by: Scott Lodder [ ]
The Streets of Laredo series started with a few figures and a building or two. VLS is extending their line with a new detail. I saw this subject on the news section and was intrigued by the Buckboard (SR 32014). This kit comes in a standard box with the typical box art. Ben Jakobsen crafted the pieces while Bob Letterman paints the box art. The box art is the best source for finishing ideas. You can research some on the Internet or use your creativity.
Inside you’ll find a nice zip lock bag surrounded by packing peanuts. I believe that VLS has responded to their customers and has improved their packing and instructions. Along with the parts you‘ll find a one-page instruction sheet. The sheet I received in my kit was a ‘double’ sheet. The top half was the same as the bottom half. It doesn’t affect the kit in anyway, its just extra. The instructions are just photos of the kit parts and the completed kit from all sides. The photos could be just a touch sharper. This kit is simple and the style of instructions in acceptable. It’s a nice item to include; I’d rather have simple instructions, than none.
There are fourteen parts in this kit and all are nicely crafted. VLS brings these to you in their cream resin. I know it is nicely workable and I have come to prefer it to others. The first thing I noticed in this kit was the amount of flash. Not only are there the typical resin blocks, there is a lot more flash than normal. The second thing I noticed was the detail, and it’s everywhere. From top to bottom front to back this kit is very well detailed. The wheels are nicely scaled and shaped and include spoke bolts. The wagon box is very well done with connector bands and nice wood detail.
The wheels size and shape creates a very wide resin block. You will have to take care and cut these off with four cuts. The first will remove the thick block at the top. Then take the thin block off with three angled cuts in small pieces. The flash looks like it can easily be removed with no ill affects to the kit.
The suspension may be hard to see but it is not forgotten. The axle pieces and leaf springs have the level of detail we have come to expect from VLS and Ben. Test fits were successful and showed no major problems.
On face value this is a nice kit and will should build into a great wagon. I wanted to see how accurate it is compared to real-world buckboard wagons. I turned to the Internet as a resource. I was able to find a decent number of pictures of actual ‘period’ wagons. Overall this kit does a good job representing a buckboard wagon. The box, the seat, the suspension are all very accurate or within design scope range. The only point of contention that I could not validate was the wheel hubs. While scale and size of the wheels are good, the hub configuration is questionable. I couldn’t find any ‘period’ wheels with any bolts. It seems that the bolts may be a bit to modern.
I did find a wide variety of finishing options and the red and green scheme Bob selected for the box art is perfect.
If you enjoy modeling Wild West subjects, this is a must have. Even in the face of a bit more flash than normal and some extra resin blocks to remove, you won’t be disappointed. The hub detail is questionable but should not distract from the overall impression of the kit once built.
This kit will be a great addition to include in front of the Wells Fargo building or tended by “The Prospector” figure. The price point is ‘on par’ for the size and detail of the kit. VLS is listening and packing is addressed and instructions are included: good job.
Thanks go to VLS for the kit.