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Paul A H

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Paul A H last won the day on January 10 2015

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About Paul A H

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    My vocabulary is absolutely big
  • Birthday 01/16/1979

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  1. MH-47E Chinook (03876) 1:72 Revell The CH-47 Chinook is a tandem rotor heavy lift helicopter, developed by Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol since 1962. Its incredible longevity is testament to the quality, flexibility and robustness of the design. Over 1,200 examples have been produced and the type has seen frontline service in conflicts such as the Vietnam War, the Falklands Conflict, both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. In its capacious loading area, the Chinook can lift a 24,000lb payload or carry anywhere between 33 and 55 troops. The MH-47E is a dedicated special operations variant and a development of the earlie MH-47D. It is equiped with in-flight refuelling, fast rope-rappelling system, terrain following radar and increased fuel capacity. The UK ordered eight CH-47Es (known as the HC3) but the type famously never entered service due to bungled procurement arrangements that were subsequently highlighted in a National Audit Office report. The airframes eventually entered service with avionics reverted to Mk2 specification at great and uneccesary cost. Keen-eyed modellers will realise that Revell's Chinook is actually Italeri's Chinook (the same kit has previously been released by Airfix too). No matter however, as the Italeri kit is really rather good and pretty much the only modern-ish kit other than the Trumpeter effort. It is broadly comparable to Revell's own kits of the same era. Inside the large boxvelope are three large frames of grey plastic and a smaller frame of clear plastic, as well as decals and full colour instructions. Assembly begins with the interior - more specifically the flight deck. As well as the instrument panel and centre console, there are two seats, pedals, cyclic and collective controls. Decals are provided for the instrument panel and centre console, even though these parts actually have rather nice detail moulded in place. Aft of the cockpit the rest of the interior is fairly plain, but you can finish the model with the loading ramp open if you wish to do so and dedicated parts are provided for this purpose. If building the US Army version, you will need to cut away both of the fuselage side fairings and replace them with the alternative parts supplied with the kit. It's a little surprising to see such major surgery is required in order to build what is, after all, a very mainstream kit. Thankfully the British version requires no such work. Once the interior sub-assembly has been sandwiched between the fuselage halves, the engine pods can be assembled. These are each composed of six parts and are reasonably detailed. Athough the interior isn't overly detailed, the loading ramp is pretty nice. Optional parts are provided to finish it with the ramp down and it looks as though it could be moveable once fixed in place. The undercarriage is pretty good for the scale, while there are dozens of antennae blades, lumps and bumps included and these naturally differ between the US and British versions. Both versions make use of a rather nicely detailed minigun and of course the prominent in-flight refuelling probe is included too. The rotor heads are pretty nicely detailed and the blades are nicely represented too. The clear parts are nicely rendered and of course the nose of the aircraft is also moulded with the cockpit windows. Two different options are provides for on the decal sheet. The first is and MH-47E of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment "Night Stalkers", Fort Campbell, Kentucky, USA, 1998. The second option is for Chinook HC Mk.3 ZH903, Royal Air Force, 2004. The decal sheet is nicely printed and a decent amount of stencils are included. Conclusion Although starting to show its age, this is still a pretty decent model. Perhaps the fact that it has endured for over twenty years with only Trumpeter producing a Chinook in this scale in the meantime is testament to its merits. Detail is solid without being stellar, while panel lines are good enough to stand up to comparison with more modern kits. Overall this is a nice model and a good replica of a Chinook can be built from what you get in the box. Revell model kits are also available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  2. F-35A "7 Nations Air Force" 1:72 Academy The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, sometimes also known by the name of the American led multi-national Joint Strike Fighter program to which it owes its existence, is a fifth generation multi-role aircraft. The Lockheed X-35 prototype first flew in 2000 and went on to win a competitive process ahead of the rival Boeing X-32 design. There are three variants of the F-35, the A, which is the conventional land-based strike fighter, the B, which is the navalised VSTOL model equipped with a lift fan, and the C, which is the navalised cat & trap variant fitted with arrestor gear and a larger wing. Although the programme has its critics, there is no doubt that the F-35 is potent aircraft, packed with cutting edge technology, the latest avionics and weapons systems and low-observable design. It has two internal bays that can be used to carry munitions, as well as six external hard-points for when stealth is a lesser consideration. Despite being a relatively new design, the F-35 has been well served by kit manufacturers. Italeri produced the X-35 and then the F-35A, while Fujimi, Hasegawa and Kitty Hawk have also produced kits. This kit from Academy was first released in 2013 and was moulded in multiple colours. The box top of this version suggests it is still moulded in multiple colours, but unless there's something wrong with my eyes, the contents suggests otherwise. The other difference between this version of the kit and the original version is the inclusion of markings for no fewer than seven different users of the F-35A. Regardless of their colour, the parts are all nicely moulded and surface detail is fine and dandy. In common with most kits of modern, blended wing aircraft, the fuselage is split horizontally with the wings moulded in place. The cockpit is composed of a tub, control stick (side mounted, like the F-16), and eight (yes eight) part Martin Baker Mk.16 ejection seat and instrument panel. As well as fitting the cockpit inside the fuselage, the large ordnance bay and landing gear bays must also be fitted in place, as well as the engine air intakes. These parts are nicely