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  1. Vultee Vengeance Mk.I/Ia (DFW72038) 1:72 Dora Wings Distributed in the UK by Albion Alloys The A-31 Vultee Vengeance was designed and built for a French order that couldn’t be fulfilled due to Nazis overrunning the country before any deliveries could begin. The British government became interested in the design and placed an order for up to 300 airframes, by which time the aircraft had garnered the name Vengeance. It’s unusual wing design that looked like a diving bird had a 0° angle of incidence that made for an accurate dive with no lift from the wings to draw it off course. After America joined the war the type was investigated for their own use and given the number A-35 for their own and export use. Changes to the wing made it a little less accurate, but gave the pilots a better field of view, and an uprated engine from Mk.Ia onwards gave it a bit more power. By the time the Vengeance reached British service, the losses taken by the Stukas that it had been designed to emulate gave them pause for thought, and they weren’t allocated to the European Theatre of Operation (ETO), but were instead sent to India and Burma initially, although they were later phased out in favour of more capable machines before the war’s end. They eventually found their way to an anti-malarial spraying job, as mosquitos and the malarial plague they brought with them was taking a toll on troops and locals alike. Many of them finished their days as target tugs after being stripped of their weapons. Australia made a larger order and they found them to be much the same as the British did, seeing most of them out of service late in 1944, although a few lingered for a while. The Mk.II that followed was a slightly improved version of the original Mk.I, with just over 500 made. The Kit This is a new tool from Dora Wings of this peculiar beast that looks more like a creature than most. We received the awesome 1:48 kit of the Mk.II in early 2022, and now we’re getting a first look at the 1:72 kit of the Mk.I/Ia. It’s brand new and thoroughly modern, with a level of detail that gives the impression that a shrink-ray has been applied to its larger companion, except for a slight change in sprue layouts, and the fact that shrink rays don’t yet exist. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are seven rectangular sprues in a greenish-grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a sheet of pre-cut vinyl masks (not pictured), decal sheet, and the instruction booklet. It’s a comprehensive package, and there is plenty of PE at this scale to help you get some serious detail into your Vengeance. Examining the sprues, there has clearly been a lot of effort expended in creating this tooling, as detail is everywhere, and it’s good quality with engraved panel lines and some raised panels giving it a professional finish. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is of a larger size due to it having two crew members. The pilot’s instrument panel is a well-detailed part applying two dial decals, which has more styrene and PE parts plus an sloped wrap-around section, hanging a pair of styrene rudder pedals from the rear of the console. A compass with decal fits to the right diagonal section on a PE bracket, then the floor and bulkheads are made, which doubles as the roof of the bomb bay, as is common. Two seats are built from individual sections including PE diagonals and have PE four-point belts included for the pilot only. He also gets PE head armour and a styrene head rest on the bulkhead behind him, and a pair of side consoles that are built up in the same detailed manner as the instrument panel. The pilot’s seat is fixed to the floor on a ladder frame in front of the bulkhead and is hemmed in by the addition of the instrument panel and side console at that point. The gunner has a complex suspension mount for his seat that fits on a recessed circular section of floor with some additional parts around the area. The fuselage halves have a large area of ribbing engraved into the interior that covers the cockpit and bomb bay, and is further detailed by the addition of various PE and styrene parts before it is put to one side while the cockpit/bomb bay are finished off. The rear section of bulkhead is built up with PE and styrene, creating the base for the mount of the twin machine guns that are made later. A radio box is also put together for later. The bomb bay can be modelled open or closed, but it would be a shame to close the doors on all that detail. The instructions allow you to do that though, as it’s your model after all. Steps 19-27 & 48 cover the bombs with PE fins, a cylindrical tank, the door mechanisms, plus adding constructional beams to detail up the bay to an excellent level. The tail wheel is also made now with yet more detail, and this level of effort also extends to the twin .50cals on their mount, with sighting and bullet-shield parts, plus the twin-spade grips for those defensive moments. With a laundry list of assemblies complete, you can close the fuselage halves on the cockpit and tail wheel assemblies, adding two more detail parts in the area behind the gunner. The top of the fuselage is open forward of the cockpit, which is rectified by adding an insert and convex bulkhead to the front, and an A-frame roll-over bar between the two crew. Attention then turns to the big radial engine up front. The Vengeance Mk.I was powered by a Wright Cyclone R-2600-A5B, the Mk.Ia using a R-2600-19, with twin banks of pistons that are both are present on this model. Work begins with the front bell-housing and ancillaries, which has a drive-shaft for the prop pushed through the front and is held in place by a washer at the rear. Each bank of cylinders is made from front and rear halves, with a star of push-rods and wiring harness added to the front, capped off with the bell-housing. Its exhaust stubs are each made of two halves for fitting to the model, one per side. The engine assembly is attached to the front of the fuselage ready for its cowling later. The oddest part of the Vengeance are the wings. Before they are closed, the main bay walls are added to the upper wing, which has the roof detail moulded-in, augmented by PE ribbing, plus some additional detail added to the front walls. As the two wing halves are brought together, an insert is fixed into the trailing edge that has a curved outer edge to accept the flying surfaces. Two of these are made up, and joined by three flying surfaces with an additional pivot point fixed into the wing as you go along. This gives you plenty of leeway for posing these parts to your whim. The forward sections of the main gear bays are built up with three additional parts that are applied to the sides and front of the detailed roof. If you’ve opted to open the bomb bay, the two bombs are attached to their Y-shaped yokes and laid flat in the bay, then the