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Mike

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Mike last won the day on December 11 2018

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About Mike

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    Proud dad
  • Birthday 09/05/1967

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    Chester, UK
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    Aircraft, AFVs & Sci-Fi

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  1. Acrylic Concrete Texture for Dioramas (A.MIG-2108) AMMO by Mig Jiménez AMMO have a growing range of acrylic pastes for dioramas, some of which we've reviewed already, such as the excellent tarmac and beach sand we reviewed last year here. I tested the tarmac before I dispatched it, and it was awesome. This new one is concrete, and comes in the same 250ml tub as the others, with a screw-down lid and tub shape that makes it unlikely to tip over. Inside is a goopy paste in a cement grey colour, which has texture particles suspended within its matrix to quickly give the correct finish. I tested a patch by scooping an amount out with an artist's palette knife onto some styrene card that had been roughened beforehand to improve adhesion. It is quite wet to use, but once shaped it doesn't slump noticeably, so you can add texture to your initial layer for quite some time. I added an anti-slip tamp marking to part of my test patch with the edge of my knife, just to see how well it would hold it, and it has held its shape very well. Please bear in mind however that I'm hardly an expert diorama maker, and this is merely a quick test. The colour will change when the paste is dry, and lighten somewhat so you may want to adjust that with paint, washes or pigments, as concrete seldom stays just one colour after laying. If you are depicting new concrete however, you could quite easily leave it as-is because the colour is pretty much spot on. The dry paste is also very flexible, allowing me to flex the card so that the ends were parallel without any cracking or lifting of the concrete. Conclusion This is an excellent range of quick helpers to create dioramas for anyone from the novice to the expert, and they are easy to use, water-based acrylic so no noxious fumes, and it even smells pleasant and somewhat familiar. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Modern RAF/RN Tractor (181248) 1:48 VideoAviation Made by Schopf, the F59 Multitow tractor is the current weapon of choice used by the RAF and Royal Navy to move their aircraft around the airfield or deck as appropriate. Powered by a 1104D-44T Perkins diesel engine or Deutz TD2011 L04 diesel, they are four-wheel drive with front steering, and left-hand drive due to its European origin. The Kit This is a multimedia kit from our friends at VideoAviation, a follow-on from their earlier 1:72 release. It arrives in a sturdy card box with a sticker showing the contents, and inside are thirty six resin parts, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a pre-cut sheet of clear acetate, a short length of styrene rod, a decal sheet and the instruction sheet, which you can also download from the Further Information link below. The body part is wrapped in bubble-wrap with a chunk of dense foam preventing the doors from getting crushed during transit, which is a good plan and was taken off to show more of the detail. The resin parts are in a ziplok bag, and the rest of the more delicate acetate, PE and decals are ion their own bag, protected by the card that the acetate is stapled to. The main body is cast as a single part, with the roof and windows added as separate parts after installation of the seat backs, steering wheel with rod column and dashboard. The acetate windows are pre-cut to fit the apertures, but it is suggested that you paint the main colour before installing them to ease your way. The 24v power generator fits between the rear wheels, the roof (with box and warning flasher) slots in between the doors, and the windscreen closes up the front of the cab. PE windscreen wipers are added to the front, another being added at the rear once the rear screen is in place. The light clusters are upgraded with PE parts, and a cluster of wing mirrors are also PE parts, which would benefit from a coat of Molotow Liquid Chrome to replicate the mirrors. A multi-loop towing hook is fitted to the front and rear with its pin, the wheels and their hubs attach to the moulded-in stub axles on each corner. When the rear screen is inserted, an L-shaped mesh panel is fitted over it, and grilles over the light clusters protect them from damage. The final PE part is a short upstand on the right side of the rear deck, which makes up a stowage area. Markings If you are painting your tractor as a British machine, yellow is the only colour, but other operators tend to favour NATO green, if you are going off-piste for your markings. The decals are well-printed and include the chevrons for the bumpers, number plates and a pair of RAF and RN logos that are applied to the lower side of the doors. Conclusion The inclusion of everything you need to build the model barring the paint and glue is a big plus-point for any VideoAviation kit IMHO, and this one is no exception, even down to the detail of the crew step that has a tiny PE insert. The positioning of the pour stubs is sensible, and preparation shouldn't be too difficult, even for the novice resin user. As usual with resin, take the precaution of wearing a mask when cutting or sanding resin, as the tiny particles are harmful to your health if breathed in. Washing the parts in warm water will also improve the adhesion of paint, as there may still be some moulding release agent on the parts when you receive them. Casting is excellent, although a couple of small bubbles were present on my sample's seat backs, but as they won't be seen, clean up won't be too onerous. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Mike

    Are Hong Kong Models kits over-priced?

