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

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  1. Yesterday
  2. Blackburn Buccaneer S.1 Intake, Exhaust & Air Brake Update Sets 1:72 AeroCraft Models There was little doubt that once the new Airfix Bucc was released that there would be plenty of options being produced for it. This is really a pair of backdate sets to make the earlier S.1 Intake Conversion Set There are new intakes for the S.1 These are hollow cast, with new fan blade faces. The intakes feature the section of wing which joins them. Comprehensive instructions are supplied online. Exhaust and Air Brake Set While you can modify the kit parts for this Ali has taken the hard work out of it by supplying these parts for the shorter exhausts, and the air brake with the heat shield removed (opened & Closed option provided). These can still be open or closed. As with all Aerocraft products the casting is first rate and the online instructions easy to follow. Highly recommended of you want a Buccaneer S.1 n your model line up. Review samples courtesy of
  3. Last week
  4. TopDrawings #95 Fairey Swordfish (9788366148871) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Swordfish began life in the early 30s as a speculative development by Fairey that was later re-designed to fit a 1933 specification that added the torpedo bomber role to its previous remit of spotter ‘plane. After many changes and tests that resulted in the loss of at least one airframe, an order was given for around 70 airframes, with production transferring to Blackburn as war become inevitable. The airframe was essentially outdated by outbreak of war, but improvements gave it longer legs, more power in what became known as the Swordfish I. The II added radar and hardpoints under the wings for rockets, the III adding a more capable radar, and the IV with an enclosed cockpit used as a trainer by the Canadians. the Stringbag outlived the Albacore that was intended to replace it with over 2,000 made, and was instead supplanted by the Barracuda, which kept it within the Fairey family. It saw substantial action in the torpedo bomber role, some more famously than others, and often suffered heavy losses due to in part to the task it was assigned, as well as its relatively slow speed, but it invariably got the job done and is credited with delivering the torpedo to the Bismark that disabled its rudder and allowed the British fleet to catch and subsequently destroyed it. It was well-loved then and is still a welcome performer at airshows, especially when the still-airborne crew stand and salute in tribute to its brave pilots and crew during the war. We have kits in almost every scale from 1:144 upwards, some old, some new with some major and minor manufacturers having releases in their arsneal, showing that it's a popular niche subject. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and separate A2 sheets printed on both sides with drawings of various versions of the aircraft. The book is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to additional profiles of two Swordfish Is. After the introduction the first half of the plans show the Mark I from every angle with wings folded and deployed ready for flight. After this are the colour profiles with four pages of profiles of Mark Is and IIs wearing some interesting camo schemes, including one of the Bismark attackers. After the break there is another set of plans for the II and III, including many scrap diagrams of equipment, warloads, as well as fuselage cross-sectional shapes. The lesser known Seaplane version and Mark.IV with its bubble canopy are shown toward the end, and cross-sections of the wing ribs are given on the last page. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show equipment layout such as the cockpit, landing gear, engine and prop Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large scale plans quite useful, especially if you model in 1:48 or have a large stain on the wall that could be beautified by posting the plans over it to enjoy. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  5. Scaffolding (35605) MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd If you’ve been watching the procession of the new 1:35 Triebflügel kits from MiniArt, you’ll have noticed two things. One that the kits are excellent, and two that one of the kits includes a scaffold for the pilot and ground crew to access the cockpit of this weird and whacky late WWII project. This scaffold is now available separately for purchase in case you bought an early boxing, or just want some scaffold for a project you have in mind. It arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with nine sprues in grey styrene within. Due to the modular nature of the scaffolding, there are only two different sprues, five of one, four of the other. There are three assemblies to be made up that are basically the same but have the N-shaped tubular frames reversed to add strength to the assembly. The parts are fixed to a bottom frame and have a ladder section attached to the bottom, and can be stacked as far up as the contents of the box allows, and these are then topped off with a flat section of tread-plate, with inverted U-shaped brackets that give the user a modicum of safety. To facilitate movement there are four castors at the bottom, which have pedals to apply the brake once they are in position. These are made up of the wheel, yoke and pedal, with eight in the box that can be used to complete two mobile bases with up to five layers of scaffold able to be made up, with a stack of three and two shown on the box, each with a standing area at the top. Conclusion A scaffold is a handy thing to have for any 1:35 diorama, especially if you’ve got a Triebflügel that your pilot can’t get into or out of. They can be painted any colour you like, but a few examples are given in the instructions printed on the rear of the box. