Move over little buddy, the big rigs are coming through. These wheels are meant for rolling and thatís what Pete is going to do. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was laid down in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics but the White Ensign Models brass Photo-Etch Set #3581 in 1:350 scale clearly can be associated with another Union, the Brotherhood of Photo-Etch Teamsters. With this set Peter Hoffa-Hall has just organized Local 3581 of the Photo-Etch Teamsters Union United Kingdom (PETUUK) and enrollment applications for Peteís brotherhood are still available. For a nominal, one time only, payment of Union Dues to WEM, you too can steer the big rigs. For that is what this fret contains, big vehicles for a big carrier.

Most carrier affectionados may be familiar with the tractors used in the carriers of the USN in the present or in the past. Normally one would think of the small tow tractors or maybe Tilley the crane of the past. However, those vehicles are strictly go-carts next to the motive power found on the Admiral Kuznetsov. There is a wide variety of wheeled vehicles found on this set from small tow tractors, very similar to those found on USN carriers, to large trucks with separate cabs and panel bodies. I was surprised to see the size of some of these vehicles. So, if you acquire this set, what rolling stock will you get for your local?

Local Traffic
Of course the prime wheeled deck vehicle on any carrier is the tow tractor and with WEM #3581 you get three of these small gems. With any Peter Hall design from WEM, you can be assured of exquisite relief-etched features and that is exactly what you get throughout this set. With three tractors you have multiple options available to you in setting them up with the aircraft. You can have them towing aircraft with the included towbars or have them parked next to the island. Each tow tractor has six parts: a folding front/top/rear piece, two side pieces, two headlight and a steering wheel. Although the tow tractor is the smallest of the included vehicles, in one way it is also the most complex. For some of the vehicles, you need to fashion plasticard blocks to shape as the underlying base for the photo-etch. With all other vehicles this amounts to a simple square or rectangle but with the tow tractors, it requires a more complex design because of step down fenders. A frame could also probably be fashioned from plastic strips but a solid base would be optimal. These can be painted yellow and/or orange as both colors have been seen together. The next step up in size is one simple flatbed truck. There are only two pieces to this assembly, one piece worthy of origami, comprises grill, cab and sides with the second piece forming the bed and tailgate. This is finished in beige or neutral stone color.

Team3839fret.JPG (26977 bytes) Team3847det.JPG (23183 bytes) Team3842tow.JPG (21444 bytes)
Team3841flat.JPG (20402 bytes) Team3840fire.JPG (20382 bytes) Team3848cab.JPG (22564 bytes) Team3849bodies.JPG (24889 bytes)
Team3850chasis.JPG (26440 bytes) Team3843salvage.JPG (22926 bytes) Team3844saldet.JPG (23927 bytes) Team3845salarm.JPG (31641 bytes)

Big Rigs
The next step up in size is a mid-size fire truck. Since this vehicle is painted red with white striping, it is sure to stand out on the carrierís deck. There are eight pieces to this vehicle: folding cab, two cab fenders, two front wheels, two fire ladders and cargo body. A simple rectangle of plastic, shaped at the rear needs to be added to the cargo area as a base as well as simple flat plastic cards, cut to shape for attachment of the cab and front wheels. Now we come to the really big rigs. First there are two large maintenance trucks, each of which comprises nine parts. These are made up of cab, truck body, body floor, two fenders, two frames, and two back quarter panels. The last item is the most complex and is the crane truck. This is also made up of nine parts. These are the cab, crane body, two side chassis, crane bracket, cable bracket, crane arm and two crane cables. Additionally there are two sets of cables, one for the crane arm lowered and a shorter pair for the crane arm raised. As with some other items, the crane is best built with simple block and panel plastic bases on which the brass is attached. The maintenance trucks and crane are painted olive drab.

When you look at the total collection of vehicles, not only do you get a wide variety of sizes and shapes but with red, orange, yellow, beige and olive drab, you will have a rainbow of colorful eye candy on your 1:350 scale Russian carrier. To assemble these delights, all you have to do is follow the simple directions in drawing and text provided with this fret. It is completely up to the usual best of industry standard for which WEM is known. Even with the additional plastic card pieces, the necessary shape is shown, although no exact dimensions are provided. The instructions are simple. The first page has a numbered silhouette of the fret with numbered text, which identifies every part. Page two has build modules for the maintenance trucks and crane. Page three has the build modules for the fire truck, flat bed truck and tow trucks. No modeler should have any problem following any step laid out, although the structure for the plastic base of the tow tractors may be more difficult for new modelers.

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Team3855inst3.JPG (9042 bytes) Team3856inst3a.JPG (16914 bytes) Team3857inst3b.JPG (12916 bytes) Team3858inst3c.JPG (23954 bytes)

With the wide variety of colors and shapes of the vehicles, the deck of your 1:350 scale Admiral Kuznetsov will be even more colorful than it will be with the aircraft in the kit. With WEM #3581 you can open your own photo-etch teamsters local. With these WEM organizers on the deck of your carrier, you'll have the aircraft prepped for a strike in minutes. White Ensign Models and Peter Hall have come through again and created a very interesting supplement for a Trumpeter kit.

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