The king of battle (artillery) is not well represented in this blog, and I plan to rectify this starting with the (relatively) recent Msta-S kit from Zvezda in 1/72. The 2S19 self-propelled howitzer was developed during the 1980s to replace the aging 2S3 “Akatsiya” SPG of the same caliber (and much shorter range + lower rate of fire). It uses a modified T-72 hull as well as torsion bars, wheels and track from T-80 to carry a large turret with a 7 meter-long barrel. The resulting product finally brought the level of Soviet SPG up, nearer to the then-current M109 variants in NATO armies. An interesting feature at the back of the turret is an elevator for transporting shells and propellant charges from the ground up into the turret. This means the howitzer can be continuously fed from the ground instead of relying on the limited ammo supply stored onboard alone. Zvezda has already produced an 1/35 kit which proved popular among modellers. Despite knowing the 1/72 kit is expected a year in advance and the official announcement came on June 1, 2019 – picking the actual article up was exciting.
Sweden has always been a very special country in my book with its peculiar machines, and the Viggen is no exception. For the longest time the only kit in the scale has been the Heller one, so when Special Hobby announced their joint project with Tarangus I was excited. As I had seen a two-seater flying some time before that – and was suitable impressed by both appearance and performance – I opted to purchase the twin pack, attracted by the number of versions AND the photo book.
The box is BIG, in fact it is bigger than most 48th kits I have, as well as some 35th scale kit boxes in my collection. There are 2 transparent bags with parts, 2 instruction booklets (1 for each the single and double seater), a decal sheet, and the book. The last 2 items are fixed within the box with cardboard inserts, stapled to the box sides. Except for the instructions all items are packed in separate plastic bags.
The Type 87 is a mobile air defense system, armed with two 35mm automatic Oerlikon cannons. While very similar to the German Gepard SPAAG it uses the Type 74 tank’s chassis as a base, locally-produced acquisition and fire-control radars as well as other systems in a different turret.
As my father served in an air defense unit – such systems have always fascinated me, and when the opportunity came up I ordered this kit directly from Japan.
Fujimi tooled the Type 87 SPAAG in 2018, and offers 2 kits in 1 box with a number of decal options included in the decal sheet – you can build 23 individual machines from 7 different units. (Yes, I realize it’s the same camo scheme!) Decals appear well-printed, in register, with saturated color, and even the gradient on the eagle head decal is “smooth” (there is no raster/pixelization). The decal film is cropped close to the borders of each design, so I don’t think you’d need to trim it. Despite the overall flat surfaces I sure hope the Fujimi decals will work properly – I’ve never dealt with them to date.
Big machines have always been a thing in the USSR, and that is definitily true for both aircraft and tanks before WWII. In April 1941 some 20 proposals for a super heavy tank competed within the Kotin design bureau. War interrupted this madhouse, all guns built for the design were destroyed. However since men continue to obsess with heavy tanks that were never built in metal – what you will see below is the winning one in resin.
On to the sturdy cardboard box keeping the parts safe.
Inside you will find zip-lock bags with parts, all neatly tucked into a large sheet of bubble wrap, and the typical minimalistic instructions on a single folded sheet.
While the kit is not branded as “heavy metal” or “Hard-o-big” as e.g. the SU-122-54, this KV-4 can’t be considered not as “simplified” either. The kit fenders alone are nearly 11cm long, and with 8 road wheels per side, separate suspension arms, bump stops, return rollers and what have you, there’s still some 150 parts in the trademark grey resin.
Something I am not used to in OKG kits is the minimal number of PE parts – just 12 of them in a small shiny fret, all supports for the fenders with hex bolthead detail. Naturally – you will need to fold them 🙂
These are glued to the sides of the 1-piece upper hull, which has the driver, engine and transmission hatches molded shut. It is by far the largest and longest part in the kit.
There are openings for the main turret and the engine air intakes, which are supplied as separate parts.
There is no mesh or PE parts to cover the openings in the intakes themselves.
Next in line is the hull pan with numerous openings and locations for various parts on the sides, and positions for the tow hooks at either end.
Admittedly I have no idea what could tow the 80+ ton behemoth other than another such tank with no turret – or a “Russian troyka” of 3 turretless KV-1s, attached to a monstrous tow bar.
There are 4 equipment bins that sit on top of the fenders. They are cast hollow, but closed, and are supplied as individual parts with raised hinge detail and recessed hinge line:
An item you can’t miss is the monstrous main turret, complete with periscopes, fan detail, armored gun sight housings, detailed hatches.
