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Found 14 results

  1. Gloster Gauntlet Mk.I (AZ7866) 1:72 AZ Model by Kovozávody Prostějov The Gauntlet bears a family resemblance to the Gladiator from the same stable because it preceded it, entering service earlier after an extended development process that would be worthy of a modern defence project. Its development began as early as 1929, but it wasn’t until 1933 that it was given the name Gauntlet, and another two years before it started to enter service with the RAF in small numbers. It was intended as a replacement to the Bulldog, which it outpaced by 50mph thanks to its Bristol Mercury engine, with heavier armament that included two machine guns in troughs in the fuselage sides, firing through the cowling and propeller. Only twenty-four of the initial airframes were made before there were improvements made, which were give the designation Mk.II, resulting in the initial batch being retrospectively named Mk.I. The Mk.II made up the majority of production, with over 200 manufactured in the UK, plus more built overseas. At its peak there were fourteen squadrons equipped with Gauntlets, but as the storm clouds of war began to gather, it was already outdated. By the time war finally broke out, only one squadron was left in frontline service, the rest having transitioned to more modern fighters such as the Hurricane, which was created by Gloster’s new owners, Hawker, still carrying over some design traits from the Gauntlet through the Gladiator to the Hurricane, particularly in the rear fuselage and tail areas. Happily for the Hurricane pilots however, the speed and armament of their new aircraft was much improved and gave them a fighting chance against the enemy. The Gauntlet lingered on as a trainer in the UK and abroad for a while, with a single Mk.II preserved in airworthy condition in Finland, one of its former operators, although the engine has been replaced by something a little more modern for practical reasons. The Kit This is a reboxing of a 2008 tooling from AZ that has been re-released with new decals that depict the Gauntlet in RAF and Danish service. It arrives in a small end-opening box with a painting of a gaggle of Gauntlets over rolling fields on the front, and profiles for the decal options on the rear of the box. Inside are three sprues of grey styrene, decal sheet, a small sheet of clear acrylic with two windscreens printed on it, plus the instruction booklet that is printed on a folded sheet of A4, with a series of rigging profiles on the rearmost page. Detail is good, with just a wisp of flash here and there, and a good representation of the fabric covered framework over the majority of the airframe. Construction begins with the simple cockpit that is based on a well-detailed flat section of floor, onto which the seat, control column and rudder pedals are fixed, applying four-point decal seatbelts to the pilot’s position for a little extra detail. There is cockpit sidewall detail moulded into the insides of the fuselage halves, and once these and the cockpit are painted and weathered, the fuselage halves can be joined together, adding a two-part instrument panel at the front of the cockpit cut-out. The engine is supplied as a single part with nine cylinders arranged around the core, which is surrounded by a three-part cowling due to the teardrop fairings around the perimeter, finishing the cowling off with a separate lip at the front. The tail fin is moulded into the fuselage halves, adding the individual elevator fins to the sides in small slots, and a tail-wheel with moulded-in strut underneath. The lower wing is a single part that is inserted into a slot under the fuselage, and once the seams have been dealt with, the landing gear can be built, made from two triangular struts that are linked by the axle that has wheels mounted on each end, positioning the assembly on the underside of the fuselage using the small recesses that are moulded into the model to locate them accurately. Four cabane struts are similarly fitted to the fuselage in front of the cockpit using more guide recesses, which supports the upper wing that is also moulded as a single part. Four interplane struts are fitted between the wings, and a scrap diagram gives details of the tensioner rods that are suspended in the rigging, which is dealt with over the page. A pair of exhausts are mounted under the cowling, cutting the windscreen from the acetate sheet and folding it to shape before gluing it to the front of the cockpit, then slotting the two machine gun barrels in the troughs on each side of the fuselage. The final task (if we ignore the rigging for now) is the two-blade propeller, gluing a spinner to the front to finish it. Speaking of rigging, there are four diagrams on the rear of the booklet, detailing the location of the wiring, which should assist with the process along with the box art for a three-quarter view. Markings There are three options on the decal sheet, two RAF, and one in Danish service, the latter having a more interesting scheme, as the RAF were heavily invested in silver dope in the 1930s – perhaps someone had shares? From the box you can build one of the following: 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. Conclusion The Gauntlet was a well-used interwar fighter that in its day was an impressive improvement over those that it replaced, but was soon to be left in the wake of the next generation of fighters due to the speed of development at the time. The kit depicts its fabric covering well, with a detailed cockpit, and it comes with some interesting decal options. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Spitfire Mk.Vc Trop ‘Mediterranean Theatre’ (KPM0417) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain alongside 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 lingered on 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. The Mk.II 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 C-wing was also known as the Universal Wing, and could carry different armament types without modification, cutting down on manufacturing time, whilst offering easy armament changes depending on the task at hand. The Kit This variant of the beloved Spitfire is a reboxing with additional parts of the 2016 tooling, and arrives in a small end-opening box with a painting of the subject on the front and the decal options on the rear. Inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a tiny clear sprue, two decal sheets and the instruction booklet, which is specific to the Mk.Vc. Looking inside, the sprues are very nicely detailed with two sets of wings that have different gun fairings as separate parts for the topsides, so care will need to be taken when snipping them from the sprues. The interior is similarly well detailed, with raised and engraved detail on the sidewalls and instrument panel, plus the typical strengthening ribbing on the roof of the gear bays, which is moulded into the underside of the upper wings. Construction begins with the cockpit, with a decal provided to apply over the black panel to enhance the details, the control column, red-brown Bakelite seat, the seat frame with an armoured panel between the seat and its frame. This is attached to the floor section, then the stick and seat join them along with the instrument panel where the rudder pedals pass through the footwell cut-out. The completed cockpit is glued into the starboard fuselage half, and the two exhaust slots are backed by some styrene sheet from your own stock, with a drawing of a template given to assist you with this. If you have some 3.5mm wide strip to hand, you’re half way there already. The fuselage is then closed after adding the twin bottles in the port side, and the clear gunsight is fitted to the top of the panel, ideally after you’ve finished with the fuselage seams. The lower wing is full-width as you’d imagine, and this more modern tooling is detailed with the oil cooler and radiator fairing that has textured front and rear radiator surfaces, plus a pair of teardrop shaped blisters outboard of the gear bays, which also has the narrow tunnel that accommodates the gear strut when retracted. The upper wing halves are glued over the lower, and once dry it is joined to the fuselage, has the gun barrels installed in the leading edges, the elevators and rudder fixed to the tail, and the chin insert added to the front, followed by the two-part chin intake, exhausts, and tail-wheel with moulded-in strut. The landing gear is simple and made from a single strut, captive bay door and single part wheel on each side. The prop is moulded as a single three-blade part that is trapped between the front and rear spinner, the latter having an axle moulded to the rear that is inserted into the front of the fuselage. The canopy is a single-part, and has a rear-view mirror fitted to the top of the windscreen, and an antenna just behind the cockpit. The back page of the instructions shows the location of the aerials and all the stencils, including the flare-port decal on the side of the canopy. Markings There are three options on the main decal sheet, while the separate sheet contains all the stencils, which is good to see at this scale. From the box you can build one of the following: 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. Conclusion A well-detailed replica of Britain’s favourite fighter from WWII as it flew in the sunny Mediterranean in the hands of British, South African and French pilots. