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  1. Spitfire Mk.IIb ProfiPACK (82154) 1:48 Eduard The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain along with the Hurricane and a few other less well-known players, and it’s an aircraft with an amazing reputation that started as a bit of a damp squib in the shape of the Supermarine Type 224. This gull-winged oddity was the grandfather of the Spitfire, and despite losing out to the biplane Gloster Gladiator, designer R J Mitchell was spurred on to go back to the drawing board and create a more modern, technologically advanced and therefore risky design. This was the Type 300, and it was an all-metal construction with an incredibly thin elliptical wing that became legendary, although it didn’t leave much space for fuel, a situation that was further worsened by the Air Ministry’s insistence that four .303 machine guns were to be installed in each wing, rather than the three originally envisaged. It was a very well-sorted aircraft from the outset, so quickly entered service with the RAF in 1938 in small numbers. With the clouds of war building, the Ministry issued more orders and it became a battle to manufacture enough to fulfil demand in time for the outbreak and early days of war from September 1939 onwards. By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered for a while. The title Mk.Ia was given retrospectively to differentiate between the cannon-winged Mk.Ib that was instigated after the .303s were found somewhat lacking compared to the 20mm cannon armament of their main opposition at the time, the Bf.109. As is usual in wartime, the designers could never rest on their laurels with an airframe like the Spitfire, as it had significant potential for development, a process that lasted throughout the whole of WWII, and included many changes to the Merlin engine, then the installation of the more powerful Griffon engine, as well as the removal of the spine of the fuselage and creation of a bubble canopy to improve the pilot’s situational awareness. Its immediate successor was the Mk.II that had a better Merlin engine and higher octane fuel to give it a healthy boost in performance. The IIa was armed identically to the Mk.Ia with four .303s in each wing, while the IIb carried the two 20mm cannons of the Ib and two .303s in each of the wings. It was followed by the Mk.V that had yet another more powerful Merlin fitted, which returned the fright of the earlier marks’ first encounters with Fw.190s by a similar increase in performance from an outwardly almost identical Spitfire. The Kit This is a reboxing with new parts of a new tool from Eduard, following on from their other later marks of the Spit in their usual manner, providing us modellers with a wide selection of types and sub-variants as they proceed through their launch schedule. This is a thoroughly modern tooling with immense detail squeezed into every part, and for the inveterate upgraders, the kits are moulded with that in mind, to be augmented by a raft of super-detailed resin and brass sets from Eduard themselves, which benefit from concurrent launch and excellent fit. The outer skin has been fully riveted with fine lines and rivets everywhere, plus different widths of engraved lines, Dzuz fasteners on cowling panels, and even some lapped panels such as the fuel tank in front of the canopy. It arrives in Eduard’s new ProfiPACK box featuring a gold banner, with five sprues in their grey/blue styrene, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) that is nickel-plated and pre-painted, a small sheet of pre-cut kabuki masking material (not pictured), a large decal sheet with separate stencil sheet, and the glossy instruction booklet with painting guide at the rear in full colour. It is nearly identical in terms of sprues to the Mk.IIa that we reviewed recently apart from the new wing sprue, so four sprues and the clear parts in common with its sibling. The differences between the two versions are otherwise small, but you use alternative parts on the sprues for the cannons and for some decal options, plus the decals themselves. Construction begins with the cockpit, which will probably be familiar to most, although there is a huge amount of detail when it’s done the Eduard way. It is built up on the starboard sidewall insert, with equipment, controls and a choice of seat-carrying fuselage frames depending on which decal option you have chosen. The seat is next, having the flare rack at the front added from PE, as well as some nice painted PE seatbelts and rear armour. The control column is also made up, and has a PE trigger added before it and the flight control box (more of a tangle, really) are joined to the seat and inserted in the next two fuselage frames forward. The next frame forward holds the instrument panel, which can be plastic with decals, or the more complex and detailed lamination of PE parts with those lovely glossy dial faces on a separate backing plate, either of which then glue to the frame, with the gunsight at the top of the panel, and the compass just below, then the rudder pedals are