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A question on the Testors/Italeri kits from long ago-

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  • Member since
    May, 2006
  • From: East Coast
A question on the Testors/Italeri kits from long ago-
Posted by CarnivourousDonut on Thursday, June 08, 2006 9:09 PM

When I was a child in the dark ages of modelling, I had two choices:

(1) Tamiya, wonderful Tamiya, but a very limited range of products

(2) Everything else. Lindberg, Revell, Airfix, etc.

 

Then one day my local hobby shop had some kits by Testors/Italeri. They had an M4 Sherman, and a Hetzer. I'd built Testors kits and Italeri kits by themselves, and both were less than impressive. But the T/I kits seemed to be a cut above, and quickly became my favourites to build.

 

Fast forward to now. I got my hands on two T/I kits, a Marder III and a Hetzer. The build quality isn't what my childhood memory thought it was, but it's still way better than Dragon/DML (my opinion only, I hate Dragon/DML kits, for the lack of quality in the parts fitment, and their instructions suck rocks.) and in the Hetzer at least, on par with some Tamiya I've built.

 

But I'm curious where this teaming came from? I suppose these kits were nothing more than re-branded Italeri kits? Someone clue me in here please.

[EDIT: Typos]

 

Let's rattle the cage, crack the machine. Let 'em know who you are, shine to be seen.
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by T26E4 on Thursday, June 08, 2006 9:13 PM
Testors is an Illinois based company.  They imported Italeri kits and re-boxed them.  M4A1, Hetzer, etc.  They were the same.  Why?  Just a business relationship.  Distributor lines, etc.

Too bad about your experience w/DML.  You should look around at what they're putting out nowadays.  Unbelieveable stuff.  Trumpeter, AFV Club, Tasca, Academy, Tristar, Tamiya.  All cranking some incredible stuff.  Italeri is limping behind frankly. 

Roy Chow 

Join AMPS!

http://www.amps-armor.org

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by wdolson2 on Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:03 PM
Maybe you just happened to luck out and the Testors/Italeri packaging kits happened to be among the better of their line.  I thought a number of Italeri's old armor kits were pretty decent for their day.

Italeri and Testors have had a tight relationship for 25 yers or more.  I believe Italeri is now partially owned by Testors parent company RPM, which is a huge chemical company.

Dragon has gone through an evolutionary curve.  Their early kits had a sea of parts, but bad fit.  Over time they have improved the fit dramatically.  In some cases, they have retooled some of their old kits quite a bit.  I have compared their old Hummel and the new Hummel side by side and quite a bit of the kit is brand new.

The reason Tamiya has almost given up the 1/35 scale market is because the Chinese competition is driving them out.  Between the biggest: Dragon, and Trumpeter, which is expanding their line at incredible pace, plus all the smaller companies like AFV Club and Tristar, Tamiya is finding it tougher and tougher to remain top of the heap in 1/35 scale armor.

Italeri has brought out a few new armor kits in recent years, but most of their line are either older kits or molds bought or swapped with some other company.  Many Italeri armor kits are showing up under Russian kit makers labels and the Russian kits are showing up in Italeri boxes.  In aircraft, the Italeri mix is a hodge podge of kits ranging from old Hawk molds to Dragon, AMT, ESCI, and even some Accurate Miniatures kits.

Bill

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:03 PM

As stated, in the 1980s, Testors became the importer for Italeri and reboxed the kits into the now classic yellow box with a photo of the built up model surrounded by various Testors paint and glue products.

During this time Italeri kits ended up in several companies' boxes. In Germany, you would find Italeri kits in Revell boxes. In Japan, you would find Italeri kits in Tamiya boxes, usually with a Tamiya figure or accessory set added. The last Italeri kit boxed by Tamiya was the Hummer with M242 Bushmaster 25mm gun.

