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Armor/AFV
For all military ground-force modelling subjects.
REVIEW
Large Scale Armory (LSA)
brian638
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England - West Midlands, United Kingdom
Member Since: July 24, 2004
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Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 12:51 AM UTC
Perry Rowe takes a look at a much anticipated release from Large Scale Armory (LSA) some British accessories and a conversion kit.



Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
Hisham
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Al Qahirah, Egypt / لعربية
Member Since: July 23, 2004
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Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 12:55 AM UTC
Thanks for the review, Perry

You have so many great items Jim, you need to have a regular online store... Love the teapot

Hisham
ropeynz
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Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 03:17 AM UTC
I should have mentioned in the review that LSA do many German accessories as well as British, Russian and US.
ropeynz
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 11:36 PM UTC
An update:
Yesterday I had a go at the steering set and I'm afraid to say I wasn't impressed. The wheels were the biggest disappointment as every one of them had the two sides slightly out of register making the profile through the axle a parallelogram rather than a rectangle. I will use the kit (Italeri 6351) wheels which fit the steering pieces anyway. The axle/gear box was also disappointing as it is roughly sculpted with little detail. In the end I cut the ball fittings off the LSA piece and glued them to the kit part with a pin for support. (I made the fatal mistake of not polishing these balls well enough so they caught in the 'knuckles' and don't give a full range of movement. Readers should learn from this. They might also want to add a bit of lubricant - perhaps Vaseline?) All in all I think that LSA should offer just the knuckles, balls and linkage pins as the rest of the pack is no improvement on the kit. Of course it may just be the bits I got, but ALL of the wheels had this problem so I suspect the masters were skew-whiff.

I also had a closer look at the .50 cal MGs. They look good enough and while I know next to nothing about these weapons, one thing I can clearly see is that they are of different dimensions to the kit MG. The ammo boxes are noticeably smaller, by about 10%, the body is also smaller, and the barrel shorter. I downloaded pictures of the .50 and LSA seems to be spot on, and fortunately I have a pair from them. Italeri's barrel is far too long - around 6mm! - so I am guessing it is their ammo box that is also out of scale. [Does anyone have dimensions for these boxes so I can determine which is correct?]

The kit jerrycan also seems to be out of scale, so that'll get covered by a tarp as another bit of storage and replaced with LSA's offerings which look OK to me.

I might as well get rid of another small moan: if LSA provide a Bren and a .50 cal, why not provide the ammo crates for these rather than for .30 cal MG?
samkidd
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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 03:33 PM UTC
Well that's a bit embarrassing. Of course any set that had any issues simply had to go to the person doing a review online! Once I read your post I rushed over to the stock bins and checked out all the other wheels we have cast up. Fortunately none of the others seem to have this misalignment problem. Unfortunately yours do. I do sincerely apologize for the problems you had with my set.

The fitment issue and the alignment problem aren't anything we've come across before. From what you describe though it sounds like the mold was clamped too tightly in the casting process. We cast an entire kit's wheels at a time in one mold so that would explain why all of them showed this problem. This weekend I will build another front axle set from randomly pulled pieces to see if I can duplicate the knuckle problem (making any corrections of course and discarding all the ones already cast).

So in keeping with LSA's "if we ever have that problem" policy I can offer you a complete free replacement set or a full refund for the set. Your choice and I eat the postage. I had mentioned in an email to you about sending you the newly updated pieces of some of the set's accessories once they were finished so I could just send them all together if you'd like.

And as to the Bren and .50cal ammo cases, you're absolutely correct in that including a few of these in their respective kits would work well. So why doesn't LSA include them? Because I simply haven't made a prototype of either of them that I was satisfied with. Most of the pieces in LSA's sets have been patterned two, three, sometimes five times without success. Both of these have been attempted before but the results weren't quite right. If I'm unhappy with the pattern piece, it's simply scrapped and I start over.

