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  1. Last week
  2. Thanks Mike. 👍 Like you, I can't get enough Luft 46 subjects, especially in 1/48. I have the "standard" (day fighter) version of this kit, and the parts seem to be the same as the night fighter, with the exception of the PE for the radar array. This includes both types of tailplanes, FYI.
  3. Hello everyone Can someone please confirm that this books has a 1/72 scale drawing of the TA-4S? I really need these drawings to build this odd two seat version of the Royal Singapore Air Force. Thank you.
  4. Messerschmitt P.1101 ‘Nightfighter’ (48010) 1:48 RS Models As the war turned against Germany in 1943-4, the German Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM), or Ministry of Aviation in English, issued a specification for an Emergency Fighter Programme, which was to become the Volksjäger, or People’s Fighter programme, based upon the desire for the resulting aircraft to be easily piloted by a novice so that members of the public could be drafted in to fly them after only a short period of training. They had high hopes of darkening the sky with these aircraft and destroying the Allied bomber streams, although this was clearly over-optimistic, especially given the parlous state of German industry at the time, and the poor availability of advanced metals to make the engines that were to power them. Messerschmitt’s Dr. Woldemar Voigt created a basic design for the programme under the name P.1101 only a few days after the requirement was issued, which implies that work had already been underway on a similar project in anticipation. It was to be powered by the Heinkel HeS.001 engine, which was an advanced engine that was still under development, and would remain so for the rest of the war, partly due to the lack of metals that could stand up to the heat generated. The design progressed through various incarnations, considering alternate power sources, changing the variable geometry compound-swept wing to those of the Me.262’s outer panel, and considering then rejecting a V-tail, but keeping the extended fuselage and mounting a standard swept tail design instead. By the time the contest was decided, the Focke-Wulf Ta.183 design was selected, but the P.1101 was retained as a back-up on reduced funding, in part because considerable design work had already been carried out, and many of the problems encountered had been resolved. Its simplified, more practical form carried a single pair of Mk.108 30mm cannons in the sides of the cockpit in cramped compartments near the main gear, retaining the initial tricycle landing gear design with the nose gear in the front of the pointed nose where the intake trunking was sited. As the intended Heinkel engine was still non-operational at the time, a working Jumo 004B unit was installed for test flights. The Front was approaching the test site at Oberammergau, and on 29th April 1945, the American infantry that over-ran the base were surprised to find the partly-finished prototype tipped up onto its tail with missing panels and partly completed wings. Several photos were taken of soldiers and other service people posing next to the aircraft, which have provided some interesting references to researchers post-war. The airframe was eventually shipped to the US, where a look-alike was completed as the Bell X-5, taking the ground-adjustable wing-sweep and making it so that it could be adjusted on the fly, quite literally by the pilot. Bell had intended to create a low-cost fighter for NATO forces base on the design, but the unpleasant spin characteristics of the airframe led to cancellation of the project, which with hindsight would probably have ended the P.1101’s career with the Nazis too. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from RS Models of this innovative design that almost flew during WWII, but has been consigned to the Luft’46 category, even though it continued development under the auspices of Bell after the war. Most Luft’46 or paper-projects are tooled in 1:72, which is a blow for 1:48 builders such as myself, but RS Models have made my year by tooling this in 1:48. The kit arrives in a modestly sized top-opening box with a dramatic painting of the Night Fighter on the front with its whisker-like antennae bristling from its nose, and there are another two boxing options available if you prefer, one of the captured prototype with a couple of alternative in-service decal options, and another boxing with in-service decal options and rockets under the wings. We have the Night Fighter variant to review, and that suits me just fine, as I have a thing about Night Fighters for no reason that I can explain. RS Models produce kits that are somewhere between mainstream and medium-run, so although detail is relatively good, there will be some ejector-pin marks to deal with, and areas that the detailers may wish to improve upon. That said, the exterior detail is excellent, with fine recessed panel lines, a good cockpit on which to base your efforts, plus a choice of additional fuel tanks, a pair of well-detailed Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, and a set of radar antennae whiskers. Inside the glossy top-opening box are two large sprues of grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet, and combined instruction booklet and painting guide, printed in colour on glossy paper. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, adding side consoles and a rear bulkhead to the floor, then installing the seat, rudder pedals on a cross-bar, and the control column atop a conical base. The instrument panel and electrical panel are applied to the starboard fuselage half, but first the intake trunking is made from the nose cone, with two-part trunk installed in the rear, and a blanking plate preventing a see-through look. The trunk has a couple of raised ejector-pin marks inside that you may wish to remove, or you could paint the interior your blackest black and ignore them. The intake is inserted into the front of the starboard fuselage half along with the nose gear bay, which also has an ejector-pin in the centre that will be seen, so choose your preferred method of cutting it back and smoothing it out before gluing it into the fuselage. The main gear bays also have ejector-pin marks in the centre, so while you have the tools out, you might as well deal with those too, which shouldn’t take long. Each bay is shown having the gear legs installed, with separate oleo-scissor links, and two retraction jacks that fit into recesses in the bays, adding a two-part wheel to the axle at the bottom of the leg. I’ll be trying to leave the gear legs off until after painting when I build this, as I’m a clumsy modeller. The cockpit is added to the starboard fuselage, as is the main gear bay, creating the exhaust from three parts, including a blanking plate that would have benefitted from a rear engine face engraved inside. A deflector plate fixes to the margin between the intake and rear fuselage, closing it up by joining the port side and its gear bay. The bay doors can be fitted to the top of the bay cut-out, but they’re better left off until after main painting. The wings are each made from two halves, and slot into the fuselage sides on tabs, taking care to align them correctly with zero dihedral. There is a choice of two tail styles, either fitting a flat-topped fin with T-tail on top, and sanding and filling the elevator root fairings on the sides of the fuselage, or fitting a traditional fin and slotting separate elevators into the root fairings mentioned earlier. I think I’m going to need two of these now! The canopy is provided as a single part, so if you’re very brave, you might consider cutting it, or just leave it as one part, fixing it in place with some non-fogging glue. There are two external fuel tanks that are built from halves, adding a short pylon and two sway-braces between them, and a pair of X-4 missiles in halves that have two fins moulded-in, and two more fitted into slots on the perpendicular sides, adding a tail cone at the rear, and the pylon between two fins. The fuel tanks are shown located on the inner wing, with the missiles on the outer position, although the instructions show them perpendicular to the trailing edges of the wing, which would have horrible aerodynamic qualities. Rotate them inboard a little match the line of flight for a more realistic appearance. The nose gear leg has its wheel moulded-in, and two retraction jacks added to the rear, plus a side-opening door and another to the front that is captive to the strut. With the model almost compete and main painting too for the sake of the delicate parts, the four radar antenna can be installed on the nose, each one made from a pair of H-whiskers on an L-shaped mount that are etched as one part, thickened at the base by another L-shaped layer, and with a strengthening web at the base that is folded over around the support, as shown in the scrap diagram. Only the webs will need bending along the pre-etched lines, so they will be easy for even the novice to build, as long as you are careful with alignment in three dimensions, so check it from multiple angles before the glue fully cures. Markings There are three decal options for this speculative Night fighter, as it didn’t see service during WWII in Nazi or Allied hands. From the box you can build one of the following: NJG.1, Luftwaffe, 1946 NJG.3, Luftwaffe, 1946 Captured Airframe under test in Great Britain, 1946 The decals are printed using a digital process and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. This means that the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion Luft’46 can be a polarising sub-genre, getting some modellers unreasonably angry for no apparent reason, but it also appeals to many for the technical merit of these prototypes and paper projects that could have made a difference to the outcome of the war if they had been created sooner, or in greater numbers. Thankfully they didn’t, but they’re still an interesting concept, and RS Models have done a good job of bringing this aircraft that almost was to 1:48 scale. Thanks guys! Can we have some more now please? Highly recommended. Nightfighter (48010) Day Fighter (48009) Captured Prototype (48011) Review sample courtesy of
  5. I have two on order, can't wait. A very, very pretty little airyplane. For those who have an interest, Twiss' autobiography, "Faster Than the Sun" is a highly recommended read.