wings and the angular elevator fin are fixed in place along with the rear gun and radio box in the cockpit. It’s looking like an aircraft now, and the transformation continues as you make up the cowling from two main halves and lip parts, into which the lower intake trunking is installed along with two PE splitters. Care here will reduce any hiding of seams later, which is always nice. The cooling flaps are moulded into the cowling in this smaller kit, making use of PE parts to recreate the dive-spoilers, which can be posed deployed with PE supports, and should look very realistic once painted, especially if their fit is as good as those on the 1:48 kit. The elevators and rudder are all separate assemblies that can again be posed deflected if you wish. The canopy is a large greenhouse with plenty of frames to terrify the masking averse, but they needn’t worry, as Dora have included a set of vinyl masks in translucent grey, pre-cut for your convenience. There are five canopy parts, beginning with the windscreen and working back to the gunner’s windows, all of which are slender and clear within the limits of injection moulding. There is a short vertical aerial on the centre section, which should be rigged with a length of fine line to the forward tip of the rudder fin, which is visible on the box art to assist you in getting it right. The main gear is similar to many American dive bombers, consisting of a straight, thick leg with PE oleo-scissors and detail parts, and a captive “spat” at the bottom of the leg that is a lot less usual. Four small side bay doors are also included with PE openers that are easy to lose as I found out in its larger cousin, and throughout the various bays, detail is excellent. The legs are fixed into the bays with a retraction jack added behind, installing the lower dive-spoilers and the bomb bay doors in the next step. If you’re closing the bomb bay, there is a single part for you to use, but leaving them open you have four parts, two per side, as the doors fold-up into a sharp V-shape at each side of the bay. As an aside, I used the closed bomb bay part as a mask for the open bomb bay in my 1:48 build, cutting notches where the door actuators extend beyond the walls. The fit was so snug that it was held in position by friction alone. A small PE exhaust outlet is inserted into a slot in front of the bomb bay, and at the rear of the aircraft the PE tail bay door is rested against the leg. The propeller is made from a single set of moulded blades that have a combined boss and spinner added to the front. Pop the pitot probe under the right wing, and fit two circular landing lights into their recesses under both wings, and that’s it done. Markings There are a generous four decal options on the sheet, although they’re all wearing the same basic brown/green camouflage scheme, with sky blue undersides, differentiating by their codes and lettering styles. From the box you can build one of the following: Mk.Ia (EZ804), 110(H) Sqn., Burma, 1944 Mk.Ia (EZ977), 8 Sqn., IAF, India, 1944 Mk.I (AN590), 1 GBPi, Brazil, 1943 Mk.Ia (EZ957), 110(H), Sqn., Burma, 1944 <ul style="list-style-type:upper-alpha"> Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The profiles contain thanks to both Steve Long and the director of the Camden Museum of Aviation for their assistance with this project. Conclusion This is a superbly-detailed model of this lesser-known combatant in the Pacific theatre during WWII, with its weird wings and massive engine cowling making it stand out on your model shelf. The 1:48 kit was a treat to build, and there’s nothing to suggest that this will be any different, with barely any difference in the level of detail supplied. Very highly recommended. Available soon from Dora Wings in the Ukraine, and in the UK from importers Albion Alloys. Review sample courtesy of Available soon in the UK in all good model shops. Distributed by
  2. SBD-5 Dauntless (03869) 1:48 Carrera Revell The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a Dive Bomber and Scout aircraft developed for the US Navy. The SBD standing for “Scout Bomber Douglas”. Design work on the aircraft was started as early as 1935 by the Northrop Corporation under the designation BT-1. Northrop was taken over by Douglas in 1937, and the design was modified to become the BT-2. This was eventually ordered by both the US Navy and Marine Corps and entered into service in time for America’s entry into WWII. The original SBD-1, and later SBD-2 (with increased range and different armament) were the first two types deployed. The USMC getting the -1 in late 1940, and the USN receiving the -2 in early 1941. One of the main features of the aircraft were the split flaps, more commonly referred to as Dive Brakes which were designed to stop tail buffeting in dives. The SBD-3 was to follow in 1941 which had increased armour, self-sealing fuel tanks, and four machine guns. The SDB-5 followed and was to become the most produced variant with almost 3000 built. This aircraft had a 1,200hp engine, and flew with increased ammunition capacity. The Royal Navy and FAA evaluated the SBD-5 but were not overly impressed, so decided not to take it on. The -5 was superseded by the -6 with another more powerful engine, and a further 450 were built before production of the type ended. As well as use by the USMC & USN the SBD-5 would be used by the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the French who used them against the Germans in Western France in early 1945, then later in Indochina in 1947. The US Army would use the same basic airframe as the A-24 Banshee, and the later A-24B was equivalent to the SBD-5, but with the arrestor gear removed. The A-24s survived to be incorporated into the new USAF inventory where they would become F-24s under the new nomenclature, with the last of them scrapped at the beginning of the 50s. The Kit This is a reboxing of the Accurate Miniatures kit that has been seen in many boxes over the years, including Italeri and Revell. This latest boxing is available now, and reminds us just how well the toolings of Accurate Miniatures have stood up to the tests of time since its initial release in 1997. It is a well-detailed kit with recessed panel lines, subtle details throughout and very little in the way of flash, indicating that the moulds haven’t suffered from their frequent use over the years. The kit arrives in Revell’s usual end-opening box, and inside are six sprues in a pale blueish grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and instruction booklet in colour with colour profiles on the rear pages. Construction begins with the interior, detailing the sidewalls of the fuselage with separate parts, adding the rear cockpit bulkhead, then creating the rear gun mount. The cockpit floor has a short spar moulded into the underside, which is joined by the clear main instrument panel with three decals supplied, the pilot’s bulkhead