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Paul A H

Product Reviewer
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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 16/01/1979

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    Describe yourself in three words:
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  1. Resin Upgrade Sets for Special Hobby P-40/Kittyhawk Kit 1:72 CMK We've just taken delivery of the first examples of Special Hobby's new P-40/Kittyhawk kits, and rather good they are too. Special Hobby seem to have taken a leaf out of another great Czech manufacturer's book by releasing a veritable feast of resin goodies to go with the new kit. Pretty much everything you could think of is represented here. Without further ado, let's take a look and see what's what. P-40E Engine Set The first set contains a complete Allison V-1710 V12 engine for the P-40E. The set comprises the engine itself, as well as the prominent chin-mounted radiator, the firewall, engine subframe and replacement parts for the kit's plastic engine covers, which have to be cut away in order to fit the engine. All of the cutting follows panel lines, so it should be within the abilities of most modellers to be able to use this nicely detailed part. P-40 Undercarriage Set This set includes a choice of two different main landing gear bay inserts for the Special Hobby kit, as well as the fabric cover for the tail wheel assembly. The resin has a clean, crisp quality which will add a little extra zip to the finished kit. P-40E/K/M/N Armament Set This set includes six .50 cal machine guns, as well as the structural detail for the gun bays and replacement covers for the wings. As is the case with the engine set, the modeller is required to remove panels above and below the wing in order to expose the additional detail provided with this set. All of the cuts are along panel lines, which should be within the capabilities of most modellers. P-40 Control Surfaces This set provides replacement landing flap and ailerons for the main wings, as well as complete replacement horizontal tail planes with separately case elevators. While the latter are a straight swap for the kit parts, the former will require the removal of more plastic from the wing. Get a fresh scalpel blade and a ruler and whatever you do, make sure you don't slip! P-40 Cockpit Sidewalls and Control Column This set does not require the removal of any plastic from the kit. Instead, the parts are a straightforward (and more detailed) swap for the kit parts. Just drop them in an enjoy! P-40 Wheels - Diamond and Hole Tread These wheels are another straight swap for the kit parts. Naturally they are much more detailed than their plastic counterparts, with a lovely crispness to the tyre tread. Flat spots can be filed where the wheels are removed from the casting blocks. P-40/Kittyhawk Seats There are four replacement seats available, for theP-40 E, K, M and N-1; P-40N-5 to N-40; Kittyhawk I, Ia, II, IIa and III; and the Kittyhawk IV. Most, but not all, have harnesses cast in place. Conclusion CMK can be relied upon to turn out some good quality resin, a fact to which these sets testify. Detail is top-notch, casting is flawless and I have no doubt that the fit will be equally good. If you have the new kit, or are planning on acquiring it, then it's good to know that these sets are out there and that you can pick and choose which to pick up. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Russian MiG-31M Foxhound 1:72 Trumpeter The Mikoyan MiG-31, known by the NATO reporting name 'Foxhound' is an all-weather interceptor and replacement for the more famous but far less capable MiG-25 Foxbat. Although the MiG-31 bears a close resemblance to its predecessor, it is only the basic elements of the design that are shared. The MiG-31 is a much more modern aircraft and benefits from a very capable suite of avionics which provides full look down/shoot down capability against targets are small as cruise missiles. One thing it does have in common with the venerable Foxbat is its speed. The Foxhound is one of the fastest combat aircraft around and can show a clean pair of heels to most comparable jets. The weapon of choice for the Foxbat is the long-range R-33 missile, but it is also capable of using the now obsolete R-40, as well as the short-range R-73. Some variants can deploy the KH-31 and KH-58 anti-radiation missiles in the SEAD role. The MiG-31M was an intended upgrade featuring a one piece rounded windscreen, enlarged dorsal spine, digital flight controls and multi-mode phased array radar. It was also fitted with upgraded engines. The type was prevented from entering full production by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Trumpeter have pleased a lot of modellers with a penchant for Russian hardware of late. This kit follows their