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Giorgio N

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Everything posted by Giorgio N

  1. It is an undisputed matter of fact that there's quite a connection between Irish and Italian people. In general they love each other, maybe it's because of Catholicism, most likely it's because of a number of similarities in their approach to the joys of life. Who knows, maybe it's because Trapattoni was Ireland's football team manager for some time while Liam Brady left great memories in both Juventus and Inter ! There could be other reasons but it's a fact that Dublin is one of the preferred destinations for Italian tourists and a good number of Irish tourists visit Rome and other Italian cities. It is also an undisputed matter of fact that both countries have had some troublesome relations with Britain but they have afterall been good commercial partner and a lot of products have been moving between both countries and Britain, including aircrafts and other weapons. And this brings us to another thing that Italy and Ireland have in common: both countries used the DH Vampire as their main combat type ! Ok, this is not really surprising since the Vampire gave many air forces their first taste of jet air power and I could have chosen many other countries to show some unusual markings on DH's great little fighter. There is however one good reason for me to choose these two countries and it is another Italo-Irish connection: both have been places where I've lived ! So as an Italian born modeller who lived several years in Ireland, building both models in parallel made perfect sense to me . The history of why and how each Country used the Vampire will be told during the build, let's for the moment just show which kits I'll be using, kits that will have to differ as the two countries used different variants. Scale will be the same though, 1/72 for both. Italy built the FB.5 under DH licence ( a lot more info will follow...) and the kit I chose is the recent Special Hobby offering, here in the Azur branded box for aircrafts used by France (another large user of the Vampire) The Irish Air Corps on the other hand selected the two-seater T.55, an export variant of the RAF T.11, and for this variant the best option is the Airfix kit Decals for the Irish machine will come from one of Max Decals sheets, those for the Italian aircraft will come from assorted Tauromodel and other sheets
  2. Giorgio N

    Twin-boom Tricolour(s): Irish and Italian Vampires

    Glad you enjoied the story ! There's only one more chapter to write before the end of the GB For decals, go to the Italian Kits website, they have a sheet dedicated to the Italian Vampires that includes both markings and stencils Can't comment on the best kit, I'm not really up to date on 1/48 Vampires. In any case the FB.52 was identical to the RAF FB.5, apart from the few modified with ejection seats
  3. Giorgio N

    Twin-boom Tricolour(s): Irish and Italian Vampires

    I've tried to get all the marking details right but at the same time there's a good degree of guesswork in this model. The overwing red danger markings are one example, I've gone for one of the styles with Italian stencils, not sure if correct. In any case with the end of the GB approaching I'd better move fast. Decalling is now complete, took me a while due to my decision of printing my own stencils. Now the model is ready for the satin coat while I've prepared wheels and other bits. I've also glued the tanks togethere, I may or not attach them to the model. To be honest I quite like it without. While preparing all the smaller parts I realised that I seem to have lost the seat ! Very annoying, now I'll have to fnd a replacement. The Vampire seat is very similar to the one used in the Spitfire, I may take one from the many Spits I have in the stash (and replace this with a Pavla resin part).
  4. Giorgio N

    F-14A Bounty Hunters 1977

    You may be right, the pylon may be white. I also wonder if the area where the pylon is attached is white, looks lighter in the picture I have but could just be the lighting. A number of Tomcats showed some white areas after repainting in overall grey, this may be one of them.Or maybe is just a trick of the light...
  5. Giorgio N

    Revell Victor... Just how bad is it?

    The italeri Tomcat is not bad, other Italeri kits however are well known to be hard to put together. I have several Italeri kits in the stash but this company is not really the first coming to mind when the words. Regarding Mistercraft, they make some of the crudest injection moulded kits in the market, no surprise that they don't fit well
  6. Ouch, forgot to comment on this one... another very nice Spitfire John! Your collection of foreign Spitfires has been a great addition to the GB gallery, thanks again for taking part. Glad that you enjoyed this GB, will look foward to your other Spitfires in the WIP section of the forum
  7. Sure a very interesting Spit ! Late Mk.Vs are very intriguing as they showed several features usually associated with later variants. Markings variations in the MTO were also common, I'd like one day to see a book devoted only to late MTO Spitfires, would be full of interesting stuff.
  8. Giorgio N