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Pz.38(t) Ausf.E/F Engine (3142) 1:35 CMK by Special Hobby This set is patterned for the 2019 Tamiya kit, and is designed to detail the entire engine bay with a few small adjustments to the base kit that involves some removal of plastic, which is shown in the first step of the instructions, and when the rear bulkhead needs a hole cutting in it. The set arrives in a small yellow cardboard box with a number of pictures of the set built up within the Tamiya kit, which shows off the detail to great effect. Inside is a bag of parts split into four heat-sealed sections to protect the parts from damage during transit. The part count is high, as is the detail that is present on the parts, and the way in which they go together, with every detail shown in the 3D isometric instructions. Construction begins with the main engine block, then the bay is detailed within the confines of the kit parts, after which the engine is inserted and surrounded by the radiator with its surround and cooling fan. Various ancillary parts are inserted into the remaining space, and hoses join the areas together while the exhaust takes away all the gases. The main space complete, with the instructions giving you helpful colour callouts along the way, it is time to install the inspection hatches, top grille and the rear armoured panel that encloses the radiator fan, removing small parts of the kit as you go. Propping the hatches open will allow the viewer to see the detail from the sides, with finishing plates added to the undersides of the kit hatch parts. Conclusion It’s a hugely detailed set and will look great when painted and fitted into the kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. MiG-25 BM Soviet Strike Aircraft (72175) 1:72 ICM In the early part of the Cold War, the strategic bomber was seen as the obvious means by which to deliver a nuclear payload. The interceptor - large, heavy and fast - was seen as the equally obvious countermeasure. The MiG-25 Foxbat was, in many ways, the ultimate embodiment of this technology. It wasn't particularly groundbreaking and nor was it particularly sophisticated, but it was capable of incredible speed and could carry four large missiles to high altitudes very quickly indeed. The MiG-25's shortcomings as a combat aircraft were largely addressed through the MiG-31 Foxhound, but the type continued as an effective mission platform in a variety of guises. The BM variant was dedicated to the Supression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) role, known in the US Airforce as the 'Wild Weasel' role. As such, it was fitted with anti-radar systems, jammers and could carry up to four KH-58 'Kilter' missiles. Forty examples were produced in total. I think this kit is the fourth iteration of ICM's new 1/72 MiG-25 family, following on from the RBT, RB and RBF variants. The model is pretty much a scaled down version of their 1:48 kit, which is a jolly good thing indeed. Inside the robust top-opening box are seven frames of light grey plastic and one of clear plastic. The kit is almost identical to the previous iterations, but includes revised parts for the nose and a couple of new frames that hold the KH-58 missiles. The airframe is covered in crisp, recessed panel lines which look very good indeed, and the mouldings are crisp and clean. The instructions are an A4 stapled booklet which has been printed in colour and the decal sheet is clear and well printed. The overall impression is of a well-executed, modern kit which looks like it should be thoroughly enjoyable to build. Construction begins with the cockpit and nose gear bay. Some detail is moulded in place on the sidewalls of the cockpit, with extra parts provided to represent additional details. Before the main structure of the cockpit can be completed, however, you have to add the bulkhead that forms the front wall of the cockpit and the rear wall of the nose gear bay. The instructions have you installing the nose gear leg at this stage, but I can't see any logical reason as to why this can't be done at the end. This would, of course, save you from breaking the leg part way through the build. The cockpit itself is nicely detailed, with the ejector seat alone made up of no fewer than five parts. An instrument panel and control column completes this section of the build. Once the forward fuselage halves have been joined together, the whole sub-assembly fits onto a spar that also holds the huge engine air intakes. I've noticed that kit manufacturers are moving increasingly toward this style of construction, where certain parts are provided for purely structural purposes instead of the older slot and tab style of construction. I guess the main advantage, other than strength, is that everything can be positioned at exactly the right angle - a helpful feature for kits that feature quit a complex breakdown of parts such as this one. Each engine intake is full-length, with engine compressor faces provided. What results is a complete forward section of the aircraft up to the