One of the things I've always liked the least about plastic models is the lingering impression many of them convey of being just that: plastic models. A big reason for built-up kits looking like, well, kits is the lack of gear packed on them. Armies move about and soldiers know they will need to carry whatever they want with them. In most situations, Mom isn't going to be standing there with a hot meal, an umbrella and a nice place to sleep.
So whether it's tents, tarps, crates of #### or gear like knapsacks and the like, modelers are looking for solutions to the need to drape their kits with gear of all sorts.
Some of the model companies have been trying to address this need, but no one has dedicated more energy to the question of good stowage than Value Gear. The company was originally based in Ireland, but has relocated to Arizona, and its founder, Steve Munsell, has released a small world of tarps, tents and canvas of all sorts. Now he has expanded out into crates, and Crates #6 is another fine offering in that vein.
What you get
Value Gear sets are pretty no-nonsense: inside a Ziploc baggie stapled to a piece of folded card stock are 19 light gray resin items.
This particular set has some crates that could hold munitions, and others that look like they contain spuds. There's a box of tools, and others that could be scientific gear. There is a metal locker and a nice variety of items. Unlike Value Gear's tarps and tents sets, the crates series offers ample items for the fleet of trucks from Soviet, German and Allied motor pools coming onto the styrene marketplace.
After having reviewed, painted and used over a half-dozen Value Gear stowage sets, I can say with some confidence they are the single best generic option on the market. Short of stowage designed for your particular kit ala Black Dog or Legend, Value Gear items are the best value for money.
For one thing, the casting is often as close to flawless as I've seen. The details are sharp, not soft, and the imagination used in the creation shows through. Steve hand builds his stowage items, often from stock gear, but also from things he scratch-builds.
The one "knock" on these items can be the challenge in combining pieces for that "super pile" of gear you see on some vehicles. But resin is malleable if gently heated in hot water, and a little cutting and fitting can result in the look you want.
These items will enhance a diorama, can be piled up in a truck or stacked on a tank or other AFV. They are the best value for money in stowage and I recommend them highly.
Highs: Sharp casting, minimal mold release issues, easy applicability to almost any army since the Crusades.Lows: None really.Verdict: Another outstanding creation from the leprechauns of Value Gear.