MiG-29, Su-24 and Su-27/33/34 families, as well as their MiG-31 and MiG-31B/BM kits. In classic Trumpeter style, the kit arrives in a large sturdy box with the parts packed so well that it is almost impossible to get them back in the box once unpacked. The box contains an over 330 parts, although this is relatively modest compared to their Su-34. The parts are well protected and the quality of moulding is up to the usual Trumpeter standard, with fine, consistent panel lines and plenty of detail. The overall breakdown of parts is virtually identical to previous iterations of this kit, but with revised parts to ring the changes between the original MiG-31 and the M. The cockpit is nicely replicated, with detailed instrument panels and sidewalls, as well as neat two-part K36 seats. The nose gear bay has to be built around the landing gear leg, which means painting the whole thing before it goes into the kit, but does at least replicate the detail of this part accurately. The nose and forward fuselage is a seperate part to the rest of the airframe, so I guess it could be assembled and put to one side while the rest of the beast is gradually assembled from its component parts. Construction moves on to a number of major sub-assemblies, most of which have to be completed at this stage in order to progress the build. The massive engine air intakes are full length, and contain eight parts each, not including the engine compressor blades. The main landing gear legs and bays also have to be assembled at this stage, although they look both well detailed and reasonably sturdy. Once complete, the nose gear bay, main gear bays and engine intakes can all be cemented into the large, slide moulded lower-rear fuselage, while the nose section can also be slotted into place. In order the bring the whole thing together, the single span upper wing can have the lower wing surfaces added and be joined to the rest of the airframe. With the collosal fuselage complete, most of the rest of the build is spent adding a few more large parts and a whole host of finishing details. Unlike the Hobbyboss kit, the vertical tails are moulded as solid parts and have plenty of rivet detail moulded in place. This is so fine, however, that I am reasonably confident that it will disappear completely under a coat of primer, particularly given that the whole kit has quite a rough, textured finish. The jet exhausts are each made up from three parts and are suitably imposing, although not quite the dustbin-like cans of the MiG-25. The canopy is moulded so it can be finished in the open position, and of course the one-piece windscreen is present and correct. The air brakes are also molded separately and are designed to be finished in the extended position. Trumpeter aren't usually shy when it comes to ordnance, so you get fair deal with this kit. Included in the asking price are: 6 x R-37 air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-40T infrared homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-40R radar homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-73E air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-77 air-to-air missiles; and 2 x drop tanks. The painting and marking guide shows the prototype, 037 Blue, but sufficient bort numbers are included to allow other aircraft to be built, if you fancy a very mild 'what if'. Stencils are included for the airframe and ordnance, which is also nice to see. The decals themselves look nicely printed and should perform well. Conclusion This is very nice kit which comfortably moves straight to the top of the tree when it comes to MiG-31s available in this scale. It's big but not too complex, well detailed and includes a fair selection of ordnance. On the other hand, it's far from cheap, especially when compared to the main competition. My main criticism of the kit is that the panel lines and rivit detail are incredibly fine and will surely disappear under a layer of primer. Not good for an aicraft that really needs a panel line wash to match the grubby appearance of the real thing. Nevertheless, if you do choose to build one, you will be rewarded with an impressive kit. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  3. I don't get it The Karawanks is a particularly beautiful part of central Europe, presumably populated by a proud race of Karawankers. It is particularly well known for the Karawankentunnel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karawanks_Tunnel_(motorway)) as well as dramatic peaks such as the Großerschwanz and the Hosenschlange
  4. Paul A H

    HAL Ajeet Mk.I / Gnat F1 - 1:72 Special Hobby

    Are those definitely Ajeets and not Gnats? If so then the elevators in the kit look correct. Surely if they had slab elevators, a complete new part would be required? They couldn't have used the regular tail planes but with the elevators locked!
