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Mike

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Mike last won the day on June 15

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About Mike

  • Birthday 05/09/1967

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    Chester, UK
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    Aircraft, AFVs & Sci-Fi

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  1. Yes, but can I entreat you to sleep on it before making such a momentous and life-changing decision?
  2. Yak-9T (32090) 1:32 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Yak-9 was an evolution of the successful Yak-7 fighter, and was intended to retake the initiative from the Nazis’ new Fw.190 and improved Bf.109s, which it successfully did. Production started in late 1942, and by summer 1943 there were enough in service to make a difference, playing a part in the crucial Kursk battle, thanks to its agility in the denser air at lower altitudes and the heavy armament it carried. It was made in a number of different variants with diverse intended uses, with the D fitted with additional fuel tanks for longer range, and the DD for longer range still. The Yak-9T was armed with a larger 37 mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 cannon firing through the spinner but with only 30 rounds of armour-piercing ammunition carried, which it could fire in two or three round bursts and was intended for use against maritime targets and light armour, where it was quite effective. Careful aim was key of course due to the shortage of ammunition, but when used against another aircraft, a solitary shell strike would rip an opponent to pieces, making the enemy’s day end very badly. Because of the additional weight of the massive gun and its ammo, the cockpit had to be moved aft slightly to counter the change in centre-of-gravity, and various issues reared their heads thanks to the substantial vibrations from firing the cannon. Its standard armament of a 20mm UBS cannon still carried a full complement of 220 rounds as an auxiliary to the main armament. Almost 3,000 were made, and the designers later went one further and installed a 45mm cannon in one variant that had to be fitted with a muzzle brake to counter recoil of crippling proportions that could cause loss of control if fired at slower speeds. Post war saw the continued development of the type, which involved the installation of a more powerful engine, and these were later hived off to Soviet-friendly satellite states at the end of the 40s, where they served into the 50s, although their unusual manual lubrication system saw accidents caused by engines seizing due to pilots that were engrossed in flying and fighting their aircraft forgetting to operate the hand-cranked lubrication lever in the cockpit. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling of this capable Soviet fighter from our friends at ICM, and it arrives in one of their standard top-opening boxes with the usual captive inner lid, and an attractive painting of the subject matter on the top. Inside the box are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, a large square decal sheet and the instructions with colour covers and spot colour throughout, plus colour profiles for the decal options on the rear. Detail is crisp throughout the model, but don’t expect too many rivets to be visible on the exterior, as the metal structure was hidden away inside an outer layer of plywood impregnated with phenolic resin, that is better known in the west by its brand-name Bakelite. Construction begins with the port fuselage, which is adorned with the tubular cockpit framework and has six exhaust stubs on a runner pushed through the slot in the cowling from inside. The tips aren’t hollow, so prepare your pin vice if that bothers you at all. The starboard fuselage half goes through the same process, but adds the structure of the chin intake and its oil radiator cores, then the upper parts of the cockpit are made up, starting with the seat that has a pencil-rolled back cushion, and attaches to the short deck behind it, slotting into the starboard fuselage half along with a bulkhead and the instrument panel, which has a number of additional parts and a dial decal added along the way. With the completion of the tail-wheel assembly the fuselage can be closed up around these sub-assemblies, with an insert added under the chin, while most of the underside is open to the elements at this stage. The kit includes an engine that you can show off or hide away in its basic form of block with cylinder banks that is made out of nine parts plus another two for the cannon, which is similarly basic, but as none of it will be seen that hardly matters. The muzzle can be found in the prop assembly if you’re in the mood to drill it out. The basic assembled engine slides into the front of the fuselage with the breech of the cannon slipping through a depression in the bulkhead, after which it can be covered over by two sections of cowling after removing a pair of pips that stand up from the seamline. If you intend to expose the engine however, the power plant is further detailed with an additional