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Found 5 results

  1. I've just added the final touches to Airfix's classic 1/24th scale Stuka. A great kit to build, and despite its age it's crammed full of detail, has some lovely surface detail and goes together really well. What you see here is as it comes in the box, with the only additions being some Eduard belts and a bit of extra plumbing in and around the engine. All paints were Xtracolour enamels. Ju-87 B-2 'Stuka' - 3/St.G2 - Northern France, August 1940 Picture 1 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 3 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 4 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 7 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 6 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 8 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 5 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 2 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Picture 9 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Happy modelling, folks! Tom
  2. Just added the finishing touches to Airfix's 1/24th Hawker Typhoon MkIb this week: a project I've had on the bench for the last 6 months or so. Admittedly I've picked it up and put it down as and when I've felt like it, but regardless this kit is most definitely a long-term investment in regard to time and effort. I found it an absolute joy to build and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Fit was exceptional but you must follow the instructions to the letter, especially where the engine and its piping is concerned, as tolerances are very tight. The only after-market was a set of Eduard seat belts - everything else was OOB. PIC 9 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 8 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 7 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 6 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 5 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 4 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 3 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 2 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 1 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr PIC 10 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr I opted for the post-war scheme so other than some tonal variation to the paint, I kept the weathering restrained. Paints were Xtracolour enamels with Humbrol flat as a top coat. Decals were from the kit and were excellent, bedding down well over the recessed/raised details without any problems. All in all, a fantastic kit - roll on the big Hellcat! Best regards, Tom
  3. Evening all This is very likely to be my last completed model for 2017 - I've been working on it on and off since August and it crossed the finish line this week. I picked up this classic from Airfix at a model show for a mere £20, and set about building it for a bit of nostalgia and a love for one of WWII's unsung heroes (the Spitfire seems to get all the glory!) I built it more or less out of the box, but did use SAC metal undercarriage legs, an Eduard seatbelt set and aftermarket decals from Techmod. A bit of extra piping was added to the engine, but other than that it's as it comes. It fitted together pretty well - at least better than I was expecting for such an old kit. The wing roots were a little tricky and there was plenty of filler needed here - Archer rivets to the rescue to replace those lost in the filling and sanding process. The worst fitting parts were probably the landing light covers and these took a lot of careful trimming to get them flush with the leading edge. Some of the detail is a little clunky and not up to today's standards, but the surface detail is streets ahead of the Trumpeter offering, with beautiful raised rivets and lovely fabric effect on the rear of the fuselage. Paints were from the Xtracolour enamel range, with the flat cote from Humbrol. Hawker Hurricane MkIc, 306 (Polish) Squadron, RAF Ternhill, November 1940. For £20 it was certainly great value for money. Happy modelling! Tom
  4. With all the recent talk of new 1/32nd British Phantoms on the horizon from HK Models, it got me thinking... 1/32nd scale is too small! So... here's a 1/24th scale rendition for you... I've gone for the Combat Models vacform, which I ordered in from the good old USA. The kit is somewhat basic (as with all Combat kits) but claims to provide the parts for every variant of F-4 built. The base kit looks like you can either build an F-4B or a F-4E, but I've decided to make life even more difficult for myself and being a patriotic Englishman, decided it'd be criminal not to have a go at a Rolls-Royce Spey powered variant. With the kit being not a lot more than basic shapes, converting it to a British version shouldn't be too challenging; after all about 75% of this build will have to be made from scratch anyway. So here's what you get: A large box crammed full of vacformed parts, and some comprehensive plans for the F-4B and F-4E variants: DSC_0005 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Here's the fuselage, moulded in reasonably smooth but rather thin white plastic. The tape measure is set at 3ft - she's going to be a big girl: DSC_0011 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Here's one fuselage half alongside the 1/48th Hasegawa kit that I'll be using as a guide throughout the build: DSC_0038 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr The quality of the mouldings isn't too bad at all, although it's devoid of all surface detail. This isn't a bad thing however, as I like to add my own anyway: DSC_0013 