Hobby Link 3D Vietnam Era 1/35 Kits - First Look

Given the uniqueness of Hobby Link’s 3D printed kits, I ordered 5 as soon as I started seeing the discussions on Armorama. The kits looked pretty good on their FB page so I took a chance.

I ordered the M123A1C Tractor, M172A1 Trailer, D7E Rome Plow, 15 Ton Australian Tiltbed Trailer and the M62 Wrecker Conversion (for AFV Club M54A2). It took about two weeks to get the kits from time of payment - 7 days to print and 7 days via FedEx from Vietnam to western Canada. $350 total including shipping so quite inexpensive. Hobby Link put a low value on the customs dec so I wasn’t stung with any extra charges.

The kits are all well packaged - the M123 and D7E were in their own boxes with labels, the other 3 kits mixed in 2 different boxes. All the parts are packaged in ziplock bags that are labeled with the kit name. A few of the parts like the one piece frames of the M123 and M172 were taped to heavy cardboard for security.

I basically went through each kit, but did not closely examine every part and cannot comment on accuracy since I haven’t checked dimensions. So some general comments on all the kits:

  1. Most of the larger pieces like frames, body parts, wheels, etc. have had their 3D print “sprues”/supports removed and only need some minor cleanup of the remnants. The smaller parts, as well as the more fragile ones, have had their supports left in place, which is good as it protects them well. An example is the wing mirror frames for the M123 which are printed in one piece so are quite fragile.
  2. My kits have NUMEROUS extra parts to replace damaged, broken or lost ones. Some examples include the triangular tie-down loops for the M172A1 trailer, which needs 17 but over 40 are provided, or the D7E individual link tracks - the instructions say 26 are needed per side (the bottom flat section is provided as one piece), but at least 80 are provided. So you could actually replace the one piece bottom section with individual link as well.
  3. The big question I am sure everyone wants to know is print quality. I didn’t look at every part closely, but did examine many pieces. I only found noticeable print lines/striations on two parts - the Rome Plow blade and the top of one of the fuel/oil tanks of the D7E. Both will be easy to remove. I’ve attached two photos of the blade.
  4. Instructions are included for all kits and use a combination of CAD, sketches and photos. You will definitely need some reference photos as the instructions are not perfect. I’ve seen better, but also much worse for resin kits so this is not unexpected. Do not expect fall together, perfect instruction Tamiya-esq kits. The nice thing is that a parts list with photos is included, although they are photocopies so a bit unclear, but good enough to determine if you have all of the parts (more on this).
  5. The kits have some nice touches. A sheet of balsa (that needs to be cut) is included for the deck of the M172A1, clear 3D printed parts are included for the M123 windows and side mirrors, rust or black colored string/thread is included in the M123, M62 and D7E for the winches (not sure how usable it is), metal mesh for the D7E cab, etc.
  6. The wheels of the M172, M123 and Tiltbed have good tread detail, although the M172 wheels were marred by some print residue.
  7. Most of the parts had a sticky residue on them, left over from the printing process much like some plastic styrene kits have mold release remnants. A good washing should remove it.
  8. I tried fitting a few parts. The wheel hubs are a tight fit in the wheels and will need some minor sanding. I noticed the hinge brackets of the tilt bed are too wide to fit the brackets on the trailer frame.
  9. Some of the larger parts have some warping. This includes the M172 deck and gooseneck, the 15ton deck, M62 deck and crane boom. I expect all of this should be solved with some hot water or a hair dryer and some gentle persuasion, much like a normal resin cast kit.
  10. Unfortunately, 4 of the 5 kits are missing a few small parts. I sent an email off and got a quick response that the parts will be sent. I’m in no rush so not a huge concern for me, but this is where the parts list really helped.

Overall, I’m impressed with these kits. They will take some work to build but these are still far better then many resins kits I’ve had/built in my 30+ years of modeling. The print detail is as good or better then most resin kits and the kits are pretty complete. And of course given their uniqueness as well as what I consider to be very inexpensive - the cost of the M123A1 and M172 is no more and even less then what you would pay for any plastic kit like the HobbyBoss HET, Meng or HB C-HET, Trumpeter M915 or MAZ, Tamiya Dragon Wagon or Famo, etc. - I wouldn’t hesitate to buy some more. Already looking at the Ural Crane and Vietnam era Grader.

If I have a chance in the next few weeks and no one beats me to it, I will try to post a proper in box review of some of these kits.


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They look and sound pretty good. I may have to place an order soon. They offer some really cool and sought after stuff.

