by: James Bella [ ]
Some parts just cannot be properly reproduced in styrene, and that’s one of the areas that Photo-etch shines. For scale thickness…or thinness if you will, PE fits the bill and has the strength to mimic some of the scaled down sheet metal areas.
One of those areas are the 15cm shell holders for the 38(t) Grille, especially if you want to model them empty. The styrene kit parts are molded too thick to accurately represent these, with the PE counterparts looking much more to scale. Griffon Model offers these in flat stock, which then need to be rolled into a cylindrical shape, and also just released the ‘pre-formed’ projectile containers reviewed here.
Packaged in a clear clam shell type container, the contents are well protected with a thick piece of foam separating the containers from the frets. My set arrived in perfect condition with nothing bent or misshapen. Included in the set are two PE frets for the bases, straps, supports, etc, for the shell holders along with the 15 pre-formed containers. A two-sided instruction sheet in typical Griffon style walks you through the assembly with ease.
Even though the containers themselves are pre-formed, some shaping and bending is still required. The curved parts of the mounting brackets for the casemate walls can be shaped easily by using either the styrene shells or the containers themselves. The round bases are easily attached and 9 of the containers also need the lip around the base added.
The straps are a bit different in this set since the mounting points are not etched onto the holders. I’ve included an image of the straps from both of Griffon’s sets showing the difference. Even though the length is the same, the mounting section is included on this set. This will give a bit more surface area to attach to, and hopefully still leave the straps long enough in case a shell is shown strapped in place. Measurements are shown in the instructions on where to mount the straps, so some careful marking on the container will need to be performed to get the straps at uniform heights.
The pre-formed shell containers are another matter. Measuring in at approximately 14mm in height, they are visibly much shorter then the DML and previous Griffon offerings. The ‘roll your own’ set from Griffon at 15.7mm tall was close enough to it’s styrene counterpart, and judging by reference photos and scale drawings look to be more in scale. This also brings the upper strap on the pre-formed ones too close to the beginning of the arc at the top, since the location of these stayed the same measuring from the base. The arc at the top also looks to be a bit ‘flattened’ and could have used a more rounded curve. The diameter appears correct, and both the DML styrene and Tiger Model Designs resin shells fit nicely.
The review images illustrate the DML styrene empty and full styles, the Griffon pre-formed and the Griffon 'flat' style, along with the DML and TMD (352071) shells.
The styrene kit parts are well sized, except for the fact that the walls are too thick to properly portray the holders in the empty state. This idea to offer preformed holders is a good one from Griffon Model as many modelers, no doubt, would rather not deal with the hassle of rolling these to shape. But then again, if you have the skill and patience to form the brackets and attach the straps, is it really that much more difficult to shape the containers?
Why Griffon decided to change the size from their flat stock offering to these pre-formed ones is beyond me. Granted, I believed their original ones were slightly too tall, by maybe 2/10 of a mm, but with these preformed ones approximately 1.5mm shorter, it’s a bit too much. If the height was closer to being correct, the shape of the arc at the top could have been dealt with. How they will look all assembled in a finished kit will need to be determined.
Price wise, approximate list price for these are $42, whereas the flat stock (35A027) are $16.