  5. Blohm & Voss BV 155V-1 "Karawanken" 1:72 Special Hobby The Blohm & Voss BV-155 was a high-altitude interceptor, not dissimilar in concept to the Westland Welkin. The aircraft started life on the drawing board at Messerschmitt's headquarters at Augsberg as a navalised adaptation of the Me 109, before morphing into a high-altitude interceptor. The work was eventually handed over to Blohm & Voss in 1943 as Messerschmitt were simply too overworked to complete the design. Blohm & Voss made a number of key changes, including replacing the wing with a laminar flow design and fitting a new tail unit. The prominent wing-mounted radiators were also re-designed and the cockpit was moved forward in order to restore the proper centre of gravity. This delayed the aircraft's first flight until February 1945. Although the type was engaged in a full flight test programme, it failed to progress beyond this stage before the end of the war. The aircraft was named "Karawanken" after the Karawanken alps that form the border between Austria and Slovenia. If you think this is a re-release of the original Special Hobby kit from 2003, then think again. This is an all-new kit which could be described as mixed-media, although curiously the only resin parts are inserts for the main landing gear bays. Tke kit comprises well over 60 parts, although several are marked as unused for this particular edition, spread across four frames of grey plastic, as well as a single clear part and the aforementioned resin bits. The moulded detail is fine and crisp, although the overall impression is of a kit that is more limited run in nature than Special Hobby's recent P-40 or Vampire kits. The cockpit comprises a floor and rear bulkhead, seat, sidewalls, rudder pedals, control column and throttle. The sidewalls and throttle have to be fitted directly to the inside of the fuselage rather than to the cockpit tub itself. A plan view of this arrangement is included in the instructions, which suggests one should take care with the placement of these parts. before the fuselage halves can be joined, the tail wheel and large oil cooler assembly must be assembled and sandwiched between the two halves. Typically for a low-wing monoplane, the lower wing (at least the central part) is moulded in a single span, with seperate upper surfaces. None of the control surfaces are moulded separately. The huge underwing radiators are each comprised four parts that fit neatly behind the main landing gear bays. Once the wing has been assembled, it can be joined to the fuselage. The main landing gear is nicely detailed and the wheels are split vertically. An additional diagram showing the exact angle of the landing gear leg and the camber of the wheel is provided. There are a couple of air intakes to fit to the forward fuselage, as well as a small DF loop which locates behind the cockpit. The canopy isn't quite as crisp as I would like, but it's definitely usable. The instructions show the arrangement for fitting the canopy in the open position, but keen-eyed modellers will have noticed that judicious application of the razor saw will be required if this option is desired. The propellor is moulded in two pieces which fit one over the other. This is a slightly unusual arrangement and a little extra care will be required to ensure that all four blades are sitting true before fitting the spinner. The decal sheet provides marking for a single prototype BV 155-V1, based at Finkerwalde in December 1944. Colour references are provided for the original RLM and Gunze codes. I believe a 'what if' version is in the offing if you prefer to finish your model in a theoretical in-service configuration. Conclusion From time-to-time I review a kit that really appeals to me, regardless of the subject. This is a really nice little model. Despite its simplicity relative to some modern Special Hobby kits, it is well detailed and nicely executed. I can't see how it would take longer than a week to build and it will certainly stand out on your model shelf. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Paul A H

    HAL Ajeet Mk.I / Gnat F1 - 1:72 Special Hobby

    It is the regular Gnat kit and the GF4 seat is included in addition to the Folland seat, but I suspect the elevators are wrong. If anyone has a decent picture of the Ajeet's slab elevators, please comment below so we can enlighten ourselves!
