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  1. Aero A-12 The First Record Breakers (SH72466) 1:72 Special Hobby Between the two World Wars, Czech company Aero created several aircraft for their own country’s use, many of which were biplanes. The A-12 was a light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft that was a development from an earlier design that reached production after flight tests and subsequent alterations that gave the airframe the look that became synonymous with the type. It was used as the basis for the A.11, which despite an earlier number, was a later design. The A.11 served with the Czech Air Force solidly, where they were well-respected by their crews, and when they were finally withdrawn from front-line service, many were refitted with dual controls so that they could be used as training aircraft. Most airframes were out of service, in private hands or destroyed by the time WWII came around, and were considered too old to be used by the Germans, with just a few originals and replicas remaining today, one of which is at Kbely museum in Prague, so I might have some pictures somewhere, but still haven’t remembered to look. The A-12’s performance and reliability were factors in competitors choosing the type for air racing use, and on the 7th September 1924 at least five airframes were prepped for the 2nd Air Speed Race for the Trophy of the President of the Czechoslovak Republic. They competed in various payload categories over a circuit of 200kmh, and five world records were broken on that day, one by a competitor that didn’t finish, but his time over 100km was fast enough to break the speed record for his class and the distance covered before his engine failed. Four other A-12s broke records that day, which must have been quite good for the company. The Kit This is a new boxing of a tooling of the A-11 from Special Hobby, and the kit arrives in a small top-opening box, with three sprues of grey styrene, a small clear sprue, a bag containing a print-base of 3D parts for the radiators, instruction booklet and two separately bagged decal sheets within. Detail is good, especially the louvred engine cowlings and cockpit interior, as well as the fabric covered wooden wings, which have a subtle undulating ribbed surface moulded into them. Construction begins by making up the cockpit floor from two sections, adding a couple of detail parts on the starboard side, then fixing it and a small bulkhead to the starboard fuselage half after painting the details that are moulded into the interior of the fuselage and taking care of a few ejector-pin marks if necessary. A crib-like stowage area is made up from two parts plus an inverted A-frame, and that has a seat fixed to the front of the frame, installed just behind the cockpit floor, with another bucket seat added further forward for the pilot, and fixing the controls into the front of the cockpit. A bulkhead with rudder bar is glued at an angle to the front of the cockpit, with radio gear applied to the centre of the port fuselage half, along with a compass that has a decal applied to the top. The fuselage can be closed after adding the instrument panel with decal, and a skid is inserted into the tail at the same time. A rectangular panel line must be filled in the tail end of the fuselage, replacing it with a circular panel once the area has been made good, following the dimensions given on the scrap diagram nearby. Under the fuselage a rectangular insert with a small clear window is fitted, and two 0.8mm holes are drilled 1mm inboard of the wing root fairings, again according to a scrap diagram with measurements. One decal option requires a circular fairing to be fitted over the rear cockpit opening, then the two lower wings are fitted into slots in the fuselage, and a scrap diagram shows that there should be zero dihedral to them, as with the elevators, which are each inserted into the rear fuselage on two pins and have their separate flying surfaces glued to them, with the rudder pushed into a slot in the rear to complete the empennage. The pilot is in an open cockpit, so a tiny windscreen is added to the coaming in front of the opening, fitting two L-shaped exhausts to the top cowling and the 3D printed radiators on the cowling sides. The upper wings are moulded as a single span part, with an insert placed over the narrow centre section to achieve the thickness of the fuel tank, and the semi-circular scoop over the pilot. A pair of cabane V-struts are installed in the underside of the wing, with four more Z-struts added slightly outboard, and finally a pair of interplane struts are fixed to the outer wing bays on each side. A transparent impression of the upper wing is shown above the rest of the model to show it being installed from above, and the following two diagrams show the location of the rigging lines, which you’ll need to supply yourself, using your preferred method to complete the job, adding a wire brace to each of the wing rigging wires where they form an X from the front. A faired fuel line joins the upper wing to the fuselage near the pilot’s position, which is best inserted after the wings are joined. The model still needs its landing gear, using two V-shaped gear supports and their interlinking aerofoil clad axle that are inserted into holes in the underside, and have a choice of two styles of wheels added to the ends. The two-bladed prop has an aerodynamic spinner glued to the centre, and the axle moulded into the rear slides into the hole at the flat circular front of the nose. Markings There are five decal options on the two sheets, all of them record breakers save one third place, and all are camouflaged in a similar three colour pattern that is subtly different on closer inspection, but the individual markings and competitor numbers help to differentiate. From the box you can build one of the following: Aero A-12.36, Race #22, World Record Breaker of 250kg payload 189.765kmh over 200km track Aero A-12.24, Race #20, World Record Breaker of 250kg payload 202.13kmh over 100km track Aero A-12.unknown, Race #11, World Record Breaker of 500kg payload 202.988kmh over 200km track Aero A-12.36, Race #21, World Record Breaker of 500kg payload 196.099kmh over 200km track Aero A-12.43, Race #17, third place holder in 500kg payload category at 183.568kmh over 200km track The decals are printed using a digital process and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. This means that the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. The second decal sheet contains just two number 17 decals for the fifth markings option (E), as both underwing numbers were printed in reverse on the main sheet, although the reversing of one underwing number seems inconsistent between the competitors depicted here. Conclusion The A-12 is an interesting aircraft from Aero that was overshadowed by the A-11 and its variants, and this group of racers are rather attractive in their camouflage, their race specific decoration taking them away from the norm. The detail is good, and should appeal to a broad range of modellers, including the 3D printed radiators. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hello, I'm starting a new build. This is the Bugatti racer released the year after, by Special Hobby. I have two boxes of the car, the first will be assembled as it would have appeared in 1939 if the Deutch de la Meurthe race had continued. The second will be assembled in the workshop with the cowling removed. As usual with Special Hobby, assembling the model is a bit sporty. The parts require quite a bit of cleaning. The small ridge at the top of the gearbox needs to be removed, as this detail is a major flaw in the replica aircraft. First digital work, the instrument panel is ugly on the one hand, but also fake because it corresponds to its current state in its American museum, it has been furnished a little 'va comme je te pousse'. A little Fusion 360 modelling: Design of print supports: printing! I'm now tackling a big job: representing the two Bugatti type 50 engines in the aircraft. Here are a few images of my work. I'll also be modelling a version on a stand, as I did for my R-985 Wasp Junior. Regards?