and seat that has decal belts, a single radio gear assembly, and an insert that fits between the crew positions. These are all painted up and fitted into the relevant slots in the starboard fuselage, and then locked in position by the port side without fitting the floor yet, as it has some additional work still required. Braces, control lines and floor mounted controls are added along with a pair of rudder pedals, then the floor assembly is inserted into the fuselage from below with the spars projecting through the slots in the wing roots. The lower wings are full width, and have a clear landing light inserted into the hole in the starboard side, and two holes need drilling on either wing to accept the bomb pylons later. The lower wings are offered up under the fuselage and once glued they are joined by the upper wings and the elevators at the rear, which are two parts each and have the flying surfaces moulded-in. The dive brakes on the main planes are fitted later on. Preparation of the front of the fuselage involves building up the gun trough insert with a pair of machine guns inside, and the 9-cylinder Wright R-1820-60 Cyclone engine, which is moulded as a single part to which the bell housing and wiring loom are added, and the magneto is glued to the top of the housing. The gun troughs and the tapered fuselage cowlings are glued to the main fuselage with another part underneath, then the painted engine is mounted on the keyed circular recess, with the cowling and the forward section of the gun insert assembled round it. The main gear is built next, with a choice or weighted or un-weighted tyres, which have separate hubs on each side, and attach to the axles on the struts that have a captive bay door added at an angle, which is shown in a scrap diagram to assist you, with the wheels outermost. An aerodynamic cowling around the centreline bomb is slotted into the underside, and you have a choice to depict the three-section dive brakes in deployed or stowed position, using either just the single central perforated section or adding the hinges, plus the upper and lower section of the two outboard brakes fitted flush with the wing surfaces, or installing them open by the use of delicate hinge parts that allow them to be posed partially deployed or fully open during a hard dive. The cockpit is completed by the addition of a number of small parts around the pilot’s station and the twin machine guns aft of the gunner’s seat, which are a single part on a separate mount and a small armour shield. The canopy is then installed, with more choice of parts and locations. The windscreen is the constant, while separate sections are sleeved inside the fixed section between the seats for a fully open configuration. If you’re closing the canopy over, there is a full-length part that butts up to the windscreen, which seems to require the gun mount to be removed, but it’s not made entirely clear. The three-bladed prop is a single part that slots into the bell-housing of the engine, and an exhaust stub slots into a gap in the cowling, with another on the other side. It’s bits and bobs time now, with pitot probe under the port wing and a TV-style radar antenna under both wings, plus another aerial pole just forward of the cockpit. The Dauntless is a bomber, and these are last to be made up, with the three-part centre bomb first with a pair of stencils, then the two-part ancillary bombs on their own pylons for attachment to the wings. The main bomb is fitted with an A-frame “trapeze” launcher that throws it away from the aircraft’s underside, and the final act is to add the arrestor hook that comes in handy, keeping the crew dry on their return to the carrier. Markings There are three decal options included on the sheet, and they are all painted in a variation of the three-tone US Navy scheme of WWII. From the box you can build one of the following: VB-16, USS Lexington (CV-16), August 1943 VB-16, USS Lexington, New Guinea, April 1944 VB-5 USS Yorktown (CV-10), Truk, February 1944 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s nice to see the Dauntless in 1:48 back again, which brings back fond memories of building the old Matchbox kit as a kid. This one’s a bit smaller and more detailed, and should build into a handsome model with some really nice decals. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  3. Douglas SBD Dauntless – Warpaint #137 Guideline Publications The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a Dive Bomber and Scout aircraft developed for the US Navy. The SBD standing for “Scout Bomber Douglas”. Design work on the aircraft was started as early as 1935 by the Northrop Corporation under the designation BT-1, which bore a striking resemblance to what would become the finished design, but with spatted main gear. Northrop was taken over by Douglas in 1937, and the design was modified to become the BT-2. This was eventually ordered by both the US Navy and Marine Corps and reached service in time for America’s entry into WWII. The original SBD-1, and later SBD-2 with increased range and other improvements were the first two types deployed. The US Marine Corps getting the -1 in late 1940, and the US Navy receiving the -2 in early 1941. One of the main features of the aircraft were the split flaps, more commonly referred to as Dive Brakes which were designed to stop tail buffeting in dives, and could be selected as dive brakes or flaps using a lever in the cockpit. The SBD-3 was to follow in 1941 which had increased armour, self-sealing fuel tanks, and four machine guns. The SDB-5 followed and was to become the most produced variant with almost 3000 built. This aircraft had a 1,200hp engine, and flew with increased ammunition capacity. The Royal Navy and FAA evaluated the SBD-5 but were not overly impressed, so decided not to take it on, although Australia and New Zealand flew the type. The -5 was superseded by the -6 with another more powerful engine, and a further 450 were built before production of the type was curtailed due to the end of the war. As well as use by the USMC & USN the SBD-5 would be used by the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the Free French who used them against the Germans in Western France in early 1945, then later in Indochina in 1947. The US Army would use the same basic airframe as the A-24 Banshee, and the later A-24B was equivalent to the SBD-5, but with the arrestor and catapult gear removed. The A-24s survived to be incorporated into the new USAF inventory where they would become F-24s under the new nomenclature, with the last of them scrapped at the beginning of the 50s. The Book The book by author Kev Darling is in the usual Warpaint format of portrait A4(ish) with a soft card cover but with higher page counts of recent editions, it utilises a perfect binding instead of the usual pair of staples to accommodate the genuine total of 100 pages plus content printed on the four