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    • Mike

      Switched Identities   18/06/17

      If you are still having problems logging in and remaining under your own username following the DDoS attack last week, you need to log off, clear your browser's cache, and restart your browser to ensure you clear all the old files from your temporary area.  Then you should be sorted.

Paul A H

Product Reviewer
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Paul A H last won the day on January 10 2015

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About Paul A H

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    My vocabulary is absolutely big
  • Birthday 16/01/79

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Northampton
  • Interests
    My PhD: Caravanning and Sexual Perversion

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  1. Yeah, yeah. Pretend you won't be using that one if you like
  2. Apparently she's had enough of my Only Fools and Horses obsession. I'd better fetch my suitcase from the van.
  3. ICM

    I-153 Winter Version 1:72 ICM The Polikarpov I-153 Chaika (Seagull, for all you Chekhov fans), was the ultimate incarnation of the biplane fighter to find its way into VVS service. The aircraft was of mixed wood and metal construction, with a gull wing, manually retractable undercarriage and armed with four shKAS machine guns. It entered service in 1939, and was first blooded in the border skirmishes that took place between Soviet and Japanese forces that year. The combination of biplane maneuverability and modern fighter performance made the I-153 a competitive design, albeit hampered by an unreliable supercharger design and the lack of a firewall between the fuel tank and the cockpit. The type soldiered on into the 1940s, mainly due to the lack of modern alternatives in sufficient numbers. Inside ICM's typically robust box is a large sprue of grey plastic which holds all of the main parts of the diminutive fighter, as well as a much smaller sprue which holds the new parts for the landing gear skis. A tiny clear sprue, instructions and decals complete the package. Moulding is clean and crisp, with plenty of fine detail. There are 85 parts in total, although one or two (wheels) aren't used in this boxing. Construction on the cockpit begins with the internal framework, onto which the instrument panel, four-part seat, control column, rudder pedals and floor all fit. The oveall impression should be reasonably good for the scale, which is just as well as the cockpit is not enclosed by glazing. The whole sub-assembly fits onto the single span of the lower wing, which in turn fits into the two halves of the fuselage. The engine and propellor are comprised six parts, with an optional spinner hub. As with the lower wing, the upper wing is a nicely-moulded solid piece of plastic, onto which the two sturdy struts fit. Alignment shouldn't be a problem, as the gull wing section fits directly onto the front upper fuselage. The horizontal stabilisers are solid parts. The undercarriage legs and skis are accurately represented, with the same excellent level of detail as the rest of the kit. Each leg is made up from six parts, while the tail skid is a single part on its own. There are partial covers for the redundant main gear wheel wells. A surprisingly good selection of ordnance is included, with a choice of eight rockets, four small bombs or four larger bombs. The rigging is fairly simple and should therefore be within the capabilities of even the biplane averse. Decal options include: I-153, Red Army Air Force, Winter 1939-40 I-153, Finnish Air Force, LeLv 14, April 1940 I-153, Finnish Air Force, LeLv 14, March 1942 I-153, Finnish Air Force, 3/LeLv 6, November 1942 The decals look nicely printed, but the finnish swastikas have to me made up from the provided strips of blue decal. Conclusion ICM's I-153 is a well-regarded kit, which makes this new edition complete with skis a very welcome addition to the range. Detail is good, while construction is not overly complex. Overall, it looks as though this should be an enjoyable and rewarding build. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Done! Good luck with your project
  5. I agree. It's also reminiscent of the partial collapse of Ronan Point, although the loss of life is on a much larger scale. As was the case then, it's one thing building to comply with regulations, but what happens if the regulations are hopelessly inadequate for the indended purpose? If, as it seems, the passive fire separation system was compromised by fitting a flammable material as external cladding, then there must be hundreds of other buildings in the same situation. Certainly the three tower blocks in Northampton have all had a similar cladding applied. There are very serious questions that must be answered in the wake of this tragedy, and not just about building regulations and fire safety. Fundemental questions about our society, standards of living and housing and inequality must also be addressed. That won't form part of the terms of reference for the public enquiry, however.