wing roots, with the internal structure of the air intakes protruding from the rear. The lower face of the main fuselage can be joined to this structure once the main landing gear bays have been added. ICM suggest that you add the main landing gear legs at this stage. Again, I can't see any reason why they couldn't be fettled into place after the main construction has been completed. Once the lower face of the main fuselage is in place, another structural bulkhead can be added, after which the slab-sides of the fuselage, including the outer faces of the air intakes, can be added. The dustbin-like jet exhausts are added at this stage, and very nicely detailed they are too. Once in place, the upper face of the fuselage can be added. Some modellers have noticed that the central spine has a flattened profile instead of a rounded shape. This is true, but I imagine most modellers will choose to live with this flaw. All that remains now is to add the nosecone, flying surfaces and finishing details. Each vertical tail is split vertically, with a seperate rudder. The outer face is moulded with part of the rear fuselage in place, so presumably it will be impossible to fit these parts at the wrong angle. Somewhat surprisingly, the upper wings are not moulded in one part with the upper fuselage. Instead, they are split into separate port and starboard halves, with two seperate flaperons and upper wing fences and fittings for missile pylons below. The nosecone is simply split vertically. The canopy is nice and clear and can be finished in either open or closed position. Four KH-58s are provided, along with pylons. Other than that, and a few aerials, lumps and bumps, the huge aircraft is now finished. Three options are provided for on the decal sheet: MiG-25BM, 'White 37', Lipetsk Combat and Conversion Training Centre. This aircraft is finished in the brown/sand/green over blue scheme; MiG-25BM, 'White 43', Ahtubinsk Airfield, 1987; MiG-25BM, 'Red 81', VVS, 1984 The decals look nicely printed and a full set of stencils is included. Yes, I know that's not a MiG! Conclusion We've waited a while for a new, more more modern kit of the Foxbat in this scale, but the wait has been worth it. ICM's effort is excellent, with high quality mouldings and plenty of detail. Overall this is a well executed and carefully designed kit, while the SEAD configuration is very appealing indeed. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Review updated with the new Essential Basic & Primary Colours sets ES01 and ES02 - they're right up at the top this time, and quite bright
  9. Benz Patent-Motorwagen 1886 with Mrs Benz & Sons (24041) 1:24 ICM via Hannants We’ve been addicted to petroleum for over a century now, but in the late 1800s the predominant power source was still steam, although that just used another form of fossil fuel. When Karl Benz applied for a patent for his Motorwagen in 1885, it became the first petrol-powered production vehicle that was designed from the outset to use this method of propulsion. When you look at its three-wheel design it appears to have been the product of the mating between a horse carriage, a bicycle and a grandfather clock, with a little bit of chaise longue thrown in for good measure. A rear-mounted engine with a solitary cylinder, two seats without any weather protection and a kind of tiller for steering doesn’t really gel with our understanding of what represents a car now, but they had to start somewhere. There were only 25 made, but the precedent had been set and travelling at 16kmh was found to be quite fun and started us down the long road to becoming petrol-heads, much to our environment’s distress. The Kit This is a reboxing of a brand-new tooling of this important vehicle, reviewed here, and although it’s way out of my usual wheel-house I’m already smitten with it, even more so now that it has a set of figures with it to create a human scale. There is one main sprue for the majority of the parts, with three smaller sprues in the same grey styrene for the wheels and a jig to complete the spokes on a Photo-Etched fret, which is secreted within a thick card envelope, plus of course the new figure sprue. The instruction booklet has been printed in an olde-worlde style, and a replica of the patent application is also included on thick card in case you wanted to use it as a base or backdrop. The bicycle car has spoked wheels that would normally give most modellers conniptions, but ICM have really pushed the boat out in terms of the engineering that should allow you to create a model that looks pretty realistic if you follow the instructions carefully. The supplied jig is mind-blowing both in its simplicity and cleverness that every time I examine it, it has me smiling. Construction begins with the subframe and suspension, which looks more like a carriage than a chassis. Leaf-springs support the main axle beneath the slatted foot well, and an additional frame is applied to the rear with a set of three small pulley-wheel parts fit on a bar and form a transfer point for the drive-belt that’s added later, with a choice of two styles for the centre section. At the very rear of the chassis is a stub-axle that mounts a huge flywheel made up from two parts to create a rim, then the single-cylindered engine is built, bearing more than a passing resemblance to an air compressor that you might have under your desk somewhere. There are a few colour choices called out along the way, and the finished assembly is then mounted