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Bf.109K-14 Late (AZ7850) 1:72 AZ Model by Kovozávody Prostějov With almost 34,000 examples constructed over a 10-year period, the Messerschmitt Bf.109 is one of the most widely produced aircraft in history and it saw active service in every theatre in which German armed forces were engaged. Designed in the mid-1930s, the Bf.109 shared a similar configuration to the Spitfire, deploying monocoque construction and V12 engine, albeit an inverted V with fuel injection rather than a carburettor used in the Spit. Initially designed as a lightweight interceptor, like many German types during WWII, the Bf.109 evolved beyond its original brief into a bomber escort, fighter bomber, night fighter, ground-attack and reconnaissance platform. The Bf.109G series, colloquially known as the Gustav, was first produced in 1942. The airframe and wing were extensively modified to accommodate a more powerful engine, greater internal fuel capacity and additional armour. In contrast to early 109s, which were powered by engines delivering less than 700hp, some of the later Gustavs could output almost 2000hp with water injection and high-performance superchargers. The Gustav series accounted for a dizzying array of sub-variants, some of which featured a larger tail of wooden construction. Odd number suffixed aircraft had pressurised cockpits for high altitude operation, Erla Haube clear view canopy with clear rear head armour, underwing points for tanks, cannon or rockets and larger main wheels resulting in square fairings on the inner upper wings to accommodate them. The K series or Kurt was an attempt by the RLM to standardise production after the myriad of Gustav sub-variants, adding large rectangular blisters on the upper wings to accommodate wider wheels, and a more powerful variant of the DB engine that could propel it to around 440mph on a good day with the right fueling. Despite the difficulties experienced in manufacture at that late stage of the war, a few thousand of them were produced before the end, although the lack of well-trained pilots was more of an issue. The Kit This is a reboxing of AZ’s original tooling from 2014, with some new parts somewhere along the way. It’s a well-detailed kit with moulded-in equipment in the cockpit sidewalls, details in the wheel wells, and subtle exterior detail too, especially on the fuselage parts. It arrives in a small end-opening box with an attractive painting of the subject matter sporting a violet nose on the front, and the decal option profiles on the rear. Inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a tiny clear sprue in its own Ziploc bag, two decal sheets and the instruction booklet. You will need to pay attention to the sprues, as there are four fuselage halves in the box, due to the earlier G fuselage being on the same sprue as the wings, which will be needed. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is well-detailed as previously mentioned, consisting of the floor with rear bulkhead, seat base, rudder pedals, control column, trim wheels, gunsight, a well-recessed instrument panel (sadly no decal, despite the instructions mentioning one), and the moulded-in side wall detail, plus the forward bulkhead, which has the cannon-breech cover inserted before it is added to the front of the assembly. It is glued into the new starboard fuselage half when completed, and the exhaust stacks are slipped through the slots in the cowling on both sides ready to be closed. There is a top cowling insert added later to complete the fuselage, which has the two nose machine gun troughs and a pair of gun barrels on a carrier insert, a combined fin and rudder, while the fuselage has a smoothly faired side to that lacks the prominent Beule of the earlier G, and head armour that is moulded clear because it has a section of armoured glass in the centre. The lower wing is full-width except for the tips, which are moulded into the upper surfaces for fidelity, and these have the radiators depicted by front and rear faces inserted into the fairings after a little thinning, reducing their shape as per a set of scrap diagrams. The uppers are glued over and have the rectangular fairings laid over the previous half-moon blisters, and then you can paint the whole gear bays and insert the radiator flaps, which also get a coat of RLM66 on the inside, like most of the interior – I thought that the gear bays would still be RLM02, but what do I know? The wings and the fuselage are mated, then the landing gear is prepped, although they’re best left off until later. The struts have the scissor-links moulded-in, separate wheels and captive bay doors, using the wider tyres in preference to the earlier narrow ones that are left on the sprue. The elevators are both moulded as a single part, and attach to the tail in the usual slot and tab manner, then the prop with broader blades is made up with the appropriate front and back spinner parts, sliding into the hole in the flat front of the fuselage. The correct retractable tail wheel and two doors for the bay are fixed under the rear, and the single-part clear blown canopy with edge framing only on the canopy covers the cockpit with the D/F loop and fairing quite a way back down the spine. Aileron horn balances, chin intake, extra fuel tank and pylon or bomb, plus the outer bay doors are put on toward the end of the build, although many pilots would remove the outer doors in the field to save weight and reduce the number of things to maintain by two. The two-part air intake on the port side of the cowling is last to be fixed on its raised mounting. Markings There are three options on the main decal sheet, while the separate sheet contains all the stencils, which is good to see at this scale. From the box you can build one of the following: 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. Conclusion Some interesting markings and camouflage options that appear to be dated just after WWII, although a little research on both the named pilots indicates that Herman Graf went missing late in the war, while Willi Maximowitz was languishing in a Soviet gulag at the time he was supposed to be flying the violet-nosed option. Perhaps they’re what-if markings? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Bell AH-1G Cobra Early/Late (KPM0378) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The AH-1 Cobra was the first dedicated production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see US service as a new type of weapons platform. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. Fortunately, Bell Helicopters had been independently investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s, so in 1962 Bell was able to display a mock up concept to the US Army, featuring a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and unsuitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition, which gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter that proved to be too technologically advanced and therefore risky for its time, eventually being cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things never change). Despite the failure of the AAFSS programme, Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1 further. They used as many of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed slender fuselage that had a minimal frontal profile, making it harder to hit. When The US Army later asked for plans for an interim gunship for use in Vietnam, Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the ready-made AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was called internally. Given the work Bell had already done, the programme was completed in a relatively rapid eight months and won the evaluation battle against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes, replacing the heavy armoured glass canopy with Plexiglas to improve performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1,100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, losing approximately 300 to combat shoot-downs and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring more damage resilient twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The M-35 Gun System was a single M195 20mm cannon (a short-barrelled version of the six-barrel M61A1 Vulcan) on the port inboard pylon of the AH-1G, with 950 rounds of ammunition stored in boxes faired to the side of the aircraft. The system was primarily pilot controlled, but featured dual controls so it could be either pilot or gunner controlled by an M73 sight. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache, the last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit This is a re-release with new parts of the original tooling from 2013, and arrives in an end-opening box with a painting of the subject on the front, and the decal profiles on the rear. Inside is one full-sized sprue in sand-coloured styrene in a resealable bag, a clear sprue in its own Ziploc bag, a sheet of decals and a folded A4 instruction booklet that is printed in colour and has a sprue diagram plus a little history of the type on the front page. Detail is good throughout, and there is no flash to speak of, with engraved panel lines and crisp raised and recessed details. Construction begins with creation of the cockpits and a few other assemblies, starting with the instrument panels, which have a highly detailed painting guide provided as step 1 and 2. The front panel has its coaming moulded-in, while the rear panel has a larger separate part for the coaming, plus a choice of two styles of HUD, then the cockpit tub is decorated with crew controls, one of which is made by stretching sprue from the runners to different diameters and gluing them together to create the collective stick for the pilot in the rear. The wing-back seats with decal seatbelts are then installed along with the two instrument panels, finishing the cockpit, and moving on to making the two-part fuel tanks, one for each side, and the gun turret for under the nose. Each barrel is inserted into a curved plate, which is slotted into the turret, leaving the plates inside the turret, while the barrels project from the two slots in the front. The fuselage halves are pre-painted in two areas with black for the cockpit and gunmetal for the rotorhead area, after which the cockpit and quilted rear bulkhead are inserted into the starboard side, with a circular platform placed on a ledge inside the rotorhead area. The fuselage is joined after adding the exhaust trunk, and the rotor is made up from the blades and control arms, which locate on the circular part within the rotorhead cowling, then adding a choice of short or extended exhaust lips at the end of the trunking. The canopy is made up from the fixed roof/windscreen and two side panes on each side, with the option of leaving the openers closed or ajar, as you wish. Under the tail is a wire bumper, then two choices of fin are joined to the tail boom and have the rotors with control ‘crown’ fitted on left or right sides, depending on which tail you have installed. Stabiliser fins are inserted into slots around the centre of the tail boom, as are the winglets with tips and pylons glued to them before they are fixed in place further forward. The main gear consists of a pair of skids under the fuselage on curved supports, adding a bulkhead behind the turret before gluing that in place along with the fuel tanks and a pair of rocket pods that are each made from two halves to make the cylindrical body, plus a pair of end-caps with the nose/tail of the rockets moulded-in. Markings There are three options on the decal sheet, and you can see the profiles on the back of the box. There’s a wide range of colour options from a blue Navy bird through green Marines to an Army airframe in Vietnam camo. The colours are marked out in oval swatches with names under them, showing no allegiance to any paint brand’s colour codes. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals appear to be printed using the same digital processes as Eduard are now using, and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around 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. Conclusion A welcome reboxing of a good quality kit from KP in some interesting schemes, good quality decals and decent clear parts at a pretty good price. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. SA Bulldog T.1 Limited Run (KPM0399) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Bulldog was originally designed by Beagle Aircraft, who sadly went bust before they could honour any orders for this two-seat prop-driven trainer, the first customer being Sweden. A new concern, Scottish Aviation took over and brought the Bulldog to market where it was used most notably by the RAF and Swedish Air Force, but by other countries too, as we’ll find out in later boxings. There were several models made, many of which were designed for the export market, with the RAF using the 121 as the T.1, while the 101 was developed for Sweden, where it was designated Sk 61 in the Air Force, or Fpl 61 in army use. The Swedish aircraft differed mainly due to the additional two seats in the rear of the crew compartment behind the pilots who sat two abreast, with a wide expanse of Perspex giving excellent forward visibility over the relatively short nose. The last RAF airframes left service just after the new millennium, and many have gone into private hands from all variants across the world. The now familiar Grob Tutor replaced the Bulldog as the entry-level trainer with the RAF and continues to serve today, with some avionics upgrades to keep pace with technology. The Kit This is the latest in a new range of boxings in 1:72 from KP as a limited edition boxing that brings modern levels of detail to this scale. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box with an attractive painting of the type on the front and the profiles for the decal options on the rear. Inside the Ziploc bag is a single sprue in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, decal sheet and instruction booklet, the clear parts safely enclosed in their own Ziploc bag. Detail is good, although there’s a tiny amount of flash here and there, but it’s minimal and mostly confined to the sprue runners. Construction starts predictably with the cockpit, with the blank instrument panel receiving an instrument decal to detail it, and both seats getting decal belts. The floor is moulded into the one-part wing and has raised areas for the seats that are detailed with a pair of control columns, centre console and rear bulkhead, while the instrument panel is glued into the front of the cockpit opening after closing the fuselage halves. A pair of side windows pop in from the inside, and the front is closed by adding the nose cowling, which has a depiction of the front bank of piston inserted behind it that will show through the oval intakes either side of the raised prop shaft surround. The wings and fuselage are joined, and the single-part elevators with their ribbed flying surfaces moulded-in are glued into their slots in the rear. The canopy is a single piece that has the framing engraved in, and it’s a crystal-clear part that will show off your work on the interior once its finished. There are a couple of choices of antennae on the spine behind the cockpit, and a clear landing light fits into a recess in the leading edge of the starboard wing. To finish off the build, the landing gear legs are glued onto raised teardrop shapes under the cockpit, and it might be an idea to drill and pin these for extra strength, with the one-part wheels attached to the stub-axle on each leg. The nose leg has its oleo-scissor link moulded in, and the wheel fixes to the axle moulded into the one-sided yoke. The two bladed prop is moulded as one piece with a spinner sliding over it, and behind it there’s a cowling under the nose with two exhaust stacks sticking out, then at the rear are a choice of two antennae and a blade antenna under the trailing edge of the wing/fuselage. Markings The stencils are numerous and they are covered on the rear of the instruction booklet to avoid overly-busy diagrams on the back of the box, and there are three decal options, from which you can build one of the following: The decals appear to be printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around 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. There are seatbelts and an instrument decal on the sheet, which should add a little realism to your finished cockpit. Conclusion The Bulldog is a small aircraft, so the model is commensurately small and a simple build that’s very friendly to your pocket. Clean up those moulding seams and you should end up with a really nice replica of this much-loved RAF trainer, with civilian options. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. SA Bulldog T.1 RAF Special (KPM0299) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Bulldog was originally designed by Beagle Aircraft, who sadly went bust before they could honour any orders for this two-seat prop-driven trainer, the first customer being Sweden. A new concern, Scottish Aviation took over and brought the Bulldog to market where it was used most notably by the RAF and Swedish Air Force, but by other countries too, as we’ll find out in later boxings. There were several models made, many of which were designed for the export market, with the RAF using the 121 as the T.1, while the 101 was developed for Sweden, where it was designated Sk 61 in the Air Force, or Fpl 61 in army use. The Swedish aircraft differed mainly due to the additional two seats in the rear of the crew compartment behind the pilots who sat two abreast, with a wide expanse of Perspex giving excellent forward visibility over the relatively short nose. The last RAF airframes left service just after the new millennium, and many have gone into private hands from all variants across the world. The now familiar Grob Tutor replaced the Bulldog as the entry-level trainer with the RAF and continues to serve today, with some avionics upgrades to keep pace with technology. The Kit This is the second in a new range of boxings in 1:72 from KP that brings modern levels of detail to this scale. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box with an attractive painting of the type on the front and the profiles for the decal options on the rear. Inside is a single sprue in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, decal sheet and instruction booklet, the clear parts safely enclosed in their own Ziploc bag. Detail is good, although there’s a tiny amount of flash here and there, but it’s minimal and mostly confined to the sprue runners. Construction starts predictably with the cockpit, with the blank instrument panel receiving an instrument decal to detail it, and both seats getting decal belts. The floor is moulded into the one-part wing and has raised areas for the seats that are detailed with a pair of control columns, centre console and rear bulkhead, while the instrument panel is glued into the front of the cockpit opening after closing up the fuselage halves. A pair of side windows pop in from the inside, and the front is closed up by adding the nose cowling, which has a depiction of the front bank of piston inserted behind it that will show through the oval intakes either side of the raised prop shaft surround. The wings and fuselage are joined, and the single-part elevators with their ribbed flying surfaces moulded-in are glued into their slots in the rear. The canopy is a single piece that has the framing engraved in, and it’s a crystal-clear part that will show off your work on the interior once its finished. There are a couple of choices of antennae on the spine behind the cockpit, and a clear landing light fits into a recess in the leading edge of the starboard wing. To finish off the build, the landing gear legs are glued onto raised teardrop shapes under the cockpit, and it might be an idea to drill and pin these for extra strength, with the one-part wheels attached to the stub-axle on each leg. The nose leg has its oleo-scissor link moulded in, and the wheel fixes to the axle moulded into the one-sided yoke. The two bladed prop is moulded as one piece with a spinner sliding over it, and behind it there’s a cowling under the nose with two exhaust stacks sticking out, then at the rear are another pair of antenna and a blade antenna under the trailing edge of the wing/fuselage. Markings The stencils are numerous and they are covered on the rear of the instruction booklet to avoid overly-busy diagrams on the back of the box, where you will find three decal options, two in black and yellow, and one in civilian service, from which you can build one of the following: The decals are well-printed in good register, with a thin glossy carrier film close to the printed edges for the most part, but with a few that are a little larger. This shouldn’t cause too much of an issue however, as the film is thin and has a relatively soft edge. There are seatbelts and an instrument decal on the sheet, which should add a little realism to your finished cockpit. Conclusion The Bulldog is a small aircraft, so the model is commensurately small and a simple build that’s very friendly to your pocket. Clean up those moulding seams and you should end up with a really nice replica of this much-loved RAF trainer in some more unusual colours. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. SA Bulldog T.1 RAF Service (KPM0298) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Bulldog was originally designed by Beagle Aircraft, who sadly went bust before they could honour any orders for this two-seat prop-driven trainer, the first customer being Sweden. A new concern, Scottish Aviation took over and brought the Bulldog to market where it was used most notably by the RAF and Swedish Air Force, but by other countries too, as we’ll find out in later boxings. There were several models made, many of which were designed for the export market, with the RAF using the 121 as the T.1, while the 101 was developed for Sweden, where it was designated Sk 61 in the Air Force, or Fpl 61 in army use. The Swedish aircraft differed mainly due to the additional two seats in the rear of the crew compartment behind the pilots who sat two abreast, with a wide expanse of Perspex giving excellent forward visibility over the relatively short nose. The last RAF airframes left service just after the new millennium, and many have gone into private hands from all variants across the world. The now familiar Grob Tutor replaced the Bulldog as the entry-level trainer with the RAF and continues to serve today, with some avionics upgrades to keep pace with technology. The Kit This is the first in a new range of boxings in 1:72 from KP that brings modern levels of detail to this scale. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box with an attractive painting of the type on the front and the profiles for the decal options on the rear. Inside is a single sprue in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, decal sheet and instruction booklet, the clear parts safely enclosed in their own Ziploc bag. Detail is good, although there’s a tiny amount of flash here and there, but it’s minimal and mostly confined to the sprue runners. Construction starts predictably with the cockpit, with the blank instrument panel receiving an instrument decal to detail it, and both seats getting decal belts. The floor is moulded into the one-part wing and has raised areas for the seats that are detailed with a pair of control columns, centre console and rear bulkhead, while the instrument panel is glued into the front of the cockpit opening after closing up the fuselage halves. A pair of side windows pop in from the inside, and the front is closed up by adding the nose cowling, which has a depiction of the front bank of piston inserted behind it that will show through the oval intakes either side of the raised prop shaft surround. The wings and fuselage are joined, and the single-part elevators with their ribbed flying surfaces moulded-in are glued into their slots in the rear. The canopy is a single piece that has the framing engraved in, and it’s a crystal-clear part that will show off your work on the interior once its finished. There are a couple of choices of antennae on the spine behind the cockpit, and a clear landing light fits into a recess in the leading edge of the starboard wing. To finish off the build, the landing gear legs are glued onto raised teardrop shapes under the cockpit, and it might be an idea to drill and pin these for extra strength, with the one-part wheels attached to the stub-axle on each leg. The nose leg has its oleo-scissor link moulded in, and the wheel fixes to the axle moulded into the one-sided yoke. The two bladed prop is moulded as one piece with a spinner sliding over it, and behind it there’s a cowling under the nose with two exhaust stacks sticking out, then at the rear are another pair of antenna and a blade antenna under the trailing edge of the wing/fuselage. Markings The stencils are numerous and they are covered on the rear of the instruction booklet to avoid overly-busy diagrams on the back of the box, and there are three decal options, from which you can build one of the following: The decals are well-printed in good register, with a thin glossy carrier film close to the printed edges for the most part, but with a few that are a little larger. This shouldn’t cause too much of an issue however, as the film is thin and has a relatively soft edge. There are seatbelts and an instrument decal on the sheet, which should add a little realism to your finished cockpit. Conclusion The Bulldog is a small aircraft, so the model is commensurately small and a simple build that’s very friendly to your pocket. Clean up those moulding seams and you should end up with a really nice replica of this much-loved RAF trainer. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VA (KPM0307) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain alongside 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 lingered on 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. The Mk.II 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 variant of the beloved Spitfire is a reboxing with additional parts of the 2016 tooling, and arrives in a small end-opening box with a painting of the subject on the front and the decal options on the rear. Inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a tiny clear sprue, two decal sheets and the instruction booklet, which is also suitable for the Mk.IIa. Looking inside, the sprues are very nicely detailed with two sets of wings that have different gun port layouts and fairings on the topsides, so care will need to be taken when snipping them from the sprues. The interior is similarly well detailed, with raised and engraved detail on the sidewalls and instrument panel, plus the typical ladder of strengthening ribbing on the roof of the gear bays, which is moulded into the underside of the upper wings. Construction begins with the cockpit, with a decal provided to apply over the black panel to enhance the details, the control column, red-brown Bakelite seat, the seat frame with an armoured panel between the seat and its frame. This is attached to the floor section and the stick and seat join them along with the instrument panel where the rudder pedals pass through the footwell cut-out. The completed cockpit is glued into the starboard fuselage half, and the two exhaust slots are backed by some styrene sheet from your own stock, with a drawing of a template given to assist you with this. If you have some 3.5mm wide strip to hand already, you’re half way there already. The fuselage is then closed up and the clear gunsight is fitted to the top of the panel, preferably after you’ve finished with the fuselage seams. The lower wing is full-width as you’d imagine, and is detailed with the oil cooler and radiator fairing that has textured front and rear radiator surfaces, plus a pair of teardrop shaped blisters outboard of the gear bays, which also has the narrow tunnel that accommodates the gear strut when retracted. The upper wing halves are glued over the lower, and once dry it is joined to the fuselage, the elevators and rudder are fixed to the tail, and the chin insert is added to the front, followed by the two-part chin intake, exhausts, and tail-wheel with moulded-in strut. The landing gear is simple and made from a single strut, captive bay door and single part wheel on each side. The prop is moulded as a single three-blade part that is trapped between the front and rear spinner, the latter having a rod moulded into the rear to insert into the front of the fuselage. The canopy is a single-part, and has a rear-view mirror fitted to the top of the windscreen, and an antenna just behind the cockpit. The back page of the instructions shows the location of the aerials and all the stencils, including the flare-port on the side of the canopy. Markings There are three options on the main decal sheet, while the separate sheet contains all the stencils, which is good to see at this scale. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are well-printed in good register, with a thin glossy carrier film close to the printed edges for the most part, but with a few that are a little larger. This shouldn’t cause too much of an issue however, as the film is thin and has a relatively soft edge. There are decal seatbelts on the sheet, which should add a little realism to your finished cockpit. Conclusion A well-detailed replica of Britain’s favourite fighter from WWII with a little bit of diversity in the colour schemes, and one of Douglas Bader’s rides into the bargain. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIA LR ‘Long Range’ (KPM0305) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain alongside 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 lingered on 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. A small number of Mk.IIBs were fitted with a fixed 40 gal fuel tank which was fitted under the port wing, slowing its maximum speed by around 26mph when full, but allowing them to accompany bombers all the way to Berlin. The Mk.II 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 variant of the beloved Spitfire is a reboxing with additional parts of the 2016 tooling, and arrives in a small end-opening box with a painting of the subject on the front and the decal options on the rear. Inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a tiny clear sprue, two decal sheets and the instruction booklet, which is also suitable for the Mk.Va. Looking inside, the sprues are very nicely detailed with two sets of wings that have different gun port layouts and fairings on the topsides, so care will need to be taken when snipping them from the sprues. The interior is similarly well detailed, with raised and engraved detail on the sidewalls and instrument panel, plus the typical ladder of strengthening ribbing on the roof of the gear bays, which is moulded into the underside of the upper wings. Construction begins with the cockpit, with a decal provided to apply over the black panel to enhance the details, the control column, red-brown Bakelite seat, the seat frame with an armoured panel between the seat and its frame. This is attached to the floor section and the stick and seat join them along with the instrument panel where the rudder pedals pass through the footwell cut-out. The completed cockpit is glued into the starboard fuselage half, and the two exhaust slots are backed by some styrene sheet from your own stock, with a drawing of a template given to assist you with this. If you have some 3.5mm wide strip to hand already, you’re half way there already. The fuselage is then closed up and the clear gunsight is fitted to the top of the panel, preferably after you’ve finished with the fuselage seams. The lower wing is full-width as you’d imagine, and is detailed with the oil cooler and radiator fairing that has textured front and rear radiator surfaces, plus a pair of teardrop shaped blisters outboard of the gear bays, which also has the narrow tunnel that accommodates the gear strut when retracted. The upper wing halves are glued over the lower, and once dry it is joined to the fuselage, the elevators and rudder are fixed to the tail, and the chin insert is added to the front, followed by the two-part chin intake, exhausts, and tail-wheel with moulded-in strut. The landing gear is simple and made from a single strut, captive bay door and single part wheel on each side. The prop is moulded as a single three-blade part that is trapped between the front and rear spinner, the latter having a rod moulded into the rear to insert into the front of the fuselage. The canopy is a single-part, and has a rear-view mirror fitted to the top of the windscreen, and an antenna just behind the cockpit. The back page of the instructions shows the location of the aerials and all the stencils, including the flare-port on the side of the canopy. The long-range fuel tank is covered on a separate slip of paper, as it is simply a case of gluing the two halves together and once you’ve dealt with the seams, fixing it to the wing in the indicated position, which is bright red, so hard to miss. You’ll notice from the box painting that the forward section that projects forward of the wing’s leading-edge is camouflaged, but notice that the third decal option is at a different angle to the others. Markings There are three options on the main decal sheet, while the separate sheet contains all the stencils, which is good to see at this scale. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are well-printed in good register, with a thin glossy carrier film close to the printed edges for the most part, but with a few that are a little larger. This shouldn’t cause too much of an issue however, as the film is thin and has a relatively soft edge. There are decal seatbelts on the sheet, which should add a little realism to your finished cockpit. Conclusion A well-detailed replica of Britain’s favourite fighter from WWII with an unusual twist that is the long-range tank. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Breguet Bre-14A & B (KPM0321 & KPM0322) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Breguet 14 was an impressively fast and agile light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft that was developed by French aviation pioneer company that was innovative because it used substantial quantities of aluminium in its structure that made it lighter and stronger than its contemporaries to such an extent that it could actually outpace some of the fighters of the era. As a result, it remained in service longer than many aircraft of the day that were typically short-lived due to the speed that aviation was advancing at the time. It first flew at the end of 1916 at the hands of its designer, reaching squadron service the following April as both a bomber and recon aircraft, where it performed very well overall, taking part in many operations as the war progressed to its conclusion, toward the end of 1918. The A2 was the reconnaissance variant, while the B2 was the bomber. It sold well to other countries due to its performance and utility, seeing service in substantial numbers with America, Siam, Spain, Brazil and China to name a few from the many. After the war a number of other variants were built, including a new improved wing, a twin-float seaplane and a passenger option known as the Salon, as well as an air ambulance and transport. Production continued until 1928, by which time around 8,000 airframes had been made in total, achieving over a decade of production during a rapidly changing period of aviation technology. The Kit These are reboxing with new parts of a 2006 tooling from AZ Model, switching brand lines to KPM for this pair of boxings, which have been released in tandem, as they contain most of the same plastic but different decals and instructions. The differences are reasonably apparent, as the bomber has a four-pane window in the sides of the gunner’s station, and a quartet of bombs, two under each wing, which are also slightly different between the two variants. Time has been kind to the moulds, but my sample had a little flash here and there, mostly confined to the sprues, but as I always say flash is easier to remedy than short-shot parts. Common Sprues Bre-14A Sprue Bre-14B Sprue Construction begins with the fuselage, which is where the windows come into play on the bomber variant, and clearly don’t for the recon bird. A little mould-damage has crept in around the upper fuselage opening on both variants, and I’ve marked those on the sprues in red for your ease, but it’s a simple job to remove, as the edges are readily apparent along the straight boundaries, so should pose no problem unless you have really shaky hands, poor vision and a blunt blade. A T-shaped platform is inserted into the forward cowling, windows or otherwise in the rear, after which you can insert the cockpit floor, which consists of two floor panels, the forward one having rudder bar and both control sticks moulded-in, the aft cockpit having just the rudder bar, the rear stick projecting back on a long extension into the co-pilot/gunner’s area. The pilot’s seat sits on a H-shaped cross-member, while the rear seat is an odd-shaped part that fixes into the fuselage side, both getting a set of decal lap-belts after painting. The rear seat has an ejector-pin mark on the top, but it’s raised on a flat surface, so should be simple to remove. The fuselage can be closed up once interior areas are painted, and the tail-skid with a short piece of 0.3mm wire is inserted into the aft of the fuselage. After closure, the top insert that fills the gap around the crew is dropped in, and the rhino-like exhaust system is glued onto the top of the cowling, with the square radiator and two-blade prop attached to the front. The bomber fuselage also has another slim insert with window frames facing up, and these should be glazed with Clear-Fix, or some acetate sheet if you’re feeling adventurous. A pair of inverted-V cabane struts are added to the top, and a single Vickers machine gun is fitted to the top side of the fuselage, then the elevator and rudder fin are fixed to the rear. The landing gear assembly is built around the aerodynamically faired axle, which slips through the two supports, trapped in place by adding the two wheels at the ends of the axle. It would be wise to glue these and test-fit them to the underside of the fuselage until they are dried to ensure that they line up correctly. The lower wings are each attached to the fuselage on a pair of pins, so alignment will be key here too, as will your choice of glue to achieve a strong joint. Ignoring the rigging, and we’d all like to at some point, there are four interplane struts joining each wing together, each one having a depression to ensure a good fit. A trio of wiring diagrams at the bottom of the page show the location of the rigging lines, which you are recommended to use 0.1mm thread to complete. The remaining parts make up the twin Lewis guns on a ring mount that fits on the rear seater’s circular aperture, then they both get a windscreen each from the clear parts sprue and a small circular part (possibly a rear-view mirror?) is glued to the trailing edge at the centre of the upper wing. The bomber variant finally gets two tubular bombs under each wing, with their location shown in the instructions. Markings Each boxing has three decal options that are printed on the rear of the box, and strangely the first two of the A boxing is marked as a B, although it doesn’t have the side windows fitted, so whether it’s a typo or a B that had its windows removed, you’ll have to decide for yourself. From each boxing, you can build one of the following: Breguet Bre-14A2 Breguet Bre-14B2 The decals are well-printed in good register, with a thin glossy carrier film close to the printed edges for the most part, but with a few a little larger. This shouldn’t cause too much of an issue however, as the film is thin and has a relatively soft edge. Conclusion A pair of interesting reboxings of another lesser-known WWI subject that was quite a technological innovation for the day. Good detail and some colourful decal options round out the package. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Kawasaki Otsu-1 Sal.2A2 (KPM0326) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov Salmson was a French aviation manufacturer that created the Model 2 reconnaissance aircraft for a WWI requirement, and the resulting type saw substantial service with the French Air Force during the last years of the Great War. As the American aviation industry was somewhat behind Europe due to their country’s late entry into the war, the type was also pressed into service with the nascent US Air Service, with an impressive 700 used. Salmson originally made pumping equipment, but changed to automobile and aviation manufacturing during the early part of the 20th century, even producing their own aviation engines. They eventually went back to their roots, leaving aviation behind them and are currently still operating in that industry. The Salmson 2 was available in a number of variants, the 2A2 being the standard edition that was equipped with a Z9 Water-cooled 9-cyl radial engine of their own manufacture, and as they had originally built the Sopwith 1.5 Strutter under license, its replacement bore some resemblance to its forebear. They were also license built by Kawasaki as the Otsu-1 in Japan where it served into the 20s. The Kit This is a reboxing of the 2022 kit, so effectively a new tool as it differs by the decals included in the kit. It arrives in a small end-opening box that has a painting of the type on the front, and the decal options on the rear. Inside are two sprues in grey styrene, a small sheet of printed acetate sheet, a decal sheet, and instructions inside a resealable clear foil bag. The instruction booklet is identical between the American and Kawasaki kits, as they build identically and differ only in their painting and decaling. Our reviews will be very similar in that way, as we don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the fuselage top with its twin cockpit openings, an instrument panel in the front of the forward bay and a headrest upstand behind it. A pair of short struts fit between the two openings, and another two struts are inserted into the cockpit floor, exiting through the rear of the pilot’s aperture, with a simple basket seat, control column and rudder pedals for his use, and a fuel tank between the crew stations. This assembly is trapped between the fuselage halves, which have detail moulded inside them where it will be seen as well as externally to replicate the fabric exterior. The cockpit openings insert joins to the fuselage, threading the afore mentioned struts through the pilot’s slot, and adding the engine cowling to the front, which is made up from a three-section cowling ring and separate front lip that has a multi-blade fan moulded inside that hides the engine, doing an impression of a jet engine until you add the two-blade prop of course. The pilot’s deck is outfitted with a tube sight and a Vickers machine gun that fires through the prop, and the acetate sheet is cut to the printed shape to form the small windscreen that keeps at least some of the engine oil off his face. Another windscreen keeps the oil off the back of the gunner’s head, and his circular opening has a simple C-shaped mount for twin Lewis guns that can be glued in place at any angle to simulate the ring that it was mounted on. The tail of the beast is simple and yet complex, having a single part depicting the elevators, and another for the rudder. There are two V-shaped supports under the elevators, and a tripod made from three individual lengths to steady the rudder fin, with another diagram showing where the control wires should be. The lower wing is full-width and passes under