Nice detail on the mantlet, too: the armored bolts with conical heads are beautifully reproduced.
You’ve already noticed the turret is hollow. The large circular opening on the top is the base for a secondary turret armed with a DT machine gun. The smaller turret completely covers the ring bolt detail when installed, but you’ll know it’s there 😉
The kit includes the secondary turret with a DT machinegun, as well as open-bore resin barrels for both the 107mm and the 45mm gun.
While the 1-piece resin casting already looks good enough and will require minimal cleanup due to the minimum attachment points to the casting stub, OKB Grigorov offers a machined brass 107mm ZiS-6 gun barrel as well. The turned barrel is smooth inside and out, no visible tracks from the lathe knife’s point, and is a drop-fit replacement of the resin one. OKB has already offered several opportunities to get the metal barrel for free with your KV-4 order.
The running gear of the kit is where the bulk of the parts is. Behold:
The suspension arms for the roadwheels are separate parts. Note the arms are handed (different parts for left and right side of the hull), so do check the fit before gluing these in place. The circular pin obviously fits in the wheels themselves, while the square key is intended to lock the arm into position in the hull.
Of curse you can simply drill out the opening for that key and have the running gear posed.
Other than the suspension arm each roadwheel corresponds to a bump stop – an assembly that is intended to limit the travel of said arm so the tank does not lie flat on its belly. Parts are delicate and highly detailed, take a look:
Next you have the return rollers, 4 on each side, as well as their bases that need to be glued to the hull tub first.
You can clearly see the bolt detail on both part types.
Sprockets – your usual large KV two-part affair with a massive center cap and a lot of bolts on the perimeter.
The parts on the second image are the mud scrapes – these were intended to remove the mud deposits accumulating inside the massive sprocket.
Next are the idlers, the track tension adjustment mechanisms and their bases. You can actually see the bolt thread on the tensioner parts.
Additional details: towing and lifting hooks, opened KV exhaust.
DT machninegun tips (one for the bow gunner, and another for the small turret up top), lifting hooks for the engine and transmission decks (that will need some work on their openings), transparent resin headlight.
Basically you have everything you need to build this Soviet “paper” super heavy in the box. This is an impressive, very well detailed release, and with the excellent properties of the medium OKB uses it should pose no problem for an experienced modeller to obtain an excellent result.read more
This post is a special treat, as it’s the first time I am getting a kit that is not available in the market yet. In fact I am lucky to have been the first to get a copy of OKB Grigorov’s Chaffee outside the factory and OKB themselves.
Onto the shots. 4 grey sprues, well over 200 parts, some great detail, all hatches open, separate OVM tools and a lot more!!!
Let’s start with the hull parts.
Note detail on the conical return roller bases, the suspension arm sockets and bump stops, the shock absorber attachment points. The suspension arms are separate parts as are the final drive housing covers.
Hull top: separate crew and transmission hatches, fine rainguards around the hatches and barbette, sockets and slots for various attachments, and the hinges and cooling louvres on the engine deck.
You might have noticed some fine red streaks here and there, this is usual for the test shots.
The crew hatches and some of the OVM tools:
Next: two types of lower glacis plate, and the hull rear. The late type glacis features additional plates for attaching a dozer blade over the final drive housings.
Hull bottom. Note alignment semi-circular alignment pins that fit with hull sidewalls, and staggered suspension arm slots.
Next – sprue C (there are 2 of them in the set) with suspension, wheels and tracks.
Starting with the wheels the kit items represent the curves of the original + excellent bolt detail.
The idler – which looks like a smaller roadwheel – is also done to a high standard:
Sprockets are made up of 3 parts: 2 crowns with bolt details and a center piece to simulate the openings on the real vehicle. Note the teeth shape on the crowns – similar to those on M4 tanks.
Individual suspension arms: note they are curved and feature attachment pins for the individual shock absorbers, as well as semi-circular pins for gluing into the sockets on the hull sides.
The shocks themselves:
Track tensioners are detailed on both sides:
T72 metal track segment and an individual links:
The turret – note a lot of locating openings for additional parts, including M2 tripod:
Turret front piece, mantlet, pistol port insert:
The commander’s cupola and its hatch are separate, as is the “turret door”, as the gunner’s hatch is officially referred to. Note detail on the inside of the commander’s hatch, including teethed ring as its upper part rotates using a hand crank to provide wider field of vision for the commander thru his main periscope.
