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Showing topics in Aircraft Reviews, Kits, Aftermarket (updates/conversions), Decals & Masks, Reference material, Armoured Fighting Vehicle Reviews, Kits, Aftermarket, Diorama & Accessory, Reference Material, Kits, Aftermarket, Reference Material, Vehicle Reviews, Sci-fi & Real Space Reviews, Figure Reviews, Locos, Trains & Layout Reviews and Tools & Paint Reviews posted in for the last 365 days.

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  1. Today
  2. Do.217N-1 Update Sets (For ICM) 1:48 Eduard ICM have been systematically going through the whole Flying pencil range over the past year or two, and from this 1:48 modeller’s point of view, I couldn’t be happier. Eduard's new range of sets are here to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Interior (491018) Two frets are included, one nickel plated and pre-painted, the other in bare brass. A complete set of new layered instrument panels, radio gear and other instrument consoles are the primary parts on the painted set, with new rudder pedals; flooring panels; additional boxes and canopy internal structure also supplied. Seatbelts STEEL (FE1019) In case you have been stuck behind a wardrobe for a while and don’t know, these belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived extra depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. As well as the two sets of flight crew belts, you also get a set of lap belts for the poor rear crewman that would probably have ended up with a sore head in the event of a belly landing. Exterior (48998) This larger bare brass set contains some upgrades, such as delicate new pulleys and extra-fuel tank strapping inside the bomb bay; an interior roof and bulkhead skin for the bomb bay rear; cooling flaps for the radiators on the engine nacelles; towel rail aerial under the rear of the fuselage, and finally a comprehensive replacement for the kit’s radar antennae forest that involves using the original main mast but removing the over-thick dipoles and replacing them with scale-friendly new parts that slot into the masts that you cut with a razor saw. A small extension is saved for use after the dipoles are fitted, then added to the end and tipped with two stabilising brackets, probably as a result of vibrations picked up on the prototype. Radar Antennae (FE1020) If you don’t want the Exterior set for any reason, or have a different kit you’d like to apply the antennae included in the above set, this is a subset that includes only the antennae parts for your use. Construction is the same, as you’d expect. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Aircraft Model Stands (03800) Revell Once upon a time most models included a clear plastic stand for the modeller to pose their latest creation in the in-flight attitude, which is quite tempting for those that aren’t keen on detailing wheel bays or leaving cockpits open, or just fancy a quicker project. Along the way this tradition went away, as the companies must have realised that many of the stands were going unused, particularly in more detailed and larger kits that were more likely to be built by the serious modeller. Time marches on and almost no modern toolings have stands included, which is fine until you want an in-flight model. Now you can grab a simple aftermarket pack of three stands that will help you expand your in-flight collection, making it easy to pack more models into your otherwise crowded cabinet. The set arrives in a printed foil package that is releasable and shows a graphic representation on the front and the scales 1:72, 1:48 and 1:144 written small on the front, which is replicated on the extra foil bag on the inside. Inside that bag is a single clear sprue that has all the parts on it, and on the little sprue tab you can still see the ICM logo on the reverse, which is the source of the parts. if you didn’t know, Revell rebox a number of ICM products and as they have a pretty good distribution network it’s probably an easy way to pick up ICM kits for some. Each stand is almost identical in every way apart from size, comprising two parts that join together to form a traditional stand that simply requires you to make a small hole in the underside of your model, with a size guide printed on the back of the packet, which if you’ve already binned I’ll helpfully repeat for you (and me, as I’m prone to chucking things out too). Small (1:144) 2.0 x 0.6mm Medium (1:72) 2.8 x 0.8mm Large (1:48) 3.5 x 1.2mm The styrene is clear with a frosted finish that shows through a quartet of ejector pin marks in the corners of the base. They’re slightly recessed into the underside, so might be hard to obliterate if that bothers you, and one way round that is to paint the base and leave the arm clear to minimise its impact. Conclusion Handy to loft your latest creation over the rest of your cabinet contents, and squeeze a few more in if you have limited space. The little lug on the end of the arms should also allow you to move your model without losing the stand if you don’t oversize the hole. Measure twice, cut once, and if you’re like me scrape it a bit more until it fits snugly. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  4. Yesterday
