by: Darren Baker [ ]
Black Dog has gone retro when it comes to accessories for armoured fighting vehicles with their recent releases. The latest products are for dressing up the Trumpeter AS-90, Trumpeter LAV-R and the HobbyBoss AAVP-7A1 all in 1/35th scale. I am hoping that the release of this product indicates that a new more accurate AS-90 is in the pipeline somewhere. This review looks at the accessories set for the Trumpeter LAV-R in 1/35th scale.
This product arrives in one of Black Dogís end up stiff card boxes. Inside the box you will find a Ziploc plastic bag containing the resin parts which are protected by a good quantity of polystyrene peanuts. The set consists of 42 resin components covering both vehicle equipment and soldierís kit.
Black Dog is one of the best resin moulding companies on the market today, possibly improved only by the 3d printed resin parts companies, which are on the expensive side at this time. The mouldings all have excellent detail and no obvious moulding faults could be detected, other than a shallow air bubble in the coiled rope. It should be pointed out that none of the items supplied in this set are for correcting any issues found on the vehicle itself.
The most obvious part in this set is one very large rolled camouflage net, the net is supplied in four pieces and designed to run fully along one side of the vehicle, the front of the vehicle and slightly up the other side. I like the look of this addition as it can be a difficult item to realistically replicate. However I wish that the ends that join together had an actual joint such as a ball and socket or pin and hole, as opposed to the butt joints enabling easier and more rigid joints. There is a row of water cans down one side of the vehicle, which would indicate that this is intended for a vehicle involved in one of the recent desert conflicts; however due to Black Dog not making it compulsory to use all of the items provided, it allows you to pick and choose what to use, it also means you can start your very own resin spares bin with some very useful parts.
There are poles and planks supplied with detailed securing straps, these parts have bowed slightly due to the length and thinness, but some boiling water and a weight will easily correct this issue. The rope coil supplied has one separate eye and a shackle, the rope texture is good, but there is a shallow air bubble in the attached eye which should be easy to rectify. My favourite moulding of the whole set consists of a spare tyre with a folded canvas secured over the centre, the rope detail of this piece is excellent, however, I am unsure about the placement indicated by Black Dog for this part, but that is another beauty of these sets from Black Dog in that you can, within reason, place them where you wish. There are two other canvas offerings in this product, one depicts a canvas secured over a bulky item, and it is not very descriptive but does have some very nice crease detail. The other canvas item I initially thought was a stretcher, as there are four separate pole ends supplied, two of which fit into recesses on end; however I now believe this to be a shelter of some kind, perhaps to make working on a vehicle bearable in the sun.
There are two cases supplied with the set of different sizes, there are two large Pelican Cases, possibly for technical equipment or a weapon. There are five different sizes of plastic container which I presume are for five different types of fluid for the vehicles rather than the crew, careful research may reveal what their actual colour should be. There are two large ammunition boxes, frequently acquired by vehicle crews, as they are watertight and dustproof and often used for other equipment. The two different sized gas cylinders supplied are unlikely to be oxygen and acetylene, owing to their design, as you would expect to find on an engineering vehicle. Another nice inclusion is a set of four cots folded up and strapped together; they have great detail from what I can see and, after all, a soldier has to sleep as well! Lastly in this area there is a coil of wire, possibly barbed or razor wire as these have been seen on military vehicles. Careful painting and weathering of these parts should add a nice touch of bling to your build.
For the poor buggers getting cooked inside the vehicle Black Dog have provided six different backpacks, in truth one of those is a hydration pack. One aspect of the products that Black Dog produces is the excellent webbing detail replicated on these items, it is an aspect that some only pay lip service to, but the detail on these really adds that certain touch. The foam sleep mats in the set are a simple addition, as I really like the rolled up effect on the free end which with the hollow centre adds a nice touch of realism. Also in the set are two different holdalls, again the usual Black Dog webbing, strap and handle detail has been put to great effect. Lastly you get two semi crushed cardboard boxes; these are ration boxes (M.R.E) these are not the individual packets but the outer shipping box. I particularly like the fact that Black Dog have provided two designs rather than identical ones.
These vehicle sets from Black Dog are often criticised for the placement of pieces on the model, and while perhaps they should look into kit placement more, I believe it would result in the modeller getting less choice as there would not be as much in the box. The general rules of placing items on a vehicle are;
Will it prevent me from getting out of the vehicle in a hurry?
Will it make the vehicle breakdown?
And to a slightly lesser extent;
Will it go bang and possibly cause injury if hit?
If the answer is no or very unlikely, chances are a soldier will put something there.
I like these sets due to the mix of model specific items and generic relevant items. You can use as much or as little as you want, or dress up more than one model with a single set. The offered parts being single mouldings for the most part mean it is all up to you as to what goes where, and that I feel is what model making should be all about.