So I've learned to move on to the next project and come back to try to create these items again at a later date. If you try too hard at one piece progress can sometimes go backwards! That's just part of the creative process. So those crates will likely get quietly added to the sets at some later date. But first I have to finally get a piece patterned up that strikes the best balance between visual and dimensional accuracy. At just under 500 individually patterned and prototyped pieces in LSA's product line so far, I'm betting that they won't be long in the making.

Jim
LSA

ropeynz
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 10:03 PM UTC
Cheers Jim. There's always a chance you get a less than perfect batch, which seems to have happened here. I've moved on and will be able to use the wheels for spares or something.

I didn't want the comments to be too negative as there are certainly some nice pieces here, but I had to call it as it came.

Keep up the good work.

Perry.

PS. Any comments on the suggestions in the initial review?
samkidd
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015 - 01:32 AM UTC
Well I have now had time to go through the remaining stock of all my pieces while wearing a set of magnifying glasses and sad to say I did indeed find a very few more pieces that had misalignment problems. These were in the Rum jars (jugs) you mentioned. I did also find a couple more of the crates where the mold seam would likely have caused difficulty in cleanup. All of these pieces were discarded immediately.

After studying the problem from many angles I have come up with a few tighter inspection methods that we are imposing immediately. All inspections to be done under magnification etc. But the single biggest corrective action I can come up with is one that I have tried very, very hard to avoid.

Without getting into a lengthy discussion on the casting process I will say that we are going to have to change a bit of our casting process that will remove any chance of misalignment problems for many of the parts. That's the good part. The bad part is that we will have to start casting a few more of our pieces with the dreaded "block of resin" on the bottom that the customer will have to saw off.

Not many of the LSA product line pieces will have to be converted over to this type of casting, but we will have to add some to that method. As always we will avoid this whenever possible and continue to use the "split mold" method to cast high quality pieces with minimum sprue and mold blocks. But a few more pieces like the Rum Jar (which was being updated anyway) will be cast this way from now on.

The review also mentioned the British helmets being solid underneath. These were the only helmets LSA has done in this style as all the others, German, Russian, US, Tanker's, Paratrooper's and Officer's caps are all hollow cast. The reason we went solid on the British helmets was that they are so shallow that they'd bend too easily even when taking them out of the mold. I have made a new, hollow version but we haven't gotten a chance to make copies and find out if the new design will fair any bettter. If it works out then that will be the new kit standard. If not, the solid ones will remain until I can get a good updated version.

That is true of all the pieces in the LSA line. They are constantly being refined and replaced if necessary. This is largely due to the fact that these pieces have been developed over many years. Over time, my skill at pattern making has gotten much better and faster so I am continually looking at many of my earlier pieces and seeing where I can improve them. If there is a size issue or detail issue on a particular piece, chances are that it'll be corrected over time.

As for instructions on the Jeep steering, we are working on that as well as getting our products photographed so hopefully I can offer some change there soon. And, frankly, the review brought up another good point that we will look into. We are going to see about including a list of what each LSA piece is supposed to represent. The M2 ammo box for this kit, the M2A1 for that one. This will take time to do but I can see it'd be a great edition and one that we are going to work on.

In the decal and PE departments, the short term answer is "not anytime soon". While I'd love to provide these in the future, there's no way to include those at this time.

If anyone has any other questions or comments about LSA we'd love to hear them. Compliments mean we are doing good. Complaints offer us a chance to improve. And BIG complaints means we shoot the pattern maker at dawn.

Jim
LSA

ropeynz
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Posted: Monday, August 31, 2015 - 10:20 PM UTC
Thanks Jim for that comprehensive answer.

In addition to this Jim offered me replacements in the form of the next generation steering gear, and for my troubles a jeep kit to put them on! Far too generous so I have turned him down but this certainly shows good faith and exceptional customer service.

I would like to have a look at the helmet and rum jar when they are remoulded, and any other bits and pieces that suit my build. I will add to this review at that time.

Perry