the fuselage, and there are eight interplane struts that looks a little like baguettes in the diagrams due to their narrow ends, but I digress. Under the wing the main gear legs consist of two tripodal braces with an aerodynamically faired axle onto which the two wheels are glued at the ends. Individual radiator fins are glued under the cowling, and a wind-powered fuel pump is fitted to the gear legs, then it’s time to put the upper wing on. Attaching the wing should be relatively simple, lining up the twelve struts with the holes in the underside of the upper wing, but that is without considering the rigging. A drawing shows where the various rigging wires should go, and you can use your preferred method of getting the task accomplished and make good any repainting that may be required after hiding the holes for the rigging material. For the avoidance of doubt, you will need to supply your own rigging thread, and folks have their own preferences here too. Markings There are three options on the rear of the box, all in Japanese service in the 1920s, a litte variation of scheme between them, and plenty of Hinomaru on display. From the box you can build one of the following: Black 316, 1920s Black 1123, Mid 1920s Black 1190 Mid 1920s The decals are well-printed with good register, sharpness and colour density, which includes a simple instrument panel decal to assist you with the cockpit. Conclusion The 2A2 was a fairly important reconnaissance aircraft in the later part of WWI, and its design is relatively modern-looking when compared to some of the earlier stringbags. The contrast of the silver or plain fabric finish and the bright red of the markings really stand out. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Salmson 2A2 (KPM0327) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov Salmson was a French aviation manufacturer that created the Model 2 reconnaissance aircraft for a WWI requirement, and the resulting type saw substantial service with the French Air Force during the last years of the Great War. As the American aviation industry was somewhat behind Europe due to their country’s late entry into the war, the type was also pressed into service with the nascent US Air Service, with an impressive 700 used. Salmson originally made pumping equipment, but changed to automobile and aviation manufacturing during the early part of the 20th century, even producing their own aviation engines. They eventually went back to their roots, leaving aviation behind them and are currently still operating in that industry. The Salmson 2 was available in a number of variants, the 2A2 being the standard edition that was equipped with a Z9 Water-cooled 9-cyl radial engine of their own manufacture, and as they had originally built the Sopwith 1.5 Strutter under license, its replacement bore some resemblance to its forebear. They were also license built by Kawasaki as the Otsu-1 in Japan. The Kit This is a reboxing of the 2022 kit, so effectively a new tool as it differs by the decals included in the kit. It arrives in a small end-opening box that has a painting of the type on the front, and the decal options on the rear. Inside are two sprues in grey styrene, a small sheet of printed acetate sheet, a decal sheet, and instructions inside a resealable clear foil bag. The instruction booklet is identical between the American and Kawasaki kits, as they build identically and differ only in their painting and decaling. Our reviews will be very similar in that way, as we don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the fuselage top with its twin cockpit openings, an instrument panel in the front of the forward bay and a headrest upstand behind it. A pair of short struts fit between the two openings, and another two struts are inserted into the cockpit floor, exiting through the rear of the pilot’s aperture, with a simple basket seat, control column and rudder pedals for his use, and a fuel tank between the crew stations. This assembly is trapped between the fuselage halves, which have detail moulded inside them where it will be seen as well as externally to replicate the fabric exterior. The cockpit openings insert joins to the fuselage, threading the afore mentioned struts through the pilot’s slot, and adding the engine cowling to the front, which is made up from a three-section cowling ring and separate front lip that has a multi-blade fan moulded inside that hides the engine, doing an impression of a jet engine until you add the two-blade prop of course. The pilot’s deck is outfitted with a tube sight and a Vickers machine gun that fires through the prop, and the acetate sheet is cut to the printed shape to form the small windscreen that keeps at least some of the engine oil off his face. Another windscreen keeps the oil off the back of the gunner’s head, and his circular opening has a simple C-shaped mount for twin Lewis guns that can be glued in place at any angle to simulate the ring that it was mounted on. The tail of the beast is simple and yet complex, having a single part depicting the elevators, and another for the rudder. There are two V-shaped supports under the elevators, and a tripod made from three individual lengths to steady the rudder fin, with another diagram showing where the control wires should be. The lower wing is full-width and passes under the fuselage, and there are eight interplane struts that looks a little like baguettes in the diagrams due to their narrow ends, but I digress. Under the wing the main gear legs consist of two tripodal braces with an aerodynamically faired axle onto which the two wheels are glued at the ends. Individual radiator fins are glued under the cowling, and a wind-powered fuel pump is fitted to the gear legs, then it’s time to put the upper wing on. Attaching the wing should be relatively simple, lining up the twelve struts with the holes in the underside of the upper wing, but that is without considering the rigging. A drawing shows where the various rigging wires should go, and you can use your preferred method of getting the task accomplished and make good any repainting that may be required after hiding the holes for the rigging material. For the avoidance of doubt, you will need to supply your own rigging thread, and folks have their own preferences here too. Markings There are three options on the rear of the box, all in American service during and just after World War One, with some variation of scheme between them, and some early national markings on display. From the box you can build one of the following: Red 15, 24th Aero Sqn., Nov 1918 #1319, Red 6, 12th Aero Sqn., 1918 #5464, White 8, 1st Aero Sqn., Jun 1919 The decals are well-printed with good register, sharpness and colour density, which includes a simple instrument panel decal to assist you with the cockpit. Conclusion The 2A2 was a fairly important reconnaissance aircraft in the later part of WWI, and its design is relatively modern-looking when compared to some of the earlier string-bags. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Siebel Si.204D (KPM0331) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Siebel Si 204 was based on the earlier Siebel Fh 104 Hallore, and was originally designed as a light transport and trainer aircraft. It was initially ordered by the Luftwaffe with its canopy altered to the stepless type, possibly to replicate that of the He.111 that pilots might later progress to. The last variant, the 204E was intended to be a light bomber and trainer, although it was perilously close to the end of the war, so not many were made. As a footnote to its German service a 204 had the dubious honour of possibly being the last aircraft to be shot down by the Allies in WWII on the 8th May 1945. After WWII, Czech company Aero produced almost 200 airframes in training (C-3A), bombardier training (C-3B), transport (D-44) and civilian (C-103) flavours, which carried on in service until the end of the 40s and beyond, while a few airframes soldiered on a little longer in Hungarian service. The Kit This kit’s origins can be traced back to a relatively recent tooling in 2010, and has been re-released as a Si.204D in German, Swiss and Hungarian colours. It arrives in a strong end-opening box with a painting of the subject matter on the front and the decal options on the rear. Inside is a re-sealable clear bag that holds two sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in a separate Ziploc bag, and the decal sheet in the A5 portrait instruction booklet, printed in colour on an inkjet printer. The detail is good, having fine engraved panel lines and rivets over the surface, and fabric effect on the flying surfaces. Construction begins with the cockpit, with two pilot seats side-by-side in a wide cockpit, separated by a central console, having moulded-in seatbelts and separate rudder pedals in the footwells below the twin binnacles that house the instrument panels, which have decals