by: John [ ]
With Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, it is well documented that the Germans captured over 6000 field guns in 1941 alone, with 3 million rounds of ammo. A high percentage of those captured field guns were the Russian F-22USV gun, which was bored out and re-rifled to take the German 7.62 round. This conversion resulted in the assigned designation of 7.62-cm FK 39(r), of which this kit models.
11 plastic sprues
1 fret of photo-etched parts
1 10 page instruction book
MiniArt’s newly tooled release of this particular gun is the first of its kind in 1/35th scale. The kit uses slide mold technology and is molded in typical grey plastic. There is no flash and no ejector marks, however, there are mold seams that will have to be dealt with and may show after assembly. Although the box art never indicates this kit can be a 2 in 1 kit, there are 2 distinct barrels options what would indicate that this kit can certainly be built 2 ways...original Russian with no muzzle brake, or captured by Germany that features the brake.
The positive feature of this kit is that a look at the sprues indicates a high level of detail and that in itself is certainly something to appreciate along with the uniqueness of the subject matter itself. The kit does present something of a fit/breakage problem in quite a few of the assembly steps. Placement of parts gates while in the engineering phase lead to a lot of unfortunate part breakage and instead of having to clean/sand only one edge off, the attachment point’s sometime overhang off the part which necessitates more cutting or sanding to an additional two or three surfaces.
Assembly steps 1 and 2, part B16, the handholds will not correctly line up with holes in the trailing arms. Additionally, these parts are notoriously thin plastic parts which are impossible to be cut off the sprue without breaking, and these handholds for the trailing arms were already broken in my sample. I normally replace them with wire anyhow, but I did manage to repair the kits’ handles. Assembly 1 and 2, PE18. Will not correctly fit to the outboard sides of the trailing arms, as shown. It seems that the photo etch is way larger than the area it was designed for.
Also, in assembly steps 1 and 2, there is indicated call for 4 each PE6 pieces to be applied in what is an indicated need for 4 individual pieces of these parts. However, step 16 calls for 3 more applications of PE6, when the fret only contains a total of 4…already applied in steps 1 and 2.
In assembly steps 3, 4, 5 and 6, most parts as shown have inadequate notches, or cut-outs, that would indicate how the part is attached, and will almost certainly result in the trailing arms being almost impossible to line up symmetrically for display in the either towed, or deployed, position.
Assembly step 7 has a part identified Ab6 that should actually be labeled Ab9.
Assembly 22: part PE13 has no indicated attach point for the application on the cradle.
In assembly 23, be careful of part A16. This translating shield will brake easily and will add frustrated repair time.
Construction then moves on to the shield and gun mounts.
Assembly steps 23 and 24, of the shield and its associated parts are not properly/adequately sequenced, leaving the modeler guessing which part to glue first. There are some very nicely detailed parts here, and care will be needed not to break some of those finer parts.
During assembly step 25, part A9 is miss-identified and should be labeled A10. This is the part that keeps the trailing arms locked in the towed position. Part A9 should be what A10 is shown to be, and both are drawn incorrectly as well. Confusing, but you will see what I mean during assembly.
The photo etch fret is almost rendered entirely useless. Lots of the parts seem to have a larger size to them as if you are trying to fit 1/32 parts to a 1/35 kit. The other misfortune beset on the fret is that there is not enough of some PE parts that are called out for multiple applications.
There is a massive amount of parts to this kit that is quite over-engineered. While the crispness of detail on the gun itself, and that the molding of the shield is well done and has great surface details, the parts attached to the sprues are overdone with thick gates. Great care must be the order of the day as not to completely destroy or break numerous parts. I fell victim to at least 6 parts that were unrecoverable for repair.
The part Ab4 gun barrel is one piece, slide molded gun barrel. The muzzle brake will need to be cleaned of seams in the interior of the brake. Clean-up of the seams will prove difficult. The seam line issue continues along the whole of the recuperator assembly that will most likely leave evidence of over sanding that compromises the detail.
Removing parts B8 from the sprue proved fruitless and were lost. Held by 4 large gates for such a fine, delicate piece, is quite overdone. Final construction should prove to be good looking elevation gears and mounts, however, the builder is left guessing on how to place the translating shield for final position.
The instructions are typical MiniArt, but I highly suggest, and recommend, that you study them extensively, and dry fit often. Some of the assembly steps DO NOT look to be well organized. There are no markings.