on the cross-rail, overhanging the flywheel. Various small ancillary parts are added to the engine “compartment”, another drive pulley is mounted perpendicular to the large flywheel, then the two are joined by the drive band, which you can make up from the two straps on the sprue, or by creating your own that fully wraps around the pulleys for a more realistic look. A toolbox is added next to the engine, then fuel and radiator tanks are built and installed along with their hosing. There is a surrounding frame for the seat added to the small upstands on the chassis, which holds the moulded upholstered cushions to which the framed back and side-rests are fixed, with extra padding attached to the back and arms before it is inserted and glued in place. This picture above shows both wheel types on one side. The larger wheel is actually built on the opposite side of the jig. Now the PE fun begins! The power that has been transferred to an axle under the foot well is sent to the wheels by a bike-style chain, which is layered up from three PE parts that form the rings as well as the links, with one assembly per side. Next comes the really clever part. Each of the pneumatic tyres are moulded within a circular sprue runner, which has four towers hanging down. These towers fit into corresponding holes in the jig, with a small one for the front wheel and larger one for the outside, all on the same jig. This allows the modeller to keep the tyre stationary while locating the little eyes on the ends of the spokes into the pips on the inside rim of the tyre. It also sets the correct dish to the wheels when you add the temporary centre boss during construction. You create two of these assemblies per tyre, cut them from their sprues once complete, then glue them together with a hub sandwiched between them just like a modern bike wheel. You carry out that task thrice, two large, one small and it would be well worth painting the spokes beforehand. The main wheels slot straight onto the axle, while the front wheel is clamped in place by a two-part yoke, much like a set of forks on a bike. In order to steer the vehicle, the tiller is made up from a few parts and slots into the footwell floor, with a small step added to the right front corner of the well to ease access. A steering linkage joins the fork and tiller together, a small wheel pokes out of the footwell, possibly a fuel valve? I don’t know, as I’m not quite that knowledgeable on the subject. The final part is a long brake lever, which is probably intended to make up for the lack of servo assistance by using leverage. The figures are newly tooled for this kit, and consist of Mrs Benz in a flowing dress and shawl, plus her two sons that are assisting or hindering, depending on your point of view! Each figure is made with some hollow parts, with the torso made of two parts that incorporates coat tails for added realism for the boys, and a flowing shawl draped around Mrs Benz’s head and shoulders. You’ll have to hollow out her voluminous cuffs for extra detail if you’d like, but the sculpting is excellent as we’ve come to expect from ICM, especially in the details of Mrs Benz’s ornate dress. To avoid confusion, there is a separate colour guide chart on the instruction sheet that accompanies the kit, or Mrs Benz would end up with a gloss black or copper shawl! That confused me briefly, I have to admit. Markings There are no decals in the box, as there isn’t enough of a vehicle for anything other than paint. The colours for each part are called out in boxed letters as the build progresses, and that’s a very good idea for such a stripped-down framework with parts strapped to it. The codes refer back to a chart on the front of the booklet that gives Revell and Tamiya codes plus the colour names in English and Ukrainian, with a separate chart for the figures. Conclusion Another totally left-field hit from my point of view, as it’s detailed, very cool and even more endearing with the addition of the figures. If you’d asked me previously if I would ever build a car from 1886 I’d have said no way. Now I am seriously considering it, although if you gave me a full size one to drive I’d need a few beers to drive anything that doesn’t float but is steered with a tiller. Extremely highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  10. There's a US Navy one coming, that's for certain
  11. Looks like they are leaving it open to different models. Separate wingtips, and separate twin booms. Maybe a Reims 337?
  12. World wide pandemic? nothing shipping from China for months?
  13. That's how I understand it, yes. Why the doghouse was changed, I don't know. I've searched, but can't seem to find much information, probably for the reason it's a little known operator and possibly just a one-off. It's certainly quite the commitment from MiniArt, especially with the addition of the dozer blade, which takes up a fair number of parts.
  14. Just so I get this right... this is a model of ONE tank? Just one T-54 that got its top blown off? If it is, then that's commitment from MiniArt to model every single version of the T-54/55. Also means they got a long way to go!
  15. hello I ordered this kit today with interior PE from Eduard (but made for Hobby Boss Kit.. hoping it will fit). I will make a what if ... Algerian Air Force colours (in reality the Fullback will be acquired this year or later - 2021) but for now I don't know what camo would be put on that big bird. some say same as the Su-24s. cheers !