  3. Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (A06105A) 1:48 Airfix The Hawker Sea Fury was a fast, agile fighter that, despite having entered service at the dawn of the jet age, enjoyed a successful career with a surprising number of air and naval forces around the globe. The Sea Fury evolved from the aircraft it was designed to replace; the larger, heavier Tempest. Originally conceived of as a smaller, dedicated fighter, the Fury began gestation in 1943 and although it missed the end of WWII, it eventually developed into a highly capable fighter-bomber with a change of operator and renaming to Sea Fury indicating its pivot to carrier operations under the auspices of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Phenomenally fast thanks to its powerful Bristol Centaurus reciprocating engine that output around 2,500hp through a five-bladed prop, the Sea Fury entered service with the Royal Navy in September 1947 with four Hispano 20mm cannons mounted two in each wing that gave it a powerful punch, and when it was found to be suitable for ground attack missions, hard-points were added under the wings to carry 1,000lb bombs and rockets for the role. The initial Mk.X was subjected to extensive land and sea-based trials, with the resulting improvements integrated into the Mk.11, which took up most of the 600+ Sea Furies that the FAA ordered, around 60 of which were two-seat trainer T.20s. The Sea Fury also did well in the export market, further increasing the number of airframes in service around the world, and while the type left British service in 1955, it carried on flying with other operators considerably longer. In 1959, the Cuban Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba, or FAEC) purchased seventeen refurbished Sea Furies from Hawker for use in the unsuccessful struggle against the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro. Following Castro's victory, the Sea Furies were retained by the new Fuerza Aerea Revolutionaria and saw limited action during the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Sea Fury later proved popular with pilots participating in the Reno Air Races, although many had their Centaurus engine replaced with US-built Wasp Major or Cyclone engines, as well as aerodynamic modifications and flashy paint schemes. Some of those racers were later converted back to original specification as war birds or museum pieces, and there are some still flying today, although those complex Centaurus engines do sometimes cause problems that cut short their performances. The Kit This is a reboxing of the original tooling from 2018, which feels like 10 minutes ago and a lifetime ago at the same time, thanks in part to Covid. This is the third outing of this superbly detailed kit, with new decals depicting some more unusual markings that the type has worn. It is hard to believe that we’ve not yet reviewed this kit, but it’s here now, resplendent in its red-themed top-opening box that holds five sprues in the new darker grey styrene, clear sprue, a large decal sheet, and an A4 portrait instruction booklet that is printed in colour on matt paper. There is also a folded sheet of glossy A4 that has the detailed stencilling guide printed over a line-drawn set of profiles to avoid confusion on the other colour profiles in the back of the instruction booklet. Detail is excellent, with finely engraved panel lines, raised and recessed features, and a well-appointed cockpit, most of which will disappear into darkness after being painted black, and when the fuselage is closed. Construction begins with the cockpit tub, which has side consoles moulded-in, and is fitted out with control column and rudder pedals plus the instrument panel, which has six dial decals to detail it. The seat has a quilted back cushion and is glued to the rear bulkhead and joined to the rear of the cockpit, adding a stepped bulkhead to the front to create the foot well around the rudder pedals. Scrap diagrams show how these two important aspects should be aligned, then a pair of ribbed inserts fill the gap between the two bulkheads with detail painting of the equipment there adding to the realism, and this sits against the fuselage interior once installed, so remember to paint that to match. The tail wheel bay area is also painted, but in interior green primer, adding the cockpit, tail wheel bay and forward bulkhead with spar to the port side of the fuselage, then mating the starboard side and dealing with the seams in your preferred manner. Much like the Tempest from which it was derived, the Sea Fury had a large pair of gear bays in the centre-wing, which are supplied as a single ribbed insert that has a divider and a pair of actuator jacks fitted to the centre recess, then it’s painted and inserted into the lower centre wing panel, remembering to drill out the flashed-over holes for the appropriate choice of drop-tank you intend to use, and for the optional RATO bottles at the rear edge. A shallow C-shaped intake housing and twin cannon barrel inserts are added to the leading edges of the lower wing, then the assembly is brought up under the fuselage, aligning the lateral groove with the spar projecting from the underside of the fuselage. To complete the fuselage, the circular ring of cooling gills at the rear of the engine cowling has a pair of multi-port exhaust inserts fitted to the inner surface of the ring, then it is mated to the two-part cowling, adding the lip with a depiction of the front of the huge Centaurus motor slipped inside it before joining the assembly together and mating it with the fuselage on a stepped lip. The elevator panels are slotted into the sides of the tail, adding the flying surfaces that can be deflected anywhere between 21.5° up, or 11.5° down, remembering that they operate as one pair in unison. The rudder is offered up to the curved recess in the fin, and that too can be deflected up to 27° to either side if you wish. You have a choice of building the model with the wings deployed for flight, or folded for stowage under the deck, or