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Everything posted by Mike

  1. AV-8B Harrier II Plus

    AV-8B Harrier II Plus 1:48 Hasegawa The Harrier in any guise needs little introduction, having been the world's first practical vertical take-off fighter jet. Over the years it has changed massively from the original, but the same brilliant concept remains at the heart of this much loved aircraft. This kit is a reissue, and represents a US Marine Corps bird, with rather fetching tail art commemorating the establishment of VMA-231 the Ace of Spades in 1919. Opening the compact top opening box, the first thing that is apparent is the quantity of plastic inside the box. There are 13 sprues of shiny grey styrene, a strange shaped clear sprue, 4 poly-caps, instruction manual and decal sheet. The fact that kit is not new is given away by the typical Hasegawa shiny styrene. The instruction sheet is also copyrighted 2003. The AV-8B makes extensive use of modern composite materials, so panel lines are sparse, but those that are present are narrow and crisp, with small recessed rivets where appropriate, finesse that other manufacturers should strive for. The fuselage is presented in three main portions, with the main fuselage comprising 3 parts in order to get the detail on the underside with built-in air brake housing well rendered. The cockpit area and bulbous radome are separate parts, so checking and re-checking alignment will be important throughout the build of this area. The poly caps are used in two dumbbell shaped assemblies to allow you to add the exhaust side-mounted nozzles later, which is a rather good idea to ease painting. The four nozzles are moulded in two parts each, and here Hasegawa have moulded the louvers in both halves, although the joint doesn't run down the middle. Careful sanding, or replacement with aftermarket items will doubtless be the order of the day, although separate louvers would have simplified the job. The rear jet-wash plates are separate items, which again will ease painting. The intakes have separate blow-in doors in the top, to give the modeller the choice of posing them in an engine-off position, where gravity pulls them down into the intake. These need careful blending into the fuselage, and will permit the viewer to see the nicely detailed compressor face nestled deep within the fuselage. The cockpit tub is relatively basic, having raised switch detail only on the side-consoles. The rest of the instrumentation is on the decal sheet, which is a shame on a kit of such overall quality. Those wishing for a more 3D look will need to source either a Photo-Etched replacement, or go for a resin 'pit. The ejector seat comprises 7 parts, and builds into a creditable rendition, and has comprehensive painting call-outs to help with detailing. The canopy is supplied in two parts and is crystal clear, and as with many other modern aircraft, a fine seam runs down the centre, due to the complex mould needed to obtain the "blown" shape. This is easily sanded and polished away with progressively finer grades of abrasive, and a decal is supplied for the prominent det-cord that shatters the canopy before the pilot ejects. The wrap-over top wing part attaches to the Leading Edge Root eXtension (LERX), which on this type is 100%, with a more "built in" look to the extension. The slime lights here are a little "agricultural", and would benefit from some additional work. Again, there are some aftermarket upgrades for this section from Two Mikes Resin, as well as others. The tail has separate swash plates, which allow the modeller to position the tail without any surgery to the fuselage. The Harrier's unusual bicycle landing gear is nicely represented here, and should look good with some sympathetic painting and weathering. The outrigger gear, which live in mid-wing housings are supplied as a one part unit with a moulded in wheel, although they should be good enough for most modellers. A full set of pylons is included, as well as optional lateral strakes, which can be replaced with a gun-pack. A pair of AIM-9L Sidewinders is provided, plus AN/AAQ-28 Litening II targeting pod, and two 300 gallon drop tanks. Any other loadouts will need weapons sourced from elsewhere - including the Hasegawa weapons sets that are widely available. The decals are printed in Japan, and have a pleasant matt finish, although the carrier film is a little thicker than some, and quite extensive in places due to the shape of the decals. The det-cord for the canopy will need careful cutting to avoid acres of visible carrier film on the inside of the canopy. You can model one of two aircraft from the decal sheet, as follows: US Marines VMA-231 "Ace of Spades" Nov 2001 US Marines VMA-223 "Bulldogs" Both machines share the same overall three tone grey color scheme of FS35237 and FS36320 over FS36375. Color call-outs are given in Gunze, but the addition of FS numbers should be some assistance in the helping UK modellers convert to a more readily available manufacturer. Conclusion A well known, and generally well respected kit of an iconic aircraft, with plenty of detail, some interesting decals, and enough ordnance from the box to satisfy most. A more detailed cockpit would be my main request, especially given the "goldfish bowl" canopy, but this could be hidden with the inclusion of a pilot figure. Construction, although cleverly engineered may cause some issues for novice modellers, but a modeller with a few kits under their belt shouldn't struggle unduly. Careful attention to the instructions, and a sensible plan of action regarding the painting of the model will result in a convincing replica of this much loved aircraft. If you strive for more detail, there are plenty of aftermarket items available to improve and enhance until your heart is content and wallet empty. Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for
  2. Uber Noob

