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  1. Today
  2. F-6C Mustang Expert Set (70040) 1:72 Arma Hobby The P-51D was developed by the North American Aviation company as a fighter for Great Britain, but due to the poor performance of the engine that was initially fitted, it wasn’t all that good at higher altitudes. Fortunately they slotted a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine into the airframe and it brought out the best of its design, which included the energy efficient laminar flow wing that gave it the potential to escort Allied bombers all the way to Berlin with the addition of drop-tanks and a lean fuel mixture when not in combat. It was flown in this guise as the Mustang III in British service, and as the P-51B/C in US service, then as the P-51D with the bubble canopy and cut-down aft fuselage, with an additional fin-fillet added later to improve stability that had been reduced by the new shape and fuel tank location. The F-6C was developed from the B/C variants, most of which were built in the Dallas factory, with openings for two cameras in the fuselage, with one camera mounted obliquely in the side of the rear fuselage, firing to the left, and the other mounted underneath, just aft of the radiator flap. Apart from some other minor changes the aircraft was fully combat capable, so didn’t need an escort to carry out its assigned task, and some of its pilots became Aces flying recon. The Kit This is a retooling of Arma’s original 2021 release to depict the reconnaissance variant of the Mustang, and as it is the Expert set, it’s the top-of-the-line boxing. It arrives in a sturdy end-opening box with an attractive painting of the subject on the front, plus profiles of four of the decal options on the rear. Inside are two sprues in grey styrene, a single clear sprue, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a sheet of pre-cut kabuki tape masking material (not pictured), a large decal sheet, and an A5 portrait instruction booklet with full colour profiles on the rear pages. Detail is stunning for the scale, and the finish of the exterior surface is a pristine satin texture with some areas left glossy, an example of which are the lenses of the underwing identification lights on the starboard wing. Construction begins with the cockpit, which will be familiar to anyone who has built a Mustang before. The stepped floor has the seat, armour and support frame added to the front section, with PE belts supplied for your use, and a choice of bucket seat or tubular-framed type for your use. The rear of the cockpit can either be filled with the original fuel tank with radio on a palette on top, or three other configurations for your consideration. Decals are included for some of the radio boxes, and the finished assembly should look good with sympathetic painting. The pilot has his control column added and two dial decals applied to the floor, with more decals for the highly detailed instrument panel that is fixed below the coaming and has the rudder pedals glued to the back as shown by a scrap diagram. The cockpit sides are also detailed with additional parts, a copious quantity of decals to portray the instruments, and some adaptations to the fuselage sides to cater to your chosen decal option. The radiator pathway is also made up, adding a PE grille to the front of the bath, and another to the oval intake before it is inserted into the starboard fuselage side. The port side is prepared to receive the cockpit and tail wheel, beginning with the instrument coaming, then the cockpit assembly and tail wheel, closing up the two halves to complete the task. The wings are next, beginning with the centre of the main gear bay and a section of the spar. This is inserted into the upper wing half, and a detailed diagram shows how the bay roof should be painted correctly, which is best done before closing up the wing halves and inserting the separate flap sections, which you are advised to paint before insertion, as they also have a decal around the halfway point. Unusually, both wing surfaces are full-width, in much the same way as the real thing, and after adding some internals, the wings and fuselage are joined with a choice of either a filleted tail, or the earlier unfilleted tail, which you get to choose by using different fin and elevator parts with moulded-in fairings. Some panel lines behind the cockpit should be filled depending on your earlier choices, and this might be easier done before adding the wings. The main gear consists of a strut with single wheel and a captive bay door attaching to the leg, which slots into a socket in the outer edge of the bay, with a pair of inner doors fitted to the centre-line. The airframe is ostensibly complete, but some small parts and assemblies are yet to be added, such as the radiator cooling flaps under the rear, pitot probe under the wing, a pair of bomb-shackles outboard of the main gear bays, and a pair of lips for the chin and main radiator intakes. The perforated grille on the lower nose is slotted into its aperture, a choice of two types of exhaust stacks, two types of antenna masts plus an optional D/F loop with fairing are fixed in place around the same time as the prop, which consists of four blades moulded as one, with a two-part spinner hiding a small washer that can be used to hold the prop in place and retain the option to spin it if you so wish. There are two styles of canopy supplied for your model, so choose the correct type for your decal option, both of which have the option to portray them open or closed. The older straight hood consists of the windscreen with a section of the fuselage moulded-in, the canopy and the two scalloped rear-view panes, with the optional parts provided to display the canopy opened to the sides, assisted by a couple of scrap diagrams nearby and a warning decal for the inner lip. The later Malcolm hood is the second option, with a blown canopy that gives the pilot more room to move his head for better situational awareness. This option firstly requires removal of some small bumps on the spine behind the canopy. There are parts supplied to portray the canopy rail, and these are shown correctly applied in scrap diagrams to assist you getting it right. The final choice