by: Rick Cooper [ ]
Plus Model has recently released the World War II U.S. Army portable M5 power unit. This generator is the type built by Hobart Brothers with a Hercules 4 cylinder 4 cycle engine that produced 11 horsepower. This particular unit was, as far as I can tell, primarily used to power the gun laying system of the 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun.
The kit is well packaged by Plus Model in a bubble wrap bag with separate bags for parts, wire, photo-etch, and decals. The box is the common small end opening style used for small accessories, figure sets, etc. The kit comes with a small set of instructions that are hand drawn, glue part here guide arrow type instructions. There are 22 resin pieces and another 16 photo-etch pieces so the instructions may provide a bit of a challenge if you have not had any prior experience with this type of kit.
The resin parts are all cast in a medium dark gray resin. I didnít find any air bubbles or pin holes that would need to be filled but there is a bit of flash that will need to be cleaned up before construction. The casting of the parts is superb, easily up to par with the standard that Plus Model has set in the past. The kit consists of a couple of main castings that look really nice. The 4 cylinder inline engine consists of one main casting and some smaller pieces to add such as cooling fan, carburettor, and exhaust.
The other main casting is the cabinet for the entire piece; it is a superb casting that really looks the part. Plus Model has achieved a very thin casting that gives a real sense of the real things sheet metal cover. To really bring that idea home the photo-etch sheet provided is truly top notch. It looks like it is an Eduard piece, it is not identified as such but it sure has all the earmarks of an Eduard product. It provides sheet metal hatch covers and doors as well as a pre-colored instrument panel for the unit that is clearly the highlight of the entire kit. The panel is one pre-colored piece, the gauges are another that fits behind to provide depth to the whole assembly, you are told to add a piece of clear film. Unfortunately, the sample that I have did not provide the clear film, I donít know if that was an oversight or if that is how all of the kits will be packaged. Either way finding a piece of clear film shouldnít be too daunting of a task but it would have been a nice touch to include it in the box. Plus Model does include two nicely cast US style 5 gallon fuel cans.
The kit also provides a length of heavy copper wire that is supposed to be straightened out to us as poles to manhandle the unit; it does mean you have to roll them out until they are extremely straight. My advice would be to throw the copper wire in the spares bin and use a couple of pieces of styrene rod in its place. Two small decals are provided, a small star and the ID plate for the end of the unit.
Highly recommended. This is a really nice little kit; if you have a Bofors in the stash you owe it to yourself to add this piece too. The resin castings are extremely well done and the photo-etch makes this a little gem that is well worth the price.