    From my roughly 12 years back in the hobby, I think that the perception of "value" is so different between people that it's impossible to get any more than a fraction of the hobby to agree with your personal opinion. Some people don't mind paying £500 for a high quality model that will give them endless pleasure in studying, detailing, building and eventually looking at their creation. Others would still complain if you gave it to them for free with a crisp £10 note, because they wanted two fivers. Some folks are genuinely and painfully miserly. Some folks are never happy, and nothing's ever right for some folks. The rest of us vary from about the same to happy-go-lucky folks that don't really think too hard about the cost of their hobby, and never mention it other than during the internal discussion they have when they're considering a purchase. It's just the way it is.
  4. You know, I honestly hadn't thought to that aspect! Because the cut is so much more gentle, you don't get that 10g acceleration that standard cutters impart. Good spot!
  5. I've got their tweezers so far, which I added on to my last order Cheap and nice
  6. Mike

    Moving Time Again

    Just bear with me while I buy shares i the copy paper company you're using
  7. Boeing 747-8 Lufthansa New Livery (03891) 1:144 Revell At the end of September 1968, Boeing revealed to gathered crowds at its Everett factory, an aircraft that would forever change the world of air travel. Taking advantage of the new generation of high by-pass turbofan engines capable of huge power output compared to the previously available power units, Boeing unveiled the B747 which would become affectionately known as the ‘Jumbo Jet’ due to its immense proportions. Designs for the new Boeing747 had actually been started three years earlier when engineer Joe Sutter approached the airlines to discuss their proposals with the companies that would actually buy the aircraft, and it was to be the Pan Am CEO, Juan Trippe, that had the greatest influence in the final design. Although intended from the outset to be a passenger aircraft, it was decided early in the design phase to ensure that the aircraft should be easily adaptable to a freighter; a decision that was to prove fortunate in later years. The original high wing designs were discounted in favour of the more popular low wing position, and at the request of Juan Trippe, various options in upper deck layouts were explored. These designs led to the now familiar ‘hump’, a feature that in no way detracts from the graceful lines of the aircraft that was finally rolled out at the end of September 1968, and provided the airlines with the first jet powered airliner capable of carrying more than 400 passengers. Over the next three decades, the original design was further modified by the enlargement of the upper deck and the introduction of improved engines and avionics. Probably the most radical change made to the airframe was with the introduction of the 747SP which featured a significantly shorter fuselage and a re-designed wing targeted at the short to medium haul and high density routes. In 1988, Boeing rolled out yet another variant in the shape of the -400 series, but it was not until November 2005 that the subject of this kit, the Boeing 747-8 family was launched. Incorporating advanced technology developed for the 787 Dreamliner, the first -8 model to fly was the freighter with Cargolux being the launch customer and taking delivery of its first aircraft in February of 2010. The 747-8i, the passenger version, made its maiden flight in March of the following year with the first delivery to an undisclosed private customer made in February 2012. Lufthansa, the original launch customer took delivery of their first aircraft in April of the same year. On June 28th. 2014. Boeing reached a significant milestone when the deliveries of the 747 totalled 1,500 aircraft. Deliveries of the 747-8 have been relatively slow with only just over 150 examples of both the freighter and passenger version ordered with only three national carriers taking options on the passenger version at the time of writing. (Preamble text courtesy of @stringbag) The Kit This is a reboxing of Revell's well-liked 2012 era 747 kit with a newly tooled -8i fuselage and new decals depicting the new, modern livery that was first unveiled in May 2018. Inside the top-opening box (yes, you read that right) are two fuselage parts, seven sprues of white styrene, three clear sprues, a long sheet of decals and the instruction booklet. The model is well-detailed, with fine engine components, engraved panel lines, landing gear bays and even a cockpit part, with the copyright marking on the inner wing showing 2012. The fuselage has open windows along the side, with clear parts that are applied inside, so if you plan on using alternate solid porthole decals (some folks do), you'll need to fill and smooth them out. It's probably not all that often a civilian aircraft review starts with the words "construction begins with the cockpit", but this one does. There is a tub that includes seats and instrument coaming moulded-in, plus a rear bulkhead with crew door moulded-in, which you are instructed to paint up with basic colours. If you're building it with the wheels down, you'll need to build the gear bays, which have some nice ribbing detail moulded-in, and add the landing gear legs, which are really well-detailed for the scale, with brake detail and retraction jacks worthy of a larger scale. The windows, gear bays and the cockpit tub are all inserted into the fuselage halves which are then