Tuesday 28 October 2014

A Triumph of British Engineering

In exactly the same way that for example, the Austin Allegro was described as a 'Car', or the magnificent electrical systems provided in great British Leyland designs by Lucas the 'Prince of Darkness'...

And what triggered this rant?  Oh.. Matchbox Models. The story so far, I spotted a very cheap Revell M7 Priest + US Paratroopers model kit, for sale, second-hand. Now - Allied Softskins & Support Vehicles such as self-propelled artillery are not common-place in injection moulded plastic kits in 1/72, so I snapped it up.

On investigation - Revell had been a bit naughty. They had bought out the old Matchbox moulds - in this case dating from 1979, which were of course in 1/76 scale (or close enough) - and rebadged them as 1/72.

Ok, so having discovered this, I have been building a heap of kits - mainly Hasegawa, Dragon and the very nice S-Model sets, an ICM (very nice), some Italeri, newer Revell, Pegasus Hobbies and even some Plastic Soldier Company stuff, but I figured I would give the M7 a try. As long as I kept it away from genuine 1/72 Shermans and derivatives, it wouldn't be too noticeable.

The substance of the rant? So the plastic is brittle, and doesn't work well with my favoured Tamiya Limonene Cement, but worse than that; after the taut engineering with superb fit from most of the previous mentioned companies, this thing is like a Friday afternoon build Morris Marina. None of the parts quite fit. The holes in the shell racks aren't large enough to fit the shells provided and need to be drilled out, but you can't drill them out to an adequate size because the rack isn't big enough, the gun barrel looks much too small to fire the shells, everything that is slotted is either too tight, or so sloppy the parts will inevitably become mis-aligned, the trunnion holes for the gun seem to be at different levels so that the gun itself is askew, etc, etc...  Now granted this is a 1979 mould produced in 1997, but this is woefully bad by current standards.

I will soldier on, as I do want a Priest, and hopefully, some care, attention and filler will sort many things, (though not it being 1/76 sadly).

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