  7. HAL Ajeet Mk.I / Gnat F1 1:72 Special Hobby The Folland Gnat was a lightweight, subsonic fighter and trainer aircraft designed by Teddy Peter of Westland Whirlwind and English Electric Whirlwind fame. Although the fighter version of the Gnat was never used by the RAF, it was used by Finland, Yugoslavia and India, who built many examples of the diminutive fighter under licence. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Ajeet (invincible) was an improved Gnat F.1, with additional fuel tanks in the wings, an extra pair of underwing hardpoints and improved avionics. This is a re-release of Special Hobby's Gnat F1, with decals and parts relevant to the revised Indian version. The kit comprises three sprues of light grey plastic, a small clear sprue and the aforementioned decals. As this is a modern Special Hobby tooling, there are no resin or photo etched parts. Construction, as ever, begins with the cockpit. This comprises a tub, rear bulkhead, instrument panel, gunsight, control column and ejection seat. Curiously there are two instrument panels; one for use with an open canopy and one for a closed canopy. The former looks larger, and presumably is more accurate but would not allow the canopy to close. A choice of two different ejector seats are provided, thus capturing one of the more obvious differences between the Gnat and the Ajeet. Before the fuselage can be closed, the four-part engine tailpipe and the nose gear bay must also be fixed in place. You don't need to worry about adding ballast at this stage, as the nosecone is a seperate part and can easily accommodate the recommended one gram of weight. The wings are moulded with seperate upper and lower parts, while the vertical and horizontal tail parts are moulded as solid items. I thought the Ajeet had slab elevators, but the parts provided are the same as those used for the regular Gnat F.1. I can't seem to find any decent photographs of the Ajeet's tail, however, so I shall have to reserve judgement for now. A choice of two different nose cones are provided, so make sure you use the correct version for the particular aircraft that you want to build. Flip the aircraft over and things get busy, with nicely detailed landing gear and a selection of fuel tanks and two different rocket pods. Two different canopy parts are provided; one open and one closed. The decal sheet provides for three options: HAL Ajeet E1997, No. 2 Squadron "Winged Arrows", Indian Air Force, 1980s. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal with the fuselage from the trailing edge of the wing backwards painted in light blue; Hindustan Gnat IE1083, No. 23 Squadron, Indian Air Force, 1965s. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal; Hindustan Gnat E256, Operational Conversion Unit, Indian Air Force. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal with yellow and black tiger stripes along the spine and vertical tail; HAL Ajeet E2024 "Murali", No. 2 Squadron "Winged Arrows", Indian Air Force, 1980s. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal, with black chevrons on the upper wing and rear fuselage/tail. Conclusion Special Hobby's Gnat is a nice little kit and easily the equal of Airfix's trainer version. Construction looks straightforward and the kit is surprisingly well detailed. Notwithstanding the question mark over the elevators (which I may well be wrong about), this looks like a really well-executed kit and one that can be highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Nakajima Ki-43-III Ko Hayabusa "Ultimate Oscar" 1:72 Special Hobby The Nakajima Ki-43 Otsu Hayabusa, known to the Allies as the 'Oscar' was a single-seat, single-engined fighter which equipped the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force from 1941 until the end of the War. The design utilised the same 14-cylinder Nakajima Sakae radial engine as the infamous Mitsubishi Zero, and in fact in the heat of battle, the two aircraft were often confused by Allied aviators. Just like the Zero, the Hayabusa was light, nimble and exceptionally manoeuvrable, and just like the Zero, its Achilles heel was a lack of armour and self-sealing fuel tanks. The Ki-43-III introduced a more powerful Nakajima Army Type 1 Ha-115-II engine, as well as the features of the Ki-43-II, such as the strengthened wings with hardpoints for fuel tanks or bombs, armour for the pilot and basic self-sealing fuel tanks. In service the Hayabusa at first enjoyed enormous success thanks to its phenomenal rate of turn. This was soon countered by more advanced Allied fighters with heavier armour and armament, which removed much of the Ki-43's competitive advantage. It's eight years or so since Special Hobby first released their Oscar, although it has been released a couple of times since then with different decals. This version appears to be a straightforward re-release of the Ki-43-III kit first released in 2010. The kit is fairly simple, being comprised of around sixty plastic parts, although a small number of these are not actually needed to build the variant depicted on the decal sheet. The parts are spread across three sprues of grey plastic and a single clear sprue. The mouldings look fairly crisp, and feature reasonably fine sprue attachment points and refined, engraved surface detail. Construction begins with the cockpit. This sub-assembly comprises a floor with two-part seat and separate