UM is a Ukrainian company that has produced a series of Soviet tanks and Czech tanks used by Germany during WW2. The moldings are nice and crisp, and look similar in quality to the old Esci kits but more up to date. The Sd.Kfz. 140/1 shares the basic hull and tracks sprues (Ax2, B) with the UM Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. C, kit number 340. A new sprue C is added as well as a different photo etched fret.
The kit consists of four sets of sprue molded in light gray plastic. All parts are shipped in a zip lock bag. Sprue A (2 included) has the length and link track, suspension arms, road wheels, return rollers, sprockets and idler wheels. The detailing is nice and superior to the Attack Hobby Kits 38(t) suspension.
Sprue B includes the hull, superstructure, fenders and most detail parts. The hull is a multi piece affair typical of eastern European kits. The lower tub is built up with five flat pieces. One is an interior bulkhead. The interior hull floor has a tread pattern and some internal ribbing with rivet detail. Other than that, there is no interior to speak of. In step number 9, there is a spot where a small hole needs to be opened up with a pin drill. It may be easier to do this before attaching the back deck as shown in step number 6.
Sprue C includes the turret, guns, and superstructure sponsons. It takes five pieces to build up the superstructure sponsons. Assembly of the main gun instructs you not to use glue to allow for raising and lowering. Assembly of the photo etched mesh turret screens instructs you not to use glue when attaching the screens to the turret.
The tendency of eastern European manufacturers to toss in a small photo etched fret is a nice touch. The fret in this kit includes the turret screens, perforated stowage box, mantlet and fender braces. A kit this size does not need a large super set of expensive PE.
The instruction sheet is a four page document. Page one lists a brief history of the vehicle, parts map, and instruction legend. The other three pages are the assembly guide with page two showing the Humbrol colors and page four showing the decal placement. Both the painting guide and decal placement are rather vague with the side crosses the only markings indicated. There are several different markings included in the kit but the decal sheet is titled “German Vehicle” and most likely a generic decal sheet for UM’s German armor kits. The box art shows a three color camouflaged vehicle but no guide is given for the pattern.
In conclusion, having built the Attack Hobby Kits Pz.Kpfw. 38(t), the UM kit is vastly superior. The detail is sharper; moldings are cleaner and in general just a better kit. The fact that Squadron.com carries the UM kit for $2 less than the Attack kit is icing on the cake. This kit is highly recommended for the Braille scale modeler of moderate to expert experience. A novice may have difficulty handling the miniscule photo etched pieces.
Our thanks to Military Model Distributors for the review sample.
The Unimodel (UM) Sd.Kfz. 140/1 reconnaissance tank is based on the Czech Pz.Kpfw. 38(t). The 37mm gun and turret is replaced by a 20mm turret also seen on the Sd.Kfz. 223 and Sd.Kfz. 234/1. According to the kit instruction sheets, 50 Sd.Kfz. 140/1 tanks were built and it was the last variant of the 38(t) to be built.