    Aboard Mark
  3. Another Canadian Newbie

    aboard Andy - is this the pic? I'm jealous of you getting that close to a mossie, and more power to your elbow, helping get another one back to her former glory. You really can't have too many of 'em!
  4. The face is looking really nice I'm not a huge fan of the original series Batman, although I loved Adam West's terrible (over) acting... Apologies to any purists that offends
  5. 1/24 Tamiya Mercedes AMG GT3

    I'm not normally a car builder, but for some reason this kit appeals to me That and the forthcoming Belkits Manta am I coming down with something?
  6. My First Halftrack

    Nice work Steve
  7. After 3 months of inactivity on this one, I picked up the baton again this afternoon, digging it out from under the detritus of papers, bits of models, chunks of electronics etc., to find that the cockpit had been shaken loose by the weight on top, so I had to re-glue that, refit the instrument panel, which had come off its base in the pit, and then thin the coaming a bit more so that it fitted better within the aperture. With that done I spot painted the surrounds, painted the canvas cover on the roll-over frame, glued that in place, and started doing the final fettling of the canopy parts so that they could be attached. I'd already cut the vacform canopy into three parts (knowing there was a spare in the box), so I adjusted the frames on the rear section first, taped it in place, and secured the rear with some CA with black pigment added. Then I messed with the windscreen, tacked that in place with the black CA (this stuff dries quickly, so becomes unusable - be prepared to mix several batches), and then filled in round the edges, wiping the excess away with a cotton bud along the line of the join. With the rear dry, I took off the tape and filled in the sides using the same method. The remaining glue was sanded off (first fix - will prime after masking & check), and that's where we're at. I'm determined to try to finish this by New Year, so we shall see how that works out on the 31st Dec, eh? Excuse the dust on the airframe - I was checking the finish, so had a go at the surface with a sanding stick.
  8. As soon as I'd finished reviewing this little resin gem from Planet Models, I couldn't resist the urge to build it, so I started preparing some parts for assembly, then painting. I'm building it as a bit of a sanity/mojo build, as I've not done a tap of modelling for a couple of months at least, and I was starting to forget how. I've not obsessed over detail too much, nor done much in the way of research. I've just pottered on regardless I got the cockpit base painted a couple of weeks ago, then had to take a break, but yesterday I took up my modelling tools again, and began detail painting of the 'pit, and some of the ancillaries such as the engine. The cockpit when finished slided inside th fuselage, so nothing much is seen of the area behind the X-shaped cross-braces, so I didn't even bother painting them... which makes the cockpit look a bit shabby now. Not my best work, but very little will be seen inside the fuselage, which suits me Yesterday I decided to close up the fuselage, which is sometimes a pause for thought with a resin model. I decided to use CA, as it gives an immediate bond that can be useful to work out the kinks of a potentially warped pair of fuselage parts. As it happens, these were pretty good, with just a small gap/misalignment between front and rear parts of the upper seam. I glued it in parts, using an old #11 blade to insert CA into the joints, starting with the top join forward of the canopy. Then the rear fuselage and tail were glued, being sure to get things lined up where it matters. The underside was done in the same manner, and before it was cured, I sanded any remaining gaps to choke up the small spaces with a mixture of resin dust and CA. A line of CA was then added to the top, and again, sanded while still fresh to get it all merged together. That all went surprisingly quickly, and a quick squirt of black primer showed just a few spots where there were flat-spots that needed rounding off. The wings were just push-fitted at this point, although the fit was very good, needing just a slight fettle before I could glue them in place. I had painted the two banks of pistons a generic metallic colour, and added the push-rods from short lengths of 0.5mm diameter styrene rod, which were painted black, then picked out in GW Chainmail along with the ring for contrast. I've got some tinned copper florists' wire in various diameters, and used the 0.3mm stuff to simulate the wiring harness, which isn't included in the kit. 14 lengths for the front