sides of the glossy covers, including a two-page spread of plans in 1:72, penned by Sam Pearson. The initial section details the birth of the type in detail, with some interesting titbits of information included, then the subsequent pages detail the different types and Series, including the USAAF variants, the A-24. Very few of the photos are in colour, due to the period of the Dauntless’s service, with much of the content from the usual official sources and historical records that were kept by the, pilots, crews, developers, operators, and manufacturers. The pages include a lot of useful photos with informative captions of aircraft on the apron, on the field, in the air, during trials, and even a photo of test airframes, and those given unusual jobs away from the front. The Profiles section spreads over eight pages dotted around the front and back of the book, and shows a range of colours in which the type was painted, including some of the military and unusual schemes, plus foreign operators including Free French, Mexican and Chilean Air Forces. My favourite variant is usually the slightly weird one, but the Dauntless had very little in the way of variants other than the slow process of improving the type as technology progressed and in light of bitter combat experience. Of the schemes that are shown in the pages of profiles, the battle-worn grey camouflaged airframes look quite interesting, as they offer massive potential for in-depth weathering, with many of the photos showing the way these aircraft looked once they had been in action, showing signs of build-up of filth, streaks and stains, plus the gradual degrading of the paint surface due to the sun and sea-borne existence that many of the Dauntlesses experiences. A great many squadrons operated from land-based airfields however, so mud, dust and grime are also in the frame for weathering possibilities. The In Detail section is an interesting look at the aircraft at close range that spans three pages, and concentrates mostly on the rear gunner’s station on the first page, with a page of longer-range shots that point out details on the airframes, while the final page covers a variety of subjects, including an action shot of a Dauntless using a Rocket-Assisted Take-Off (RATO) pack to get airborne in case the catapults were out of action. There are kits of most variants of the Dauntless in all the major scales, some more recent than others, so it’s of interest to any modeller that’s interested in WWII diver bombers. Conclusion The Warpaint series always gets a thumbs-up due to their consistent layout and quality. This is an excellent book that will see plenty of use by anyone interest in, or in building this Slow But Deadly (SBD) dive bomber that gave sterling service, particularly in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, where it was flown by brave crew, many of whom must have known that their chances of getting back to their base, whether it was on land or a carrier, wasn’t particularly high. Note: You can buy either the traditional physical version of the book by following the link below, or the digital version if you’re more modern and forward thinking, or have limited physical storage space. Digital reference is starting to grow on me. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Junkers Ju.87D-3 Stuka Experten (SH72470) 1:72 Special Hobby The Ju-87 Stuka was conceived as a dive bomber in the early 1930s and proved itself a capable performer during the Spanish Civil war, then later during the Blitzkrieg in Western Europe. However, the Battle of Britain showed that the relatively slow speed of the aircraft rendered it vulnerable to more modern fighters of that time, such as the Spitfire and Hurricane fielded by the British. As such it was redeployed to combat arenas where the Luftwaffe held aerial superiority or where there was unlikely to be any airborne opposition at all. Axis aligned countries were also supplied with surplus German Aircraft, usually those that had since been superseded by new variants. The -D series featured two coolant radiators underneath the inboard wings panels, while the oil cooler was relocated to the position formerly occupied by the single, chin-mounted coolant radiator. The -D series also introduced an aerodynamically smoothed cockpit with better visibility for the pilot and overall space for the crew to move around in combat. Armour protection was also strengthened and a new twin-mount 7.92 mm MG 81Z zwilling machine gun with a high rate of fire was installed to improve the rate of fire they could direct at their opponents. Engine performance was increased with the installation of the improved Jumo 211J that now delivering around 1,400 hp, which enabled the weapons load to increase from a relatively ineffectual 500 kg to 1,800 kg, although a typical bomb load was more likely to be 500-1,200 Kg. The D-3 was intended for ground attack and was armed with forward firing machine guns as well as the afore mentioned bomb load and crew protection. The Stuka’s ground attack credentials were further improved by the replacement -G variant, which added hard-points for underslung cannons in panniers under the wings. The Kit This a reboxing of the Academy kit, with additional parts that were tooled by Special Hobby themselves. The kit arrives in a top-opening box with the usual yellow/white theme and an attractive painting of the subject matter on the front. Inside are six sprues in two shades of grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), a small bag containing three 3D printed parts in orange resin, the instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages, and a decal sheet in a separate bag. Detail of the Academy parts is good, and they are matched in every way but the colour by the new sprue from Special Hobby’s designers. The addition of the new parts, resin and PE are a good boost to the base kit, and the decals are printed by Eduard, so the carrier film can be removed after application. Construction begins with the cockpit of course, making up the bulkhead between the crew, then adding PE seatbelts to the pilot’s seat and the gunner’s less salubrious perch at the rear. The assemblies are fixed to the cockpit floor along with a seat base for the pilot, control column and tiny PE rudder pedals in the front, and extra ammo containers at the side of the gunner’s seat, and finally a bulkhead at the rear. Before you can close the fuselage, the rudder panel must be removed from just the port fuselage half, as it’s a full-thickness part and is replaced by the new part later on. The interior of the fuselage has nice detail moulded-in, with one extra part added to the starboard side before the cockpit is trapped between the halves during closure. The instrument panel is fitted into the front coaming and a decal is applied over the painted panel, then it is glued to the top of the fuselage, and at the rear of the cockpit