  6. My first car was a Fiat Tipo. When I switched the rear wiper on, it wouldn't work... but the rear number plate light would flash instead. I had great fun tracing that to a broken wire in the loom that ran from the roof of the car to the boot lid.
  7. Very nice indeed!
  8. Model 339-23 Buffalo 'In RAAF and USAAF Colors' 1:72 Special Hobby The Buffalo was designed by the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in 1935 to a US Navy requirement for a carrier based fighter to replace the Grumman F3F Biplane. The prototype first flew in 1937, with deliveries commencing in 1939. The type won orders from a number of overseas customers such as Belgium, who had ordered the aircraft but received only one before the country fell to the advancing Wehrmacht. That order was subsequently transferred to the British, who sent them to Australia and New Zealand, as well as using them for the RAF in the Far East. The aircraft were plagued with reliability problems in the hot climate. Performance was poor and the pilots did not have adequate training on the aircraft. This kit is a re-pop over the original Special Hobby Buffalo, first released in 2006. The box states that the kit is a combination of Sword plastic parts, Special Hobby clear parts and a host of resin extras. I don't recall Sword ever producing a Buffalo of their own, so I can only presume that they tooled the kit for Special Hobby. In any case, the clear parts appear to be completely different to those included with the original boxing, which is hopefully a promising sign. Think of this, then, as a turbocharged version of the original Special Hobby kit. The parts are spread across a single sprue of grey plastic, a single clear sprue and the aforementioned bag of resin. The mouldings look fairly crisp, and feature reasonably fine sprue attachment points and refined, engraved surface detail. Construction begins with the cockpit. This is comprised mainly of resin parts, with just a few structural parts such as the firewall and rear cockpit decking rendered in plastic. The sidewalls, floor, instrument panel, control column, seat and rudder pedals are all cast from crisp, grey resin. The main landing gear bay and engine are also resin and also have to be fitted at this point. The overall effect should be a very well-detailed interior, and the only think I would really want to add would be some harnesses for the seat, either from spare photo etch or tape. Before joining the fuselage halves, you will need to cut away the very rearmost part of the fusealge and replace it with the parts appropriate for this version. Once this has been done and the fuselage halves joined, the tail planes and wing can be fixed in place. The elevators and ailerons are all moulded in place. The front part of the cowling is moulded as a seperate part, while the propeller is moulded in four piececs, with a resin hub. This is a bit of a faff if you're building one of the versions with a propellor spinner, as it will take longer to assemble, be fragile due to needing to use superglue rather than poly cement and you won't benefit from the extra detail offered by the resin part. The landing gear itself looks reasonably good, with the landing gear legs each made up of three parts and the wheels cast from resin. The canopy looks very good indeed, although the instructions only show it fitted in the closed position, which is a slight shame if you want to show off all that lovely cockpit detail to best effect. Four decal options are provided: Brewster Model 339-23 Buffalo, A-51-13 (310), RAAF; Brewster Model 339-23 Buffalo, A-51-10 (307), RAAF; Brewster Model 339-23 Buffalo, A-51-15 (312), 5th Air Force, USAAF, Essendon, Australia, June 1942; and Brewster Model 339-23 Buffalo, 313, 5th Air Force, USAAF, Essendon, Australia, 1942. The first three aircraft are finished in a medium green over olive drab, while the latter machine is a combination of aluminium and natural metal. The decal sheet is both comprehensive and nicely printed. Conclusion Although this kit is less sophisticated than the very latest offerings from Special Hobby stable, that is more a reflection of the recent advances made by that manufacturer rather than any lack of quality with this particular kit. As always with kits of this nature, a little care and attention may be required, but I reckon this kit should build into a pleasing replica of an attractive aircraft with relatively little effort. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Yes, it seems to have been included only with the carrier deck versions. As you say, go figure!
