Last year I had little knowledge of the Chinese model company Meng Models. I stumbled upon their WWI tank kits for the Whippet and the Renault FT-17. I was somewhat leery of jumping into a new manufacturer’s line but all the reviews were positive so I took the plunge. As I have written here, I enjoyed the kits and even with some tweaking that was occasionally necessary turned out two very satisfying WWI models. I dithered on getting the German A7V or the British Mk.5, but went for the more iconic British vehicle. A few years back I built Eduard’s only AFV model, their Hetzer, that came with a full interior. I though it would be both fascinating and educational to build up a WWII AFV with the interior, especially since I knew little about them. Building the Hetzer was an enlightening experience both in modeling and historically regarding that vehicle’s part in WWII. And, although it took a long time to complete, I enjoyed the process.
Now, I am hoping to have a similarly fun and learning experience with the Mk.5 Male, and my intent is to chronicle my build experience here for anyone else who may be interested in this model. An aside: I am still very pleased with the quality of Meng’s kits. The amount and level of detail that has gone into the design of these kits is on a par with any of the quality injection molded manufacturers working today, and the fit is also excellent. The instructions are spacious, logical and clear as well. The only objection I have with their instructions is the same one I have with most others, except Eduard’s: all paint colors are called out as numbers so one has to flip to the back of the instruction booklet to find the actual color that is referenced. And the numbers are themselves confusing being a two digit integer followed by a three digit decimal number. Like, 73.081 being equivalent to some color, like ‘brown’. Stupid and not necessary. If they can print a five digit number next to a part, they could as easily print a color like ‘white’, or ‘black’, etc.
I spent some time writing down these numbers with their color equivalents on an index card and putting in on the wall above my bench. Then I opened each parts bag (like ten of them) and filled in the sprue numbers, ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, etc with a black marker to make them easier to find. I stacked each up vertically in the box like file folders so that I can flip through the sprues to find the one I want. I will pull out the sprues needed for a particular step, clip the parts into a tray and then replace the sprues in order.
I began building the interior today. The fit has been excellent and the detail amazing.