  5. US Ordnance Set (88E01) 1:48 AMK Models Launched at the same time as their F-14D Tomcat, this set of injection-moulded styrene weapons and pods are ideal for modern jets, particularly of the American persuasion. It’s a generous set that includes all of the weapons in the Tomcat kit, plus a couple we’ve not seen before. They’re also included in larger numbers, so should be good enough for loading up a couple of models at the very least. To keep things tidy, the various types are arranged in sub-boxes within the main box to prevent chaffing, and each set of sprues is held in a clear foil bag for a classy feel. Let’s see what’s included: 16 x GBU-16 Paveway II Smart Bombs 4 x GBU-12 Paveway II Smart Bombs 4 x AIM-54C+ Phoenix A2A Missiles (Tomcat specific) 4 x AIM-7M/P Sparrow A2A Missile 2 x AN/ALQ-167 Bullwinkle ECM Pod 2 x AN/ASQ-713 SAIP pod 4 x GBU-31 JDAM Smart Bomb 12 x Mk.82 “dumb” bomb with conical fairing 4 x LAU-68 Rocket Pod 4 x GBU-38(V)-1 USAF JDAM 4 x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder A2A Missile 2 x LAU-3 Rocket Pod 2 x Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) 2 x AN/AAS-25 LANTIRN Targeting Pod That’s quite a list, and each one comes on a separate sprue with copious use of slide-moulding to improve detail and reduce your glue bill, so you can see why it comes in a full box. Each sprue has interlocking pips and holes top and bottom that allows them to be stacked in groups, which is great to keep them from chaffing during shipping and keep their space usage down. Each sub-box has a drawing and name of the contents, which will be useful for future use, as is the instruction sheet with integrated painting guide. There are also a few sentences about each type to provide extra details, plus a construction diagram that shows how they go together, then on the right a painting diagram showing the colours and where the decals go. Markings A full sheet of stencils for all the included weapons is provided, arranged by type and with each iteration boxed off from its neighbours. Decals are printed with AMK’s logo and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion If you don’t rate the kit weapons in your latest project and don’t want to splash out on expensive resin parts, this set offers a raft of highly detailed ordnance that is well within the comfort zone of any modeller. Scrape away the seamlines from where the sliding moulds meet, and you should be good to go. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. This fell into my shopping basket a month before the Trumpeter 1/200 Titanic did. I'm still not sure how it happened. Similar thing occurred with all of the CMK detail sets for the kit. Truly strange. Awesome kit though.
  7. Thanks for the review Mike. I actually traded in my 1/420 Defiant in order to get the new tool 1/100 version to be closer in scale to my other TNG kits and shortly afterwards was blown away by this detail set. That said I'm hoping to pick up the set for the smaller version and I'm really hoping its as good as the above.
  8. Panzer Crew Figures Acrylic Paint Set (A.MIG-7024) AMMO of Mig Jiménez During WWII German Panzer crews wore a dark grey/black uniform to differentiate them from the Field Grey of the Wehrmacht troops, and probably with an eye on soot and grease too! Black is one of the more taxing colours to paint on a figure, or any model for that matter, so any help is good help. This four-paint set arrives in a clear clamshell box with a card header and some colour use suggestions on the rear. Inside are four bottles that are best described as shades of grey and black. Each bottle contains 17ml of paint that is dispensed by a dropper that is found under the white screw-top cap. Inside each bottle is a little stirring ball that rattles when agitated aggressively. AMMO paints separate quite readily as you can see from the box photo, so having a ball in the bottle makes mixing them a lot easier, as does my electric paint shaker. We’re probably all familiar with the quality of AMMO paints by now, and they have a pretty good reputation amongst us modellers, and as they dry a little slower than some of the competition it's a useful feature when you’re talking about painting figures. The paints are as follows: AMMO.F-502 Outlining Black AMMO.F-521 Grey Light Brown AMMO.F-522 Slate Grey AMMO.F-530 Bluish Grey The shades should be pretty useful for creating a good range of tones to your figure’s uniform, and if you use a wet palette (have a Google - they're quite cheap), you should be able to get a myriad of shades between each one to help your figure look more realistic. I brushed out a few patches of the paint onto my paint hulk Fw.190 fuselage (I’m a bit short of spare figures post workshop refit), and can report that they cover well, the colours are good, with the slate grey making a good backdrop to base your scheme on, and the black adding extra depth where needed. While the Slate Grey and Black shades look similar when separated by another colour, when used adjacent they have enough difference in tone to be noticeable as you can see below. My amateur paint test If you’re crewing your WWII German tank and you don’t have the right colours, you could certainly save yourself some time and head-scratching by picking up this set. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Last week
  10. Thanks Stephen. I had help from Julien in fairness - he's a bomb nerd