  16. German StuG III Crew, WWII Era (MB35208) ”Their Position is Behind that Forest” 1:35 Master Box Ltd via Creative Models This new figure set from Master Box is designed with the German StuG III in mind, although it will probably adapt very well to any similar WWII German AFV. It arrives in a figure-sized box with end-opening flaps, which is standard fare for figures, even though they’re a little easy to crush when stacked flat. Inside is a single sprue of grey styrene that contains parts for five figures plus some pistol holsters, helmets, magazine pouches and an MP40. Each figure is broken down into torso, separate legs and arms, plus head with flat top where a helmet or commander’s cap is fitted to allow extra detail around their brims. There is one German Wehrmacht soldier standing on the blocky front of the tank, pointing over to the forest that is described in the subtitle. The commander and one of his crew are fully out of the tank, while the other two are half out, or just poking their head out of the hatch, but all of these are full figures. Sculpting is first class as usual, with both seamlines and parts breakdown sensibly placed to improve or preserve detail during construction and seam-removal. Instructions are given on the rear of the box with part numbers on the right and a colour chart shoehorned into the centre giving colour codes in Vallejo, Lifecolor, Mr. Color and Tamiya shades, plus a colour swatch to help out further. Conclusion Figures give a model scale, and well-sculpted figures that are sympathetically painted are such a boon, especially when they’re so well sculpted. If you have a StuG III in 1:35, what are you waiting for? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Cool pics I've updated the review with a link to the dozer equipped version, which you can also find below:
  18. SLA APC T-54 w/Dozer Blade (37028) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During the period that the South Lebanese Army existed from 1985-2000, they had a small force of tanks that included T-54s that had been bought from Russia, with little opportunity of topping up losses. When one T-54 was hit and had its turret destroyed, it was recovered to the workshops and had the remains of its turret removed and replaced by welded sheet metal to give it an open-topped “doghouse” to fill a new role as an Armoured Personnel Carrier, hence the designation APC-54. It was sometimes seen using a large red makeshift dozer blade that was attached to the glacis plate with a substantial base plate supporting the V-shaped blade. The APC was painted a pale blue colour and was used in the 80s, surviving to end up in an Israeli museum without its blade, where it has been photographed many times by visitors in a fresh coat of light blue paint. The Kit Hot on the heels of dozer-less variant we reviewed here only a few days ago, this boxing has the dozer blade sprues and a small revision of the armoured upstands that protected the crew from incoming rounds. The box is slightly more full than the previous boxing due to the swapping out of unnecessary parts for their replacements, with seventy six sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a revised sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass and the new instruction booklet. Construction begins with a blow-by-blow recreation of the hull as per the earlier kit, with the exception of the more makeshift bench seat mounted perpendicular to the direction of travel, and a box-like seat with stowage space underneath at the rear. The glacis plate is amended due to the fitment of the dozer, and at the rear the arrangement of louvers is also slightly different, using more individual PE louver panels. The replacement doghouse parts have been moved forward in the build process, with the addition of two prominent aerials mounted within the corners. The fenders are then made up with exhausts with additional fuel tanks and a slightly different connection route for the hoses that feed the fuel into the engine compartment. Pioneer tools, stowage boxes and other items on the fenders are subtly different from the earlier boxing, showing MiniArt’s attention to detail with this duo. The tracks and road wheels are all identical to the earlier boxing too, with 90 links each side that have four sprue gates and should be easy to clean up and put together. Moving on, the weapons are made up with rolled PE cooling jackets running full-length on the M3, and the shorter one fitted to the M2. Each gun is well detailed and has a box mag and length of link leading to the breech, plus pintle-mounts that fit inside the doghouse. The most visually different aspect of the build is of course the dozer blade, with the first job to build up the attachment assembly, which has a large number of parts for its size. It has rams to adjust the angle and deployment of the blade, which is next to be made. The straight rear is firstly glued together with stiffeners and attachment points for the rams created, onto which the angled blades are added, making a two-layer affair that could presumably allow it to be used in a straight or v-shaped configuration. Various small fittings are added to the back, then the two sub-assemblies are mated and secured in place by three stout pins, with a slender link at the top. It is fixed to the glacis plate along with the machine guns, with an overhead drawing giving sufficient detail to ensure it is positioned correctly. Markings There are none! Again. The APC is blue, while the blade assembly is a rusty red, and once it has seen any action at all, that paint will become distressed and damaged, with plenty of opportunity to practice your weathering and chipping techniques. Conclusion I don’t know what it is that appeals about this kit, but it does. The addition of the dozer blade in the contrasting red is the cherry on top, or in front at least. The detail is excellent throughout, with so much scope for weathering that you could go crazy if you really wanted, as some of the photos of it in service show it quite well worn. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. I may have missed something somewhere but why have these not reached UK shores yet? Cheers Malcolm
  20. Ah - in my defence, it was a long time ago
  21. Looks very nice Mike. Wrong scale for me, but nice nonetheless. Thanks for the review!
  22. Great review Mike,looks like a very nice kit. That Airfix Dogfight Double you remember was even more one sided that you thought, it was a Mig-21 not the Mig-15!
