by: Andy Renshaw [ ]
More fun to be had within another black and orange box from Voyager, this time focused on the Hobbyboss 1:35 VK1602 Leopard. Though a “paper” panzer where only a few prototypes were developed, its small size and Panther-esque shape seem to have hit an affirmative chord with modelers. This small detail set gives a few minor, but useful, updates to the plastic kit.
In the box, you get a set of two photo-etched frets, some plastic rod, brass rod, resin parts, wire, and several pages of instructions. The instructions are your standard CAD line drawings calling out part numbers and construction sequence.
• 2 PE frets
• plastic rod
• brass rod
• stainless steel wire
• 6 turned brass smoke discharger tubes
• 6 turned brass smoke grenades
• new resin Bosch headlight brackets
For the most part, entire assemblies of the kit are replaced with metal from the Voyager set. First, the kits’ smoke dischargers, which are woefully lacking, are replaced with full assemblies of etch and turned brass parts. The assemblies were easy enough to put together, and even include the wiring. Smoke grenades are also provided leaving it up to the modeler how many you wish to load. I feel that these details alone are worth the price of the kit, as the new dischargers add a lot to the kit’s turret.
Next up are the front fenders. At first, I was excited with the prospect of replacing the thick plastic with thin metal, and then bending them up a bit to reflect battle damage. However I quickly discovered that they did not work exactly as planned. Once off the fret, the first step is to use a ball point pen or other hard rounded implement and emboss the stiffening ribs. I’ve done this lots of times with other PE sets with no issue, however with this set it proved to be a problem. My first pass barely produced a rise on the opposite side. So, I did a second and 3rd pass a little harder only to end up stressing the metal and tearing through it. All this while the part itself went from being flat to curling up. You can see the result in the photos. Needless to say I did not install the metal fenders, and after trying one chose not to even attempt the other. There is a bracket for the fenders that is supposed to fit between the hull and under the fender, however there wasn’t enough clearance between the hull and track to slide this in without some modification. With the kit fender removed in preparation for the PE part, I decided to “damage” this support to make it appear the fender was ripped off.
The rear stowage boxes are also completely replaced by etched metal. These also require embossing the stiffening ribs, which I was not about to attempt again. The kit parts are actually adequate to my tastes here. If you wish, you could just use the PE latches, as they are separate and replace the kit part detail.
Also included in the detail set are a new trio of engine deck mesh screens, parts for the crows foot antenna, and some other bits. New width indicator poles and headlight mounts are also provided.
Overall this is a worthwhile set, and maybe somebody else will have better luck with the embossing. I have a hunch that I needed a smaller implement, and not use a ball-point pen. I may try again…later. For now I’m very pleased on how the smoke dischargers look as that element alone adds a lot to the finished work. Our thanks to Voyager for the review sample, and I look forward to the next treasure in orange and black boxes!