  6. As has been previously stated , the underwing decals are too long and too narrow . Fortunately my kit arrived with damaged decals and I obtained a replacement from Revell , so I have plenty of spare decals to do some patching . The real amusement, however , is when you get to the stencils and find a fair few are numbered incorrectly , meaning you have to identify the correct ones from shape and colour . It's a good job Revell no longer have black and white instructions printed on newspaper , or we'd really be stuffed .
  7. Aston Martin DB5 007 Goldfinger (05653) Easy-Click System 1:24 Carrera Revell Aston Martin’s Grand Tourer, the DB5 rose to prominence above almost anything they had produced to that date or since, when it won a starring role in the James Bond film Goldfinger, driven by Sean Connery as the eponymous hero, fitted with guns, oil-slick dispensers, bullet-screen and an ejector seat to name but a few of the gadgets used. Like all of Jimmy’s cars, it ended up in a tangled heap, crashed into a building, and JB in the hands of the bad guys, which is a surprisingly common outcome for such a supposedly accomplished spy, although he always manages to escape. Developed from its predecessor the DB4, the DB5 was so named after the owner of the company David Brown. The engine was a light-weight aluminium straight-six block with three carburettors that propelled it to over 140mph thanks to its 280bhp output that was sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed gearbox that was bought in from a third-party to solve previous problems that their home-grown box had encountered, although a four-speed box was used in early editions. It was also available with a 3-speed automatic box, but who’d want that unless they had leg issues? Like modern Astons, it was lavishly appointed, with leather trim, thick luxurious carpeting, and traditional chrome wire-wheels with knock-on/off nuts. The magnesium alloy body had two doors, and could seat two comfortably, with additional space for children or adults with no legs, and luggage in the boot. It was initially launched in 1963, and the production run included a small number of custom-built cabriolets, some of which had more powerful Vantage engines, and at the very end of production some were kitted out with the upcoming DB6’s engine. During its last year of production in 1965 they released the Vantage option with an extra 40+bhp of power squeezed out of the engine thanks to improved carburettors and more aggressively profiled camshafts, with only 65 being made before the DB6 replaced it in their line-up. The DB6 was an evolution of its forerunner, with improved aerodynamics and luxury, developing into a closer representation of the later DB series cars that we’re probably familiar with from our childhood and beyond. The Kit This is a new tool Easy-Click System kit from Revell, designed to be built by novices or experts alike, requiring no glue unless you feel the urge, and including a set of five thumb-pots of acrylic paint and a two-ended paint brush. You also receive a folded A3 poster of the box art without the trappings required for the packaging, which you can hang on the wall if you wish. Inside the end-opening box are four sprues in black styrene, three sprues and the bodyshell in muted silver, one in dark grey, two chromed sprues, a clear sprue, four flexible black tyres, decal sheet, sticker sheet, and instruction booklet that is printed in colour, and has the painting and markings guide on the rear pages. Though this is a snap-together kit and comes with both decals or stickers for the younger audience, detail is good for a kerbside model, and it includes some of the gadgets that Mr Connery used in the movie, such as the bullet-screen, ejection seat opening in the roof, and the extendible axles that tore the side out of the baddie’s car during a frenetic chase. Construction begins with the floor pan, which has a silver insert that depicts the underside of the engine and transmission using two parts, over which the suspension struts are added, pivoting the front axles with moulded-in brake disks and their connecting arm, then layering a sub-frame over it before moving on to the rear axle. The back axle is bulked out with an insert in the centre that creates the differential housing, fitting suspension struts and dampers into the rear of the floor pan. The twin down-pipes from the engine are placed side-by-side along the centre of the floor pan, then attention turns to the interior. The front seats are each made from an L-shaped part with pencil quilting that has a rear panel inserted, while the dashboard has the steering column and wheel inserted into the right side, adding eight decals or stickers to the dials, and another to the centre of the steering wheel and centre console. The interior floor is a grey part that receives the rest of the internal assemblies, starting with the gear stick, which has a choice of standard or 007 variants with the cap open displaying the red button. A choice of centre armrest with alternative open rest that has gadget buttons in it is made next, then the driver’s foot pedals are snapped into the right footwell, popping the front and rear seats in behind. The door cards are both fitted with inner handle, while the driver’s side has another secret pocket that can be fitted open to display more gadgets. They have a decal applied, and are clipped into the sides of the floor, held vertically by the dash that is installed at the same time. The completed interior is inserted into the bodyshell after adding a rear-view mirror above the windscreen, and if you’re going for realism, there are quite a few ejection-pin marks around the perimeter of the roof liner that you may wish to hide with filler. A black inner wheel well insert is added forward of the interior while the body is inverted, and at the rear, three clear lenses are clipped into the corners to create the light clusters, painting the lenses the appropriate clear colour. Naturally, there are alternate bottom lenses depicted flipped open to display the barrels of the rear machine guns. The front and rear number plate holders are built with a rotating prism held inside a frame, adding the bumper and boot handle at the rear, plus slide-out over-riders that are held in place by a pair of washers inside. The front bumper is installed after the bodyshell and floor pan are mated, fitting a front valance to the rear of the bumper, and adding the same kind of slide-out over-riders either side of the rotating number plate holder before fixing them under the front of the vehicle, and slotting the distinctive chromed Aston Martin grille into the centre. Side lights or machine guns are fitted into the front wings, and the headlight lenses are too, once the inner lens and chromed reflector are fixed into the recess. The wheel hubs are built from three layers, the rear of the hub in black, and the wire wheels in chrome, trapping a top-hat washer in the centre that friction-fits on the axles. The flexible tyres are slipped over the hubs and attached to the model, one per corner as you’d expect. The windscreen is carefully inserted from outside, helping it along by inserting your index finger (other fingers are available) through the ejection seat hatch to ensure it doesn’t fall inside. The rear screen can be inserted similarly, adding the side windows from the outside. It’s worth noting that the side windows are supplied as a single part, including both the door window and the quarter-light, and locating on a pair of tabs that clip into the sills of the bodyshell. External chromed door handles and the wing detail inserts are applied to the exterior side, and you have a choice of installing standard knock-off wheel nuts, or the 007 weaponised versions that project from the centre of the wheel on a tubular support, by using different chromed parts. More chromed parts follow, including the aerial base, a pair of windscreen wipers, and wing mirrors, not forgetting the hatch through which your unfortunate front seat passenger would be ejected should the need arise. You can pose it closed by using the part, or leave it off to show off the interior better. The last standard parts are the twin exhausts that have the back box moulded in, clipping to the end of the down-pipes under the body. The 007 specific gear is finalised by sliding the bullet screen behind the rear window, which slots into the rear bodywork, and can be fitted with a decal or sticker that portrays some bullet damage for a little movie frivolity. Next to the exhausts, a black tube is inserted into a hole in the valance, and if memory serves, this is the oil dispenser. It’s a while since I’ve seen Goldfinger. Markings This is a special edition, so there is only one option on the decal sheet, although there are alternative number plate options for those rotating plate holders. From the box you can build the following: Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. It’s not clear who printed the stickers, but they seem well-done and fit for purpose. Conclusion Sean Connery played a colder and cooler Bond (controversial!) than his replacement, and the DB5 cemented its place in motoring and movie history by appearing in Goldfinger. It’s a good-looking model of the car, and should provide some fun for the novice and expert alike, choosing which of the gadgets to deploy on your model. Highly recommended. Carrera Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  8. Great review, Mike. I received mine during the week, it’s a beautiful little kit (looks to build up to Mirage III/MiG-21 size).