detailed and moulded, but parts are provided to build the aircraft with these bays closed up if you can't be bothered to paint all the fiddly bits. If you do finish the model with the bay open, it has plenty of structural detail and pylons are included for the supplied ordnance. The external pylons are also present and correct, which is a nice touch. The landing gear is nicely detailed, with the main gear legs made up of four parts each. The wheel hubs are moulded separatelt from the tyres and are nicely detailed. The tyres have flat spots moulded in place. The horizontal tails are one-piece affairs, as are the vertical tails. The engine exhaust is a two-part jobby which just slides in through the opening in the rear of the fuselage. A full range of ordnance is provided, including: 2 x AIM-9X air-to-air missiles; 2 x AIM-120C air-to-ai missles; 2 x GBU-31 2000lb JDAM; and 4 x GBU-38 500lb JDAM. All are really very nice indeed and will easily old their own against aftermarket resin items. The canopy is nicely moulded but it would have been nice to have a tinted version, like the odd but appealing Fujimi kit. As you may have guessed by now, seven options are provided on the original decal sheet: Republic of Korea Air Force 18-001, 17th Wing, Luke AFN, Arizona, USA, July 2018 United States Air Force 14-5106, 34th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah, USA, October 2017; Israeli Air Force 901, 140 Squadron, Nevatim Air Base, Israel, December 2016; Italian Air Force 32-01, 32 Stormo, 13 Gruppo, Cameli Air Base, Italy, February 2016; Royal Australian Air Force A35-001, 75th Squadron, Williamstown Airbase, Australia, March 2018; Royal Netherlands Air Force F-001, Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, May 2016; and Royal Norwegian Air Force 13-5087, 331 Squadron, Orland Air Force Station, Norway, November 2017. All of the aircraft are finished in overall dark grey. The decals themselves look thin and glossy and full markings for the RAM are included. Conclusion Kits of modern aircraft such as the F-22, F-35 and PAK-FA tend to be relatively simple affairs due to the relatively simple design of these aircraft. This can make them - dare I say it - a little bit boring to build. This is a nicely detailed kit however, and with the internal weapons bay and the full range of ordnance, it provides pretty much everything you could want to built a really nice replica of an Lightning II. The inclusion of decals for the RAM is also pretty helpful. Recommend. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Yakovlev Yak-1b 1:72 Brengun Prior to the outbreak of WWII, the Yakovlev Design Bureau was best known for designing and building lightweight recreational and sporting aeroplanes. Starting with the Yak-2/Yak-4 light bomber, Yakovlev used this experience to create a sequence of successful, lightweight aircraft which used composite construction to reduce weight. The fighter aircraft produced during this period were largely compact and highly maneuverable. While the development of the new aircraft was not without difficulty, by the time Operation Barbarossa got underway over 400 Yak-1s had ben constructed, although not all were operational. In contrast to the MiG-3, the Yak-1 excelled at low altitude combat, with just 17 seconds required to perform a full circle. Although lightly armed by western standards, the Yak-1 was popular with Soviet pilots. It went on to be developed into the Yak-7, Yak-9 and Yak-3, with over 37,000 examples constructed in total. Brengun are a manufacturer of limited run kits from Brno, the Czech Republic's second city. They first came to my attention via their Hawker Typhoon kit back in 2013, but their catalogue is diverse, including kits and aftermarket parts in a range of scales. As befits a dimunitive aircraft, their Yak-1 arrives packed into a small, end-opening box, inside which are three frames of grey plastic, a small frame of clear parts, an even smaller fret of photo etched details and a sheet of decals. There are around sixty parts in total, excluding the photo etched details. The cockpit makes extensive use of photo etched material, with parts for the instrument panel, seat support arms and cockpit floor all rendered in metal. Plastic parts include the seat itself, the control column, oxygen bottles and medical kit. The sidewalls are nicely detailed and include the characteristic internal steel framwork. Once complete, the cockpit and the pin for the propellor can be fixed inside the fuselage halves. The upper deck and cowling is moulded separately to the fuselage, and includes nicely recess for the 20mm ShVAK cannon. Assembly then turns to the flying surfaces. The rudder is moulded separately to the fuselage and connects via to slots to the vertical tail. The lower surfaces of the wings are moulded as a single central span, while the upper surfaces are moulded as separate parts. The main gear bays are pretty nicely detailed and should be of sufficient depth. Each of the engine exhausts is moulded in four parts, all of which connect from the outside of the airframe. The undercarriage legs are accurately represented, with the same excellent level of detail as the rest of the kit. Each leg is made up from four parts excluding the wheels. The canopy is moulded in seperate stages to allow it to be finished in the open position. Decal options include: Yak-1b, 586 IAP (Women's Fighter Group), 1943; Yak-1b, 910 IAP, flown by Nikolai A Kozlov, February 1943; Yak-1b, 3 GIAP, flown by Lt. L.P. Savkin, Baltic Region, 1943; Yak-1b, 291 IAP, flown by A.F. Lavrenov, 1943 Each of the schemes is finished in the same green and black over pale blue camouflage. Despite the lack of variety, the decals look nicely printed. Conclusion There can be no doubt that Brengun's Yak-1b is a limited run kit but this doesn't mean it's any less appealing. It is nicely produced, has plenty of interior detail and captures the look of the real thing very nicely. The surface detail is delicate and the fabric over the rear fuselage is particularly convincing. Overall this looks like a really nice little kit that should be enjoyable to build. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. PZL P.11A Polish Fighter Plane 1:72 IBG For its time, the PZL P.11 was one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world. While many nations were still using bi-planes, Warsaw-based PZL (Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze - State Aviation Works) had designed and built an all-metal gull winged monoplane fighter. The high wing provided the pilot with a good field of view and produced less drag that the bi-plane fighters of the time. The type drew orders from overseas as well as Poland. The aircraft was ordered by Romania and was built under licence by IAR. By the time of the German invasion of Poland however, the type was outclassed by the Bf 109. The majority of the Polish Air Force was lost fighting bravely against the invasion. The PZL 11 is one of a growing number of aircraft kits produced by IBG Models. This kit follows the likes of the RWD-8 and PZL 23A and continues IBG's method of producing numerous versions from a common set of moulds. This boxing is the PZL 11A, but an PZL 11G is also availble. Inside the box are seven frames of light grey plastic, a single frame of clear plastic, a fret of photo etched brass parts, a small sheet of pre-marked clear plastic and decals. The parts are all superbly moulded and I'd go as far as to say they look as good as anything else from central Europe. A quick review of the instructions reveals this to be a well-detailed kit, comparable to an Eduard product in places, althought without the complex breakdown of parts. Constructions starts with the cockpit. Most of the details are moulded in plastic, but the fret of photo etched parts contributes components such as the rudder pedals, throttle and seat harness. Aside from a rather nice cockpit framework, there is also plenty of detail moulded into the fuselage sidewalls, which should make for a rather nice overall effect. The two machine guns also fit into the inside of the fuselage halves before they can be fixed together. Once the fuselage has been assembled, construction turns to the engine and cowling. This multi-part assembly is very nicely detailed and there are individual parts provided on the photo etched fret for the ignition wiring (although this could be omitted if cutting out and glueing these tiny components is likely to drive you round the bend). Once the engine and cowling have been fitted to the fuselage, the flying surfaces can be assembled. The fit and rudder are separate parts, as are the elevators. This means you can finish the model with these parts in your choice of position (photographs of examples on the ground seem to show the elevators in a lowered position). The ailerons are also moulded separately to the wing. The undercarriage is nicely detailed and there are photo etched parts for the strengthening wires. A choice of parts are provided for the windshield. You can choose the conventional option, which is a straightforward part moulded from clear plastic. If you are feeling brave, you can take the second option. This involves folding the cockpit canopy from photo etched brass and then fixing the pre-marked clear plastic sheet in place. The decal sheet provides three options: PZL P.11a, 112th Fighter Squadron, Zaborow Airfield, Poland, September 1939; PZL P.11a, 114th Fighter Squadron, Poniatow Airfield, Poland, September 1939; PZL P.11a, 113th Fighter Squadron, Warsaw, Poland. The decals are nicely printed. A decal for the instrument panel has been included too. Conclusion There appears to have been a resurgence of interest in the early WWII period and this kit adds to the growing number of kits that represent aircraft from that period. Although we've been relatively well served in recent years by Azur Frrom and Arma Hobby and their P.11s, IBG's version includes a number of advantages such as separate control surfaces. Once again the Polish firm have produced a high-quality kit of an important aircraft. The level of detail is excellent and the quality of manufacture is up there with the best. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Potez 25 A2/B2 'Hispano' and 'Lorraine' (FR0037 and FR0038) 1:72 Azur Frrom The Potez 25 was a French single engined, two-seater biplane designed in the interwar period and used widely by air forces around the world. A flexible design, the Potez 25 was used in a variety of roles, including as a fighter, bomber escort, light bomber and reconnaissance platform. The A2 variant was primarily a reconnaissance aircraft, powered by either a 520hp Salmson 18Cmb radial engine, a Lorraine 12Eb inline engine or a Hispano Suiza 12Jb engine. The Potez 25 had a range of 373 miles and a maximum speed of 132 mph. Armed with 7.7mm machine guns, it was also capable of carrying 200kg of bombs. Curiously, the aircraft could quite easily be converted from biplane to parasol-winged monoplane and served with the Romanian Air Force in this configuration. In total, over 4,000 examples were built, including many under licence. The Potez 25 has not been brilliantly represented by kit manufacturers over the years. The last time I remember reviewing one was a fancy mixed media kit released by Grand Models around three or so years ago. Now Azur Frrom have stepped up to the plate with a modern, injection moulded kit of the type that offers both Hispano and Lorraine engined versions. Inside the box are five frames of grey plastic and a single clear frame, as well as photo etched parts and decals. The plastic parts are all nicely moulded and have plenty of fine detail. We'll take a look at the Hispano version first, before covering the differences with the Lorraine version. Construction starts with the well-detailed cockpit. This sub-assembly is made up of the floor detail, seats, instrument panels, control columns, rudder pedals and the podium and machine gun for the observer/gunner. The cockpit sidewalls are packed with detail too. Once complete, the cockpit detail is sandwiched between the fuselage halves and the underside of the fuselage, which is separately moulded. The engine cowling is next. The inner struts fit inside this structure and tiny holes must also be drilled in pre-marked points in order to accommodate the rigging. Once complete, the cowling/forward fuselage can be joined to the main section of the fuselage which, in turn, can be joined to the lower wing (or blanking piece if building one of the Romanian parasol-winged monoplane versions). The upper wing joins to the fuselage and lower wing via a system of struts. There are different struts for the monoplane version. No jig is provided to help with alignment, so this model may be better suited to experienced biplane builders. The landing gear uses a similar system of individual struts. The instructions recommend making pins from brass rod to strengthen these parts and you will need to source this yourself as none is supplied. The main wheels benefit from some photo etched detail to represent the spoked wheels. More photo etched parts are used to represent the elevator control parts and the locating points for the rigging. Finishing touches include auxiliary fuel tanks and four small bombs. A choice of three different propellers is included, with helpful notes to explain which belongs to which of the different aircraft represented on the decal sheet. Four decal options are provided, which is pretty generous for a kit of this size: Potez 25 B2, Royal Hellenic Air Force, coded Sigma 3, Athenes-Tatoï airfield, end of April