is to hang paper fuel tanks, metal fuel tanks or bombs under the wings, all of which are made from two halves each and have stencil decals supplied from the sheet. Markings There are a generous six decal options in the box, two of which are a bonus for this boxing. From the box you can build one of the following: F-6C-10-NT Mustang 44-10889/R7-N, GR II.33 Savoie, French Air Force, April -May 1945 F-6C-1-NA Mustang 43-12400/ZM-O, Cpt E B Blackie Travis, 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Sqn., 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, Middle Wallop, England, Spring 1944 F-6C-5-NT Mustang, 42-103604/600 Lt. Col. E O McComas, 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Sqn., 23rd Fighter Group, Chengkung, China, Dec 1944 F-6C-1-NA Mustang, 43-12404/266, 26th Fighter Sqn., 51st Fighter Group, China, 1944-45 F-6C-5-NT Mustang, 42-103604/600, Maj. E O McComas, 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Sqn., 23rd Fighter Group, Chengkung, China, Oct 1944 F-6C-1-NA Mustang, 43-12330/263, 26th Fighter Sqn., 51st Fighter Group, China, 1944-45 Bonus Decals Decals are printed by Techmod, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Another superbly well-detailed kit from Arma that makes this 1:48 modeller more than a little bit envious. Detail is excellent throughout, and the instructions are concise to help you with your build. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Some of the best photos I have been able to find can be seen here. Also this pic. Having seen a completed model here on Britmodeller recently, I think today's luncheon may consist of headwear. I'm still not convinced KP have got the subtle shape of the windscreen quite right, but you can tell from the completed model that it's a lot better than the photos of the canopy part on its own suggest. Anyway, apologies to KP and anyone else I may have inadvertently misled. Hopefully the pics will help you make up your own mind. Best regards, Mark.
  4. Yesterday
  5. F6F-3 Upgrade Sets (for Eduard) 1:48 Eduard The F6F Hellcat was one of Eduard’s earlier kits, first released in 2008 with many subsequent reboxings and additive toolings to depict other variants going on over the years. It’s still a jolly nice kit, but would of course benefit from some upgrades to bring it bang-up-to-date. 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. SPACE 3D Printed Cockpit Decals (3DL48068) The Eduard SPACE sets use new 3D printing techniques that lay down successive layers of different colour resin, creating highly realistic almost full complete panels that are supplied on a decal sheet. They can depict metallic shades, plus glossy, satin and matt colours too, which really ups the detail on everything they print. In addition, a small sheet of nickel-plated and pre-painted PE is included for the aspects of the set that lend themselves better to this medium, such as seatbelts and rudder pedals. The Hellcat’s cockpit is a cramped compartment, with large side console to the right and a small instrument panel in front of the pilot. The moulded-in details on these are removed and replaced by 3D printed decals that are jaw-dropping in their realism, with more decals on the sides of the console and cockpit walls, including a triplet of two-layer boxes with printed cabling gathered together below it. The panel is supplied in sections to fix to the front of the otherwise unused part G43 that is a blank panel, saving you from having to remove the details from the other part. The PE sheet includes new rudder pedals and a full set of seatbelts for the pilot, including comfort pads beneath the buckles and connectors. Masks Tface (EX865) these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy exterior on a large sheet of kabuki tape. Also included are another set of masks tailored to fit the interior of the glazing so that you can paint the inside of the canopy and give your model that extra bit of realism. In addition, you get a set of hub/tyre masks for all three wheels including the small tail-wheel, allowing you to cut the demarcations perfectly with little effort. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Trumpeter and Zvezda MiG-29's come with two decent seats each. Zvezda's kits have a plethora of spare weapons, while the updated Italeri comes with two sets of burners. Cheers, Andre
  7. Lancaster Mk.I/III Exhausts (4449 for HK Models) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby These eight resin exhausts are simple drop-in replacements for the recent HK Model kit parts, offering finer details and the impression of hollow exhaust tubes with a strake down the centre, and visible weld-lines. They glue directly to the kit-supplied Merlin engines during construction, one per side. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Last week
  9. Beaufighter Mk.II Late Conversion Set (7490 for Airfix Mk.X) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby When Bristol were developing the Beaufighter from their own Beaufort light bomber, there were concerns that the proposed Hercules power plants could be in short supply, as at the time the new Stirling heavy bomber took priority. As a stop-gap measure in case those concerns materialised, the Mk.II Beaufighter was developed to mount a pair of Merlin XX engines in streamlined nacelles that were designed by Rolls-Royce, and bear a family resemblance to the later Lancaster bomber with good reason. Of the 330 airframes built with Merlins on the wings, around a third were lost in accidents due to the aggressive torque steer of the twin Merlins on take-off and landing. Unbelievably, the type was also considered to be underpowered when compared to the Hercules equipped airframes, which is especially confusing when comparing the performance of the Stirling with the Lancaster. The Conversion This is a resin conversion set that is designed to be applied to the Airfix Beaufighter Mk.X kit, and arrives in a large cardboard box that has thirty-six resin parts inside, plus a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a decal sheet, all packed into two Ziploc bags and protected by the folded instruction booklet. Some of the resin parts are large, the biggest being the inner wing panels and engine nacelle fairings, which