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Plasticart, Reviews of 1961-76


Model Talk
     EAST GERMANY
: This column is becoming quite international these days, in that models from the USA, West Germany, France, Japan and Italy have been mentioned. East Germany is now in the plastic model market with a range of models of mainly Russian civil aircraft, produced by a State-owned company.
     As plastic models go, the examples received from East Germany can be described as pretty poor. Aircraft modelled are Il-18, VEB 152, U-14, An-2, and Aero 45, All types are quite accurate in outline. The first two models mentioned are perhaps the best of the range, being fairly simple and devoid of the crude rivet detail which the others possess. Both are to 1/100th scale and have fuselages moulded in white plastic, with silver lower colouring and blue trim lines of Deutsche Lufthansa sprayed on. Wings, tailplanes, nacelles and props are moulded in streaky colours and very poorly sprayed in silver. Main parts fit quite well, but small parts, such as nacelles on the 11-18, require some work with a file and also some filling of join lines here and there. Strips of thin acetate sheet are supplied for cabin windows.
     The main points about all these models which will strike Western modellers are the very poor attempts at spraying the cheap plastic and the bad fit of parts. The only really good points are the transfer sheets, which all give the East German Lufthansa markings and are well printed. I was fortunate in obtaining samples of these unique kits in a roundabout manner via a Polish correspondent. The address of the manufacturers is VEB Kunststoff-verarbeitung, Zschopau, German Democratic Republic. Readers interested in obtaining kits could try writing for them (do not enclose money at this stage).
RAF Flying Review, Vol.XVII, no.1, September 1961
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AeroModeller 1962-12
Trade Notes
     It is not often that we have the chance to examine model products from East Germany but one item that did catch our interest recently was a plastic kit for a MiG I5 jet fighter. Packed in a soft cardboard box, the coloured exterior does not compare with the glossy covered boxes we have come to associate with plastic kits from Western countries. Parts are moulded in a thick dull silver grey plastic with rivet lines very much Clyde ship building size.
    
AeroModeller 1962-12
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Model Talk
... AND FROM EAST GERMANY

     In recent years a number of plastic kits of aircraft have appeared in the German Democratic Republic, mainly depicting Russian civil types, and these have varied in quality from the downright appalling to the simply indifferent, but German manufacturers on the other side of "the wall" do seem to be learning slowly how plastic aircraft kits should be made, and their latest offering, an immense Tu-114 Rossiya, is a definite improvement, although still well below western standards. Ostensibly to 1/100th scale, this is a gargantuan model, spanning nearly two feet (61 cm), but its wings are by no means proportionate to the fuselage. Luckily, most of the excess span is at the tips, and the removal of two inches (5 cm) from each wingtip and 7/16-in. between the inner and outer engine nacelles, measured along the wing leading edge, brings the model much nearer to the actual aircraft, and reduces it to a 1/118th scale. Many inaccuracies will, still remain, however, even after this surgery. The outer nacelles should extend much farther aft under the wing, the airscrews are the wrong shape, the layout of the undercarriage is wrong, and the nose contours are incorrect, to mention but a few of the kit's many faults. The kit is also finished in the horrible sprayed silver that seems to be standard in the East. This finish is best removed in its entirety and the completed model repainted. Trie transfer sheet, although well printed and including a number of spares, offers the markings of the original Tu-114 prototype, and even these are not entirely accurate. In spite of all its shortcomings, the Tu-114 can be made up into an acceptable model by a skilled modeller with good reference.
Flying Review International, Vol.20, no.2, October 1964
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Model Talk
MODELS FROM THE EAST