or May 1941; Potez 25 A2, Royal Romanian Air Force, Little Entente and Poland Air Race (placed 6th if you're wondering), Prague, August 1928; Potez 25 A2, Royal Romanian Air Force (monoplane configuration), Little Entente and Poland Air Race (placed 4th), Prague, August 1928; and Potez 25, Yugoslav Army, Little Entente and Poland Air Race (not placed), Prague, August 1928. The decals are nicely printed and the colours look nice and bold. Potez 25 A2/B2 'Lorraine' This version of the kit is virtually identical to the Hispano-powered version, but obviously has different parts for the engine cowling and radiator, which is at the front of the cowling rather than underneath. There is also no parasol-winged version in this boxing. The decal options provided with this version are: Potez 25 A2 Nr 2054, White RF 22, Aéronautique militaire, Rochefort training unit, France, 1937; Potez 25 B2 Nr 42.216, White 6, 34 th Squadron, 3 nd Regiment, Polish Air Force. Aircaft built by P&L. Poznan, Poland, 1932; IAR-Potez 25 B2 Nr 211, Romanian Air Force. Aircraft built by IAR in Brasov probably in May 1934; and Potez 25 A2 in French Indochina, captured by the Japanese in March 1945, sent to Thailand when the Japanese forces surrendered. Don Muang (Thailand), Autumn 1945 Conclusion Three cheers for Azur Frrom for taking the initiative and producing an injection moulded model of this attractive and important interwar type. The kit is very nicely detailed indeed, although I have to say it probably isn't ideally suited to biplane virgins. That said, if you take your time and pay attention to the instructions, you should be rewarded with a really appealing model to which a huge variety of marking schemes can be applied. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C 1:72 Airfix The Blackburn Buccaneer was an all-weather naval strike aircraft designed and built by Blackburn Aircraft Limited (later Hawker Siddeley) to fulfil a Royal Navy requirement for an aircraft to counter the threat posed by the Soviet Navy's Sverdlov class of light cruisers. The requirement called for a two-seat aircraft capable of sustained low-level flight at up to 550 knots over a combat radius of up to 800 nautical miles. The resulting aircraft made use of a number of novel features in order to fulfil the mission requirements, including the use of fully blown wings to improve low-altitude performance, area rule fuselage and very robust design and construction in order to ensure survival of the airframe in its tough operating environment. The Buccaneer was able to carry a range of conventional munitions, as well as the 2000lb, 20 kiloton 'Red Beard' nuclear weapon. The Buccaneer got off to an inauspicious start due to the relatively low power output of its de Havilland Gyron Junior turbojets, a feature exacerbated by the extra power needed for the blown flying surfaces. The S.2, fitted with more powerful and more efficient Rolls Royce Spey turbofans, was far more successful. The Buccaneer served the Royal Navy with distinction until the replacement of the last of the large carriers with the smaller 'through deck cruisers'. The Buccaneer was also offered to the Royal Air Force, but was rejected in favour of the TSR.2 and then the F-111. With the cancellation of both of these programmes, the RAF reluctantly accepted the Buccaneer as an interim measure until the MRCA became available. As it turns out, the Buccaneer served the RAF very well for over two decades and even participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Notwithstanding the excellent-but-expensive CMR resin kit, fans of the Blackburn Buccaneer have been poorly served by kit manufacturers for far too long. The previous Airfix kit, along with the Matchbox and Frog kits, are long in the tooth and have issues in term of accuracy when it comes to the complex, area-ruled shape of Blackburn's finest. When Airfix announced their intention to redress the balance be releasing an all-new kit, it therefore seemed like a logical move for the Margate firm. Inside the red top-opening box adorned with the usual high-quality Adam Tooby artwork, are five frames of grey plastic and a single clear frame, holding 140 parts in total. The mouldings are clean and crisp, with fine, recessed panel lines throughout and plenty of nice detail on smaller parts. The assembly instructions are divided into 84 stages, which gives a good indication of the level of detail that Airfix have crammed into their new model. Assembly begins with the cockpit, the tub of which reflects the correct offset arrangement for the observer's seating position. Speaking of seats, the three-part Martin Baker Mk.6s appear to be a pretty good representation of the real thing, although some photo etched harnesses are a must. Crew figures are included if you are so inclined. The tub, instrument panels and side consoles are nicely detailed, although decals, rather than moulded details, are used to represent the controls. The nose gear bay fits onto the underside of the cockpit tub. Once complete, the forward fuselage halves can be joined together, forming a small-sub assembly entirely separate to the rest of the aircraft. The distinctive profile of the nose, which has always looked off on the other injection moulded Buccaneers, looks spot on. The nosecone is not moulded as a separate part, however which means another seam to clean up. Once the forward part of the fuselage is complete, construction turns to the central part of the airframe. The lower part of the fuselage includes about 80% of the lower wing surface. In order for the pylons and fuels tanks to be attached, holes must be drilled at the appropriate points. The outer wing can also be cut away at this juncture if you wish to build the model with wings folded (yes please!). The inner structure of this section comprises the main landing gear bay inner walls, front and rear bulkheads and tube structures for the engines. The front and rear faces of the engines are nicely represented and it should be possible to clean up the internal seams on the engine air intakes prior to final assembly. Once all of the internal detail has been fixed in place, the upper half of the fuselage can be cemented to the lower half. At this point in the build, you really have to decide whether to finish your model with folded or extended wings. If building the former, you can attach the wing fold mechanism and then miss out the next few steps. If finishing your model with wings extended, little spars are included to help you align the separately moulded upper wing surfaces and to give the model strength. Whichever route you take, the last major step involves assembling the rear fuselage and tail. The vertical part of the tail is integral to each half of the rear fuselage, while the horizontal tail is a single, solid