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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. Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-17F 'Fresco' (Shenyang J5) A03091 1:72 Airfix Although outwardly similar to the MiG-15, the MiG-17 was in fact a heavily revised design that drew upon the lessons learned in the development of the USSR's first swept-wing fighter. While the forward fuselage, landing gear and engine were carried across from the MiG-15, the rear fuselage was longer and more tapered. The wing was entirely new as well, being both thinner and more sharply swept. This both raised the maximum speed of the aircraft and aided controllability at transonic speeds. Although it shared its armament with its predecessor, it also gained a radar gun sight, cribbed from a captured F-86. The MiG-17F was fitted with an afterburner, which significantly boosted the rate of climb and meant supersonic speed was just about possible in a shallow dive. The MiG-17 was built in huge numbers, with over 10,000 rolling off Soviet, Chinese and Polish production lines. It was used in combat by several nations, most notably in the Vietnam War where it was credited with 28 aerial victories. The MiG-17 hasn't been all that well represented by manufacturers of plastic kits over the years. Efforts from the likes of Hasegawa, KP and Dragon all have their problems and are all showing their age, while the otherwise rather good AZ Model kit is limited run and by all accounts the moulds are starting to show their age. Enter Airfix with an all-new tooling. Inside the box are three frames of grey parts, a small frame of clear parts, instructions and decals. The parts are nicely moulded but the panel lines are on the heavy side, which is always more noticeable on a small kit like this. From reading Airfix's workbench blog it's clear that this is a Lidar-scanned model, so the dimensions and general arrangement of shapes should be spot on. Despite this, there has been some debate about the accuracy of the kit on this and other forums. I have found our own KRK4m's analysis very helpful in that he confirmed the kit is very accurate in scale and general outline, but has an issue in terms of the leading edge of the wing (easy fix) and the aerofoil cross section (not an easy fix). Of course the stark reality is that these issues won't concern most modellers, so with that in mind, let's have a look at what is in the box. Construction starts with the cockpit, and like most kits of the MiG-15 or -17, the cockpit tub is made up of parts that also form the inner part of the intake fairing. Moulded detail is actually very nice. Not on a part with Eduard's MiG-15, but then the two models are not really comparable in terms of engineering and philosophy. Decals are provided to add extra detail to the instrument panel and sidewalls. I'm not sure what happened to the ejection seat, but Airfix appear to have carried this across from the MiG-15 rather than replicating the seat commonly fitted to the MiG-17. Should this trouble you greatly, aftermarket alternatives are available. Once the cockpit sub-assembly is complete, the engine exhaust and afterburner can be assembled. Because the external faces of the jet exhaust also double up as the insides of the air brake assembly, there are alternative parts with and without moulded detail for this area - a really nice touch from Airfix. Once both of these parts are assembled, the fuselage can be joined. A clear part which represents the radio compass cover must also be fitted at this stage. Once the fuselage halves have been joined, the front-lower part of the fuselage, which includes the muzzle detail for the cannons, can be fitted, along with the engine air intake fairing. The wings are next. If you wish to fit the optional drop tanks, you will need to drill the pre-marked holes in the lower wing surface at this stage. The wings are pretty simple to build, with the wing fences moulded in place. The kink in the wing leading edge is present and correct, but you may wish to re-profile the leading edge if the apparent lack of sharpness troubles you. Personally I can easily live with this on an aircraft so small. With the wings in place, the tail planes can be assembled. The landing gear is nicely detailed and there are some nice touches such as detail moulded on the inside of the gear doors. As mentioned above, the air brakes can be fitted in open or closed positions, although you'll need to have committed to one option or the other earlier in the build process. The canopy is nicely made and has the periscope moulded in place. There is even an oil drum included to prevent the model from sitting on its tail if you