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Kenneth Childres returns with a new manufacturer’s first kit.

Introduced in early 1942, the Case VA series was a new range of agricultural tractors designed to replace the Case V series (models V, VC, VI and VO). Although similar in appearance to the V, it shared no major components. Apart from tractors intended for military use, production of the Case VA ceased in July 1942, due to the company turning its attention to war equipment manufacturing. It resumed in 1944, and continued until early 1953. Following another short break, the company reintroduced the tractor at the end of that year, with production being on a limited basis until 1956. Almost 150,000 Case VA series tractors were built during the 14 years of production. (Based on information from ‘Yesterday’s Tractors’ (

The Model

A relatively new name on the model scene, Thunder Model released their first kit in 2016, ‘US Army Tractor Case VAI’ (ref. 35001). In the past few months we have seen several new releases, and many more announced. If the quality of this first product is any indication, we are in for a real treat.

And so to the kit. The first thing that struck me was the size of the box; just large enough to house two sprues of around 70 injection-moulded components, a photoetch fret, four vinyl tyres, a small decal sheet, and a set of assembly instructions. The second (less pleasant) aspect was the smell … a distinctive odour to the parts that reminded me of the gullies of an old battleship! That aside, I made a start on the construction, beginning with the engine/transmission module. Parts-fit was excellent, and I painted the radiator portion at this early stage, so that I could install the cowl later. The only issue was with the photoetched fan blade, which required filing to allow it to fit over the shroud. Oddly, no fan belt is provided, so this needed to be added. Also, for greater realism, I made a set of spark-plug leads from lengths of wire, and connected these to the very prominent distributor. Of course, more wiring could have been added, but I felt this was sufficient, given the size of the model. It is worth noting that the attachment points for the fuel tank are very small … I managed to break these several times during construction.

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About Military Modelcraft International

Inside this month's issue: - IDF Puma. Ivan Momcilovic Momcha presents some IDF heavy armour. - Iranian Shilka. Vorya Hidaryan joins the MMI team with Meng’s sublime Shilka. - The Russian Tiger. Bryan Krueger builds a Soviet KV prototype.