part. There are seperate parts for the RWR fairings, which is handy. Apparently the rear RWR cone is the wrong shape for an S.2C, but this is an easy fix if such things trouble you. The foremost part of the engine air intakes, as well as the rearmost part of the engine exhausts, are moulded in such a way that the clean up of seams will be absolutely minimal. The bomb bay can be finished in open or closed position. If the former, there is plenty of nice detail to catch the eye. The prominent air brake at the rear of the fuselage can be finished in open or closed position as well, and is nicely detailed. The Buccaneer's robust landing gear is nicely represented and subtle flat spots are moudled into the tyres. There are different parts for the arrestor hook depending on whether you build the model with gear down or up. Aside from the wing slipper tanks, you get two Matra rocket pods and two 1000lb free-fall bombs to hang under the wings. The canopy is nicely moulded and can be finished in the open position, although the instructions don't show this. Two options are provided on the original decal sheet: XV154 of No. 809 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Ark Royal, January 1972; and XV336 of No. 800 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Eagle, June 1971. Both aircraft are finished in overall Extra Dark Sea Grey with Type D roundels. The decals themselves look thin and glossy and a full set of stencils are included. Conclusion I know I wasn't the only modeller to get excited when Airfix announced their new-tool Buccaneer. Thankfully, the finished product doesn't disappoint. The level of detail is very nice and it's clear that Airfix have put a great deal of thought into their model. There are plenty of options, such as folding wings, airbrake and bomb bay, and they are are all nicely realised. It would have been nice to have a low-viz roundel option, but in all fairness there isn't a huge amound of variety when it comes to S.2Cs. Overally this is an excellent model which finally plugs a huge hole in the world of injection moulded cold war British aircraft. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. I've known this for a long time. When my son was about 18 months old, I was building a Cyber Hobby Sea Venom. He was sitting on the living room floor and he looked at me and said "Dada?" I said "Yes son, what is it?" He said "There are only 48 rivets around the circumference of the fuselage immediately aft of the radome. According to the drawings I have, there should be 52. That kit is unbuildable". Bloody rivet counter!
  8. I think your boss has it right and their internet was down! Joking aside, most dealers use CAP/HPI as their valuation tool. They have to subscribe, but it takes only takes a few minutes for someone like you or I to get a free valuation via a range of sites that offer such services. Most such sites use the same database behind the scenes. I personally wouldn't walk into a dealership without having a good idea of my car's value first. If I can do it, it's amazing that a Vauxhall dealership doesn't know the px value of a Corsa I have mixed feelings about buying cars. I quite enjoy the process of negotiation, but dealers are generally a pain in the backside to deal with. I once bought an Astra from the Northampton Vauxhall dealership (about two weeks before they were acquired by the large national chain) and found the latter unbelievably bad to deal with. The car could have been on fire and they would have claimed there was nothing wrong with it. My most amusing experience was at a Fiat/Alfa dealership. We got one of those 'we are desparate for used car' letters through the post, along with an invite to their 'VIP day'. A quick check of their used stock revealed about 10 examples of our car in stock, so the 'desparate for used stock' line was clearly a load of old ! The VIP event was unbelievable. If you've never been to one, you have to go. They had some guy who was apparently there from FCA Canada to 'authorise special deals' (ask yourself why they would need to do this? And why the hell would he come from Canada to flog 500s and Pandas?!). He was like an actor hired for the day. I had to sit down with him in order to provide some basic information about my car (which he recorded inaccurately). He then asked my then-five year old son to pick an envelope from a selection that had been clumsily taped to the bonnet of a 500. With great aplomb, he opened the envelope and announced that I had won £50 off accessories for my 'new' car. Given that a set of mats at a dealership usually costs about a million pounds, his £50 could jog on! In hindsight, I should have walked out then, but I was so surprised to see someone wearing a black shirt and white tie combo in 2017 that I felt compelled to stay. We spent a good 15 minutes milling around the showroom waiting for the salesman (even though I had an appointment) before being offered a seat at his desk. At this point the salesman committed what I believe to be the cardinal sin of a car dealer. He didn't offer me, my wife or my son a drink. By comparison, I've bought three cars from a different brand in the last 4 years and I always get offered a hot drink moments after walking in to the dealership. Anyway, we chatted about what Mrs Paul and I wanted and I mentioned that we were interested in trading up to a higher spec model. He went over to another dealer and they spent at least 10 minutes on the computer and phone trying to find one from stock. I wasn't bothered about getting one from stock as I wanted a couple of options anyway, but they didn't bother to ask me that. During this time I heard him loudly complain about the small margin they apparently make on the mode in question (6% if you're interested) and my wife had to leave with my son as, although he'd enjoyed the dealership, he was getting jittery. He eventually returned with his first quote and I'm ashamed to say I did laugh because it was far higher than the bog standard price on their website and not far off what I was paying for the family wagon. A bit more toing and froing took place before I had to leave. Just before I did, a lovely older lady bought a car. Before she could leave, the guy from Fiat Canada grabbed her and insisted on taking her photo with the salesman whilst playing some jaunty 'we've made a sale' music on a little stereo. The poor woman looked horrified!
  9. The only thing surprising about this is that the hose broke in first place. Henry and Co. are ace - very durable and much better value than overpriced Die-soon
  10. Graham, are we talking about the same kit? The sprues in this kit look identical to the 2011 release and have the same codes. I can't see that Airfix have made any revisions. The 2011 kit certainly had steering wheels provided as well.
