US and Coalition forces in Iraq found themselves fighting an intense Counter-Insurgency Operation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. US Military doctrine of the time did not allocate armoured vehicles for "behind the wire" operations and only used unarmoured HMMWVs and trucks for patrolling and transport in the supposedly safe areas. The insurgents began to use mines and Improvised Explosive Devices, which they were able to use to strike almost anywhere. Rising casualties resulted in an urgent program to add armour packages to trucks and the introduction of new armoured HMMWVs. The armoured HMMWVs were never entirely successful due to their vulnerability to "under belly blasts". The US DoD went looking for a solution to the problem. It was decided that it would be easier to purchase an off the shelf solution rather than go through designing and developing a new vehicle. 30 years previously, the South African and former Rhodesian Security Forces had faced a similar mine problem and had developed a solution, the concept of the V shaped hull. This directed the blast outwards and away from the vehicle thus protecting the occupants. One of the first vehicles to be obtained for testing was the RG-31.
Study of books, Internet sites, and talks with fellow modellers suggest there are some common opinions about certain aircraft. A lot of them claim the F-105 is very beautiful, but I never liked it. The A-7 is regarded as the opposite, and has even earned its nickname based on the fact, but I always liked the lines of the Corsair II. The Westland Wyvern is also seldom regarded as a beautiful plane, but I always loved its shape. Perhaps there is something wrong with me? I always wanted to build a Wyvern, but the only option in my scale -1/48 - was the Dynavector vacform kit. My only sources of information about this product were Internet reviews, in which some positive reviews offered an insight into the kit, but only a hands-on examination can tell you everything. Dynavector kits are not distributed in Poland, so the option was to order online. I debated the purchase at some length, as I had no information to go on and the kit is rather expensive.
I was very curious and excited for three reasons when the Editor asked if l was interested in putting together the Trumpeter T-62 ERA. Firstly, l have a few Trumpeter kits in my stash but have not yet built any of them, secondly I remember building the Tamiya T-62 many years back and enjoyed it despite all the shortcomings in the kit and lastly, l like the shape of modern tanks with 'Explosive Reactive Armour' as they look a bit futuristic! On opening the box I was delighted to see the many parts (approximately 600) including some photo-etch, a turned metal barrel and some different lengths of wire. I found the instructions easy to follow and I have to say that even at an early stage I had decided that I would be building more Trumpeter kits in the near future! I began the build with the wheels, and found no problems here as they all went together easily (and well done Trumpeter for the separate rims). The bottom hull is made of two parts and needed just a tiny bit of filler.
The kit comes in a surprisingly large top-opening box and is packed with four grey-coloured sprues plus one clear. Parts are of very nice quality, especially when you consider this is a low volume kit. There are also a lot of parts, there seem to be enough parts to make practically any late Spitfire/Seafire here. Different rudders, guns, radiators, propellers, the list goes on. A simple but effective A5-size instruction booklet is included with colour call-outs for Gunze-Sangyo paints. A very nice decal sheet by Aviprint completes the package. The decals provide two sets of roundels in both WWII and postwar colours; the instructions explain this is because contemporary colour photographs show the colours looking dull, possibly due to fading, and the modeller is thus given the choice of colours - a nice touch. On with the build then, inevitably this begins with the cockpit. Take note of the instructions, as the correct rear bulkhead needs to be selected early on. The interior is nicely detailed and goes together easily. The fuselage sidewalls are well detailed and careful painting is required to bring out this detail. I used Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green, which is pretty close to the RAF colour though it would seem some Seafire cockpits were black.