     We have, we believe, reported on every aircraft kit so far issued in Eastern Europe, and. sad to say, our reviews of such kits have hardly been noteworthy for the praise that they contained. We are happy to report, however, that standards on the other side of the "curtain" are rising, if kits received recently from several East European manufacturers are any guide.
     The oldest-established aircraft kit manufacturer in East Europe is VEB of East Germany whose kits are sold in West Germany under the trade name of "Demusa". VEB's latest offerings all represent Russian helicopters, the Mil Mi-1 and Mi-4 to 1/100th scale, and the Mi-6 to l/85th scale. Gone at long last is the horrible streaky plastic with the sprayed silver finish; these kits are pressed in self-coloured plastic of high quality, respectively green, silver and white.
     The accuracy of the Mi-1 and Mi-4 leaves a good deal to be desired—the nose contours of both helicopters are hopelessly incorrect—and detail, although a great improvement on what has gone before, is still by no means faultless. The small scale makes coarse riveting particularly apparent. The transfer sheets, which have always been the strong point of these models, are excellent, offering four or five alternatives in each kit. The Mi-6, unlike its smaller stablemates, is a really good kit, apart from its odd scale—one would have thought that a model of this largest of all helicopters would have been big enough to 1/100th scale! Apart from the pilots' cabin, which does not seem quite right, the Mi-6 model is accurate, the mouldings are cleanly-pressed and well-detailed, and they fit together well. The superb transfer sheet gives the markings, needless to say, of an Mi-6 operated by Aeroflot, although, for those with a penchant for military markings, it should not be beyond the bounds of the average modeller's ingenuity to produce Indonesian markings for the Mi-6, Indonesia's air arm being one of those now operating small numbers of this huge rotorcraft. All three Mil helicopter kits include liquid cement, while those of the Mi-1 and Mi-4 and Mi-6 include paint as well. They are not readily obtainable in most western countries, but the Mi-6 kit is well worth acquiring as an exchange with a modeller in one of the countries in which they can be obtained.
     In this column in Vol 19 No 7 we poked a good deal of well-justified fun at the first Russian-made plastic aircraft kit, and by coincidence, the aircraft that this kit was widely believed to represent, the Sukhoi Su-15, is described elsewhere in this issue. The second effort of the Moscow City Council of National Economy's Factory of Metal and Plastic Toys is a major improvement on its predecessor in that it depicts a genuine Russian aircraft, the Ilyushin Il-62, and, what is more, represents it with some degree of accuracy insofar as outline goes. However, from the viewpoint of quality, this 1 120th scale model is quite appalling, yet, strange to say, this varies within the kit! The fuselage is quite nicely pressed in good jquality white plastic, but the flying surfaces and the engines are manufactured in the specifically Russian variation of the most cheap and nasty plastic—clear styrene with the admixture of about a tea-spoonful of aluminium powder per pound! Undercarriage and transparencies are non-existent, and the transfers, which are printed with their faces to the backing paper, worthless. The faces of a few Muscovite comrades in a certain factory should be coloured something akin to that of the national flag. However, the Il-62 is a worthy addition to any collection of airliner models and, thanks to its outline accuracy, this kit is worth obtaining by the modeller possessing adequate measures of skill, time and enthusiasm.
     The third East European country to manufacture plastic aircraft kits is Poland whence we have received a 1 72nd scale kit of the TS-11 Iskra jet trainer produced by Ruch, and another depicting the Zefir 2 sailplane in 1 /75th scale from "Plastic".
     Pressed in good quality red plastic—an odd colour to use for a model that, full scale, is invariably natural metal finish—Ruch's kit of the Iskra is quite a neat model to about the same standards as those attained by early Airfix or Frog products. The pressings are clean, the outline accurate, and the detail could be a good deal worse. The transfer sheet, although not very well printed, is tolerable. The model of the Zefir is one of the few sailplane kits available, and worth having for its rarity value alone.
Flying Review International, Vol.21, no.8, April 1966
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Model Talk
MORE FROM THE EAST

     We recently claimed that we had reviewed every plastic aircraft kit so far issued in Eastern Europe, but it would seem that we had overlooked three comparatively new ones which have now appeared on our desk. The trio, produced by the East German V.E.B. firm to 1 /100th scale, represent the L-60 Brigadyr, the Douglas DC-8 and the de Havilland Comet 4.
     Although exceedingly small--spanning a mere 5 1/2in(14cm) — the Brigadyr is a very good kit. Pressed in silver pfastic of good quality, it assembles quickly and easily into a most attractive and accurate little model. The transfer sheet, which is extremely complete and very well printed, offers the colourful markings of a civil DDR aircraft, and it is well worth the trouble of getting an example of this kit by an exchange with an East European modeller. The Comet 4 also displays the considerable advance in standards of production attained by East European manufacturers with their model kits of late. Although in some respects its accuracy leaves something to be desired, the contours of the nose, the fin-and-rudder assembly and the tailplane being inexact, its shortcomings are not too difficult to rectify and, like the Brigadyr, it is pressed in good quality silver plastic. Rivet detail is perhaps a little sparse and could be finer, and we would suggest to V.E.B. that it adopts the straight-line style of detailing for this type of model in the future. The transfer sheet is well printed but, whereas this offers correct wing registration lettering, it provides 'G-BOAC for the fin!
     The DC-8 is quite accurate, only the nose contours being incorrect, which is particularly noticeable on so large a model— the wing span exceeds 17 inches (43 cm)—but in our view the most serious shortcoming of this kit is V.E.B.'s reversion to that unpleasant sprayed-silver plastic common to its earlier offerings. Apart from control-surface hinge lines, no surface detail is provided. and, once again, the size makes this deficiency particularly noticeable. The transfer sheet, which offers the markings of a KLM aircraft, is accurate enough but for the colours—V.E.B. is obviously unaware that KLM uses orange only for the registration letters above the wing, those below being dark blue.
    