also incorporates the gear bays, both of which are filled with detail, and have panel lines in a style matching those of the kit. Construction begins with removal of the kit’s inner wing panels and the intakes for the oil coolers, which should be sanded back to the profile of the leading edge, filling any depressions where needed. The remaining outer wings are then joined with the resin inners, with a deep plug projecting into the outer panel to give a strong join. The nacelles, their exhaust stubs and PE flash hiders are mated to the bulkheads, with small intakes on the cheeks, and a small upstand at the rear of the nacelle fairing. The props consist of a back-plate, three keyed blades, and hollow spinner that are made up as a pair to be glued to the front of the nacelles after painting. The kit landing gear is made up and inserted into the new bays, taking your cues from the Airfix instructions, then the bays are bracketed by new resin doors, plus an exhaust flap under the engines, set in the open or closed position at your choice, using two PE struts to support them at each side. On my example, the flaps had detached from their casting block, but were otherwise undamaged. The wings have PE radar aerials drilled into the leading edges, with distances from the nacelles given to assist you. Another arrow-shaped antenna is fixed into the centre of the nose cone, and a towel-rail antenna attached to the underside of the fuselage, offset to one side slightly. The last aerial is just behind the astrodome on the fuselage spine, and the last resin parts are the elevators, which are fixed to the fuselage at right-angles to the unfilleted tail fin. Markings There are a generous five markings options on the decal sheet, including day and night schemes. From the box you can build one of the following: Mk.II EW-U/T3048, No.307 (Polish) Sqn. RAF, Exeter, 1942 Mk.II ZJ-M/T3415, No.96 Sqn. RAF, S/L Dickie Haine, Wrexham Base, England, May 1942 Mk.II RX-B/T3017, No.456 Sqn. RAF, S/L Charles G C Olive, CBE DFC, Valley Base, Anglesey, Wales, 1942* Mk.II KP-K/T3145, No.409 (Canadian) Sqn. RAF, Coleby Grange, late 1941 Mk.II, LI-P/T3223 No.798 Sqn. FAA, Lee-on-Solent, 1944 * Note that the instructions have spelt Valley and Anglesey incorrectly. The decals are well-printed, sharp and with good register to allow you to build one of the options above. Conclusion If I was a 1:72 builder I’d be building this right now, as it’s a pretty cool conversion. The resin is well-cast, the build should be relatively easy, and the instructions are comprehensive. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Battle of France, Spring 1940 (DS3515) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd After WWII began following the invasion of Poland in 1939, there was a lull from a British point of view, that was sometimes referred to as the Phoney War. Suddenly in Spring 1940, the Nazi behemoth awoke and rolled through Belgium, the Netherlands and into France, using the Blitzkrieg tactic to plough through static defences that were more suited to WWI, leaving trailing units to mop-up, while they pushed on toward Paris. They also steamrolled the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) along with the brave French soldiers, who held off the Germans while the flotilla of Little Ships helped to rescue over 300,000 troops from Dunkirk, turning defeat into a victory of sorts that gave Britain another chance to stave off the Nazis during the crucial Battle of Britain that followed. The Boxed Set This set from ICM sees the amalgamation of three individual AFV kits, plus three separate figure sets, giving you six kits in one box. The kits are squeezed into a compact box, each one in its own resealable bag, while the instruction booklets are collected within a card folder for your ease, with the decals slipped inside the three larger booklets. There are two Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.A half-tracks with almost identical sprues, differing by one tasked with general troop carriage as an APC (/1), the other having radio gear and a bedstead antennae on the roof (/6). The third vehicle is an le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz.2), which also has a set of radio gear in the rear. The figure sets include a set of German Infantry, Drivers, and Command Crew, all of which we have seen before either separately, or included in other boxings from ICM. The Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1 was the mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but was flexible enough to also take up many other tasks within the Nazi War Machine, from Anti-Aircraft duties to Howitzer carriage and back again to armoured reconnaissance, which led to a lot of variants. With two steering wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough. It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and aerial bombardment, where the armour would concentrate the blast and reduce the interior to a tangled mess. The Ausf.A was used at the beginning of WWII alongside the Ausf.B, and was generally fitted with an MG.34 on the front cab wall, operated from inside. There were more than 20 official variants and more unofficial field modifications, but despite their seemingly ubiquitous nature in German service, not many were preserved after the war, and they are highly sought after now, with many examples being based upon post-war builds from Czech factories that have been made to look as convincing as possible by their restorers. While the purist may notice the differences in films, they're still a huge improvement on repainted American half-tracks from an authenticity point of view. Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A (35101) This kit consists of five sprues of light grey styrene, a clear sprue, and two spruelets of flexible "rubbery" parts. A small decal sheet is found slipped inside the glossy colour printed instruction booklet, completing the package. This is a full interior kit, and has the engine, crew compartment and a substantial number of interior parts, including weapons, stowage and personal belongings, so the build should result in a highly detailed model. First impressions are good, and after the initial pages detailing with sprue diagrams, the instructions jump straight into the build with the underfloor pan, which has its ladder chassis added and is then added to the interior floor, and has stowage bins added on the sponsons. The angular hull sides are held in the correct angle by butting up against the sides of the bins, and the rear bulkhead with door cut-out completes alignment. The engine compartment is fabricated from various panels including an armoured sump-guard, and work commences on the engine and compartment fittings. Suspension, steering gear and the block are assembled and fitted in turn, with colour call-outs to help you get the painting right. The firewall is fitted out with the driver's controls and inserted into a ledge within the hull, after which some engine ancillaries fit to the other side of the bulkhead. The driver's seat, bench seats and a range of tools, weapons and spare ammunition are installed with the upper hull plates off, while a hollow former marks the space between the cab and crew compartment, which will be hidden under the upper hull part when it is installed. A number of vision hatches and their hinges are supplied as separate parts, as are the engine compartment doors, plus some small flush forward stowage bins. Spare rifles and machine gun barrels are fitted to the underside of the upper hull on racks, with radio gear, drum mags for the machine guns, after which it is glued to the lower hull, trapping the two hinge frames between its halves. The angled doors are then fitted to those hinges, allowing them to operate if you have been careful with the glue. It's unusual to get this far into an AFV model without building up the wheels, but it's at this stage that it's done here. The sing-arms and stub axles slot into holes in the sides of the ladder rail, with bump-stops fitted where applicable, and the interleaved wheels are then slid onto the axles with the drive sprocket at the front. The two steering wheels are made up from two-part hubs, and have rubberised tyres fitted to them before slotting them onto the front axles, and with the three layers of road wheels installed, the tracks can be wound round the lengths, and glued with normal glue. The build is finished off with a shielded machine gun mount at the front, a tripod mount, pioneer tools, fire extinguisher, number plate, rear machine gun mount, rear view mirrors, headlamps, width indicators and aerial. Markings With this being an early mark, it's any colour as long as it's Panzer Grey, with only the number plates and the style of Balkenkreuz to differentiate between vehicles. From the box you can build one of the following: WH 726465 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940 WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 WH 95709 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, Nov 1941 Decals are printed on a bright blue paper, have good register, colour density and sharpness, with decals for the driver's binnacle included on the sheet. Sd.Kfz.151/6 Ausf.A (35102) This kit is essentially the same as that above, but with the addition of another sprue that contains parts for the bed-frame antenna that surrounds the open crew area and the radio gear that it carries. Markings 2 markings are supplied in any colour you want as long as its Panzer Grey. From the sheet you can build one of the following: WH 179467 Command Vehicle of General H Guderian, Poland, 1939 WH 609084 1941 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz.2) After 1933, Germany began to build a modern army. The light off-road passenger car was built by the BMW-Werk Eisenach under the designation BMW 325, as well as Hanomag (Type 20 and Stoewer. The vehicles were used as troop carriers (Kfz. 1), by repair-and-maintenance squads (Kfz. 2/40), by artillery reconnaissance sonic measurement squads (Kfz. 3) and by troop-level aerial defence (Kfz. 4). Almost 13,000 units were built. Between 1940 and 1943, only Stoewer continued to build the R 200 Spezial without the four-wheel steering (Typ 40). The cars weighed 1,775 kg empty (1,700 kg without the four-wheel steering). 90% of all military branches rejected the vehicle as "unfit for wartime service" in a 1942 enquiry, while the much simpler, lighter and cheaper Volkswagen Kübelwagen proved to be far superior in basically every respect. The bag contains four sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The chassis is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is thread through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4-cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three-part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added, with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above. Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. The additional sprue contains the radio gear that fixes onto the covered rear of the vehicle and palettes, with an aerial strapped to the side of the body. Markings The small decal sheet contains registration numbers for four vehicles, along with unit ID insignia. Three of the four vehicles are painted in the overall tank grey with field grey roof canvas, while the fourth is painted for desert operations. From the box you can build one of the following: Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), 29th Artillery Regiment, France 1940 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), 3./JG51, Smolensk, Russia August 1941 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), 6 P.D, Russia, September 1941 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), Ramcke Brigade, Libya 1942 German Drivers 1939-45 (35642) This small set from ICM gives you four figures to fill those empty seats. The bag contains a single sprue of figures in grey styrene with some accessories surrounding the parts - the pic below is sand coloured, but don't let that distract you. It's safe to say that these figures are all posed in the seated position, and two are dressed in standard Wehrmacht uniforms with a forage and patrol cap on their heads. One other figure has a smock coat over his uniform with a lace-up neck, and the final one is an officer with a rather relaxed hand draped over the top of his steering wheel. Two of the drivers forage cap and smock guy are looking to their left, while patrol cap guy seems to be