  11. Fuel & Oil Drums 1930-50s (35613) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd There’s no escaping the fact that we as a society have been addicted to fossil fuels starting with coal during the first industrial revolution, and now oil and fuel in the 20th and 21st centuries. Drums are an easy way to store and transport relatively small quantities without spilling them, and they certainly beat a carrier bag any day of the week! Arriving in a shrink-wrapped figure-sized box, the set includes eighteen sprues in grey styrene of various sizes, plus a long thin decal sheet, and instructions with painting guide on the back of the box. There are only four different sprues included, but you get multiples that allow you to build up 12 barrels and 6 manual hand-pumps if you feel the urge to use them. There are three types of barrels, two of which have different types of ribbing moulded in, the third having separate pairs of rings around them, which you are advised to thin down by 0.5mm internally before fitting. The tops and bottoms of the barrels are mostly reused lids from different sets that have their raised writing flipped to the inside, but a new set of French lettering is included for the third type of barrel with “Jupiter” or “Poudres Cre” raised lettering on the top where the filler caps are. The hand pumps have a long dip tube, a handle to crank, and an applicator that will need you to supply some hose or substitute to complete. Markings The back of the box gives you brief instructions for construction and suggests paint schemes and decal locations for your delight. The decal sheet is by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A whole barrel of fun for your vehicle or diorama base! Detailed, with decals to pretty them up, and a decent quantity that could last you a few models. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. UK Enhanced Paveway II Mk.13/18 (648518) 1:48 Eduard Brassin The Paveway II in RAF service was the fitment of a standard Paveway Laser Guidance kit to the UK 1000lb bomb to turn it into a guided bomb. This features a slightly different tail unit to the US Paveway and a collar at the front between the bomb and the guidance unit. The RAF realised during the Kosovo war that there were short comings with the Paveway in that its use was hampered by bad weather, cloud and during night time operations. This lead to the development of the "Enhanced" Paveway which added GPS guidance to the inertial navigation system. This can be seen on the bombs by the small round GPS antennas on the nose of the paveway section. In order for these to communicate with the aircraft a way had to be found to link the nose section to the aircraft plug behind the lug points on the bombs. This was done with a cable run made for the side of the bomb. To attach this in typical British style we just used two large jubilee clips, which can be seen running around the bomb body between the mounting lugs. As is now usual with Eduard's smaller resin sets, they arrive in the new shallow Brassin cardboard box, with the resin parts safely cocooned in bags, and the instructions folded around acting as padding. Inside are two main bomb bodies, a set of forward fins for them both, some Photo-Etch (PE) parts and a choice of covered or in-flight seeker heads. At the rear is a tail plug to which a number of tiny PE parts from the little fret are added all around. The fins fit into keyed sockets on the bomb body, and after drilling a 0.9mm hole in the seeker head, it fits to a pin at the tip of the bomb. Check your references to ascertain the correct sag of the head depending on where your subject aircraft is in its mission, and use the FOD covered part for a parked aircraft. Colour call-outs are in Gunze paint codes, and as well as the painting & markings guide at the front that gives you decal placement options, there are also colours called out during the build to assist you further. Highly recommended. A picture of a Paveway II Enhanced from our walkaround section. Review sample courtesy of
  13. AJ/SK/SH-37 Viggen Control Surfaces (Q72355 for Tarangus) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby If you’ve got a Tarangus or Special Hobby Viggen in 1:72 and want to mobilise the flying surfaces to add a bit of visual interest, here’s the easy way to do it. This set contains all four flying surfaces for the delta wings, which you’ll need to remove from the kit wings before replacing them with the resin parts. Handily the starboard wings are marked with a double bar on the casting block, although that’s going to be thrown away before fitting, but common sense should carry you through along with the knowledge that the actuator fairings face down. A simple set that will give your model a more candid look with minimal effort. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. I chose not to, even though everyone knows who I mean. The difference may be negligible, but worth a mention
  15. Viggen Ground Crew (F48360) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby There must still be a fair few of the ESCI Viggens in 1:48 knocking about, but the newly tooled Tarangus and Special Hobby kits are the intended subject to have this small figure set clambering around under. Arriving in a small blister box with the instructions hidden behind the header card, you get two figures made from five parts of grey resin. The standing figure just needs an arm added to his left side, while the crouching figure needs an arm and head adding to make the most of the detail. The standing figure is wearing ear-defenders and is waving the pilot on, while the crouching figure wears a patrol cap and has a bag slung over his shoulder, with one hand reaching out as if he was under a wing checking something. Conclusion Casting a sculpting are both good, and the arms have keyed lugs to make for a secure attachment. Your Viggen diorama will be improved by adding these guys to give a human scale to the model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Are you not allowed to say the name of the well know Japanese manufacturer? Interesting point about the size of the roll and curve of the tape however. Sods law last week ordered new rolls to replenish all my well known Japanese manufacturer dispensers. Which is a shame because I’m a sucker for new gimmicky stuff...