The commander’s hatch is the only part in the kit that has a visible ejector pin mark – that is if left open. All other parts were molded in such a way that these marks are either on the sprue gates/feeders near the part, or will always be on the inside of the build model.
M2 machinegun. There are 2 pieces in the kit, 1 on each of the suspension sprues:
There are probably a hundred more small parts that I have yet to show you in detail, including antenna bases, lights and their guards, 30 cal machinegun barrels and what have you. The side skirts were not completely molded on this example – probably a matter of cleaning up the molds after the test.
Next step will be to build this kit out of the box.
L-29 Delfin was the main jet trainer of the Warsaw pact countries for over 30 years. Since it was introduced there have been 3 kits in 1/72: Kopro, Bilek and Special Hobby, none of which did justice to this important aircraft. Luckily in 2016 Avantgarde Model Kits brought a contemporary model to the market, 3 years after their 48th scale kit was introduced. AMK’s first 1/72 release features 4 grey and 1 transparent part trees in plastic, a fret with photoetched parts, and a large decal sheet with markings for 5 different aircraft.
First – a quick look at the instructions, which are a single-sheet, double-fold affair with parts plan, color callouts and profiles, as well as 15 construction steps.
Note there are actually 6 schemes as the Czechoslovakian machine sports 2 different guises. Paints are referenced with FS codes and Gunze Sangyo/Mr Hobby numbers from the Mr Color lacquer range.
Sprue A hosts the fuselage halves and the majority of parts that fit inside them. Note the rudder is a separate piece. There are openings for the 2 curved ducts feeding air to the engine. The 2 pieces are in the upper left corner, right below the tail piece, and feature the airflow splitter seen on the real thing.
The upper nose section can be posed open or closed, there are 2 separate parts for the respective options. The nose is where the oxygen and compressed air bottles and some radio equipment reside. You can also see most of the cockpit details.
Note the one-piece cockpit tub with raised details for the side consoles. The dials on the instrument panels are recessed, the faces themselves are represented with 1-piece decal for each dashboard. There are also raised details for the more prominent bolts and frames. The dashboard in the rear cockpit has a separate panel for the instructor to simulate various situations for the cadet in the front cockpit.
There is also quilted detail for the sidewalls. The ejector pin marks visible in these images will be hidden once the dashboards and their covers are in installed in place. The area under the rear canopy is represented as a separate part.
Other details you see are the aerodynamic brakes and the wheel gear covers with locating holes for the pins on gear legs; the openings should be hidden once the covers are in place.
Of note is also the circular front bulkhead separating the cockpit and the nose; the nose gear leg is attached to it.
The Delfin’s jet engine is buried in the mid-length in the fuselage, near the center of gravity. There is a turbine face, a 2-part extension tube (halves are on the 2 copies of sprue C) and the 1-piece exhaust itself.
The fuselage features some really nice details. There are 3 panels that are added after the 2 halves are joined together. Being separate parts they will retain their details instead of featuring the separation line between the 2 main fuselage parts.
Sprue B holds the aerodynamic surfaces: wings, 2-section flaps and the horizontal stabilizer with 1-piece elevator (as the Delfin features a T-shaped tail). From the box the flaps are mounted in the extended position, but if you remove the pins – you can have them retracted, sitting flush with the wing.
Thanks to some clever engineering all ejector pin marks are OUTSIDE the wheel wells and will be hidden once the wing is assembled. Same applies for those in the intakes – they will be behind the separate duct pieces.
Note the high stubs with locating holes: this means you can clamp the wing without fear of it caving in while the glue is setting – kudos to AMK again. The Pitot tubes are molded integrally with the upper wing halves, something the sloppy majority of us (me included) would consider a weak point of the kit.
You can see the recesses round the gear wells that will accommodate the structure from the upper part.
The odd channels in front of the flap slots are intended for the PE parts that simulate the wing structural ribs.
There are 2 copies of Sprue C in the kit. They contain the engine halves, external fuel tanks (with integral pylons), wheels and tires, ejection seats and a few smaller details.
The weld seams on the tanks are really prominent for the scale, and the pylon molded as part of the right half requires some careful surgery of you want to hang different stores under the wings of your Delfin. The remaining parts are very well defined, there is no flash.
The clear sprue has the windshield, both canopies, landing light, gunsight reflector (some Delfins were armed with a .50 cal machine gun) and the additional glass panel separating the 2 cockpits.