joined together, with a short bulkhead slipped into the wing root area to prevent the weight of the wings from pulling the seams apart later. The underside is covered up by an insert which surrounds the main gear bays, and closes over those areas that are normally shut on the ground with additional parts. The wings have clear light inserts in the root, which are installed before the halves are brought together, with a standard tab and slot fixture to the fuselage, which is repeated on the elevators on a smaller scale. The wings need their flap actuator housings adding, which are all separate parts made up from two halves each, and you will need to take care to get the correct one in the proper recess. The engines are made up from a pair of fans on a central spindle, which is slid into the aft section of the engine which has another set of blades moulded into the rear. The fans can be left mobile by carefully gluing the retaining ring in place, which is then hidden by the tail cone, and then further enclosed in the outer housing with the single-piece intake lip and the two different sized zig-zag exhaust lips that are there to reduce exhaust noises. The engines are all handed, so take care with construction again, as the strake on the bypass housing faces the fuselage. The outboard main wheels are added at the same time as the engines, and then it's just a case of adding some aerials, the main wheels and their brake assemblies, gear bay doors, and the clear glazing for the cockpit. Instructions are also given for the installation of the bay doors for an in-flight model, which requires a little cutting of the parts, but nothing too taxing for even a novice modeller. As an addition, a three-part stand is included on the sprues, which fits between the landing gear into some holes in the belly. A nice addition that will allow you to sprinkle a few smaller models around the 747 on your display shelf. Markings The new livery is a simple tail-band that you will have to mask and paint, with the Lufthansa logo on the tail, and the name on the familiar hump behind the cockpit. The windscreen, window frames and doorframe decals are also included, plus many, many lengths of walkway markings for the gargantuan wings and tail surfaces. A dark blue swatch of the correct colour for the dark blue is included for reference on the sheet, and as usual the colour call-outs are using Revell's own paints with the blue being a 90%/10% mix of gloss midnight blue and black. If you're mixing your paint for this task, it's always best to mix too much and store the spare paint in an empty pot until the project is finished, in case touch-ups are needed at any point. Conclusion It's a great modern tooling of the still-impressive former holder of the largest passenger aircraft trophy, and these new decals will look splendid on a well-painted model. A cockpit and gear bays are good to see, all of which adds extra realism to the model. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  8. They do look identical even down to the accessories, but at £50 plus shipping, the DSPIAE branded ones at £26.80 delivered when I bought them start to look excellent value
  9. I've ordered two of the cutters now from the UK directly from AliExpress, and both have got through unfettered. I couldn't tell you whether it was due to what was written on the waybill, as I didn't look at the time, but there you go
  10. TBH, the hassle of ordering them online is negligible once you've created your account. I'm currently trying to resist the drill set and numerous other things
  11. Single Blade Nipper 2.0 (ST-A) DSPIAE I'd never heard of DSPIAE until a friend of mine was muttering about the new sprue cutters he'd bought at Telford (thanks Dan), and how awesome they were. I was in the market for a set, as my old Xuron pair weren't looking too good, and I was sick of the crush-marks that were being left in parts when I removed them from their sprues. Post-Telford they were only available from the AliExpress shopping platform, so I took my life in my hands and ordered a pair. It wasn't too painful, and after I got over an initial inability to pay by card, the order was completed and I was kept apprised of progress toward delivery by email from the AliExpress platform. About a week later and a small box arrived with the DSPIAE logo on it. Inside the box was a shrink-wrapped black box with an overlapping lid made from sturdy card. Inside the lid is a card insert with a small holster for the blade visible, with cleaning cloth, plastic cover and instructions hidden inside. Removing that shows off the final layer containing the nippers and an adjustment wrench in a card-topped custom foam surround. The interior of the lid is a bright red, in keeping with the overall black/red theme that carries on a feeling of quality. Each nipper is also individually ID coded, which enables the buyer to confirm their purchase's authenticity and access product support if necessary. The adjustment wrench has a rounded Allen head that you use to change the limit of closure of the jaws, to ensure a clean cut with no stragglers, whilst maintaining the sharpness of the single blade by preventing it from mashing unfettered into the non-cutting jaw. The handles are 90mm across when open, and the length from stem to tip of blade is 110mm, so they're quite a compact set of cutters, but don't let that put you off if you have large hands. My mitts are fairly large, and I have no trouble using them, with the red foam grips making maintaining a good grip on them simple. Afterall, the last thing you want to do is drop