rudder pedals and control column. The instrument panel features raised detail and a separate gun sight. The internal faces of the fuselage halves also feature some moulded detail, so although the part count for this area isn't particularly high, the end result is more than acceptable. The only think I would really want to add is some harnesses for the seat, either from spare photo etch (or Special Hobby's own dedicated photo etch set for this kit) or tape. Once the fuselage halves have been joined, the tail planes and wing can be fixed in place. The elevators and ailerons are all moulded in place, and like many kits of low-winged aircraft, the lower wing section is moulded in one span, with separate port and starboard upper surfaces. The engine is moulded as a single, solid part but looks pretty good nonetheless. The cowling is moulded in three parts, which makes it a little more fiddly to assemble but makes for an accurate overall shape. The propeller is moulded as one piece, so you won't have to worry about aligning individual blades. The landing gear itself looks reasonably good, with the landing gear legs and the main gear wheels each made up of one part. Drop tanks are also provided, but you'll need to take care over their positioning as there are no holes or marks as to where they should go. The injection moulded canopy is moulded in two parts, which means it can be posed in the open position if so desired. The decal sheet provides for three options: ⦁ Ki-43-III Ko, 64th Sentai, Burma, Autumn 1944; ⦁ Ki-43-III Ko, 48th Sentai, Nanking, China, August 1945; and ⦁ Ki-43-III Ko, 65th Sentai, Metabaru Airbase, Kayushu, Japan, August 1945. All of the aicraft are finished in olive green over IJA grey; Conclusion Although this kit is marginally less sophisticated than the very latest offerings from Special Hobby, that is more a reflection of the recent advances made by that manufacturer rather than any lack of quality with this particular kit. As always with kits of this nature, a little care and attention may be required, but I think this kit should build into a pleasing replica of an attractive aircraft with relatively little effort. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. British 4.5 Inch QF Marks I, III and IV 1:700 Master The QF 4.5 inch L/45 was developed as a dual-purpose gun for aircraft carriers, battleships and battle cruisers of the Royal Navy. It was later adapter for use on destroyers as the Mark IV, replacing the 4.7 inch gun. Despite the slightly smaller calibre, it used a heavier shell and was capable of inflicting greater damage. Master are well-known for their brass barrels, all of which are streets ahead of their plastic counterparts. These barrels look excellent and should be just as easy to use as any others. Review sample courtesy of
  10. P-40N Warhawk 1:72 Special Hobby The Curtiss P-40N Warhawk was a single seat fighter that could trace its roots back to the radial engined P-36 Hawk first flown in 1938. It ranked amongst the most widely produced US fighters of the war, with more than 13,000 rolling off the production line. A popular aircraft with its pilots, the P-40 earned a reputation as a manoeuvrable yet tough aircraft. The P-40N was the last major production variant. The fuselage behind the cockpit was stretched to counter the torque of the more powerful engine. In an effort to reduce weight, the number of .50 cal machine guns was reduced from six to four, but was later increased to six following feedback from pilots. In Commonwealth service it was known as the Kittyhawk Mk.IV This is an all-new kit from Special Hobby, unrelated to the P-40F released in 2008. Inside the top-opening box are three sprues of grey plastic, a small clear sprue and a sheet of decals (plus a small extra 'addendum' sheet. Gone is the fret of photo etch parts, indicating Special Hobby's continued progress towards the mainstream. The parts are all well detailed and crisply moulded, although the panel lines are a little heavy here and there, particularly on the fuselage sides and lower wing surface. Altogether there are over 70 parts. Cockpit detail is very good indeed. The cockpit sidewalls are moulded separately to the fuselage and feature crisp, clear details. The pilot's seat, armour and bulkhead are all moulded separately, as is the instrument panel and control column. The floor of the cockpit is moulded in place on the part that joins the upper wing halves, but this does not particularly compromise detail, particularly in this scale. Aside from the cockpit, the only other item that has to be assembled before the fuselage halves can be joined is the radiator, which is made up from three different parts. The lower wing, just like the upper wing, is moulded in one piece. The main landing gear bays are made up of a plastic square part which sandwiches between the wing halves to give convincing depth and detail. Two different main gear wheels are provided, so make sure you select the correct version for the particular aircraft you wish to build. The tail wheel is moulded in one piece. Once the wing has been joined to the fuselage, you can add the remaining control surfaces. The horizontal tail planes are solid parts, while the rudder is moulded separately to the vertical tail. The engine exhaust pipes are moulded separately to the fuselage and can be added from the outside of the fuselage, which is a major plus when