by: Roman [ ]
New manufacturers are always welcome between modelers, especially if they are trying to fill previously uncovered niche. While in 1/35 scale the number of new releases rises dramatically each year, fans of 1/48 have very limited choice. Thatís why when 6 months ago first rumors appeared about a new kit coming from Blue Cat Models of Switzerland we were very excited. Later, when the first images appeared online I got a feeling that it is an up- scaled model of a 1/72 Sd.Kfz.10. Letís see how it turned out.
The model comes in a side opening cardboard box with artwork on top and the kitís features mentioned on the back. Inside you will find a 6-page (A5 size) instruction sheet with paint schemes in color, 2 tan sprues, 1 sheet of decals and a piece of clear film for the windscreen.
The model consists of 98 parts and builds up very quickly (1-2 evenings). The construction process is divided into 25 steps.
Steps 1 to 14 are dedicated to the hull and running gear assembly. The drive sprockets are nicely detailed so are the road wheels that are made in sections. The tracks are done as one piece and there is no problem in arranging them around the drive sprockets, road wheels and idlers. First they must be glued to the sprocket, then to the middle row of road wheels and the idler and finally they are joined on the bottom. Please note that 2 links must be cut off to join the tracks, but donít do that before you see how you connect them. The hull parts break down is pretty simply Ė the bottom part with fenders, interior with the gearbox, windshield with the firewall and the rear plate.
Next come the front wheels and front axle assembly. The wheels themselves have nice detail and good tire pattern but the fit is far from excellent here and putty would be required to fill the gaps. The front suspension consists of several parts Ė the leaf spring, the front axle, stabilizer bar and shock absorbers. Please note that when fitting the assembled front axle to the lower hull in step 14 the pins on parts 25 and 26 that are faced towards the lower hull must be cut off, otherwise they do not fit into the corresponding holes on the radiator housing. The radiator housing is missing the manufacturers name and the louvers are not open.
The remaining steps (15 to 25) are dedicated to the engine walls, OVM tools and crew compartment. Here the build proceeds with the engine access doors assembly (these also have closed louvers), the muffler cover and some tools -axe, shovel, etc. The parts corresponding to the baggage section and crew compartment walls have pretty big pin marks that must be filled before gluing. The drivers compartment has a steering wheel, 2 seats and several levers as separate parts. For the instrument panel there is a nice decal included. Inside the crew compartment there are 2 benches on the sides and a canvas at the rear upper part. The detail on the canvas is quite poor and that area would require aftermarket solution, otherwise a canvas can be done with either PVA and paper or epoxy putty.
Exterior details include rear mud flaps, towing hook, tool boxes on fenders, headlamps, Notek light, width indicators and a baggage rack for jerry cans at the rear of the vehicle. Note that all jerry cans in the kit have incorrect handles (I used resin from Black dog on final images).
The paint options included are:
21. Pz.Div, Nebelwerferbatterie (overall sand), 15. Pz.Div. Pazerjagerzug (sand with afrikabraun spots) and 90. Leichte Afrika-Div., Flakbatterie (sand with olive green spots).
Overall this is a very average kit. While it builds up easily with almost no fit problems, the detail level is not up to todayís standard and overall parts thickness is disappointing. The louvers are not open, the tracks are too flat and the jerry cans are wrong.
I wish Blue Cat takes a look on what the other quarter scale manufacturers are producing and brings us better kits in the future.