould lines with a sharp blade. Luckily sprues A and E show little to none of this moulding imperfection, causing steps 1 to 3 to be pretty do-able. The Whippet had ingenious mud chutes that made sure the mud that was transported to the top of the track did not land on the lower road wheels. At the same time this system (and the outer armour plating) causes the road wheels and return rollers to be almost invisible. I find it curious that you are to place all the wheels before assembling the hull. Usually this is done the other way around. On the other hand it might make assembling easier, since there are so many of them and you want to assemble them vertically (so they don’t fall out) before you button them up with the armour plate that holds them in place. Sprue A (x2): Close up of Sprue A: Sprue E (x2): Close ups of Sprue E: These side plates take 10 small photo etch hooks. I checked a lot of reference photo’s and found some that show these hooks to be used for carrying towing cables. The exhaust pipes on the sides of the hull are placed pretty early in the construction phase (if you ask me). I would advise to keep these parts aside and spray the armour body first. The ends of the exhaust pipe have a hint of being hollow. A small dimple is present but this makes it easier to drill them out yourself. No big deal. When both track units are done construction moves to the main hull. No interior is offered in this kit, so this is a speedy procedure! The armour plates that make up the hull show light traces of ejector pin marks on the inside. Only if you wish to scratch (or after market) the interior should you get rid of these, but they are so light this will be a simple task. Sprue B: Close up of Sprue B: Close up of Sprue B (note the ejection pin marks. Not very prominent): Sprue C: Close ups of Sprue C: Sprue D: Close ups of Sprue D: When the hull is almost completely closed the Hotchkiss guns are added. One firing to the front (and yes, the long nose is the front, which holds the two huge Tyler engines), two firing to the sides and one firing to the rear, located in the door. Once you have added all four guns, you’ll see that the space inside is pretty cramped. That’s why during battle often the side firing guns were left out. When firing to the sides during battle was necessary the forward and rear firing guns could be switched to side firing positions in short time. The Hotchkiss guns themselves are pretty well detailed. Check out the detail on the Hotchkiss gun: Note the cramped space inside the Whippet, mainly caused by the 4 Hotchkiss guns: The movable / workable track links are great…. I test fitted a small piece. 69 links make up one side and to help you keep ‘track’ Takom has numbered every single one of them! The plastic is soft enough to bend just enough to squeeze the two pins and slide them in the two holes of the next link. Don’t use too much force, or one pin will definitely break! Not too fond of the numbers on the inside of each link though: Painting and Markings As I said in the intro no less than 7 colouring options are included! 4 British options, two german and 1 russian: • Option 1: British Mark. A Whippet Near Achiet-le-Petit France, August 1918 • Option 2: British Mark. A Whippet Biefvillers (France) August 1918 • Option 3: British Mark. A Tank 347 Of 6th battalion Tank Corps.B Company Amiens (France) August 1918 • Option 4: British Mark. A Whippet Irish Civil War Dublin, January 1919 • Option 5: Repair number 111 At Lieu-Saint-Armand Training ground of the 17th Army in September 1918 • Option 6: German Whippet In Freikorps Service Berlin, January 1919 • Option 7: Russian Whippet In Red Army service, 1920 The decal sheet: Aftermarket? This is a fairly new kit, but the subject has already been done by Emhar. Not as nice as the new Takom kit by far. Accurate Armour also released the Whippet some time ago, but that is the most expensive road to take. And as we are used to in the model production world, two companies jump up at the same time and produce the same subject at the exact same time. Yes.. Meng models recently also brought their take on the Whippet to the market J This does mean that there is already some aftermarket available that might just fit the Takom release too. Like the Panzershop resin stowage and tracks. I don’t think the resin tracks are something you’ll use, but the stowage bins and other extra stuff in this set could prove useful. Panzershop resin: Also available (and again not 100% sure whether they fit the Takom release) are the Friulmodel white metal tracks. I’m usually a huge fan