  17. Masking Tape 20, 10, 6 & 2mm AMMO of Mig Jiménez Masking tape for modelling was revolutionised by the introduction of Kabuki tape from a well-known Japanese model manufacturer, and since then it has gone on to become one of the modeller’s staples. It is traditional low-tack paper tape that was allegedly used in Kabuki theatre in the construction of the intricate shadow-puppets and scenery, which is where the name comes from. Whether that’s true or not I have no clue! This new tape from AMMO is available in a range of widths, and each one is supplied on a standard sized roll with 25m/82ft of tape on each one, although I’m not about to unroll one to check that assertion. The tape is bright yellow and each roll arrives in its own resealable clear foil bag with the AMMO logo and colour scheme printed upon it. The 20mm, 10mm and 6mm rolls are wide enough to be quite sturdy, while the two 2mm rolls we were given are flexible and if you are rough with them the tape could fall off the reel and make a mess, so treat the narrow ones with care, possibly reusing the bag to keep dust and fluff out of the reels. The tack of the tape is very familiar, as is the texture and stretch of it, so no surprises there either. One thing or note is that as it has been wound around a larger reel (just over 8cm diameter), the tape comes off the roll with less curl and is fractionally easier to handle as a result. It burnishes down well, and even those areas I tested on acrylic paint came up easily without any lift at all. Conclusion It’s a large roll kabuki tape that has all the same properties as the rivals, so if it’s available near you or you need some tape and your favourite online retailer sells it, you can grab a roll or two as part of your order with confidence. Highly recommended. 2mm Tape 6mm Tape 10mm Tape 20mm Tape Review sample courtesy of
  18. B-17 Wheels (648529 for HKM) 1:48 Eduard Brassin HK Models have broken away from their own de facto scale and used the data they collected for their 1:32 B-17 kit to create a new tooling in 1:48. That’s got my vote, as that’s my scale. Eduard have this nice set of resin wheels to replace the injection moulded parts on the kit, with masks into the bargain. As is now usual with Eduard's smaller resin sets, they arrive in the new shallow Brassin cardboard box, with the resin parts safely cocooned in bags, and the instructions folded around acting as padding. Inside the box are three resin wheels plus four additional hub parts and a set of pre-cut kabuki masks for them all (not pictured). Construction is simplicity itself and will take a few moments once you have removed them from their casting blocks with a razor saw or motor tool. The wheels have diamond tread and a very slight weighting to them where they attach to the casting block, and they are joined by the two hub parts in the centre, the inner one having a keyed socket for the axle to pass into. At the rear the small tail wheel is a drop-fit replacement, and masks are included for all hubs to give a perfect paint demarcation between hub and tyre. A scrap diagram shows how the wheel should look when installed and placed on the ground. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Indeed. Well something to consider! It's an expensive update though.
  20. I have a built up Defiant somewhere... would this update work on a finished kit or do I need to disassemble (and repaint) it?
  21. USS Defiant NX/NCC-74205 (FruitPACK FP08 for AMT) 1:420 GreenStrawberry It’s Star Trek time again, this time it’s the USS Defiant from Deep Space Nine, when they decided to give the crew of the space station a bit more robust mobility and add some greater breadth to the story-telling. The Defiant is a war ship plain and simple, and that’s all it was been designed for. As well as taking part in season 3 onwards and making an appearance in the Star Trek movie First Contact, it is a chunky little ship and has a bit of a “Voyager” look to some of her shapes, although all strapped to a saucer-style section and without any of the crew amenities that makes ships like the Voyager and Enterprise a home for her crew. The Set Designed to fit to the 1:420 AMT kit that was first released in the 1990s and has been rereleased a few times, the last time as recently as 2014, but they're a bit thin on the ground at time of writing. There are a lot out there in stashes of course, and GreenStrawberry have a pair of sets available to improve on the kit's simplified detail. The FruitPACK brings those together in a cost-effective and attractive box that contains a lot of resin, plus three sheets of Photo-Etch and a small sheet of decals. Inside the card box you get two sets that cover the Engines & Exterior in one, and Hangars in the other. Here’s what it all looks like in the heat-seal and ziplok bags: Engines & Exterior (08019-1/420) There are forty-two resin parts in grey, clear blue and clear red resin, plus two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) part and a thick instruction sheet, plus a load of tiny resin flakes from the moulding process. There will be a little plastic butchery involved to fit some parts, which is best done before you begin the build, especially as this set just begs to be lit thanks to the translucent resin parts. Initially this includes removing the circular shuttle-bay panel underneath, some small details, a pair of recessed bays under the nose and eight holes on the upper side. The bays are replaced by detailed inserts and eight translucent blue plugs fill the holes, while the shuttle bay is left until later. A few more small details are removed from the snout of the craft and filled with a translucent blue resin part with waffle texture moulded-in and a resin bracing part behind it. Next are a pair of louvered vents on the top of the ship, which are shaved off and replaced by a resin surround, translucent red centre and four resin inserts in the recesses, plus a set of folded up ladder shaped parts that fit into the area. In the engine nacelles new “intake” lips are temporarily fitted to act as a template to cut a hole through which the translucent red intake is passed, and the lip is then permanently attached around it. This is repeated on the other side and joined by a bunch of PE details on each side, and later on some resin parts are added to busy the area up. Under the rear of the nose there is a scoop-shaped area