looking at his steering wheel, perhaps at a map? Each figure comes broken down as torso, individual legs and arms, head and hat, with a couple of ammo pouches for the belt around the smock bedecked gentleman. The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper, with part numbers and colour call outs that reference a chart on the rear that shows Revell and Tamiya colour codes, plus the name of the colour in English and Ukrainian (that's a guess). Sculpting and moulding is excellent as we have come to expect from ICM, and the figures will doubtless fit a lot of applications without any adjustment, although that isn't guaranteed, so prepare yourself for a little sanding and such to adapt them. German Command Vehicle Crew 1939-42 (35644) This set is also a single sprue of mid-grey styrene and a short instruction sheet. On the sprue are four figures, including a driver figure and two radio operators, one adjusting his set whilst listening in on headphones, the other with his headphones round his neck writing on a pad that is resting on his left knee. The officer of course is wearing his rank appropriate cap, binoculars and riding breeches, and is resting his right arm on the lip of the vehicle's walls and his corresponding foot propped up on a box within the vehicle. His other hand is looped through his belt/over his holster and he is leaning forward as if he is interested in what's going on. The accessories are fairly sparse due to the duties of the crew, and consist of bands for headphones, binoculars, pistol holster and notepad, while the figures themselves are broken down into separate legs, arms, torso, head with moulded in caps, or separate cap for the officer. The driver figure has his arms split at the elbow to obtain a more realistic position while maintaining detail on the hands etc., and to give a little adjustment when fitting his hands onto the steering wheel. German Infantry 1939-42 (35639) This set consists of two main sprues, one containing four infantry figures that are walking or standing around, the other that supplies a lot of accessories, bags, pouches and weapons to complete the figures. As usual all the figures are extremely well sculpted, have sensible mould-lines and parts breakdown, with separate heads, torsos, legs and arms, plus hats for those not wearing forage caps. An officer is standing with binoculars ready looking at a map (not with the binoculars, silly!), another rank is pointing into the distance with an MP40 in his other hand, while the third and fourth characters are carrying an MG34 machine gun and copious ammo in the form of a belt of link round the gunner’s neck, and a pair of ammo boxes in the hands of the assistant. The accessory sprue is covered in the standard gear seen by German soldiers of this era, plus the aforementioned weapons and a Kar98 for the shoulder of the ammo carrier. A tiny sprue also carries two lengths of ammo for the hungry breech of the MG34. Conclusion These sets from ICM are great for everyone. The modeller gets a lot of quality plastic for their money in a very condensed form to keep the stash volume expansion to a minimum, while ICM are reusing recent toolings to generate income coupled with great value. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Yak-9D Interior 3D Decal Set (QD48281 for Zvezda) 1:48 Quinta Studios When Quinta’s innovative products first came to our attention, they caused quite a stir, as well they should. The replacement Instrument Panels and internal details are mind-boggling to look at, because we’re used to seeing simplified styrene instrument panels with decals if you're lucky, or Photo-Etch Brass panels with either two layers of etch, or laminated parts that can be tricky to glue together, even though they are pre-painted for your ease. But decals? These aren’t your run-of-the-mill decals though, they’re 3D printed in many layers and colours on a flat carrier film, having as much in the way of elevation as is needed to complete a realistic panel printed in the correct colours, complete with shiny dial faces and metallic-effect hardware, and often including cushions and seat belts in the set. Each set arrives in a Ziploc bag with a folded instruction booklet protecting the decals, which are also separately bagged, so they should reach you in good condition. The pictorial instructions are printed on glossy paper, and are shown in full colour as befits the awesomeness of the sets, showing exactly where each part should go on the actual model, so there’s no confusion due to the “pictures speak a thousand words” maxim. Additional hints and instructions are also included, marking out parts needing bases, kit parts and other useful tips. The technical instructions in the text-based, giving additional tips to the new user about maximising adhesion and preventing lift at the edges by wicking in super glue, and not using decal softener due to the possibility of it melting the resin. Application is much the same as your standard decal, but you will need to remove any raised detail that would be underneath the location depicted in the instructions, and some new parts will need small backing panels or bases on which to apply the decal. A slim piece of sheet styrene would perform that task, and painting the edges a matching colour should minimise its appearance or turn it completely invisible. This set is patterned for the brand-new Zvezda Yak-9D in 1:48, and includes all manner of goodies. The set comprises two sheets of decals, containing a superbly detailed instrument panel and side consoles, additional black box fronts, levers and a full set of seatbelts for the pilot’s convenience and safety. The coolest parts are the pair of fuel gauges that are fitted flush with the wing top surface. The kit has clear lenses, which are over-thick, so this set replaces them with an inverted printed dial under a spacer in white resin, then a clear lens with bezel to go over the top. There are two types of gauge dials, and those are the white circular parts on the sheet with L and R printed on them to show which wing they fit in. very clever! There’s even a flare pistol for attachment to the floor by the seat. Conclusion The detail on the parts is incredible, even down to the infinitesimal switches and impressive crispness of the set. This cockpit really needs a crystal-clear or opened canopy to show off the details. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Thank you, Mike - much appreciated, and bookmarked for future reference! John