twenty parts for the engine itself, and another gaggle for the compartment around it, adding ancillaries, hoses, cowling support structure, the .50cal auxiliary cannon, and a pair of ammo cans for them both that slip into the aft section in front of the cockpit to create a nice replica with plenty of detail. The surround to the cockpit aperture is detailed with the gunsight mount and a piece of clear armoured glass behind the pilot, a small coaming, and the fixed rear canopy part, with the windscreen and its separate clear armoured panel, which is best “glued” on using a clear varnish such as Klear, taking care not to trap any bubbles in between the layers. The opening canopy slides back over the aft section, or you can leave it closed up to keep the snow out. In preparation for the wings, a short spar is created with a fluid tank in the centre and a couple of jacks at the ends, then a raised platform is made of the cockpit floor, which has the control column, rudder pedals and a flare pistol fixed in place for later attachment. The lower wing is full-width, and has the central radiator with textured front and rear panels added underneath, and the spar assembly inside, which forms the rear walls of the main gear bays that are joined by a number of other wall sections and internal ribs that are closed in by adding the upper wing halves. The bay roof is moulded into each wing half, with a little detail visible, but a single ejector-pin mark is visible, and is best dealt with before you glue the assembly together. The ailerons are individual parts that can be posed deflected, then the cockpit floor is glued in and a pair of tapering boxes are inserted in front, although I couldn’t divine their real-world purpose. The wings and fuselage are joined by carefully lowering the latter over the former, taking care not to bend or snap the control stick. The elevators and their fins are each two parts, and these also can be posed deflected if you wish, as can the rudder, which is also made of two parts and glued to the moulded-in fin. The landing gear is a little contrary in that it adds retraction jacks for the struts and inner bay doors first, which are also fitted at this time, with a scrap diagram showing the fine placement of the jack within the bay. The main wheels are each made from two halves with moulded-in hubs, and these are fixed to the axles at the bottom of the struts, with a separate scissor-link and captive bay door on each one, then they mate with the bays on a transverse pivot point, linking to the retraction jacks installed earlier. The model is finished off by adding the clear wingtip lights, gear-down indicator stalks on the wing tops, radio antenna on the fuselage spine, and the propeller assembly, which is made from the moulded-together blades plus front and rear spinner, then the very tip of the 37mm cannon’s barrel, which will need drilling out if you would like a hollow muzzle. Markings There are four markings options on the decal sheet, with four pages of profiles giving concise locations for the decals and letters showing the colours in reference to a table on the front page that gives names and codes in ICM, Revell and Tamiya brands of paint. From the box you can build one of the following: 3rd Fighter Corps, Kursk Area, 1943 149th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, 2nd Ukrainian Front, Summer 1944 53rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 1st Ukrainian Front, Summer 1944 513th Fighter Aviation Regiment, 2nd Ukrainian Front, 1945 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. A decal for the instrument panel can be found in the top left of the sheet, with just the dials and white lines defining the sections of the panel, allowing the paint to show through from below. Conclusion A welcome new tooling of this impressive Soviet fighter that should please many a large-scale modeller, with plenty of detail to be had from a relatively simple construction. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  3. My mate @stringbag came over with a chunk of lead last night, as I seem to have mislaid my big jug of heavy bits of steel and a bag of lead shot somewhere along the line After much tea, coffee and jaffa cakes he departed and today I've got a sandwich of lead sheet cut up and glued together to fill the limited space in the nose as best I can without making fit issues for myself. I'm guessing there's only about 12g in the nose, but I've supplemented it with two layers behind the rear bulkhead, and between them it gives it a distinctly nose-down attitude on the desk, rolling forward onto its nose with or without the lid on. You may just be able to see the lead peeping out from behind the bulkhead on the left, and the more observant amongst you will have also noticed that the tail booms and elevator are now glued in place. The flying surface is angled slightly down, so is hiding in this pic, as is the exhaust FOD. The next task is to paint the rear of the lead with some Musou Black so it won't be seen through the IP, and then I need to figure out the correct angles for the various IP panels, as they're not fitting too well at their current angle. More news after the weather
