I believe the Voyager set I received for review is the first aftermarket product for recently released Tamiya JGSDF Light Armored Vehicle kit (review here
). As most sets from the Chinese manufacturer, set PE35036 is also packed in a thick paper compact disc case. Inside this multimedia set we get instructions printed on three sides of two A4 size paper sheets and a resealable plastic bag 6 photoetched frets (5 brass and one copper), two lengths of ABS rods, a length of steel wire (at least according to instructions, as it looks more like aluminum to me) and two pieces of brass tubing. Instructions are very clear and easy to understand.
Sizes of photoetched frets are:
A - 64 mm x 96 mm / 0.15 mm thick brass
B - 48 mm x 96 mm / 0.15 mm thick brass
C - 39 mm x 96 mm / 0.25 mm thick brass
D - 32 mm x 39 mm / 0.15 mm thick copper
E - 24 mm x 32 mm / 0.25 mm thick brass
bolt heads fret - 32 mm x 32 mm / 0.25 mm thick brass.
Additional parts are: 51 mm long 0.5 mm diameter ABS rod, 52 mm long 1 mm diameter ABS rod, 47 mm length of 0.3 mm diameter wire and two pieces of 0.8 mm diameter brass tubing, one 12 mm and the other 15 mm long.
Some of included parts are:
- wheel hubs,
- fire extinguisher mount,
- dashboard frame and other details (but kit part is used for instruments dials),
- door and windows handles plus many other parts for detailing doors. Provided PE handles are flat - in reality they are circular in cross-section,
- armored radiator grille. Instructions show grille louvers incorrectly assembled - they should be more horizontal and open to the front of the car, not vertical and open up as shown in instructions. It seems to be fully possible to attach these parts correctly.
- mud flaps (made of copper),
- windows support shafts. There are two options to make those parts - one is to use complete PE part, what is easy, but part is flat, not rounded as it should be. The other option is to use brass tubing and ABS rod to make more accurate parts. PE details are provided only for mounting brackets in this option.
- windshield wipers,
- complete roof hatch - it is made of 19 parts plus a number of bolt heads, which are provided on a separate PE fret. This fret contains 90 bolt heads, while just 20 are used in this set, so there is plenty of them left for use in other models!
- complete grenade launcher mounting "shelves" and antenna mount brackets. PE chains are provided for launcher tubes.
- new gun pintle mount with PE gun shield,
- wire cutters,
- cage guards for headlights - particularly welcome addition, as they were omitted in Tamiya model.
- armor plate for the bottom front of the vehicle.
There are many other small parts included, which I did not mention above. One nice addition, not even mentioned in instructions, is a stencil for paining JGSDF cherry blossom symbol - it can be found on the bottom of the fret A.
The only thing I can think of that Voyager could add, but didn't, are grab handles for engine hood covers. They would not look good made as PE parts, but as Voyager set already contains wire parts, it would be nice to have slightly thicker wire provided for handles. Of course for most modelers it will not be a problem to add those handles, but it would be nice to have them provided for in the set nevertheless.
Assembly of some smaller parts included in Voyager set may be quite tricky and probably modelers less experienced in work with PE sets can have problems with them. This is not a flaw of the Voyager set of course, as thanks to this complexity the accuracy of these parts is dramatically improved. It is just a word of caution for those of you who never worked with tiny brass parts and are interested in this set. It is good idea to use some reference photos of real vehicle to make sure that all PE parts are correctly assembled and attached - as I mentioned earlier instructions diagrams should not always be trusted!
I can wholeheartedly recommend this set to every experienced modeler building Tamiya LAV kit. Modelers who never worked with PE parts, should probably avoid it, as it may be very difficult to assemble and frustrating for them. The set contains parts which can greatly improve already very good model.
I recommend July 2004 issue (No 122) of Ground Power magazine as a source of great reference photos of the JGSDF LAV vehicle. Click here to see the review of this issue
Many thanks to Voyager Model for the review sample!
Voyager Models detail sets are available in USA among others from Mission Models
. For a list of other resellers and distributors please e-mail Voyager at: [email protected]