opening another insert is installed with the clear direction-finding antenna that is recessed into the fuselage. The nose section is separate from the main fuselage to enable more versions from the same tooling, and it is built up from two halves plus two exhaust stacks, radiator inside the intake and the prop shaft moulded into the starboard side. This is glued to the fuselage, after which the wings are started. The lower wing is full span, but needs a section cutting out from the centre to accommodate a new insert with a pair of lugs inserted into holes from inside. The outer wings are glued over the top, and the fuselage is then dropped in between the gap. At the rear the new rudder panel is glued in place with the two elevators each single parts plus the flared end-caps, sliding into slots in the fuselage sides. Each wing needs a pair of holes drilled out to accept the relocated intakes for the oil coolers, and this is shown out of step with the build, as the flashed-over holes aren’t visible from the outside, so drill them out before you join the upper and lower wings together. This also applies to two more holes outboard of the gear legs under each wing. You have been warned! Speaking of wheels, the new sprue contains two-part wheels with radial tread, and these can be inserted into either un-spatted gear legs, or the more aerodynamically clean but sometimes impractical spatted legs, the latter option also having 3D printed tubes added to the curved front and spinners that apply to just one decal option. With your choice of main gear legs installed on butt-joints under the wings, the common tail wheel is inserted under the elevators, adding support struts between the elevators and fuselage sides, plus a pair of semi-conformal bomb shackles under each wing. Each of the moulded-in wing-flaps have three actuators added into holes in the respective surfaces, plus two smaller parts, and a further two more upstands are inserted vertically under the chin intake as pivots for the bomb launching cradle. The bombs are made up from PE fins and two-part styrene bodies, adding more PE stabilising struts between the rear of each fin, forming a square when looking from behind. The larger bomb is added to the launch cradle and glued to the centreline, while the two pairs of smaller bombs fix to the mounts under the wings, plus the PE dive-brakes that flip up to enhance the aircraft’s dive characteristics when deployed. Turning the model over onto its wheels, the rear gunner has the mount and twin machine guns added, while at the front the prop is built up from the three blades that are moulded together, which is slipped over the shaft following the rear spinner plate, so that it can be secured by a styrene O-ring that is then covered over by the spinner cap so it can remain mobile once the glue is cured. The canopy can be posed closed by using the single-part moulding on the clear sprue, or you can use the four-part separate sections to pose the canopy fully or partially open, with both options receiving an antenna that fixes in a hole moulded into the centre-aft section. The wing guns, pitot probe and clear landing light are all then glued into the leading edge of the wings to complete the model. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, and you will need to make some decisions about which you want to model early on, as it affects your choice of gear legs. Although the options all wear the same green RLM70/71 splinter camouflage over an RLM65 blue underside, they are differentiated by their distinctive markings and the clumsy way that previous markings have been overpainted. From the box you can build one of the following: T6+AA, Orbstlt Dr. Ernst Kupfer, CO of St.G 2, The Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine, Summer 1943 S7+AA, Orbstlt Walter Sigel, CO of St.G 3, Egypt 1942 T6+BC, Wr.N.2491, Little Bear, Gruppenadjutant II.St.G 2, Lt Gunter Schmid, Eastern Ukraine, September 1942 The decals appear to be printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. I mention Eduard because from 2021, 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 swastikas on the tail are shown as black diamonds on the profiles, but are on the sheet as two halves so that you can add them for the sake of historical accuracy, leave them off if you don’t wish to display them, or your country has laws against its use. Conclusion The base kit is well-detailed with fine engraved panel lines, and the addition of the new sprue and extras in the shape of PE and resin really raise this Stuka’s game, making for an interesting build and some unusual schemes. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. I reviewed this model and as I didn't even finish a single complete kit last year, I wanted to get at least a couple done this year, which I've now managed It's the Dora Wings Vultee Vengeance Mk.II in 1:48, and it was painted up with Gunze Mr Color of the Aqueous and the other ones (I forget the name - they start with C, rather than H). It's pretty much OOB apart from a few bits that I lost and had to replace by scratch-building them. I'm going to have to have a word with that wormhole on my workbench soon Anyway - it's picture time! Note: the tail-wheel went for a lie down just before I took this pic. ...and that me old dears is it. I hope you enjoyed looking at the pics as much as I did building the kit, and if it encourages you to pick one up, just go for it. The fit is good, the finish is excellent, and it's a doozy of a kit of a weird and ugly looking aircraft, which is probably why it appealed to me You can look back over the build here if you're curious about any aspect of it Next up is the painting of the Special 1:48 Hobby V-1 Reichenberg and the delayed completion of the Eduard 1:48 Zero from the tail-end of last year. if you can bear to watch along, I'd be glad to see y'all
  6. Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless Upgrade Sets (for Revell) 1:48 Eduard Revell have recently re-released this kit, with its origins as an Accurate Miniatures offering from the late 1990s. It’s still a good kit, but could do with more detail sprinkled over it to bring it up to modern standards - if detail is your thing. Eduard's new range of sets are here to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Interior (491236) Two frets are included, one nickel-plated and pre-painted, the other bare brass. A complete set of new layered instrument panels, sidewalls and side consoles with added levers for the cockpit and the extensive radio and other controls for the rear cabin are in colour, plus engine detail and wiring harness for the 9-cylinder Wright R-1820-60 Cyclone engine and an intake for the top of the cowling. The exterior has a set of upgrade parts for the main gear wells, and under the fuselage the pilot’s bird’s-eye-view window is replaced by a PE frame and acetate pane, which is supplied in the set. The bomb shackles