Model Valley #003 M12 Engine Set for Academy M12
Frank De Sisto
Contains 43 resin parts, one photo-etch part, one page of instructions
with parts guide and one page leaflet. Price: $32.98 USD. Available from M & Models
Hot on the heels of the very well received Academy M12 155mm GMC, comes this very useful set from a new manufacturer. Hobby Valley is a Korean firm whose products are being brought into the US by Marco Polo.
In general the production values are very good and certainly the equal of most of the better resin after-market manufacturers. There were no bubbles and all detail is very crisply cast. Clean-up is average for the industry, with small parts attached to easily removed blocks. Large parts have either slight over-pours which need to be sanded off, or very large blocks which will need to
be chopped off using your favorite method.
The instructions are in 8 steps and include a numbered parts chart. They are photographic in style and are in full color, with parts numbers labeling every item illustrated. They are more than adequate for the job, although no painting information is given so references will be needed. The one page leaflet which is included shows where the base kit parts will need to be modified, although I suspect it belongs with the companion transmission set.
The kit includes new seat cushions and a couple of tarps fitted for
specific areas on the vehicle.
The remainder of the parts makes up a complete engine with compartment. The parts feature the radial engine, fan housing, engine mounts, detailed bulkheads (with drive shaft for the transmission), hoses, air filter boxes and engine accessories. A separate compartment roof and a separate access panel (which goes between the fighting compartment and the engine compartment) allow for easy viewing. Curiously, however, no screening is provided for the engine deck. The only real glitch I noticed is that the exhaust manifold is the type seen on an M4 or M4A1 radial engine Sherman, where the exhaust is channeled over the engine to the rear of the hull. The M12 exhausted down to the lower hull sides, so the manifold will need to be modified.
If the popularity of the base kit is any indication, this set should also be widely purchased. Since this company is doing good quality Allied WW 2 (which seems to be enjoying some resurgence in popularity, at least among a vocal group) and Modern accessories, it will bear watching in the future.
Highly recommended, skill level: intermediate. Value for money: good.
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