just for fun. The straight wings are made by inserting substantial extensions into the inner panel before fitting the upper portion, then building the outer wing panels over the protruding section, finishing off with the elevators, which can be deflected up 14.5° or down 17.5°, with the opposite wing taking the opposing position, and remembering the inequality of the movement needed to raise the wing compared to dropping it. There are multiple flashed-over holes in the underside of the outer wings that are drilled out if you plan to use the rockets or bombs that are provided, some of which are close together, so take care which ones you open. To fold the wings, the upper centre surface is glued in place with a rib outboard, into which a vaguely L-shaped hinge is inserted. The outer wing panels are built up with their own rib that has a matching socket, and the same caveat applies to the use of weapons under the wings of your model. The elevators deflect down by 17.5° when the wings are folded, so have your protractor at the ready! The next choice is to pose your model in flight or not, remembering that Sea Furies don’t fly too well with their wings folded. To depict your model in flight, closed gear bay door inserts are laid into all three bays, each one playing the part of multiple individual doors so that alignment is simplified. To model your kit with the wheels down, the tail-wheel is made from strut and separate yoke, flexing the one-part wheel in between the two arms, then gluing it into the hole in the bay roof and adding the two doors to the sides of the bay. The main gear legs are a single part each that have a large captive door glued to the bottom portion, fixing it into the bay and securing it with a long retraction jack, and adding another smaller bay door outside of the leg, taking note of the scrap diagram beside that step for orientation. The same task is done in mirror-image, then the two centre doors are glued to the line between the bays, locating on the actuators installed in the bay earlier. The wheels are in two halves, one having the full hub moulded into it, the other providing the other half of the tyre. They fit onto the axles at the ends of the struts, and a pair of scrap diagrams show how the completed gear assembly should look from the side and front. A powerful engine needs a large prop, which in this case is a five-bladed unit that has all the blades moulded as one, clamped between the front and rear parts of the spinner, and fitted on a pin to an insert that glues into the tubular cowling-within-the-cowling, taking care with the glue if you want the prop to remain mobile for any definitely non-childish reasons. There is a great choice of stores, fuel tanks and RATO packs to be pondered over, starting with the Rocket Assisted Take Off packs that are built into two sets of three cylinders that are mated at an angle on the back plate to form a V-shape, plus a bracket fixed to the front for location under the airframe centreline behind the gear bays. There is a choice of two styles of fuel tank for under the wing, which have their pylons moulded into the top half, and one decal option has a clear lens inserted into the front of the starboard tank. Moving further outboard, there is a choice of two sizes of bomb that fit on shallow pylons outboard of the drop-tank locations, one of which has a ring stabiliser around the standard fins, or in a similar position using different holes you can mount three pairs of rockets on moulded-in launch rails. The build phase is completed by installing the crew step under the wing root, either deployed or by using a flat door part to depict it retracted, adding the cooling vents at the rear of the wing-mounted radiators, putting a pitot probe in the tip of the port wing next to the clear wingtip lights, and clipping the arrestor hook onto a peg inside its housing beneath the tail, which should allow it to remain mobile providing you don’t lock it in place with glue. The windscreen is glued to the front of the cockpit opening, and the canopy can be posed closed or slid back along the track moulded into the fuselage to give better visual access to the cramped cockpit. Markings There are three options supplied on the decal sheet, all substantially different from each other, one of which is a civilian machine with a custom civil registration code, and gaudy red paint job complete with go-faster stripes. From the box you can build one of the following: G-FURY, UK, 1981 Exercise ‘Momentum’, 1831 Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, RNAS Stretton (HMS Blackcap), Cheshire, England, 1952 No.724 Sqn., Royal Australian Navy, Naval Air Station Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, 1961-2 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s good to see this well-detailed kit back on the shelves in some interesting new liveries, one from my home county, one in bright red with a cool tail-code, and the other from the opposite side of the world. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Bugatti 100 Racer Masks (M48011 for Special Hobby) 1:48 Special Mask by Special Hobby I have literally just finished tapping out the review of the new 1:48 scale Bugatti 100 Racer, and thought it prudent, kind and sensible to let you know about this handy set of masks that will allow you to mask up the crystal-clear canopy before you get the paint out, to ensure that it stays clear and bright throughout. Like the rest of the new range of canopy masks from Special Hobby, the set arrives in a re-sealable clear flat-pack that is protected from the inside by a sheet of card and a set of paper instructions that double as the header card, with the masking material displayed at the front. Supplied on a sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, with compound curved handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or offcuts from the background tape. In addition, you get a set of hub/tyre masks for the main wheels, allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort. Highly recommended, especially if you’re not keen on masking. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Bugatti 100 Racer (SH48219) 1:48 Special Hobby Bugatti’s streamlined air racer was custom designed for flying the circuits in 1939, using twin engines behind the pilot that ran a pair of contra-rotating props in the nose, which gave it a sleek aerodynamic profile and a compact size. It was also inventive in terms of the tail, which was a V-shape and had a gearbox to split the pilot inputs accordingly between the fins. Before it could be tested and put into the air however, the German invasion began, which forced the engineers to dismantle the aircraft and hide it on Mr Bugatti’s estate until after the war, although he died in 1947 so development stopped there. Over time, the engines were raided for car projects and the airframe fell into disrepair until the 70s when a restoration project began, after which it was placed in a museum. A replica was made using more modern technologies where sensible, and this flew briefly using a pair of more readily available Suzuki engines. After a prop strike during landing, where the aircraft veered off the runway following a brake failure, its third test flight ended in disaster when the aircraft went out of control, killing the pilot who had played a major part in its production, and completely destroying the replica. It had been promised to a museum in England after this flight, which clearly couldn’t now happen. Quite a sad tale overall. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Special Hobby, and after bemoaning its absence in 1:48 when reviewing the 1:72 issue a few months ago, I’ve now got my wish, as it’s a rather cool-looking aircraft. It arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are two sprues and separate lower wings in grey styrene, a clear part in its own Ziploc bag, a bag of resin parts and this time, a tiny sheet of decal. No, that’s not a typo, you get an instrument panel decal. Even in 1:48 it’s a relatively little thing, and that much is brought home when you see the fuselage, which is under 15cm long on the sprues, although longer when the nose and prop are complete. Construction begins with the transmission at the front of the cockpit, which takes the power from the two engines and adapts them to the contra-rotating prop gearbox, the final-drive shaft passing through a bulkhead that fits into the front of the fuselage. The fuselage halves have sidewall detail moulded-in with a little more added from separate parts, and fairings over the two drive-shafts are glued into both fuselage sides, then backed up with the cockpit floor on a support, seat back with four-point Photo-Etch (PE) seat belts against the rear bulkhead, and rudder pedals with short control column are placed in recesses in the floor. The coaming has a number of small parts installed so that the instrument panel can be attached and covered by the single decal, plus a pair of bottles inside the nose housing after the fuselage is closed up with a fluted insert added in a hole in the spine, and an intake behind the cockpit. Like a lot of air racers, the 100 has a short wingspan for manoeuvrability, but at the root the chord is wide with a large root fairing, the chord tapering rapidly to the tip. The lower half is a single piece, which has a pair of resin bay wall inserts fitted into the marked recesses, then closed up with the upper wings after a lick of paint. The fuselage is dropped into the space in between the wings, and the V-shaped tail assembly with a recess moulded-in to replicate the intake louvres on the leading edge, and an insert at the rear. The recesses are filled with curved louvre intakes, as is the slot in the vertical tail that doubles as the tail-wheel strut. On the fuselage sides, a pair of bulged resin exhaust outlets are fixed to the fuselage in recesses in the aft section of the wing root fairing, then the landing gear is installed after flipping it over onto its back. The gear legs are a single piece each plus retraction jacks with the two-part wheels flex-fitting into the yoke, and a pair of captive gear bay doors affixed to the outer side, and a tiny vestigial door at the top of the leg, fitting flush with the wing surface. After which the model can stand on its own three wheels. Additional details are fitted into the cockpit before it is covered by its canopy, including a number of PE levers, and the clear canopy is then fitted to the opening as a single part, with no option for leaving it open, but as it’s nice and clear you should still be able to see all your hard work. The contra-prop has four elements to its spinner, two trapping each of the two-bladed props in between, with the smallest pointy one in the front, of course, gluing into position on the long prop-shaft. Markings There are two markings options given on the instructions, one of which is the actual blue scheme it wore, the other a what-if scheme that has red and white fan-shaped stripes on the wings and tail, which looks quite patriotic. From the box you can paint whatever you fancy, but these two are suggested: There aren’t any decals for the airframe, and the one for the instrument panel is totally fit for purpose. Of course, I couldn’t resist taping up some of the major parts to give an impression of the finished model, so here it is: There is a set of masks available now from Special Mask to allow you to mask up this lovely crystal clear canopy without stress or anguish, and quickly too, even if you're not masking phobic. You can see the review of that set, right here. Conclusion I’ve been smitten with this little aircraft since the smaller kit arrived, and Special Hobby have done a great job with the moulding, using resin where sensible, and giving us plenty of detail in the kit. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Manual-feeding a multi-page drawing set through a work-from-home bubble-jet printer ... loitering at the computer ... what better time to start a new thread! All going to plan, this thread will lead to a two-part finish! Finish 1 My local club is working towards an ambitious goal to mark the RAAF's 100th Anniversary; as part of the annual ScaleACT public show (for 2021, COVID delayed to February 2022) the club is preparing a display of one of every machine the RAAF has ever operated. This has involved much effort by the subcommittee to collate & administer a master spreadsheet, collecting members builds & new-build commitments to account for all types. I have found one of the dwindling final remaining machines which works for me, this Percival Vega Gull, as operated by RAAF No 1 Communications Unit & No 82 Wing Headquarters: This machine was 'impressed' into service in January 1940, retaining it's civil maroon & silver paint scheme, with registration replaced by roundels & RAAF serial no. As shown here on DEKL'S II decals sheet; So my plan is to build and finish in this scheme, to contribute to the club display, but with decals not sealed in, so they can later be easily stripped off ... Finish 2 Before stepping in for war service, this privately-owned machine was quite a competitor, being entered into at least two pre-war air races. One of these was the 1936 South Australian Centenary Air Race, from Brisbane to Adelaide, and this machine was the winner of the Speed Section! Despite the race being over 1,440 miles - via Coffs Harbour, Sydney & Cootamunda in NSW, then Melbourne & Nhill in Victoria, and on to Parafield South Australia - the Vega Gull beat the second-place Stinson Reliant by a mere 1½ sec!! So after I peel off the RAAF decals, I will add VH-UVG registration & race number 49 in white circle like so, returning it to pre-war race livery to sit with my other air racers: This is the kit, received in the post earlier this week: And this oh-so-beautiful sole surviving - airworthy - UK machine shall be my benchmark for the 'maroon & silver' base scheme common to this machine's RAAF & Racer finishes: OK, printing nearly finished, time to sign-off. February deadline requires rapid action, so I ought to have something to post of progress soon ...
  7. Hello all, hope this might interest some. I started posting some WIP on another platform (which shall remain nameless) but I've found it doesn't have the same 'thread' logic which this forum has provided. So forgive me eloping - I'm back, suitably humbled. This is a new 'quick' (for me) project. Selected because it's small, white (still got some paint from the last project), interesting & - importantly - a biplane without bracing! The Knight Twister - a kit design dating back to the 1920's - in much modified "Imperial" air racer form, as built & competitively raced by former WWII B-24 tail-gunner C.D 'Don' Fairbanks. As a racer it follows that the little plane was constantly tinkered with to improve or maintain its competitiveness. So there are many variations throughout the photographic record, and as now fixed for perpetuity in a Museum. I'll be working to represent one of the earliest incarnations (1971ish), mostly because this most closely aligns with the configuration offered in the kit. Photos here show that phase:
  8. Spitfire Mk.XIV Civilian Schemes (A05139) 1:48 Airfix The Spitfire is possibly the most iconic and well-known fighter of WWII, so I'll not drone on about how great it was, as we already know - It and the Hurricane were the saviours of our bacon on a number of occasions, and are immortalised in aviation history as a result. The Mark XIV was powered by the powerful Griffon 61 and later on the 65 engine, with the resulting extension in forward fuselage, power bulges, not to mention pure grunt as it was pulled along by the massive five bladed prop. It was based upon the XIII, and gave a substantial performance increase over the popular Mk.IX, later having the cut-down fuselage back and teardrop canopy and new E-type cannon wings. The extra weight of the engine required centre of gravity motivated changes, and the wash off the props necessitated a new larger tail empennage to maintain control authority within acceptable ranges. It entered service in late 1943, and was capable of almost 450mph at 25,000ft and could climb like the proverbial homesick angel, giving anyone on the receiving end of its wrath a serious reason for concern. The Griffon engine had a drinking problem and drained its tanks with a frightening efficiency, so drop-tanks were often carried on longer missions, allowing it to range a lot further from home. It was also a good candidate for knocking V-1 Flying Bombs out of the sky, and was considered the best Spit for the job by many. Its successor the XVIII was an evolution of this successful type, but wasn’t in squadron service until after WWII had ended. The Mark.24 was the last of the land-based Spitfires, thus ending its service in the RAF but continuing with other countries that bought retired airframes that they flew for a while longer. The Kit This is a reboxing from Airfix of their Mk.XIV, but with new decals depicting the retired airframes that saw civilian service once they had been superseded by the new jet engined alternatives that grew in performance and firepower through various generations. The kit arrives in a red-themed top-opening box with a bright red Spit on the lid, four sprues of grey styrene, one of clear, a long narrow decal sheet and the instruction booklet with spot colour throughout and full colour painting and decaling guide on the rear pages. Construction begins with the cockpit interior, which consists of two inner skins that are decorated with the usual items we all know and recognise instantly. The pilot's seat is made from an L-shaped seat with separate sides, which has an armour panel fitted behind it and the adjustment lever on the right side. The frame behind the pilot has moulded-in lightening holes that you can either pick out with wash or drill out at your whim, then add the seat frame and head-armour, finally fitting the seat to the frame on its four corners. The rudder pedal assembly goes through a depiction of a section of the wing spar and has separate pedals that you should