  13. Yak-9D (4815) 1:48 Zvezda The Yak-9 was an evolution of the successful Yak-7 fighter, and was intended to retake the initiative from the Nazis new Fw.190 and improved Bf.109s, which it successfully did. Production started in late 1942, and by summer 1943 there were enough in service to make a difference, playing a part in the crucial Kursk battle, thanks to its agility in the thicker air at lower altitudes and the heavy armament it carried. It was made in a number of different variants with different intended uses, with the D fitted with additional fuel tanks for longer range, and the DD for longer range still. There were also other versions with a larger 37mm cannon in the nose, and even a 45mm cannon in one variant that had to be installed with a muzzle brake. Post war saw the continued development of the type, which involved the installation of a more powerful engine, and these were later hived off to Soviet-friendly satellite states at the end of the 40s, where they served into the 50s, although their unusual lubrication system saw accidents caused by engines seizing due to forgetful pilots neglecting the hand-cranked lubrication lever in the cockpit. Something that might not necessarily be top of your agenda during a hectic dog fight or tricky manoeuvre. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Zvezda, and as it comes from Zvezda’s home country, the boat has been fully pushed-out, with the result a highly detailed kit. It arrives in a flimsy end-opening box, with a top-opening tray inside that is tough enough to hold everything safely inside, firm up the outer box, and comes complete with an additional captive lid/flap. Inside are six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and the black and white printed instruction booklet, which has a separate painting guide in full colour, printed on both sides. A quick look at the sprues reveals that the detail is excellent throughout, with fine engraved panel lines and rivets where applicable, which are noticeably absent from the wings due to their construction with metal framework and a Bakelite impregnated plywood skin that was responsible for a major reduction in weight between it and its predecessors. There is also a complete engine that has some stunning detail moulded-in and goes all the way back to the cockpit, for which there is a very nicely sculpted pilot that has separate arms, torso and a choice of heads with goggles up or down at your choice. Other options include having the gear down, the engine exposed or closed up, with the additional option of closing up the landing gear and purchasing a separate stand for an in-flight pose. Construction begins with the engine, which is made from a substantial number of parts, and has some super mouldings that would make it a shame to pose it closed up. You will need the engine whether you display it or not, but most of it won’t require painting if you leave the engine closed. The radiator bath is next to be made, with back and front surfaces depicted, after which it is inserted into the full-width lower wing, which has a riveted armour insert behind the chin intake, and that also has front and back surfaces, plus a two-part fairing around it that has a seam up the middle, so will need careful fitting to minimise the seamline for easy hiding. The radiator intake also has a separate lip added to the front before it is flipped over and the wheel bay walls are made up, with the rear wall also forming a short spar that extends to the outer edge of the bays. Behind the spar a box is made up from individual surfaces, the aft section again forming a short spar as well as having tubular framework raised up that forms the rear of the cockpit. The floor of the cockpit sits on the boxed-in area, and has details such as rudder pedals and a choice of two control column types added, with a fuel tank and bulkhead in front, which are joined to the rear with more tubular framing that supports the cockpit sides and instrument panels, as well as other equipment within the cockpit. The instrument panel is well moulded, and four decals are included as well as a part that boxes in the rear of the panel, and a flat cross-member on which it sits at the front of the cockpit. If you're after more detail, Quinta Studio have already released a 3D Printed replacement that you can see here. The afore mentioned pilot is similarly well-moulded, with enough leeway in his arms to allow you to fine-tune them to reach the controls, plus a choice of goggles up or down, and you could incline his head up, down or to the sides to give him a little bit of additional character. The completed engine is decked out with four individual exhaust parts per side, and as some of them are twin pipes, care must be taken to correctly orient them firstly, and put them in the correct order. They aren’t hollow-tipped, but are very small, so with a dab of your blackest black it’s unlikely anyone will notice. The cockpit assembly is completed by bringing together the frames, the lower portion of the seat on its cross-frame, the vertically roll-quilted seat back set against the rear frame, the large cannon breech that runs through the prop, and the pilot if you are using him. At this stage the instructions have you inserting the landing gear legs and their retraction jacks, but these could be left off until later if you wish. The upper wings are joined to the lower after painting the bay roofs on the inside surface, and adding a pair of intake inserts to the wing root leading edges, and a cooling flap at the rear of the radiator, which has its actuators pushed through two holes from above. Wingtips with clear lights, the tail wheel leg that has a separate wheel and yoke half, and rear deck with equipment added are all built up in preparation for fixing the fuselage to the wings and internals. The inner surface of the fuselage halves are painted and has an additional frame added to the nose area on the starboard side, while a floor insert is prepared with the tail wheel for insertion