In the mid 80s, Italeri hit their peak with kits like the M47 Patton, Leopard 1A2, Willys Jeep, M24 Chaffee and several Sherman based kits . Also issued in the yellow boxes were some fairly old Japanese models made by Peerless Max that Italeri had acquired. These included the US 155mm gun, 1½ ton Dodge, White Scout Car, and the WC Dodge Ambulance, Beep, Anti-tank Dodge, and Staff Car. Not bad kits, but not as good as the newer Italeri kits.

You will see some of those kits in Bilek boxes and Zvezda boxes as well.

Today, Testors still imports Italeri kits. They just leave them in the original boxes and add a sticker on the box end with Testors Corp. info on it.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:22 PM
I've always thought that Italeri had some unusual topics at decent prices. Some of them were better then the older Tamiya kits. Their Sherman, Chaffee, Crusader and Sturmtiger are among their best IMHO.

  http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/wing_nut_5o/PANZERJAGERGB.jpg

 Eric 

  • Member since
    May, 2006
Posted by MortarMagnet on Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:50 PM
I've got to say that Italeri's kits seem outdated.  Part of manufacturing and business in general is continuous improvement.  While other companies are releasing new kits with improved molds and increased quality, Italeri seems to turn out the same old same old.  Any thoughts?
Brian
  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:54 PM

 MortarMagnet wrote:
I've got to say that Italeri's kits seem outdated.  Part of manufacturing and business in general is continuous improvement.  While other companies are releasing new kits with improved molds and increased quality, Italeri seems to turn out the same old same old.  Any thoughts?

Agree with you there. Dragon, AFV, and even Tamiya are offering PE parts and Aluminum barrels in their latest offerings. We can thank Dragon for starting the trend.  Smile [:)] I'd hate to see Italeri fade away in the sunset though. They still make decent kits.

  http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/wing_nut_5o/PANZERJAGERGB.jpg

 Eric 

  • Member since
    May, 2006
Posted by MortarMagnet on Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:55 PM
Even making sure every kit has plastic around the parts trees would be a nice improvement.Smile [:)]  I do like their kits though.  I don't think they have the same value as the others though.
Brian
  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Posted by m1garand on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:06 PM
Italeri did offer many kits that are not available..... Such as 155mm howitzer, 105mm howitzer, Kangaroo armored vehicle, M7 Priest and so on and on and on.  I just heard that Italeri may be doing another run of M7 Priest. 
  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:06 PM
I will admit that I was miffed at their M1A2. It was really sharp on the sprue, but had some unfortunate ejection pin marks in obvious places and the fit wasn't stellar. This being one of their latest too. Disapprove [V]

  http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/wing_nut_5o/PANZERJAGERGB.jpg

 Eric 

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:13 PM

 m1garand wrote:
  I just heard that Italeri may be doing another run of M7 Priest. 

They usually go for a premium on ebay too.

  http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/wing_nut_5o/PANZERJAGERGB.jpg

 Eric 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Posted by m1garand on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:15 PM
 tigerman wrote:

 m1garand wrote:
  I just heard that Italeri may be doing another run of M7 Priest. 

They usually go for a premium on ebay too.

Yes, I've been outbid on it so many times and I wasn't willing to pay $30 for it either.  Now I would love to see some one offering U.S. 75mm pack howitzer in 1/35 scale.  Old Tamiya metal kit is also going for a premium. 

  • Member since
    May, 2006
Posted by MortarMagnet on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:16 PM
My LHS has that Tam M8 pack for 16.99.

Edit: typo m8 not m7
Brian
  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Posted by m1garand on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:22 PM

 MortarMagnet wrote:
My LHS has that Tam M8 pack for 16.99.

Edit: typo m8 not m7

M8 is probably the 75mm howitzer on a armored vehicle chassy.  I'm looking for a plain 75 mm pack howitzer

  • Member since
    May, 2006
Posted by MortarMagnet on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:24 PM
Oh.Sad [:(]  We keep talking back and forth in semi-real-time.
Brian
  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Posted by m1garand on Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:35 PM

 MortarMagnet wrote:
Oh.Sad [:(]  We keep talking back and forth in semi-real-time.