that is detailed with a new skin plus additional parts that replace all the simplified detail of the kit. The kit exhausts are excised and replaced by a sandwich of two bay halves with a translucent blue insert between them that acts as a diffuser for a light to tint the whole bay blue. This will also show up the moulded-in detail and the additional parts placed within the area before fitting. The aft of the Defiant is a bit of a beaver-tail that looks a little unfinished, and this section gets a thorough overhaul with new impulse engine tubes that are recessed, mesh vents and other details. The rest of the set is used in thoroughly upgrading the detail to the outer hull, with skins, grilles and other details that take up a substantial number of parts. more parts are added to the aft, and the upgrade is completed by replacing the shuttle-bay doors with a new more detailed assembly. Hangars (07919-1/420) This set consists of one fret of PE, a sheet of decals, plus seventeen resin parts in grey, and of course the instruction sheet. This details the area you might have just covered over with the new doors in the set above, as well as the smaller bays in the lower hull, so remember this and plan ahead. Construction begins with the main bay in the belly, which is made up in layers to give a thoroughly 3D look, which includes decals for display screens as you go. They both attach to a bulkhead that is also decked out with decals along with some PE parts and access ladders that are folded up and put in place. The bay doorway is lined with a PE lip and the doors are folded into shape and placed in the aperture, with a large decal on the inside “stand clear” written around the edge. The smaller bays are made inside the small resin boxes with one end left open while the other is closed up with some small windows left for lights to shine through, into which you fit the shuttle pads and a lot of decals. There is also a PE part that is added to the underside of the shuttle “tray” that will allow it to be slid in and out, or to fix them in the deployed or retracted positions at your whim. After cutting out the bays from the kit lower, the bay edges are tidied up by adding a PE surround, then apply the completed bay from behind and add extra detail parts to the surround. If you really must cover up all that nice detail, a set of finely grooved doors are also supplied, although you’d be mad to fit them unless you made a boo-boo. The final fun part of this set is a few different types of shuttle, including one larger Chaffee shuttle, two Work Bee Units, and two Type 18 shuttles with their weird hovercraft vibe. They all have decals for their windows, as well as codes and for the type 18s, pinstripes and door lines. Conclusion This is very involved and detailed set that is by no means cheap, but if you’re serious about your Defiant model it’s a must have, especially if you’re planning on lighting it, which is very common in Sci-Fi modelling these days. This provides you with the majority of the parts that will do it justice, needing just the lighting loom to finish off. Very highly recommended if you have or can get a kit for a sensible price. FruitPACK FP08 They’re also available separately if you only want one set Engines & Exterior Hangars (07919-1/420) Review sample courtesy of
  22. USS Discovery NCC-1031 FruitPACK (FP09) 1:2500 GreenStrawberry Star Trek fans will have heard of the latest show from the Star Trek universe, which ploughs an alternate timeline furrow with Captain Pike still in charge of the Enterprise and some rather weird looking Klingons. There’s also a view into the more sneaky side of Starfleet, Section 31, who don’t seem to share the higher moral standing of the previous incarnations of the United Federation of Planets. The Discovery, from the Crossfield Class of ships has some quite extraordinary propulsion systems that allow her to travel almost anywhere instantly, but with some complications that cause issues at times, and lead to some head-scratching plot points. I’m not entirely sold on the Spore-Drive myself, but that’s just me. The Discovery herself has had a new captain in each of the two seasons so far, and with season three in production we wonder if there’s another one waiting in the wings. The main protagonist is First Officer Michael Burnham, who grew up with Vulcan parents that gave her a stoical outlook and a tendency to whisper her lines, which irritates me a little. It’s an ensemble show and the special effects are excellent, with the Discovery sharing a roughly similar outline of the Enterprise from above, but having a more flattened side and front profile. I’ve also just learned that there’s going to be a spin-off show about Section 31, which is probably good news for Michelle Yeoh and another notch on her extensive CV. The Set This is a new tool from GreenStrawberry, who aim to improve the detail beyond the snap-together heritage of the recent kit from Polar Lights. In case you’re unfamiliar, their FruitPacks are supersets of their existing detail sets that offer a one-envelope solution to get your detail on! They arrive in card envelopes with the sets included within their individual wrappers for additional protection. This set includes the exterior detail set and the hangar bay set, so let’s see what’s in them. Detail Set (08319-1/2500) This is a two sheet set that is etched from a thinner gauge of brass so that the details don’t project too far from the surfaces, as it’s a small scale ship that would look out of place if they were of thicker stock. The two sheets contain mostly skin parts, but also have some additional details that aren’t included on the kit, and it should result in a much more detailed model once painted and decaled. The main hull is an arrow-head shape with the wide hangar bay in the rear. In the top of the nacelle supports or wings, there is a shallow recess that is removed and replaced by a deep part that is folded into a box insert that adds depth and a number of tiny window cut-outs. At the rear there are detail inserts in the back of the wings, with a choice of two types, so check your references and suit yourself. On the undersides there are more skins added to the hull, with slimmer inserts added to the leading edges of the wings where injection moulding was unable to provide sharp detail. The saucer section is given a highly detailed deflector where it joins