bank, and another 14 for the rear bank, which although they looked nice & shiny (too shiny), were dulled down with a bit of matt varnish. I painted the bell-housing interior/exterior green as a best guess from some reference photos, and will pretty much leave it as is because so little will be seen that any weathering would probably go unseen Elevators were added, and these again fitted neatly, with different sized tabs & slots to ensure you get them in the right 'ole. I pushed the engine in place, and later had a quick go with the cowling on too, to give the full effect of the aircraft's shape (minus vacformed canopy at this stage). Very Fw.190 indeed. The white dot on the lip of the cowling is a piece of styrene rod glued into a solitary bubble that snuck through QC. It would have been invisible in the factory, so we'll let them off I'll be spraying a bit more black primer here & there to test seams & finishes, but at the moment there are a couple of pieces of clear acrylic sat in the notches I cut in the wing for the nav lights, as these were solid resin, so needed to go. Once cured, I'll sand them back to profile and polish them back to clarity, although I think they're usually coloured lenses. Tamiya clear red & green are already in the bulbs (a small drilled hole), so things should look ok with some more on the lens. Can I keep momentum up? Who knows, but I'm not starting anything else now until I have finished something. I have a PV-1 with Owl nightfighter conversion set that's asking me to build it at the moment, but whatever else comes along in the meantime might prove shinier I'm seriously tempted by the Fw.P.II that @petr@SpecialHobby kindly sent me too. Bless him!
  9. Too late - I noticed the other you'd started after I'd moved the original, and as it had no replies, I've deleted it, so this is your go-to thread that's now in the correct place
  10. I think you've cleared up most of that pesky wash. I know that some brands can be a PITA to remove, as not all clay-based washes are born equal, so it's key to have a good glossy surface unless you want it everywhere even after you've scrubbed it with a Brillo pad! My only criticism would be that the soldiers are all a little shiny compared to the truck now. Give them a parp of matt, and I think you can sit back and admire a job well done. You've definitely learned a few new techniques this time, which is what it's all about
  11. How do I post Pictures?

    Posting pictures on the new forum version couldn't be easier, and you don't even need the old Image button that looked like a Polaroid of a tree any more. It is so simple that you'll wonder why you even needed to ask Firstly though, if you're a long-time user of the forum you'll know that we don't allow images to be uploaded to the forum as attachments. It's just not secure, and it would overload our server's storage capability and burn through our data quicker than you can imagine. Once you need more storage and more data allowance, that increases costs. A good enough reason not to do that on its own! Ok - assuming you already have your photos hosted online somewhere, you just copy the DIRECT link from wherever it is (Photobucket, Flickr, you name it), and you paste it into your posting window. Press either enter, or space, and SPANG! The forum software will automatically convert it to a photo. If for some reason you didn't want it as a photo, a little notification bar appears at the bottom of your posting window to give you the opportunity to undo the action. Look smug. You've learned how to post a photo. Told you it was simple, didn't I? If you've got a lot of photos to post that are numbered sequentially or with slight changes to the filename, you can post those easily too. Paste your image as above, but before you press space or return, just edit the filename to the next in the sequence. Rinse & repeat as necessary until you run out of pictures. Pretty simple, eh? If for some reason you have SPACES in your URL (why would you do that????), or it doesn't seem to be working with the automatic system, don't panic. Down at the bottom right of your posting window, there is a button called Insert Other Media. Click that and choose Insert Image from URL and enter your URL in the box that pops up. Save that and you should have a pic when the screen finishes loading it. "What's a URL" you might be wondering? It stands for Universal Resource Locator, and is a short form of "web address". You know - the thingy that begins with http:// and has lots of fun characters after it. You'll find the URL for this page at the top of your browser in a long box that is called your Address Bar
  12. Tut how vulgar. The phallic outline