of these, but with the Whippet the return rollers are obscured. Since I usually add Friulmodel to the mix to show how the track sacks over them, I might think about this purchase pretty hard. Friulmodel ATL-146 Masterclub also makes resin tracks and yes, they ARE designed for the Takom release. This Russian company focuses on figures and tank tracks. Pretty new to me, but great products by the simple look of it. Masterclub resin tracks: DN Models does a nice set of paint masks for the insignia and crosses. Verdict One simple but effective (and affordable) release of the Whippet Mk.A. With the old Emhar Whippet costing around 22 pounds and this new Takom Whippet going for just under 40 pounds, I’d say this is a pretty good deal. Not much aftermarket is needed since the crude exterior is very well rendered and doesn’t need much. You’d better invest in a good set of weathering agents! What is not included is any hint of an interior. No engine. No drivers compartment. This is where’s there room for the aftermarket companies. When the rear door is posed open a good part of the inside is visible. Technically this is a very well made, thought out, basic kit with plenty of options for extra detailing. I would have loved to see some extra’s added though. Like the towing cable. Or the fenders that are not an option in this kit. Ah well… you can’t have it all! Takom is definitely on a roll, releasing one exotic kit after another. Keep m coming! From 1 to 10 I’d rate this kit as an 8. Highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Pocketbond for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
  11. 1:35 Krupp 21 cm Mörser 10/16 Takom Catalogue # 2015/2032 Available from Pocketbond for 29,99 pounds Introduction After the sudden onslaught of WW1 aviation subjects in our Large Scale, we see a sudden sprint on the armour front as well. Both cottage industry brands as larger brands see opportunities and surprise us with often lesser known monstrous Great War subjects. Tamiya, Meng and Takom take on some impressive ‘heavies’, whereas Tommy’s War, The Fusilier and Aviattic treat us to a whole new range of figures and equipment. I guess most of us modelling nuts know the British WWI Male and Female tank. But who knew the St. Chamond? The Char 2C? The Schneider tank? Or the Krupp Mörser for that matter? WW1 subjects sure offer great potential for diorama modellers who can shape their dreams in mutt and plastic despair. One of my favourite modellers these days within this subject without a doubt is Per Olav Lund. Some pictures of his amazing work: History Let’s have a look at the name first. Krupp obviously is the factory that produced this weapon and is famous for it’s (field) guns. Founded in 1810 in Essen and delivering guns to the Russian, Turkish and Prussian armies. Nowadays Krupp has merged with Thyssen and continues under one brand: ThyssenKrupp AG and is still Germany’s 5th largest steel company. (You may have seen their logo in an elevator...) The Mörser (Mortar in english) 10/16 replaced the older Mörser 99 which lacked recoil and a protective shield for the crew. The 10/16 also featured a longer barrel than the older model 99 (and was often also referred to as Länger Mörser) which gave it a longer range of almost 10km(!). These numbers in the type names derive from the year they were developed. The K98 rifle for instance was developed in 1898. The Mörser 99 was developed in 1899 and the Mörser 10 in 1910 (and further upgraded in 1916). There’s an interesting video on YouTube that shows the production and use of this canon: Amazingly 12 Mörser 10 types survived to this day and about 17 of the Mörser 16. Mostly in the USA and Australia. Check this link to see if there’s one in your vicinity for a good walkaround: http://www.passioncompassion1418.com/Canons/English_CanonsIndex_NationPHP.php#Allemagne As I found one is on display in the Belgian War Museum in Bussels in a great colourscheme and mounted for transport. Here's the one at Brussels: And here's one covered in grey paint withstanding the elements in the USA: The kit Takom spends time on their design and box-art. What strikes is the relatively small size of the box that contains 4 grey sprues, some photo etch, decals and rubber rings to secure the wheels. Somehow I expected this kit to be bigger, but it’s well researched and definitely complete! It’s also clear that Takom has a steady partnership with AMMO (Mig Jimenez) products, since their logo is present on the colourguide, and the AMMO paint codes are used throughout. So, 4 relatively small sprues: Sprue A: With