  9. I'd need at least two. The RAF SEAC one here and a RAAF New Guinea based example!
  10. If you mean jeweller's aprons, I use velcro, but we're so we'd better shut up
  11. I have one of those. A good tip is to stitch a couple of small magnets, or stip magnet from old fridge, into the bottom of the apron. Then attach some attracting magnets to the underside the workbench. When sitting down, the bottom of the apron sticks to the magnets under the table and the apron catches all the bits. Using magnets is also useful, should I need to get up in a hurry, the apron just detaches itself. Mike
  12. Two words for you "Jeweller's Apron". Look it up, and it'll save you hours of grovelling on the ground
  13. That last sprue should keep the carpet monster well fed 😄 Cheers Colin
  14. Vultee Vengeance Mk.I/Ia (DFW72038) 1:72 Dora Wings Distributed in the UK by Albion Alloys The A-31 Vultee Vengeance was designed and built for a French order that couldn’t be fulfilled due to Nazis overrunning the country before any deliveries could begin. The British government became interested in the design and placed an order for up to 300 airframes, by which time the aircraft had garnered the name Vengeance. It’s unusual wing design that looked like a diving bird had a 0° angle of incidence that made for an accurate dive with no lift from the wings to draw it off course. After America joined the war the type was investigated for their own use and given the number A-35 for their own and export use. Changes to the wing made it a little less accurate, but gave the pilots a better field of view, and an uprated engine from Mk.Ia onwards gave it a bit more power. By the time the Vengeance reached British service, the losses taken by the Stukas that it had been designed to emulate gave them pause for thought, and they weren’t allocated to the European Theatre of Operation (ETO), but were instead sent to India and Burma initially, although they were later phased out in favour of more capable machines before the war’s end. They eventually found their way to an anti-malarial spraying job, as mosquitos and the malarial plague they brought with them was taking a toll on troops and locals alike. Many of them finished their days as target tugs after being stripped of their weapons. Australia made a larger order and they found them to be much the same as the British did, seeing most of them out of service late in 1944, although a few lingered for a while. The Mk.II that followed was a slightly improved version of the original Mk.I, with just over 500 made. The Kit This is a new tool from Dora Wings of this peculiar beast that looks more like a creature than most. We received the awesome 1:48 kit of the Mk.II in early 2022, and now we’re getting a first look at the 1:72 kit of the Mk.I/Ia. It’s brand new and thoroughly modern, with a level of detail that gives the impression that a shrink-ray has been applied to its larger companion, except for a slight change in sprue layouts, and the fact that shrink rays don’t yet exist. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are seven rectangular sprues in a greenish-grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a sheet of pre-cut vinyl masks (not pictured), decal sheet, and the instruction booklet. It’s a comprehensive package, and there is plenty of PE at this scale to help you get some serious detail into your Vengeance. Examining the sprues, there has clearly been a lot of effort expended in creating this tooling, as detail is everywhere, and it’s good quality with engraved panel lines and some raised panels giving it a professional finish. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is of a larger size due to it having two crew members. The pilot’s instrument panel is a well-detailed part applying two dial decals, which has more styrene and PE parts plus an sloped wrap-around section, hanging a pair of styrene rudder pedals from the rear of the console. A compass with decal fits to the right diagonal section on a PE bracket, then the floor and bulkheads are made, which doubles as the roof of the bomb bay, as is common. Two seats are built from individual sections including PE diagonals and have PE four-point belts included for the pilot only. He also gets PE head armour and a styrene head rest on the bulkhead behind him, and a pair of side consoles that are built up in the same detailed manner as the instrument panel. The pilot’s seat is fixed to the floor on a ladder frame in front of the bulkhead and is hemmed in by the addition of the instrument panel and side console at that point. The gunner has a complex suspension mount for his seat that fits on a recessed circular section of floor with some additional parts around the area. The fuselage halves have a large area of ribbing engraved into the interior that covers the cockpit and bomb bay, and is further detailed by the addition of various PE and styrene parts before it is put to one side while the cockpit/bomb bay are finished off. The rear section of bulkhead is built up with PE and styrene, creating the base for the mount of the twin machine guns that are made later. A radio box is also put together for later. The bomb bay can be modelled open or closed, but it would be a shame to close the doors on all that detail. The instructions allow you to do that though, as it’s your model after all. Steps 19-27 & 48 cover the bombs with PE fins, a cylindrical tank, the door mechanisms, plus adding constructional beams to detail up the bay to an excellent level. The tail wheel is also made now with yet more detail, and this level of effort also extends to the twin .50cals on their mount, with sighting and bullet-shield parts, plus the twin-spade grips for those defensive moments. With a laundry list of assemblies complete, you can close the fuselage halves on the cockpit and tail wheel assemblies, adding two more detail parts in the area behind the gunner. The top of the fuselage is open forward of the cockpit, which is rectified by adding an insert and convex bulkhead to the front, and an A-frame roll-over bar between the two crew. Attention then turns to the big radial engine up front. The Vengeance Mk.I was powered by a Wright Cyclone R-2600-A5B, the Mk.Ia using a R-2600-19, with twin banks of pistons that are both are present on this model. Work begins with the front bell-housing and ancillaries, which has a drive-shaft for the prop pushed through the front and is held in place by a washer at the rear. Each bank of cylinders is made from front and rear halves, with a star of push-rods and wiring harness added to the front, capped off with the bell-housing. Its exhaust stubs are each made of two halves for fitting to the model, one per side. The engine assembly is attached to the front of the fuselage ready for its cowling later. The oddest part of the Vengeance are the wings. Before they are closed, the main bay walls are added to the upper wing, which has the roof detail moulded-in, augmented by PE ribbing, plus some additional detail added to the front walls. As the two wing halves are brought together, an insert is fixed into the trailing edge that has a curved outer edge to accept the flying surfaces. Two of these are made up, and joined by three flying surfaces with an additional pivot point fixed into the wing as you go along. This gives you plenty of leeway for posing these parts to your whim. The forward sections of the main gear bays are built up with three additional parts that are applied to the sides and front of the detailed roof. If you’ve opted to open the bomb bay, the two bombs are attached to their Y-shaped yokes and laid flat in the bay, then the wings and the angular elevator fin are fixed in place along with the rear gun and radio box in the cockpit. It’s looking like an aircraft now, and the transformation continues as you make up the cowling from two main halves and lip parts, into which the lower intake trunking is installed along with two PE splitters. Care here will reduce any hiding of seams later, which is always nice. The cooling flaps are moulded into the cowling in this smaller kit, making use of PE parts to recreate the dive-spoilers, which can be posed deployed with PE supports, and should look very realistic once painted, especially if their fit is as good as those on the 1:48 kit. The elevators and rudder are all separate assemblies that can again be posed deflected if you wish. The canopy is a large greenhouse with plenty of frames to terrify the masking averse, but they needn’t worry, as Dora have included a set of vinyl masks in translucent grey, pre-cut for your convenience. There are five canopy parts, beginning with the windscreen and working back to the gunner’s windows, all of which are slender and clear within the limits of injection moulding. There is a short vertical aerial on the centre section, which should be rigged with a length of fine line to the forward tip of the rudder fin, which is visible on the box art to assist you in getting it right. The main gear is similar to many American dive bombers, consisting of a straight, thick leg with PE oleo-scissors and detail parts, and a captive “spat” at the bottom of the leg that is a lot less usual. Four small side bay doors are also included with PE openers