  11. Bedford QLT and Bedford QLD Trucks 1:76 Airfix Bedford Vehicles created the QL 3-ton truck to equip the British Army following the loss of hundreds of vehicles during the Dunkirk evacuation. Developed in just 16 weeks, over 52,000 examples were produced between 1941 and the end of the War. The truck was powered by a 3½ litre petrol engine and was good for a top speed of 38 mph. The rugged designed of the vehicles, combined with 4-wheel drive and 8 forward gear ratios, gave the Bedford truck excellent terrain crossing ability. The Bedford QLT variant was a troop carrier, while the QLD was a general cargo version. The T version differed from the D version by virtue of an stretched wheelbase and relocated fuel tanks, modifications which enabling it to carry up to 29 soldiers at a time. As you might have noticed, this kit is a carbon copy of the kit first released by Airfix back in 2011, not all that long after their acquisition by Hornby. The kit is one of the last to be tooled in 1:76 scale, with more recent offerings such as the Willys Jeep and the bomber resupply set being designed for the almost universal 1:72 scale. Not one but two kits are packed into Airfix’s familiar bright red box. To make things easier for the builder, all of the parts for the QLD are supplied on one sprue and all the parts for the slightly larger and more complex QLT on the other two sprues. The only sprue shared between the different versions hold the transparent parts. All of the mouldings are crisp and clean and no flash is present. The only sink marks I could find were on the sides of the engine, which won’t be particularly visible anyway. There are quite a few ejector pin marks present on some of the parts, but most of the ones that will be visible will also be easy enough to clean up. Moulded detail is very good and each truck features a full interior as well as an engine, drive train, fuel tank and suspension. As is the case with the sprues, the assembly instructions are separated into two halves. In each case construction begins with the engine, chassis and running gear before moving on to the cab interior. There is a lot of detailed packed into these stages of construction, so it's just as well the sprue attachment points are quite fine on this particular kit; it certainly doesn’t look as though any of the smaller components will be damaged when being removed from the sprues. Unlike some small-scale kits of this type, the transparent components are supplied as injection moulded parts rather than a clear plastic sheet from which shapes for the windows must be cut. This makes the model much easier to put together and the transparent parts are suitably thin and clear. The wheels deserve a special mention at this point, firstly because the tyres are beautifully moulded and have a subtle bulge/flat spot for extra realism and secondly because the wheel hubs are moulded as separate parts to the tyres, which will help greatly with painting. An optional canvas cover is supplied for use with the QLD version. The fabric texture and fasteners are really nicely rendered. Construction of the QLT version is pretty much identical to the QLD up to the point where the seats are installed in the load carrying area. Again, a canvas cover is supplied, but this time the sides are rolled up so that the interior detail can be shown off. A Bren Gun and a rather neat model of a bicycle are also supplied to add a little extra interest to this version. A full colour painting diagram is provided, with both schemes (one for each vehicle) for khaki drab and black camouflaged vehicles with ochre canvas covers. A nice touch is the decal sheet, which includes a range of regimental badges for the trucks – for the Guards Armoured Division, 11th Armoured Division, 3rd Infantry Division and the 51st Highland Division. Unit/company badges and bridge weight indicators are also included on the sheet. Conclusion This was a really nice release from Airfix last time around and it remains so eight years later. Hopefully its reemergence indicates that it sold reasonably well the first time around. Both kits have all the detail you could wish for and both should build up nicely, either as models in their own right or as the basis for any number of dioramas. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. HMS Ark Royal 1:600 Airfix HMS Ark Royal was laid down in 1935 ans commissioned just before Christmas, 1938. Several famous squadrons embarked on the Ark during her fairly short service life, flying Swordfish, Skua, Roc, Fulmar and Albacore torpedo bombers. She was involved in the hunt for the Graf Spee and also hunted the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, where she was damaged after a failed launch of a Swordfish resulted in the depth charges it was carrying exploding in close proximity to the ship' hull. After repairs she was involved in hunting the Bismark, where a successful attack from Ark Royal Swordfishes led to the Bismark's partial disablement and subsequent destruction. After this she returned to Force H, ferrying aircraft to Malta. On the return trip to Gibraltar, she was picked up by U-81 and hit with a single torpedo amidships. The damage was significant and she soon began to list to the side. Although the ship was stablised briefly, water continued to encroach through open hatches and the list increased. The crew were evacuated to the destroyer HMS Legion, who was assisting in trying to keep her afloat. She later capsized and broke into two parts before sinking. Only one crew member was lost, having the misfortune to be low down in the hull when the torpedo struck. She was discovered by a BBC documentary crew early in the new millennium, who concluded that after the engines failed nothing could have been done to save her due to design issues that were not appreciated at the time. Airfix's HMS Ark Royal has been around since 1966, so long ago that even our very own Bootneck probably made one when it was brand new. As a model kit it is far from state-of-the-art, but it is a nice trip down memory lane, providing you can still remember that far back. The kit has been re-released as part of Airfix's new Vintage Classics range, which brings a welcome sense of openness about the age and origin of the moulds to an otherwise unsuspecting public. The kit is comprised the deck and hull halves, as well as three extra frames of pale grey plastic. It won't surprise you to learn that the moulds are showing their age now and several parts had already become detached from the sprue when I opened my copy to photograph it. The model is presented in full-hull configuration along with a stand. The part count is reasonably low but there is actually a fair amount of detail, but the mouldings themselves are rather soft compared to their modern equivalents. Moulding flash is actually surprisingly well controlled. I won't delve deep into the construction process for this kit, but suffice to say you get some decent details including six Fulmars and six Swordfish, four of each with wings extended and two of each with wings folded, life rafts, launches, cranes, davits and AA armament. You don't get (or need) any decals and the three-view colour painting scheme shows the Ark Royal in an undated wartime configuration. Conclusion Although it would be great to see Airfix release a brand new tool of this famous warship, it has to be acknowledged that this kit has been a staple of their range, having been released at least 9 times over the years. The moulds must have paid for themselves dozens of times over by now, and although they are starting to show a little wear here and there they are in remarkably good nick all things considered. Those wanting to build a show stopper will naturally want to add extra details such as photo etched railings, but for those just wanting to add a model of this famous old ship to their collection, this will fit the bill nicely. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Russian Army Tank Transporter MAZ-537G Tractor w/ ChMZAP-5247G Semitrailer 1:72 Takom The MAZ-537, also known as the KZKT-537, is a military tractor unit manufactured by MAZ and KZKT between 1959 and 1990. Combined with a trailer such as the ChMZAP-5247G, it can tow loads of up to 65 tons. The tractor has been widely employed by the USSR, former USSR states and export customers in a diverse range of military and civilian roles, including tank transportation, artillery tractor and in the oil and gas industry. Powered by a 38.8 litre V12 diesel engine (with pre-heating to cope with cold climates) and drive to all eight wheels, the tractor weighs 21,600 kg. The G version is equipped with a 15 ton winch and can self-extract from adverse terrain. The vehicle has largely been superseded by the KZKT-7428 in Russian service. Takom must have something of an interest in military tractor/trailer combinations. Their range of 1:72 kits is comprised almost entirely of such subjects, including the Hanomag/V2 combo and the M1070/M1000 that we reviewed on this site but a few days ago. This kit continues the trend, but omits any kind of load to put on the trailer. No matter as the likes of Revell and Modelcollect have released lots of Soviet/Russian hardware that would be suitable for the job. Inside the relatively compact top-opening box are four frames of grey plastic, a single small clear frame, a small fret of photo etched parts, decals and a couple of piles of rubber tyres for both the tractor and the trailer. Each item is packed in its own bag for protection. The quality of moulding is clean and crisp and looks good to me. The instruction manual is much smaller than normal (just under A5 size) and although the painting diagrams are in full colour, the size of the illustrations and the decision to use a dark grey background makes them almost impossible to interpret properly. I would probably recommend you give up and find some decent photographs to work from. Construction starts with chassis and drive train of the MAZ-537. As the tractor is eight-wheel drive, there are drive shafts and differentials running the length of the central chassis. The wheels are single, solid parts which just pop into the massive balloon-like tyres. Each is then attached to a small axle sub-assembly, which in turn fits onto the side of the chassis. The whole thing is richly detailed but not overly complex. One the chassis is complete, attention turns to the cab unit. There are various details that have to be fixed to the underside of the floorpan, after which it can be flipped the right way up and fixed to the chassis. Interior detail is limited to the bench seat and a basic dashboard and steering wheel. As with their M1070 kit, the clear parts are moulded from clear polystyrene and the doors are entirely translucent, meaning some masking will be required prior to painting. I would recommend both inside and outside be painted in order to achieve a good finish. finishing touches include the rear view mirrors and tiny photo etched windscreen wipers. The ChMZAP-5247G trailer is comparatively straightforward to assemble. The chassis is basic ladder-like structure, with the upper load surface moulded in place. The road wheels fit onto two suspension bogeys, making two pairs of four wheels. As before, the wheels are separate to the rubber tyres, which will speed up painting and weathering. The spare wheels for both tractor and trailer fit onto the trailer, as do the hydraulic stabilisers. Alternative parts are provided so the latter items can be used for building the trailer in the detached configuration if desired. The painting and marking guide shows four different schemes for the tractor and trailer. The Afghan Army, Hungarian Defence Force, Iranian Army and Soviet Army are all provided for. Paint references are provided for the Ammo by Mig range of paints. Unusually, recommendations are also made for Ammo weathering products as well. As mentioned in the preamble, the painting diagrams are infuriatingly small for such a large vehicle (and no, it's not my age), so extra pictorial references will be essential. Conclusion It feels as though fans of Soviet bloc/Russian hardware are enjoying something of a golden age at the moment. Ten or so years ago, kits of subjects such as this MAZ were either non-existent or strictly limited run. Now, thanks largely to mainstream manufacturers such as Takom, Modelcollect, Revell, ICM and Zvezda, we seem to have a choice of not just MBTs, but APCs and other vehicles such as this in injected plastic. The utilitarian, almost Tonka-esque look of the big MAZ appeals to me enormously and it will look great with a soviet MBT on the back. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  14. Ju 87 D-3, Hs 129, FW 190F-8 "Luftwaffe Ground Attackers vol.1" 1:72 Exito Decals Polish company Exito are an online retailer of all things scale modelling. They also have a nice line in decals with a 'twist'. Unlike most rivals, their sets are packed into large, A4 sized packets backed with a piece of heavy card. Each of the schemes included on the sheet is replicated as a high-quality colour print on thick, glossy card, with a painting diagram and other information on the reverse. The overall impression is of a very high quality product, albeit one which is surprisingly reasonably priced. The set includes markings for three aircraft: Junkers Ju 87 D-3, W.Nr. 100082 (Stkz. BP+DD), coded T6+HN of 5./StG. 2, Achtirskaya, USSR, early summer 1942; Henschel Hs 129 B-2, W.Nr. 140405 of 4.