    We've got a thread on this already lads. I'll merge them down
  13. MAKE a canvas tilt? People use tissue paper, but you have to be careful about the texture of the paper, orrrrrr.... you could make one out of rolled out Milliput (other epoxy putties are available, and some may be better or not), and then paint it. That last idea is probably the most realistic of the two, but takes the most effort and swearing
  14. Falcon 1/48 Supermarine Swift

    Very nice - I made a start on this once, but got a bit bogged down with the details of the nose gear well, which isn't boxed in as the kit would have you believe. Then I got distracted by the next shiny thing, and the kit is still there in pieces
  15. Just look at the model and try to imagine where the muck would accumulate. For example - in the overhead shot, there's a bit of a tide-mark in front of the windscreen. Similarly on the back door there's a fairly sharp demarcation between wash and paint around the edges. That could do with a little knocking back. It's one of those taste things, and depends on how filthy you want the end result to be. If you're not sure, have a bit of a dabble & then post up some new pics. We'll tell ya I think you've done a grand job of this BTW. You've turned a toy-like model into one that's heaps better, as our antipodean friends would say It's throbbing a bit, but as I've got nowt planned today I'm just going to sit here & vegetate It also doesn't affect my typing, although the number of corrections I had to make to that last sentence would lead one to think otherwise
  16. I wasn't a 100% sure it was left-over wash, but I thought it better to mention it just in case. Fortunately, you're one of those folks that appreciate constructive criticism - sorry my initial post was a little terse, but I thought I'd stubbed my toe & was in a bit of pain. I only realised I'd skewered my 2nd toe when I saw a piece of an LED leg sticking through my sock. No wonder it was hurting! It had dropped into my slipper and when I stood up it had punctured my toe and gone about 10mm in I had to give it quite a yank to get it out
  17. Right with you! Ok - a quick download of your pic, edit & upload to illustrate what I mean. The key part of a wash is the removal of the excess wash, so that your model doesn't look like it's been bathed in mud. I'm not sure if you've done this, but I think I can see some still adhering in places. I usually go over my models with either a cotton bud with a little saliva on it (I know, gross), or a small wad of kitchen roll with the same gross excescence on it. Rub at the model to remove the wash from everywhere but the recesses that you are attempting to highlight. If you feel like leaving some, that's fine, but don't allow any that look too obviously "out of scale" survive, as they'll ruin the scale effect you've worked so hard to achieve I based my surmise on these pics, which show quite a bit of left-overs around the bag buckles on the "lectern" and in other places. I realise you might have removed some of that by now, so please accept my humblest if I've got you wrong
  18. You are going to remove the excess wash before you varnish aren't you?
  19. We're working on the shirts. I was wearing the prototype with the wrong colour blue in the roundel on the front. We're going to do some t-shirts first, with the logo on the front in some decent colour shirts to suit those that abhor light colours Bear with us though, as these things take time
  20. Seems like it - I was wearing a new-stylee BM polo shirt though, and I'm not exactly a small target
  21. Sukhoi Su-22M3/M4 Fitter-F (Sic) KH80146 1:48 Kitty Hawk The Su-17 and the downgraded export version dubbed the Su-22, with its NATO reporting name Fitter was derived from the earlier Su-7 as a project to improve its low speed handling, particularly during take-off and landing. It was Sukhoi's first attempt at variable geometry wings, and when it reached service was the Soviet Union's first swing-wing aircraft in service. To keep the project costs down, the centre section of the wing remained fixed, with the outer able to swing back for high-speed flight, and forward for slow. A pronounced spine was also added to the rear of the cockpit to carry additional fuel and avionics that were necessary with the advances in aviation. The first airframes reached service in the early 70s, and were soon replaced by more advanced models with the designation M3 and M4, dubbed Fitter-H and –K respectively by the Allies. The M3 was based on a larger fuselage and had additional weapons options, while the M4 was further developed and was considered to be the pinnacle of the Fitter line with a heavily