Wednesday, April 25, 2018

PSC T-55

PSC released their first 1/72 modern tank model in the form of the T-55 as part of a "willstarter" pre-order program (200 pre-orders and they will produce the kit).

These are quick build models designed for wargaming, with three tanks in every box. Optional parts allow you to make the T-55 (Soviet or Polish), T-55A (Soviet, Czech, or Polish), or the T-55AM2.

The details on the parts are on the chunky side, giving the models a toyish look. Also, if you look closely at the parts, you can see layer lines, suggesting that the original pieces were probably created using 3D printing technology.

The tracks are pretty disappointing, and I'm not sure that there is any easy way to make them better looking. The rear drive sprockets also look to be somewhat oversized.

The turret is missing the ports for the coaxial machinegun and telescopic sight.

The rivets on the cupolas are enormous, and the DShK is very chunky. I also don't think that the T-55A loader's hatch is correct for the Czech version. In most of the pictures that I found, the hatch was more like the one designated for the T-55 in the instructions.

The loader's hatch cover also seemed to be rather unusual, being particularly thick, and with a lip around the edge.

The round shape seems okay, but most pictures seem to show that the cover is either flat or slightly domed.

For some tanks, the cover was also more "D" shaped, but there was no option for this type of hatch cover in the kit. Since my plan was to build a T-55A of the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps, I decided to start off by modifying the loader's hatch cover to reflect this appearance. I used a circle template and etched an arc with my scribing tool.

The arc should have been wider, so I had to file it down to a flatter shape after I cut the cover in two. I also thinned the plastic down a bit, though it's probably still too thick.

After that, I assembled all the major parts of the tank (which probably took less than 10 minutes), and took some comparison shots with a Hobby Master T-55A (HG3315).

As far as the two tanks compare, the hull of the Hobby Master tank is about 1mm wider, but they are pretty much the same length. The PSC tank actually looks shorter, but this is due to the turret being set further back on the hull so that the barrel of the cannon is 2mm further back.

The Hobby Master tank has a rounder turret, while the PSC tank has a more egg-shaped turret. I do not know which one is more accurate.

Despite the various deficiencies that I mentioned earlier, I still think the PSC models are well worth getting. They are sturdy models that are great for wargaming, and definitely look the part of a T-55. There are a lot of spare parts, and the D10T barrel is particularly nice (it really comes in handy if you have any Ace T54/T55/Type59 models with their poorly shaped guns).

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Caterpillar 793D Mining Truck

I became interested in mining trucks because of a vehicle that was part of the Barjack Army in the manga Battle Angel Alita. The truck in the manga is a 3-axle vehicle that looked like it was based on the typical Caterpillar or Komatsu mining truck.

The closest thing I could find in both scale and appearance was a 1/75 scale model of the 240 ton payload Caterpillar 793D mining truck produced by KDW (Kaidiwei; 凯迪威), aka Guangdong Kaidiwei Culture Co.,Ltd (广东凯迪威文化股份有限公司).

The model comes in two different colors, and is sometimes advertised as being 1/72 scale.

The truck is very heavy, with a diecast metal hopper and undercarriage. The tires and other various pieces are made of plastic and vinyl. The articulated front axle steering system allows the front wheels to pivot.

The markings are spurious to avoid trademark complications, but I don't think it would have hurt to spell "Truck" correctly...

The telescopic cylinders that allow the truck bed to be raised are fully capable of supporting the weight of the hopper without it sinking back down on its own.

Measuring the wheelbase seems to indicate that it is somewhere between 1/75 scale and 1/72 scale (80mm measured; 78.7mm if 1/75, 82mm if 1/72).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Del Prado Medieval Soldiers

Advertisement for the 60mm Medieval Collection.

The Spanish publisher del Prado was established in 1988 and is known for its partwork series subscriptions that come bundled with collectible models. They are supposed to have had a presence in the USA at one time, but I have never seen any of their publications on sale anywhere. I'm not even sure if they are still in business, since some of their properties have apparently been sold off.

I was more familiar with their diecast fire engines, since they made them in 1/72 scale, but recently I found out that 1/72 Napoleonic and medieval figures were sold under the del Prado label.

I was a bit hesitant about buying any of the figures at first, since it seemed that some of the putative 1/72 Napoleonic figures might actually be closer to 28mm, but after finding a large lot of the medieval figures on eBay for a little over US$1 a figure, I decided to take a chance and purchase the lot.

When I received the package, I wondered what I had been sent because it looked as if the contents had been taped up in a tattered paper bag that was full of holes.

When I opened the paper, I saw that half of the figures inside had fallen out of their blisters. The plastic packaging contained water, and the backings were still all damp. It seems Deutsche Post somehow half drowned the package, and that the outer wrapping was originally a box, before being deformed by water damage.

Anyway, the figures all seemed to be there, and the loose figures didn't seem to have much in the way of damage to the paint, so I guess it wasn't a huge deal in the end.

Here are the figures I received, starting with castle besiegers in red and white livery.

AME001, AME004, AME007, AME008, AME010

AME012, AME015, AME017, AME019

AME021, AME023, AME026, AME028

AME036, AME038

Next are the castle defenders in gold and red livery.

AME003, AME006, AME009, AME011

AME014, AME020, AME024

Overall, I like these figures. They match up well with 1/72 plastics, and are well sculpted with good proportions. Some of the figures seem to be made of lead, so the metal is very soft, but others are made of a harder tin alloy. The paint jobs are not the greatest quality. It is a bit on the sloppy side, but at least they are painted (unlike the large part of my collection).

I may try to buy some Napoleonics to do comparisons at some point if I see them for cheap, but I really would like to complete a set of medieval figures. It is unclear how many figures were produced in the series, and from the looks of some of the poses, a siege engine may even be part of the line. I'd be interested to hear from people who have more information on these figures.