that are easy to lose as I found out in its larger cousin, and throughout the various bays, detail is excellent. The legs are fixed into the bays with a retraction jack added behind, installing the lower dive-spoilers and the bomb bay doors in the next step. If you’re closing the bomb bay, there is a single part for you to use, but leaving them open you have four parts, two per side, as the doors fold-up into a sharp V-shape at each side of the bay. As an aside, I used the closed bomb bay part as a mask for the open bomb bay in my 1:48 build, cutting notches where the door actuators extend beyond the walls. The fit was so snug that it was held in position by friction alone. A small PE exhaust outlet is inserted into a slot in front of the bomb bay, and at the rear of the aircraft the PE tail bay door is rested against the leg. The propeller is made from a single set of moulded blades that have a combined boss and spinner added to the front. Pop the pitot probe under the right wing, and fit two circular landing lights into their recesses under both wings, and that’s it done. Markings There are a generous four decal options on the sheet, although they’re all wearing the same basic brown/green camouflage scheme, with sky blue undersides, differentiating by their codes and lettering styles. From the box you can build one of the following: Mk.Ia (EZ804), 110(H) Sqn., Burma, 1944 Mk.Ia (EZ977), 8 Sqn., IAF, India, 1944 Mk.I (AN590), 1 GBPi, Brazil, 1943 Mk.Ia (EZ957), 110(H), Sqn., Burma, 1944 <ul style="list-style-type:upper-alpha"> Decals are 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. The profiles contain thanks to both Steve Long and the director of the Camden Museum of Aviation for their assistance with this project. Conclusion This is a superbly-detailed model of this lesser-known combatant in the Pacific theatre during WWII, with its weird wings and massive engine cowling making it stand out on your model shelf. The 1:48 kit was a treat to build, and there’s nothing to suggest that this will be any different, with barely any difference in the level of detail supplied. Very highly recommended. Available soon from Dora Wings in the Ukraine, and in the UK from importers Albion Alloys. Review sample courtesy of Available soon in the UK in all good model shops. Distributed by
  15. Leopard 2A6M+ (03342) 1:35 Carrera Revell The Leopard 2 is the successor to the earlier Leopard Main Battle Tank (MBT), and was developed in the 70s, entering service just before the turn of the decade. The initial design had a vertical faced turret front, while later editions had improved angled armour applied to the turret front that gives the tank a more aggressive look and provides much better protection from an increased likelihood of deflecting incoming rounds away. It has all the technical features of a modern MBT, including stabilised main gun for firing on the move, thermal imaging, and advanced composite armour, making it a world-class contender as one of the best tanks on the market. The original Leopard 2 variant entered service in 1979, but has been through several upgrades through its service life and the current production variant is the highly advanced 2A7+, with the 2A8 waiting in the wings. The 2A6 is still a powerful battlefield resource however, and likely to be so for some considerable time. It sports the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore gun with the barrel extended over the A5, which results in a higher muzzle velocity that improves its penetration power over its predecessor, allowing it to reach targets at a greater range and hit harder. It also has an armoured ammunition storage space in the turret that is engineered to blow outward in the event of a detonation of munitions, which again improves the crew survivability further. For close-in defence they are fitted with an MG3 machine gun, and the armour is installed to give it an arrow-head front profile to the turret, as well as several more subtle upgrades that follow on from the 2A5. Sales of the Leopard 2 have been good overseas because of its reputation, and Canada, Turkey, Spain and many Nordic countries use it as well as many other smaller operators. The 2A6M is a mine-protected variant for use in asymmetric combat and in the likelihood that IEDs or mines have been planted to destroy the heavy armour before it can roll over their lightly protected positions. These were upgraded in the mid-2010s to the 2A7 standard, but due to monetary constraints only fifty vehicles were converted, only using the + designation until the completion of the programme in 2017. The upgrades involved new comms systems that include a field telephone on the rear bulkhead, replacement of the potentially dangerous Halon fire extinguishing system with a more environmentally friendly chemical system, as well as new sights for the commander and gunner, bringing them up to modern standards. The Kit This is a new boxing of Revell's 2012 tooling of this type, as evidenced by the raised copyright lettering on the inside of the floor pan. It arrives in an end-opening box, with a painting of the Leopard wearing European camouflage while another big cat, the Eurocopter Tiger flies behind it. Inside are eight sprues in grey styrene, in a welcome move away from the green Revell used to use in their AFV kits. There are also four sprues of flexible black plastic, plus four runs of track in the same material, and a clear sheet of acetate (not pictured – it’s invisible) that is marked as "window sheet" on the instructions. A short length of wire (not pictured) is taped to the instruction booklet, and the ends are quite sharp, so avoid stabbing yourself like I once did some years back. The decal sheet is hidden away in the centre of the booklet, and is protected by a sheet of thin greaseproof paper, as is the clear acetate. The kit is clearly a modern heritage, and has some nice detail on the outer hull, including patches of anti-slip coating on the main surfaces. The large circular cooling fans on the rear decking are particularly nicely done as separate parts, and should look well once painted. The odd splitting of the track could cause some issues however, as each track is made up from two halves that must be glued together before they can be fitted to the tank, but won’t react to normal styrene glue, so would be best done with super glue or epoxy glue, which would require the joint to remain relatively straight, so positioning them in the middle of the top and bottom track runs would be beneficial. Construction begins with the hull, which is built up from separate sides, held in alignment by two perforated bulkheads that sit in slots in the floor plan. An insert is added to the right rear side, completing the lower hull by fixing the rear bulkhead in place. The upper hull is mated with the lower, fitting a hatch on the right side, and one of the two circular cooling vents on the engine deck. Suspension details such as bump-stops, swing-arms with stub axles detail the hull sides, after which seven road wheel pairs are slipped over the axles on each side, and four return rollers per side. The idler wheels are smaller than the road wheels, and the drive sprockets are built from two separate toothed parts each. An appliqué armour panel is added to the underside of the tank, which improves its mine resistance, although unusually it doesn’t have an angled keel to deflect the blast like most other anti-mine packages. As mentioned earlier, the tracks are of the rubber-band type with nice detail, and if you can live with the curving of the links around the drive sprockets and idler wheels they should suffice. Each length is made from two sections, which have a generous four-link overlap and two pins on each link to strengthen the join. You are instructed to glue them with ordinary plastic adhesive, and you are recommended to clamp them together and wait until they are properly cured before handling them, but you’ll be in for a long wait, as I tested liquid glue and it had no melting effect. The pins are flush to the track pads on the outer face, so filling or hiding them under the fenders and against the ground would be advisable once you have attached them to the vehicle. The rear bulkhead of the vehicle has a large radiator grille running along the full width, which is a little shallow, but with some black paint in the recesses, should suffice for most modellers. A couple of turnbuckles are glued to the lower edge, and under the ends hang the two flexible mudguards that are made from the same plastic as the tracks, and the field telephone box with handle in the centre. Two other panels are fixed to either side, one with a bracket that receives the convoy light shield, applying a decal or painting the white cross by hand if you prefer. Three towing shackles and the rear light clusters finish the rear of the vehicle for now, installing the flexible towing cables with styrene eyes later. A set of pioneer tools are added to the rear deck, gluing barrel cleaning rods to the front deck, and the afore-mentioned towing ropes are fitted. If you're not happy with a mould-line running down your tow-ropes, now would be the time to replace it with some braided wire or cord, using the kit parts as a length