leave off if you are intending to fit the pilot, and the control column is planted in the middle of the sub-assembly. The instrument panel is glued to the next frame forward and has a nice decal with just the dials printed, which should settle down with a little decal solution. The instrument panel is inserted into the port cockpit side along with the rudder pedal assembly, allowing the two cockpit tub halves to be joined and an angled front firewall bulkhead to be fitted to close in the foot well. Then the seat assembly and next frame to the rear are slotted into the grooves, and your optional pilot with his two separate arms can be plonked in if you’re using him. Before inserting the cockpit tub you need to paint the interior of the fuselage above the waistline, and remove a small part of the sill if you are posing the canopy closed. Then it is mated to the starboard fuselage half, together with an insert in front of the canopy, which is where the fuel tank filler is found. You can also cut out the access door on the left side of the fuselage, bearing in mind that you have a new door on the sprue so you can be a bit brutal in removing the plastic. For decal option A, the tip of the moulded in fin is shortened according to a scrap diagram nearby. The full-width lower wing has two circular bay walls fitted along with a section of the front spar, which holds the landing gear top sections, before the rear spar and front extensions are also attached to stiffen the wing. Decal option B has you cutting the upper wing tips and cannon fairings are removed as per another scrap diagram, then you pop the upper wings on and move on to joining them to the fuselage after making sure you’ve fitted the light in the belly first. The elevator fins are slotted into the tail at 90o to the rudder fin, then the three flying surfaces are added with any deflections that you might wish to portray. The ailerons are also separate and can be posed deflected if you wish. Under the nose the chin-insert is glued in, noting the finely moulded Amal fastenings there and on the side cowlings. Under the wing the two square radiator baths with textured radiator panels and separate open or closed cooling flaps on the rear are glued into their recesses. The fuselage has a couple of camera ports in the sides, which are supplied in clear styrene, and should be filled before painting, as they were faired over to streamline the sides in civilian service. Option A has the gun fairings attached to the stubs in the wing’s leading edge, while option B has a couple of smooth inserts to fill the cut-outs you made earlier. You might need a little filler here if you’ve been clumsy, but test-fitting should make that easier. Option B also has clipped wingtips, which are clear to include the lights, and both have their characteristic Griffon power-bulges added at this time. The tail wheel was retractable in the Mk.XIV, so you have the choice of wheels up or down for all three rubbery bits. In-flight a small portion of the wheels can still be seen, so Airfix have provided a slim wheel to put on the doors so that a realistic look is obtained, and a single door piece for the tail is also included. For the wheels down option, you have separate struts and doors, which slot into the sockets within the bay and have a pair of diamond treaded tyres with separate hubs added, making sure that the slightly flattened section is facing the floor. The tail wheel bay and doors are a single part, with the wheel inserted once it is applied to the fuselage. A T-shaped pitot probe goes under the wing with small hooks under the trailing edge and a centreline aerial at the rear, then the tubular exhaust stubs are glued into the nose, and joined by a one-piece five-bladed prop, two-part spinner, and three parts that slot into the front and will permit the prop to spin if you don’t flood it with glue. You then have a choice of open or closed canopies, using the winddscreen and canopy assembly for open, and a different canopy part for the closed option. The open option also allows the door to be posed down, which as previously mentioned uses a new part. Markings There are two options in the box, one in bright red, the other in silver, and as you may have already gleaned, they have different wings. From the box you can build one of the following: Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XIV G-Fire, Duxford, England, 1988 Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XIV CF-GMZ, Canada, 1949 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Seeing a civilian Spitfire makes a change from your average camouflaged Spit we see on the forum every day, but if you’re not into modelling warplanes, these civilian options make a colourful alternative. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Hi All. With my growing interest in Air Racers, I was very much surprised with the prompt delivery from Australia of Hasegawa's box of goodies, this: ...yum, yum. Decals look very nice but they're Hasegawa, so... Both owned by Jacqueline Cochran to set various records; NX28388 article here and N5528N article here. Not to sure whether I will do both of them in the GB but I will need to get the Mustang II and III at an advanced stage before I'm happy to start another. Stuart
