by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The military bulldozer has long been a necessary vehicle in war, as it has been used for recovering and towing vehicles, towing artillery, and clearing roads and airfields. Its main role would be serving with military engineering units clearing and building roads, runways, and bridges to assist keeping the front line fighters moving forward.
In the past Mirror Models has presented us with some very welcome topics in 1/35 scale, their latest release is no different with the U.S. Military Bulldozer with a front blade.
15 plastic sprues
1 small clear plastic sprue
Lengths of wire and rope
2 metal springs
3 frets of photo-etched part
1 sheet of decals
1 instruction book
As usual with Mirror Models kits, taking the top off the box reveals a box packed with parts. Even before starting to unpack the parts, I can see a difference in the plastic molding, as Mirror Models now has a new producer. The plastic sprues are molded in grey and brown plastic for the track sprues. The moldings are very well done, crisp and flash free, only the seams need to be cleaned up. In my example I found no sink marks and all ejectors marks should be concealed after the build. As noted with some prior Mirror Model kits, the sprue gates in the kit are somewhat smaller than previous releases. But I would still suggest that a razor saw be used to remove parts from the sprues.
There looks to be a lot of parts with this kit, including some great looking fine molded detail parts. Actually when I started taking pictures, I was not sure I could find a sprue with parts that resemble a bulldozer at first. And as usual with Mirror Models, there are some extra detail parts in the way of photo-etched parts, bits of wire, metal springs, and a length of scale looking rope.
The instruction book for this release is a big improvement from other releases. This release includes a 15 page booklet that includes what us modelers would consider “normal” instructions with diagrams showing the assembly. While the steps are not numbered, they do look rather well laid out, and should make assembly easier.
The assembly starts with the large prominent engine, and is definitely a multi-part affair. While there is some great looking plastic detail with some photo-etched parts, there is room for a little more detail like plumbing and wiring. With most of the engine assembled the instructions move on to starting the frame assembly and the mounting of the engine to the transmission. Also a few extra engine parts are added.
It is then on to the running gear, which again looks well detailed, and based on the assembly steps should be rather easy to build. Included is a metal spring which should add a great look to the final model. With the two sides completed they are mounted to the frame and the instructions show what is really starting to look like a bulldozer.
The driver compartment is the next section to be built with all the controls and levers. I would think care will need to be had to ensure these are not broken off during and following assembly, and may also have to think about painting as well. The kit does include a great looking photo-etched floor with good looking no-skid detail.
In the kit from Mirror Model you will find individual workable track links. This again is a multi-part assembly with the center guide built separately, which will form the workable part of the track. Then the tread plates are glued on. Almost looks how the actual real track would be assembled.
This kit contains the front blade, and from the instructions, the assembly looks rather straight forward. Now the pulley system does look like it will take a little more care, but with some patience should not be too difficult. And with the inclusion of photo-etched parts it should look very good after assembly. The kit does include the scale rope to represent the rigging for the blade.
The kit comes with paint schemes for two vehicles provided by Ammo by Mig. The options are a U.S. military bulldozer in olive drab with marking or a straight yellow one. The decals in the kit look to be very well printed and within register.
This new kit from Mirror Models with a new plastic producer looks to be a step in the way of improvement. The molding of the plastic is very well done and includes an improvement in size of the sprue gates. The inclusion of the wire bits, photo-etched, and metal springs will definitely add to the final build of this great looking kit. I am quite sure this kit will find its way to the built shelf for a lot of modelers as it has been a long awaited for subject, and I would definitely recommend this kit.