  10. Russian Su-33 Flanker D (with carrier deck) 1:72 Trumpeter Instantly recognisable to enthusiasts of Cold War or modern jet aircraft, the Su-27 Flanker has formed the backbone of the Russian Air Force's air superiority fighter force for much of the last thirty years. The design marked a departure from previous Soviet/Russian aircraft, with its podded engines, large wing and sophisticated avionics (it was the first fly-by-wire aircraft to enter service in the Soviet Union). Emerging in prototype form as the T-10 in 1977, the design showed great promise, and before long it had beaten the time-to-height records set by the modified Streak Eagle in 1975. Although originally designed as a long-range air superiority fighter, like many of its contemporaries the Su-27 has been developed to take on a variety of roles, including air-to-surface missions. The multirole Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker D is the navalised variant of the successful all-weather interceptor. Around 35 examples of the type have been constructed for Russian Naval Aviation, all of which operate from the Aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznestov’. The Su-33 differs from the Su-27 in a number of respects. Most noticeable are the canards, situated forward of the wing to provide additional lift and manoeuvrability. The Su-33 also features larger wings with a powered folding mechanism, folding horizontal stabilisers, in-flight refuelling capability and the ability to carry a range of air-to-surface weapons. Despite the relatively small number of aircraft produced, this is the latest in a steady trickle of kits of the Su-33 to emerge. Things got off to a less-than-promising start, with the old and not very accurate Italeri Su-27 Sea Flanker (re-boxed by Zvezda). A few years ago Hasegawa gave us a much more sophisticated kit which, while still not perfect, was very good indeed. Trumpeter released an all-new kit along with a typically generous selection of ordnance a few years agp, just before Zveda added their own kit. At this rate it won't be long before we can build every one of the 35 aircraft with a different kit! Anyway, Trumpeter's kit is back once again, but with a slight twist this time. Inside the large top-opening box are over 300 parts spread across around twenty sprues of grey plastic and a single clear sprue. In typical Trumpeter style, the plastic parts are exquisitely moulded, with engraved panel lines, rivet and fastener detail. Also in the box is a small fret of photo etched parts, two decal sheets (one for markings and one for stencils) and a colour painting diagram as well as instructions. In common with other Trumpeter kits, the parts are extremely well packed and all of the sprues are individually bagged. Certain parts, such as the clear sprue are wrapped in foam for extra protection. This version of the kit differs from the last one we received for review as it contains extra parts for a large section of carrier deck, complete with hydraulic jet blast deflector, crew and a few extra optional parts for the aircraft itself. Trumpeter don't appear to have trumpeted (ha ha) this fact, however, as it doesn't appear to be mentioned on the box artwork. Nothing has changed since we reviewed the last iteration of this kit, so it's still the case that the overall shape and arrangement of parts appears to match photographs and plans of the real thing very well. The canopy has the correct profile, which means a seam down the middle, but this is a five minute job to clean up with the right tools. Trumpeter have even included the option to build the model with the wings and horizontal tails folded, which is very pleasing to see and exactly how I intend to finish mine. Construction begins with the cockpit. This is made up of five parts, including a crisply moulded K36 ejection seat, which slots into a cockpit tub adorned with convincing moulded details (although decals re also provided). Once completed, the whole sub-assembly fits inside the fuselage halves. As with most kits of blended-wing aircraft, the fuselage is split vertically with the inner section of wing moulded in place. The outer sections of the wings are moulded separately so that the model can be built with the wings folded. Some modellers will find this a pain as it creates an extra joint to deal with, but as I mentioned before, I think it's great that Trumpeter included this option because it wasn't possible to finish the Hasegawa kit like this without major surgery. Do note, however, that you must drill a number of holes in order to fit the appropriate pylons to the outer wing sections before your cement the parts together. There are different parts to use for each option, as the outer flaps are dropped when the wings are folded. The same applies to the horizontal tail surfaces, with different versions provided for folded and unfolded options. In this boxing there is an additional sprue with extra parts for the drooped flaps which wasn't included with the original kit. The engine air intakes are next. These are slide moulded, which makes construction relatively pain free. Engine turbine faces are included, which will prevent the dreaded see-through effect, and parts such as the auxiliary air intake louvers are moulded separately in order to maximise the level of detail. The Su-33's rugged landing