  23. Cessna O-2A Skymaster (48290) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The O-2A Skymaster replaced the equally well-loved O-1 Bird-dog in the Observation role, adding Psy-Ops and light attack by the fitting additional equipment. It was developed from Cessna’s Type 337 Super Skymaster, and had additional windows in the pilot's side added to improve vision, the superfluous rear seats were replaced with racks of equipment including military radio gear, and hard-points were added under the wings. The twin props at either end of the stubby airframe gave it an element of redundancy in case of enemy fire, which also necessitated the installation of foam into the fuel tanks to help reduce the likelihood of leaks and subsequent fires bringing down the aircraft. With all the extra weight it was slower than the civilian version, but that was considered acceptable due to the crew and airframe protections it afforded. Like the Bird-dog it replaced, it spent a lot of time in Vietnam where it was used extensively in the role of Forward Air Control (FAC) and designated O-2B (31 converted Type 337 airframes) with the installation of loudspeakers to attempt to psychologically batter the enemy with recorded messages and leaflet drops that clearly didn’t have much effect other than supplying them with toilet paper in hindsight. Less than 200 were made in military form straight from the production line, and they continued service after Vietnam until the 80s, when some were sold on and others used in firefighting duties in the US, while others were flown in the nascent war against drugs in central America. The Kit This is a complete new tool from ICM, and I’m personally very happy to see it, as I have a soft-spot for the Skymaster after building an old Airfix Dogfight Double with a Mig-15 in 1:72 as a kid. There have been kits in 1:48 before, but nothing that could be called truly modern for a long time, so I doubt I’m alone. We’ve had a bigger scale kit within the last year, but this is the one for me and all those 1:48 modellers out there. It arrives in a modest-sized top-opening box with ICM’s usual captive inner flap, with two large sprues that fit snugly within the tray in their foil bag. Within that bag is a set of clear parts, and hidden inside the instruction booklet (which has a new more modern design) is the smallish decal sheet for the four decal options. Construction begins with the equipment racks in the aft fuselage, which are built up onto the bulkhead, then the fuselage halves are prepped with clear windows from the inside, plus an insert at the rear. The top surface of the engine is made up with exhausts and the front fairing that supports the prop axle, which is inserted but not glued. Under this the nose landing-gear bay is fitted with a firewall bulkhead that has the twin rudder pedals inserted before it is mounted into the starboard fuselage half. With those assemblies out of the way, the cockpit fittings are begun. The seats for the pilots have two U-shaped supports and a single piece back each, then the seats and instrument panel (with decals for instruments) with moulded-in centre console and control yokes added are offered up to the spartan cockpit floor, which slides under the already inserted electronics rack. The port fuselage half is decorated with a couple of M16 rifles and an arm-rest, then is joined with the other half taking care to insert at least 10 grams of nose-weight before you do. The aft fuselage has a complex shape that is moulded as a separate insert and is ready for a two-blade prop thanks to its axle and backstop part, and has two moulded-in exhausts under it. The nose gear leg was trapped in the wheel bay during assembly, and the two out-rigger main legs are a single C-shaped part that is trapped in a groove in the fuselage with a set of additional panels over it, making for a strong join, although some enterprising soul will probably make a metal one. Up front the big curved windscreen has a small instrument fitted into a hole in the middle, then is glued in place and the front prop is glued carefully to the axle if you want to leave it spinning. The wings are a single-span part on the top, and has the majority of the roof of the fuselage moulded-in, plus two top windows inserted from inside before fitting. The engine intake is made up from three parts including a separate lip, and fits to the aft of the roof, butting up against the rest of the fairing moulded into the fuselage, with a towel-rail and a small forest of blade antennae attached to the various depressions left for them. The wing undersides are attached after the booms are made up, and you should drill out the flashed-over holes for the pylons if you plan on fitting them. The booms are joined by the wide elevator that is made up of three parts including a poseable flying surface. The two booms are also two parts, and also have separate rudders, which are each single mouldings and can be posed as you see fit. The instructions show the elevator glued to the booms before they are attached to the wings, but this is probably best done at the same time to ensure a good fit and correct alignment, then the lower wing panels mentioned earlier are glued in, trapping the sponson ends between the surfaces. Front gear door, ailerons and wing bracing struts with their fairings are next, then the main wheels, more antennae, and two raised trunks that run along the main fuselage underside are all fitted in place, plus the four identical pylons if you wish, along with their anti-sway braces. You have a choice of using four rocket pods on all pylons, or rocket pods on the outer stations and SUU-11/A Minigun Pods on the inner pylons. The last page of the instructions show the placement of the masks that you are given a printed template for on the page, so you can make masks by placing the tape over the relevant template and either marking the tape and cut it later, or cut it in situ. It’s up to you whether you use the templates, but they’re there if you do. Markings There are four decal options from the box, and three of them are the more usual white/grey scheme that most people know. The last option is an all-black airframe, which gives the aircraft a more sinister look. From the box you can build one of the following: No unit details or timescale is given on the profiles, but you get full four view pictures and can use the tail-codes if you want to find out a little more about your choice of aircraft. The decal printers are anonymous, but they are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The instrument panel decals are also very crisp and clear. Conclusion Finally a modern tooling of this important little aircraft with crisp detail, restrained panel lines, some good decal options and quality clear parts. It should prompt a number of decal options from the aftermarket arena very soon, and I wouldn’t doubt that they’ve started working on that already. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Bantam 40 BRC w/ British Crew (35324) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. WWII saw the increased mechanisation of war that had begun in WWI, including lighter vehicles that could transport a small number of soldiers, staff, weapons or equipment quickly across the battle-space with rugged design and good rough-field performance as well as being fast and manoeuvrable. A specification was issued by the US War Department, with three companies vying for the contract, one of which was Bantam, who despite being in poor financial shape, designed a simple vehicle that used many pre-fabricated assemblies to speed construction and ease maintenance, while Ford and Willy’s made their own designs. There was no clear winner initially, so a number of each design was ordered to be sent mainly to Allied forces under the Lend-Lease programme, as America wasn’t yet a combatant. As the jockeying for position continued between the three contenders, designs converged and the Bantam’s design features were pillaged to improve what ended up as the Willy’s GP. Whether the name Jeep came from the shortening of GP, or from the Popeye character is unclear, but Ford and Willy’s ended up making hundreds of thousands of Jeeps during WWII that made it ubiquitous on the battlefield, with many of the survivors reaching civilian ownership after the war, and a ready market for them still exists to this day. The poor Bantam however was consigned to being a footnote in the creation of the Jeep. The Kit This is reboxing of MiniArt's earlier kit containing the same British crew, with the original dating back to 2008. There have also been releases with US and Russian crews, plus a Russian driver figure transporting a heavy machine gun in the cargo area at the rear. This boxing contains three crew that were previously seen in the British Staff Car boxing from 2010. The detail is good throughout, although there is a little flash here and there on my review samples that could have been due to the age of the moulds, or over-pressure during injection. It’s not difficult to remove flash from such well-moulded parts though, so don’t let it put you off in the slightest, as it’s streets ahead or short-shot parts! There are three sprues in grey styrene, one of clear parts, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass in a card envelope, two small decal sheets and the instruction booklet. The delicate grille in the corner of one sprue is protected by a small piece of foam sheet and held in place by a staple through it. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, to which is added the four-cylinder engine, drive-shafts, transfer box and leaf-spring suspension. The exhaust is protected by a pair of large cross-braces with slats underneath, and a control linkage is fixed to the outside of the rail connected later to the steering column. With the chassis completed, the body is built up from an almost complete shell to which the front grille, foot well (left-hand drive) and grilles within the front wheel wells are added. The front foot well has driver controls added, as is the dashboard, then seats and rear bench seats are fitted, with the chassis attached underneath the floor on the lugs moulded into it. The windscreen has some nice PE fittings and two panels of clear styrene are secured into the frame by another PE frame, then clipped into the body with a tubular frame wrapping around the rear and the two-part wheels slotted onto the axle stubs in each corner. The spare is slung onto the rear on its bracket, the bonnet/hood drops into the top of the engine compartment with a stay glued to the underside unless you want to prop it open. The lights at the front have clear lenses with PE protective metalwork in front of them, and PE straps on each side of the front seat door cut-outs to reduce the likelihood of crew being thrown from the sides on rough ground. The three crew include a driver in a cap and goggles, sergeant major-type with a map, and an officer with googles leaning toward the back seats as if in discussion with the chap with the map. All are dressed in tropical uniform with shorts, a lovely pair of cool thick knee-high socks and low-rise boots. Sculpting is up to MiniArt’s usual standards with each figure broken down into head, torso, separate legs and arms, plus headwear, pistol holsters and ammo pouches in addition to the goggles and the aforementioned map. Markings There are two colour options in the box , one in plain sand, the other with blue, pink, and green swatches of camouflage all over it. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Armour Division, HQ Unit, North Africa, 1942 No.3 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force, Libya, 1942 Decals are printed on two small sheets by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s a reboxing, but as it has been absent from MiniArt’s line-up for a good while, there ought to be a ready market for it. It’s still a good kit, and the inclusion of the figures is a nice bonus, as you know they’ll fit well. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. It is a nice looking kit, I dont have the Valom one to compare it against.
