Friday, July 12, 2013

Italeri Esci MORRIS QUAD TRACTOR with 25 POUNDER GUN nÂș7027 1/72 model kit Ford CMP Artillery Tractor

Yet another Italeri review (I have no special preference for this manufacturer, but a great majority of my desert model kits are Italeri), the Morris Quad with 25 PDR. gun;

A very nice artwork where you can see clearly what you are given. It is realistic and welldone, but the men seem a bit "plastic", lifeless, they don't seem they are in combat. The vehicle and the cannon is superbly done, but the men seem wax statues. 

This model is really two Esci models into one box, the 25 PDR gun and the Morris quad.

We can see here the original boxes (prepare to see quite a lot of images! (click on the picture to see them in big));

The original box, nice and realistic.

A Revell reissue, with a nice background.

Later Esci decided to give a background to all their boxes, and this maybe looks a bit strange, as it looks like France more than the desert, I suppose it represents Italy.

And later, Esci thought that the white background was better, so back again the white and now with a different artwork. I think on the whole I prefer the Revell one.

Now, let's see the boxes for the 25 pdr;

 A nice and clear artwork. As a curiosity, the men drawn are different to the figures, as the officer wears a helmet and there are more shirtless fellows.

The same with background. Is it 10 times better, or it is just me?

And now the Humbrol, which is just the model in a diorama. They have got a nice shading of the desert, better than my model. But I think that showing the model normally doesn't attract a buyer as much as a good artwork. 

THE KIT -7.3 >>

One of the curious things is that this kit is a scaled down Tamiya kit. I don't know to what extent Esci did this, I am still quite puzzled. How do I know? Obviously, there isn't the same exact parts, but everything looks built the same way, and the figures are exact copies. I suppose Esci had permission from Tamiya. I would say that, maybe except the wheels, everything is scaled down. I don't have the model of the Morris Quad, but probably it is a scale down too. Other kits such as the Fiat Ansaldo is also a scale down (this time from Italeri) (at least, judging by the driver and hull construction). Were all Esci kits scaled down from other manufacturers? Did they ask for permission? I don't have the answer, but it gives you something to think about.

Returning to the kit, it has nice detail, and it is easy to build. Probably better than the average Esci. Things fit very properly, and the details are well done. 

The only difference between this kti and the Esci kits is the inclusion of a clear sheet of transparent plastic to make yourself the glass of the Quad.

The only thing I see a bit strange are the wheels of the cannon, I see  them as a bit small. You can judge for yourself with this pic;

EXTRAS - 9.1 >>

6 crew and plenty of ammunition boxes are more or less the maximum you can ask. Originally, as the cannon was sold separately, it was absolutely needed to add an extra, but now with the lorry it gives a very high score.

The figures have good sculpting, although the detail is not sharp and is a bit diffuse in some places (handicaps of scaling down 1/35 figures). The figures have separate arms which you have to glue, and some separate legs. The poses are very good, all of them working closely with the cannon. The only thing is that I can't work out what the man with the shirt and helmet on is exactly doing, he is like walking while carrying something in his hands, and he doesn't carry anything. So it would be recommended to give him some box or a rifle or make him move the trolley. The officer with the binoculars is very charismatic, he resembles General Percival (at least the 1/35, where you can see the face detail)


The back of the box gives you more or less everything you can do, except the all green one. But if you paint it green, the men without shirts will look a bit strange in the middle of France :) , and you will have to get another crew. 


10 € for a lorry and a cannon, well done and with 6 crew, it is a fantastic price. Ok, it maybe is an old model, but all the same Italeri charges more or less the same for one vehicle without crew nor cannon, as old as this one.
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"The historical importance score is determined by how many were built, and how much operational service they had, and how much influence they had on the conflicts they were involved in"

They were decisive at El-Alamein, fought in nearly all theatres of war, from the jungles of Burma to North Africa. If this was not enough, it was used extensively by other countries after WWII, Greece only retired them in 1992, Cyprus still stores them, and Pakistan still uses today 1000 of them.

WARGAMING - 7.0 >>

Maybe some things will be a bit tricky to build , like the suspension and chassis of the Morris Quad, but generally it shouldn't be a problem to most wargamers. The quantity of crew makes for a very nice diorama or wargaming item.

OVERALL - 9.0 >> 

Very intelligent for Italeri merging these two kits, which alone are by no means so interesting as together. Alone, they are dull and probably expensive, together  a must. There are not many alternatives to this important model (the Airfix is 1/76, and it is a very old model which looks very awkward compared to this one).

In one phrase; A true classic combined into a very interesting kit.

IMAGES OF FINISHED JOBS  (click on the pics to see them bigger)

Model kit build by myself.