the wheels, gunshield and elevation mechanics. The wheels are crisp and well detailed with clear definition of the nuts and bolts. The only thing you might want to add is the securing pin through the wheel axle/hub. You can see this part on the photo of the Brussels example. Included in the kit are normal / conventional spoked wheels and the tracked wheels for heavy terrain. These give the gun an impressive stance. A small point of attention (or rather three of them) are the ejector pin marks on the inside of the shield. These are easy to get rid off, since no small detail is immediately surrounding it. Here's the rear of the shield with some marks to get rid off: Sprue B: With the breech and the main frame. These parts make up the base of the gun and show no pin marks on the visible outside. Assembly of the gun starts with these parts and give you an idea of the size. Sprue C: With the breech, axles and smaller details. No flash, no pin marks and little to no clean up necessary. Sprue D: With the optional track-pads, barrel and small details. The track pads have some ejector marks on the inside and I guess you could opt to remove them, but when attached they will be hardly visible. Also on this sprue is the shorter Mörser 10 barrel and the longer Mörser 16 barrel. Both take the photo etch rifling on the inside which will take some elbow grease to get it to fit seamlessly I imagine. In my sample two small photo etch frets are present. Upon further inspection I found a single correction sheet in the box stating that PE-part TP-7 (on the bigger sheet) is incorrect and should be replaced by the included single TP-7 part that is provided. This may or not be the case with your kit. Just make sure to check the photo in this review whether you have the correct part. The instruction come in a small A5 booklet with well defined shaded 3D impressions. I favour this style over hand drawn or photographed instruction illustrations any day! In no more than 18 steps the gun falls together and this is where the real work starts. Since these guns saw heavy battle, you can really go to town with your weathering pigments, chipping medium and oil washes. No wonder AMMO committed it’s name to this line of kits… Seven schemes are offered in a foldable booklet, printed in colour in 4 sided profiles: 1. Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 Imperial German Army 1871-1919 World War 1, Sereth front, Romania | 1917 | Dark Grey 2. Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 Imperial German Army 1871-1919 Unknown World War 1 | Yellow Gray, Forest Green 3. Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 Captured by the Canadian Army 21st Battalion 27th City of WPG World War 1, Vimy Ridge | August 1917 | Yellow Gray, Green Base Decals are provided for this scheme only, since the Canadians left some of their graffiti on their spoils of war! 4. Krupp 21cm Mörser 16 Imperial German Army 1871-1919 Unknown World War 1 | Dull Green, Ochre Earth, Clay Brown 5. Krupp 21cm Mörser 16 Imperial German Army 1871-1919 World War 1, Artois | 1916 | Forest Green with Ochre Earth, Clay Brown blotches 6. Krupp 21cm Mörser 16 Canadian Army World War 1, East of Arms | October 1918 | Yellow Gray, Brown Soil, Dull Green 7. Krupp 21cm Mörser 16 Imperial German Army 1871-1919 World War 1, Ham (Somme) | March 1918 | Brown Soil, Dull Green, Ochre Earth Verdict I would rate this kit a solid 9 out of a 10. For Takom’s choice of subject. After all: these guns made some impact in their days, but are lesser known than their WWII offspring. These guns (like the Big Bertha soon to be released) offer endless diorama possibilities and pay homage to so many men that lost their lives in the Great War. But also a 9 out of 10 for the quality of Takom’s kits. The moulding, finish and engineering. Right down to the fact you get to choose out of no less than 7 schemes! These kits might someday just pull me over to the dark side… As a matter of fact I found myself browsing Tommy’s War and The Fusilier websites, looking for some appropriate figures to go alongside my Mörser… Highly recommended if you are venturing into Great War subjects. Our sincere thanks to Pocketbond for this review sample. To purchase your Mörser 10/16 click here. Jeroen Peters
  12. Time to shift to the Dark Side, and build some armour. I'm opening this momentous occasion by cutting some sprues for this new, initial release from new company, Takom. That's my tent pitched. Keep tuned folks!