template. Moving to the glacis plate, spare track links on a palette with the front hazard lights are installed, along with the usual shackles and headlights, followed by the driver’s hatch, which has detail inserts fixed front and rear. The fenders are integral to the top hull, and only the side-skirts need to be added. These are made from two basic parts on each side with tapering forward sections, and overlaying thicker appliqué armour over the front two road wheel stations and idler, plus the rear sections that locate on a long guiding tab moulded into the back of the parts. The turret is a complex shape, and the base is made up from three parts, onto which the main gun is built up with a block in place of the breech. The barrel is supplied in two halves, split vertically lengthwise, and it has some nice moulded-in detail, so take care aligning the parts and again when cleaning up the seam. The barrel is tipped with a hollow muzzle, but this is a little shallow, so might be better drilled out once the glue is dry. The mantlet section that raises with the gun is built up around the base of the barrel in three parts, and this is then added to the lower turret, being locked in place by a pair of trunnions that permit the barrel to raise and lower. The top of the turret is a large part with only one two-layer panel in the rear right added along with the sighting system's lenses that are installed from inside. This is mated to the bottom of the turret, after which the side panels and bustle are added to complete the main part of the turret's construction. The angled panels that bolster the armour of the turret's arrow-head front are installed next, and here there are were some quite significant sink-marks in previous boxings that seem to have been almost totally eradicated in this boxing. A bustle stowage box is created from a four-sided part with separate roof, glued to the rear of the turret, then the roof of the turret is festooned with various small parts, including antenna bases, armoured surrounds over the vision blocks, the new sight in front of the commander’s cupola, which utilises two parts cut from the clear sheet for its lenses front and rear. Another sighting turret is installed behind and to the left of the commander’s cupola, and the TV sensor box at the front is outfitted with its doors, which you can pose open by cutting the part in half and gluing it to the outer edges of the box. Lifting eyes and two crew access hatches are made and installed in open or closed positions, fixing the gunner's MG3 to the edge of his hatch. Triangular mesh baskets are made from four parts each and installed on the angled rear corners of the bustle, and these styrene parts would be prime candidates for replacement by aftermarket mesh to give a more realistic appearance. The smoke grenade launchers are fitted to each side of the turret just forward of the baskets, and these are made up from individual barrels attached to a rail with supports moulded in. To create the aerials, the instructions tell you to cut and heat up one end of two 75mm lengths of wire before plunging them into the aerial mounts that were added earlier in the build. Whether super-glue would be a less hazardous option is up to you. Just be careful you don't stab or burn yourself at any stage. It hurts. The turret can then be added to the hull by twisting it into place to lock the bayonet lugs under the turret-ring flange. A pair of rear-view mirrors are added to the front of the tank, and the last part of the build is to decide whether to lock the barrel to the rear for transport, or leave it free with the transport-lock stowed between the two large fan grilles, one of which has been left off until this point, possibly to ensure that the base of the travel-lock that is moulded into the grille is correctly lined up. Markings There are two decal options included on the sheet, both of which are painted in NATO green, brown and black camouflage. You can build one of the following from the box: PzBtl 104, Pfreimd, 2018 PzBtl 414, Bergen-Lohheide, 2019 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The Leopard 2 is an impressive and capable tank, and this kit should build up into a good rendition of it with a little care and attention to detail. Whether you want to replace the tracks or not depends on your priorities and budget, but the flexible tracks included are well-detailed for their type. Highly recommended. Carrera Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  16. Great review and always helpful in determining if a kit gets to join the stash or not. Thanks.
  17. Tempest Mk.V Resin & 3D Printed Update Sets (For Airfix) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Airfix released their Hawker Tempest Mk.V in 1:72 a few years ago, and it’s a great little kit, but as always you can improve on injected styrene with resin, either traditionally cast, or 3D printed for ultimate detail. CMK have created a host of new sets to allow the modeller to ramp-up the detail to extreme levels, working with parts that are almost drop-in, far from the origins of aftermarket that could sometimes be difficult to fit inside the constraints of the kit parts. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. The larger engine set is in a cardboard box, with the parts in Ziploc bags, padded out by the folded instruction booklet. Engine & Fuselage Tanks (P72008) This set consists of only eight parts of 3D printed resin, but don’t let that dissuade you. The engine is protected inside the boxed-in printing base, which can be simply opened with a razor saw or nippers along the lines shown by nicks in the vertical supports. The detail is phenomenal, especially the engine, which is printed as a single part, minus its exhaust stubs. The instructions show the upper cowling panels that should be removed in red, reducing the edges to give a more realistic look. The engine is prepped and painted before it is installed in the nose in front of the cockpit, with the tanks printed integrally along with the bulkheads and ribs, needing just the exhaust stubs slotted into the sides of the massive engine block. To hang the prop off the front, a drive-shaft is pushed into a hole in the front bulkhead, then the four cowling panels that are printed at a much more scale thickness with stiffening frames on the inner faces, to be left nearby as if the mechanics have just departed for a cuppa. Exhausts (P72011) If you want your Tempest in-flight or parked-up and prepared for take-off, this set includes just the exhaust stubs on a single print-base, which are a drop-in replacement for the kit parts once liberated from their base. The detail is far superior to the kit parts, with weld-seams and hollow lips to the exhausts that add realism to your model quickly and easily. Early Gun Barrels (P72009) Containing two inserts with a pair of cannon barrels each on a single print base, handed for each wing, these parts are a straight-forward drop-in replacement for the kit parts, depicting the earlier barrel shrouds. Gunsight & Seat Correction Set (P72010) Consisting of two parts, the seat is printed in incredible detail in orange resin, and the gunsight in clear resin that is loose in the blister pack, so could easily be lost. Take care when opening the package, as it’s a very small part. Wheels Early & Late (Q72413 & Q72414) These two sets both provide a pair of wheels with different hubs and tyres. The early wheels are treadless and have five spoked hubs, while the later set has block treaded tyres and four spoke hubs on different style bases, as they are traditionally cast. They add a ton of detail and are a drop-in replacement once you have cut them from their casting blocks on the contact patch where the tyre is slightly flattened by the weight of the aircraft. Early (Q72413) Late (Q72414) Tempest Pilot, Dog & Mechanic with Accumulator Trolley (F72402) To add a little human scale, this figure set includes two humans, a pilot and ground crew member, a dog, and an accumulator trolley that was a must-have to start your Tempest in a dispersal location. The figures are all 3D printed in one part each, while the accumulator is protected inside a box-like print base, which is easy to cut where there are pre-made weakening points on the vertical supports. The trolley and A-frame are printed as one, needing just the wheels fitting to the axles at the sides, but bear in mind that the towing eye is incredibly delicate due to its scale size, so take care handling it. Conclusion You can pick and choose which of these sets that you are interested in for your model, or you can push the boat out and fit them all, although you’ll have to decide of which wheels you want to use. The detail is excellent, especially the engine, which will blow the socks off your viewers once the model is complete. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Earlier