Thanks to Al Magnus from http://www.onthewaymodels.com/reviews/Italeri/AMagnus_Italeri_25pdr&Limber_review.htm
for his permission to show his excellently built model kit.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

MiniArt GERMAN KNIGHTS XV Century Ref. 72011 Holy Roman Empire Saxony Bavaria Hussites Austria Swabia

My first MiniArt review! Are these crude,a more-of-the-same-thing set, or a set with  great value and very refreshing? Find out!

                                                                       The Box

I quite like the MiniArt boxes. I love the mega-detailed style, with all the chrome plated knights beautifully drawn. The blue surrounding perhaps looks a bit cheap, but the artwork, is just the best style possible, in my opinion, to make you buy a set of figures. The only bad thing? Maybe that it is too nice, and some figures are not exactly the same, specially the leader. On the back, the two knights shown are just not given at all, and they claim they give "48 figures", which is incorrect, as you get 36 figures and 16 horses.

SCULPTING - 8.3 out of 10

The detail isn't super sharp, or very well defined, but overall these figures look  very nice. They are big, but not too big, and very well proportioned. They are in active poses, yet not completely charging or attacking and still look good waiting or moving to attack. The horses are different and represent  heavy medieval horses very well.

The principal bad point here is that some of the mounted knights have very basic detail, and some faces and other details are utterly lost where the mould closes. The shields fit well and are perfectly sculptured.

One of the mounted knights has his arm separate, to achieve a full charging pose which is usually avoided by manufacturers due to its complexity. It is remarkable that MiniArt tries this without having very good moulding skill, and you get a very lifelike figure , but the arm is a bit small and fits leaving somewhat of a gap.

This MiniArt set is one of their best, and you can't find flash anywhere. I don't know if this is the case in all sets, I think yes. But I have other MiniArt sets with lots of flash and missing detail, yet there are some people that have got them with good detail, so be careful ,and if you can take a look at the figures before buying them all the better, or asking the seller if the purchase is online.


The historical accuracy is perfect here. This set is labelled as XV century, you could argue that some of them look more XIII century, but all the same they can be ok. They are sold as Knights, even if three of the unmounted troops don't look very knightly to me, more like armoured sergeants or just heavy professional infantry of the time, but nevertheless this doesn't affect the set.

They have been made basically to confront the Hussites (well, although MiniArt has other XV century sets), but I don't think they are ideal to do the job, they seem a bit too early, but as there isn't anything better they'll have to do. They were made at the same time as the Hussites, although in my model shop the Hussites arrived much later. You would need to represent a good army regular infantry, but it is supposed that this is left to generic Medieval sets. 


"The army representation score is the potential of the soldiers to be used for other purposes different to the one originally intended"

Any Medieval european set is great to represent different armies, and this even more as they don't have any banner nor special german design. So the possibilities are vast; late Spanish kingdoms, French, Danish, English, Polish, Hungarian and obviously the myriad of different electorates of the Holy Roman Empire. Your paintbrush and your imagination is the only barrier .


Without giving any leader nor man doing a special thing, they are all in nice fighting poses, and weapons clearly defined, not blended to the body like others. 


As with many others, they don't have any unique figure, you are just given one figure resembling a noble or leader, and you will have to get rid of his three brothers, trimming the headgear and maybe changing the weapon or the head pose. You don't have a standard bearer either, although one  can be obtained very easily by modifying the man holding up the lance.

As they represent just a body of an army, the absence of certain types of soldiers is permissible.

The quantities of 16 mounted knights and 20 infantrymen will please the wargamers and everybody that likes be given a lot for their money.


"The price value ratio of this soldiers will vary between any shops you go to, and the best I can do is judge by their average price on eBay"

I was quite surprised when I opened the box and instead of 48 infantrymen horses kept coming from out of the box! instead of 48 figures, which the box claims, you get 16 mounted knights and 20 infantrymen, which is 52 "figures" (counting the horses). Knowing that HaT will sell you 12 cavalrymen alone for 8 € or 10 €, and you can get this set for 10 € shipped, the price/value is extremely good.
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They are made with a shiny and slippery plastic, a bit like Zvezda, just a bit harder and very light. Probably it is a cheaper plastic that allows MiniArt to offer lower prices, and maybe it doesn't capture so well the detail. You will need a very good primer to paint them.


A set that pleased me very much, some people will say that I don't need more Medieval sets, and that you can represent them buying other sets and painting them as what you want them to be, but I don't believe that all Medieval armies were exactly the same, and I don't like to be using the same figures for everything. And just buying French and Medieval English to make all factions is boring, so I like  manufacturers to make this  kind of set. The value is very good. 

This set will not please the collectors who demand perfect detailing, but I think it is very recommended for all other collectors and wargamers alike.