upgraded avionics suite including improved targeting, navigation, and yet more weapons options, as well as improved engines. A downgraded version of the M4 was marketed as the Su-22M4, and was in production until 1990! Although the Su-17 was withdrawn from Soviet service in the late 1990s, it remained in service much longer in its Su-22 export guise, where it was used by both Iran and Iraq, Libya and Angola to name but a few, and during this time it had variable success, which likely had as much to do with pilot skill and training as the merits of the airframe. The Kit We reviewed the (then) newly tooled Su-17M3/M4 from Kitty Hawk at the beginning of this year, and it has been quite a Sukhoi 17/22 kind of a year overall, when you consider what we used to have as the best kit in this scale, so now we're spoilt for choice. The Su-17 and Su-22 are externally identical, as it is just the abilities of the airframe and avionics that had been throttled back for the export market, and a fairly large export market it was too, which resulted in some interesting schemes, as we'll see toward the end of this review. The box sports a new painting of a German airframe with wings extended for low-speed and the tail plus drop-tanks adorned with a bright yellow and black tiger-stripe. Inside the plastic is the same as for the Su-17 for the aforementioned reasons, and that it would be impossible to see the fixed shock-cone of the M4 or differences in avionics or systems at scale on a closed-up airframe. Kitty Hawk seem to have got their NATO designations a little mixed up too, as the Fitter-F was designated to an earlier export version. The M3 and M4 were actually both loosely designated K due to their similarities, although it's the usual tricksy and confusing mess of variants and sub-variants that seems to plague Soviet era development programmes. There are the same nine sprues in light grey styrene, one in clear, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass which has been updated to depict the new boxing with no other changes, and three decal sheets, two of which contain the national markings, the smallest the stencils. The instruction booklet completes the package and omits the incorrect Fitter name, with large colourful decaling and painting guide pinned into the centre of the pages. As the styrene is the same, there is little point in taking a new set of photos (our SSDs aren't infinite!), so you'll have to put up with the old logo in the corner until we get to the markings. Unfortunately, the missing support structure at the top and bottom of the shock-cone/radome are still absent from the new boxing, but I believe there is an aftermarket option out now that will correct that, or you could break out your modelling skills and fabricate the area yourself. Construction is also identical, so there's little point in re-treading the same discussion, which you can find in the original review linked at the top of this review. As originally stated though, the surface detail of the parts is very good as you can see from the following photos. The really interesting part of the package is the more colourful foreign operators' colour schemes, which Kitty Hawk have included for your delight and edification. Markings As already mentioned, there are three decal sheets, one of which has the majority of the national markings and some of the special scheme decals. The mid-sized sheet contains the rest, as well as the instrument panel and side console decals, which are again nicely done. The smallest sheet is filled with stencils that are nice and crisp, a marked improvement on some of the older decals from this company, which I remarked on in the earlier boxing. From this box you can build one of the following: The decals have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. They are separately protected in a ziplok style bag along with the PE, which is always welcome from a point of view of protection from moisture. Each sheet is also covered with a thin "greaseproof" type paper, to prevent the sheets sticking together over time. Conclusion Of course it would have been nice if the nose issue had been rectified in the interim, but the rest of the kit is detailed and well defined, so it's easy to forgive the additional work needed to correct the deficiency if it bothers you. Overall it's still a good kit, and as long as you check and adjust fit you should end up with a good representation of the export Fitter. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of and available soon from major hobby shops
  22. Photobucket beware!

    I can see it too, but I've got the work-around add-on enabled on new Firefox Quantum (of Solace).