ARM: Review - SKP Model 1/35 scale Headlight and Taillight sets

Product Review: SKP Model 1/35 scale Model Lenses and Taillight sets; all a round US$10     SKP 170; Lenses and Taillights for Studebaker US6 (22 items)
    SKP 173; Lenses and Taillights for T-90 (14 items)     SKP 183; Lenses and Taillights for T-55 (18 items)          SKP 184; Lenses and Taillights for T-62 (9 items)         SKP 194; Lenses and Taillights for BMP-1 (15 items)     SKP 227; Lenses and Taillights for T-90A (18 items)
Advantages: custom-designed to fit the lights and sights on specific vehicl es; come with trim rings and other fittings as well
Disadvantages: nothing major noted other than no directions are provided wi th any sets
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all applicable models (see a dealer such as UMM-USA at http://www.umm-usa-com or for full listings and pric es)
    For many years one of the biggest headaches for modelers has been how to g et the lights on a vehicle to look like lights and not painted items on a t oy. This was a problem and first was addressed by drilling out the lights, painting them silver, and then filling them with either epoxy or disks of c lear plastic. While better than painting them silver a lot was lost in the transition.
    Over 30 years ago armor modelers discovered M.V. Lenses, a product line or iginally developed for model railroaders in the US and one that provided pr oper looking lenses made with clear or colored resin with a silver backing. These made excellent lights, but only came in one shape - round. Trimming them to any other shape was a nightmare, and even when they came out with s uitable colors like a dark purple for infrared lenses they were still just round.
    In recent years purpose built sets for specific vehicles have been created using resin over etched metal, now with proper colors and shapes for speci fic items. Some sets come with dual colors on them to replicate modern stop /turn signal lights as well. SKP Models has one of the widest ranges of the se lights, and this year at the AMPS 2014 International Show I was fortunat e enough to pick up a selection of them.
    Each set comes with headlight lenses, taillight lenses, and a variety of o ther parts such as reflectors, side marker lights, dimensional lights, sigh t head windows, IR searchlight lenses, and fittings/trim rings. Parts range from several millimeters in diameter down to very tiny center lights for S oviet fender marker and taillights.
    The Studebaker set (ICM kits) comes with headlights, reflectors with backi ng plates, taillight masks, and marker fittings for blackout lights.
    The T-90 set (apparently Trumpeter) comes with IR lenses with trim rings, rear turret number marker light less mask, stop and side marker lenses. The latter are in green.
    The T-55 set (Tamiya) comes with IR headlights, IR searchlights with trim rings, marker light inserts and taillight inserts. Headlight lenses are in two sizes.
    The T-62 set (Trumpeter) is similar and comes with the same components.
    The BMP-1 set (Trumpeter) comes with headlights, commander's searchlight, marker lights, turret rear marker light with lens and mask, and IR lights.
    The T-90A set (either Trumpeter, Meng or Zvezda) comes with IR lights, "Sh tora" lights, three sight windows, the rear turret marker light and mask, a nd marker lights.
    No directions are provided with any of these sets, which means if you are not familiar with the original vehicle you may have problems getting the ri ght lenses in the right places. Some will require either sanding, drilling or chiseling off the kit's provided effort in order to get a proper fit.
    Overall this is a brilliant and simple solution to the lens problem and in expensive enough to make the quantum improvement in the model's appearance well worth it.
Cookie Sewell
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