Wednesday, January 4

In-boxed: Takom's 35th scale G6 Rhino Self-Propelled Howitzer

Takom has been on a roll since their inception, with a load of different vehicles of all types presented. They often provide a simple build with a lot of detail still present. Today we review their new 35th scale G6 Rhino SANDF Self-Propelled Howitzer. Let's see just how it looks before we tear into the plastic to build it.

Build Guide: G6 Rhino SANDF Self-Propelled Howitzer
by Takom
1/35th scale
Injection moulded plastic in grey and clear + photo-etch brass
Price: ¥6,640/ USD $56.15/ €54.05 from Hobbylink Japan
The G6 self-propelled howitzer is a South African artillery piece, developed around the ordnance of the G5 howitzer. The chassis of the vehicle is mine-protected, and iIn addition to the logistical mobility afforded by a wheeled chassis, the G6 is protected against counter battery fire and is able to defend itself in an unsecured area. The G6 is produced in South Africa by the Land Systems division of Denel. It entered production in 1987.
Called the "Rhino" in service, the G6 was deployed by expeditionary units of the South African Defence Force during the Angolan Civil War, making its combat debut during Operation Moduler (part of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale) in December 1987. On one occasion reconnaissance elements observed Angolan interceptors attempting to take off from an airfield near Cuito Cuanavale and directed G6 artillery fire that destroyed four Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s on the ground. However the advantage that the G5 and G6s gave the South Africans on the ground could not be pressed to their advantage against the Cubans who held air superiority, so a military stalemate was reached.
Opening the Box
The Takom kits feature 5 sprues of injection-moulded components, upper & lower hull, decal, interior window panes, individual x6 vinyl tyres, openable hatches, fully articulated main SPH turret, as well as a photo-etched and 1 clear parts. 
Let's look at the kit bit by bit in brief before we hand it over to Macson to build...

We will look at the instructions in the build part of the article, but in short, they come as a black and white booklet on smooth paper with forty steps and seventeen pages in A4 landscape format.
 The Sprue Map
 An example of the instructions, clear and simple to follow.
The Plastic
The plastic is finely moulded and there is a very small amount of extra material int he way of some mould seams. Every model suffers from them to a degree and this model does not suffer that hard at all from bad moulding. Indeed the parts are sharp in detail, and the complex structures are often moulded in one part to cut time – hooray to that!

The upper hull
The upper "roof" of the hull is seen here – simply enough moulded with flat lying grab handles which cut time from your build. The grates on the engine deck will suffice until anyone wants to look at them too hard, and the photo-etched parts supplied also neatly cover the broader mesh underneath which is nice.
The Lower Hull
Welllllll, it fits the upper hull pretty much and there is not much detail on it – not that most modellers would want to show this kit upside down, but just in case – it is there in the box.
The sides of the hull
Moulded in some complex shapes, this kit really does save time again in having to spare you the work to create all of these shapes. Nicely done in my opinion and now you need not worry about getting any of the angles wrong, leading to a poor fit later on when everything seals together.
The Howitzer Turret
This impressive turret for the 155mm Howitzer is very well detailed for a part of injection moulded plastic. Although it is a simple enough looking piece, the angles, the details and the tiny nuts, bolts and hinges provided look great from any angle. 
The louvred vents are another great detail to pick out on your build.
Sprue B
Going sprue by sprue briefly, we start with Sprue B. This sprue houses a lot of the side, front and rear of the hull details. Also, the frames of the bullet resistant cockpit, sharp and non-flash-covered foot ladders and the driver's seat are here.
Sprue C
This large sprue houses the mighty155mm gun barrel and the workings of the gun and all of its parts – they are all here. Also parts of the cabing controls and radio panel. The Gun barrel breach i noticed does not have the serial numbers cast into it. Not many will notice but if you want to give it just that little bit more detail...
Sprue D
The running gear dominates this sprue. The large multi bolted wheels ad the turret hatches are an easy thing to pick out, as are the hydraulic rams for shock absorbers, the rest will be hidde in the structure. It is all nicely detailed, but it's very hard to pick out exactly what is what until our build in Part II.
Sprue F
Sprue F is like the kit who you always forgot his name at school – everything else! The centre turret ring, the armoured cab sides and door, the breech lock are all here. Again with some fine detail around the hatches and so on.
6 x Vinyl Tires
Vinyl tyres may, or may not be your thing, but here they are in this kit. It provides a simple method of recreating this rubber without having to worry about join seams, Tamiya Mosquito style interlocking tread or more expensive resin. After all there IS a resin kit of this Howitzer, so you do have a choice if you like resin. I think for me these will be just fine. There is no excess material on them, and you can paint them up pretty simply. The detail on them is right up there with resin supplier's efforts, although sagging tyres are still not portrayed in the kit.
Transparent Parts
These parts are mostly for the driver's compartment, although there are some fo rthe indicators and lights on the vehicle also. We wil see later on in the build how Macson changed his to the green-tinted windows that this vehicle sports in the wild.
Photo-Etch Parts
A small but simple pari of Photo Etched sheets cover the gerills fo rthe engine exhaust louvres as well as some grated areas of the structure and the light guards which is a nice addition.
A simple set of decals is supplied here. One number plate for a single vehicle is supplied for those who like to use thier run about around town. I would have maybe liked to see an Omani or UAE version included here in the markings. The speedometer and tachometer ("Takom-eter?") are included in this tiny sheet which looks adequitely printed.
Marking choices.
As I hinted at earlier, there are only two variants fromt he South African Defence Force on offer here. I would love to see an Omani (24 examples) or an United Arab Emerates versions (78) included just for a point of difference in this boxing.
Well that is it until our very shortly following build report. I can say that it looks very easy to build with all of the short-cuts Takom have added ot the kit. The simple construction and detailed moulding and popular (and quirky looking) choice of vehicle should see this as a viable alternative to the expensive, and I am afraid now the kida redundant resin kit that was already on the market from another supplier.

A great way into the G6 market if you like what you see. The excellent build by Macson Tan is going to be our first build guide of the year in a day here on TMN

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to us to build and review. Check out their latest news on their FB page...