didn't manage to cram in the necessary 20 grams of weight. Two options are provided on the decal sheet: ⦁ MiG-17F 3020, flown by Le Hai, 932nd Fighter Regiment, Vietnam People's Air Force, Tho Xuan, August 1969. This aircraft is finished in a disruptive two-tone green scheme; and ⦁ MiG-17F 'Blue 51', Nauchno-Issledovatel'skiy Institut Voyenno-Vozdooshnykh Seel (NII VVS – air force scientific research institute, USSR, 1970s. This airaft is finished in overall silver. The decals themselves look thin and glossy and a full set of stencils are included. Conclusion Although this kit isn't perfect, by my reckoning it is still just about the best MiG-17 available in the scale. It's a shame that the kit has some niggling issues, but I'm going to stick my neck our and say that they shouldn't detract from the fact that the kit is accurate in size and outline and should be a fun, straightforward build. I'm certainly looking forward to building mine. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hurricane Mk.IIc (Expert Set) 70035 1:72 Arma Hobby Although somewhat less glamorous than the Supermarine Spitfire, it was the Hawker Hurricane that proved to be the backbone of the UK's air defences during the summer of 1940. Designed in 1935, the Hurricane was relatively advanced compared to other fighters in service at that point. It featured a fully enclosed cockpit, retractable undercarriage, eight .303 inch machine guns, a powerful liquid-cooled V12 engine and, most importantly, a cantilever monoplane. Despite its modern appearance, the design and manufacturing techniques were thoroughly conventional. This proved useful when it came to manufacture because the aircraft was easy to produce, repair and maintain. The Hurricane's first kill was achieved on 21st October 1939 when 46 Sqn found and attacked a squadron of Heinkel He115s over the North Sea. The Mk.IIC was a much improved version, armed with four 20mm cannon and equipped with the Rolls Royce Merlin XX engine, capable of developing almost 1,500hp. These aircraft were generally used for ground attack and night fighting duties as, despite the improvements, it couldn't quite compete with the best the Luftwaffe had to offer. Arma Hobby hail from Warsaw, Poland. Although a relatively new name to the hobby, I've been mightily impressed with their products and in particular the way they manage to combine fine detail with ease of assembly. The moulded plastic parts are as well-made as anything I've seen from the big names in the hobby, with crisp panel lines and a finesse of finish that really helps their kits to stand out. This makes for appealing kits that you really want to build as soon as you handle the plastic. As this is an Expert Set, you get extra decal options, paint masks and a small fret of brass parts too. The decals look excellent and the full-colour instructions are equally impressive. Although this kit follows on from Arma Hobby's earlier Hurricane Mk.I, as the kit is presented on a single frame of parts it is to all intents and purposes an entirely new model. Construction starts with the wing and the main landing gear wheel well. This is assembled and sandwiched between the surfaces of the single span upper and lower wing. With the wings assembled, construction moves on to the cockpit. Some of the parts, such as the rudder pedal and control column, are added onto the floor that is moulded as part of the upper wing, while the remaining parts including the instrument panel, seat and structural framework are sandwiched between the fuselage halves. The small fret of photo etched parts comes into play at this juncture, providing the seat harnesses, instrument panel, compass and throttle control. Once the fuselage halves have been joined, the previously assembled main wing can then be added, along with the vertical and horizontal tail. The rudder is a solid part, while the elevators are moulded separately. The tail wheel and main wheels can now be added. Flat spots are moulded in place on the main wheels, and as this is part of Arma Hobby's 'Expert Set' range, pre-cut paint masks are provided for all of the wheels. Once the landing gear doors have been added, the radiator and carburettor intake can be assembled. Again the photo etch comes into play, providing parts for the latter as well as the landing lights, exhaust flame shields and pilot's footstep. The tropical air filter for HV560 can also be added at this stage. Last but not least, the four 20mm cannon barrels, the propeller and spinner and the aerial mast can be added, as well as the two-part canopy for which masks are provided. The decal options include: Hurricane Mk IIc, BE500/LK-A, 87 Squadron RAF, Spring 1942, flown by Squadron Leader Denis Smallwood. This aircraft is finished in overall black; Hurricane Mk IIc, BE500/LK-A, 87 Squadron RAF, Operation Jubilee, Dieppe Raid, 19 August 1942, flown by Squadron Leader Denis Smallwood and Flight Sergeant Henryk Józef Trybulec. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Ocean Grey over black; Hurricane Mk IIc, Z3899/JX-W, 1 Squadron RAF, November 1941. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey; and Hurricane Mk IIc trop, HV560/FT-Z, 43 Squadron RAF, Maison Blanche, Algieria, December, 1942, flown by Squadron Leader Michael "Micky" Rook. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Dark Earth over Sky Blue. The decals are superbly printed and a full set of stencils is included. Conclusion I'm always glad to see an Arma Hobby kit in my review boxes as, in my experience they really kit the sweet spot between detail and buildability. The care and attention they take with the design and production of each model is a key feature of their kits, and this is no exception. The amount and quality of detail on offer is easily on a par with their competitors, but the kit is not over-engineered and should be easy to build as a result. The decal options are excellent too. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. German Kanonen und Flakwagen of BP-42 (82925) 1:72 Hobbyboss The Wehrmacht made good use of the European railway network during the Second World War, moving men and material to the front line quickly and efficiently. The railway network became an obvious target for sabotage, which in turn meant that armoured trains became a natural requirement, particularly for operating in high risk areas where partisans might be present. Unfortunately the rapid development of ground attack aircraft meant that armoured trains became ineffective for the role they were intended to fulfil. Mike reviewed Hobbyboss's BR57 armoured locomotive some time ago (quite by accident, because he forgot to check the scale) and I've reviewed various iterations of their armoured wagons. This is the latest in the series, depicting a variant armed with quad flak and cannon turrets. In classic Hobbyboss style, the kit is tightly packed into a sturdy box, with everything meticulously wrapped to ensure it survives the journey from China to wherever you are. The kit is very simple, composed of a handful or slide-moulded parts, two sprues of smaller parts and two sprues holding Hobbyboss's standard track sections. Also in the box are the instructions, a glossy A4 painting sheet and a small sheet of generic decals. The detail of the slide-moulded parts is excellent, with crisp and fine surface details. Construction begins with the lower chassis. The axles and wheels fit in from above and are then boxed in so there is no see-through effect. As with other similar kits from Hobbyboss, the brake blocks are moulded in place on the wheels, while the leaf spring suspension units are separate parts. The buffers and couplings are provided for either end. The 2cm Flakvierling 38 mount is a mini-model in its own right, although in usual Hobbyboss style, the part count isn't excessive. There are some nice touches, including spare magazines and a nicely moulded splinter shield. The howitzer turret is a very simple affair by comparison, and it should be noted that none of the turrets can be posed in the open position (not that there is any interior detail in any case). The track is split into four sections, the joins in which are cleverly matched to the natural breaks and joined with nicely moulded fish plates. If you really want to hide the joins properly, some 00 gauge ballast could be used, while the detail could really be ramped up with some proper track. Only one colour scheme is included on the sheet, for a vehicle with a base of Dark Yellow, over which Red brown and Field Green stripes are applied in a similar fashion to contemporary armoured vehicles. Given how filthy railway rolling stock gets due to the soot and grease, there is huge scope for the builder to express him or herself with weathering. Conclusion I thought Hobbyboss had finished their range of German armoured trains, but apparently not. This model - ho ho - rails (that pun never gets old) against the trend of producing models with ever increasing levels of detail and complexity. It will make a great model when paired with Hobboyboss's BR57 and other armoured wagons. Whatever you decide to do with it, you can't deny that it's nice to have a mainstream model of this interesting subject. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Vickers Wellington GR Mk.VIII (A08020) 1:72 Airfix The Vickers Wellington was a twin-engined medium bomber that entered service with the RAF in 1938. It served throughout the Second World War before finally being retired in 1953. Although the Wellington hasn't quite enjoyed the profile of some the RAF's heavy bombers such as the Lancaster or Halifax, it was produced in far greater numbers than either and made a vital contribution to the Allied war effort. It is popularly believed that the Wellington was designed by Barnes Wallis, inventor of the famous bouncing bomb. While it's true that the geodetic structure was invented by Barnes Wallis (albeit originally for airships), the Wellington was actually designed by Rex Pierson, Vickers' chief designer and father of the Vimy biplane bomber. Although superseded in the night bomber role by heavy bombers, the Wellington proved adaptable to other purposes, such as those of Coastal Command. The GR Mk.VIII was converted from the Mk.Ic for reconnaissance, anti-submarine and anti-shipping purposes. The Wellington was the only British bomber to be manufactured throughout the war. Airfix's released this kit in 2018, continuing their policy of replacing old kits from their back catalogue (their original kit was released when the Wellington could still be considered relatively modern!). As was the case with their Whitley, it was inevitable that a Coastal Command version would follow at some point. Inside the red top-opening box adorned with the usual high-quality Adam Tooby artwork are eight frames of grey plastic and a single clear frame. The mouldings are clean and crisp, with fine surface detail and delicate rendering of the characteristic surface texture of the Wellington. The assembly instructions are divided into over 100 stages, which gives a good indication of the level of detail Airfix have managed to pack in to this model. The interior in particular is very detailed - on a part with their earlier Shackleton. Interior details include full crew stations for the pilot, wireless operator and navigator, as well as the ubiquitous Elsan chemical bog. The interior structures reflect the geodetic structure of the Wimpey and will occupy many fruitful days of modelling time to assemble and paint. If you don't have the time or patience for this labour of love, have a gander at the preamble to the instructions. Here you will find a diagram highlights all of the finely detailed parts that will be completely invisible to the human eye once that fuselage has been cemented shut, and which can therefore be omitted or simply painted the same colour as the rest of the interior. I know which option I'll be taking! Once you make it to step 29 of the instructions, it's time to fit the wing spar and cement those fuselage halves together. There are different parts to use depending on whether you wish to finish the model with the bomb bay open or closed and the landing gear up or down. As a result of all of these options, even something simple such as the assembly of the engine fairings occupies fourteen steps of the instruction manual. The interior of the main gear bays are nicely detailed though. Once the wings have been assembled, the ailerons can be fitted as well as the engine firewalls and the landing gear legs. Before the engines themselves can be fitted, the instructions skip ahead to the rest of the flying surfaces. the rudder and elevators are all separate parts, which introduce the option of posing them in different positions. The instructions then return to the engines. Although each nine-cylinder Bristol Pegasus engine is moulded as a singe part, they are nicely detailed. With the main structure of the aircraft complete, the bomb racks, complete with six depth charges, can be added. The nose and tail turrets can also be assembled and fitted at this stage (or the glass nose if building HX379), each of which is nicely detailed right down to the .303 inch Browning machine guns. All of the fuselage glazing can be fitted in place from the outside of the fuselage at the end of the build, which is a bit of a bonus. The main landing gear wheels are fitted next. These feature nicely rendered flat spots, so your model won't look like it's on tiptoes once finished. As this is the Gr. Mk.VIII version, there are lots of antennas to fit to the fuselage top and sides, as well as unders the wings and forward fuselage. A crew access ladder is also provided. Two options are provided on the original decal sheet, with a further two on the Kits-World sheet: ⦁ Vickers Wellington GR Mk.VIII HX379, No. 172 Squadron, RAF Chivenor, Devon, UK, October 1942. This aircraft is finished in the Temperate Sea Scheme. ⦁ Vickers Wellington GR Mk.VIII HX485, No.38 Squadron, RAF Gambut, Libya, late 1942. This aircraft is finished in the Mediterranean scheme of Dark Earth and Mid Stone over Black. The decals themselves look thin and glossy. Conclusion It's about time we had a decent Wellington in 1/72 scale, and Airfix haven't disappointed. This kit is more subtle that Trumpeter's effort, more detailed (and hopefully easier to build) that MPM's kit and altogether more modern than ye olde Matchbox kit. The interior is stupendously detailed, the surface texture is just right and the overall shape looks pretty good to me. With this kit, I think Airfix have delivered the definitive kit of this important aircraft. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. AV-8B Resin Accessories for Hasegawa Kit 1:72 Brengun Hasegawa's AV-8B Harrier has been around for a good while now. It represents classic Hasegawa in the sense that it provides everything you need to build a high quality Harrier while never going over the top in terms of engineering or detail. The kit has also been re-released by Revell on at least one occasion. Now Brengun have released a swathe of resin goodies to update and upgrade an already impressive kit. AV-8B Nozzles (BRL72183) This set provides nicely detailed hot and cold exhaust nozzles. Aside from the crisp detail, the parts are cast in one piece which will negate the need to spend ages tidying up the two-part kit items. I've used similar sets in the past and found them to be far superior to the kit items, as well as being much easier to use. AV-8B Cockpit (BRL72182) This set contains upgrade parts for the kit's cockpit. Unlike many upgrade sets, which contain a complete replacement cockpit tub, this set is designed to be used alongside the kit parts. Included in the set are sidewall details and consoles, a choice of instrument panels (for Night Attack and... um, Day Attack versions) and a fret of photo etched parts, most of which are upgrade parts for the kit's seat, as well as other bits and bobs. I personally would have preferred a resin seat, but that could still be an option as there are many of those available. AV-8B Night Attack Nose (BRL72184)] If you don't have the Night Attack version of the Hasegawa kit, with the FLIR bump built into the nose cone, then you can simply stick this bad boy on the front and hey presto. The resin is beautifully cast and nicely detailed and, thanks to the design of the Hase kit, you don't even need to saw off the old nose to use it. AV-8B Wheels (BRL72185) This set includes replacement wheels for the kit, including the outrigger wheels, as well as a replacement for the lower part of the nose gear leg. There is a tiny fret of photo etched parts that includes scissor links that can be added to the kit legs as well. The resin is nicely cast and includes fine detail on the tyres that is absent from the kit parts. Conclusion Hasegawa's AV-8B Harrier II is an excellent kit and I'm sure it will remain a popular choice with modellers for quite some time to come. While these sets join a somewhat crowded marketplace, the quality is sufficient for them to be able to hold their own and provide a useful option for modellers looking to upgrade their kit. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Pre-Cut Kabuki Masks for Revell Avro Shackleton AEW.2 (NWAM0465) 1:72 New Ware New Ware are a Czech company who are probably best known for their real space kits and upgrade parts. They are also well known for their large (and growing) range of pre-cut paint masks for model aircraft kits. Here we have a set of masks for Revell's Shackleton AEW.2, but if you peruse the Hannants catalogue under the New Ware name, you'll see pages and pages of sets that are both comprehensive in content and wallet friendly too. In their Shackleton kit, you get a full set of masks for the transparent parts (of which there are many) as well as masks for the landing gear. Rather thoughtfully, there are some spare masks included just in case you need them. While these masks won't add extra detail to your models, they will save you a great deal of time as well as providing you with the certainty of a nice, neat finish. They really are a time saver and as such they are well worth considering particularly if, like me, your modelling time is restricted. See the full range available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. September Sky 1939 (72528) 2 in 1: PZL 37 B II and PZL P.11a 1:72 IBG Models In the early hours of 1 September 1939, German forces began the invasion of Poland, triggering a global conflict that would endure for over 2000 days and claim the lives of millions of combatants and civilians. At the time of the outbreak of war, Poland's air force comprised around 800 aircraft. Some types were outdated but many, such as the PZL 