  19. Ki-21-1a Sally (48196) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Sally, as she was known by the Allies during WWII was a heavy bomber designed by Mitsubishi as a replacement for the Ki-20, in competition with Nakajima, who although they lost out on the design of the aircraft, were given the contract for the power plants, as their HA-5 engines were found to be superior to Mitsubishi’s offering that was originally installed in the winning design. A small number of airframes were also built by Nakajima, with a total of just over 2,000 built between them. It first flew in 1936 and was intended for long-range bombing missions against Soviet and Chinese opponents, first entering service in 1938 in operations against China. Initial experience showed that the design was lacking in some respects, extending to the crucial oxygen system that was initially found to be unreliable. The Ib was intended to address most of the issues, including the lack of armament and changes to the flying surfaces. It also had a remote tail gun installation, and could mount an additional fuel tank for extreme range missions. The type was pretty much obsolete by 1940, and mounting losses prompted the type’s withdrawal from front line service, and the sale of some of the superfluous airframes to nations that remained friendly to the Japanese Empire. Uses were still found for the type with the Japanese forces however, and the remaining aircraft were used until the end of the war as cargo transports, trainers, troop transports and communications hacks. The later variants had improved engine performance with new Mitsubishi units, some with alterations to the greenhouse behind the cockpit, which was changed to a turret on some, and removed entirely on transport variants. The Kit This is a reboxing of a brand-new tool from ICM, following on from its smaller 1:72 sibling kit that was relatively recently released by ICM. The kit arrives in a top-opening box that has a captive top flap on the bottom tray. Inside are seven sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in a separate bag, decal sheet and the instruction booklet, which is printed in colour with profiles for painting and decaling on the back pages. Detail is thoroughly modern, and extends to ribbing on the interior of most of the fuselage, restrained fabric depiction on the flying surfaces, full representation of the engines and a nice cockpit, plus a set of crystal-clear glazing parts. Construction begins with the fuselage halves, which have the unarmed early tail added to the rear on a keyed flange, a lozenge-shaped detail insert to make the wing root recess flush, and the side windows, ammo drums dotted around the interior, plus multiple well-detailed equipment boxes inserted in the cockpit area, O2 bottles in the wing area, and later a line of trunking that extends from the trailing edge of the wing to the tail. The mid-upper gunner’s compartment is built from a series of ribbed steps that are glued to a base with another step, which is then joined to a bulkhead at the front that forms the rear bulkhead of the bomb bay, and has ribbing along its lower portion, then the bomb bay roof is fitted out with eight bomb shackles before the sides and front bulkhead are installed, and it is then populated by four bombs that are each made from two halves, plus twin braces to each side of the stabilising fins at the rear. The bomb bay is joined to the underside of the cockpit floor, and in the recess that is part of the forward floor, detail is moulded into the top of the bomb bay, and it accepts one pilot’s rudder pedals that fit into pairs of holes in the deck. A seat with cushion is suspended over the recess, then another more substantial seat is attached to the floor at the port side with a lever to the side of it, adding a side console, throttle quadrant and two bow-tie control columns before the front bulkhead is fixed to the cockpit, plus a pair of two-part fuel tanks further back over the wing along the starboard wall, with a small equipment installation just forward. The cockpit assembly can then be inserted into the port fuselage half, adding the bomb-aimer’s position with a choice of two glazing parts, one with a cushion and vertical column, one bare, slotting into the cut-out under the nose. More ammo cans are dotted around the upper gunner’s stepped compartment, adding a clear porthole in the floor, and an internal ladder below the crew access door in the port side. The reason for the ammo cans includes side-firing and ventral machine guns, with a choice of weapons that have a plate magazine over the breech, or Type 89 machine guns, gluing the floor-mounted glazing panel into one side of the lower fuselage before it is closed. In the front, a rack of four O2 bottles are inserted in the roof of the nose, then the starboard fuselage is prepared in a similar manner as the port, fitting the wing root insert, adding glazing, instruments, machine gun ammo cans, a jump seat and the afore-mentioned trunk down the wall of the fuselage. The fuselage halves are closed around the instrument panel that has a pair of decals to depict the dials, a short pointed coaming, and centre throttle quadrant, plus the upper gunner’s seat that is suspended on four moulded-in struts that locate on corresponding depressions in the fuselage wall. You have a choice of posing the bomb bay open or closed, using a single part to depict it closed, or the four individual door parts that fold to the side in pairs with the help of a pair of retraction jacks at either end, which are all included on the sprues. The dorsal gunner’s fuselage insert is prepped by making the gun mount and dump bag that are both in two parts, and the twin guns mounted over it, which have a pair of half plate magazines fitted to the top of the breech, and a semi-circular pivot that flex-fits into recesses under the dorsal insert, after which you can glue the assembly into position in the top of the fuselage, taking care to align it minimise clean-up of seams. You have the same choice of two gun types for the nose gun that slides through a hole in the nose glazing, gluing into the nose while the canopy and dorsal glazing are fitted, being careful to paint the deck under the dorsal glazing before you add glue. The tail is begun by adding the elevator fins, which have separate flying surfaces and rudder panel, then the wings are prepared by inserting a two-part bay in each one before joining the upper and lower halves together, adding the ailerons into their slots and landing light lenses in the leading edges. They are then glued onto the wing root fairings on the fuselage, which have a lip to ensure proper location, and a slot for the short length of spar that extends from the wing to further improve joint strength. The wheels are installed under the wings before the engines and lower cowling are made up, starting with the tail-wheel slipped into its yoke, and then adding the two-part wheels to the H-frame main strut, which has a two-part support frame fitted to the front, and a long yoke with mudguard and additional V-strut that links the lower leg to the back of the bay. Four small parts are fixed to the wing inside the bays, and the lower cowlings are made up out of two halves trapping a round bulkhead, adding a pair of two-part intakes top and bottom, then sliding the lower nacelle over the completed wheels and mating the edges with the recessed lip of the lower wing surface. The engines are built-up on bulkheads with the cooling flaps moulded-in, a separate exhaust stack underneath, and a depiction of both cylinder banks, plus the front bell-housing with push-rods moulded-in, hiding the prop axle inside without glue so that the props can spin later, and fitting a wiring loom guide around the bell housing. The finished engines are covered by two cowling halves and a separate lip, gluing them to the front of the nacelles and finishing them off by adding the three-bladed prop and separate spinner. The model is completed by installing an antenna post and D/F loop over the canopy, and a curious-looking cranked pitot probe in the leading edge of the port wing that keeps the sensor out of the wing’s airflow. Markings There are five options on the decal sheet, with only two in light green-grey, one in wide camouflage stripes, another with a dense dark green squiggle camouflage scheme over green-grey, and the final choice with a fully green upper surface. From the box you can build one of the following: 60th Sentai, China, early 1939 – pre-production aircraft 60th Sentai, China, 1941 14th Sentai, probably China, 1941 105 Kyoiku Hiko Rentai, presumably 1942 64th Sentai, 1943 Decals are by ICM’s usual partner, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. As is common now with ICM kits, there is a page of the instruction booklet devoted to the masking of the canopy, using the printed shapes on the right of the page and the diagrams on the left to create your own masks if you wish. It goes up to 130 thanks to the extensive greenhouse glazing. Conclusion A nicely detailed and most welcome new tooling of this short-lived (in front line service at least) heavy bomber in its first variant, which should by now have seen the older vacform tooling from another manufacturer no-longer needed unless you like a challenge. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  20. It should be noted that while the box art shows the D1392E2 tracks with the chevron rubber blocks as used on early Leo 1s, the kit tracks are of the later type with solid blocks used on the A1 so despite the box art the correct tracks seem to be in the box.