  13. 1:16 Renault FT, Char Cannon/Girod Turret Takom Catalogue # 1001 Available from Hobby Link Japan for 13,500¥ Whilst the British has invented the so-called 'tank', it was the French who put it into a form that we would recognise as such today, and one which would inspire tank designers the world over. The Renault FT had a front situated driver, main armament in a rotating turret, and a rear-mounted engine, which is still an industry standard practice for tanks today. Introduced into service in 1917, production was slow, but increased rapidly through 1918, and by the Armistice, around 3000 had been built. Initially designed to incorporate a cast steel turret with a Hotchkiss 8mm MG, this was superseded by a Berliet-designed polygonal, plate turret, into which the Hotchkiss could be ditched in favour of the Puteaux 37mm gun. The Berliet was carried by a large number of the Renault FT before it was replaced in favour of the Girod turret, designed by Paul Girod, and mounted on a ball-race track. The rather narrow, and slow FT-17 was fitted with a long, curved tail which helped it negotiate trenches without it 'falling in' and becoming immobilised. Its tracks were held under constant tension, reducing the possibility of them being 'thrown'. This successful design was built under licence by the US, post-WW1, of which another 950 were built, and classified as the 'Six Ton Tank M1917', and the design went on to operate with many countries, globally. The type even saw active service in World War 2, even being operated by the Germans who had captured a number of these from the French. Unlike Meng who incorrectly called their release the 'FT-17', Takom have correctly designated their kit the 'Renault FT'. This tank was never referred to during the war as the FT-17. It's basically an anomaly. 'FT' itself was simply the next factory project code in line when the design was instigated. Source: Wikipedia Takom's new Renault FT kit is packaged into a large, glossy and very sturdy top opening box. Being a very new company, this is their first venture into this scale, and they sure have produced an extremely attractive package, with a great looking artwork on the lid, and the available schemes and sprue shots depicted on the box sides. Underneath that not insubstantial lid, THIRTEEN sprues are packaged into thick, heat-sealed bags. All are separately bagged apart from the sprues which are duplicates. In this case, these are packed two-per-bag. Takom have chosen an unusual route in their choice of plastic colour. Apart from the track link sprues (4 off), all the remaining sprues are moulded in a strange crimson red! I don't know their rationale, but this colour extends to the treatment the PE fret has had too. Very odd, but strangely easy to photograph for this article. SPRUE A (x2) This sprue, of which two are supplied, concerns itself with the Renault FT's forward idler and rear drive wheels, and the numerous smaller road wheels and track return wheels. The large wooden idlers are moulded in halves, with the drive wheel being a single part. The latter wheel has 3 raised ejection pin marks on one side. These minimal marks will be easy to erase. The individual wooden components of the idlers are separated by neatly engraved lines. The track return and road wheels are also moulded as two parts. Also on this sprue are the idler wheel forks and the springs which supported the upper return track roller beam, and various hull hinges, handles, brackets and chain attachment fittings. In this scale, the springs should have really been included 'as' springs, and not as moulded on detail. It would be better to remove this detail and wrap some thick copper wire around the posts. SPRUE B (x4) These are the track link sprues, and they are moulded in medium grey styrene. Each track link comprises THREE parts, and there are 32 tracks per side. You do get spares here, as each sprue contains 18 links, therefore you are supplied with 72 links, as opposed to the 64 you will actually use. The links themselves look very accurate in relation to the reference book I have here, with them being correct in their thickness and profile. The link consists of the main plate, with two brackets above; one moulded with a pin which allows the tracks to articulate after construction. The smallest of ejector pin marks are present on the interior of these, but again, should provide no concerns as the plastic is only minimally raised. You should tackle these however, as you will see this portion of the track when assembled. The outside edge of these sprues contain a number of spare rivet heads. These are here for a reason. The turret is moulded as halves, and the limitation of the