Black Dog is a new Czechoslovakian aftermarket company that produces 1:48 and 1:72 AFV conversions and accessory sets. This particular 1:48 Jeep with Rocket Launcher conversion is designed for Tamiya’s U.S. Infantry at Rest kit, #32552. The Tamiya kit contains a 1:48th utility vehicle [otherwise known as a Jeep!].
The conversion contents arrive in a sturdy flip-top cardboard box. Inside the box, the resin parts are in a small Ziploc bag and wrapped in bubble wrap. My sample had three of the rocket “igniters” broken and two missing. The conversion consists of one two-sided instruction sheet and 43 gray resin parts that are crisply cast:
3x Launcher “A-frame” brackets (one spare?)
1x Launcher pivot support
1x Aiming/elevation device (?)
2x Aiming/elevation device braces
2x Rocket tube assemblies
1x Armored windshield
2x Aiming/elevation device bracket (one spare?)
1x Aiming/elevation device crank handle
12x Rocket tube end caps
1x Armored roof
1x Armored rear plate
12x Rocket igniters
The “A-frame” brackets are warp free with only minor flash to be removed and a small air bubble hole to be filled at the pivot point. The launcher pivot support is also warp free but there is some flash and seam lines to remove. The aiming/elevation device and its supports very clean and well cast.
The six braces for the framework are exceptionally well cast and finely done and the two sets of tubes for the rockets are rendered beautifully; the only thing to be done would be to “touch up” the tube ends with a sanding stick. The armored windshield has very nice detailing, both on the inside and outside. This thin piece has some slight warping along the length and one of the “bonnet” hooks is a little out of shape; both issues can be quickly fixed with a bit of heat.
The aiming/elevation device bracket and crank handle are crisply cast with only a little flash removal necessary. Care will be needed in removing the crank as the handle is exceptionally thin. The tube end caps are nicely done and care will be needed to ensure that when the parts are removed, they are not made “out of round.” Were that to happen, the flat “out of round” edge could be put either on the top run facing up or the bottom run facing down – allowing the flattened surface to be covered by the igniters. The armored roof and rear plate are warp free and only a little sanding of the edges would be needed. The rocket igniters are very fragile as evidenced by the damaged parts in my sample. Again, care will be needed to remove these thin parts. (As a side note, Black Dog will be sending replacements so kudos to their service department!)
The instruction sheet is photocopied with one side having images and the other side has the instructions. On the one side there are three grainy images of the built conversion. In lieu of looking at these for parts location reference, I’d recommend looking at the images that Black Dog has posted on their website – they are much clearer. The actual build instructions, on first look, are rather vague. There are two areas where wire (not included) is to be used; two pieces for the grab handles for the openings in the armored windshield and one piece for the aiming/elevation bracket. The windshield parts should not be an issue, however, how long should the piece of wire for the bracket be? My assumption is that its length is dependent on the tube’s elevation? Black Dog also recommends using 3mm wide strips of Tamiya paper (masking) tape for the bands that hold the tubes together. I would think that using thin copper sheet would be better; the tape has a course texture which would not represent the band texture at that scale very well.
Considering the small subject and scale, and how finely rendered the parts are, I cannot help but be impressed with Black Dogs’ castings. The subject is certainly unusual and that lends to the distinctiveness of this conversion. The missing and damaged parts issue should be rectified by Black Dog in short order. The instruction sheet will need some studying and comparing it against the pictures of the assembled kit/conversion. I would not have any problem recommending this kit to another builder. A Build Log
thread is available via the Forums to evaluate the fit to the Tamiya kit.