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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 16/01/1979

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    Describe yourself in three words:
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  1. V2 Rocket, Hanomag SS-100 and Miellerwagen 1:72 Takom The Vergeltungswaffe 2, commonly known as the V-2, was the first ballistic missile to be used in combat anywhere in the world. Although relatively simple by modern standards, it laid the foundations for the space programmes of both the USA and the Soviet Union in the postwar period. The V-2 was a liquid-fuelled, single-stage rocket, steered by rudders placed on the tail fins and graphite vanes at the exhaust nozzle. Guidance was provided by two gyroscopes (one for horizontal and one for vertical) and an accelerometer providing inputs to an analogue computer. From September 1944, over 3,000 V-2 rockets were launched against targets such as London, causing an estimated 9,000 civilian and military casualties. The British Government initially sought to suppress public information about the V-2 rockets, blaming the damage caused on gas main explosions. The public were not fooled however, and the V-2s acquired the sardonic nickname of "flying gas pipes". The missiles proved almost impossible to intercept, and the most effective countermeasure proved to be the disinformation system operated by MI5, whereby double agents fed false reports about the impact points and damage caused by V-2 attacks. The SS-100 was developed by the famous Hanomag Company in the mid-1930s. Although successful in its own right on the civilian market, the SS-100 was also widely used by the Nazi military machine as it was ideal for lugging heavy payloads and aircraft. Such was the level of demand for the vehicle that licence production had to be started by Fross Bussing of Vienna. The SS-100 was powered by a D 85S six-cylinder, 8.5 litre engine coupled to a four speed gearbox. The Gigant was capable of 40 kph and, with a large fuel tank located behind the cabin, had an unrefueled range of 500 kilometres. The SS-100 was the tractor unit of choice for moving V-2 rockets during the latter half of the war. Takom, a name more commonly associated with huge 1:16 scale kits (and less huge 1:35 scale kits), have surprised everyone by releasing a 1:72 scale kit. Even more surprising is the subject - not only have they produced a V2 rocket, but they have also given us the hanomag tractor and trailer unit. The only previous kits of these subjects I recall were produced by Special Hobby under their Special Armor imprint. The kits are not related, however. Inside the relatively compact top-opening box are four sprues of grey plastic, a small clear sprue, a small fret of photo etched parts and a veritable pile of black rubber tyres. I've never seen a Takom kit up close, but the quality of moulding looks good to me and the details are clean and crisp. Construction starts with the SS-100, or more specifically its chassis. Much of the detail is moulded in place, but the axles, leaf springs and exhaust are all separate parts that have to be fixed in place. The wheels are moulded sans tyres, and while the rubber items supplied won't be to everyone's tastes, they will at least reduce the amount of time spent painting. A fairly decent interior is provided, including seats, a dashboard, steering wheel and gear levers. The windows are moulded from clear plastic, which I prefer to having to cut them from a sheet. The cab of the tractor unit has been slide moulded into a single part, meaning that you just have to add the radiator grille, lights, trafficators, spare wheel, fuel tank and other details. Next up is the Miellerwagen trailer-cum-launch vehicle. This is a complex structure which essentially comprises a chassis (complete with lots of details such as gas bottles), the cradle/launch platform for the V2 and the road wheels. The Miellerwagen can be finished in either towed or launch positions, with parts such as the stabilisers for launch being stowed if not used. The front road wheels are connected to a separate bogey which in turn hitches to the back of the SS-100. There are a few options that you will need to pay attention to depending on whether you wish to finish your model in the launch position or not. Unfortunately the instructions are rather small, so you may need to slip your readers on before getting stuck in. As you might expect the V2 rocket itself is the simplest of the three sub-assemblies. The launch platform itself is still pretty complex, however. The painting and marking guide shows a number of different colour schemes, with references for the Mig Ammo range of acrylic paint. No decals are included, however. Conclusion This is a nice little set that will enable the modeller to finish the subject in a range of configurations or dioramas. It's interesting to note that Takom have taken a different approach to Special Armor by including all three items in a single box. This makes sense in a lot of ways, and it can't be denied that the finished article will look pretty impressive on the shelf. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  2. Kittyhawk Mk.IA 1:72 Special Hobby The P-40 was based on the earlier P-36 but adapted and improved to give a good turn of speed, a stable gun platform and the agility to allow it to enter into service with the US Army Air Force. Improvements continued until the E-model entered service with a more powerful Allinson engine, extra guns and bomb shackles under the wings. It saw action mostly in the desert and Far East where the more delicate thoroughbreds at the leading edge of technology might have stumbled due to the conditions. The K was a similar aircraft with a more advanced Allinson engine and a curved fin fillet to stabilise the aircraft due to the additional torque of the engine. The E was known as the Kittyhawk Mk.IA, while the K was the Kittyhawk Mk.III in foreign service, with many Allied air forces, including Britain, the Soviet Union, Canada and China. Over 13,000 of all variants were built, and the aircraft served until the end of the war. This is the second boxing of Special Hobby's new kit, with a number of revisions to enable the Kittyhawk Mk.IA to be built. It is unrelated to the P-40F released in 2008. Inside the top-opening box are two sprues of grey plastic, a small clear sprue and a sheet of decals. There are no resin or photo etched 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. 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: ⦁ Kittyhawk Mk.IA AK772 GA-Y (no sniggering) 'London Pride', No. 112 Squadron RAF, Libya, 1942. This aircraft is finished in Middle Stone and Dark Earth over Dark Mediterranean Blue; ⦁ Kittyhawk Mk.IA A29-153 O 'Orace', No. 75 Squadron, RAAF, Milne Bay, New Guinea, March 1943. This aircraft is finished in the Dupont equivalent of Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky Blue; and ⦁ Kittyhawk Mk.IA AK905 LZ-D, No. 111(F) Squadron RCAF, Anchorage, Alaska, 1942. This aircraft is finished in the Dupont equivalent of Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky Grey. The decals themselves are nicely printed and look glossy and opaque. Conclusion It's great that Special Hobby have released a kit of the Kittyhawk to complement Airfix's early Warhawk. This kit is both more detailed and more complex than the Airfix kit, and it's 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
  3. J2M3 Raiden Seat with Belts, for Hasegawa kit 1:72 CMK Somewhat out of the blue, Special Hobby have issued a replacement resin seat for Hasegawa's Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden kit. I for one am pleased about this, not least because I have a dual combo edition of this kit in my stash, acquired for a keen price from the excellent Hamex kit swap. The seat is nicely detailed and has harnesses cast in place. The quality of casting is top-notch too, with no bubbles of flaws in evidence. If you have the Hasegawa Raiden, then this will make a simple but effective upgrade to the cockpit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Paul A H

    Smart or dumb ?

    No. The whole point is that it is supposed to save money: https://www.merseycare.nhs.uk/knowledge-hub/mental-health-articles/smart-meters-study/ In 20 years time, a lot of social care for the elderly will be automated; effectively provided by robots. Think that sounds mental? Get used to having your bum wiped by the Terminator: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38770516
  5. Finally, an injection moulded sausage in 1:35 scale. Just when I thought this hobby had taken a turn for the wurst
  6. Paul A H

    Smart or dumb ?

    Smart meters have a range of social applications as well. If old Mrs Miggins always puts her kettle on for a cup of Ovaltine after Corrie, then it is possible for a care provider with the right permissions to be alerted if, one day, the kettle isn't switched on. Of course if Mrs Miggins is a suspicious old harriden and refuses to have the meter, then she'll have to wait until social services notice the twenty pints of milk on her doorstep and come crashing through the door
  7. The Iran-Iraq War Volume 4: Forgotten Fronts by E.R. Hooton, Tom Cooper, Farzin Nadimi, published by Helion and Company On 16th January 1979 Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran for good. In doing so, he cemented the revolution that had sought to topple his failing regime and paved the way for foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Fearing that the Iranian Revolution would have a destabilising effect on Iraq, Saddam Hussein made the decision to invade, sparking the longest uninterrupted conventional conflict of the twentieth century. Although not etched on the conscience of the west to the extent of other conflicts of the period, the Iran-Iraq War was nevertheless one of the most important conflicts of the time. Apart from the significant loss of life and impact on civilians in the region, it was also an important stepping stone on the path to fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. This book, the last in a series of four, has been painstakingly compiled by authors with impressive credentials when it comes to defence matters in the Middle East. This volume examines the central and northern fronts, fought over difficult terrain and without either side able to muster numerical superiority. It also covers the Kurdish front and the horrors of the Iranian Air Force's chemical attack on Halabja, an attack which killed far more civilians than combatants. The book sets out the key engagements of the conflict in a clear and engaging way. The text is thoughtful and insightful throughout, leaving the reader with a good understanding of not only the military aspects of the conflict, but also the international political backdrop. While the book is not aimed