the hull, with multiple parts forming the surround and a spoked representation of the dish itself. The neck is skinned, as are the sides of the inner saucer on both sides, the outer rim and the “bridge” that leads to the bridge dome. The sloped outer edges of the inner saucer is also skinned, as are the inner sloped edges of the outer saucer section, then the neck has another sliver covered up with some final parts. More raised detail is added to the top of the saucer where there are raised blocks, and yet more details are added to the roof of the route to the bridge. Given the slightly underwhelming surface detail of the ship out of the box that relies over-heavily on the decals to give the impression of more depth, this set should give it the massive boost that it needs, with the decals placed over the top treated with several coats of solution to settle them down into the recesses and add realism to the whole model. It’s a must-have if you want to turn it from an expensive toy into a model. Dare I say mandatory? Hangar Bay (08419-1/2500) Since the original 60s series got the budget for a shuttle to augment the cheaper effects of beaming down to every planet they visit, all the main ships have had shuttle bays from which to launch and retrieve these vessels. On the kit the bay is moulded closed, so the first task is to remove that part, plus six of the attachment lugs that make this a snap-fit kit. Then the bay is folded up with a number of simple straight folds forming the basis of the bay, which is then adorned with internal skins, a number of prominent ribs, a perforated roof section that is then closed in by folding down the remaining side after placing a stepped part into the centre back of the bay. The completed bay can then be slid into place within the hull, and has an optional two-part bay door if you want to hide away all your work. This set is etched from thicker gauge brass, so will be less flexible than the exterior set and therefore easier to handle when folding it to shape. Conclusion Having got one of these kits, they’re a little disappointing out of the box, relying too much on the large decal sheets to provide the detail. I’m not a fan of 2D detail, so these two sets in the one box not only save you a few credits, but also does the kit a huge favour in terms of detail. They’re an absolute necessity if you enjoy making detailed models. Extremely highly recommended. You can also buy them separately if you don’t want both Detail Set (08319-1/2500) Hangar Bay (08419-1/2500) Review sample courtesy of
  23. I think this is a great little kit and forms a good basis for a GR3. I’ve just finished an old one (pre- the new re-release) and it’s come out pretty well. From front to back: Ditch the nose cone parts and replace with a GR3 LRMT thimble nose – I carved mine from balsa wood (yes, not resin!) and finished with putty. Add holes for the port side camera and the underside reaction control vent. I added a pitot static tube using Master’s Hawk T1 tube – seems nearly identical to the Harriers (both made by Hawker around the same time?) I opened up the nose gear doors and added some plastic card wheel bay with strip styrene details. The intake door (upper 4 per side) need drilling out and replacing with card hanging down under gravity at different angles depending on whether the door is at the top or at the side. Those door cavities should also be boxed in internally – there’s no interconnection between the blow in cavities. The one shape error that needs correction is adding putty to build up the fairing immediately behind the blow in doors, to remove the ‘pointy’ look and make it chunkier. Fair and sand to shape. In the cockpit, I ditched the aft bulkhead with integral seat and replaced with card, some fuse wire pipe detail and a seat from Revell’s big Tornado. Instrument panel was sanded flat and drilled to represent instrument faces, other details added to fill it out. The HUD display of solid plastic was cut off and replaced with some clear plastic card and the HUD controls added, again by scratch building under the coaming. Card to fill in the gaping hole for the canopy to "move" within, and some detail to represent the actual scale railing. Sand off the two big exhausts on the upper engine inspection door and add one smaller one starboard side, just upstream of the grill. (This is a change from GR1 to GR3 I think). Add a RWR from card and fair into the forward fin. Use card to add height to the fin as the GR3 has a taller fin housing some new electronic guff. Add a corresponding RWR aft on the tip of the tail cone and fair in. Open up some of the holes on the tail area, add internal baffle to the reaction control vent (aft, nose and wing upper and lower). On the underside, I cracked the main landing gear doors open slightly, and shortened the airbrake about 6” in scale. (There a great set of videos on the web showing how to convert a GR3 back to GR1 standard here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMFNoumIFDE). Fill in the resultant gap, add some rib detail on the airbrake well. I scabbed on a couple of plates to simulate the ALE-40(V)4 chaff and flare set aft of the brake. On the wings, I dropped the flaps and ailerons, added in the fuel vent pipe from plastic rod (drilled out) and drilled out the reaction control vents at the tips, upper and lower, adding some deflector plate internal detail. Finally, weapons: sand all the bumps off the gun pods and drill out vent holes. I drilled out the muzzle hole as well instead of the kit aerodynamic fairing. Wing tanks need the fins removing - these got damage by debris early on in the Harrier’s life so were ditched. If you’re making a Falklands fit Harrier, remove the 68mm SNEB pods and use either Sidewinders and rails or BL755 cluster bombs (I used the Wingman Models ones). You could have a go at scratch-building the big Royal Navy 2” rocket pods if you feel keen! If you want an RAFG machine, keep the SNEB’s and perhaps add a centre line pylon and scratch build the reconnaissance pod? Add a couple of blade aerials behind the canopy and one under the LRMTS nose. As you can see, to get a good representation of a GR3 (or for that matter a GR1) is just a case of a bit of scratch building, the old way. No resin, no etched stuff but very satisfying all the same. Very useful source is the Haynes manual on the Harrier, great photos of GR3 in it.