  4. I think it's time to close this down. He's gone... we laughed, it's over.
  5. Salmson 2A2 (KPM0327) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov Salmson was a French aviation manufacturer that created the Model 2 reconnaissance aircraft for a WWI requirement, and the resulting type saw substantial service with the French Air Force during the last years of the Great War. As the American aviation industry was somewhat behind Europe due to their country’s late entry into the war, the type was also pressed into service with the nascent US Air Service, with an impressive 700 used. Salmson originally made pumping equipment, but changed to automobile and aviation manufacturing during the early part of the 20th century, even producing their own aviation engines. They eventually went back to their roots, leaving aviation behind them and are currently still operating in that industry. The Salmson 2 was available in a number of variants, the 2A2 being the standard edition that was equipped with a Z9 Water-cooled 9-cyl radial engine of their own manufacture, and as they had originally built the Sopwith 1.5 Strutter under license, its replacement bore some resemblance to its forebear. They were also license built by Kawasaki as the Otsu-1 in Japan. The Kit This is a reboxing of the 2022 kit, so effectively a new tool as it differs by the decals included in the kit. It arrives in a small end-opening box that has a painting of the type on the front, and the decal options on the rear. Inside are two sprues in grey styrene, a small sheet of printed acetate sheet, a decal sheet, and instructions inside a resealable clear foil bag. The instruction booklet is identical between the American and Kawasaki kits, as they build identically and differ only in their painting and decaling. Our reviews will be very similar in that way, as we don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the fuselage top with its twin cockpit openings, an instrument panel in the front of the forward bay and a headrest upstand behind it. A pair of short struts fit between the two openings, and another two struts are inserted into the cockpit floor, exiting through the rear of the pilot’s aperture, with a simple basket seat, control column and rudder pedals for his use, and a fuel tank between the crew stations. This assembly is trapped between the fuselage halves, which have detail moulded inside them where it will be seen as well as externally to replicate the fabric exterior. The cockpit openings insert joins to the fuselage, threading the afore mentioned struts through the pilot’s slot, and adding the engine cowling to the front, which is made up from a three-section cowling ring and separate front lip that has a multi-blade fan moulded inside that hides the engine, doing an impression of a jet engine until you add the two-blade prop of course. The pilot’s deck is outfitted with a tube sight and a Vickers machine gun that fires through the prop, and the acetate sheet is cut to the printed shape to form the small windscreen that keeps at least some of the engine oil off his face. Another windscreen keeps the oil off the back of the gunner’s head, and his circular opening has a simple C-shaped mount for twin Lewis guns that can be glued in place at any angle to simulate the ring that it was mounted on. The tail of the beast is simple and yet complex, having a single part depicting the elevators, and another for the rudder. There are two V-shaped supports under the elevators, and a tripod made from three individual lengths to steady the rudder fin, with another diagram showing where the control wires should be. The lower wing is full-width and passes under the fuselage, and there are eight interplane struts that looks a little like baguettes in the diagrams due to their narrow ends, but I digress. Under the wing the main gear legs consist of two tripodal braces with an aerodynamically faired axle onto which the two wheels are glued at the ends. Individual radiator fins are glued under the cowling, and a wind-powered fuel pump is fitted to the gear legs, then it’s time to put the upper wing on. Attaching the wing should be relatively simple, lining up the twelve struts with the holes in the underside of the upper wing, but that is without considering the rigging. A drawing shows where the various rigging wires should go, and you can use your preferred method of getting the task accomplished and make good any repainting that may be required after hiding the holes for the rigging material. For the avoidance of doubt, you will need to supply your own rigging thread, and folks have their own preferences here too. Markings There are three options on the rear of the box, all in American service during and just after World War One, with some variation of scheme between them, and some early national markings on display. From the box you can build one of the following: Red 15, 24th Aero Sqn., Nov 1918 #1319, Red 6, 12th Aero Sqn., 1918 #5464, White 8, 1st Aero Sqn., Jun 1919 The decals are well-printed with good register, sharpness and colour density, which includes a simple instrument panel decal to assist you with the cockpit. Conclusion The 2A2 was a fairly important reconnaissance aircraft in the later part of WWI, and its design is relatively modern-looking when compared to some of the earlier string-bags. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. I know that a UK importer has had 400, so i suspect that figure is higher somehow.