    Metric scale AV-8A

    Always happens to me, every picture shows something new I didn't know and it's hard to tell when to stop caring and just building a model... it's fascinating from one side as teaches me a lot about an aircraft but at the same time can be detrimental to completing a model on time...
  9. Giorgio N

    Twin-boom Tricolour(s): Irish and Italian Vampires

    Yes, the prancing horse of 4th Stormo, tracing its heritage to the personal emblem of Francesco Baracca, Italy's leading WW1 ace. The same Baracca had adopted this emblem from his earlier unit, the Piemonte Royal Regiment of Horse, a regiment established in 1692. This unit is today the most recognisable fighter wing of the Italian Air Force and is considered an elite. 4th Stormo has always been the first to receive the main fighter types used in Italy: first with the Mustang, first with the Vampire, first with the Sabre, first with the F-104 and first with the Typhoon. Of course for many the prancing horse is mainly the symbol of Ferrari.. Enzo Ferrari himself, when he was a pilot racing Alfas in the '20s, was suggested to use the prancing horse by Baracca's father who said tha the Prancing Horse would have brought good look to Ferrari's cars. To say that he was right is an understatement... So the most famous car brand in the world and Italy elite fighter wing share the same emblem with the same ancestry. The two also have close ties and for a long time Ferrari road and racing cars competed in events against the Stormo fighters. Legendary is in Italy the acceleration race held in 1981 between the F1 car driven by Gilles Villeneuve against the Stormo Starfighter. To commemorate the ties between the Stormo and the Company, the Air Force in 1989 donated to Ferrari an F-104G painted in Italian racing red and carrying the codes 4-27, 4 of course for 4th Stormo and 27 as the number carried by Villeneuve's car. This aircraft is well known and has been represented many times in kit and model form. Today the prancing horse also adorns the tail of a 1/72 Special Hobby Vampire ! Yesterday she was a generic Italian Vampire, today she finally is 4-11 ! I replicated on the model all the features I noticed in the picture. The 4 is painted as a stencil while the 11 is made of continuous strokes. The 4 is also smaller than the 11 and is carried slightly higher on the boom. The Stormo badge seems to be in black over the aluminum paint, could also be over a white shield but the picture is not too clear. As having no white makes things easier I'll keep it this way. As the picture I have only shows the left side, I had to base the same details on pictures of other aircraft of the unit carrying similar markings. I concluded that the 4 was smaller on the other side too and that in this case it was the 11 to be carried slightly higher. Of course tomorrow someone will post a picture showing all sides of 4-11 and I'll discover I got it all wrong ! A similar study was needed for the underwing roundels... I've seen models that carried no roundels under the wings, but pictures of early Vampires to me seem to show roundels. I only have one picture that helps in determining the size and I based my choice on this. It is not of a 4th Stormo aircraft but of an early NAVAR one, so should fit in the same timeframe. Another picture helped determining the location as clearly showed the relative position of the roundel against one of the underwing DTD stencils. Again, tomorrow someone will show me a picture that will prove me wrong, in the meantime I've decided to go this way: The roundels under the wings come from the Skymodel sheet dedicated to the MC.202 and are of much higher quality than the Tauro ones. I'd have preferred to have identical looking roundels, let's just say that the ones on the booms weathered more than the ones under the wings... There are a few stencils still to be applied to the model, after these it will be time for a semigloss clear coat and then glue all the various bits. Maybe I can finish this one in time...
  10. The French Spitfire looks great, it's maybe the combination of the desert scheme with red spinner, yellow bands and the French markings that make it one of my favourite subjects
  11. Giorgio N

    Twin-boom Tricolour(s): Irish and Italian Vampires

    Thanks Col ! She's now getting closer and closer to get her full identity: during the lunch break I managed to print the decals for the codes, the 4th Stormo shield and a few stencils. Here they are fresh from the printer: Mind, these decals are tiny ! The codes are around 3.5 mm high and the rest is similarly small. Still all stencils are fully readeable, something that can't be said of the original SH ones... maybe I should have printed them all myself... No, I don't have the time for this ! I will use a few more homemade stencils on the Starfighter I'm building for the NATO/WarPac '60s GB. In this case however I already have a file ready for most of them.
  12. Giorgio N