them on a hard floor. I could show you some pictures of pieces of sprue that I have cut with the nippers, but that's not going to tell you much other than it's a clean cut. What a picture will not tell you is that the cutting process is smooth beyond all belief and almost effortless. I can honestly say that it has completely changed the way I cut parts from sprues, and has given me increased confidence that the result will be clean and require much less in the way of clean-up than previously achieved with side-cutters. Simply place the cutters close to the part, and lightly scissor the jaws closed. That's it. A beautiful, clean cut that is close to the part, and has not harmed, stressed or crushed the surrounding styrene in any way. It also applies much less pressure to the parts when cutting, so you're less likely to have any breakages as a result. For example, when cutting off fine tubular parts with multiple sprue gates, the sideways and lateral pressure of a standard cutter squeezing the gate can cause the parts to shatter as the gate widens by the thickness of the blade. This shouldn't be an issue with these nippers, and I have successfully cut a number of parts that would have otherwise been subject to this concern. With very small parts, you need to be careful to place the blades properly against the sprue gates, as the slightly wider nature of the non-cutting jaw can conceivably push the blade off course. With that in mind however, it should no-longer be an issue. That's the only caveat, and you'd only do it once! Note the comparative smoothness of the cut on the left compared with that of the right The instructions name all the components of the nippers and also give names to the accessories, such as the "nipper holster", which will be useful if you are storing your nippers in a tool box or transporting them. This will protect the blade, and also protect the world from tiny amounts of grease that are lubricating the pivot. There is also a plastic cover for the blade, which is very tight-fitting, but would protect your blade from much greater impacts than the leatherette holster, so it has a use. The little microfibre cloth is wrapped in a foil bag, and is DSPIAE branded in one of its radiused corners – very nice quality too. The instructions are a little "Chinglish" in places, but the jist is plain to see, with a final warning that you should under NO circumstances attempt to cut anything other than styrene, ABS or polyurethane resin with the blade, or it will damage it. Shortening polyurethane to PE may not have been the best idea however, as someone is bound to think that's the hobby's de-facto standard shortcut for Photo-Etch instead, with resulting damage. If you've read this however, hopefully you won't. Conclusion I wouldn't think you'd catch me enthusing about a simple sprue-cutter in such a gushing manner, but these things really are that good. Their performance when compared to other brands is like that of chalk and cheese, so they are most definitely worth the extra cost in my opinion, which when you remove the shipping cost makes them pretty good value. I have purchased two from DSPIAE now, plus a couple of pairs of their tweezers, and so far they have not been stopped by customs (presumably due to their low value), but always bear this in mind when purchasing from overseas. Oh, and before you ask. At this stage I have no idea what DSPIAE stands for - other than really good quality tools. Extremely highly recommended. This link and the one below takes you to DSPIAE's AliExpress shop, with lots of interesting tools for the modeller. Britmodeller cannot be held responsible for the amount of money you spend when you see what's available. Review sample purchased from
  12. WWII German and Soviet Figures Paint Sets (A.MIG-7021 & A.MIG-7023) AMMO of Mig Jiménez Mig Jiménez's company AMMO has been producing acrylic paints now for some years, and they have a deservedly good reputation in the hobby. There are an ever-widening range of shades, available singly and in sets to bolster your collection and make painting specific themes easier. These two sets are under the Figures Sets banner, and are designed as a one-stop pack to permit you to paint uniforms with the addition of a brush and a little skill. Each set arrives in a blister pack with four 17ml dropper-type bottles that have a white cap, but still have the little metal mixing balls that you'll find in all the new paints from AMMO. The header card has a figure on the rear with the colour call-outs showing where they have been used in painting the examples, although you'll have to visit the AMMO website for a little more assistance with techniques, where you'll find lots of help in video and step-through form. Furthermore, a new set of encyclopaedia books for figure painting are underway, so if you're a little clueless on how to achieve the superb results you see online and at shows, prepare yourself to be enlightened. We'll bring you some reviews of these books and the other figure-related products that are being released to coincide with the books in the near future. German Field Grey uniforms (A.MIG-7021) AMMOF512 FIELD GREY FS-34159 AMMOF513 FIELD GREY HIGHLIGHT FS-34414 AMMOF514 FIELD GREY SHADOW FS-34086 AMMOF502 OUTLINING BLACK Soviet Uniforms WWII (A.MIG-7023) AMMOF503 DARK OLIVE GREEN FS-34130 AMMOF504 YELLOW GREEN FS-34259 AMMOF505 PALE YELLOW GREEN FS-33481 AMMOF506 MEDIUM RUSSIAN GREEN FS-34092 More sets will be along soon, so we'll expand this review as time goes by. Review sample courtesy of
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