by: Darren Baker [ ]
It would seem that Australian Forces are catching the attention of Black Dog, Black Dog has released two offerings of the Australian Special Forces Land Rover in 1/35th scale, one is a straight vehicle conversion and the other is a conversion plus accessories. In this review I will be looking at the straight conversion set as the other offering has been sent to a member for a build review.
This offering is packaged in a flip top cardboard box. Inside of the box are two Ziploc plastic bags and a further two Ziploc bags in one of those. The contents are further protected by foam peanuts. The contents break down as follows:
73 resin parts
2 photo etched frets
2 instruction sheets
First impressions of this product are good as regards the packaging, but despite the sturdy cardboard box and foam peanuts, some parts are still damaged due to being broken loose from the pour plugs. There is quite a lot of flash present on some parts, but nothing that will cause major problems as the flash is very thin.
Something that has surprised me with this offering is that no base kit is mentioned as to which kit the resin offering was designed to fit. My money is on the HobbyBoss Defender versions, but that is based on the look of the plastic I can see on the website. That said it may fit any of the Land Rover kits from Hobby Boss and possibly even the Italeri offering.
Looking at the connections between the pour plugs and the moulded pieces looks to make separation of parts and clean up should be for the most part easy. I am basing some of that assessment on the fact that pieces that have broken free during transit look to be undamaged.
The detail on the parts looks good and matches reference that I have seen in the Tankograd Publishing offering. I will say that with this release I would like to see Black Dog produce some suitable Australian crew members and maybe even the 6 wheeled version of the vehicle.
The wheels provided in this offering look to be weighted with the flat spot being where the pour plug connects; I see that as a positive. One of the parts that has broken free is the radiator grill and that is one of the few parts that may be damaged, fortunately it is hidden behind substantial bull bars and so any damage should be easy to hide.
The weapon mounted on the ring is supplied with this kit, I believe it is a 50cal; this is supplied in quite a few parts and that has allowed quite a lot of detail to be imparted. The sighting system is quite impressive in resin. The barrel however seems a little out of true and so for me I would look for a turned metal alternative to replace that aspect.
Of special interest to me, and worthy of praise, is that Black Dog has realised the risk of damage to parts during transit. In order to meet that issue I have noted that Black Dog has provided a number of spares in the box. I noted that this was restricted to small and thin items, but is none the less good to see.
When looking at the scans of the instructions I have included, please note that the images are much clearer in the flesh. I can only believe that Black Dog has taken some steps to beat the counterfeiters in the resin market. I should add that I am not a fan of instructions presented in this manner and would prefer a more conventional approach.
I am impressed to see a company such as Black Dog tackling an Australian subject and judging from my limited reference quite a good job. I was a little disappointed to see parts broken from the pour plugs as I know this can cause damage to them. The photographic instructions would be better and easier to follow if tackled in a more conventional manner, but with this offering you could get by with care and good observation.