it comes to the painting stage. Two sets of cooling gills are provided; one open and one closed. The propellor is moulded with all three blades as one part which, once painted, can be sandwiches between the front and rear parts of the spinner. A choice of two different drop tanks are provided, along with a bomb for the centerline pylon. The transparent parts are beautifully thin and clear and the sliding part of the canopy is moulded separately to the windscreen. Two different parts are provided depending on whether you wish to finish the canopy in the open or closed positions. The decal sheet provides for three options: ⦁ Curtis P-40N-5, 49th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Squadron, Gusap, New Guinea, 1944. This aircraft is finished in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey with a white tail; ⦁ Curtis P-40N-5 "Butter Bean II", 80th Fighter Group, 89th Fighter Squadron, Nagaghuli, Assam, India, 1944. This aircraft is finished in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey; ⦁ Curtis P-40N "Snafu", No. 120 Squadron, ML/KNIL/RNEIAAF, 72nd Air Defence Wing, RAAF, Mokmer Biak, New Guinea, 1945. This aircraft is finished in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey; and ⦁ Curtis P-40N "Snafu", No. 120 Squadron, ML/KNIL/RNEIAAF, 2VB Andir, Dutch East Indies, 1947. This aircraft is finished in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey. The decals themselves are nicely printed and look glossy and opaque. Conclusion Airfix have already provided us with a nice early Warhawk, so it's good to see Special Hobby cover the later Warhawk with this new kit. It is both more detailed and more complex when compared to the Airfix kit, and is all the better for it. It should build up into a pleasing model, particularly if you acquire some of the not-inconsiderable resin sets that CMK have released alongside the kit. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Paul A H

    KM Bismark - 1:700 Meng

    KM Bismarck 1:700 Meng Laid down in July 1936 by Blohm and Voss of Hamburg, the Bismarck was one of the largest and most powerful battleships to see action during the Second World War. She, along with her sister ship Tirpitz, represented the epitome of German warship technology. Weighing in at 50,900 tons deep load, the Bismarck’s design prioritised stability and protection over firepower; her broad beam of 118ft making her a very stable gun platform even in heavy seas. On 21 May 1941, Bismarck left the Kjorsfjord in Norway to embark on her first raiding sortie, accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and three destroyers. Three days later she sighted and engaged the Royal Navy warships HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales, sinking the Hood and damaging the Prince of Wales. Having suffered damage herself in the engagement, Bismarck disengaged and attempted to make for St Nazaire. Eventually spotted by a Catalina flying boat, her rudder was then jammed by torpedoes launched from the Swordfish of HMS Ark Royal. Left unable to manoeuvre, she was battered by HMS Rodney and HMS King George V and was soon reduced to a burning hulk by their heavy guns. She was finally sunk by torpedoes from HMS Dorsetshire before she could be scuttled. Pretty much every major manufacturer of warship kits has produced a Bismarck at some point. Aoshima, Revell and Trumpeter have all produced kits of the famous warship in this scale, but none have been as colourful as Meng's new kit. The kit has been moulded from styrene in four different tones, each appropriate to the parts represented. The lower hull is moulded from dark red plastic, the deck is moulded in teak-coloured plastic and the rest of the kit, save for a few parts moulded in black, is moulded from battleship grey plastic. The kit is well packed into a sturdy box adorned with evocative artwork. All of the plastic parts are nicely moulded, but the big difference between this and other kits of the Bismarck is the fact that the parts are all snap-fit. In line with this simplified approach to construction, stickers are included instead of decals. Construction of the kit is fairly conventional, notwithstanding the fact that the parts snap together rather than requiring glue. Bearing this in mind, I would advise against test fitting the parts prior to final construction, as snap together rarely means snap apart again - at least not in the same shape! The build begins with the lower hull and fitting the propeller shafts, propellers and rudders. The hull itself is made up of three parts, although you can omit the lower section if you wish to finish the kit in waterline configuration. Once the hull is complete, construction moves on to the deck. The, er, deck coloured parts fit onto a grey part which contains a number of structural parts such as the bases for the turrets. This means you don't need to worry about painting a lot of fiddly deck features, even if you intend to pain the parts anyway. The decks themselves are nicely detailed, with chains and planking moulded in place. The rest of the build is completely conventional, save for the fact that you don't need to use glue (although I suppose you can if you want to make sure the parts are properly welded together). The superstructures, funnels, masts and rangefinders all look just as good as any other conventional kit of the Bismarck. Perhaps the only compromise