37 B were state of the art designs. In this box, IBG Models have packaged two of their kits to represent the Polish Air Force during the early days of the campaign. Included in IBG's package is their PZL P.11a fighter aircraft and PZL 37 B II bomber kits. In usual IBG Models style, there are photo etched parts provided to enhance detail and also marking options appropriate to the period depicted. As we've already review the PZL P.11a here, I will focus on the 37B II bomber for this review. The PZL 37 Łoś (Moose) was a medium bomber designed in-house at the PZL factory in Warsaw. Early 'A' versions were fitted with a single vertical stabilizer, while later 'A' and 'B' version featured an improved twin tail. At the time of its entry into service, the PZL 37 was one of the most advanced bomber aircraft in the world and there was significant interest in both acquisition of export variants and licence production by a number of foreign nations. The PZL 37 was used by the Polish Air Force following the invasion in September 1939. 26 survivors were withdrawn to Romania and were eventually used by the Romanian Air Force. Captured examples were also tested by Germany and the USSR. Of the original production batch, none survive today. Construction of the twin-engined bomber starts with the interior. The internal elements of the bomb bay must be assembled first, as the roof of the bomb bay forms the floor of the cockpit. Four (two small and two large) bombs are provided. The crew area comprises seats for the pilot and bomb aimer, as well as a nicely detailed bomb sight, control column, three 7.92mm machine guns and plenty of sidewall detail. The fret of photo etched parts contributes extra details for the control column, throttle controls and seat harnesses. Aside from the rather nice extra details, there is also plenty of detail moulded into the fuselage sidewalls. Once the interior sub-assembly is complete, the whole lot can be sandwiched between the fuselage halves. The instructions recommend fitting the rather nice transparent parts at this stage. Once in place, it becomes clear just how sleek this aircraft is. As is the norm with IBG Model kits, the control surfaces are all moulded separately and can be posed if desired. Construction then turns to the engines and wings. Two different engine types are provided, each of which comprises a main block, photo etched ignition wiring, a three-part cowling and propeller with two-part spinner. Construction of the wings is more complex that you might think. Each of the main landing gear bays is built up from photo etched parts, while the wing root bomb bays are a plastic frame moulded in just one part. For some reason I would have thought this method of assembly would have been reversed, but the photo etched parts shouldn't be too difficult to fold and glue in place. eight small bombs are provided to fill the wing bomb bays. Again, the flaps and ailerons are separate parts. The decal sheet provides two options for each type: PZL P.11a, 112th Fighter Squadron, Zielonka Airfield, Poland, September 1939; PZL P.11a, 111th Fighter Squadron, Zielonka Airfield, Poland, September 1939; PZL 37 B Łoś, 16th Bomber Squadron, September 1939; and PZL 37 B Łoś, 17th Bomber Squadron, September 1939. The decals are nicely printed and a small selection of stencils has been included too. Conclusion There has been a noticeable resurgence of interest in the early WWII period, with the likes of Airfix and IBG Models releasing a number of types in recent years. It's nice to see IBG Models paying tribute to the brave men of the Polish Air Force with such a high quality set. I've reviewed the PZL P.11 a couple of times before, but this is the first time I've seen their PZL 37B. Happily the kit doesn't disappoint and it displays the characteristic crisp moulding and fine detail we've come to expect from the Polish manufacturer. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. If you'll forgive the lyrical flourish, I wrote that because the kit is subtitled '7 nations air force' and there are options to represent 7 different air forces on the decal sheet. The reference to specific aircraft is from the painting and marking guide.