Thanks to Model Maniac, a great modeller and miniature painter, for giving permission to use pics of his painted figures.

You can see more of Model Maniac's work on his website; http://www.falconbbs.com/

Make any comment! We´ll love to read it! If you want to share your painted version of this set, send a email to tam_cob@hotmail.com with the subject "Painted Soldiers" and I will include them in this post.

Thanks for reading, and see you in the next battle!

MINIATURE WORLD; Fun and curious pics part 1; Home Made Armed vehicles?

To break a bit the monotony of reviews, this entry is to amuse my readers a bit.

Tired of seeing your car bumped by others, or not able to climb obstacles? that's what somebody probably thought, and in consequence did this;

Another guy was tired of not be given priority at junctions... with this turret, he will be respect on the road!

And finally, the snowplough truck never comes to your door? this polish driver decided to get matters on his own hands, and if he can intimidate his neighbours adding a turret while he's on it, better.

Because as you can see, building armed cars is not something of the past, nor limited to national armies. In Mexico, the drug cartels have been creating armed cars for their internal wars, these being some of the examples that have been captured by the police;

One wonders if Mad Max is very far from the reality.

And finally, a armed tractor from god knows where (the machine gun is russian, maybe then Afghanistan?)

Well, has this inspired you to make a armed car, real or in miniature? if it has, be sure to send me a pic of the finished model!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

RPM CZOLG DOWODZENIA PZInz. 126 Modyfikadja 1940 Polish Command Tank Vickers light tank modification 1940 ref. 35019

Here it is my second 1/35 review, this time an obscure Polish  tank. A nice  and affordable kit, or a pointless Polish rarity? Find out!

BOX ART >> Interesting, in action and giving a nice sensation. It maybe looks a bit different from the real thing (or maybe the model is what  isn't right, I don't know as I havent been able to see a real pic of this vehicle).

THE KIT - 7.7 >>

The kit is well done, without flash, and with good amount of detail.

The problem comes with the assembly. It seems that after doing the zillionesime version of a Vickers/Tankietka and all the endless combinations, they end up confusing themselves, and in consequence, you are given many pieces that you are not told where to glue, and no, they are not from another version, as you could think. 

So you will have to follow the artwork, my model or any other model you can find on the net rather than the instructions, as finding a wartime pic of this exact version can prove impossible. You could really forget the instructions and just follow the artbox, as they normally just add confusion.

Some of the small details are a bit too thick, and expert modellers would probably substitute them by plasticard or photoetched pieces.

The tracks are of very good quality, of a very elastic rubber, that it seems you could fit a motor and make them run, as all the wheels can be made to turn. (if you try it, be sure to make a video and show it to us!).

EXTRAS - 0.0 >>

In the world of 1/35, extras are usually rare, and many times sold  separately, such as boxes, petrol cans, tank crews, etc. But at least one driver would have been nice to get. As always with RPM, nothing besides the strict model (and maybe missing some small detail). 


Green as the box, or camouflaged as my model, that is probably it , as there were few examples of this type. What you could do is modify it into another of the countless sub-versions and modifications of Vickers, although you would only use the body, and RPM and Mirage hobbies have nearly exhausted all versions, but I bet there are some still to make, like the Finnish modifications, and ammunition carrier versions.

PRICE/VALUE RATIO - 6.8 eBay 8.7 Retail>>

Not too easy to find. At first when they appeared in model shops they were quite expensive, now many rest waiting a buyer at very reasonable prices. I got mine for just 8,99 €, which for a 1/35 tank as big as this is pennies, and I think that in most model shops it isn't more expensive than 12 € or so. By eBay you will have to be alert to find it, but for example, at the time of this review one is selling for 15 GBP shipped.
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50 Vickers 6-ton tanks were bought by Poland, only 38 were used operationally, of which 22 were modified into single-turreted versions, from which I assume they were this version. In any case, this version didn't affect the course of the war, nor was it a great technical improvement, nor hardly appears  in any history book, so it is just a way of having a Polish Vickers looking "stronger" than the two-turret version, or if you are a mad collector of Polish vehicles, to have all sub-versions

In my case, I just found it cheap and it looked good. If I had seen the two-turreted version, all the same I would have bought this one as it looks more conventional and powerful. I did doubt a little bit, as the box is not specially big, and I couldn't believe it was a full 1/35 tank for that price.

OVERALL - 7.5 >> 

A correct kit, if you find it at the price I  found it, is really 10. If you have to invest something like 20 €-25 €, you will probably be disappointed. It's not gigantic, but something similar to a Panzer II. 

 "Your work could be shown here too! I would be very glad to include your finished model kit, and be able to show many different examples!"

Model kit made by myself.