moulding process means that the protruding rivets which would stick horizontally out from the part whilst on the mould, would cause a problem which would perhaps need expensive slide-moulding. Takom's solution is to slice these from this sprue, and affix them in the locations shown. Problem solved! SPRUE C & D These sprues are virtually identical except for the fact that the slabs-sided hull sides are of course 'handed', as are the drive wheel gearboxes. The hull sides are moulded full length and incorporate the idler wheel connection points. The exterior of the hull exhibits crisp plating detail and nicely shaped rivet heads, which look more than reasonable for a 1:16 kit. On the interior, the same detail exists, including stiffening plating and some engine bay and driver compartment detail, as well as a recess for the shell racks. Other external plating is to be found here, as well as the engine bay doors, again, with superb hinge and raised rivet detail. Here you will find the road wheel support beams which are moulded as halves, and the leaf spring suspension parts which sit within. The framework for the curved beam tail gate is also moulded here, as are track return roller beam too. Some pin marks exist again on the interior surface plates, so get ready with the tickling stick and remove them. SPRUE E The hull floor and driver/gunner interior floors are moulded here, as two separate parts. Exterior detail for the hull floor is the same standard as the rest of the hull, with excellent rivet, panel, access port and hinge detail. The interior floor has sharp tread pattern. The upper hull with turret cut-out is found here, again displaying sharp rivet, access port and bracket detail. The ball-race turret track is moulded separately, and mine seems a little warped. It should conform when glues to the upper hull though. Ejector pin marks tend to strike again, and this time on the upper, inner side of the curved tail beam panel. Again, these are slightly raised, meaning that you only need to remove material, and not actually do any filling. Also on this sprue you will find the FT's fuel tank, single piece radiator/grille, two-part exhaust body, external stowage, beam and internal frameworks. SPRUE F This is the engine-room of the kit, quite literally. Most engine components are found on this sprue. The only real aspect I don't like about the engine's valve lifters and springs. These are moulded in situ, and would have been far better as separate rods with springs. It won't be too easy to do this for the average modeller, but luckily, the position of the engine and its narrow compartment mean that you won't be able to get a straight view of this anyway. The engine fan-belt is another case in point, as it is pre-moulded to the fly wheels. In this scale, this would have been nice to have been a separate part which slipped into the 'v' slots in the wheels, instead of looking homogenous. The interior exhaust manifold is moulded as a single part, which for such a piece, is easier to remove the seams. A good number of parts on this sprue are either engine-related, or ancillary equipment, such as fuel priming pump (as you see in aircraft cockpits), driver instruments, external tools (pick and shovel), and drive shaft axle, to name but a few on this busy sprue. SPRUE G G stands for 'Girod'. Well, it doesn't actually, but that's what you'll find on there; the Girod turret. The turret itself is moulded as halves, and the lack of slide-moulding means that some rivet detail looks a little distorted, but thankfully, you have those spare rivets on the track sprues to correct this, so again, this is no deal breaker. The turret body was a cast item, and this finish is what's missing from these parts. My usual trick is to lather Tamiya Extra Thin Cement over the surface, one area at a time, and stipple it with a rigid nylon brush. This is then finally gently rubbed over with medium and fine sanding sponges. You may have other methods to achieve this, as armour modellers. I use this technique on 1:32 WW1 aircraft exhausts. The turret also has the 'P GIROD' name cast onto it, as well as the casting foundry name, 'UGINE'. Internally, you'll need to remove a few ejector pin marks, and then insert the ammunition racks. Their location is marked with two horizontal lines. The turret lid is joined along the welding seam. My book doesn't show this as a thick weld seam, but there is, of course, a little roughness. Again, this isn't represented on the kit, so a little work will be required there. You'll also need to replicate that cast effect on the small