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Type 61 – Fine Molds 1:35

Recently I’ve received a kit of Japanese Self-Defence Forces Type 61 tank in the revised specification. As you know I’m a fan of german and russian armor from World War II, so it’s not easy to convince me to look at something from ‘this era’. Until now I have only made a few vehicle kits that were designed and manufactured after 1945, moreover all of them come from the 60-70’s of the last century. Fortunately for Fine Molds, it was the same this time, Type 61 was produced between 1962 and 1975 with a final decommission date in the year 2000.

In the box, you will find 8 sprues from olive-green polystyrene (including two identical once with wheels and track sections), 2 from a transparent material with periscopes, scope glasses and headlights, a photo-etched plate, a piece of nylon string for the towing cable, decals and an assembly instruction. The instruction itself consists of 16 pages with the tank description (unfortunately only in japanese), 44 assembly steps and 4 painting schemes using Mr. Hobby C & H colors as well as Tamiya. Paints coming from this manufacturer belong to the C line.

It’s the first time that I have seen an assembly instruction from Fine Molds and I have to admit, that even though drawing are of high quality it’s not the easiest to follow – at least at first sight. It’s caused by the fact, that you’re able to build the tank in 2 specifications, ‘Upgraded’ and ‘Night Combat’, which requires you to jump between the steps or exclude some elements. On top of that, the kit instruction contains the steps related to ‘Detail Up Option’, which are in fact the steps to fitting a separately sold photo-etched plate ‘Extra Detail Set of JGSDF Type 61 Tank’, consisting of 28 parts, which make reading the instruction harder.

However, I think that once you start building and get used to this style of presentation you should not have any issues with finishing the kit according to the instruction. As mentioned, this is the first Fine Molds kit, in my workshop and I have to admit, that it’s of very high quality, characteristic for Japanese manufacturers. The sprues are very good, sharp, almost without spills (I did find a few), the delicate texture of armor and weld marks are a joy for the eyes. The openwork ventilation covers of the engine bay are amazing, that’s a detail rarely available even from other japanese manufacturers. Push-out marks are in invisible places, and if you would like to get rid of the once located under the fenders, it should be easy, as they are very shallow. The number of elements, from which the kit is assembled is reasonable – it’s not going overboard like with Dragon, but at the same time it’s more than with other japanese manufacturers. Even the smallest elements are crisp, however, the details on Browning M2 0,50” could have been enriched. If someone would like to make this replica more attractive, a metal or resin machine gun would be a nice addition. Adding a brass line instead of the nylon string for the towing cable would be a very good move however it’s typical for japanese manufacturers to stay with nylon string. Decals required to transfer markings for one of the 4 suggested painting schemes are unfortunately very thick, compared to the products offered by best decals manufacturers nowadays. Of course using gloss paint underneath the decals and selecting an adequate application liquid can result in satisfactory results.

Concluding – if you’re looking to build a Type 61 in the early or revised specification, there is no better alternative than to the Fine Molds kit. Other products available on the market come from the 90’s which for sure will not satisfy an exacting modeler in 2017. There is no point in trying to compare them. The kit price at HHkits is not high however the extra detail set photo-etched parts plate is expensive and even the most avid fans might think twice before buying it. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an interesting and uncommon addition to your collection, the Fine Molds kit is definitely something for you. Even I’m looking forward to building it, however, it will need to wait in line for its turn…

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‘Castle in the Sky’ Tiger Moth review

Thanks to HHkits I had the opportunity to review the Dola’s Pirate Airship from the Animage Grand Prix winning anime ‘Castle in the Sky’ by Hayao Miyazaki. Even though the kit is tagged as 1:72 by Fine Molds I would see it rather as an equivalent of kits in 1:144 scale. Inside the box, you will get the kit it self and a much larger figure of the pirate captain Dola.

-Kit quality-

the airship is made neatly and with excellent fitting, about 90% of the elements can be snapped on together without a single drop of glue. The push out marks are slight to moderate and in many cases, they are hidden under different elements or in places where they are invisible. The nicest thing about this kit is the fitting when putting two half’s of the mold together brake lines are almost invisible. This is especially visible on handrails and ladders.

-Details-

there aren’t too many details here compared to a traditional kit however, all elements within the ship compartments the fuselage and all surfaces, are clean and with sharp edges. I believe that Fine Molds intentionally did not put too many details on this ship and focused on replicating the ‘Anime’ creation of Mister Miyazaki without decorating it with elements with were not visible on the drawn original.

-Quality of plastic-

the used plastic is stiff but not too brittle, it has a very smooth surface without any flaws. The only thing you need to pay attention to so separating the elements from the sprues, don’t snap the parts but use a sharp knife or you risk damaging the elements itself.

-The figure of Dola-

what might surprise you there are not to many details as for it’s size and with rather soft edges. However as mentioned before it’s representing a cartoon figure that was drawn with simple lines and not a real human.

-Decals-

they are printed with high quality without any visible rasters


JUDGMENT:

Strong points

  • -very good quality, there are no major defects
  • -it’s simple enough for a junior kit maker
  • -sharp and clear edges and details

Weaknesses

  • -limited number of details vs. comparable 1:144 kits
  • -a number of push out marks that should not be there
  • -no figures of the anime characters in scale of the Tiger Moth
  • -no transparent wings for pirate scooters

Product link: Tiger Moth

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First of three limited edition kits for April, Ho-Ni III (Type 3)

In April Fine Molds is going to release a set of 3 limited edition kits to the Japanese armor line. The first one of them is the Imperial Japanese Army Ho-Ni III Tank Destroyer (Type 3). Variant III of the Ho-Ni was based on the Type 97 Chi-Ha tank chassis and a 75mm (Type 90) Field Gun. First time in the history of Fine Molds the kit will be fitted with high-quality interior details. Additionally, new black plastic tracks and a set of 2 Type 97 machine guns will be added to complete the kit. Below you will find photos of box art and the completed test kit. If your interested in ordering one of those kits please signup on our wait list.