    2019 Groupbuild programme

    May I add that within the hard core group of GB enthusiasts there is then a group that takes part in most GB without finishing anything in time ? Yes Your Honour, I am guilty !
  13. Giorgio N

    paints for a new airbrush

    Tamiya and Vallejo are both acrylics but are quite different. Tamiya paints are better thinned with their thinner of Isopropyl alcohol or a mix of the same and water. Water alone is generally not good. Vallejo paints on the other hand can be thinned with water only, although they work best with their own thinner. Some also thin Vallejos with window cleaner, works pretty well. It's also useful to add to the mix a couple drops of retarder for acrylic paints otherwise they will dry on the tip of the airbrish and clog it. No need to do this with Tamiya generally.
  14. Giorgio N

    Revell 99 replacement (acrylic brushable)

    Although they are meant for use with airbrushes, with some care the Vallejo Air line of metallics can also be brushed. They have a number of different shades, Aluminum, Silver, Chrome and Steel. I generally use with an airbrush for large surfaces but had to use them with a brush a few times and never had too many problems, just apply light coats. IMHO they are fantastic paints, and the presence of different shades allows the modeller to add variety to the various panels on a natural metal aircraft
  15. Giorgio N

    F-14A Bounty Hunters 1977

    There's a picture of this aircraft in the C&M volume on Pacific Coast Squadrons 1974-87. This was an experimental scheme tried in 1977 and not adopted. The picture shows several differences compared to the instructions in the decal sheet. To answer your questions: - Yes, NK on the inner tailplane and shield on the outer side. This is correct - No, the black area does not extend that way, it's only on the forward part starting from the windscreen. The windscreen frames are in grey and so are the frames of the canopy. The antiglare panel is also shorter on the nose than the common VF-2 style, being the more common short shape. - Tricky one ! At some point the upper surfaces of all moving surfaces became grey across all USN aircraft, so this is entirely possible. The picture does not show these areas but the rudders are painted grey on the inner side of the tail, so it's very likely that the rest of the moving surfaces were also in grey. Ok, that was not the tricky part... the tricky part is that this aircraft shows very little if any white on the undersides ! There seems to be white under the glove vanes but the fuselage seems to be in overall grey. It could be that the grey is simply carried further down the sides compared to the earlier standard scheme.but could also have been in overall greyl more so as the wheel well doors look grey. One other difference is in the ventral fins: the decal sheet proposes the standard VF-2 markings of the day, yellow fin blue motiv on the leading edge and two white stars. The pictures shows pale fins, that could be pale yellow but also light grey (it's not too clear) with a tricolour band close to the leading edge, similar to the one on the fuselage. Overall not a great sheet accuracywise but could be useable with some modifications
  16. Giorgio N

    Revell Victor... Just how bad is it?

    If you're used to Italeri kits then the fit of the Matchbox Victor will be no problem for you... Ok, apart maybe from the intakes that are really the worst area of this kit in terms of fit
  17. Giorgio N

    Any 1/72 decals for a 112 Sqdn sharkmouth Hunter?

    Good to see the Freightdog conversion in use ! I should get one of those myself now that the Revell Hunter is back on the shelves. Have to say though that it's hard to tell if this will spark any new decal sheet for the F-4s, unless the same Freightdog decide to make one. Years ago there was a conversion marketed by Scale Aircraft Modelling, the magazine. They also issued a decal sheet to be used with their conversion that had a nice selection of Hunters of different early variants. For some reason though they did not include a 112 Sqn. machine.
  18. Giorgio N