  24. M4A3 (76) W Sherman (TS-043) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd. The Sherman tank is familiar to most armour modellers, and as such needs little introduction. It bears a familial resemblance to the M3 Lee/Grant, especially from the waist down, but the new upper hull and turret did a lot to fix the shortcomings of the earlier tank, although it was by no means perfect. Its main armament was good enough when it entered service, but became a little underwhelming toward the end of the war, as was her armour, which although sloped in places couldn’t resist the high velocity rounds from the Panther or Tiger tanks. Her most appealing feature was that they were easy and cheap to build, so there were a lot of them available both to US forces, the British Army, and other combatants of WWII via the lend/lease programme. The M4 progressed through subvariants as improvements were made with changes to the construction, armament, suspension and armour, which can be confusing to the uninitiated. By the time the M4A3 was in service the tank had matured, reverting to a welded hull and replacing the bulky radial engine with a V-8 lump manufactured by Ford. The main armament was upgraded to the more armour-focused M1 long barrelled high-velocity gun, which was more capable of penetrating the thicker armour of the later German tanks, especially if using the High-Velocity Armour Piercing (HVAP) round that could punch through almost 180mm of rolled-steel armour at 1km. Another change made with some of the M4s was the addition of wet ammo storage that reduced the risk of a tank “brewing up” when hit by enemy fire, a reputation that had resulted in the cruel nickname of "Tommy Cooker" by the Germans. The variants with this useful safety addition were suffixed with the letter W. The M4A3 was the de facto favourite of the US Army during WWII, and it was replaced by the Easy Eight (M3E8) that fought on through the Korean War and beyond before it was phased out, although it lingered on in foreign service some while longer. The Kit This is a new tool from Meng, and in their usual style it is a highly detailed kit. It arrives in a satin themed box with a painting of a distempered machine parked up near a ruined property and abandoned Sd.Kfz.251 half-track. Inside are ten sprues in sand coloured styrene plus four larger parts off sprues, two clear sprues, a small box of springs, two coils of wire, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a turned aluminium barrel, a tree of poly-caps and decal sheet, with the instruction booklet found at the bottom of the box. This is an exterior kit with only breech, periscopes and some hatch details included inside. There is a hint of a possible interior set in the future by the inclusion of a detailed firewall between the crew compartment and engine compartment, although at time of writing that’s just speculation. Construction begins with the suspension units and twin-wheel bogies, which includes one of my favourite parts of the kit because of the springs. To the top of the swing-arms you add these springs, which can be found inside a small box that also has some ration boxes printed on it, all safely cocooned in foam. They’re real springs too, made from spring steel and compressible just like the real Vertical Volute Suspension System (VVSS), so your Sherman will have working suspension as long as you obey the little “don’t glue” icons along the way. Each wheel is made up from a front part with moulded-in tyre and a rear part, which once added is trapped between the two axle-halves. A pair of wheels and their axles are inserted into the bottom of the suspension unit with the springs and their swing-arms inserted into the top section, which is closed up after adding the return roller then joined by a return skid that has some slide-moulded rivets moulded into it. You make three of these units up for each side and then set them aside while the hull is built up from main lower plus front drive housing and rear bulkhead, with final drive housings and poly-caps added to the sides at the front and idler mounts at the rear along with towing eyes. At the rear the radiator vents are stacked up into a matrix and held together with their end-caps before being fitted under the rear valance with the two curved exhaust pipes. The suspension units are all added on their mounts and the drive sprockets are pushed into the final drive housings, held in place by the aforementioned poly-caps, with more added to the idler wheels before they are fitted. The tracks are styrene, and made up from four parts per link, held together with a short length of nickel-plated brass wire that’s in the box. A clear two-part jig is included that holds up to 10 links, and although you’re not advised on how to put them in the jig, I found that putting the track ends into their recesses first and then laying the pads between them was the easiest way. I also taped the jig closed before I tried adding the pins. The pins go straight through, and I nipped them off as flush as I could then tipped the jig on one side holding the pins in place by resting it against the desk. A dot of super glue (CA) into the ends after trimming them helps to hold the pin in place, then I did the same on the other side. The result is an incredibly flexible set of tracks that will look great under a coat of paint. They