gear is next. Each main gear leg is moulded as a single part, which should translate into a degree of structural strength, while the more complex nose gear leg is made up of seven parts. In both cases the wheels are moulded separately. While the model is on its back, you have to add the Su-33's beefy tail hook – a nicely detailed part is made up of four parts. The pylons have to be added at this stage too, so make sure you drill out the appropriate holes at the start of the build, or this is the point at which you'll really regret it. The canopy is nicely realised and, as mentioned above, accurate in profile. Because of the shape of the canopy and the way it has had to be moulded, there is a little distortion around the sides, but by way of compensation it can be finished in either open or closed positions. The major difference between this version of the kit and the previous version is the inclusion of a section of carrier deck, complete with jet blast deflector, decals and crew. The carrier deck is a hell of a slab of plastic, and will look very impressive with the aircraft and crew positioned in place. I think the Olymp 10 ton deck tractor will be a virtually mandatory purchase with this kit! In typical Trumpeter style, a very extensive range of ordnance is included. Of course there is so much that you can't possibly use it all, but who doesn't like spare ordnance? All told, you get: 4 x KH-31 Krypton air-to-surface missiles; 4 x KH-35 Zvezda anti-ship missiles; 4 x KH-59M Ovod cruise missiles; 2 x B-8M rocket pods; 1 x APK-9 data link pod (for use with the KH-59 missiles); 2 x R-77 active radar homing air-to-air missiles; 4 x R-27ET extended range infrared homing air-to-air missiles; 4 x R-27ER extended range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-73 infrared homing air-to-air missiles; No, it doesn't fit inside my photo tent... Nothing has changed when it comes to the decal sheet, so you still have a choice of two schemes - Su-33 Flanker D 'Red 67' and Su-33 Flanker D 'Red 80', both of the Russian Navy. The decal sheets are nicely printed and you get a full set of stencils too, which is a bonus. Conclusion Trumpeter are definitely on a role with their 1:72 aircraft, having given us fans of Soviet/Russian aircraft a hat-trick of very decent kits in the shape of the MiG-29, Su-24 and now the Su-33. This is a very decent representation of an interesting variant of an important aircraft. The basic shape of the aircraft looks to be about spot on and, with the option to fold the wings, it has much to recommend it, even when compared to the Hasegawa kit. The inclusion of the deck section is a worthwhile addition too. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  11. An underwater bag/case for my compact system camera. They either seem to be too small for a system camera or big enough to fit a Fuji GX617, so it took a while to track one down that can take my J1. Admittedly I have to remove the lens, put the lens in the bag, squeeze the body into the bag and then reassemble it all inside the bag, but at least I'll be able to take some snaps on holiday without worrying about getting it wet
  12. As a 'staffer' but not a moderator on this site, I am, along with the other 'staffers' party to information and discussion about some of the issues referred to above. As such, I feel qualified to comment on this post. Before I do, however, I will say that my loyalty to this site - or any individual involved with it - is not blind. I do not always agree with decisions that have been made or actions that have been taken. Mike and Greg will confirm this. As Greg says above, mistakes are made from time-to-time. The decisions that I feel I disagree with are in the minority, however. More importantly, I am able to voice my opinion without fear of censure or recriminations. I am here of my own free will. I am an adult, with a sense of perspective and I am able to place things in their proper context and deal with them. A great number of the former members who have claimed to have been 'banned' have not actually been banned. They have decided to leave because of reasons that I'm sure are perfectly valid to them. I am aware of many of those reasons. Like me, they are able to make decisions for themselves. Many of them feel they have a legitimate grievance against the moderators and have asked for their accounts to be frozen. That is their choice and it is not for me to question their choices. They are free to make decisions about their membership as they see fit. We are all responsible for making our own choices, but we are also accountable for the choices we make. With that in mind, ask yourself this: what kind of person leaves a site - or indeed is banned - about building plastic kits and then goes to the trouble of setting up a site or group with the sole purpose of holding this site, its owner, staff and moderators up to public ridicule? What kind of person writes hateful, expletive-ridden missives about Mike's family? What kind of person writes sneering