    Twin-boom Tricolour(s): Irish and Italian Vampires

    Thanks folks, glad you like the model and enjoy the story ! I know Yes Minister by reputation but never watched any episode. The show wasn't shown in Italy when first aired and when I started watching British TV directly it was too late for that. I've meant to search the show on the web in the past as I only heard great things about it, sounds like I have one more reason to do it ! The model is approaching the end and so is the story of the Vampire FB.52 in Italy. It's worth at this moment looking at the other Italian Vampires, the night fighters. As I mentioned in a previous post, the original Italian order included 4 NF.10 built by DH. 3 of these were delivered in late 1951, again to the Amendola air base,. One had to belly land on the beach on the Adriatic sea, fortunately without injury to the pilots. These aircraft formed the basis of the new SCOT, Scuola Caccia Ogni Tempo (All Weather Fighter School). This unit was the first serious step by the Italian Air Force to form pilots and navigators for night and all weather fighters, the lack of which had been a problem for many years. During WW2 most italian night fighters were single seaters without radar and these struggled against British night bombers. The only few radar equipped multi-seater types were some Bf.110 and Do.217 supplied by the Germans. In the immediate postwar years this issue had been analysed and it was decided to start forming proper night fighter pilots and navigators, with a number of pilots attending training on RAF Mosquito NFs in Britain. The initial cadre of SCOT instructors came from these men and the same also delivered the second batch of NF Vampires in latr 1952, this time NF.54s again built by DH. The NF.10 and NF-54s were never meant to be used operationally and only served with the SCOT, together with a C-53 modified with the AI-10 radar in the nose. The Air Force had already decided to wait for DH's next night fighter, the Venom NF but wanted to start training pilots and especially navigators as soon as possible. Then, as we have already seen, things changed and no Venom NF was ever bought by Italy. The next all weather fighter was the F-86K, a single seater meant to be part of a complex air defence system. The F-86K was a variant of the D specifically designed for use by NATO countries and was a huge success. It was also a success for the Italian industry as FIAT built a large number of these. In any case the adoption of a single seater meant that the role of navigator, that the Air Force was eager to introduce in their ranks after WW2, was not needed anymore. It would take almost 40 years before the Italian Air Force adopted another two-seat fighter and no navigator was trained for a fighter until 1995, when a group started training at Coningsby on the Tornado F.3 after 24 had been leased from the RAF as a stopgap measure due to the delays in the Typhoon program. As an aside, Italy never adopted the Vampire T.11. All training for the single seaters was done directly on the FB.52 while the NFs were only used for their specific role. The Vampire was found so easy to fly that a training variant was not considered necessary. Things changed when the US types entered service and at that point a new jet trainer was required. With the MDAP in full swing the choice had to fall on an American type and this was of course the ubiquitous T-33... a variant of that F-80 that had been discarded when the Vampire was selected ! Decalling is underway ! I have placed most of the stencils I need from the SH sheet. These are IMHO a touch too fat but will do. I'm now drawing the Italian specific stencils and they should be a bit better based on my experience with decals I made for other models. Most SH stencils are used for the various DTD markings on the undersides of the moving surfaces, in proper British fashion of the day The previous picture also shows how I added some depth to the wheel wells using an oil paint wash, nothing special here but IMHO is a good way to better define the detail in these areas. It was then time to start checking the roundels... the Tauromodel sheet I showed in the previous post was totally useless for my subject. The Vampire specific roundels included are for a later timeframe, with smaller roundels on the tailboom and larger over and under the wings. Mind, they are not wrong, but they are right for a Vampire at the end of the type career. My model represents an aircraft at the beginning and needs different roundels. Searching the decal stash quickly resulted in this other Tauromodel sheet: The roundels for the AMX are almost perfect for the tailbooms of my Vampire ! I should also mention that when this sheet was issue the AMX had not entered service yet (yes, it is an old sheet!) and the roundels here proposed are wrong for this type. The AMX entered service wearing the low visibility roundels, that have a larger green disc, think RAF wartime C type. This was in a sense even better as I used roundels that had no other use. Here I found a problem with the kit.... I like accurate kits, I know many modellers don't care much about accuracy but I'm one of those who cares. I'm not an accuracy nazi but I prefer if a kit is also accurate. I started liking accurate kits even more when I started making my own decals for one simple reason: if the kit is accurate, the decals will be easier to draw from official documents. If the kit is not accurate, an accurately reproduced decal will look wrong. Something similar happened here: I have a great shot of the rear fuselage of 4-11 and this showed how the roundel was placed on the rear edge of an oval panel not far from the wing. So it was that I duly placed the roundel in that location, only to find out that something didn't look right and the roundel was too far forward compared to pictures of other Vampires. There was also very little room for the unit codes. Now did 4-11 have the roundels in a different place ? No, she didn't ! What I found was that Special Hobby have moulded the panel in the wrong place. In the end I measured the position of the panel on the Airfix T.11 and used this measure to place a new roundel on the booms. The final result was now much more accurate when compared to pictures. Speaking of accuracy, I seem to remember that this kit has been criticised before. I'm sure there's a thread somewhere on this same forum. What does this mean ? That there is room for a new 1/72 Vampire ! Airfix, are you listening ? Your T.11 seems to be very accurate, why not add an FB.5 to the catalogue ? Tauromodel decals of the era were not great and this shows in the roundel. This is also an old sheet and adhesion was not the best, something that I sorted with a drop of Klear. One other thing is apparent: the finish really is too bright, looks like natural metal ! A satin coat will hopefully sort the problem. Ah, you don't know how happy I am to see that the model now really is of an Italian machine !
  19. Giorgio N

    Any 1/72 decals for a 112 Sqdn sharkmouth Hunter?