Flying Review International, Vol.21, no.12, August 1966
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New and in View
V.E.B. (East Germany) are rumoured to be working on a 1/50 scale MiG-21. We hope that this model will continue the marked improvement shown in this Company's more recent kits.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.3, no.12, December 1966
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New and in View
V.E.B.'s IL-62 is an original 1/100 scale kit, and not a re-issue of the Russian 1/120 scale model. It is on sale in Eastern Europe and is believed to be of good quality.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.4, no.1, January 1967
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New and in View
V.E.B. Ilyushin IL-62, 1/100 scale. Price not known.
     The standard of kits made in Eastern Europe has been rising rapidly over the past year or so, and as far as quality is concerned, this kit is fully comparable with many produced in the West. It is very cleanly pressed from good quality white plastic, fits together well, and includes very clean transparencies and an excellent transfer sheet. Where it falls down is in outline accuracy. The fuselage is too short and the flying surfaces have insufficient sweepback. This is a very great pity, as a great deal of conversion work has to be done to enable an accurate model to be produced. We hope that the next V.E.B. kit will combine the quality of this one with an accurate outline.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.4, no.2, February 1967
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Model Talk
EAST GERMAN ILYUSHIN

     We have remarked from time to time on the improving standards of the kits issued by the East German VEB, and are glad to be able to say that this concern's newly-issued 1/100th scale Ilyushin Il-62 reaches a level of quality generally comparable with western kits. It is cleanly pressed in good-quality white plastic, its surface detail is fine, its component parts assemble well, and the transfer sheet gives excellent Aeroflot markings. Unfortunately, the kit has been prepared from inaccurate basic drawings and, in consequence, does not represent accurately the full-scale machine. The fuselage is too short and the sweepback insufficient on all surfaces. In order to remedy these defects it is necessary to remove 4 mm from the horizontal centreline of the fuselage and then assemble the four quarter-sections thus produced. The fuselage cross-section should then be re-shaped to an oval with a smaller-radius curve at the bottom. The wing roots should be cut along a line to give six degrees more leading-edge sweep and, measuring along the leading-edge, 15mm should be removed from the wingtips. The trailing-edge must then be reshaped so that the tip chord is the same as that of the original. The tailplanes must be cut from the bullet fairing and re-cemented in position with six degrees more sweepback, and 10mm should be removed from each tip. The result of all this surgery is a relatively accurate miniature reproduction of an Il-62 to 1/120th scale- -or perhaps you are not so fussy. Again, you may prefer to conserve your energies for other tasks and await the issue of an accurate kit of this big Ilyushin which should make its service debut this year.
Flying Review International, Vol.22, no.10, June 1967
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Model Talk
EASTERN DRAGON