is the small calibre weapons, which are pretty basic compared to what you get in a Trumpeter kit. Even the ships boats are good enough to pass muster in this scale. Construction of the main turrets is fairly straightforward. While the eight 15 inch guns are not independently posable,they do at least have blast bags moulded in place. Finishing details include the secondary armament, masts and anchors. The display stand will be handy if you wish to finish your model in full hull configuration, although my personal preference would be for the waterline option. The colour scheme is printed in black and white and shows the ship as she appeared at the time of her engagement in the North Atlantic. AK paints are recommended by Meng, in what appears to be a commercial arrangement (their logo is emblazoned on the side of the box). The aforementioned stickers can be used if desired, but I can't imagine many enthusiast modelles will chose to use them. Conclusion While the level of detail is pretty good and the multi-coloured plastic is appealing, I can't say this is the best kit of the Bismark in this scale. It isn't the cheapest either, which is curious given the snap together nature of the kit. There's no doubt that snap together kits have their place, but they don't normally cost north of £30. It's not that the kit is a bad option for those wanted to build a Bismarck, but I'm struggling to see why it would be a better option than the Trumpeter or Revell kits. Nevertheless it is a nice thing and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to review it. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Markgraf WWI German Battleship 1:700 ICM The SMS Markgraf was the third of four König Class battleships, all of which served in the Imperial German Navy during the First World War. Laid down in 1911, the Kronprinz was launched in 1913 and commissioned the following year. She was armed with ten 30.5cm (12 inch) guns and was capable of just over 21 knots. She participated in a number of engagements during the War, most notably the battle of Jutland, during which she sustained significant damage at the hands of the British fleet. In common with most other capital ships of the High Seas Fleet, she was interned at Scapa Flow following the signing of the armistice in November 1918 and scuttled on the orders of Admiral Ludwig von Reuter. Unlike most of the other ships at Scapa, she was never raised for salvage as she sank in a deeper part of the bay. She remains submerged to this day, although some examples of her radiation-free steel have been removed for scientific purposes This is the fourth and final installment of ICM's König Class battleships, following König, Großer Kurfürst and Kronprinz, and represents another addition to the small surge of WWI-era models that have been released during the 100th anniversary of that conflict. Inside ICM's typically robust (read: almost impossible to open) box are five frames of grey plastic, as well as a couple of red plastic parts for the lowe hull, a black display stand, full colour instructions, decals and self-adhesive name lables. Moulding is clean and crisp, with plenty of fine detail. Construction begins with the lower hull. The instructions suggest that the outermost propeller shafts and the trio of propellers be added to the lower hull prior to joining it with the upper hull. Personally I would add the propellors at the end, as they are bound to get damaged during the build, but of course it's your choice. You can omit this stage altogether if you want to finish the model in waterline configuration. Once the hull is complete, construction moves on to the deck. The casemate for the secondary armament, along with the fourteen gun turrets, has to be fitted to the underside of the forecastle, before the forecastle can, in turn, be joined to the main deck. The decks themselves are nicely detailed, with chains and planking moulded in place. Construction of the turrets is fairly straightforward, with each of the ten 12 inch guns independently poseable. The squat superstructures are fairly straightforward too, although you'll need to remember to add the tertiary armament casemate before fixing the bridge superstructure to the forecastle. Finishing details include funnels, searchlight platforms, stairways, davits, masts and anchors. A full completment of boats is included, and very nicely detailed they are too. The display stand will be handy if you wish to finish your model in full hull configuration. The colour scheme is perfectly adequate and includes a very basic rigging diagram. The decals are the same generic set that were included with the other three kits in this series, but are nicely printed nonetheless. Conclusion We've seen quite a few WWI-era battleships released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the conflict, so this kit is already in good company. While a nice set of photo etch will be required to bring the kit up to competition standard, ICM have done a great job of providing a platform to work from. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Paul A H

    T1 Auction

    The Mrs managed to win a surplus UK Border Force uniform and a big box of latex gloves. That's my birthday sorted then
  14. Paul A H

    Rum

    Tell us about the Battle of Trafalgar again Mike Flor de Cana from Nicaragua is pretty good and sometimes available on offer at Tesco.