Details are transparent, molded uniformly, and the distortion is medium to small.
The decal sheet is a trademark of AMK – nearly as large as the box. The majority of real estate on it is taken by the markings of the aircraft on the box top.
The sheet includes a full set of stencils, plus markings for 5 separate machines. Colors are saturated, there is no shift on my example.
The sheet looks great, with its only fault than the multiple black lines obscure the Egyptian eagle at the center of the tail marking.
PE parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 will simulate structural detail in the flap area. There are also the “Odd rodds” IFF antenna (6), one of the lower fuselage hatches (5), the airbrake hinges (7 and 8) and the front canopy support (9).
This is a beautifully detailed kit, and everything it needs are some more Warsaw pact decal options before I move it to the building area.
AMK’s beautifully crafted Kfir kit in 1/72 is the latest addition in my collection. I love the way this kit is prepared, molded, detailed, the abundant loadout and 2 airframe versions with 5 decal options it provides, all at a very affordable price. Just look at the loaded box!
8 part trees for the airframe itself, 4 types of weapons in more than sufficient quantities and large decal sheet for 4 different operators.
Instruction sheet: long fold-out affair rather than a booklet. Simple black and white diagrams with enough space for notes, logical sequence and clear part placement.
Color callouts oddly enough are in FS numbers ONLY at the beginning of the sheet, though on individual paint schemes are clearly associated with Gunze paint judging by numbers in tiny green font next to the FS index. Each profile gets its own decal guide as well.
Onto the parts. The biggest part tree is Sprue A, complete with main airframe components – lower wing and fuselage halves.
It also hosts parts for wheel wells and cockpit. You can see the 2 optional instrument panels below, and the detail in the wing center section.
The intricate 3D shape if the Dassault wing is beautifully represented from the blended fuselage, through the gearbox bulge to the drooped wingtips. The only opening molded in are the gear well and those for the flap actuators in case you want a clean build.
Note separate details for gear well walls with hydraulic piping you won’t need to simulate with wire and stretched sprue 🙂
A lot of panel lines and recessed rivet detail on the fuselage as well. Note cockpit rear wall is a separate part, rather busy for the scale, and still looking rather nice instead of just “boxes” typical for… other manufacturers 😉
The rudder is only molded on the right fuselage half, and there is an inset that would depend on the version you are building.
Sprue B’s main features are the aft turbine face, flame stabilizer and exhaust nozzle. Despite being a 1-piece affair you can see the latter is beautifully detailed inside and out.
Also present are undewring pylons , a single MER, and a host of landing gear parts. If you were to tilt the sprue you may notice some sinkholes running down the length of the larger part, although the individual features of the pylons have not suffered.
Sprue C: upper wing panels, intakes, canards, fuel tank parts, more pylons and the Kfir’s peculiar nose cone. Appropriately much less rivets here, but again everything is nicely molded and detail is very sharp.
Of particular interest to me is the twist in the wing’s leading edge, that is delivered at no compromise with the wing’s integrity or complicated part split. My only concern so far – the small locating openings for main gear legs.
Sprue D (x2) has the large wing drop tanks, and engine halves with some basic details on the inside. Of interest are also the TERs and the host of sway braces.
Tires for the main gear legs are 2-piece, HOLLOW ones, something I don’t remember seeing in the scale so far.
Depending on the version there are 2 separate ejection seat types. Sprue E has the Martin Baker Mk.10 for the C7.
Albeit “just” 5 parts the seat luiks suitably busy even on the frame. Unfortunately most of this will be hidden with the bang seat set in place in the cockpit.
Sprue D has the bit more fussy Martin Baker Mk.6 to go on your C2s.
Again – nice detail and a separate seat cushion you can paint and glue when the rest is done. No pilot harness is provided, but straps can easily be produced out of tin foil or Tamiya tape strips.
Onto the plentiful weapon stores. AMK provides 6 Mk 82 bombs despite the layout in the instructions featuring 6 pieces on the MER, 2 on the intake pylons and 2 TERs on the wings. Still the bombs look very nice for the scale and most importantly only have 2 SMALL sprue gates and NO mold parting lines.
This will reduce cleanup effort, save on puttying time, and should result in more satisfactory end result.
Also included are 4 pieces of another Mk 82-based store – 4 GBU 12 Paveways. Again 1-piece , minimal cleanup THIN fins back and front.