     Rather surprisingly, the latest release from the East German VEB is a kit to 1/ 100th scale of Sweden's Saab Draken! Representing a prototype of the unique Swedish fighter, it makes up into a neat and accurate little model, pressed in good-quality silver plastic with fine rivet detail, although at this small scale we feel that straight-line detail would be more appropriate. The component parts fit together well, and the quality of the transfer sheet is fully in keeping with that of the rest of the kit. For those modellers who like really small models, this kit is well worth taking some trouble to obtain.
Flying Review International, Vol.22, no.11, July 1967
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Model Talk
     the East German VEB K-V has produced a kit of a Soviet type which was not, to the best of our knowledge, ever built! This kit depicts the Yak-24P to 1 /100th scale. The Yak 24 was, of course, built in some numbers as an assault helicopter for the Soviet armed forces, and Alexander Yakovlev's design bureau projected several commercial versions for Aeroflot use, one of these being the turbine-powered Yak-24P, but these all came to nought in the face of competition from Mikhail Mil's bureau. If the modeller ignores the fact that the Yak-24P was never built and wishes to add a novelty to his collection, then the VEB K-V product is worth acquiring. The pressings are clean, the plastic is of high quality, the detail is respectable, and the component parts fit together well. Indeed, a leading Western kit manufacturer who examined this model commented favourably on its general quality.
Flying Review International, Vol.23, no.1, January 1968
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New and in View
V.E.B. Antonov AN-24. 1/100 scale. Price unknown.
     With this model, V.E.B. , whose quality has been improving steadily over the years, have almost attained Western standards of kit production. It is accurate in outline, cleanly-pressed in good-quality white, silver and black plastic, and the small parts are commendably neat and free from flash. Our only real criticism is of slightly heavy rivet detail in distinctly suspect patterns. On the whole the parts fit together .very well, though some filing is called for round the forward ends of the nacelles, and the propeller hubs are much too long at the rear.
     The transfer sheet, giving the markings of Interflug, is excellent, and provides a number of spare markings. The kit includes a bottle of silver paint and one of liquid cement.
     This kit can be highly recommended to anyone who wants a model that is a little out of the ordinary.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.5, no.6, June 1968
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New and in View
V.E.B. Tupolev Tu-134. 1/100 scale. When supplies are received this kit will be available to Members from: W.R. Matthews, 2 Quebec Mews, London, WIH 7DF, England, price 12/6 or $1.50 plus postage. This kit of the "Russian One-Eleven" is a very good one indeed, and with it V.E.B. have at last attained the standards achieved by the better Western kit manufacturers. It is accurate in outline and surface detail is excellent. The parts are very neatly moulded in white plastic of good quality; they fit together well, little filling or filing being required. The decal sheet, which gives the markings of an Aeroflot machine, although the box lid illustrates a Tu-134 in service with Interflug, is very accurately printed and as usual with this company the sheet includes sufficient spares to make almost another complete set of markings! Three alternative Soviet civil registrations are provided. These decals are very thin, and demand careful handling or severe stretch will occur in the main fuselage bands. If this happens, the window apertures will not line up with those in the fuselage halves, and a great deal of difficult cutting will be necessary. On the other hand, they adhere very well indeed, and lie down over the detail with great precision. We recommend this model highly and hope that we shall soon be able to supply it to Members.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.6, no.5, May 1969
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New and in View
V.E.B. Boeing 727-100. 1/100 scale. Price unknown.
     There are already a number of kits of this very well-known American airliner on the market, and it is surprising indeed that the best representation of it in miniature should come from, of all places, East Germany. Such, however, the new V.E.B. Boeing 727 kit is, providing yet another illustration of the very high standards now attained by this firm.
     V.E.B.'s 727 is generally accurate in outline, though the wing fairing is rather too prominent and needs some filing down, while the cabin windows are marginally too large. It is very neatly pressed in somewhat transparent white plastic of good quality, the parts fit together precisely, and surface detail, of the straight-line type, is both fine and accurate. A full set of transparencies is provided, but those for the cabin windows, owing to shrinkage, exhibit a curious lens-line effect.
     The decal sheet, which provided the markings of Pan Am, is very well printed. The colour of the blue used, though not quite right, is the nearest we have yet seen to that actually used by this airline. The decals themselves adhere well and are very thin. They demand considerable care in handling, but in accordance with V.E.B.'s usual policy, a large number of spares are included on the sheet, so the consequences of damaging a decal are not as serious as they otherwise might be.
     This is a very good kit, and well worth having, though it will have to be obtained by exchange with a member in Eastern Europe.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.6, no.5, September 1969
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New and in View
V.E.B.
: Yakov/ev Yak 40. 1/100 scale. Price not known.
This is an accurate model of a most interesting modern Soviet aircraft which has no Western counterpart. This really small tri-jet, whose straight wings provide it with an excellent short-field performance, seems to be the nearest true DC-3 jet replacement yet produced. It is now entering large-scale service with Aeroflot.
     The kit is neatly moulded in white plastic of good quality. Since Yak 40's are finished in white overall, it is possible to eliminate painting entirely, provided that assembly is carried out with sufficient care, as the fit of the parts is very good. Unfortunately surface detail is heavy and it's disappointing to find V.E.B. reverting to their former crude standards in this respect after the great improvement shown in such models as the Tu-134.
     The model is accurate in outline, has good decals (though owing to their thinness need to be handled with great care) and represents a most attractive aeroplane. Airliner enthusiasts will undoubtedly want it, though it will have to be obtained by exchange with a modeller in Eastern Europe. (Study the small adverts).
     V.E.B.: Mil Mi- 10K. 1/100 Scale. Price not known.
This is a very good model of a specialised variant of the world's largest helicopter. The Mi-10K is designed specially as a flying crane and differs from the standard Mi-10 in that it has shorter undercarriage legs and an additional pilot's gondola under the nose.
     The kit moulded in V.E.B.'s usual white plastic is accurate in outline and its surface detail is much better than that of the Yak-40 being commendably fine.
     The decal sheet is well printed and accurate in layout but the dark and light blue colours of the markings differ from the dark and light grey as described by John Stroud in his book "Soviet Transport Aircraft". John Stroud is a most careful observer and it appears that V.E.B. are in error in the colours of their decal sheet.
     Apart from this, it is an excellent kit and can be highly recommended.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.8, no.5, May 1971
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Model Enthusiast
A couple of choppers