    I guess that the problem is that 112 Sqn. only used F.4s and there's no kit of this version apart from the old PJ Production resin offering (long discontinued)
  20. Giorgio N

    Any 1/72 decals for a 112 Sqdn sharkmouth Hunter?

    To the best of my knowledge there's not been any. I have a plan to make myself a set of masks and decals for one such aircraft but I've not started to work on it yet, in part because I don't have any F.4 conversion
  21. Giorgio N

    UV curing glue for clear parts

    I'm currently testing a new potential solution to glue clear parts on models, the Lazer Bond UV curing glue https://www.amazon.com/Lazer-Bond-Liquid-Resin-Seconds/dp/B01823WXP6 I've seen this and a similar product from another brand for sale at the local DIY store and I was very interested. I'm familiar with UV curing glues and resins for industrial use and I've known them for almost 30 years but until now I hadn't noticed similar products for home use so I grabbed the Lazer Bond with the idea of testing this on transparencies. The glue has a distinct smell, not really the best... in any case it's easy enough to apply using the "pen", atlhough for some applications a more precise solution may be needed. I'll try to apply it using a toothpick, may work. Once the glue is in place, it needs to be "activated" using the UV source included in the same pen. The instructions mentions only a few seconds but I found that a bit more doesn't hurt... I tested the glue on the windscreen of a 1/72 Eduard Spitfire and the final result was pretty good, the glue is totally clear and any excess can be removed with a modelling knife or sanded. The bond seems pretty robust, although I'll only know for sure after applying and removing the masks. I also tried to glue two generic bits of sprue and here I didn't have great results as the UV light can't reach under the surfaces... for this reason I would advice this glue for the transparencies only. As these are the parts where finding the right glue is more difficult, I'd say that til now I'm quite happy with this product. I'm also curious about the potential use on photo-etched instrument panels, as the glue remains perfectly clear it could allow me to glue the panel onto the instument film while also creating the effect of glass. I'll have to do a test on a spare panel In terms of costs the blister was around €10, no idea how many canopies will this last for and what the shelf life is. As the glue doesn't cure until exposed to UV light, I'd expect that the product in the tube will survive for a long time. Hope this info can be of use to someone here. If anyone has had experience with similar products I'd be happy to know
  22. Giorgio N

    UV curing glue for clear parts

    All this brings back memories, a lot of memories ! I remember well the 2-part glue used for the connectors, ours needed at least 12 hours before working, with 24 being best. All followed by a good polishing of the ferrule with finer and finer abrasives. Thinking of it, I never "borrowed" any of those abrasive sheets, they could have been useful for the hobby. You're right that it's a process tha requires a lot of patience but I still preferred it to splicing ! Now that was something I really hated. To be honest, I still hate splicing fibres, I'm glad I've never had to do it in the last 5 years. Sometimes I wonder how someone so hamfisted as me ever managed to do those jobs, then I realize that I build scale models so maybe there's something in common. I've also used a number of scale modelling tools during jobs in the field and they were great every time. Maybe there's some kind of link between our hobby and working in optics
  23. Giorgio N

    SyAAF Meteor F.8 1/48 --> fin!

    That looks great Werner ! Isradecals usually is pretty serious about accuracy, don't know much about this subject to comment unfortunately. As you said before, not many probably do anyway In any case love the details and the colour scheme, this will be something to be proud of when completed
  24. Giorgio N

    Twin-boom Tricolour(s): Irish and Italian Vampires

    Thanks Col ! Should anyone make a movie on the subject, there should be a role for someone like John Cleese, he'd be perfect to convey the sense of farce I got when I first read of this..
  25. Giorgio N

    Metric scale AV-8A

    yes, they are dielctric panels. They were in theory in the camo colour but the colour is never exactly the same and they fade differently. Olive drab is a good option, some seem greyer and any dark grey green would work
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