later. The fuselage halves are closed around the existing structure plus the rear deck and a short bulkhead that also has the antenna moulded-in, although I would almost definitely knock that off during handling, so would probably replace it and drill a hole for later insertion of the antenna or its replacement. The port fuselage half is missing its side cowlings to accommodate the display option, and this is prepared with an intake in the lower nose, with a frame added to the inside for the closed-up version. The elevators and their fins are each made of three parts with the flying surfaces able to be posed, as is the rudder and both the ailerons, all of which are separate individual parts with lightly engraved fabric detail visible on the surfaces. If you are opening up the engine cowling, additional parts are included for the port nose machine gun as well as its ammo supply, made from a number of parts and nestling in the top of the engine. The canopy and its companion piece are then inserted in place whether you are showing off the engine or not. The section of the cowling at the very tip of the nose is used if you expose the engine, and this too has additional parts fitted underneath before it is installed behind the prop. The full upper cowling is supplied as a single part if you choose to close it up, leaving you with a neat panel line and one less seam, which is always nice. The prop is moulded as a single boss with the three blades integral, and this is surrounded by the spinner, with the boss and a cannon barrel part to allow the modeller to leave off the spinner front if desired. The canopy opener and the fixed aft section are added behind the windscreen and in front of the aerial antenna. After adding in the main gear legs during earlier construction, the task is completed by adding a captive outer bay door and inner door with actuator, adding two bay doors to the side of the tail gear leg, oil-cooler flap on the chin-intake under the nose, then making up the main wheels from two halves plus inner and outer hubs, after which they slip over the axles to complete the build phase. Markings There are three decal options included on the sheet, with a separate half-page of the instruction booklet showing where all the stencils should go, while the main markings are given on the colour sheet. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Separate Regiment Normandy-Niemen, Pilot Marcel Lefebvre, #14 6th Guards Regiment IAP of the Black Sea Fleet Air Force, Pilot Grib, #22 64th Guards Regiment IAP, Pilot Denchik #3 Decals are printed for Zvezda in a similar style to Begemot, although no logo is included to confirm. They are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a highly detailed model of this important WWII Soviet fighter that some may contend was the best of the war, and certainly one of the best Soviet fighters of the war. Lots of detail throughout, and with enough difference in personal markings to interest many modellers. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Alex at Quinta Studios
  14. 7./JG53 Bf.109G6/R6 ‘Cartoon Aircraft’ (48002a) 1:48 Iliad Designs The Bf.109 was ubiquitous in German fighter service during WWII, and aside from their national markings and those damn swastikas, the squadrons often applied artwork to the sides of their aircraft for their own entertainment and sense of camaraderie, or to differentiate themselves from each other where camouflage was rigorously applied. There’s precious little humour to be had in war, so a great many war fighters on all sides found amusement by decorating their machines of war with slogans or caricatures. Cartoons were commonly used, hence the name of this decal sheet. This decal sheet contains markings for six such cartoon Bf.109s from 7./JG53 during their high-demarcation period, when they were all wearing practically identical camouflage, with green/white spinner and yellow panels under the cowling, with some restrained mottling applied to the light blue fuselage sides. You will need to mask and paint the spinner yourself, although the instructions advise you that as it’s a constant width, so you can mask it with 1.5mm wide tape or decal strip if you have the right colour to hand. Each airframe has cartoonish drawing of their squadron emblem that has been given arms and legs, and is doing something comical and jingoistic to either an avatar representing the enemy or something else equally silly that only the squadron crews would understand. The final common aspect apart from the national markings is the white tail-band that is probably best painted before the rest of the darker colours are laid down, then masked off until near the end. The decal sheet is exceptionally well-printed with good registration, sharpness and colour density, plus a thin glossy carrier film cut close to the printed surfaces. The set doesn’t include stencils of course, as these are usually included on the kit sheet, but in this instance there is a small additional postage stamp-sized sheet with a number of triangular fuel-rating and oil filler stencils, and because the main sheet provides a full set of crosses for each option, you can build all six options providing you have suitable kits and the patience to build half a dozen in the same basic scheme one after another. As well as side profiles, the opposite side of the instruction sheet shows overhead views of the aircraft, so that you can map out the camouflage on all surfaces, which is always helpful. Additional scrap diagrams show painting of the prop spiral, location of the triangular info stencils on two photos of the real aircraft, as well as arrowed call-outs of colours, interesting information and a slightly larger rendition of the cartoons to the sides of all of the subject aircraft to assist you further. Conclusion Iliad always produce interesting subjects that are well-researched, have concise instructions, with excellent quality decals rounding out the package. Highly recommended. Iliad Decals are available from all good model shops worldwide. Review sample courtesy of
  15. thanks jb I have some 110mm dome shaped bits & enough other parts to scratch something very similar so I'll save myself the $100 cost of the kit (not big on full interiors anyway).