     From one end of the rotorcraft size scale to the other, the VEB of the German Democratic Republic is now offering a kit of the gargantuan Mil Mi-10K crane-type helicopter to 1 /100th scale. The standards attained by this East German concern now compare favourably with those of many western manufacturers, and the Mi-10K is neatly moulded in good-quality material and assembles easily. It includes adequate transparencies, though shrinkage has endowed those for the cabin windows with an odd lens-like effect. The decal sheet is of good quality, but the decals themselves, owing to their considerable thickness, call for extremely careful handling. The sheet provides the markings of SSSR-29115 which was exhibited two years ago at the Salon de VAeronautique. These are given in two shades of blue but to the best of our recollection were, in fact, in two shades of grey. We have been unable to ascertain the price of this kit and, in any case, it is unobtainable in the West through the normal channels. However, it is not too difficult to arrange an exchange of kits with modellers in Eastern Europe, and the Mi-6 is worth taking a little trouble to obtain.
Air Enthusiast, August 1971
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Model Enthusiast
SST from VEB
     Singularly few Soviet aircraft of any generation are represented by plastic kits, more is the pity, but thanks to the efforts of the VEB of the German Democratic Republic a fairly wide range of kits of •contemporary Soviet commercial aircraft, mostly to 1/100th scale, can be obtained by exchange, and the latest addition to the VEB range is the Tupolev Tu-144. This kit is neatly pressed in good-quality white plastic, its component parts fit together well, and the model in which it results appears to be .generally accurate in outline. There is plenty of surface detail, but this, despite being of the straight-line type, is decidedly on the heavy side. This fault is somewhat surprising in view of the steady improvement in this respect that was being shown by the products of this East German concern, and is shared by the VEB's recent Yak-40 to which we refer later. A drooping nose is provided but its operation is inaccurate; the visor and windscreen have Ъееп omitted, and the nose outline remains strictly supersonic, endowing the model with a decidedly odd appearance when the nose is drooped. The modeller is thus faced with the choice of discarding the undercarriage and mounting the model on a stand — a pity as the component parts of the undercarriage are beautifully moulded — or undertaking a good deal of difficult conversion work in order to add an accurate windscreen and visor.
     The decals are of good quality but extremely thin, and therefore demand careful handling. Fortunately, several spares are provided so that if one decal is broken during application the model is not necessarily spoiled. Naturally enough, the markings are for the first Tu-144, SSSR-68001, and are accurate in outline, although the blue would seem to be somewhat dark in shade. Though not faultless by any stretch of the imagination, this is basically a good kit and worth some effort to obtain, especially so as it provides an excellent companion for Heller's Concorde to the same scale.
     Another product of the VEB that is worth acquiring is the recently issued kit of the Yak-40, also to 1/100th scale. Accurate, neat and easy to assemble, this kit suffers heavy-handed surface detail, and although the decals are well printed, they are, like those of the Tu-144, exceedingly thin and, in consequence, call for the utmost care in application. This kit, too, is moulded in good-quality white plastic, and since most Yak-40s are finished primarily in white, little painting should be necessary provided that care is taken in assembly.
AIR ENTHUSIAST, SEPTEMBER 1971
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