by: Jim Rae [ ]
This will be the first of two reviews. In the second, i'll be covering MB3538 - Somewhere In Europe 1944 which is is this release (MB3537) along with it's horses, two civilians and (as a bonus) two German Infantrymen looking longingly at an alternative to walking.
This is a release from a company which is demonstrating an absolutely impressive ability to surprise with each new release. Prior to this, this has been the kind of subject which would only be available through the excellent (but relatively expensive) Resin Manufacturers such as Adalbertus, MK35 or Verlinden. Considering the use that horse-drawn transport played in conflicts from WW1 up to the recent conflicts in the Balkans, it seems a little absurd that this area has been ignored by the Injection manufacturers. Up until now that is...
Masterbox's New Release
MB3537 - Farmer's Cart, WWII Era is a 1/35th scale, Injection-Moulded styrene kit which comes on a single sprue and contains just 35 parts. The kit is moulded in a sand-colored styrene and comes in the usual packaging from Masterbox - an end-opening, full-color box. Also included is a single sheet of instructions which also include a map of the parts on the sprue. Rather than the usual high-quality artwork, in this case a series of good quality color photos are presented of the completed model. No painting instructions are provided as this will be left up to the individual modeler's preferences.
The quality of the moulding is absolutely excellent with only a few parts showing any flash - easily enough cleaned-up with a sharp knife. A few (inevitable) mould-lines are present, but are small enough to be easily cleaned up with the gentle use of some medium grade wet'n dry paper.
Construction (as can be seen from the scans) begins with the floor of the cart and adding the two angled strakes to hold the side pieces. The second part is attaching the wheels and the front part of the chassis which can be left loose to allow the front wheels to be positioned in almost any angle. Four parts which are included, are similar to tank hawsers, it may, with these, be desirable to replace these with sections with either cable of an appropriate thickness or even, as can be seen on other carts, with fine chain.
I first posted this as an 'In-Box' Review, however, I decided that to do proper justice it would be better to build it. Here are some comments on assembly.
Now, i've never actually (at least in THIS life) been called upon to build a real cart - Ikea's furniture is as far as i've gone... The impression I got though, is that the designer has followed the construction of an actual subject and reproduced it in plastic. Many of the pieces have locating pins attached to them which does ensure that one gets a good straight fit. However, be warned - some of the locating pins are bigger than the location holes so a little trimming is necessary. Major surgery isn't required - but you'll find yourself doing a lot of dry-fitting. It isn't 'shake'n'bake' but it's well within the capabilities of any modeler. Fit is also good enough that you won't find any problems and the engineering of the parts is really very good indeed.
How about some OTHER possibilities?
Now, the kit is going to build into an exceptional model straight from the box. However, there are some other ideas which present themselves.
The first, would be replacing the wheels with some suitable diameter wheels from a vehicle such as the Kubelwagen or even some of the Russian truck kits. This (particularly for a scene in Bosnia or other recent conflicts) would give another dimension to the cart.
Along the same lines, would be to rebuild the angled sides with plastic card and create a closed side rather than the open ones in the original model. Also, using the angled strakes as a guideline, a completely open cart could be created with adding a few more strakes. Another possibility would (as frequently seen) be to replace the sides with the woven 'wattle' type material seen in areas such as Russia...
This is a model which most diorama builders will find an enormous amount of uses for. The quality of the basic kit is as good, if not better as anything done by Masterbox up until now and indicates that the company is at the the top of their game. The qualty of moulding is exceptional, the possibilities that I suggested above are only a few which could be applied. It could be used as part of a German supply column - even as an improvised ambulance in Soviet hands. It's also, I have little doubt, going to appear in future dioramas as part of a barricade.
The time period it could cover is equally impressive. It could be used as part of any diorama in almost any epoch in the last 500 years. and will be equally useful whether it's accompanied by Janissaries, German Infantry or NATO peace-keeping troops.
At first glance it seems like a 'useful' release - the reality is that it'll become one of the most useful in years...
My thanks to Masterbox Ltd. for the Review sample.