Tuesday, August 25, 2015

[Unboxing] WAVE 1/20 SK362 Panzer Spahwagen OSKAR (25mm Linear Gun type)

Das Panzer!

After 2 weeks of waiting, I finally received my, probably, most awaited kit ever in my plamo hobby.
Check out the unboxing I made!

What is this exactly?

This kit is from the Maschinen Krieger (or originally SF3D) series.  Specifically, this kit is the 1/20 SK362 Panzer Spahwagen OSKAR (25mm Linear Gun type) under faction named Strahl Demokratische Republik or, I think, roughly translated as Democratic Republic of Strahl.

Maschinen Krieger?

Yes, or as it is popularly known, Ma. K. - originally titled as SF3D (as it was titled in its first media in magazines) it eventually took this name after some issues with intellectual rights and other stuff I am not aware of.
Picture taken from sentinel-toys.com
I am not fully knowledgeable but the main lore basically follows a post-apocalyptic setting (following a so-called great war).  The series was created by Yokoyama Kou or Kow Yokoyama, and the first designs were made by him.  Ma.K. is generally serialized in kit-form, the other media serialization (i.e. stories, etc) only came after.  The designs were basically scratch-built using spare parts from other plastic kits (car, military armor and aircraft scale model kits) and incorporating other plastic materials like plastic egg shells, pingpong balls and Yakult bottles.  Novices like me will have the first impression that this basically is somehow also steampunk-ish which is partly true as it is the general feel but of course it is a tad more hi-tech than that due to its more streamlined looks.  One will also notice that the designs are predominantly titled like the German armor during WWII which adds to its cool-factor.  For me, overall Ma.K. is a true synergy of military scale modelling and sci-fi, not only design-wise but also in how you build it.

Little Info about SF3D/Ma.K.

It originally surfaced in the plamo world around the 1980s and quickly garnered a proper following of fans predominantly in Japan.  Kits, at first, were mass-produced by a company called Nitto.  But due to some issues in legalities and other concerns, the release of new kits or reprints of current ones was not as regular as we would expect (not like Bandai which you can expect a reprint of kits in a few months after).  New stocks are known to stop coming out and it became hard to predict when the next batches will come in, left alone the question of when new designs will be released.  I believe these issues also led to Nitto kind of dropping Ma. K. as a whole until the company closed a while later.  The Ma.K. franchise, fortunately, did not die, as license was acquired by, I would say, a better plamo kit company, Hasegawa.  Continuing from where Nitto left off, the proceeded to churn out better kits using better technology and engineering which led to better products.  Another company that I feel is a great Ma.K. competitor is WAVE Corporation (the one that made this specific kit).  They have, relatively, recently just got into the Ma. K. business and now reviving and improving the Nitto kits from their graves letting people like me get to enjoy kits they had during the late 80s or early 90s.  But just to note: Ma.K. kits are still not like as regular as we will think of kits like that of Bandai's.  To me, they are more like P-Bandai in which they are still not part of a regular run and stocks will only be good for a few months.  Fans will say that if you catch news of a new kit or a reprint of a kit will be released, make sure to pre-order or at least get one as soon as possible because once it goes out of the shelves, who knows when they will be sold again (you might probably find some in the net but it will sold at higher than normal prices).  I am guessing this probably due to the cost of licensing wherein they also have to pay royalties to Yokoyama-sensei  fore every kit they will sell.  I got into Ma.K. relatively late and there are already a lot of designs that I might no longer be able to find anywhere.  Oh by the way, there are also other ones that make Ma. K. kits.  Companies like Love Love Garden, Brickworks and Hexamodel has, I would say, more regular releases.  The only problem is that they are usually garage kits or in other words, resin kits - either consisting of figures, conversion kits or full kits that will be around 2x-3x the price of plastic injection kits which is to be expected of urethane resin kits.  But those GKs are well-made and probably will be worth a true model builder's money.
So now, let's jump to the in-box review itself.

The presentation

Main box art
A Tamiya kit for size reference (if that would help)
 SF3D/Ma.K. kits are usually presented like this.  Brown/tan box with minimalist approach in text, sporting a seemingly hand-painted artwork to feature the design for painting reference as well.

The bottom of the box has some background information on the design and gives a part of the lore that surrounds this specific model.
Overall, the box itself looks like a military correspondence which basically sets this series apart from the others.

Parts Count

Like most military armor kits, one should expect that there will only be a few runners in the box:
There are only 3 main plastic bags for a total of 10 sprues/runners, if I counted it correctly.
First, the most prominent part of the kit:
Main shell/hull
Like most tanks, we have here the main shell/hull.  Given the 1/20 scale, this will be the biggest part.  It will also be interesting to note that the OSKAR was meant to be an unmanned tank and so relative to another Ma. K. vehicle like the Nut Cracker, it will be smaller - which makes me more intrigued with the other Ma. K. tank/vehicles out there.