take some time to clean up because of the part count, but it’s really worth the effort. Each link is four parts as mentioned, and there are 10 sprue gates per link in total. The pad links are easy to clean as they are flat, but the three on each horn have to be cleaned up carefully to preserve the detail. It’s still worth the effort though, and I can’t stop playing with the section I made up. There are 97 links per track run, and you are advised to make them up and fit them over the tracks, using the adjustment capability of the idler axle to get the correct tension. The upper hull is next, and begins with the drilling out of a few flashed-over holes depending on which decal option you have elected to portray. The main upper hull is prepped with hatch hinges, a movable bow machine gun, and engine deck comprising one main C-shaped part and a choice of two inserts depending on your decal choice. This is dropped onto the hull with the engine bay bulkhead supporting the centre section, then the front is detailed with lights, lifting eyes, small fenders, hatches with detailed periscope cages for them and the light clusters that are folded up from PE. This might sound daunting, but Meng have provided a multi-section jig that you can use to obtain the correct curve and shape, but it would be advisable to anneal them in a lighter flame for a few second first to soften them up. The remainder of the engine deck is made up from left and right sections that drop into the space left on the deck. At the rear the bulkhead is fitted out with two rows of three spare track links, rear lights with PE cages that are formed on the jig, barrel cleaning tools, pioneer tools, spare fuel cans and larger rear mudflaps. Along the sides of the hull you have a choice of applying full length side skirts, or the alternative winter-weather track grousers that give it extra traction in muddy conditions. There is one for each track link, and as they project further than the side skirts, these would have been taken off during fitting on the real thing. The towing cable is also made up from the braided cable supplied with the length printed on the left of the page, and two styrene eyes, one for each end. Now for the turret, which begins with a pretty good rendition of the breech, with recoil mechanism, co-ax machine gun, breech guard and mounting gear attached to the back of the mantlet. A clear periscope is fitted to the roof, and some optional holes are made for three of the decal options before the lower turret and turret ring are attached, along with pivot pins for the mantlet, which don’t need gluing. The commander’s cupola with clear vision blocks inserted from below, plus the gunner’s hatch with clam-shell doors are both made up with clear periscopes are both made up and inserted into the turret roof along with various lifting eyes, lights, aerial bases, vents and other detail parts. The outer cast shell of the mantlet is also fitted at this time, as is the shell ejection flap, which can be posed open if you wish. At the rear of the bustle, an M2 Anti-Aircraft .50cal with hollow muzzle is provided that can be pintle-mounted on the gunner’s hatch, or stowed across the back of the turret. The final task is to attach the barrel of the main gun, which is shown only using the two styrene parts for the gun tube, but as there is a turned aluminium one in the box, it would be better to use that as there will be no seams to hide. At the front you have a choice of muzzle parts that affix to the little peg at the front, with a larger peg at the rear that plugs into the mantlet. The turret is then twisted into place on the hull, thereby completing the build. It doesn’t use a standard bayonet lug system, but has three sloped lugs that snap into place on the turret ring. How often you can remove and install it again without it wearing out is a question I can’t answer at this stage, so take care. Markings There are four decal options in the box, and all of them predictably are based on an olive green finish and they all have some camouflage added on top to give them some individuality, which should make for some fun-looking models. From the box you can build one of the following: Thunderbolt IV Lt. Col. Abrams, 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armoured Division, US Army, Battle of the Bulge, Bastogne, Belgium, December 1944 709th Tank Battalion attached to 75th Infantry Division, US Army, Operation Nordwind, Northwest Colmar, France, January 1945 709th Battalion attached to 75th Infantry Division, US Army, Alsace, France, February 1945 761st Tank Battalion, US Army, Austria, Spring 1945 Decals are printed in China and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion I’m still impressed with the springs, but when you add in all the detail and the subtle casting/rolling texture to the exterior of the hull, the PE light cages, the turned barrel and those funky tracks, it makes for an impressive package. Very highly recommended. At time of writing Creative are out of stock of this handsome kit, which is a sign of its popularity. They’ll be back soon I’m sure. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Sorry, just seen this. The answer is yes, as long as you're not too liberal with the old glue
  26. Try the Airfix Tribute Forum they might be on there.
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