No more crooked stabs and seeker heads thanks to a 5-piece slide mold – 4 for the sides and 1 for the rear!
Same applies for the IAI Griffin 500-pounder, and there are 4 of them, so one way or another you can have a busy Kfir.
Last but not least are 4 Python 3s, which feature beautiful details in their wings including the rollerons at the rear – nice work, AMK!
Decals: one of each Israeli C2 and C7, a private US-based C2, Ecuadorian C2 and a Colombian C7.
Decals are printed in bright colors without crazy tints, appear to be well in register, glossy, maybe a bit on the thick side – that will be determined during the upcoming build.
I am extremely pleased with the kit and am looking forward to building it within the next few months. Highly recommended for quality of detail and molding, abundant stores and multiple build options.read more
Strictly following the beaten path of releasing two opposing sets each time, Zvezda has provided a VVS ground crew to match the Luftwaffe set 6188.
There’s a reason the review is uploaded after the German crew – the kit has something special in it. Figures are made after the characters from the Soviet movie “Only Old Men Are Going to Battle” – a fragment is shown below:
Just have a look at these two (esp. the one on the left):
and you will understand what I mean.
Now… “Old men” is rather used for experienced ones rather than aged. In war where life expectancy on the battlefield was measured in hours and medals were presented for surviving 20 combat flights you could consider such a veteran the squadron’s old man. But I digress.
Two green sprues host 5 figures, a bunch of bases, a fuel drum with a manual pump on top, a pair of ammo crates and a bit crude FAB-50 bomb.
Again – natural poses, more detail than expected from mainstream figures this size.
With one exception the figures have faces, even the edges on the “pilotka” cap can be clearly discerned.
The instruction sheet is a bit crowded:
Overall the set will be a great addition to any WWII Soviet aircraft base – especially after the proper weathering 😉read more
In recent years Zvezda has released multiple snap-fit aircraft kits in 1/72 scale that include excellent pilot figures. They have now “gone full circle” by releasing ground crews to accompany these kits. First off – the Luftwaffe crew.
As shown on the now-standard box – there are 5 figures, a bomb trolley with a bomb, a fuel drum and a jerry can included. As with some other sets you can either use a single base for all the guys, or use individual ones.
Typical for the Art of tactic game series the plastic is light gray, parts are on 2 sprues.
Of note are not only the poses, but the quality of details on the figures. Yes, there is a certain softness on the clothing and kit, but Zvezda has molded human body detail I have yet to see provided by other mainstream manufacturers. You can see the fingers and the detail on the palm of a guy’s hand. In Braille scale.
or even see his face. That’s a bit different from the tubes most figures have molded as hands, etc.
Sorry – I didn’t delve much into the jerrycan and drum, but most of you already have resin ones anyway, so just two quick snaps of the bomb trolley parts.
I am sure Zvezda could have provided separate wheels and saved us some work without spending too much extra on molds, but oh well. Despite the price of 0,50 Euro per fig I still am pretty happy with the figures.
The Soviet union started the war with the F-22 and USV divisional guns as the mainstays of its artillery. In 1942 they were replaced by the lighter, faster-firing and more modern ZIS-3 design that was more suited to war time production and maintenance capabilities of the vast country. Over 45,000 guns were built during war years; many were towed, some served on anti-tank SPGs like the SU-76 and SU-76M.
Italeri and UM have already produced kits of the subject, the first one even included crew in winter uniform. My personal opinion is that either kit suffer from oversimplification, so the kit from Zvezda is a welcome addition to the market despite positioned as the wargaming piece that the Italeri rendition is.
The kit is molded in dark on two sprues, and includes a 3-man crew plus base.
However the model appears to be well-enough detailed for a no-glue assembly one, there is no mold shifting or flash. The detail on the gun shield is cleanly molded, as are the teeth of the elevation mechanism. The macro shots don’t actually do the molding justice.
No doubt the thickness of the shield is far from being to scale (~0.7mm). There are 2 storage boxes and a separate gun sight, elevation and traverse handwheels.
To be fair, I must admit that the greyish spots scare me a bit – that is despite being unable to feel them when touching the kit surfaces. Looks like the plastic got overcooked either on this shot or a previous one and the molds were dirty. Oddly enough they are mostly evident on the shield, gun barrel and sprues themselves – I did not observe spots on the crew.
The wheels are the same for the GAZ-AA truck, and good enough for an $3 wargame kit – note hexagonal bolt head detail.