Monday, November 23, 2015

4D Puzzle Models

There are a number of companies that are producing military vehicles under the category of "4D puzzle model". I believe that the first of these may have been the 1/90 scale 4D Master tanks produced by Fame Master out of Hong Kong. The kits were also repackaged by Academy, but sold at a much higher price.



These models are like typical 3D puzzle figures, consisting of blocky pieces that fit together to make the model. They seem to look okay on the box art, but they're obviously toy-like, and the wrong scale.

Another line of "1/72" scale tanks that claim to fall into the 4D puzzle category are reviewed over at Men In Boxes. These models appear in a number of different packages, with the most common bearing a logo imitating that of World of Tanks.


These tanks are very toy-like and not to scale, but I couldn't help but buy the M-42 Duster, because nobody seems to be interested in making a model of it in 1/72.


The packaging for the model I bought did not have the bland-name logo, but it has the same image of the 1/35 Tamiya M-42 on the box top, the same product number, and the exact same contents.

The pieces are all made out of different types of plastic. The turret and side panels are PVC, the upper hull is polystyrene, or maybe ABS, and the lower hull and wheels seem to be made of polyethylene or polypropylene.


The problems with the wheels and tracks are obvious. The lower hull, which is shared by all of the tanks in this series is too long for the M-42 (though not by much), making the tank scale out to perhaps 1/70 to 1/68 scale.


The model goes together easily without any need for glue, though some clean-up of flash is required to make all the parts sit flush.

4D Duster vs Altaya Duster



Overall, the 4D M-42 is not very good. I don't recommend bothering with any of the models in this series. Maybe one day Hobby Master will come out with a diecast M-42, since they already make an M-41.

One final manufacturer that uses the 4D puzzle model designation is a Chinese company which I believe is called 4 Paragraph. They have produced a series of vehicles with the MAZ-7910 chassis, that are part of the S-300PMU (SA-10 Grumble) missile system.


The series consists of two color variants of the 30N6E2 fire control/illumination and guidance radar vehicle – one in gray plastic with black and light gray camouflage markings, and one in olive plastic with apple green and tan camouflage markings.

There are also two different mobile TELs – a 5P85S in gray plastic with black and light gray camouflage markings, and a 5P85D in olive plastic with apple green and tan camouflage markings. Each mobile TEL has parts (and instructions) to assemble the S or D type, so both are actually available in each color.

These "puzzle models" are actually simplified quick-build models based off of the 1/72 scale PST S-300 models. I bought all four for less than what I paid for a single PST model. They are made of ABS, so you cannot use regular plastic cement for them, but I found that for the most part, glue is not necessary to build these models.

I used images from Air Power Australia as references for assembly, but the instructions included with the models were sufficient for the most part.

For the 5P85S/D models, when performing step 16, insert the pegs starting from the rear so that the sides are flush with the truck bed. For step 17, I installed the arm so that the irregularity at the sprue attachment point will be hidden from view when the launch tubes are raised.

Sprue attachment point.

Once the arm is installed, it will be difficult to remove, so double check before attaching the part if seeing the attachment point matters to you.

For step 33, I installed the piston so that the irregularity at the sprue attachment point will be hidden from view when the launch tubes are raised.

Piston and launch tube attachment points.

For steps 35 and 36, make sure the parts are connected so that the openings for attaching the launch tubes face up.

I didn't bother with putting the missiles into the launch tubes, and left them empty.

5P85D and 30N6E2 in travel mode

5P85S in launch position, 30N6E2 with raised antenna

The datalink antenna on the radar vehicle is not very accurate. I'm not sure what the PST version looks like, but it can't be worse.

4D 5P85S vs Russian Tank Collection 9A52

30N6E2, 5P85S, 5P85D, 9A52

The dimensions and wheelbase of the MAZ-7910 and MAZ-543M chassis match up fairly well between the 4D model and the diecast Russian Tank Collection model. There are some differences in the shape of the cab, and the Russian Tank Collection model has larger wheels, but I can't say which is more accurate.

I will probably get a couple more of these kits so that I can create a complete fire unit (although I'll repaint the new ones with more accurate PLA camouflage).


5 comments:

Jiaqi Lim said...

I am guessing 4D puzzles aren't really the way to go :S

EY said...

Hi Jiaqi,

Most of the 4D models are not very good, but I think that the S-300 kits are not bad (and they're inexpensive too).

Ronald Brow said...

The Dutch YpR 795 apc is lousy. Unfortunately there is no 1 72 equivalent as a model kit. There are overpriced resin kits. I keep hoping Trumpeter will release a plastic 1 72 YpR 795 (I may have the number wrong).

EY said...

Hi Ron,

Any chance there's hope to use it as a base for conversion? I'm not really clear on how different the YPR795 is from the M113 externally (I also get the feeling the 4D version may be too long for a 1/72 scale model though).

Ronald Brow said...

From what I could tell about the YpR 795 the hull extends past the tracks by 6" or more on the sides. You could convert a m113 but I think it would take a lot work. The 4d YpR is more of a toy and pretty useless as a conversion. It could work as a base for kit bashing. I will have to think about it.