have new crutches supplied, and the bombs are also detailed with spinners front and rear, plus a brand-new PE set of fins and suspension ring that wraps around the front of the bombs. The last few parts provide a detail part for the gunner’s ring plus a length of link for the twin guns, with a few tiny parts for each of the main gear legs. Seatbelts STEEL (FE1237) These belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived extra depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. As well as the two sets of lap belts for the crew, you also get a flexible loop-seat that the gunner sits on when he’s crewing the turret. Landing Flaps (481074) Eduard landing flaps use an ingenious technique to achieve excellent true-to-scale flaps using few parts, and requiring the modeller to simply remove the retracted flaps from the lower wing and a few other small areas as directed, plus scrape the upper wings to accommodate the thickness of the completed bays. The central flap bay section is constructed by twisting and folding over the attached ribs to create a 3D shape, with extra parts added along the way. This is fitted in the centre under the fuselage, between the wing and a part that was cut off and attached to the fuselage beforehand. You will need to add some 0.6mm and 0.9mm rod to the bay in order to complete the mechanism that operates the flaps, then the two outer split-flaps are made up and attached to the wings in a deployed position, while the single central layer flap is fixed deflected to the same angle as the lower sections of the wing flaps. A scrap diagram shows the correct layout of the assemblies at the end, and adds a few small details and some 0.2mm rod to finish off. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Junkers Ju 87B-1 Stuka 1:72 Airfix A03087A The Ju 87 Stuka (Sturzkampfflugzeug or dive bomber) was one of the most famous German aircraft of World War II. First flown in 1935, it made its combat debut in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 before going on to serve throughout the European and North African theatres of the Second World War. Although it was initially a highly effective ground attack aircraft, the Stuka’s shortcomings quickly became apparent during the Battle of Britain when it came up against the fast, modern fighters of the RAF. The B was the first mass produced version, and the B-1 having a large engine, redesigned fuselage and landing gear, the twin radio masts of the "A" version with were replaced with a single mast mounted further forward on the canopy, the wheel "spats" were simpler and lighter, discarding the transverse strut bracing of the "A" version. The Ju 87D sought to remedy these shortcomings with a new, more powerful engine, improved armour and defensive armament and increased fuel capacity. With the later Ju 87G being a dedicated tank buster variant based on the D. It featured two 37mm cannon mounted in pods under the wing. Each gun was fitted with a magazine holding six rounds of armour piercing ammunition. While relegated from certain operations the aircraft did excel in the ground support role on the Eastern Front, and was feared by the partisans in areas such as the Balkans where it had less of an issue protecting itself from fighters. The Kit This is Airfix's new tool kit from 2016 which we have not seen so far on BM. It looks to be a great kit with nice moulding recessed panel lines, and some good engineering when it comes to the construction. The first indication of this comes with the centre section to hold the famous cranked wings of the stuka at the right angles. A study frame fits to the bottom centre section f the main wing. To the top of this fits the pilots seat, here there is one plain seat for use with the supplied crew figures; or a second empty seat with moulded in belts. The control column and rear seaters position also fit onto this centre section. Next up we move to the main fuselage. Into both halves go the internal structures down each side, then at the front the main instruments panel with the instruments being supplied as a decal. The fuselage can then go together and be fitted to the wing centre section. Now we move to the wings. The uppers are fitted direct to the completed fuselage as they have tabs which fit to the centre section. The lowers can then also be fitted, again these have tabs. If using the bomb racks dont forget to open up the holes for these first. Once the main wing is on it is time for the tailplanes and rudder. The tail planes have struts which attach to the fuselage. Work now switches to the front of the Stuka with the nose/engine being assembled and added. Next up is the wheels and spats. We see a little bit of thought again from Airfix here in that the wheels do come with a bulge, however if you dont like this (I do think its a little too excessive) then the wheel positions can be rotated on the spats. Either position has a tab which locks the wheels in place. Once completed these can be added to the aircraft. Now the main fuselage/wings/wheels are together its time to finish off. The large distinctive dive brakes are added along with the bombs and their racks if you are using them. The trapeze being provided for the centre line bomb to enable it to clear the prop disc. We finish off the cockpit with figures if needed , the radio sets and the bomb sight. Airfix have provided separate parts for either open or closed canopies. This is either both open, or both closed. There is also a separate clear disc to add the rear machine gun to. Lastly the propeller is made up and installed along with the leading edge landing lights and the pitot tube. Markings A small decal sheet from Cartograf provides markings for two aircraft. There should be no issues with these. Airfix have provided no swastikas its noted, so the modeller will have to source these. II./Sturzkampfgeschwader 77, Germany/Poland - Spring 1939 I./Sturzkampfgeschwade 2 "Immelmann" - Balkans 1940/41 Conclusion This is a great to see this kit released its well thought out and should build into to a great looking model Review sample courtesy of
