by: Mecenas [ ]
Inside the box, that is typical for most of the plastic model kits, you will find plastic sprues (surprise!), assembly instruction and few metal parts. This kit does not contain any decals as there were no individual or technical markings painted on the real vehicles or at least there were very rare. Some of the plastic sprues with parts for chassis and tracks are doubled but in total there are fourteen sprues with vehicle parts and one sprue with two crew members figures. Metal parts are also included in the kit. The manufacturer provides us with a turned metal gun barrel and two small photo-etched frets with the smallest details and meshes.
The instruction sheet is typical for this producer. Particular assembly steps are shown as 3D drawings in grey tones. Every step illustrates which parts and where they shall be used and on another drawing the same parts after assembly. There is no need to use your own imagination and no place for misinterpretation of producers intention. On the last page we find a color three tone painting scheme of the vehicle in the typical camouflage seen in September 1939 on these tankettes. Painting colors are provided with the referring numbers of popular paint manufacturers which in this case are Vallejo Model Color, Hataka, Lifecolor, Mr. Hobby and AK Interactive. By the way – Hataka and Lifecolour already have in their offer proper sets of paints dedicated to the Polish armour between 1936-1939.
Ok, so let’s take a look at the sprues as this is the core of this business. As I mentioned before in total there are fourteen sprues of different sizes. TKS was a big vehicle and so is it a scale replica so what’s on these sprues you may ask? The kit provides complete interior including engine, gear box, cooling system, transmission, armament etc. Everything what was inside the real vehicle is in the model, including crew. Even if you consider complete interior number of parts is increased as you can build every hatch as closed or opened. You don’t need to cut out anything as manufacturer has already done it for you – you just need to decide in which position to attach this or that part. Those details which were not possible to be done in plastic like clamps of meshes are provided as photo etched parts. If you have not worked with them before don’t be afraid – just take CA glue and put the part in place. The only parts I missed on the PE fret were crew hatches on top of the body. Although already very thin plastic hatches are included they are still too thick for my taste. I realize it probably would not be possible to make them any thinner in plastic so I have to find some other option for thinning them down or replacing them. That’s the most serious “minus” I have found in the kit so far.
The quality of details, you ask? Maybe not top notch yet but still very high. For example take a look at the delicate rivets, which were very distinctive on the TKS or spark plugs on the engine. The kit is produced using modern technology such as sliding moulding, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to achieve the shape of the body. Many components of the model are sliced into smaller parts or halves so you can achieve a good three-dimensional effect of the mechanism without the loss of quality of details or generally speaking “flat” look of, for example, a handle cast together with a hatch.
The kit is available and on sale in one of two options – with the simplified or “detailed” undercarriage. For this review I have used this second option. As you see on the photos there are separate parts for wheels, suspension and tracks (as separate links and short blocks). In the simplified version tracks and all wheels are cast together as a single part, you will only have to add a few details for the suspension. This option is suggested for beginners or children who may have some problems with the small parts and adjusting all these mischievous details together. In the near future there will be another option of the vehicle available on the market with the Hotchkiss7,92mm machine gun. There were few differences in the shape and details of the body between MG/HMG armed versions of the TKS so IBG have decided to release them as separate kits. As this is a very successful and promising kit I hope IBG will also release the predecessor of TKS, the TK-3, in some not too distant future.
IBG is already a well-known company on the market with the good quality kits. This one is not different, if not even better. With the very good level of plastic parts, nice and delicate details and a PE fret in one box I get everything I need for a straightforward build.
I’m very glad and really happy this kit have been released. The TK-3/TKS family was one of the most popular vehicles of the Polish Armed Forces in late 30’s. Up till now there were only two kits available on the market which were released in early 1990’s, so it was almost thirty years ago. I remember struggling with these kits as a kid and later teen and later I never had enough courage to face them again. Thanks to IBG I can add a good looking TKS o my collection.