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Here's the wings, tanks, fins, stabilisers, pylons etc: DSC_0016 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Jet pipes, although these won't be used for a Spey version: DSC_0018 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Intakes, splitter plates, gun pack two different nose cones, etc: DSC_0024 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr The cockpit tub is somewhat... basic: DSC_0020 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr Two beautifully clear canopies are provided, which is very handy in case of the dreaded knife-slip: DSC_0027 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr The kit also comes with a resin 'detail set' which provided some basics for the cockpits, landing gear, ejector seats, missiles etc... how useful these will be remains to be seen: DSC_0035 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr DSC_0033 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr I've started to gather some resources together, which includes a few books, some basic additional plans for the Spey aircraft, as well as the aforementioned 1/48th Hasegawa 1/48th FGR2 kit to use as a guide: DSC_0002 by Thomas Probert, on Flickr So... all that's left to do now is take a deep breath and dive on in! Until next time, Tom
  5. Hello to everyone! This is my first attempt at this so forgive me of any mistakes. As a very keen modeller through the late 60’s all the 70’s the one kit I always lusted after but could never afford (or do justice to) was the 1/24th Harrier. An older friend bought one as soon as it was released. He kept getting the box out, looking at the massive sprues and it and put it away again, for years we all kept asking where the Harrier was. That friend unfortunately died a good while ago so in some way this build is to the happy memories of Dave Rodgers. After starting modelling seriously again 3 years ago, I decided that it was time to have a bash and tackle the monster - thanks to a sale on Amazon I picked up the newly boxed GR3 for £36. Even though I enjoy using resin and photo-etch we sometimes seem to be heading toward a world where you needn’t worry about painting skills when you can stick in self adhesive pre-painted details. I remember when building flying models in the 70’s ARTF (Almost Ready to Fly) appeared, buy Saturday - fly Sunday; I railed against that a little too, I’ve always been a builder. My concessions to the modern era are cyano glue and acrylics. I always use Mek as a plastic solvent which costs around £10 for a litre. I buy Isopropanol for around £12 per gallon from Amazon. A great Acrylic thinner is 50% Isopropanol and 50% winter car windscreen wash. Anyroad, the kit still is a cracker and is a superb representation of the early tin-wing Harriers. Anyone who looks closely at a preserved GR1 or GR3 will see Airfix got the surface textures and details spot on. In places the early harriers look almost ‘boilerplate’ in construction. The kits surface detail is one thing - interior detail is another, it’s virtually absent. The design and engineering is typical of the era - even having the novelty folding undercarriage and closing doors etc. I decided to avoid resin and etch and built the whole thing in a true 70’s scratch build style. I haven’t had this much fun in years. Please respect copyright of my photographs. Starting the build. I attacked the cockpit tub first (as tradition dictates) .5mm card was used for the raised riveted plates using the Trumpeter riveting tool to detail. I built some switch panels from plasticard with thin slivers bonded upright to represent toggle switches. I dug out as many reference images as I could but the bulk of the ejector seat obscured much of the view; therefore a little artistic licence was used to give the impression of a busy cockpit. Most of the detail is added from plasticard scraps and stretched sprue. Different thicknesses of solder are always good for detailing. After a few coats of paint, glossing and washing the cockpit tub looks suitably grimy! The decals supplied work very well on the instrument panel and are large enough to cut out individually to fit, I use a set of cheap hole punches. I painted the back of the clear moulded radar/moving map screen then the HUD frame was built from fine brass wire. Shadows were airbrushed in to increase the impression of depth when the cockpit was closed up. At the same time I added detail to the sidewalls using tube, solder, fuse wire and plasticard, I cheated a little and got some ideas for the detail from resin examples I saw for sale at the Huddersfield show… The Seat The kit seat is virtually blank and needs a complete replacement/rebuild especially when everyone peers into the huge cockpit of a 1/24th scale model. To ensure a clean fit in the tub I used the measurements of the kit seat to build one from scratch - only the kit headrest was used. Canopy cutters were added to this and the parachute with its straps and cables were added to form the headbox. The parachute and straps are lead foil. The seat itself was a simple construct of 1mm card with details added from scrap plastic and .5mm brass wire and seat cushions carved polystyrene foam, dipped in PVA to seal the surface before painting. The seat straps and canvas cover are lead foil again. All the separate elements were built, painted and weathered before final assembly. You know, those headbox height adjust bars (red at the moment) are scraps left over from an Aurora biplane model from the late 60's... The straps and canvas cover are all made from lead foil, I found scraps of Eduard etch left over