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ThunderModel 1:35 US Army Tractor Case VAI


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1:35 US Army Tractor Case VAI

Thunder Model

Available from LZ Models for € 22,50





Thunder Model is a ‘new’ brand on the market from China that to this day have released a Berge Hetzer and this little tractor, which is available as a US Army loader with a scoop and this little workhorse. There isn’t a lot of information I could scourge on this new company. We have a suspicion Mirror Models is behind this new brand, but this cannot be confirmed. The fact that, like Mirror Models, Thunder Model works with AMMO Mig Jimenez and the fact that the box art seems to be done by the same artist, strengthens my suspicion. Let’s not further dwell on it…


The Case VAI tractor we are looking at here is the late war model that was built from 1942 until 1955. A number of 150.000 were built by the J.I. Case company, that actually still manufactures tractors and other  agricultural vehicles. The Case VA model followed its predecessor: the Case V, which was build from 1940 until 1942.  If you are planning on doing a diorama, you might want to check whether it depicts a scene after 1942.


The older Case V Tractor:



A number of variants on the VA series were available. The VA was the standard-tread model. The VAC was a tricycle model; the VAI was the industrial model (also used by the military); the VAO was the orchard model; the VAIW was the warehouse model; the VAH was the high-clearance row-crop model, and the VAS was the offset high-clearance row-crop model. Electric start was optional. During the early years, the engine was made by Continental.



The Case VAIW Warehouse model (also saw military service):




This tractor subjects are cool in many ways, since they work well displayed in combination with an early jet, late war bomber or fighter, and post war civilian diorama, since many of these vehicles flooded the market after the war. Yes, it is a 35th scale kit, whereas all plane subjects are in 32nd scale, but if this doesn’t bother you…


3D renderings of the Thunder Model Case VAI tractor:







The model

Completely designed in 3D we get a state of the art, nice fitting model with crisp moulding, divided over 2 sprues, vinyl tyres, a small fret of photo etch and a small decal sheet. Vinyl tyres you say? If desired / needed these can be swapped for 10 dollar resin tyres from LZ Models. LZ Models? The company that sells Mirror Models and Thunder Model and does resin casting for both brands? I think by now we dare to establish that Thunder Model is a sister brand to Mirror Models… As said the injection moulding is crisp and of high quality. Just look at the open louvres on the grille, no flash to be found, no nasty ejector pin marks and no flaws whatsoever.


Sprue A:



Close ups:











Sprue B:



Close ups:









The vinyl tyres:









The photo etch fret contains anti slip pattern foot rests, brackets, the fan and instrument panel. The intruments themselves can be found on the decal sheet. Detail is fine and as good as can be expected from a kit of this nature.






The kit comes with two schemes to choose from:

• The US Army tractor, which is sprayed in Olive Drab and carries the USAAF (not army ;) ) designation.

• The civilian option. The most common colour for these tractors was red, but I’ve found photo’s of Red and Yellow colour combo’s as well.



Decal sheet:



Civilian option:




Army option:




Simple but effective and clear instruction manual:







Thunder Model came out of nowhere and already treated us to one cool Berge Hetzer and two sweet little tractors that will serve their purpose in many diorama settings. We will overlook the fact that this USAAF subject is in 35th scale, and we would have preferred it to be in 32nd. The flip-top box packaging of this kit, full colour scheme charts, Photo Etch, quality and subject itself makes this a little gem that beckons to be build. The prize of € 22,50 is reasonable. Not too cheap, but no reason to steer clear from it either. We hope to see more exotic subjects from this brand, because it’s definitely a relief to have an injection moulded offering of an exotic subject that normally would only be available in resin for a high prize and suited for the experienced and gifted modeller… We hope LZ Models (or Thunder Model) will also take a look at the seated figure to go with this kit. That’s actually the only thing lacking at the moment.


Our sincere thanks to Thunder Models for this review. To purchase directly, click THIS link.




Jeroen Peters







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