  10. Gee Bee Model R1 (48002) 1:48 Dora Wings The Granville Brothers Aircraft company produced a number of racing aircraft under the Gee Bee name, starting with their Model Z that won awards in the 30s, and leading to the similar but shorter profiled Model R super sportsters of which the R1 was first, with R2 being a sister aircraft. The R1 was flown by Jimmy Doolittle in 1932 and won the Thompson Trophy Race with a dash speed of rather healthy 296mph. It was a difficult machine to fly, but Doolittle loved it dearly, however another racer was killed flying it when it stalled during the Bendix Trophy in 1933. It was rebuilt with an extension to the fuselage to help counter its murderous tendencies, but even with wings transferred from R2 it still managed to crash very quickly after. After that it was sold to its final owner, who modified it further by adding fuel tanks in the rear, but it crashed and killed him, never to be rebuilt again. A replica was built more recently, which flew for several years before being retired to a museum, and there are also a few non-flying replicas in museums in the US. The Kit This is a new tooling from a relatively new company who have produced a small number of new kits with a healthy upcoming catalogue of new toolings in the works for the coming year. Their kits are in the short-run tooling category, with nice detail once you have the parts off the sprues and have dealt with the moulding seams, which is much the same as many kits but with a little more preparation time. This is of course time that repays you by easing your way later in the build. The kit arrives in a relatively small box, as it is a small aircraft that was pretty much engine, wings and a space for the pilot. Inside the box are four sprues of grey styrene, a small clear sprue, a sheet of copper-coloured Photo-Etch (PE), masks for the red and white colour scheme, a sheet of decals and the instruction booklet with colour scheme on the back page. The R1 was a small plane. I've said that already, but it bears repeating. The instruction booklet is actually a single sheet of A4 folded into A5. The instructions cover only one side of this sheet, with 19 steps to make the complete airframe. Construction begins with the cockpit, which consists of three bulkheads that are linked by a series of tubes, with the seat placed against the rear bulkhead and the pilot's legs going through the central hole in the remaining two. A simple instrument panel, throttle box, control column and rudder pedals are fitted, and before closing up the fuselage you can elect to remove a portion of the cockpit sidewall to depict the access door on the side of the fuselage, the job of which is done by a new part so you don't have to be careful to keep the cut-out intact. The rudder is in two parts and fits to the rear of the fin, and a ventral fuselage insert with ribs matching the rest of the aft fuselage closes the bottom of the cockpit. The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine is supplied in six parts, with a further two for the exhausts, and this is enclosed in the two-part cowl with a PE ring at the rear before it is fitted to the front of the fuselage later in the build. The fixed and spatted landing gear are made up around the two-part tyres, the wings and their ailerons are put together and fitted to the roots using a modified butt-join that has pins and depressions to register the join more accurately. The elevators fit the same way, and the wings are braced by V-shaped PE wires that fit into holes in the wing upper and the fuselage top. A small panel inserts into the top of the forward fuselage with delicate louver patterns moulded-in, and a further pair of V-shaped PE bracing wires are fitted under the wings, with an additional two smaller wires bracing the landing gear spats. The canopy is supplied in two parts with separate windscreen, and the final part is the simple two-bladed prop that fits into the boss at the front of the engine's bell-housing, which should be able to be left spinning if you have been careful with the glue. Markings The R1 wore a rather striking scheme during its racing life, which began at the front with a red cowling, with red wing leading-edges which were scalloped into white, as was the fuselage. This is a tricky scheme to paint, so the included masks will come in very handy. They are vinyl and pre-cut for your ease, and while they're not as flexible as kabuki tape, they are less likely to stretch out. You will need to burnish them down over the ribbing under the fuselage, and expect a little touching up to be required due to the edges of the ribs, but once done it should look stunning. The decals cover the rest of the markings, which are in good registration, are sharp and have good colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. There are two instrument panel decals supplied, and with some decal setting solution should settle down over the lightly raised instrument faces on the styrene panel. Conclusion Interwar racers aren't everyone's thing, but then neither are Bf.109s. Between the wars was a time of innovation that sometimes led to some quite nasty dead-ends, so racers and their aircraft were often short-lived, as demonstrated here. The kit should go together well as long as you don't expect it to fall together without your help, and you will end up with a nice replica of this short, tubby little racer for your cabinet in a scale where you can actually see it! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. With my Short Crusader build stalled while I'm away for the school holidays, I have been using the break to pause & refect ... on what to build next! I've settled on this spectacularly stylish, if somewhat under-performing, machine from near the end of the lineage of pre-war French racers: The Caudron C.561. Here I submit my inspiration, this wonderful artwork as drawn by Laurent Negroni: The above illustrations are extracted from his beautiful book 'Speedbirds 1: Schneider Trophy 1913 - 1931' which I regularly revisit again & again. And as further inspiration, this mythical contest between the Caudron & Marcoux-Bromberg R-3 Special - wouldn't that have been awesome!: From the graphic novel 'Beyond the Clouds 1: the Duel' illustrated by Romain Hugaul. or perhaps this mythical duel with a Gee Bee: Another by Laurent Negroni from his blog site: http://speedbirds.blogspot.com.au/?m=1 The kit is by POMK, at 1/48, in resin .. and it's at home .. so I can't post much more than the box art from online: So I decided to launch this thread ahead of time in order to throw a few questions out there: 1. Can anyone recommend a definitive reference book on these French racers, which might include this machine? & 2. Just which blue is the right blue!?? Thanks for looking in, and I hope to be up & running before too long! g.