cupola which sits atop the turret. The cupola also has internal detail. The turret ammunition racks are moulded here, but strangely enough, the kit doesn't contain any ammunition whatsoever. To the rear of the turret, two doors allow some contact with the outside world. These are neatly moulded with vision slits. Internally, each door has a long ejection pin tower which you'll need to snip off and clean the door surface. SPRUE H (x2) These two sprues concern themselves with the FT's armament. There are actually a number of duplicate parts here that you won't use. It was obviously cheaper to produce two identical sprues with these parts, than to tool a new sprue. Here you will find the parts for the 37mm Puteaux gun, 3 part mantlet, and the inner hull ammunition storage racks. As a thought, it would be good to display the spare parts for the second gun, complete with mantlet, next to the completed model. Overall Assessment As I've already mentioned, there are some areas where ejector pin marks need to be eliminated, but overall, the quality of mouldings is excellent. I've only found one instance of sink marks, and those are on the end of the small engine mounted oil tank ends. You could fix that or it could simply be left as slightly beaten in appearance. Some parts are very close to the sprue, with only a minimal gate, and it is advisable to use a razor saw to remove those parts. Flash is present, but not very common, and some parts on my sample exhibit some black/brown gunge which may be left over from the moulds. Cleaning the sprues with a mild detergent will eradicate this. PHOTO ETCH The colour of this single fret matches that of the plastic. Looking at it, I don't think it's anodised, which would just chemically affect the metal surface, but it looks like an actual coating. As the edges are also coated, I don't think it's printed either. I would suspect that this has been dipped/sprayed in paint, and as a result, you are best advised to try to scrape the adjoining surfaces when using the parts. The etch itself is superbly made, and contains SIXTEEN parts. These are for the drivers back rest strap, driver pedal anti-slip plates, engine bay hull steps, road wheel beam plating, and internal chain drive cover. CHAIN A length of superbly made, and blackened chain is included. This is to be wrapped between the lugs on the rear hull and the curved tail beam. A nice touch, and thankfully not in plastic, so it should hang quite realistically too. DECALS A small sheet is included for the THREE schemes which are supplied with this release. The FT didn't carry too many markings; a few emblems, serials and a little in the way of a personal slogan for one machine. The decals are thinly printed with minimal carrier film, and are in perfect register. The whites are also non-vivid too. The schemes supplied are: 2nd Section, 1st Company, 505E RAS, France, 1918 Co.C, 327th Tank Battalion, 1st US TankBde, St. Mihile, September 1918 'Passe Par Tout', 1st Co, 2nd Section, 2nd Battalion, 1st Polish Tank Regiment, 1920 INSTRUCTIONS These are printed as a 14 page A4 landscape booklet, with glossy blue cover. The model is completed over 38 stages, and construction is shown as line drawings. There is a little ambiguity in areas, but looking at subsequent stages will clarify any mental anomalies you may encounter. Colour call-outs are given throughout in Tamiya reference codes. Conclusion I have noted a few issues with this kit, but on the whole, it's a great package for Takom's first ever release, and if this kit is anything to go by, their subsequent releases should just get better and better as they learn and listen to customers. Producing a 1:16 WW1 tank as that initial release is of course taking a few chances perhaps, but with Great War modelling now coming into its own, and companies such as Meng now taking a slice of the pie, it makes sense to release this kit in the larger scale. The opportunities for super detailing are immense here, and even out of box, the Takom Renault FT will look mighty impressive. The finished kit will have a length of around 12 inches (30cm), so still isn't too big to display in your cabinet, yet is of such a scale that it will look mildly imposing next to your tiddly Tigers and Panthers. Oh YES! VERY highly recommended James H Our sincere thanks to Takom for the review sample used here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  14. Great news from Takom.... Must have it!!! http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/newkitnews/takom.html
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