outfitted with PE straps and footrests, before being put just inside the footwell below the panel. Forward of that frame is a blanking plate that is glued in place along with the spinner back during the fuselage closure procedure. The socket for the tail wheel and the leading edge of the wing fairing are also glued in, and take care here, as there are two diagrams below the fuselage closure that cover the painting and decaling of the cockpit sidewalls, which must be done before closure, as you’d imagine. The canopy will require small parts of the sidewalls removing to accommodate the appropriate glazing, so make sure you cut those parts off too. They slip in a mention of a panel line on the very front of the nose that you need to fill in, so don’t forget that one, as it’s called out with a line and the word “fill” during the attachment to the wings later on. There is also a hole to be drilled in the port wing root fairing as well. The lower wing is a single part out as far as the clipped wing rib, and there are two pairs of small holes that need drilling out on both undersides before you go any further. A long wing spar bridges the gap between the wheel bay cut-outs, then the rest of the bay walls are made out of short sections and just the two wing-gun barrels per side are dropped into their slots ready for closing up the wing, then placing the fuselage into the gap and gluing it home. The empennage is next, with separate elevator fins and flying surfaces, plus the rudder and its control link, chopping off the short tube on the top of the fin. Back to the wings, and the elliptical tips are slid into place along with the ailerons, which you can pose deflected if you wish. Staying with the wing, the model is flipped over, and the radiator, oil cooler and chin intake with fairing are all added in, the radiator and oil cooler both having PE mesh inserts, L-shaped feeder pipes at the rear, and a scale-thickness PE flap with two actuators for open and closed positions. The narrow track landing gear has replacement PE details fixed to the leg after removing the plastic representation, and these then have the captive doors attached to the rear, and wheels made up from a tyre and two hub parts, with a split yoke and wheel for the tail, which slots into the socket buried in the fuselage. The 20mm cannon parts simply slide into their sockets in the leading edge of the wings, which explains the requirement for the new sprue with the small circular fairings moulded into it. The canopy has a choice of PE or styrene rear-view mirror on the windscreen, and a choice of open or closed canopies with a PE pull-handle in the top. The fixed rear glazing is fitted first for the open option, but is moulded into the closed canopy for better fit. The locations for the masks are shown in a diagram at the end of the instructions, using liquid mask for highly curved areas of the blown canopy. The cockpit door can be mounted open or closed, then the aerial is glued to the rear of the canopy on a base, two small holes are opened up on the upper wing for the PE landing gear markers, with a fuel filler cap on the cowling in front of the windscreen. The exhaust stacks have been moulded carefully to give hollow tips, and the prop is a single part, covered front and back by the two-part pointed spinner, with the peg on the rear sliding into the front of the fuselage. The final steps show two aerial wires from the fuselage sides to the elevators, which you will need to provide from your own toolbox. Markings There are a generous six marking options from the box, including some early war in Dark Earth/Dark Green and later examples with Ocean Grey and Dark Green camo. From the box you can build one of the following: P/O Frederick A O Gaze, No.610 (County of Chester) Sqn., RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex, 1941 P8519 No.306 (Polish) Sqn., RAF Northolt, July 1941 P8646, No.616 (South Yorkshire) Sqn., RAF Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire, Oct/Nov, 1941 P8505 Sgt. Eric S Dicks-Sherwood, No.266 (Rhodesia) Sqn., RAF Wittering, Cambs., Sept 1941 P8533 S/Ldr. Percival S Turner, CO of 145 Sqn., RAF Catterick, North Yorks., Oct 1941 P8348 No.52 OTU, RAF Debden, Essex, Summer 1943 The decals are printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The stencils are on a separate sheet, and are marked on a page of the booklet, separate from the rest of the markings to avoid confusion from trying to read overly busy diagrams. Conclusion There are always some moans about "yet another" Spitfire model, but other people’s kits don’t make money for Eduard, and they do it their own unique way. They’ve done a great job of these early marks, and the detail is excellent from the box, with nothing else needed to create a great replica other than paint and glue, a little bit of fine wire for the aerials, and some of your hard work. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Evening all, I just picked up a 1:72 new-tool airfix harrier gr3, only problem is that i'm missing one half of the second gun-pack. I'm thinking of fitting the recce pod on the centre pylon anyway but the question is: I think that the gun packs were usually fitted (as i've seen in all photos of the gun-pack equipped harriers) in pairs but were there instances where only one was fitted? Many thanks, Sam