  16. @raafif I have this in the stash, a quick measurement suggests the diameter of the tank is about 9cm. jb
  17. I have just spent a few hours trawling the internet for images of period photos of Spitfire XIs to check the windshield shape. Interestingly, it looks like there *might be* examples of both curved and flattened windshields. Now, photos of that particular area of the canopy are not exactly common or clear and it is possible that only one shape was used. If this is the case, the flat at the front end is very subtle and not at all like the canopy supplied by KP, which really does look like the early Mk I style. I was about to apologise for posting misleading information, but from the images I have seen, the kit canopy really doesn’t capture the subtle curves at all. It’s not easy to post links from my iPad, but if you Go ogle for images of the PR.XI you’ll soon see what I’m getting at. I will have a look through my books to see if there’s anything better in there, but as it stands, a replacement canopy is still needed. Cheers, Mark.
  18. It’s not, it’s just the closest thing they have (from their early Mk I). The windshield should have a smooth, continuous curve. It’s quite noticeable on the real thing and KP have rather stuffed this up. Again, it’s not exactly new information and if they’d spent five minutes on the internet, they could have found plenty of photos. Hopefully someone will come out with an accurate replacement soon.
  19. They said it was correct. I see very feint lines there but TBH they will polish out.
  20. SR-71A Ejection Seats PRINT (648758 for Revell) 1:48 Eduard Brassin Revell’s new SR-71A Blackbird in 1:48 has catapulted the old Testors kit into the back of the stash, and brings a lot more detail to the party, as well as a much more structurally rigid model once complete. Eduard’s heap of detail sets for this kit was already quite long, and you can see some of our other reviews here, here, and here too. This new set provides a pair of directly 3D Printed ejection seats for the Blackbird in incredible detail. The set arrives in a flat Brassin pack with card insert keeping it and the instructions straight, and the parts themselves are safely inside a small clear plastic box to prevent crush damage and jostling. Inside the clear foil bag is the box containing both ejection seats, which has a small sticky label to reduce the likelihood of excessive movement within. The detail is truly stunning, and there is more to come from the included Photo-Etch (PE) sheet of seatbelts, and a small decal sheet that contains stencils for the sides of the seat. Construction is simple, as much of the detail is already printed. The belts and pull-handles are also pre-painted and nickel-plated, so painting of the seat itself is all you need do, apply the stencils to the sides of the seats, then glue on the belts as instructed, all of which is times two, as the Blackbird is a two-seater. The detail is exceptional, which is what we’ll come to expect in the 3D printing age we’re entering. The cushions, sides of the seat and other such details are crisp and accurate, with the first print as good as the last, removing the lottery that was mould-wear on traditional cast resin. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. M35 Armament Subsystem for AH-1G Cobra (5144 for ICM/Revell) 1:32 CMK by Special Hobby ICM’s recent AH-1G Cobra kit in 1:32 has also already been seen in a Revell box, and although it is a good kit, with resin, Photo-Etch (PE) and now 3D Printing, the limitations of injection moulding have been well-and-truly topped, allowing greater detail to be added to kits by aftermarket producers. This set is to upgrade the detail in the M35 armament sub-system for the Cobra, which is a derivative of the M61 Vulcan multi-barrelled minigun, but with shorter barrels, mount and mechanism for remote operation from the cockpit. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the yellow-themed instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. This set also includes some 3D printed parts in a light orange resin, with a total of sixteen parts overall. The two largest resin pieces are replacement tops for the ammunition panniers either side of the fuselage, with the rest of the parts going to make up the gun mount, breech, and the six barrels that are made in two lengths, one resin, one 3D printed, separated by spacers. The largest 3D printed part is the ammunition feeder-guide that leads from the panniers to the breech of the gun. This part is extremely well-detailed and more delicately moulded than the kit parts. The gun’s mount attaches under the port winglet in the same manner as the original kit assembly. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Thanks raafif, I haven't seen the Takom kit, will have a look, nothing wrong with having two! Good idea for the figures as well, cheers
  23. Hello Julien Have you got any answer or news from the KP regarding those canopies ? Best Regards Teemu H.
  24. If you really like this vehicle you should consider the superior Takom kit .... or the 1/87th Roco kit. Both are better detailed than the Revell one. The Takom kit has alternative pattern tyres & all wheels steerable (but like Revell, fragile steering rods). Crew from the old Tamiya LandRover ambulance have berets & could be used as crew for the Luchs 2.
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