Would be nice if FSM had a real time live chat room

  • Member since
    May, 2006
Posted by MortarMagnet on Friday, June 09, 2006 12:10 AM
We should tell the powers that be.
Brian
  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, June 09, 2006 3:43 AM
Italeri still does some decent kits that other folks seem to ignore. Top of the list are their WWII Amtracs and DUKW! The different recent releases of the Crusader, Mk I, Mk II, and the AA variant are also great additions to any collection. And their re-issue of the M-24 with the WWII style tracks is another great gap filler. Now if they would only re-issue the M-7 as a Sexton, and an initial production variant. I sure hope they don't fade away...

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    October, 2005
  • From: Brisbane, Australia
Posted by shaun68 on Friday, June 09, 2006 4:51 AM
I'll echo the comments on the Crusader series. Really nice bit of plastic. Ditto with the Valentine. Every time I go to one of my many LHS', I keep casting an eye at their LVT 1 or 4. But something keeps dragging me away... I've got a gut feeling, I should drop some coin for one of them & give it a bash, & I'll be a really happy camper. Maybe do up a beach dio with Academy's forthcoming updated Lee?
  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, June 09, 2006 5:12 AM
I highly reccomend the LVT's. I have built the -4 completely and loved every moment of it! I have almost completed the -1A and it is just as neat of a kit! For a diorama idea with new Academy Lee, maybe a 8th Army Crusader meeting a II Corps Lee in Tunisia? The LVT's would go great with Academy's M4A2...

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, June 09, 2006 6:24 AM
 MortarMagnet wrote:
Even making sure every kit has plastic around the parts trees would be a nice improvement.Smile [:)]  I do like their kits though.  I don't think they have the same value as the others though.
I agree, that's why I said they peaked in the 80s. Their newer kits like the HEMTT, 5 tons, M113/901/163, M1A2, are not as good quality as their 1980s kits. Great subjects though.
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Some additional comments
Posted by T26E4 on Friday, June 09, 2006 8:32 AM
Nice thread guys.  I'll add some thoughts here:

To make a Sexton from the Italeri M7 kit would be asking too much.  The only thing that they shared in common was the suspension (and even here, the Priest has the upswept VVS).  The Sexton only looked somewhat like the M7.  Different gun (25pdr) different hull completely.  Although it would be welcome, I don't see Italeri doing it.

"Doing an Academy M3 on a beach dio"  -- I'm not familiar with any beach landings with M3 Medium tanks.  Maybe there were some training excercises but M3s were delivered from the hulls of ships onto African or Pacific island shores.

Recent Italeri: they did come with the SdKfz 231 (mixed reviews) but the Italian armored cars look to have been well received.



Roy Chow 

Join AMPS!

http://www.amps-armor.org

 

 

  • Member since
    May, 2006
  • From: East Coast
Posted by CarnivourousDonut on Friday, June 09, 2006 12:51 PM

I also recall doing the pries....errr......building the model kit of the priest. I also recall it was a good quality kit.

 

Admittedly, I've only built 1 kit from Dragon, the StuG III with extra wide tracks, the directions were frustrating (vague in the extreme) and the individual track links will drive me to drink.

Zvedya kits are identical (IMO), the parts fit better, but the directions are so vague as to be utterly useless. I speak for the BTR-70 and the StuG III Ausf. F (short barrelled 37 IIRC).

 

I'd utterly hate to lose Tamiya, they are a top notch firm, which understand those of us who don't want to have a master's degree in physics to understand how the kit goes together.

I'm going to try a Tristar kit soon, but currently I have enough on my bench (as do we all it seems)

Let's rattle the cage, crack the machine. Let 'em know who you are, shine to be seen.
  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, June 09, 2006 2:22 PM
 CarnivourousDonut wrote:

Zvedya kits are identical (IMO), the parts fit better, but the directions are so vague as to be utterly useless. I speak for the BTR-70 and the StuG III Ausf. F (short barrelled 37 IIRC).