from a Chieftain MK5 build that worked very well for buckles etc. The supplied Airfix decals finish it off very nicely. A quick dry brushing with grey and a coat of matt varnish and it's ready for the straps fitting. My first plan was to build as originally intended and have the whole wing removable to view the engine; however as the build progressed it became obvious that I wouldn’t be able to get a clean fit without large gaps. I did away with this original feature enabling a much more solid build and elimination all those awkward wing joints. a pity though as I'd spent over a week detailing and painting the Pegasus, based on one displayed at Cosford. The Airfix Harrier is big, very big so to avoid damage during construction I replaced all the blade aerials with .5mm brass sheet glued firmly into slots cut deep into the plastic. The slots were filled with thick cyano and sanded, I'm determined to use this method for future builds (of all scales). Bits & Bobs The undercarriage wells on Harriers are quite large voids within the fuselage. In 1974 it was more important for Airfix to compete with other manufacturers and add moving components. Of course moulding technology has moved on in huge leaps since then but the 1/24th Harrier was seen as a wonder in it's day. The wells are nothing more than empty plastic boxes in the kit; I couldn't source any clear images of the inside of these areas so I used my 'Artistic Licence' (mine came from Woolworths for 2/6d) to detail the voids. Only the nosewheel bay is clear on a few internet images I found. It wasn't too difficult to drill plasticard and cut into strips after marking the plastic with a riveting tool and then drilling every second hole with a drill made from a 1mm Hypo Needle. A drill made from a hollow needle gives a very clean cut, I grind the end down to a 30 degree (ish) angle on wet and dry paper. The pressure vessels are 1/72 torpedo bodies from a Nimrod. These areas are well weathered to depict a harrier flown from rough ground. The kit mainwheel well has detail on the backside (in the engine bay) so I invented appropriate looking ribbing, boxes and tubing (I only bought the cheap Artistic License) this was then painted and weathered. It was at this point, when the fuselage was starting to fill up that I could test fit the wing assembly and decided to fix the wing in place. I cut out one access panel to show some engine detail as can be seen on the finished model. All the various vents and intakes on the fuselage were cut out and backed with foil from an old electric razor - the fine mesh was ideal. The nose camera had a similar treatment, a lens was made from scrap sprue, mounted on a bracket in the hole and then blocked with foam until painting was finished. The window was afterwards formed from ‘Clearfix’. The kit vinyl tyres look very realistic after a rub down with wet 800 grade paper, turning them a very accurate dark grey. The undercarriage legs are fairly well detailed, the nose wheel benefits from a small bracket for the lamp, some electrical cabling and hydraulic tubes. These were well weathered to represent the dirt kicked up from rough ground and oil leakage. The fit of the huge fuselage halves proved to be excellent, the little filling necessary required my favourite slurry of cyano and talc. I found that a 1mm hypodermic needle was the same diameter as the Airfix rivets and was used to recreate those lost. I cut square and sharpened a short length of hypo tube and glued it into a paintbrush handle. After drawing lines for the missing rivets this improvised tool was ideal for re-cutting the missing detail, initially easy to do, after completing a few hundred the novelty wears a bit thin. The wingtip ‘puffers’ are not really represented and need cutting out and boxing in before detailing, The same applies to the auxiliaries surrounding the main intakes, these are lightly sprung and drop under gravity on harriers at rest. I cut out the engraved panel lines and constructed a long square tube from 1mm card, cut unto short lengths and bonded in they could easily be sanded flush and filled to neaten the finish. The .5mm plasticard flaps themselves were cut to fit and glued in at appropriate angles. Onto the canopy, this is a very thin and crystal clear moulding, the windshield only lacks the wiper which is easily build from brass wire and a sliver of card for the blade. I traced the outline of the detonation cord on a scrap of balsa and pushed pins where the cord bends, it was relatively easy to wind solder around this and then rest it inside the canopy. Using Pledge floor wax I glued the solder in place. I cut 1mm strips of white decal paper to lay on the inside to form the sealant band and dipped the whole thing in Pledge and covered it to dry for a few days. The canopy was them masked, painted and put away for a few months until needed. The fit of the sealant looks uneven because it's on the inside of the canopy! after masking and painting the camouflage it looks very real. The windshield was masked the wiper added and the whole assembly glued in place with pva, it fits perfectly and needed no other work. The most awkward job proved to be the hot and cold nozzles, the kit ones have a joint in the worst place possible and are smooth all over. The real ones have riveted vanes inside and ribbed plates on the outside (strengthening I assume) these were made from .5mm card, bonded with Mek and then wet sanded to blend them in. These took A LOT of filling, smoothing and fiddling to get them looking something like. I painted them with Tamiya Aluminium, fading into Titanium at the hot end and then thin coats of