  7. When I see a topic I’ve got no interest in, I move on. It isn’t difficult. All I see lately when someone posts a thread about a less popular subject in the maritime section particularly, but other sections too, is moaning that it ‘should have been an xxx and everyone’s an idiot but me’. It’s the same nonsense every time, drowning out any discussion of an actual model that is being produced, in favour of their own personal wish list that frankly we’ve all heard a thousand times over. If you think that a model company will be swayed by the same few middle aged men griping and reeling off their wish list each time a new kit they don’t like is announced, I suspect you over-estimate the free time of model company employees to trawl every thread about a different model for good ideas, and consequently you’re in for a sad time of things. This determined moaning constitutes sour grapes, and we’ve had a number of thread bemoaning this or that ship is more deserving of a kit, neglecting to consider that it’s just that person’s opinion, which you’ll find are many and varied. There’s an adage about butts that I won’t go into here. We’re also talking about a kit that has been designed, tooled and is probably in production, so whining won’t change a single thing. It’s pointless complaining, and using the excuse that model companies listen to us prattling on in forums is risible. They’re in business to make money, and probably have little time for randomly surfing forums, especially if there’s also a language barrier and it’s in an unrelated subject. allow other people to enjoy a kit that they like, without you hosing it down with jealousy and envy, with a condescending ‘that’s not a real ship’ thrown in for good measure. It’s petulant and childish.
  8. Sd.Kfz.250 Captured ‘alte Ausführung’ (SA72027) 1:72 Special Armour by Special Hobby The Sd.kfz 250 was a light armoured halftrack similar in appearance to the Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1. Both were a mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but were flexible enough to also take up many other tasks. With two steerable wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough. It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and plunging fire, where the armour would concentrate the blast inside to the detriment of the occupants. Almost 6,000 examples were produced between 1940 and the end of WWII, and the vehicle was in service in time for the invasion of France, serving in most theatres in which the Wehrmacht fought to the bitter end. Fifteen official variants were produced, including ammunition carriers to support StuG batteries and signals cars that were equipped with radio sets. Other variants were equipped with heavy weapons that enabled them to provide infantry support. As a testament to their versatility, usefulness and durability, the type was sometimes reused when captured by Allied forces and insurgents taking back their homeland toward the end of the war, and they were kept in service for some period afterward where needs required. The Kit This is a re-release of the original MK72 kit, As the sprues were originally tooled By Special Hobby in their MPM days. According to the Special Hobby website they now own the moulds, hence its release now under the Special Armour brand. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box with a painting of the vehicle on the front and profiles of the decal options on the rear, with five sprues inside, four in grey, one in sand coloured styrene, plus a decal sheet and instruction booklet. The tooling still looks sharp and the parts count is quite high for what will be a small model in 1:72. Some of the small parts are very fine and will require care removing them from the sprues. The kit represents the earlier 250 before it was replaced by a revised version that was simplified to be easier and cheaper to manufacture. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is made up into a shallow dish from three sections so that the road wheels for the tracked portion of the vehicle can be interleaved behind the drive sprockets, which are both made from two parts each. The tracks are found on the sand-coloured sprue, and are shortened by five links to fit the chassis, as shown in the accompanying scrap diagram, and here a little heat judiciously applied might be wise to help the styrene wrap around the sprockets at the ends. The front wheels are each made from two halves, and these are fixed to the steering axle that is made up from six parts, with a wheel on each end. The crew compartments are made up next, starting with the driver’s compartment, which has much of the detail moulded into the floor, plus a dashboard with steering column and wheel, joined by two seat backs, control levers and stowage boxes. The rear compartment is tread-plated in the lowest areas, and fixes to the back of the drivers’ section, with an additional seat and a two-door cabinet at the rear, plus a stack of double drum mags for the machine gun behind the chair. The sloping centre sections of the body sides are glued in place on the lower hull, adding a pair of towing hooks at the front, and the fenders with stowage boxes and pioneer tools moulded into the surface, the latter also able to be removed with a knife and sanded back if you choose. The upper hull is moulded as a single part, and is fixed on top of the centre section along with the rear bulkhead and a fold-down platform that stows near vertically in the left side. The front armoured radiator cover, bumper, stowage doors, and crew compartment vision slots are all fixed to the front, and a door, towing hitch, convoy light and radio antenna are added to the rear to complete the majority of the