The 2nd plastic bag is also worth noting:
2nd plastic bag
The plastic bag is a relatively softer plastic compared to the other bags and also, it is only sealed in with staple wires.  In technically contains the 'turret' or head of this kit and also an included figure.  Clear parts and polycaps are also in this bag.  Here are the runners unpacked:

 The parts are clean enough, no flash or sink-holes, ejection marks are also manageable if not hidden.  I am assessing easy cleanup if necessary.

Figure sprue
 I also investigated over this specific bag and found this on the sprues.
Yes, these are the original Nitto sprues from the 80s.  Info from the community says that WAVE acquired the original casting molds and re-tooled or cleaned them and still used them for this model kit.  They also did this for other Ma. K. kits that they released, categorizing them under NITTO+WAVE series of kits.

Polycaps and clear parts are also included

For the below, we have the 'turret' or head of this tank.
Again, this is from the old Nitto kits, and specifically it belongs to the Neuspotter kit.  The community says that you could actually build the Neuspotter from this OSKAR kit and just scratch-build other parts not included.  Note these sprues/runners uses old casting technology and so puttying will be needed to close seamlines as the slide-casting method is not yet used by Nitto back then.
Overall, the first bag is a 'repacked' bag.  WAVE basically used something from the past and added their own flavor to it, which is a good thing for a lot of Ma.K. enthusiasts.

Here are the contents of the 2nd bag.
Basically, it contains the parts that are original WAVE parts or probably the improved version of the casting molds used by Nitto before.  I believe these runners are cleaner compared to the 1st bag's contents.

Hull's underside
The parts are also using the current casting methods with means it will offer the least cleanup and probably zero seamlines to putty up.  Overall, the casting is very clean, no flashes detected.

Detail-up Parts

The kit in general also includes parts that will give the kit its intended look when finished.
 We have rubber hosing and brass rods that will be cut and bent to shape for use with details.  Guides for cutting and shaping the rods and hosing are included in the instructions in 1:1 scale.
 Like a normal military armor kit, PE (photo-etched) parts are also included for the grills in the under side of the hull.
And of course, again, like a military armor kit, it has water-slide decals.  You will just have to choose what paint scheme you will use and use that as reference use the corresponding markings (depending on the military regiment you will follow).  This makes me think: this kit is priced like a modern Bandai MG kit - now why can't Bandai just include water-slides decals on every MG kit?


Of course, we will need the instruction manual. Otherwise, we won't know how to build it.

 There are only a few stage and in terms of assembly.  This is unlike Gunpla where it holds your hands as you assemble the kit.  Assembly is just a small percentage of the kit; painting and making it realistic is the main point of military armor kits like this.
And lastly, faithful to the spirit of Ma.K. kits, we have the color scheme card.  These are basically collectibles in their own right.  These are also guides on which color schemes you can choose from (including the decals you will use).  One thing about these cards, I think you could buy online a book or a binder that has all these cards if you want to collect them :D

*you could also get other detail-up parts to make the OSKAR much more interesting.  However, these are usually resin conversion kits and is basically out of my reach.


Final Words

For me, this specific kit is a very well-made kit.  Everything is cleanly casted and will surely be fun to build.  WAVE surely puts up a good competition in the Ma.K. world with their releases by sticking on to the real spirit of Ma.K. and updating it to provide a better building experience.  I am actually looking forward to getting their other kits while still available, and definitely looking forward to other revivals and new kits they will release in the coming months (they are releasing almost every month so far).  I would definitely recommend Ma.K. to modellers (not only from WAVE but also from others like Hasegawa) specially from the military armor line as I have seen thru the works of the Ma.K. community members.  I think, however, that most Gunpla builders will not like Ma.K. that much due to the skill-level it requires and due to its motif.  It also lacks the promotionary media (like Anime series to feature the desings) to get more fans to buy in but for those who already has the tools and skills for plastic modelling and love for sci-fi in general, you will find Ma.K. to be much for fulfilling than Gunpla.  Also, due to the small fan-base of Ma.K., the community became a tightly-knit network of true builders that shares vital modelling tips and information that one Gunpla group can only dream of.  I found the Ma. K. community always posting information and modelling techniques and inspiring finished works almost all of the time, instead of just stacks of boxes of untouched kits or just assembled toys panel-lined with markers.  All in all, Ma.K. will bring the modeller in us to life.

I will also be doing an unboxing of the Tamiya Panzer IV in one of the pictures, so stay tuned for more :D
Thanks for sticking around :D

If you are in the Philippines, you could get hard to find kits like this one thru Genki Panda.
They have been my go-to shop for Japanese-brand kits for quite some time now :D

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