Those two particular Zvezda kits are reboxed DML kits.
  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, June 09, 2006 4:00 PM

 T26E4 wrote:
Nice thread guys.  I'll add some thoughts here:

To make a Sexton from the Italeri M7 kit would be asking too much.  The only thing that they shared in common was the suspension (and even here, the Priest has the upswept VVS).  The Sexton only looked somewhat like the M7.  Different gun (25pdr) different hull completely.  Although it would be welcome, I don't see Italeri doing it.

"Doing an Academy M3 on a beach dio"  -- I'm not familiar with any beach landings with M3 Medium tanks.  Maybe there were some training excercises but M3s were delivered from the hulls of ships onto African or Pacific island shores.

Recent Italeri: they did come with the SdKfz 231 (mixed reviews) but the Italian armored cars look to have been well received.



Yes there were many differences between the Priest and Sexton, but at least the lower hull would be a good starting point. Or if they could backdate it to an early production M-7 with the M-3 style bogies and 3 piece transmission cover and other detail differences.

M-3 Mediums were used in the assault at Makin in Nov '43. I dont know at what point they came ashore during Operation Torch in Nov 42. In either case, Italeri's LCM would do nicely for  delivery craft. LVT-1's were used in Torch, and at Makin, where the LVT-2 was used also.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by wdolson2 on Friday, June 09, 2006 5:02 PM
 CarnivourousDonut wrote:

I also recall doing the pries....errr......building the model kit of the priest. I also recall it was a good quality kit.

 Admittedly, I've only built 1 kit from Dragon, the StuG III with extra wide tracks, the directions were frustrating (vague in the extreme) and the individual track links will drive me to drink.

Zvedya kits are identical (IMO), the parts fit better, but the directions are so vague as to be utterly useless. I speak for the BTR-70 and the StuG III Ausf. F (short barrelled 37 IIRC).

 I'd utterly hate to lose Tamiya, they are a top notch firm, which understand those of us who don't want to have a master's degree in physics to understand how the kit goes together.

I'm going to try a Tristar kit soon, but currently I have enough on my bench (as do we all it seems)



I haven't built a Tristar kit, but I've seen one of their Panzer IVs.  That had the most complex suspension I have ever seen on a kit.  It would have been insanely complex in 1/16 scale.  In 1/35, I don't think I could build it.  There were many, many parts that practically required a microscope to just see!

I'm only exaggerating a very small bit here.  I think the construction of the suspension for each individual wheel was 15 parts.  That's per wheel.  I was slack jawed looking through the instructions.  I have never seen assemblies that complex in a plastic kit of any scale.

Dragon kits have improved a lot over time.  The Stug IIIs were some of their first armor kits.  Some of their newer kits still have the individual track links and some have strips of injection molded track with a few individual links for the complex curves. 

I built an Italeri Priest many moons ago.  I was in my early teens, so I wasn't as picky about a lot of things back then, but I recall it was a nice kit.

Bill
  • Member since
    May, 2006
  • From: East Coast
Posted by CarnivourousDonut on Saturday, June 10, 2006 7:55 AM

...Those two particular Zvezda kits are reboxed DML kits....

 

Figures...I swear, it's going to be my curse, to buy a nice-looking kit, and find out it's a re-boxed DML one...

Let's rattle the cage, crack the machine. Let 'em know who you are, shine to be seen.
  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: phoenix
Posted by grandadjohn on Saturday, June 10, 2006 10:53 AM
Quality and detail of Italeri kits can be hit or miss(older kits seemed better), but yet they seem to do kits no one else will do(ie DUKW, LVT, etc)
  • Member since
    May, 2006
Posted by MortarMagnet on Saturday, June 10, 2006 11:57 AM
I suspect that is why there is an Italeri.  Sadly,  I enjoy there kits, but I don't enjoy the oob look they offer.  Most of the time they take more care to make an impression.
Brian

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