directly at the modeller, it nevertheless contains a lot of valuable information for those interested in the hardware deployed in the conflict. The pages feature a typically eclectic mix of NATO and Warsaw Pact military hardware, a legacy of the imperial past clashing with the post-war rise of Soviet influence. The book is rich in illustrative material, containing over 140 photographs and 18 illustrations within its 80 pages. Plenty of information about the military inventories of the two sides is provided, alongside photographs and descriptions of locally modified armoured fighting vehicles. Conclusion This book is a valuable addition to the Middle East War series and deserves a place in the collection of anyone interested in the military conflicts of the region. Modellers will be rewarded with a valuable visual reference, as well as an inspiring read which will have you poking around in your stash, looking at your AFV kits in a different light. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. German WWII E-100 panzer weapon carrier with Rheintochter 1 missile launcher 1:72 Modelcollect The E-100 was a super-heavy tank, designed as the Second World War drew to a close. It was to be the heaviest of the proposed Entwicklung (E) series of armoured fighting vehicles, the aim of which was to simplify tank design and production around standard components. The chassis was intended to serve as a tank, mobile artillery system, anti-aircraft vehicle and heavy tank destroyer, although ultimately just a single prototype chassis was manufactured, and this was captured by American forces a month before the end of the War and then scrapped following evaluation by the British Army. The Rheintochter was slightly further ahead in terms of its development, but even though over eighty test launches took place before the end of the war, it too failed to enter service. Modelcollect are a Chinese firm who are largely known for their highly detailed and well-regarded 1:72 scale AFV kits. They have long specialised in post-war Soviet/Russian subjects, but have more recently shown a flair for producing kits of the prototype tanks and associated vehicles that were in the design stages at the end of the Second World War, or which could conceivably have appeared had the War lasted longer than it did. This particular kit uses Modelcollect's existing E-100 and Rheintochter kits as the basis for the Rheintochter E-100 platform. Inside the top-opening box are six frames of parts moulded in grey styrene, along with decals, rubber tracks and a fret of brass parts. The mouldings are clean, crisp and finely detailed. Construction starts with the socking great air-to-surface missile. This comprises the main body of the missile, split vertically, separately moulded fins and the rocket exhaust, complete with seven separate exhaust nozzles. The launcher includes a splinter shield and controls for the crew. Once the whole thing has been assembled, it's easy to see how it would have taken a tank chassis as large as the E-100 to move it anywhere. Once the missile is finished, assembly turns to the hull. The E-100 design was essentially mid-engined, with the engine positioned forward of the turret but behind the main crew compartment. The engine deck is moulded separately to the roof of the hull, as are the crew access hatches. Photo etch parts are used to depict the grilles on the engine cover. The running gear is next, and the road wheel arrangement will be instantly familiar to those who have built a Tiger or Panther tanks as it comprises overlapping wheels with steel rims (great if, like me, you find painting sixteen pairs of rubber tyres a tiresome task). The tracks are manufactured from a flexible rubber-like material, which isn't my preference, but they look quite decent for the scale. The decal sheet is generic and includes a range of numbers and licence plates, although the instructions do not show any arrangements for the placement of decals. The painting diagram shows a single example finished in dark yellow. Of course you are free to paint yours in whatever scheme takes your fancy as this is essentially a paper panzer. Conclusion Builders of 1:35 AFVs have had a range of kits in the E-5/10/25/50/75/100 series to choose from for a few years now, so it's good to see builders of the gentleman's scale being afforded an even better choice of subjects thanks to Modelcollect. The kit looks as though it will go together with minimum fuss and it will certainly be a talking point when built and painted. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Riders in the Sky 1944 - RAF Liberator 1:72 Eduard Designed by the Consolidated Aircraft Company of California, the B-24 Liberator is famous for having been produced in greater numbers than any other Allied bomber of the Second World War. 18,482 examples were manufactured in total. Often overshadowed by the better known Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 was actually faster and could carry a heavier payload over a greater distance. Consolidated’s design incorporated a number of innovative features for the period, including tricycle undercarriage and efficient, high aspect ratio wings. The GR Mk V was developed from the B-24D, which was in turn an improved B-24C fitted with uprated R-1830-43 engines. The GR MK V was adapted for anti-submarine duties, with aircraft receiving search radar and underwing Leigh Lights. Some aircraft were fitted with underwing