comments about novice modellers who are asking what they might perceive to be stupid questions? What kind of person deliberately writes things which they know to be false, with the sole intent of damaging his reputation? What kind of person hides behind their friends, the very same people who were the subject of their scorn not all that long ago? Is this the behaviour of a normal person? Is this a sensible, measured response? Or is it the kind of action you might expect from a playground bully? Not the classic 'big kid' playground bully, who just wants to smash your face in and steal your dinner money. The kind that eggs others on, dares them to pick on someone, but when the teacher arrives, is nowhere to be seen. That's what we are dealing with here. Hatred on a pathological level. Your summary is absolutely correct. That's why the other poster above has set out to try and prove than Britmodeller has only a few hundred active members. If that were true, it would be as much of as lifeless backwater as some of the other minority modelling forums. You know, the ones where it's the same few people posting over and over again. They rarely make a go of it because they are populated by waifs and strays who have fallen out with other, more successful sites. Hardly a recipe for success, is is? It is nasty, small minded jealousy, pure and simple. I rarely speak out on these issues because I try to preserve my hobbies for enjoyment. Quite simply, I find the whole thing distasteful and for that reason I dislike getting involved. Enough horrible shit happens in this world because people are unable to achieve a sense of perspective, without us letting it invade the one thing that most of us try to do to find some kind of peace. Mike doesn't have that option. He is the target of most of this vile hatred, and he can do little to protect himself or his family. I know Mike, and while he might be a horrible git of a man he does not deserve this. He is not the reason for these people's unhappiness. They need to look inside to find that. “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
  13. Reviewed here: With thanks to Videoaviation for the review sample
  14. Modern RAF/RN Tractor 1:72 Eduard Although it doesn't say it on the box, this kit depicts the Schopf F59 aircraft tow tractor. Schopf is a German company, formed in the late 1940s to produce vehicles for the mining industry. They soon branched out into the aviation industry, and is now a leading producer of tow tractors, loading vehicles and stair lifts. The F59 is a four-wheel drive tractor designed to for towing for civil and military aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 70 tons. This is another resin kit from VideoAviation, an Italian firm who specialise in military aviation ground equipment for use in dioramas. I believe they started out producing 1:48 scale kits, but happily they have now decided to do the decent thing and scale down many of their subjects to the gentleman's scale. The kit arrives in a small, sturdy white box with a picture of the kit on the top. Inside there are 23 resin parts 27 photo etched parts, decals, pre-cut transparent parts and some plastic rod. This is the second Videoaviation that I've received for review, and very impressive it is too. The resin parts have been beautifully produced. Casting is extremely crisp and sharp and I couldn't find any bubbles anywhere. The casting blocks have been thoughtfully placed, so clean-up shouldn't be too onerous. The usual warnings about resin dust apply when preparing the parts ready for assembly, and I would recommend giving the parts a good clean in warm soapy water to remove any residual mould release agent. Construction should be fairly straightforward as the chassis and cab are cast in one piece. To this platform, details such as the steering wheel, seat backs and roof have to be added. The towing equipment is supplied for fitting to the rear of the tractor, while small details are covered by resin (lights) or photo etched (windscreen wipers, door mirrors) parts. I'm not usually a massive fan of plastic sheet for glazing (mainly due to my own limitations as a modeller, I admit) but the pre-cut versions supplied with this kit look to be much easier to use. The towing bar is a mini kit in itself. The bar is cast as a single, solid part to which the u-shaped axle, wheels and the towing linkage are added. The latter is a three-prong fitting with photo etched parts and a piece of the supplied styrene rod required to finish it off. The instructions tell you to paint the vehicle and the towbar in overall yellow (Humbrol 99). Decals are provided for RAF and Royal Navy versions. Conclusion This is a cracking little model that shouldn't take too long to build and paint, but which will add real interest and depth to a diorama. You could even use it for a civilian diorama, should you have access to an appropriate kit in that scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. What, Dave? You're batting for the other team?!