Royal Models US Army/Tank Equipment
Cookie SewellKit Review: Royal Models 1/35 Scale Diorama Accessories:
No. 202, U.S. Army Equipment WWII; 156 parts (37 in tan resin and 119 in etched brass); Price $26.95
No. 212, U.S. Tank Equipment; 23 parts in tan resin; price $17.95
Advantages: "One stop" shopping for detail accessories and "kit" for vehicles or dioramas
Disadvantages: Etched brass straps may be a bit difficult for some people to get a good appearance
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII or Korean War US Modelers or anyone who wants US kit in a diorama
Royal Models is a pretty decent Italian manufacturer of detail accessories and figures, and most modelers who have been to one of the AMPS National Conventions have seen their items for sale with several of the vendors. They have primarily done German items until now, but these two accessory sets are very nice and of interest to armor models who deal with US subjects.
Kit 202 provides a wealth of basic US Army infantry gear from the WWII era, which means it also works for Korea. This includes one layout of dropped gear (helmet and web gear) as well as map cases, packs, helmets, canteens and belts. The main difference in this kit from several others is that all of the strapping is included, but as part of an etched brass fret. The brass is incredibly well detailed, with the wales on the web belt and grommets standing out as spectacular, but getting them to drape realistically will cause some modelers problems. Start by annealing the metal over a flame before use to take some of the stiffness out of the brass, and the rest will be much easier. This also will need some sort of anvil or tool such as the Small Shop's "Hold and Fold" to get clean breaks in the parts, as 1/35 chinstrap buckles are a bit puny for most of us hamhanded types to get off on our own!
Kit 212 was not well served in translation from Italian, as it is not quite what it claims to be, but rather a dress-up set for US military vehicles with several packs, a roll of camouflage netting, regular steel pots and tankers' helmets, and "stuff" which would be found on the rear of turrets or engine decks. All is crisply molded, but the big pieces have some hefty casting feet which will take care in removal. This has more applicability than some other offerings from other manufacturers, as it is generic enough to use on any vehicle rather than one specific kit from one specific manufacturer.
Overall, these are nice sets and give the average modeler the chance to add some nice bits to their models with a minimum of fuss and without using the same tired plastic accessories which come with some kits.
Royal Models products are available directly from Chesapeake Model Designs, PO Box 393, Monkton, MD 21111. Thanks to Bill Miley of CMD for the review samples.
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