  21. Leopard 1 A1A1-A1A4 (05656) 1:35 Carrera Revell The Leopard Main Battle Tank (MBT) was designed in the mid-50s as an answer to a requirement by the newly reformed German Army to replace the outmoded American cast-off M47 and M48 tanks they had been using up until that point. It was based upon the premise that manoeuvrability and armament were more important than armour, as the rise of the HEAT round had rendered most standard rolled steel armour ineffective due to its massively increased penetrating capability. To make for a more agile target, the Leopard was designed to withstand 20mm rounds from all directions, weighing in at 30 tonnes, and with Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) protection to counter the Soviet hordes that they expected to be flooding across the border. Three design teams competed for the Tank contract from Porsche, Rheinmetall and Borgward. The Porsche prototype was eventually selected as the winner. Production was set up with Krauss-Maffei in Munich and deliveries began in late 1965. Provision was also made for bolt on Lexan armour, and it could carry the 120mm gun of the Leopard 2, even though this was never used. Export sales followed, and the Leopard 1 would go on to serve with the Armies of Belgium, Holland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Canada, and Turkey. The A5 with Germany, Holland and Chile. The initial A1 variant reached service in the mid-60s carrying a NATO standard 105mm gun, then in the 1980s research was begun with a view to upgrading the tank, improving the turret to store more ammunition, and a more advanced fire control system was fitted to increase accuracy. An important upgrade to the A1A1 standard formed the basis of the A5 in the 80s, which with the benefit of retro-fitting, became the de facto standard Leopard 1 up until its replacement by the Leopard 2 in Bundeswehr service early in the new millennium. The Kit This is a new boxing of the 2015 tooling from Revell, as evidenced by the raised copyright details on the underside of the engine deck. It is a multi-version boxing, and arrives in a substantially oversized box as a gift-set, with enough room for another kit inside despite the extras, which seems a little wasteful of shipping space in our modern cost-conscious age. Inside the large top-opening box are ten sprues in grey styrene, a sprue and two track lengths in black flexible plastic, a 15cm length of metal wire (not pictured) taped to the colour instruction booklet, decal sheet, and profiles on the rear of the instructions for the four decal options that are included in this issue. The afore mentioned extras include six thumb pots of acrylic paint, a #2 paint brush, a 12.5ml bottle of Revell Contacta Professional cement with a needle applicator, and an A3 poster of the box art without all the frippery necessary for the packaging. It’s hard to photograph well, and there’s a thumbnail of it on the box top in case you can’t picture it. Detail is good, and it shows up better in grey styrene rather than the older green styrene Revell used to use, which was not only difficult to photograph well, but made it difficult to see too, as well as appearing a little old-fashioned. It’s an exterior kit, and offers the option to build the major variants, with traditional ‘rubber-band’ tracks that might deter some, and attract others. The cast texture on the mantlet and other parts is good, as is the Lexan armour that is applied to the turret sides, which has a fine waffle texture moulded-in, plus attachment bolts in recesses. Construction begins predictably with the lower hull, starting with the floor and adding the sidewalls that are supported by a bulkhead that slots into two grooves at around mid-way. The rear bulkhead is next, pointing out the detail painting of the moulded-in rear light clusters using letter codes that correspond to a table at the front of the booklet in Revell colour codes. Suspension details are added on both sides of the hull, including bump-stops, shock absorbers for the rear axles, and swing arms for all stations, locking in place on a keyed peg. The road wheels are made in pairs, fourteen road wheel assemblies, two idlers, plus four return-rollers on mounts higher on the hull sides. The road wheel pairs are slid onto the axles in groups of seven per side, plus the idler wheels at the front of the hull, then the drive sprockets are made from three layers ready to be fitted onto the hull with the tracks. Being of the rubber-band type, their ends are joined by threading the turrets at one end of the run through corresponding holes in the other end, then melting them flat into rivet-shapes with a hot screwdriver or similar item, turning them in a continuous band. One end of the loop is wrapped around the idler wheel, inserting the drive sprocket in the opposite end, and pushing the lengths over the road wheels, and gluing the sprocket into position at the rear. The upper hull is prepared by drilling out flashed-over holes in the front, three on the glacis plate, and two on each side ‘cheeks’ over the fender. While the part is inverted, the vision blocks for the driver are painted and pushed into their recesses in the forward deck, detail painting sensors over the fenders, and some filler caps on the engine deck. Detail inserts are applied to the sides of the hull once the two halves are mated, drilling a hole in each one before applying glue. Another small insert is fitted on the left side around the turret ring, then you have a choice of three styles of cooling grilles on the rear hull sides depending on which variant you are building, and for the A1A1 or A1A2 there is a tie-down at the rear that should be removed for some vehicles. The side skirts are fixed to the hull sides on small pegs, adding mudguards at the rear before the installation of detail parts begins, fitting lifting eyes, stowage boxes and pioneer tools on almost every surface. The rear bulkhead is adorned with towing eyes, shackles and a convoy shield light with cross decal, plus spare track links, and an equipment box on the top left. The towing cables are moulded in the same flexible black styrene as the tracks, and whether you use them is up to you, as you have separate styrene eyes for each end, so replacing them with cord or braided wire would be a simple task. The instructions show where they should be fitted, and their location as they snake toward the front of the vehicle, with arrows showing where the various tie-downs should be. More parts are added to the glacis, including light clusters, triangular blocks between the fenders and glacis, and a rack of cold-weather track grousers in three rows that mount on three pins. The driver’s hatch can be fitted opened or closed, although a figure would be needed to hide the empty interior, the location of the open hatch shown in a scrap diagram nearby. The turret upper begins as a hollow part, adding three vision blocks to the roof, then building the gun pivot from a hollow rectangle with pegs at each end, held in place by two trunnions in the lower turret. The vision blocks around the commander’s cupola are painted in, then the two halves of the turret are mated, adding detail parts and sensors on either side of the main gun on cylindrical projections, with open or closed covers possible using the same parts. The commander’s cupola and the gunner/loader’s hatches have top rails fitted, and a periscope is installed in front of the commander’s hatch. The gun barrel is provided in two vertically split halves, and has the cooling jacket and its straps moulded-in, inserting the keyed rear into the mantlet after drilling out several holes from within depending on which variant you are portraying. The completed assembly is glued to the box-shaped pivot to complete the basic structure, then additional details are layered over it in the next several steps, starting with a bustle stowage box with cylindrical tubes to each side, which is fitted to the rear of the turret, and covered with a back panel and tubular framed basket on each side, taking care to locate the ends to align the assemblies correctly. The crew hatches are both circular and made from two spaced layers, adding a central boss inside, both of which can be posed open or closed in their respective hatches, as per the accompanying diagrams on the following page. A canvas mantlet cover is fitted to the space at the front of the turret, adding lifting eyes to the top surface, then two racks of smoke grenade launchers on curved rails are made, glued to the turret sides, and surrounded by Lexan armour panels that cover the majority of the sides, adding two more panels to the bustle baskets, and a piece of appliqué armour to the mantlet with its own lifting eye. Various rails are added over the armour on the sides, and the gunner’s MG3 machine gun is fitted to a two-part pintle-mount, inserting the peg into the ring around his hatch, and aerial bases into a sockets near the rear of the turret roof. An TV camera is made from three parts and attached to the top of the mantlet for the A1A2 and A1A4 variants, mounting a three-part cage with a protective door to the front, while all variants have an Infrared night vision system in a box with the hatch posed open or closed, the open option involving cutting the hatch down the centre. It is mounted on the left side of the mantlet with a short frame supporting the front, and a thick cable leading back and into the turret at the corner. The completed turret is then lowered into the hull and twisted into position on a pair of bayonet lugs. The build isn’t quite over however, as there is a two-part travel lock applied to the rear bulkhead, which can be posed lowered for action or vertically to clasp the barrel while the turret is reversed for travel. The final two styrene parts are used to make the driver’s wing mirror that is mounted on the right fender at an angle, using a long or