  8. SAAB B-5 Swedish Dive Bomber 1:72 Special Hobby (72421) The SAAB B-5 was a licence built Douglas Model A8-1, which in turn was a Northrop A-17, developed for the export market. This was a land-based light bomber, developed in the 1930s for the US Army Air Force. Similar in layout to the Vought Vindicator naval aircraft, the A-17 was an unrelated development, despite being powered by the same Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp Junior radial engine. It was capable of a maximum speed of just over 200mph, had a range of 650 miles and could carry up to 1,200lb of bombs in its internal bay or on hard points under the wings. Although the A-17 was not produced in any great numbers it was exported to a surprising number of countries, including Argentina, Iraq, Norway and Sweden. Douglas built 2 for Sweden and then 94 were built by SAAB. These served until 1944 when they were replaced in thee Dove Bomber role by the SAAB 17. The Kit The handsome Northrop A-17 hasn't been all that well supported by model companies over the years. Rareplanes issued a vacuum formed kit back in the 1970s, and that was your lot until the injection-moulded MPM kit was released in 2002. The kit has been released multiple times since then, with this new version being the latest from Special Hobby. There are two sprues of plastic parts, an injection canopy with vac form additions, a bag of resin parts, additional resin skis and two sheets of PE . The long cockpit is reasonably detailed, being made up of thirteen parts. The pilot's compartment is comprised of a floor, two-part seat, rear bulkhead, instrument panel and control column, while the rear compartment is made up from a radio set, ammunition container, rear gun ring; and seat. The insides of the fuselage halves feature some basic sidewall details, which leaves a pretty favourable overall impression. A set of photo etched harnesses would finish things off nicely if you happen to have some to hand. Once the cockpit has been assembled and painted, the fuselage halves can be joined. The lower centre section of the wing is next. You may want to fit this part before the glue dries on the fuselage halves just to make sure everything lines up properly. The upper wings and the outer sections of the lower wings can be fitted next. Ailerons are moulded in place, as are the elevators on the tail planes, although the stretched fabric details are pretty nice. The engine is moulded as a single resin piece with additional resin parts finished with a resin cowl. This fits onto a resin mount. For the Swedish version the main canopy will need to have the pilots section removed and replaced with the new vac form section. It would have been good if this was produced in plastic though. As with the real thing, the undercarriage is relatively simple but decent enough. The main wheels have spats, or can be replaced with the nice resi skis in this boxing. Complicated resin bomb racks need to be made up for under the wing centre section, thankfully a jig is included to get everything lined up correctly. It is a shame no bombs are included or the racks. Final details include a four-part propeller, pitot tube, radio aerial mast and resin exhaust pipe. Decals Three options are provided on the decal sheet, these look to have been made in house, they look to be in register with no issues.: B-5B 7030 N.4 Flygflotilj 4, Winter 1943/44 B-5B, Flygflotilj 6, 1943 B-5B 7017 Flygflotilj 21, Winter 1944 Conclusion This is a nice enough little kit which possesses a reasonable amount of detail and which should be an enjoyable and satisfying model to build. My only gripes are that some of the panel lines look a bit crude and having a canopy of injection and vac form parts may pose a challenge. . All the same, this kit can be recommended, which is handy if you're in the market for a 1:72 SAAB B-5 as there isn't much else to choose from. Review sample courtesy of
  9. V-156F Vindicator ‘Aéronavale Service’ (SH48213) 1:48 Special Hobby The Vindicator’s original designation in US service was SB2U, and it served with the US Navy until the battle of Midway, latterly as trainers, despite having its beginnings in the mid-30s as a scout bomber that reached its peak by the outbreak of WWII in 1939. The French ordered 40 to serve on one of their carriers, but it was mothballed as out-dated when the war began, so the aircraft had to serve from ground locations, fighting against the Italians and even providing air cover for the Dunkirk evacuation. The remainder were so few that they were phased out after the French surrendered. The British Fleet Air Arm took over the pending French order for an additional 50 airframes after capitulation, and in FAA service they were known as the Chesapeake. In US service, a number were destroyed on the ground during the Pearl Harbour attack by the Japanese that drew America into WWII, with most of the low number of airframes produced eventually being replaced by the more capable SBD Dauntless in front-line service. The Kit This a Special Hobby reboxing of the 2005 Accurate Miniatures kit that has also been seen in an Azur and Academy boxes over the years, but this boxing has been augmented by the inclusion of resin and Photo-Etch (PE) details, plus a new set of wings and decals that make a more unique product. It arrives in a standard Special Hobby top-opening box, with four sprues in grey styrene (the wings are a different grey), two sprues of clear parts, a bag of resin, a fret of PE, a clear slip of acetate with the instrument panels printed in black, plus the instruction booklet that is printed in colour on glossy white paper. The wings stand out as more modern and are moulded in SH’s style, having a more matt finish and plenty of raised and engraved detail over the surface. The Accurate Miniatures plastic that has been moulded for them by Academy, also has plenty of detail, including the ribbed surface of the fuselage, sagged and round tyres, and plenty of interior detail. The Vindicator’s cockpit is a long slot with a deck separating the two seats, which is where construction begins. The front cockpit is assembled on a short floor at the front of the raised deck, with the internal steel framing of the fuselage and instruments/controls depicted as fine parts that attach to the sides, joined by the seat with PE belts, a tie-down web for the dinghy pack and small control parts in PE, which take up a substantial number of parts. The rear cockpit has a longer floor and is built up in a similar way with fuselage framework supporting controls and accessories, with a rear bulkhead and gun mount that has fine PE parts, then the seat with PE lap belts and furniture. Before they are installed in the fuselage, the multi-layer instrument panel is made up from a styrene rear, acetate mid-layer and PE front detail parts in two stepped sections that fit to the front of the fuselage framework along with some more tiny parts and a frame over the rear of the gunner’s position. The fuselage can then be closed up around the sub-assemblies, the tailwheel and a small bulkhead forward of the tail, with some interior painting and some ejector-pin marks that may need filling. Under the rear fuselage is an insert with more ribbing, which has a slot in the back to accommodate the resin arrestor-hook. The new wings are full-width on the underside, and have their upper sections added, checking whether any of the internal ejector-turrets need cutting back before you apply the glue. The elevators have moulded in flying surfaces, and are each made from top and bottom surfaces. Before these assemblies are added to the fuselage, the engine and its cowling must be made up, beginning with the cowling flaps in open or closed position, onto which the engine