rockets as well. The introduction of the Liberator is credited as having an important bearing on the Battle of the Atlantic. The long-range patrol aircraft were able to close the mid-Atlantic gap and were credited in full or in part with the destruction of 93 U-boats. Eduard's latest Liberator borrows plastic from Japanese giants Hasegawa, sprinkled with extra Eduard goodies. Those goodies are not limited to photo etched parts, pre-cut paints masks and decals, but also include two complete sprues of new plastic parts that enable RAF GR Mk V variants of the famous aircraft to be produced. Also inside the box is a fairly hefty book about Coastal Command Liberators, with a particular focus on 311 Squadron. All of this is found within a commodious and lavishly illustrated top-opening box. As you would expect, the Hasegawa plastic parts are pretty much perfect. Surface details are crisp, clear and fine, while the overall finish of the plastic is beautifully smooth. The Eduard parts are distinguishable from the Hasegawa parts, but only just. Construction starts with the interior structures. This structure runs from the cockpit to the tail turret, and includes a full bomb bay and stations for the waist gunners. The spar for the wing is also accommodated within this sub-assembly. The cockpit is very well detailed by Hasegawa standards, and of course it benefits from extra parts such as a photo etched instrument panel seat harnesses, etc. The Liberator, with its tricycle undercarriage, is a notorious tail-sitter. Eduard's instructions show the placement of nose ballast but not the amount required, so you may wish to maximise the amount you can cram in just in case. Once all of that lovely detail has been sealed inside the fuselage halves, most of the clear parts can be fitted. The pre-cut masks come into their own here; they really are a God send when building a large kit such as this. The tail unit is a surprisingly simple part, with rudders and elevators moulded in place. Parts are provided for both the nose-mounted and ball-turret mounted ASV radar sets, so you will need to commit to a specific aircraft at this stage of the build. The bomb bay is nicely detailed and include bomb racks, but you can seal all of the detail behind the bomb bay doors if you want a more streamlined finish to your model (or if you simply can't be bothered to paint all of that detail). As with the tail, the wings are relatively simple, comprising upper and lower halves with the main gear bay sandwiched in the middle. The elevators are moulded in place. The engines are a more interesting proposition, with each pod made up from seven parts, including the two-part engine. The landing gear is nicely detailed, with flats moulded onto the tyres and separately moulded hubs. A nicely detailed Leigh Light is provided on the Eduard sprues, which also provide replacement parts for the turrets. There are three separate tail turrets to choose from depending on the option you wish to build. Optional rockets are also provided. The clear parts - both Eduard and Hasegawa - are nicely moulded and crystal clear. Several of the Eduard parts had become detached from the sprue and were loose in the bag however, so watch out for this. A staggering twelve options are provided for on the decal sheet: Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ721, flown by S/Ldr Terence Bulloch, No. 224 Squadron, St. Eval, July 1943; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ723, flown by S/Ldr Alois Šedivý, No. 311 Squadron, Tain, October 1944; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ774, flown by F/Sgt Otakar Žanta, No. 311 Squadron, Beaulieu, Autumn 1943; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ779, flown by F/Sgt Josef Kuhn, No. 311 Squadron, Beaulieu, October 1943; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ786, flown by P/O Jan Irving, No. 311 Squadron, Beaulieu, Autumn 1943; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ796, flown by P/O Oldřich Doležal, No. 311 Squadron, Beaulieu, December 1943; Liberator GR Mk.V, FL961, flown by F/O Jan Vella, No. 311 Squadron, Predannack, June 1944; Liberator GR Mk.V, FL949, flown by F/O Josef Pavelka, No. 311 Squadron, Tain, October 1944; Liberator GR Mk.III, FL936, flown by P/O Ben Hall, No. 160 Squadron, Sigiriya, Ceylon, Autumn 1943; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ832, flown by F/O Lloyd A. Trigg, No. 200 Squadron, Yundum, Gambia, August 1943 Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ862, No. 354 Squadron, 1944; Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ755, North West Air Command, Canada, Summer 1946 The painting and marking options are illustrated in full colour, while a seperate diagram is provided for the extensive selection of stencils. Conclusion A tie-in with Hasegawa was never going to be cheap, but with the extra plastic parts, the photo etch and masks and the excellent book, Eduard have managed to make this kit into a value proposition. Although they have released plenty of extra bits and bobs for this kit, what you get in the box is a pretty comprehensive package. If you want to build a Coastal Command Liberator, then this is a much better starting point than the Academy/Minicraft kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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!
  14. 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
  15. 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!