  9. German WWII licence plates (HLH72089) 1:72 Hauler Scale modelling is a broad church, with scope for both the casual modeller and the detail-obsessed enthusiast to enjoy themselves. This set from Hauler caters to the latter camp, providing no fewer than 58 different licence plates for German AFVs and softskins of the WWII era. No decals are included as these are intended to be used with the kit (or aftermarket) decals, but they do provide a realistic base for those decals. The plates are all well made and overall this is a perfect application of photo etched brass, allowing for extra fine detail that simply wouldn't be possible with plastic mouldings. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. PZL P.11g 'Kobuz' Polish Fighter 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 P.11g variant was a stop gap intended to bridge the gap caused by the delays getting the P.50 into service. It featured a more powerful engine and an airframe that was strengthened accordingly. It also featured an enclosed cockpit and improved armament. The P.11g was unable to enter service however, its development curtailed by the invasion of Poland in September 1939. 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 11g, but an PZL 11a is also available (reviewed here). Inside the box are eleven 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, with fine surface details and high quality mouldings. 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 fiddling around with these tiny components is likely to drive you to distraction). 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. When it comes to the enclosed canopy, you have two options. The sensible, conventional choice is a two-part canopy nicely moulded in clear plastic. The option for show-offs or lunatics involves hewing a framework from three tiny bits of photo etched brass and then gluing in place no fewer than ten individual pieces of clear plastic film. Surely this has to be the modelling equivalent of a chicken phaal, only taken on by the unaccountably brave or foolhardy. The decal sheet provides three options, all of which are hypothetical 'what it?' markings: PZL P.11g 'Kobuz', September 1939; PZL P.11g 'Kobuz', 111th Fighter Squadron, 1940; PZL P.11g 'Kobuz', Pursuit Brigade, 1940. 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 time. 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
  11. Tetrarch Mk.VII 1:72 Hauler The Light Tank Mk.VII (A17), commonly known as the Tetrarch, was a light tank designed by Vickers-Armstrong and manufactured by Metro Cammel. The Tetrach was designed before the outbreak of the Second World War. Thanks to a move away from the use of light tanks in British armoured divisions, the Tetrarch saw relatively little action during the early stages of the war, although 20 were supplied to the Soviet Union. Thanks to its diminutive size and relatively light weight, the Tetrach effectively found a secondary purpose supporting the airborne landings in Normandy. Unfortunately the original fears about the tanks inability to cope with superior German armour were well-founded and the tanks were quickly withdrawn from frontline combat. The Tetrarch was powered by a Meadows 12-cylinder petrol engine and was armed with both a QF 2 pounder gun and a 7.92mm Besa machine gun. Hauler are a manufacturer of kits and accessories from Brno, the Czech Republic's second city. They share an address with Brengun and are effectively the side of the business that focusses on AFVs and vehicles. They produce kits and accessories in the usual scales of 1:72, 1:48 and 1:35, as well as the railway scales HO (1:87) and TT (1:120), the latter intended primarily for wargaming. As befits a dimunitive tank, their Tetrarch arrives packed into a small, sturdy box inside which are just twenty one pieces of grey resin, a small fret of photo etched details and a sheet of decals. Construction is as simple as the low part count would suggest. There are just four wheels to fit to just either side of the hull, with no return rollers or idlers to worry about. The aft wheel doubles as a drive sprocket and must be aligned so the teeth are out of the way of the tracks. There are no parts provided to represent the Tetrarch's oil damped air suspension, which is a pity as photographs of the real thing reveal these components were quite visible from the outside. The wheels are nicely detailed however and the tracks are provided as a single, continuous resin band which will hopefully prove to be a good fit (if not, I'm sure they can be softened in warm water). Once the running gear has been added to the hull, some of the smaller details can be fixed in place. The photo etched glacis plate fits over the area where the resin pour stub would otherwise go, which will help reduce clean up time. The headlights are resin with a photo etched frame, while photo etched details are also used for the tow eyes, shovel and searchlight mount. The turret is a solid part onto which the mantle, the 2 pounder gun and smoke launchers all fit directly. The exhaust pipe in cast in place, while the engine air intakes are separate parts. Decals are provided for two examples: Tetrarch T-9274, Training Unit, England, 1944; and Tetrach T-9353, 6th Airborne Division, Normandy, June 1944. The decals are nicely printed. Conclusion Hauler's Tetrarch is small but perfectly formed. The low part count means it should be very easy to build, so long as you are adept at dealing with the smaller photo etched details. There are some compromises in terms of detail, such as the missing suspension components and the exhaust that has been cast as part of the hull, but overall this is a pleasing little model that will good great alongside some kits of larger types. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Yakovlev Yak-1B (Expert Set) 1:72 Arma Hobby 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. Arma Hobby are a manufacturer of kits from Warsaw, Poland. Although a relatively new name in the hobby, I have to say I've been mightily impressed by the kits of theirs that I've seen so far. This kit looks to be no different. The plastic parts are as well-made as anything I've seen from any of the big names, with fine and crisp panel lines and no obvious flaws anywhere. The decals look excellent and the full-colour instructions are equally impressive. One of the main differences between Arma Hobby and the likes of Eduard is the engineering and breakdown of parts, which is nowhere near as complex as the Czech manufacturer. This makes for a kit that seems immediately appealing and shouts 'build me' as soon as you handle the plastic. As this is an Expert Set, you get extra decal options, paint masks and a small fret of brass parts too. Construction gets underway with the cockpit. Most of the characteristic internal framework is moulded onto the inside of the fuselage halves, but there are separate parts for some of the structures which helps to add depth and realism. Some of the photo etched parts are used to add extra detail. The instrument panel also benefits from a multi-layered photo etched enhancement. The pilot's seat also benefits from photo etched harnesses. In common with other kits of this type, the lower part of the cockpit, including the pilot's seat pan, rudder pedals and control column, all have to be fitted to the area between the wings, which is moulded in place betwen the wing halves. As both the upper and lower wings halves are moulded with both port and starboard joined up, aligning the wings should be no problem. Detail isn't compromised by this approach, partly because the level of moulded detail is so good and partly because the aeroplane is so small anyway. Moving away from the wings, the upper cowling is moulded as a separate part to the fuselage, while the engine exhausts slot in from either side. All of the control surfaces are moulded in place, which means although they are beautifully detailed, they can't be posed. There are photo etched parts to add extra detail to the radiator and oil cooler. Although the undercarriage doesn't benefit from any such treatment, it is nonetheless nicely detailed. The canopy is nice an clear but is moulded in once piece, which means it can't be finished in the open position - a surprising decision for what is otherwise a very nicely detailed kit. The decal options include: Yak-1B No.4, 1 Squadron, Polish 1st Fighter Regiment, WO Edward Chromy, Zadybie Stare Airfield, Summer 1944. This aircraft is finished in two-tone grey over blue; Yak-1B No.13, 2 Squadron, Polish 1st Fighter Regiment, Sgt Patryk O'Brien, Operation Berlin, 1945. This aircraft is also finished in two-tone grey over blue; Yak-1B No.2, 148 IAP, Capt. Leonid Smirnof, Kuban, Spring 1943. This aircraft is finished in two-tone green over blue; Yak-1B captured aircraft (as per Capt. Leonid Smirnof above) in German markings; Yak-1B No.26, 31 GIAP, Maj. Boris Yeryomin, Soldovka, Stalingrad Front, December 1942. This aircraft was overpainted with white; and Yak-1B No.6, GC3 Normandie, Albert Durland, Khatenki, Summer 1943. This aircraft is finished in two-tone green over blue with 'fish scale' mottling on the cowling. The decals are superbly printed and a full set of stencils is included. Conclusion Just like the other Arma Hobby kits I've seen, this is a very high quality model. It is apparent that Arma Hobby have produced a model that should be easy to build without compromising on detail. The quality of manufacture is excellent; I'd go as far as saying that if these sprues had fallen out of a Tamiya or Eduard box, I doubt you would notice much difference. The decal options are excellent too. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. 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
  14. 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
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