  26. Looks much better than the Valom version that I have half built on the shelf of doom...
  27. Fouga CM.170 Magister "French, Belgian & Irish Service" 1:72 Special Hobby (72371) The Magister is probably Fouga's most well know design even though they had been producing aircraft since 1936. Post war the company was working on sailplanes and the heritage from this can be seen in the Magister design. In 1948 the French Air Force were looking for a jet powered aircraft to replace the then piston engine trainers. Fouga's original design the CM130 was underpowered with two Turbomeca Palas engines. Fouga then re-designed their aircraft to incorporate the more powerful Marbore engines, et voilà the CM170 Magister. The distinctive V tail, and slender wings bear testament to Fouga's sailplane designs. The prototype Magister flew in 1952 with an order for the first 10 being placed in 1953. The Magister was the worlds purpose designed/built jet powered trainer. It is also worthy to note the Magister made it into carrier aviation. With a few changes to the structure and undercarriage, the addition of an arrestor hook, and sliding canopies the CM175 Zephyr was born. Interestingly carrier trials took place on HMS Bulwark and HMS Eagle. The French aircraft industry in parallel with the UK went through many mergers with the aircraft being known as the Fouga Magister, Potez Magister, Sud Aviation Magister; and finally The Aerospatile Magister; though always actually being called The "Fouga" Magister. Development of the aircraft continued right up until the French selected its replacement, the Alpha Jet. Overseas sales proved popular were made to primarily to Germany, Belgium, Finland, and Israel; with Germany, Finland & Israel building them under licence. Of a total of 929 aircraft built, 286 were built under license. The basic jet was very affordable to operate for smaller Air Forces. Other users would include, Algeria, Austria, Bangladesh, Biafra, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, El Salvador, Gabon, Katanga, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. Many counties including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Finland; and Israel would use the aircraft for their National Aerobatic display teams. Even though primarily a trainer many of these smaller nations would use the aircraft for its light strike capacity as well. Israel would use them in combat during the 6 day war, El Salvador saw them used during its civil war, and aircraft used by The Katangese Air Force were used against the UN during the Congo crisis in 1961. The Kit The kit arrives on four sprues of grey plastic, and a clear sprue,. The plastic parts are of excellent quality, the panel lines are engraved and deep enough to be seen after painting without being trenches. Care will be needed to take some of the smaller parts of the sprue, and it might have been the case that these would have been better in photo-etch? The clear parts are crisp, clear and thin. The resin parts are for the under-fuselage antenna fitted to the Algerian and Moroccan examples. Some of the smaller parts will need careful removal to avoid damage. Construction starts in the cockpit area. The front and rear instrument panels are fitted (instrument faces are provided as decals), along with the seat supports for the front cockpit. The seats are added along with the engine and flight controls. Once complete the cockpit can be set aside. Attention then moves to the engine pods on each side of the fuselage. Engine fan faces and exhaust need to be placed inside and then the inner side of the engine trunking can be added. At the rear of each side the final exhaust section is added. Once the engines are complete then cockpit can be placed inside the main fuselage, and this then closed up. The radio equipment area to the rear of the cockpit is also added at this time. Various antenna behind the cockpits then need to be added and/or removed depending upon the version being modelled. Once the main fuselage is together work needs doing on both ends. At the rear the tail cone is added along with ventral strake. The 'V' tails are then added, care being taken with the small hinges for these. At the front the first part to me made up is the underside of the nose where the nose gear mounts. This attached inside the nose cone and the appropriate gun/no gun insert is attached to the top of the nose. The prominent nose mounted VOR antenna loops are added and the nose attached to the main fuselage. Construction then moves to the wings. These are of conventional upper & lower construction. The wheel wells are mounted into the wings before they are closed up, along with the wing mounted air-brakes. These can be modelled in with the deployed or retracted positions. The wing end mounted fuel tanks are in two halves, with the bottom being moulded to the upper wing, and then a lower fuel tank part is added. The clear noses can then be added to the front of the fuel tanks. The landing gear is then added to the model. The front single nose wheel is two parts and this is added to the main leg, this is then mounted to the nose of the aircraft. The single front gear door is added. The main wheels though larger than the nose wheel are single parts. These are fitted to the main legs, the legs along with their retraction struts are added into the main gear bays. The three part main gear doors are added. If needed armament can now be added to the model. Bombs and rocket pods are included to be used as wished by the modeller. To finish off the model the canopies can be added in the raised or lowered positions. Markings The decals are printed in house and look to be good. They are crisp, clear and in register. The dayglo stripes for the French Aircraft are not supplied when I thought they would be in this scale. Markings are provided for four examples; 315-PA French Air Force Sqn 00/315 Cognac, 1970-80 312-TX French Air Force, Tan & Light Blue markings for 25th Anniversary of GERMAS (Group d'Enteriten et de Reparation du Material Specialise) Salon de Provence, 1989 MT13 Belgian Air Force advanced flying school Belgian Congo 1960 (Aircraft armed with nose guns) 220 Irish Air Corps 1976 to 1999. Aircraft now used by the Carlow Institute of Technology. Conclusion This is a welcome new tool of an important and widely used trainer/light attack aircraft. The kit is highly detailed and should build upto a good looking if small model. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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