by: Frank Portela [ ]
This kit comes in 4 sprues of dark green plastic with the manditory cast metal lower hull. In addition, you get a couple of screws to attach the metal die cast hull, a decal sheet, a piece of twine for the tow line and a couple of poly caps for the turret and drive sprockets.
The lower die cast metal hull has detail limitations, such as the track tensioner being molded on to the hull, but this will be of limited concern once the model is completed. The suspension builds up cleanly with the only concerns being the placement of the mud scrapper (parts B3 and B4) which must be attached at the same time as the drive sprockets. Do not glue the drive sprocket in place, as they may need to be rotated to align with the link and length tracks. I found the link and length tracks fit quite well, but do have small pin marks on the insides of the tracks. Easily filled with CA glue.
The upper hull and the engine deck are the two largest components on the kit, the level of detail on the upper hull is sparce in comparison to the Hobby Boss kits. This should be easily corrected with after-market P.E. from either Eduard or Hauler. The gap around the rear engine deck (part B25) to the upper hull is especially noticeable and may require a bit of filler. Before you attach the upper hull to the metal lower portion, make sure you open up the required locating holes.
The turret consists of two halves with separate front and rear plates of armour. The tolerances of the turret are much tighter than the hull. The top plate is adorned with four persiscope covers (without the periscopes), two rotating sights, climbing handles and the moulded on ventilation cover. Interior detail is moulded on the hatches, which I would not suggest leaving open unless one fills out the opening with figures. The one piece main gun requires a slight pass of the sanding stick and fits tightly into the mantlet.