ON THE SHELF MILITARY KITS

HYPHENATED NIPPON ARMOUR

IJA Type 97 Medium Tank Chi-Ha

Early Production

By: Dragon Item no: 6870

Price: £59.99 Web: www.hobbyco.net The Japanese Chi-Ha has been available in 1/35 scale since 1975, via Tamiya and more recently from Fine Molds…but Dragon’s stunning new tooling will eclipse both. This kit of the Early Production vehicle, with its trademark turret-mounted ring antenna (two styles are provided), is superb. Its main gun has moulded rifling and is replicated with the breech, fine cog teeth adorn the turret attachment ring, and a photoetched brass fret carries alternative rear ventilator covers, exhaust shrouds and other items. There is plenty of convincing rivet detail on the hull, and the vent louvres are well defined. Arguably the most notable feature is Dragon’s styrene NEO track, which offers highly refined link-and-length sections, with sag already being worked into the upper runs (a jig is provided for assembling the latter). This is a truly fine kit, with four schemes supplied:

• 31, 1st Tank Regt, Malaya, 1941

• 33, 1st Tank Regt, Singapore, 1941

• 13th Tank Regt, China, 1941

• Fuji training grounds, 1941

OFFICERS’ RUNABOUT

Kadett K38 Saloon

By: Revell Item no: 03270

Price: £17.99 Web: www.revell.de/en

ICM’s box art shows this staff car in German yellow, while this Revell re-release has decals for one car in Panzer Grey, and the other in beige, which the instructions suggest as a 50:50 mix of Revell paints. The kit itself is delightful; its small finished size (just 11cm), coupled with a parts count of 129, makes for a beautifully detailed rendition…the highlight being the excellent Opel engine. The covers for the latter are separate, so in effect, one can pose one or both open to display the powerplant. Crisp door card and dash moulding, along with very pleasing grilles and leaf-spring suspension units, ensure a high degree of fidelity. Fine rubber tyres and super-clear transparencies complete a great replica:

• WL-456 391, 4./(F) 123, German Luftwaffe, FArance, summer 1944

• WH-720 251, German Wehrmacht, Russia, 1944

HIGH-PROFILE BATTLER

Mid M3 Lee

By: Takom

Item no: 2089 Price: £47.99

Web: www.pocketbond.co.uk

Takom impressed with its initial Grant/Lee boxings and it continues with this Mid-Production M3…which had the riveted hull, but gained a counterbalance on the main gun. Much of the styrene is the same, though, and very pleasing, with deftly moulded rivets, and generally good running gear. In comparison with reference photos, though, the attachment points for the outer ring of bolts sit beyond the drive sprocket inner hub, yet on the real vehicle they appear to sit just on the outer reaches of the hub. The tracks are link-and-length items, and a jig is provided to help assemble the upper links. Convincing cast texture is evident, and there are PE details. The only gripe involves the instructions, whose colour paint and decal placement drawings are too small to be read easily. All tanks are in Olive Drab, and all but one are US Army machines in North Africa.

INAUGURAL ASSAULT GUN

StuG.III 0-Series

By: MiniArt

Item no: 35210 Price: £43.99

Web: www.creativemodels.co.uk MiniArt is to be applauded for this release, because as far as we know, this is the first time the O-Series StuG.III has been produced in 1/35 scale. The firm’s fans have been spoilt lately by tank releases with interiors. This kit is not billed as such, but still has a full breech mechanism, fighting compartment seating and radio gear. All hatches are separate, there are PE tool clamps and grille louvres, and fine tread plate on the track covers. The early feature of round servicing hatches in the bow is also present, and the styrene track is workable; even with the jig provided, and the clever pinning method, track assembly will be time-consuming. They will look superb, though, once completed because the detail is sublime. Decals are limited to ‘A’ and ‘B’ casemate letters, crosses and badges for three different StuGs from the Artillerie-Lehr-Regiment, Jüterbog, Germany, in 1939-40.

JEEP AND TRAILER COMBO

¼ Ton Truck Willys

By: Mister Craft

Item no: 042998 Price: £8.99

Web: www.amerang.co.uk This is a re-boxing of Heller’s 2004 tooling and, aside from a few sink marks, it’s an absolute gem with nine possible schemes. It comprises two styrene runners, and offers a Willys Jeep and ¼ ton trailer, plus a selection of equipment (fuel, ammunition and bed rolls). The moulding is generally to a high standard, and there’s no flash. While there are markings for five nationalities, the figures supplied resemble US Infantry, and there’s a choice of canvas tilt or .30 cal machine gun. This is a value offering, and would be an ideal choice for a novice builder. The liveries include:

• 4789399, 11 Military Police Sqn, 2nd Polish Corps, Italy, 1945

• F-0-30-14, 4th Heavy Tank Regt, Gdansk, APoland, 1945

• WH 602246, captured vehicle, Holland, 1944

• 35-23, 4th Red Army, Germany, April 1945

STALIN’S BLUNT INSTRUMENT

T-34/85

By: ICM

Item no: 35367 Price: £24.30

Web: www.icm.com.ua

Having dealt with early and late

76mm armed versions, ICM has served a delightful T-34/85, adding three replacement runners for the running gear and turret, along with a new upper hull. These combine with the original’s lower hull and two busy styrene frames for the suspension, engine decks, spare track links and interior fittings. The latter are minimal but there is a full breech assembly for the main gun. Tracks are supplied as two-part vinyl items, but these appear incorrect for a late-war vehicle. Four overall Russian Green 4BO schemes, from spring 1945, are provided here:

• White 242, 7th Guards Tk Corps, Germany

• White 201, 7th Guards Mech Corps, Germany

• White 315, 4th Guards Tk Army, Germany

• White 5, unknown unit

UPGUNNED ISRAELI T-54

Tiran 4Sh Early Type

By: MiniArt

Item no: 37021 Price: £57.99

Web: www.creativemodels.co.uk

MiniArt offers yet another masterpiece with its Tiran 4Sh, cramming an incredible 84 styrene runners and one photo-etched brass fret into the box, to provide a fully detailed interior; the biggest challenge will be how to display all this sumptuous finery. The most noticeable changes are to the main armament (a licence-built 105mm L7 in place of the Soviet 100mm D-10T), and the track style, and these have been replicated faithfully, including the former’s side-loading breech mechanism and the latter’s slightly different tread. However, the smaller aspects receive equal attention, from the infra-red searchlight installation, to altered stowage positions. Four overall sand-grey options are included:

• N2, IDF, 1973-1974

• 109262-V, IDF, Gulf of Aqaba, August 1973

• 109259-V, IDF, Independence Day Parade, Tel Aviv, 1973 • 13, 274th Tk Bde, Sinai Peninsula, October 1973

NIPPY FUNK-LADEN WHEELS

Kübelwagen Radio Car

By: Dragon Item no: 6886

Price: £39.99 Web: www.hobbyco.net

Another Cyberhobby creation receives a new box from parent company Dragon; this time the radioequipped Kübelwagen (originally a BeGo offering) is the subject. Compared to previous releases, there are two extra styrene runners for the radio equipment (bringing the total to nine), along with a new photo-etched (PE) brass fret for the radio rack. Regardless of whether one prefers this to Tamiya’s offering, it’s a gem, with a detailed engine and transmission, plus a well-appointed interior with separate foot boards. However, the highlight must be the radios, with PE supports, three different sets (although there are a further two unused units, including what appears to be a switchboard), all with crisply moulded features. There are two schemes, both for vehicles assigned to unidentified units — one is overall Panzer Grey, while the other wears late-war threetone camouflage.