  12. Another "recycle" from my latest builds. This Mustang racer was build in the KUTA IX Edit: New old pics are posted here because they were moved form Photobucket to Flickr: Hope it is OK to post things from a GB Gallery here "again". Well it is the same build but new pics at least ;-) René
  13. Hi all, being quite a fan of air racers I through in the only P-47 (almost-) racer that I know of: Bill Odom’s YP-47M “Reynolds Bombshell”. A brief history (no guarantee whether it is all correct): The pilot William P Odom (1919-1949) Captain of the US Army Air Corp was quite famous in the forties for some breaking some record flights. He made two record around-the-world flights in an Invader (April 1947 with Tex Salee and Milton Reynolds & August 1947 solo flight with auto-pilot) and made a solo flight in an early Beech Bonanza from Hawaii to Teterboro New Jersey (6th-8th March 1949). In 1949 Odom raced a Mustang named “Beguine” in Cleaveland and won the SOHIO race but fatally crashed two days later in the second lap of the Thomson race (see my Beguine build here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234963769-1-48-icm-xs-models-p-51-beguine-in-flight/). Two years earlier Odom planned to start the Bendix race with a P-47M called “Reynolds Bombshell”. He bought a YP-47M in July 1947 (Serial #: 42-27385 – a P-47D-27-RE which was converted to a YP-47M in October 1944) and attached two huge 315 gal underwing tanks to it. These tanks were used as ferry tanks on P-38 and it seems there also existed a ambulance pod for the P-38 based on this type of tank with a Perspex nose to look out. The tanks were available as surplus – some may know the belly tank salt lake race cars which were build using these surplus tanks. The speed of the M version and the extended range provided by the additional 630 gal of fuel promised a short flight time and good chances to win the Bendix race. Sponsors were the same as for the RTW flights in the Invader in the same year: Milton Reynolds (a ball pen manufacturer), Dallas Aero Service (they did the race conversion) and Lear (auto-pilot manufacturer). The certificate of airworthiness was released in August 1947 – the month of the Bendix race. However on the morning of the race a huge puddle of kerosene was fund under the P-47M and Odom withdraw from the start for obvious safety reasons. The plane was never entered in a race again and sold on to Earl Reinert in 1948 ( who wanted to enter it in the Bedix race as well but did not in the end - I do not know why not) and received different liveries over the years. It now resides in Yanks Air Museum, Chino, CA converted back to its original configuration and livery. It is the only P-47M which still exists. Here is a pic of Reynolds Bombshell (I found it on the Yanks Museum webpage) which also shows the different colours on the nose and tail quite good: For this build I will have to deal with the following: • No decals for Reynolds Bombshell exist. No readily available ones at least, so I have to make them myself. • I only found a few photos of this plane and all are b&w and of low quality. So the colours are guesswork. • No 315 gal tanks exist in any scale. Again I have to make these myself somehow. • One picture shows the plane with two different tire profiles. • Military equipment was removed – so some minor surgery is needed. • The wingtips were shortened – again a minor change. I have this build on my list for quite some time so the good news is I have the decals done last year already and also started work on the tanks some time ago. Getting information on these is tough to say the least. Wheels with different pattern are readily available – I bought some from Ultracast. Regarding the colours my current idea is that it was over all white with blue cowl and Text on the sides. The tail was a different colour – I suppose red is a good call. The race numbers were either black or blue as well – I am not sure but think black is more likely. The wingtips seem to be the same colour as the tail so red for me. Droptanks NMF. Any suggestions welcome. Off the shelf I use the fantastic Tamiya P-47M kit; Eduard Zoom set (contains mainly parts for the cockpit); Tiny Land fuel caps (for the DIY tanks) and Ultracast wheels of two different thread patterns. I once primed some parts with colour as I had my airbrush loaded for some other project. Some of these colours need to be overpainted however: To be continued very soon. René
  14. Hi, working on a Potez 53 from JMGT (here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234978587-148-potez-53-air-racer-jmgt-resin-kit/)I found these litte kits to be rather simple to build - as long as you can keep yourself from super detailing these tiny planes. So I decided to start my C 460 as well. Here is what you get in the box: Casting is extreemly good with very little to clean up. Decals (markings for two different aircrafts) and two canopies are included as well. Here are the parts after a wash - the toothbrush gives an idea about the small size of the air racer: Rene
  15. This year I plan to start 126 GBs and hope to finish one. At least it seems so. This is the third GB this year and my other two are still in early stages. Nevertheless I will enter a small resin kit which looks quite nice in the box and I plan to build it OOB. OK - knowing me this will be unlikely but I will try hard. I will build a resin kit from JMGT: A Potez 53 air racer which won the 1933 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe (#10 won, #12 retired after the fourth lap). the Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace has a Potez 53 in its collection. Here is the box and the parts: So everything is there: Reasonable detail from the box, low parts count, simple paint job. What can go wrong? ;-) René
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