Ha, Jon, so you bit the bullet and took a chance, huh? Nice. At least you can check off your wish list.

I bought its M60 AVBL kit as soon as it became available through Wanamaker Hobbies in Indiana. Mine is arriving tomorrow so I’ll post some photos of the prints when I get them.

Kind regards,
James

I’ve been waiting for a D7 and a Rome Plow for years. I might have to go for it.

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With the photos on Hobby Link’s FB page and the fact that Wannamaker had posted on HL’s page as well about carrying their stuff, I figured it was legit and worth the risk. I didn’t know how long it would take for Wannamaker to get it nor exactly which kits they would get so decided to order direct, but looking at the prices on their site, I probably saved about $100 ordering direct since USPS shipping to Canada has gotten stupid like so many other places. Not to mention it’s pretty much a guarantee on stuff coming from the US that I have to pay taxes and fees, whereas from overseas I usually don’t have to. So that saved another $30 as well.

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Do it, do it! :smiley: 1/35th scale :: US D7E ROME Caterpillar dozer
It’s out of stock at Wanamaker but supposedly, they’ll get some more in stock soon.

My M60 AVLB conversion arrived today!!

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Dammit!

Edited to add: There’s finally an M113 bridge layer! I can finally dump my dreadful late 90s vintage I CORPS models conversion….

Ordered it. The M60 AVLB is now out of stock. D7/Rome plow is due in 4-6 weeks. I’m on the list.

Would someone post the link to the manufacturer’s site, not the FB page. When these were initially posted in another thread, there was a link that included the manufacturer’s process, which are quite different than the Wanamaker site.

The manufacturer does not have a regular site, only a FB page.

Ah, I-Corps. And people thought AEF Designs was bad. AEF looked like Accurate Armour compared to I-Corps!

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Please let me know which kits im over priced on and i will look into it. We try to keep our prices lower or the same as his even before the shipping to the USA which is hight. I know tge D7E is $140 shipped from hom and less then $100 shipped by us.

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Yes shipping out of the usa is stupid expensive. I did find one trick to it. Never never never us ups. They put heavy surcharges on import taxes. I know only use usps as gifts. The shipping is a little hogge but saves in the long run.

Hi Scott,
I can’t tell you what the individual prices on the kits were, since I just got a lump sum amount from Hobby Link including shipping. Sorry.

And yes, using UPS to ship to Canada is painful because of the service charge they have for dealing with Customs. FedEx is similar. Canada Post (which will take the package from USPS) only charges about 1/2 what UPS charges for service fees. But irrespective of what you declare, Canada Customs simply has it out for packages from the US and they will make their own assessment of value if they don’t believe the seller and charge what they feel. On the other hand, I’ve had packages that have declared values well over $500 coming from Japan, the UK, Europe, etc. that Canada Customs doesn’t even touch. Had a package come from France in July that was declared at well over $700 and it didn’t even get opened by Customs. Given this, I avoid ordering from the US unless there is no other option!

Sure
15 ton trailer $65
Type 63 $85
M113 Bridge $80
M246 $80
M60 Bridge $90
Cat 12e 80
D7e early $75
D7e Rome $80
M106 $50
M123a1c $100
M172 $80
I do offer 5% off if this is ordere as a combo.
M113 zippo$50
M139 Bridge truck $75
M163 $55
M332 $50
M52 $45
M578 $80
M60 $70
M62 $80
Xm110 $50
Xm806 $50.
If you think I’m too expensive please let me know

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Those all look pretty reasonably priced to me, considering the subject matter.

Most of the kits you’ve listed have been on my 1/35 wish list forever……

Take my money!

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i bought the M-172 trailer, the caterpillar 12E grader,and the M-132 zippo conversion to go with my dragon M-132 kit thats almost done,i want the rome plow in the future,stuff should be here today so i cant do any review yet.

Jim,
Not sure what you’re referring to as “the manufacturer’s process, which are quite different than Wanamaker site”. Hobby Link’s products are 3D resin printed - using Masked Stereolithography (MSLA) technology, in which UV light is used to cure a photosensitive resin. This is obviously different from the traditional resin casting.

Kind regards,
James

James, not sure if the slip was mine or my fingers… the word should have been “prices”, not “process”. It happened again while typing this…

Jim

started my cat 12-e grader and noticed a few parts missing ,so i looked in my two other kits and my M-132 kit had a few missing,but my M-172 trailer was complete,contacted wannamaker and should have the missing parts in a couple weeks,the kits are very nice BTW, no other issues so far…

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