Imagine sitting at your desk, working hard on a fancy model kit. Plenty of sprues, after-market photo-etch sets, resin accessories and top of the line figures. You’re in the groove, parts are fitting just right, flash and seam lines are a thing of the past. To top it all off, you’ve just popped the cap on a brand new bottle of plastic cement.
If only you could share the moment with a member of the household. The spouse sees your models as too gender-biased, the children are overwhelmed by the number of parts and the elderly in the family have lost both their patience and their eye-sight. If only there was something on the market that could fill the gap.
Enter the 1:Egg lines of kits. MENG makes tanks, Tiger Model makes airplanes, Fujimi makes everything, including ships. These cute, chubby and cuddly bits of plastic are all-around great. Usually portraying a well-known vehicle and being rather easy to put together, they are the perfect solution both for people getting into the hobby and for advanced modelers looking for a breath of fresh air. Reducing the part count and eliminating the need for glue has also made them an all-around favorite for younger modelers.
Yes, they are not historically accurate designs, but they surely allow more people access to this great hobby. And I tell you, seeing children spending time with their parents building kits more than makes up for that. Being cute also helps.
The Winter Sherman
Me and my girlfriend, we’re big fans of everything Christmas. We start cheering for it as soon as November hits and we don’t back down easily. Our tree usually stays up well into February, it’s just so hard to let go.
Modeling-wise, while truly being my number one fan, she hasn’t been able to take part into the hobby that much. She listens to me blab for hours about new kits I want to buy and she once helped me out with a coat of primer on one of my tanks, but other than that, the fiddliness of parts is usually a show-stopper. She usually sticks to proof-reading my articles, something I thank her for everytime.
Now imagine the joy on our faces when we saw MENG releasing a Christmas edition of their World War Toon M4A1 Sherman. The second I saw it available online, I had it on order. One week later, we put it on the bench, carefully unboxing it.
The kit comes in a small but efficient box, given the reduced number of parts. Everything is laid out on four sprues, wrapped in a bag. Three of them, the tank ones, come from MENG’s previous 2016 edition M4A1 Sherman. The last one is a sand-colored Santa Claus, complete with hat, bag and poseable arms and legs. Now, for the lower part, to keep it mobile, the legs look kind of weird because of a 5mm gap between them and the body. I’ve decided to glue them together and to use some Green Stuff for filling in Santa’s belly.
The Final Build
After analyzing the sprues, Team Sherman carefully crafted a thorough plan. It involved me cutting and sanding the pieces, then carefully laying them on an A4 paper numbered accordingly. My girlfriend would then proceed to follow the instructions and put everything together. Apart from a small dab of glue on a couple of parts, it all worked out marvelously.
Putting it together, you end up with a shiny red M4 Sherman, a suitable sleigh for the almighty Santa. You also get a nasty seam line at the back of the turret, but it buffs right out with some putty and light sanding. If you’re not a big fan of painting, you can leave things as they are. For me though, it looked too much like a toy, given the plastic’s strong transparency.
Black primer, some red paint, gloss coat and decals was all it took. Speaking of which, the decals proved to be pretty thick, but with a large amount of Micro Sol, they ultimately gave in. All in all, quite a fun experience. Ignoring drying time, it only took around 4 hours to complete – perfect for a cold weekend spent inside. Coming up, the Winter KV-2.