mount is fixed. The radial engine is represented with both banks of pistons and a bell-housing with push-rods and some oversized wiring harness moulded-in. You can cut the wiring loom out and replace them with something more in scale if you feel the urge. The cowling is made from two curved panels that are joined into a cylinder and have internal parts added to the intake, then the lip is fitted over the engine to (almost) complete the fuselage. The wings are then inserted into the gap in the upper wing and glued in place along with the elevators. Flipping the airframe over, the landing gear is made up mostly from styrene parts with the assistance of a few small resin parts, and a choice of either round of slightly flattened smooth treaded tyres on two-part hubs on the main wheels. Separate oleo-scissors, bay doors and retraction mechanisms are included, or you could use the round tyres and hubs with extra parts for the combined leg and doors to portray the aircraft in the wheels-up pose. The Vindicator used spoilers to provide the impetus to dive, which came out of shallow bays in the upper and lower wings when needed. These are moulded-into the wings and can be fitted in either retracted or deployed positions by setting the PE spoilers flush or perpendicular to the wing surface, as shown in the instructions. The long greenhouse canopy can be fitted closed by using the windscreen and single canopy part, or you can change it out and use the four-part open canopy that is also on the sprue, checking your references for the correct angles and position of the parts. The prop is a two-blade affair and has a separate cap on the axle, then you depict the gun ports by drilling out a 2mm hole in the leading edge of the wing, and applying a PE patch over the hole, with a pitot probe on the left wingtip and aerial mast at the front on the engine cowling. More spoilers are fitted to the underside, and two resin bombs on shackles are glued into holes under the inner wing panels along with the pilot’s two panel window in the underside that helps locating the target's position in preparation for diving on its prey. Markings The Vindicator had a relatively short career in French hands, so three of the four are painted in a blue grey shade, while one has some green camouflage splotches oversprayed to give a more unusual look. From the box you can build one of the following: No.13/AB1-12, Escadrille AB1, Boulogne-Alprech, winter 1939-40 No.7/White 6, Escadrille AB1, French Vindicators’ carrier tests, aircraft carrier ‘Béarn’, may 1940 No.10/White 9, Escadrille AB3, Hyeres, 1940 No.8/AB1-6, Escadrille AB1, Boulogne-Alprech, autumn 1939-40 Conclusion A welcome niche variant reboxing of this lesser-known type that fought valiantly at the beginning of WWII but received little in the way of acknowledgement for its efforts or those brave aviators in the cockpit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. The Junkers Ju.87 Stuka – Airframe & Miniature #14 Valiant Wings Publishing The Stuka was infamous during WWII for its indiscriminate dive-bombing attacks on civilians, as well as military targets, equipped with sirens called Jericho Trumpets to instil fear in their prey, a noise that is still being used as sound effects for any diving or crashing aircraft in movies. It was a pre-war design that was perfectly suitable for its task and performed well during the Spanish Civil War and conquest of Europe thanks to its almost vertical dive profile, the terrifying sirens and automatic dive-recovery system, but showed its weaknesses once they began to attack the British Isles, where they encountered faster Spitfires and Hurricanes. This resulted in horrible losses of highly trained Stuka pilots, and thereafter they were deployed with a substantial escort of fighters such as the Bf.109 or Bf.110, which itself needed escorting before too long. Various improvements were made to the airframe after the prototype period, resulting in the B, with subsequent changes taking them up to the G and beyond, including change of role turning it into a ground-attack aircraft armed with cannons. Its flexibility kept it in the Nazi inventory longer than its relatively low speed warranted, and it fitted into various niches where speed wasn’t so much of an issue, but when the tide of war turned against them, production was scaled back. Production eventually ceased allowing the factory to concentrate on other types until it was destroyed in 1944. The remaining airframes soldiered on as they dwindled away to the end of the war. The Book The book is perfect-bound with 240 pages on glossy paper, tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, isometric drawings by Jurej Jankovic and models by a group of fine modellers. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the pages are broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. The chapter breakdown in more detail is as follows: Airframe Chapters 1. Evolution – Prototypes & Ju.87A Series 2. Evolution – Ju.87B & R Series 3. Evolution – Ju.87D & G Series 4. Evolution – Ju.87C, E, F, H & Ju.187 5. Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters 6. Ju.87 Kits 7. Building a Selection 8. Building a Collection 9. In Detail: The Ju.87 Fuselage Engine Oil, Fuel, Coolant & Hydraulic Systems Wings Tail Undercarriage Armament Electrical Equipment Miscellaneous Equipment Appendices I. Ju.87 Kits II. Ju.87 Accessories and Mask List III. Ju.87 Decals IV. Bibliography Two concertina sheets of 1:48 Scale plans captive in the rear cover (equivalent to 8 pages printed on both sides) The scale plans are nicely thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge captive to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Jurej Jankovic that pick out the differences between variants and sub-variants are a dream for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. Afterall, there's only so much that modern photo editing software can do. The builds by Libor Jekl and Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with three in 1:72, two in 1:48 and one in 1:32, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. Conclusion This book is brimming with interest and information, with something for everyone – the modeller, the aviation enthusiast or history buff. My personal favourite parts are the variant isometrics as previously mentioned, but there is so much to enjoy and it’s all good. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Hi Guys, while I wait for bits of my 747 build to dry, I thought I'd put these out for you to peruse. Many years ago I went to Tokyo and took some rather bad photos of at that time the only surviving Yokosuka D4Y dive bomber. Today there is a second at Chino. Like I said, the pics aren't brilliant, but the aeroplane was a good 'un. Take a look here for a walkaround: http://warbirdswalkaround.wixsite.com/warbirds/what-s-new
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