by: Bob Davis [ ]
In researching this set I ran into problems as to written reference on the uniforms, which left me with only period photos to work from. Not my usual way of doing a review, but I worked with what I had to go on. As per the photos, which there is a lot of them out there, the uniforms and equipment look very much on par. For color reference, black and white photos are hard to determine.
This set comes in the open end type box with instructions and paint guide on the reverse. There are no separate instruction sheet but the exploded view is well done and clear. There are two sets of figures in a separate bag and a motor cycle in another. The sprue is light grey in color, easy to work with and takes well to Tamiya thin glue.
Figure 1 is the tank driver. Typical breakdown of the body but it comes with 2 left arms to choose from. I liked the extended one and went with that. It comes with a holstered pistol, knife, beret and the face protector. That is a leather mask with glass eye pieces and chain link to protect the driverís eyes and face from flying shrapnel and popped rivets to a point; a nice little addition. The facial expression has that look of here we go again and the hands are alright for his stance. The assembly went smoothly with no fit problems and only one pin point to fill on the back of the right arm. Creases and folds are alright and buttons, flaps, buckle and belt are rendered but some undercutting might be desired by some. Puttees and boots are fine enough for me. A temporary base was glued to it to help in taking pic's and as you see the feet are off set in height.
Figure 2 is the tank commander/gunner/loader. Once again the break down for the body is the usual for plastic molded and comes with the holstered pistol, knife and Adrian helmet. The national emblem on the front is not well rendered but the rest of it looks O.K. Assembly was straight forward and only a slight gap on the back of its jacket bottom will need a dab of putty to close up. The positioning of the arms fit the turret well. The face is well enough defined but the hands are a bit soft and the fingers look too short to me. Creases and folds are alright, buttons, pocket flaps, belt and buckle and puttees are well done but some under cutting may be desired by some.
Figure 3 is the dispatch rider with the usual breakdown of body parts and comes with 2 heads. One for fitting a kepi hat and the other with the leather motor cycle helmet with goggles. The right arm is extended with a dispatch envelope which is pretty thin and has the flap with seams in the middle where the paper sides meet. There are also some wrinkles where he has a hold of it; nice touch there. He also comes with a holstered revolver and a dispatch pouch. Where that attaches to the body some removal of inside plastic for the strap will be required or it will look too thick. Folds and creases are nicer on this figure but the right arms will need to be filed down around the back mold line as it interferes with the creases there. Buttons, pocket flaps, belt and buckle are present but soft. Assembly was straight forward with no fit problems. I did leave the left arm off till the motor cycle was assembled to ensure a proper fit with the handle bars; no problem was encountered at that stage either.
Now for the M.C. This was as hard to reference as the rest but a friend of mine, Taffy 3, came up with the same picture but it took an e-mail to Meng to verify with the reference we had. It is a 1917 Peugeot 750 c.c. 2 cycle. Most of the parts are very thin and care must be taken when removing them from the sprue. I did manage to break 2 parts but lucky me. I found the carpet monster was in a forgiving mood. The mold lines are thin and a quick swipe with a new blade took care of them easily enough. Assembly is a bit tough because of the many small parts. But letting them set up and moving on from there makes it a simple job. I did assemble the fuel tank together so the seam between the halves would be easier to remove but for some stupid reason of mine, kept trying to put it in backwards. It wonít fit that way and I had to remove the locator pins to slide it in to place when I got it straightened out. To represent the fuel gauge you will need a small thin rectangle of clear plastic. Paint the middle 2/3rds with a translucent yellow and the top and bottom ends khaki green to match the bike. This is the jewel of this kit and the addition of some thin wire to represent the cables and wiring on the engine will bring it all together very nicely. The detail on the M.C. is crisp and clear and gives you a very nice little sled in the end.