by: Paul Anstee [ ]
Mirage Hobby has always dismissed as just another of the not so great Eastern European kit manufacturers. Upon opening the box, I was surprised at the relatively good quality of the kit. The box contains three bags containing firstly the three sprues, then another two bags contain the tyres and the decal sheet. The parts count is fairly low, a multi part chassis, axles and a very basic engine are contained on the largest sprue along with half the armoured top section and the floor. The next sprue contains the weapons and various small bits like the steering wheel. The weapons at first glance are interesting, a Russian DT-28 Light Machine gun and a British PIAT. Both of the weapons suffer from being a little simplified and lacking in detail. It would be better to replace them with something better from the spares box, although the DT-28 comes with 3 magazines and the PIAT with 3 projectiles, which is nice.. The next sprue contains the suspension, the internal frame and the outside detail pieces for the armoured exterior. The next small bag contains the 6 rubber tyres, the usual things regarding these sort of tyres applies here. Ok cast, a bit of excess rubber to be trimmed from the centre line, I would pick the best fitting wheel and cast up a set in resin if possible. The final bag contains nothing more than the decal sheet which is stapled to the colour page of the instructions.
The instructions themselves appear pretty clear and easy to follow with construction laid out in 25 short steps. The extra sheet contains a column of the history of the vehicle and on the reverse is a set of coloured illustrations of the single paint option. The Colours themselves are listed by their Vallejo Paint numbers and shows not only the vehicle but a set of paint details for the weapons which is something I canít recall as a separate item before(although I am sure somebody will correct me on that). My only real issue with the painting sheet is the lack of painting details on the interior so you will have to use some artistic licence here, and the decal placement instructions could be a little clearer.
The entire kit is cast in a light grey styrene with very little flash; however some of the attachment points are a little thick, but I have seen far worse. The worse thing I can see is the ejector pin marks. As you can see from the pics(circled some in red) on the floor in particular there are a lot and they are quite thick. The floor will be an easy fix just attack them with a file and they will soon disappear. There are a few on the inside of the armoured sides which are more of an issue. As you can see from the picture they provide a nice textured surface to areas of the inside of the armoured hull but there are these massive, thick ejector marks which, while not being hard to remove will require effort to match the texture. Although they are situated in places that even with the roof hatches open may not be seen. All the hatches that are provided as separate items, seem to be able to be positioned open or closed however the view ports on the front are moulded on and canít be opened which is a shame. On that note I need to bring up the weld lines. On the kit they are merely cast as long straight lines however on the reproduction one I found on line the welds look rather rough as you would expect of a vehicle built in a hurry. Still they are pronounced enough that you should be able to mess with them a bit and improve the look.
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