  15. Howard DGA-15P FAFL/AH-1 Blind Flying Trainer 1:72 Dekno Models The DGA-15 was a single-engined aircraft produced by the Howard Aircraft Corporation of Chicago between 1939 and 1944. Following the entry of the United States into the Second World War, the type was used by the US Navy and USAAF and subsequently produced in significant numbers. Originally designed as a high-performance private aircraft, the DGA-15 was popular with corporations and wealthy individuals. The type was even featured in the Warren Beatty film Bugsy, ferrying the title character from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Following the outbreak of war, the type was in demand as an air ambulance (due to the spacious cabin) and as officer utility transport. The AH-1 was the designation for the blind flying trainer variant. Dekno Models is a new name to me, but a quick check of their website reveals the fact that the Catalan company has a burgeoning range of resin aircraft models, all in glorious 1:72 scale. Their choice of subject tends to focus on the 1930s and 40s, and is split into three ranges; air racing, golden age and Spanish Civil War. The kit has been designed on a computer and mastered using 3D printing, but is otherwise a conventional resin kit. The blue parts (which are reminiscent of the first Airfix Spitfire) are cast in polyurethane resin, while the clear parts are cast in epoxy resin. The decals are printed by Draw Decals, which is a name that will no doubt be familiar to many Britmodellers. The kit is limited to 125 pieces, so if you want one you will need to unleash the credit card quickly, before they're all gone. The breakdown of parts is fairly conventional, with the cockpit comprising the seats for the crew and passengers, an instrument panel and two control yokes. The only other interior detail is that which is cast into the fuselage halves. According to the instructions, the cabin windows can be fitted from the outside, so you could (in theory at least) leave them until the end of the build, provided you are confident that they won't slip through the apertures and end up rattling around inside the fuselage. Once the interior has been painted and assembled, you can fit the fuselage halves together. The ones provided with my sample fit together perfectly, which is encouraging. Once the fuselage is complete, the flying surfaces can be assembled. As you might expect, the wing is a solid piece of resin which simply fits on top of the fuselage. The tail surfaces are also solid parts, albeit with a very nice fabric texture cast in place. The supporting struts for the wing should help you align everything correctly, and should require just a dab of superglue in order to ensure everything fits where it should. The Wasp Jnr engine is cast as a single, solid part, as is the cowling. The level of detail is sufficient to pass muster in this scale. The undercarriage is possibly the most complex part of the build, which each main wheel assembly comprising four parts. A couple of finishing touches such as the crew access steps need to be fitted before you can move on to the painting and decaling stage. The decal sheet provides two options: Howard DGA-15,P, Free French Air Force, Pointe-Noire, Congo, 1942; and Howard NH-1 "Blind Flying Trainer ", US Navy, 1944-45 The decals themselves look well-printed and should present no problems. Conclusion Those of us who, with the release of every Spitfire, BF-109 and Mustang, bemoan kit manufacturers for their lack of imagination, must rejoice that manufacturers such as Dekno exist in order to cater for the less mainstream end of the spectrum. Although the resin parts will need some cleaning prior to use, the initial indications suggest that this kit should go together without too many problems. The resulting model should look excellent, and will no doubt make a valuable addition to the collection of any modeller interested in the less-mainstream end of the modelling spectrum. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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