short support. You’ve probably forgotten about the piece of wire taped to the front of the instructions, but it has a use. Aerials of two lengths are cut depending on the variant, their ends warmed in a flame until they’re hot enough to melt plastic. Then they are inserted into the aerial bases, although I’d rather use super glue in case the plastic melts too freely. I have used wire and carbon rod for AFV aerials in the past, and would entreat you to be very careful when looking closely at your model, as the end is very sharp. If you’re clumsy like me, perhaps a dot of super glue forming a ball on the end could save your eyesight. Markings There are four decal options on the small sheet, but there are additional digits for number plates that permit you to build your own vehicle registrations. From the box you can build one of the following: Leopard 1 A1A1 (4. Baulos) PzBtl 24, Braunschweig 1977 Leopard 1 A1A2 (3. Baulos) JgBtl 511, Flensburg, 1988 Leopard 1 A1A3 (2. Baulos) PzBtl 354, Hammelburg, 1987 Leopard 1 A1A4 (2. Baulos) PzBtl 324, Hammelburg, 1987 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s a well-detailed exterior model of this important Cold War warrior, and while the flexible tracks may put off a few, it’s swings and roundabouts. There are plenty of variant options, and tons of number plate choices that should allow you to build a good replica of the first Leopard. Highly recommended. Carrera Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  22. All Alleycat stuff is on https://www.modelsforsale.com/catalog/modelkits.php?manufacturers_id=14638&sort=3a&filter_id=99999189 Regards Robert
  23. Really nice review and needed seeing as I've just picked one up for a song Plans to convert to a FAW 2, but the only kit I can find is from Ally Cat models - FAW 2 Conversion Kit Are there any others out there that are directly used for the Airfix kit? The plan is to build RAF Stafford's gate guard, XA801. This was the guardian before it was scrapped and replaced by the GR.3 Harrier. https://www.airhistory.net/photo/9128/XA801
  24. Fairey Delta 2 (DW72009) British Supersonic Research Aircraft 1:72 Dora Wings distributed in UK by Albion Alloys Following WWII, British aviation technology still lead the world, giving away first place to the speed of sound to the Americans by cancelling the Miles M.52 project and sharing the data. The delta wing had been considered as a new wing planform for early jets, and Fairey was tasked with looking into it along with a great many other new aspects that came alongside jet engines. The Type-R project was originally intended to be a VTOL undertaking, but pivoted to supersonic flight and renamed it the Delta 1 project. An initial contract for three airframes was curtailed once the initial prototype had flown, as it was a difficult aircraft to fly with many vices, although Fairey continued flying it as a test-bed until 1956 when they bent it in a rough landing, grounding it for good. The FD2 originated as a single-engined transonic interceptor, but morphed into something different due to Fairey’s inventiveness and dissatisfaction with doing just what was asked of them. The early data that was gathered during the FD1 project and the experience of the new chief engineer they imported from Hawker gave them a start, although the Gannet project took priority during this period, slowing down progress for a time. Rebels that they were, the FD2 was developed upon a specification that would outstrip requirements by a substantial margin that eventually led the aircraft to be the first in the world to reach 1,000mph. Two prototypes were built, and care was taken to ensure that military equipment could be added later if it reached service, taking to the sky toward the end of 1954. A flameout of the first prototype due to loss of fuel supply resulted in serious damage to the rear end after the main gear failed to deploy in time for the emergency landing. Once back in the sky, supersonic flight became commonplace for the aircraft in France after the Ministry refused permission over the UK because they mistakenly believed that sonic booms could be dangerous at low-level, although no claims for damages were ever lodged in France. Its proximity to and collaboration with French engineers gave Dassault plenty of data that helped in the design of the Mirage III, which shared many of the same characteristic of the FD2, save for the droop-snoot that was later incorporated by the Concorde engineers. The two airframes went on to perform a great deal of test flying, part of which included flying at supersonic speeds without the use of reheat in 1955, despite almost total lack of support from the Ministry, who were under the sway of Duncan Sandys, and only had eyes for missiles. The record had previously been held by a North American F-100 Super Sabre, and after many hurdles were crossed, including reticence from Rolls Royce and the Civil Service (some things never change), Fairey went ahead on the 10th March 1956, reaching 1,132 mph or Mach 1.73, which was 37% more than the previous record. Once the competition had got over the shock, they put their best efforts into taking the record back, which was finally done by the USAF flying an F-101A Voodoo at the end of 1957. Despite the success of the prototypes, Fairey could not manage to convert that success into a completed project, although some of their data and ground-breaking design-work went into the Concorde project in the 60s, including a heavily re-designed FD2 with new wings called the BAC 211. The Kit In true Dora Wings style, this kit is a little out of the ordinary and was unexpected but very, very welcome, especially by the 1:72 modellers on this here forum. I was happy that they are happy of course, and can’t wait for a similar announcement in 1:48. I can dream, can’t I? The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the FD2 in-flight over broken cloud, and inside are five crisply-moulded sprues in grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, two decal sheets, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a sheet of vinyl masks, and a portrait format A5 instruction booklet printed in full-colour on glossy paper. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from Dora Wings, who seem to improve with every kit. The exterior of the model is sleek like the real thing, with fine engraved panel lines, super detail inside the upper wing halves, moulded-in sidewall detail in the nose, cockpit, gear bays and legs that wouldn’t look out of place on a kit of a larger scale. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the narrow instrument panel with decal, covered by a coaming and set aside while the ejection seat is built from five parts plus decals representing four-point seatbelts. The shallow cockpit tub receives the seat on two tabs, plus the short control column with the instrument panel in front, and an oval bulkhead in front of that. The rear bulkhead finishes the cockpit, which is inserted between the nose halves, separated from the fuselage at the pivot-point for the droop-snoot. The canopy is furnished in two parts, which is good news for this scale, then the spine and underside are fitted with aerials and PE vanes on the pitot probe, which are probably left off until after painting. The fuselage has its intakes fleshed-out inside by two additional parts per side, and the exhaust tube is made from two halves plus a forward bulkhead that has the rear face of the engine moulded-in, then it and the nose gear bay are trapped between the two fuselage halves, adding a flat spar between to support the wings. These are built from upper and lower halves, adding aileron and flap to the trailing edges, and an actuator fairing to the ailerons, briefly stopping to admire the detail included in the gear bay mouldings before you slot them onto the spars, following up with the rudder, which can be posed deflected if you wish. The nose can be fitted drooped or straight for in-flight by using one of two bulkheads supplied, glued into the flat front of the fuselage, mating the nose once the glue is cured, and taking note of the two diagrams that show the correct angles from the side. A gaggle of auxiliary intakes are scattered over the upper fuselage, and PE strakes are fitted into shallow grooves in the upper wings, flipping the model over to fit the landing gear and bay doors. The main bay struts are braced by a V-strut, while the nose gear leg is an A-frame with extended central strut and a Y-brace near the top of the retraction jacks. Another retraction jack is fitted as the main legs are installed in their bays, fitting a single main wheel to the axle inboard, with a captive bay door on the outer face. The nose gear leg is installed as-is, slotting two wheels on a cross-axle near the front of the bay. Markings You might expect these prototypes to be bare metal only, but they also got to wear some colourful schemes, especially at shows. From the box you can build one of these four options: WG774, March 1956, World Air Speed Record – 1,132mph, pilot Lieutenant Commander Peter Twiss WG774, 2nd September 1955 WG777, RAF Musuem, Cosford, Shropshire, UK WG774, SBAC Show Farnborough, September 1958 Decals are by Dora’s usual partner, DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The only thing that could make this a better FD2 if it was in 1:48. I know I’m harping on about that a little bit, but I figure if I mither Eugen often enough he might cave in. It’s a great kit with plenty of detail, including the droop-snoot if you feel the urge, just don’t be tempted to fill that join line. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  25. looks fantastic ...but in actuality decal options E, F & G were A-8s with, among other detail differences, the engine mounted MG 131s under a 'bulged' cowl cover. Still I'd do Hackl's machine (B)
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