(Pz)/Sch.G.1, USSR, summer 1942; and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8, flown by Major Theodor Nordmann, Kommandeur of II./SG 3, Riga-Spilve, Latvia, 1944 There is no secondary theme that ties these schemes together, other than the that described in the title. The decals themselves are printed by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Helpfully, there are sufficient national markings on the sheet to model each of the three options. Colour references are provided for Mr Hobby and AK Interactive, as well as the RLM codes appropriate for each shade. Conclusion This is yet another professional and attractive package from Exito. As well as some interesting decals printed by the company everyone else is measured against, you get profiles of all the options that are of such high quality that they could be framed or incorporated in the display of your finished model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. US Tank Transporter w/ Abrams Tank 1:72 Takom The Oshkosh M1070, coupled to the DRS Technologies M1000 semi-trailer, us the primary means by which the US Army moves its M1 Abrams main battle tank, as well as various self-propelled artillery and other heavy equipment, by road. Powered by either a huge 12 litre Detroit Diesel unit or an even huger 18 litre Caterpillar engine, the M1070 can exceed 50mph and has a range of almost 450 miles, thanks chiefly to its huge 947 litre fuel capacity. The vehicle has been a hit for Oshkosh, with almost 3,000 examples rolling off the production line, many of which have been exported to international customers such as Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UK. The M1000 trailer, produced by Leonardo DRS, was originally developed as a private venture but has been just as successful as the M1070, with over 2600 examples ordered. Both tractor and trailer are air-transportable if you happen to have access to the C-5 Galaxy or C-17 Globemaster. The M1 Abrams is, of course, the current Main Battle Tank employed by the armed forces of the USA. Named after General Creighton Abrams, Commander of US forces in Vietnam, the Abrams entered service with the US Army in 1980, gradually replacing the M60 MBT. Since then over 9000 examples of the gas turbine-powered tank have been produced and it is now in service with the armed forces of Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as the US. The M1A2 variant is an upgrade over the original M1A1, with enhanced targeting and armour capabilities. The Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) is a field-installable armour upgrade that incorporates various elements such as Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), developed in response to experience acquired during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Takom, a name more often associated with huge 1:16 scale tanks (and less huge 1:35 scale ones), have now released a handful of 1:72 scale kits. Last time around we reviewed their V2 rocket and Hanomag tractor/trailer combo. This month we've been fortunate enough to receive another tractor/trailer combo, albeit from a completely different era. The M1070 and M1000 have previously been released by Takom along with an armoured bulldozer. The Abrams was previously released by Tiger Model back in 2015. It was well-received then, not least because it was the first TUSK Abrams to be produced in braille scale. Inside the box are eight frames of grey plastic, two small clear frames, a couple of small frets of photo etched parts, decals and a dauntingly large mound of rubber tyres, most of which are for the M1000 trailer. Each item is packed in its own bag for protection. Two instruction manuals are provided; one for the tractor and trailer and a separate one for the MBT. The quality of moulding is clean and crisp and looks good to me. Construction starts with the M1070. The ladder chassis is provided as a separate part, along with the cab body. To this you have to add the suspension and drive train components, all of which are made up from several different parts. It is immediately apparent that the kit is orientated towards detail rather than speed of assembly! Each wheel is moulded in two parts, but the tyres are moulded from a rubber-like material, which will speed up painting and construction considerably. The cab includes full interior details, such as crew seats, a dashboard and steering wheel. The doors are moulded from clear plastic, which will make painting them a bit more tricky, but will at least save having to glue tiny clear parts in place. The winch system behind the cab also starts off with a separate, slide moulded base, onto which various plastic and photo etched parts are added. A ladder and a few other bits and bobs and the huge tractor is complete. The M1000 trailer is comparatively simple when compared to the M1070 tractor, but with 40 wheels and tyres to paint and assemble, construction will be an exercise in endurance. Each of the 40 wheels is made up of two parts, and for every four wheels there is an axle/suspension unit, also made up of two parts. The mechanism that links tractor to trailer is a relatively simple part and holds two spare wheels for the trailer. The loading ramps can be finished in lowered or raised position, depending on your preference. Next up is Abrams, which I guess is semi-optional if you happen to have another vehicle that you wish to display on the trailer. Interestingly, this part of the kit feels like a partial re-box as there are separate Tiger Model-branded instructions supplied and even the plastic bags used to protect the sprues are different. Construction starts with the fearsome 120mm main gun and turret. A prodigious amount of parts make up this sub-assembly, with lots of extra bits for the TUSK II equipment and photo etched detail for the turret baskets. Clear parts are provided for the commander's cupola and the various electro-optical sights, as well as the two armoured shields that protect the crew when using the 7.62mm machine guns. Turning to the running gear and lower hull, Tiger Model have opted for a variation of the modern method of recreating the tracks and road wheels, with the outer road wheels moulded onto the lower tracks, while the inner road wheels and return rollers are moulded onto the upper tracks. This approach only works because the side skirts and ERA completely cover what would otherwise be very obvious chunky plastic tabs that hold the whole thing together. The painting and marking guide shows two different schemes for the tractor and trailer: The first is an example used during Operation Iraqi Freedom, based at Camp Buehing, Kuwait, in April 2003. It is painted in overall FS33446 (desert tan); The second vehicle is painted in the standard NATO Green/Brown/Black scheme and it from the Theatre Logistics Support Centre Europe, 21st Theatre Sustainment Command, Baumholder, Germany, 2011. A separate painting diagram is provided for the Abrams, but it only shows a single example painted with Tamiya XF-59. Weirdly, the instructions for the M1070 and M1000 use Ammo colour references instead! Conclusion Bringing three high-quality models together in a set like this is always a welcome move, and with the large, plain white packaging it really does feel a cut above your average kit. Each of the models is very detailed, particularly for the scale, and have no problem standing up to scrutiny. As a trio, they have the potential to spark the imagination of modellers keen on dioramas, although the temptation to ditch the trailer and have the M1070 hauling an ICM MiG-25RB out of the desert, as per the famous photograph, is almost overwhelming. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
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