The concept of the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is not a new concept. But UAVs have been hot-points in the news from many parts of the world over the last decade. “Birds of Prey” is an absolutely fascinating, current, and in-depth description of the wide variety of these vehicles. The author skillfully intertwines factual information with almost "Tom Clancy" descriptions of combat action. The huge variances in the size, style and missions are covered extremely well. To put the size variance into a modeling perspective, the smallest winged UAV, the Scan Eagle has a 1 inch span in 1:48 scale! Compare this to the Global Hawk Block 20+vehicle with a wing span of 32.5 inches in the same scale.
For the last several years, UM has produced a number of armored train components in 1/72 scale. It appears they are branching out and creating products of German armored train cars. The back of the box includes a short history of the vehicle, “Manufacturing of the heavy ‘S.Sp’ reconnaissance armored cars started in 1944. These cars were able to operate independently or as a train made up of similar cars. Several types of heavy armored cars existed. Artillery cars were armed with Pz. III (N) tank turret with short KwK L/24 75 mm gun. These cars had 20 mm of armor protection. Their weight (depending on armament) reached 18 tons. Maximum speed – 40 km/hr. Combat effectiveness of heavy armored car was almost equal to BP-42. ‘S.Sp’ participated in combat operations on Balkans from November 1944.”
This upgrade provides excellent cast cockpit tubs, instrument coamings, and ACES II ejection seats. Included are side controllers; the control sticks are molded into the side panels. Score high there; no disappearing act on the joystick or those throttle levers while trying to attach them to the panels. Detail is unmatched on the resin. The photoetch fret contains all the myriad little bits designed to disappear or be invisible except to specialized cameras or those with 20/05 vision.
Tamiya’s kit practically begs to be used in a diorama and this could make a great start. It has:
- complete sets for left and right wings
- ammunition trays
- gun bays
- access panels with PE locking rods
- feed chutes
- 4X .50 Browning machine guns with PE top covers and charging handles
Again, some of the pour stubs on the gray parts are thick and you’ll need to be very careful with the cream color .50 gun barrels and feed chutes. They’re extremely fragile. I’d recommend you have some experience with resin, modifying kit parts, and PE before you tackle this one.
In 1984 Richard Staszak authored an excellent publication entitled, “Building and Improving Vacuum-Formed Model Aircraft”. The book was published by Kalmbach Books and was given the item number of 12054 and received the ISBN number of 0-89024-047-7.
Recently Mr. Staszak has released a DVD that is, or all intents and purposes, a complete copy of the original book. In addition, the DVD includes colored pictures and mini-reviews of over 100 vacuformed models from the author’s collection. Current sources for some of the older vacuform kits are also identified as well as new kits from current manufacturers.