The idea of comparing combatants and combat actions from various historical conflicts is intriguing, whether real or imagined. This new Osprey publication provides a refreshing historical account of British cruiser encounters with German commerce raiders. A single Hilfskreuzer could sortie for a long time, disguised as a merchant ship, sinking commercial shipping. When caught by a British warship, the Hilfskreuzer often effectively exploited the element of surprise, in some case sinking a warship of superior size and firepower. Countering this threat was a challenge to the British Navy, who did eventually prevail over the raiders.
The 122 SpH 74 is a tracked, medium sized self-propelled gun in service with the modern Finnish army. A Soviet design, the SpH 74 is the Finnish designation for essentially the 2S1 Gvozdika that has been around since the early 70’s.
Skif’s new release is a reissue of their earlier 2S1 with the inclusion of new parts to allow the modeler to build the version currently in operation by Finland. As far as I can tell the new parts are mainly in photo etch, with the original plastic parts unchanged. In fact more than a few parts will go unused as they are 2S1 specific and not present in photos of the 74 I’ve been able to dig up.
- G – This sprue contains parts for the gun, shield, and gun cradle
- H x 2 – This has the wheel and hand wheels
- J – This has the ammo box and 3 shells
- N – This has the trails and associated bits
- P – Photo Etched parts
This kit is a representation of a Soviet “Divisional Gun” that was to fill the role of both a field gun and an anti-aircraft gun. This gun was designed in the early 1930s and started production in 1936. It stayed in production until 1939 when the Model 1939 gun went into production. May of these guns were captured and used by the German, Finnish, and Rumanian Armies.
Before starting the model, you need to decide how you want to display the gun, either in travel mode or firing mode. The instructions don’t do a very good job of showing you what the differences are during the build to make the two different versions. I will try to point these out as I go along.
The IAR 80 series of fighters was developed by IAR Brasov, a Romanian company, and were intended to replace some of the outdated Polish fighters which equipped the Romanian Air Force before World War II. IAR, which had produced a series of low wing, single seat fighters dating back to 1930 as well as some of the PZL fighters under license, developed a ‘home grown design”, the IAR-80, which was originally powered by a Romanian derivative of the French Gnome Rhone 14K Mistral-Major radial engine rated at 900 hp. Later models used 1,025 hp K-14-1000A engines, and the IAR-80A and IAR-80B were fighter and fighter bomber developments with slight detail differences. The IAR-80C, which was built in small numbers, was the last production model, and featured two 20 mm. Ikaria cannons, tail bracing struts, and racks for external fuel tanks. Survivors of the war were used by the Romanian Air Force until the late forties, and some were converted to two seat trainers.
The early FW-190As have been overlooked in large scale, that is until Pacific Coast Models released theirs. Now the modeler can build any one of the early short-nosed 190As. Eagle Editions is well known for Luftwaffe reference material, excellent resin and decals. This release is no different.
Designed for the Pacific Coast early Focke Wulfs, these decals are printed in perfect register by Cartograf. I’ve come to regard Cartograf as THE best decals in the world; certainly the best I’ve used. They are thin and react well with all known setting solutions.
There are two decal sheets; one that contains the individual markings for the aircraft, and one sheet of stencils and ‘common’ decals such as the crosses.