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1:35 USA D7 7M Tractor (Military Variant)


Jim H
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1:35 U.S. Tracked Tractor (Military Crawler)

USA D7 7M Tractor (Military Variant)
Mirror Models
Catalogue # 35850
Available from Creative Models for £39.99

 

 

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The D7 caterpillar tractor was first produced in the U.S in 1938, and very commonly seen in its bulldozer guise. Known as the ‘Cat’, the type was designed for the U.S. military, and has served with distinction over numerous conflicts from WW2, right up to the illegal and destabilising invasion of Iraq. The Cat has been adapted continually over this time, being fitted with armoured cabs etc. and it is actually still possible to see many of these operating on farmland too, with the internet being an easy place to find these for sale at such a relatively cheap price for such a piece of history.

 

 

You’ll notice that this release seems to have two names. When I ordered my samples from Creative, this release had, and still has, the D7 7M Tractor name, with a box art to match. The kit I was sent is indeed the same kit, and despite the box lid painting being the same, the rest of the box art is changed to a more attractive format, and the title ‘U.S. Tracked Tractor’ has now been used. I just thought I’d clear that up! For people like me, who know nothing about this subject, the D7 7M is a far more precise description. Mirror Models actually release this kit in both Tractor and Bulldozer format, meaning that if you wish to build the tractor, you can opt to buy the slightly cheaper kit and save the extra pennies.

 

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This kit is actually packed into quite a small box whose lid is bulging with plastic. The glossy lid depicts a green-painted WW2 era machine against a background that could be a destroyed German town or city. You will find a small number of images of the finished model on the box side, and very impressive this looks too. For those of you who aren’t acquainted with Mirror Models, this company is closely related to LZ Models, who produce resin kits. Mirror Models is Libor Zachoval’s injection moulded arm of his empire, with some kits still containing a number of chosen resin parts. This kit has no resin, but does have a couple of springs which can be used if you decide not to add the plating to the inner track area.

 

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Not all sprues within this release are individually bagged. To be honest, the fit in the box is so tight that it simply couldn’t be achieved. Still, all sprues are compactly packed and have suffered no damage as a result. In total, there are THIRTEEN sprues, packaged across 7 sleeves, with another two clear parts in a zip-lock sleeve. Plastic is moulded in a combination of brown and light grey. Two metal springs are also included, as is a small fret of PE and a single decal sheet for the two schemes on offer here. A rather agricultural instruction A4 instruction manual is supplied, and just to contrast, a super glossy colour scheme sheet printed in colour, and apparently sponsored by Mig’s Ammo brand of paint and weathering products.

 

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I’m not going to do a sprue by sprue assessment here, but will show each one in turn, and in detail. Unlike aircraft, and even armour, this one isn’t too easy to write, unless you’re a tractor geek.

 

You’ll note that the brown plastic is given over to the 5 sprues of workable tracks that are included. Each track comprises three parts, and there are thirty-six tracks per side. Compared with the Miniart kit, which has a different track breakdown, with a higher number of parts, this solution seems a little easier, and is certainly shown in the final number of actual kit parts. This release contains 520+ parts, in comparison to Miniart’s release with a hundred more; tracks playing a major factor in that figure. Mirror Model’s tracks are superbly moulded, with incredibly thin edges and some great linkage detail. A little work to build them, but you’ll be pleased to know that sprue gate connections are minimal.

 

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Drive and idler wheels are moulded across two identical sprues, as are the running wheels. Notice how each of these sprues has a series of extraneous hexagonal bolt heads moulded along two edges. Whether you use them here or not, these will come in particularly useful if you don’t have a specialised punch and die set. Parts are sharp, and where possible ejector pin positions are on tags that are connected to the part.

 

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As the engine on this kit is very much in the open, Mirror Models have made a fabulous job of recreating it. Some optional photo etch parts are also included, and really should be used as they are very easy to attach. This is a model where perhaps the engine should be painted separately to the main chassis, and attached towards the end of construction. A multi-part hood is included, and you will need to still make sure that some engine piping will protrude through the holes in the hood. So, build the hoof first and ensure you adapt the engine ancillary detail to suit it.

 

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You can decide whether to fit the bogey safety covers or not. If you choose to omit them, the metal springs can be fitted here. Word of warning though. It looks like you will need to cut to length and also grind the ends down to flatten them. In this respect, you may be best thinning the plastic on the covers and twisting it a little before fitting, for some added realism. As this model doesn’t contain the dozer parts, a small number of holes on the chasses will need to be filled. It may have been a better idea to have had these flashed over to drill out for the dozer option, but hey ho!

 

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Overall, detail is simply amazing, with a small number of options here and there, for such things as seat arms, and a small smattering of PE for the engine area, including a very nice radiator fan etc. Other PE parts are supplied for the running boards and cabin floor, and the latter is a far nicer option than the plastic alternative. In all, two frets of metal parts are included here. As this is a tractor too, a towing bracket is a feature of this release. Clear parts are included for headlights. I can see no moulded Caterpillar logo, or a decal for it, but my quick scan of the internet shows that these weren’t always present, so no problems there.

 

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Plastic is beautifully moulded, with great attention to detail, including bolt detail etc with the kit having a real feel of the subject at hand. Flash is negligible, and seams also nothing to be concerned about. No defects can be found.

 

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A single decal sheet is included, with the various military stars, codes and registrations, and these are of very high quality. Printing is glossy, and also reasonably thin, with minimal carrier film. As all printing is white, registration is academic. Those schemes are depicted on that shiny insert, with colours being given for Ammo paints only, which is a shame, although as you only have to choose between olive drab and sand, it’s no real hardship to source your own paint codes.

 

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I’m actually fairly disappointed with the instruction sheet. The construction sequences look murky, and parts fit appears to be ambiguous. When something is attached, there is then no image of it really in situ, meaning you might need to scour the finished images for some detail. Text notation is also in poor English and should have been corrected beforehand. No colour references are made throughout construction.

 

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Conclusion
This kit is actually a very good kit, despite my complaints about the springs and the instruction manual. If you can get past that, what you have here is a very comprehensive and apparently accurate model of this very famous little workhorse. Detail is thorough, and most certainly appears to be a match for the Miniart release. I have those reservations about the instructions, which could cause some issues, but that’s the only real bad things here. This kit retails at just under £40, and I think for what is on offer, that’s a very fair price, and there is definitely a very reasonable amount of work for your cash here.

 

Highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to Creative Models for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

James H

 

 

 

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