  3. 7.5cm Gebirgskanone Special Armour 1:35 History Its development was quite prolonged, as the Austrians couldn't decide on the specifications that they wanted. Initially, they wanted a gun that could be broken-down into no more than five pack-animal loads to replace the various 7 cm mountain guns in service, but prolonged trials proved that the 7.5 cm M. 12 prototype to be the best gun. However, the commander-in-chief of Bosnia-Herzegovina believe it to be too heavy and demanded a return to the 7 cm calibre to save weight. Skoda dutifully built enough guns for a test battery in the smaller caliber and tested them during the spring of 1914 where they were judged inferior to the 7.5 cm guns. This cost the Austrians heavily as the 7.5 cm guns began to be delivered in April 1915 instead of the planned date of April 1914. For transport, the gun could be dismantled into six parts, generally carried in four loads. In addition, there was a gun shield fitted on some (perhaps many) such guns. German anti-tank gunners and supporting infantry, October 1918 The Germans bought some guns during World War I, but used them as infantry guns in direct support of the infantry, as their light weight would allow them to move with the infantry. They complained that the guns were too fragile and didn't have a high enough muzzle velocity to act as an anti-tank gun. Considering that the guns were designed to be disassembled, it's not too surprising that they couldn't stand the abuse moving through the shell-pocketed front lines on the Western Front. The Model Special Armour, a subsidiary of the MPM have produced some nice an unusual subjects it the past, and this is no different. Arriving in an end opening box with an artists interpretation of the gun on the front and the painting guide on the back this small cannon comes on two sprues of medium grey styrene. There is no etch or decals, so looks like it’ll be a fairly easy model to build. The moulding is really rather nice with some very fine detail included, no sign of flash and only a few moulding pips. Being a short run production there are no alignment pins on the parts, so you will need to get everything aligned before gluing. Construction starts with the assembly of the barrel, which is in two halves and comes complete with the breech section. To this the elevation quadrants are attached, along with the rear of the recuperator. The box trail is then assembled from two sides, four cross members and the elevation axle. The barrel assembly is then fitted into position, along with the three tread plates mounted on top of the trail and the spade at the rear. The front of the recuperator is then added, as are the wheel axles, sight mechanism, elevation handles and upper shield supports. The shield itself is made up from seven parts before being fitted to the front of the trail and the upper supports. The model is finished off with the addition of the single piece spoked wheels, two seats and their supports, four grab handles and the towing eye. The painting guide shows four different schemes all in overall colours, so no worry about painting complex camouflage. They are for the following:- Horsky Cannon vz.15 Czechoslovakian Army, in Medium Green, 1938 Obice da 75/13, (captured 7.5cm Gebirgskanone M.15), of the Italian Army 1918, in Dark Green 7.5cm Gebirgskanone M.15, Austro-Hungarian Army, 1917, in a Khaki Green GebK 15(t), Wehrmacht, the Caucasus Mountains, 1942, in Panzer Grey Conclusion As my first real look at a Special Armour kit and even though it’s a short run, it does look very nice and would make a pretty easy build, finishing up with a interesting and quite unusual model for your collection. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Hi All, Does anyone know what these small protrusions (studs) seen on the aft end of the cannon blisters on the E winged Spitfire Mk XVI TB863 are? They feature on the cannon blisters on both wings, with two being present on the port side while three are on the starboard side. Additionally it should be noted that these studs are made from rubber and appear quite pliable when pressed with a finger. A cropped image showing the starboard wing featuring cannon blisters with three rubber studs on the aft part of the blister. A Cropped image from another angle showing the three rubber studs on the aft part of the starboard side wing cannon blister. A cropped image showing the two rubber studs on the aft part of the port side wing cannon blister. A further cropped image that shows in greater detail the two rubber studs on the aft part of the port side wing cannon blister. I have not seen (noticed) these studs on any other Spitfire aircraft so was wondering what they are meant to be for and have they appeared on other Spitfires? All images are Copyright ©2012 Daniel Cox. Cheers, Daniel.
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