Tamiya Clear Orange for heat staining. The saving grace is that the moulded exhaust halves are very thin and very nicely contoured. The underwing stores needed some extra detailing, mostly small plates and panels, the pylons however are blank, I made beer can tin templates for the panel lines needing scribing, as eight sides needed detailing this was the best method to achieve consistency. The cut-outs for sway braces were there but I needed to add the braces themselves from 2mm square pieces of plasticard drilled to accept short lengths of .5mm brass wire. As with all the other bits, the pylons, rocket launches, fuel tanks and Aden gun packs were painted, decaled, weathered and put away for use. By now I had a box crammed full of sub assemblies, moving to major works on the airframe was a relief! The overall shape is very good and considering the Harrier is one of those aircraft without a straight line anywhere the Airfix surveyors & drawing office did an amazing job in 73/74. The contours are very well captured and the fit of the fin is so good only a line of thin cyano is needed to hide the joint. The final hurdle, painting the beast. I used a cheap black aerosol car undercoat for the fuselage (it looked great all black!) all the seams were checked and luckily only a few needed filling. On a large scale model I prefer a dark undercoat as I paint the topcoats using a very thin mix and spray at low pressure. In this way I can work closely painting each panel from the centre outward. I find this gives me much better control over a weathered finish and avoids the toy like look of weathering that is even and precise all over. The mixture (mostly Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics) were thinned 50/50. Tamiya thins well with my invented mix mentioned earlier. Vallejo needs water to thin it (or their own thinner). I think Vallejo paint has Polyurethane in the mix and Isopropanol thinners create an instant jelly monster in your airbrush that needs Professor Quatermas to remove it successfully. The paint applied in this manner on a dark ground will look alarmingly patchy, it is also quite fragile. The magic happens with a coat of Pledge floor wax (known as 'Klear' in the colonies). One coat immediately blends the colours and darkens the paint to look like the colours on the tin. It also toughens the finish. Another 3 coats and a polish with a clean dry j-cloth and the monster was ready for decaling! Incidentally, most of the painting on this model was completed with a cheap £25 Chinese airbrush (cheap but beautifully made, sprays anything and is easy to clean). My Badger Renegade Velocity has never lived up to it's macho name and has been completely rebuilt twice in twelve months and was out of action for the third time during this build. I'm afraid the airbrush body is made from a hard anodised but VERY soft brass and the needle mechanism was so badly made Badger themselves described it as 'pants' and sent a replacement. The engineering and build quality is worse than the Chinese £25 special; I'll never buy Badger again... The Airfix Cartograph printed decals are superb, dense, thin and in perfect register. They settled onto every contour and panel line to perfection. Two more coats of Pledge on top and the whole was put away for a week to harden. I weathered and highlighted the panel lines and rivets with Flory Models 'Dark Dirt' wash, this is an absolute pleasure to use and is one of the very few recent products that are genuinely innovative and make finishing simpler. After drying, excess wash was wiped away with a new damped J-Cloth & cotton buds dealt with the tight corners. All those sub assemblies were now added with 5 minute epoxy, cyano and PVA for the canopy before a final post shading with Tamiya smoke thinned with 75% pure Isopropanol. After everything set the whole monster had a couple of coats Windsor and Newton matt varnish, this needs a few days to cure properly but is very matt and very tough. The post shading, dirtying process, paint chips were all completed after decaling. Some of the decals were weathered slightly around the edges to depict paint wear. The dark aircraft grey is a self mix and has a little blue added, if you look at period Harrier images, you will find mixtures of both hard and soft edge camouflage schemes, I like the look of soft demarcation and went for that. I have an old publication from 1982 'The RAF in Colour', there are hard and soft edged camo aircraft from the same squadron in the book! The decals needed only a little softening with dilute acetic acid to settle them onto the Pledge glossed paintwork. And there it is, after 39 years and 7 months I finally built and finished the big harrier. I've always been fascinated by the Harrier it was one of the first aircraft I can remember seeing that seemed to have an 'organic' look to it, no straight lines. Those huge intakes and the pilot seemingly sat in a 'pod' in front of the aircraft had a real 'science fiction' appeal to a youngster brought up on Gerry Anderson programmes. Airfix caught the 'hunkered down' look of the early Harrier to perfection. Oh yes, and all the wheels stood on the ground together when finished. The build was aided by, Radio 3, 4, 4 extra, BBC6 Music, Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone, Amon Duul II, Hawkwind, Faust, Can, Black Sabbath, Falkenbach, Van der Graaf Generator and far too many other unremarkable heroes to mention. The whole experience was an absolute joy and will always rank as a favourite build, it’s also the first model of mine in 40 years to be on a stand!
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