structural work. There is a choice of slotted or open-fronted headlamps, width indicator lollipops and a pair of upstands on the fenders, then the remaining parts are used to fit either a shallow or deep mounting plate for the gun, which isn’t your standard MG34 or 42. This is built up on a mount with two styles of splinter shield parts, and a pair of aiming wheels that glue onto the mount. The gun looks like a small calibre artillery piece with a breech protector on the left, and it is suitable for decal option C in Polish service. A more traditional pintle-mount is supplied for the other two options that installs in the front or rear of the crew compartment, using one of the two MG34s that can be found on the sprues. Incidentally, there are a number of spare small arms on the sprues if you wish to use them. Markings There are three choices on the small decal sheet, all captured vehicles in the service of various operators. From the box you can build one of the following: ‘Small Caterpillar’ insurgent Unit Prague-Zizkov, 8th May 1945 Vehicle captured by US Army during battle of the Bulge, Bastogne, Belgium, 1944-5 Captured vehicle operated by the troops of 13. Pułk Artylerii Samobieżnej, Ludowe Vojsko Polskie The decals are printed in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film extending around the printed areas, which should hopefully make the edges easier to hide. Conclusion An interesting reboxing of this standard German halftrack that takes it away from both the Panzer Grey and Dunkelgelb fare that we normally see, although there’s still a little of the latter on display in some of the decal options. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. We've had a few over the years, believe me
  10. I think we might have had a close scrape there. Time to close down that account and move on On behalf of happier Mikes, I apologise on his behalf
  11. I've had a quick look through all this, as it's a red-flag to the Mods, because it's a possible route to arguments (yes, some irony there), as people often differ in their opinions, and some folks can't seem to understand that other people have different opinions than them, and certainly don't think that's OK. Everyone should carry out their hobby in exactly the same way as they do! It is the law! Here at Britmodeller we're not into snobbery, as it's just the fun of our hobby and the camaraderie that we're interested in. If you paint with a yard brush and textured masonry paint after cobbling together your latest kit with clout nails we might wonder about your sanity, but everyone else that's doing their best and having fun is the name of the game. If you're doing your best, or even if you're not there's a place for you here, just as long as you're nice and polite, and show respect to your follow modellers. When you think about it, our hobby is just a microcosm of the larger world. There are horrible people in the world and in our hobby, but there are also lovely people, and many in between. We're lucky that we get a lot of lovely people here (not you, obviously ), and many of the in-between ones. The horrible ones don't last long here, and anyone that strays a bit close to the horrible side might find themselves in trouble. Stay there too long and it's bye-bye time. We don't like doing that, but we have to for the sanity of the rest of us. I do my models when I can as best I can, and if that's not good enough for you, tough bosoms
  12. Careful, his head might explode from excitement!
  13. I'm rather happy about this, and am looking forward to filling a hole in my stash
  14. StuG III Ausf.G (36480 for MiniArt) 1:35 Eduard MiniArt’s new range of StuGs have become the de facto standard kit in 1:35 since their recent launch (only my humble opinion of course), and as is usually the case with their toolings, they have been crafted with multiple variants in mind. You can always improve on injection moulded styrene though, and this set intends to do just that, although because of the quality of the base kit, it’s not the largest of Eduard’s sets. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Inside is a single fret of nickel-plated brass PE, with some parts pre-painted for realism, such as the jack block that is covered with a light wooden texturing, and a few belts that are red-brown colour. It includes a replacement bracket for the glacis, chains for the towing shackle pins at the rear, and a heat deflecting piece of tinwork under the overhang next to the rear shackles. This will need bending to shape using a D-shaped template on the long part, and an L-shaped template for the side parts. They replace some styrene parts from the kit, so you can use those as a guide on how to shape the new parts. At the rear of the casemate a long bracket is fixed across the width to carry a number of spare track links that double up as extra armour to the weaker rear, and are fixed in place on styrene brackets that are already moulded-in, and have PE wingnuts added to the ends. A suitcase-style stowage box on the exterior is cleaned of its moulded-in hinges and closures, after which a new set of parts are glued in place with improved detail and a padlock to complete it. Another padlock and two-part L-shaped eye is fitted to one of the hatches on the casemate, and after removing the styrene supports for the jack block on the fender, a replacement block is made from the pre-painted part, then it is wrapped in strengthening straps, has a pair of lifting handles fixed to the ends, and a bracket that secures it to the fender on opposite corners, with the painted strap holding it down. A small but effective set of parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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