depicting the dials. The cockpit is finished off with a pair of yokes, then it is inserted into the starboard fuselage half along with two partial bulkheads that hold it square in the fuselage halves, with another bulkhead with doorway just behind the pilots, then two more sections of interior floor that stretch back to the rear of the passenger compartment. Before the two fuselage halves are closed up the four windows are inserted from the outside on each side, after which you can glue and clamp the fuselage while you prepare the wings. The first step is to create the main gear bays, adding the thick gear legs to the bay roof along with three retraction jacks. The gear strut will need a little fettling here, as the moulding has a fairly obvious seam along the length of its moulding. The completed assemblies are inserted through the bay aperture from inside and are glued in place so that the upper wing can cover them over, and the engine nacelles can be made up. The exhausts are inserted from within the two cowling halves with a bulkhead at the front that has a depiction of the cylinders that will be seen through the opening in the front of the cowling, which is next to be glued in place. The twin-bladed prop is made from a centre spinner with serrated top cap, which have the two blades inserted into holes in the sides and after the glue has dried the prop is butt-joined to the front of the cowling. The nacelles are attached to the wings by a seam with a ledge around the edge, and the gear bays are each given a pair of doors, with a small tail-wheel fixed to the back of the fuselage. The elevators are fitted to the rear of the fuselage on a single pin per side, relying on contouring of the mating surface at the root to conform to the shape of the fuselage. Care will need to be taken when fitting them to ensure that they are correctly oriented and aligned with each other, as a mistake here will be amplified when adding the H-tail rudders. There are two horn balances on the elevator surfaces, two on the top and two more on the bottom. The canopy comprises two parts, the domed nose, and the large greenhouse canopy behind it, both of which are nice and clear to see your hard work on the cockpit when the model is complete. Another clear dome is supplied for the spine for one of the decal options, and a pair of fairings fit over the top seam of the fuselage, which if you plan ahead could save you from seam sanding some sections of the upper fuselage. The final task is to make the main wheels from two parts each, and fix an antenna to the rear of the main canopy that inserts into a small slot in the back of the glazing for ease. A final set of profiles show the location of the various antenna wires that the 204 carried, running from the antenna pole behind the cockpit to the starboard rudder panel, with a line running up from the cabin behind the cockpit. Markings There are three decal options included on the sheet, as previously mentioned, and although those are based mainly on shades of green, the markings are different enough to appeal to a great many modellers. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are printed in-house, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion There has been quite an influx of Si.204 kits of late, and it’s quite an interesting-looking aircraft. This kit is well-detailed and should build into a creditable replica. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Hawker Tempest Mk.II/F.2 Silver Wings (KPM0228) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Hawker Tempest was a development of the Typhoon, originally called the Typhoon II, it was envisioned to solve all of the issues that bothered its designer, Sir Sidney Camm. The main difference was a much thinner wing which reduced drag and improved aerodynamics of the laminar airflow. The wings could accommodate 20mm Hispano cannons that packed an enormous punch, and lent itself to the low-level attack role that it was designed for. The engines considered as candidates to power the aircraft were the Centaurus, Griffon and Sabre IV, and initially the Rolls-Royce Vulture, which was terminated early in the design phase, leaving the three options going forward and necessitating substantially different cowlings for each to accommodate their differing shapes. The Mark V was the leading option and was split into two series, with the Series 1 having the Sabre II that had a similar chin intake to the Typhoon and many Typhoon parts, while the later Series 2 used fewer Typhoon parts and had their cannon barrels shortened so they fitted flush with the leading edge on the wings. Because of the impending entry into service of jet-engined fighters, the initial order of Mk.IIs was fairly low, even though it was intended to fight in the expected Pacific Theatre after Germany surrendered. There were over 400 made, many of them fitted with a tropicalised filter just in front of the canopy, which became a de facto standard later in the production run. After the war they saw action in the Malayan emergency, and some were later transferred to the Indian Air Force, with more finding their way into Pakistani service, with the last of them flying until 1953. The Kit This is a new 2021 line of toolings from KPM of what was the pinnacle of piston-engined fighters, the Hawker Tempest. As is usual, they have produced a number of boxings that vary in decals and parts, giving the modeller plenty of choice which one(s) to get. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box, and inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and A5 instruction booklet, with the decal options printed in colour on the back of the box. Detail is excellent for the scale, and clever engineering has resulted in a modular kit that can squeeze additional versions from the plastic just by swapping out some of the parts. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is slightly simplified because the real one is a mass of tubular frames and no traditional floor to speak of. The floor part has the foot trays and rudder pedals moulded-in, to which the rear bulkhead is joined along with the seat and control column. The seat supports are a little soft, but as they won’t be seen this doesn’t matter one bit. The triple-faceted instrument panel is a single part with a stunning level of detail for the dials and instruments, and a separate gunsight to which you’ll need to add a small slip of clear acetate, with the sizes given alongside that instruction step. The cylindrical engine cowling as next, consisting of three sections plus a toroidal lip part, and two more parts depicting the Centaurus engine, which again is well-detailed but mostly hidden by the central disc and later the prop. It is locked inside the nose cowling and put to one side until the fuselage has been mated, which is next. The cockpit, instrument panel and tail wheel with bay are all trapped inside the cockpit, with the addition of a small trim-wheel on the port interior, and here the detail is a little soft too, but as it is painted black and inside an extremely cramped cockpit with small opening, it’s unlikely to matter much unless you have a very small endoscopic camera that you carry round with you for annoying your fellow modellers. After the glue is set, the nose and fuselage are mated, and attention turns to the wings. The wings have two inserts in the leading edges at the wing-root, which are made from separate parts with three making up the starboard side, and two the narrower port side. The lower wing is full-width, and has two upper halves that trap the main gear bay walls, the three landing/recognition lights in the underside, and the twin cannons in the leading edges, which have slots already cut for them, then it’s time to fix the elevators, both comprising a single part each. The inner Landing gear bay doors are triangular in shape, and fix to the inner edges of the bays, while the retractable tail wheel bay has a pair of curved doors to the sides. The main gear legs are a single part each, with a retraction mechanism added low-down on the leg, a captive gear bay door, and a single-part wheel with hub detail moulded-in. The wheel detail is excellent, having block tread and sharp four-spoke hub detail that defies the scale and moulding limitations to this modeller’s eye. Outboard of the main gear legs are a pair of small additional doors, which can be posed correctly by referring to the scrap diagram nearby that shows how everything should look from the front. In between the gear bays is a small ovoid panel, an antenna and the crew boarding stirrup, after which the four-bladed prop is made up from a moulded blade set that is sandwiched between the back plate and spinner cap with a short moulded-in axle fitting through a hole in the nose to glue or leave loose at your whim. The canopy is provided as two parts, with a separate windscreen glued to the front of the ‘pit, and the canopy opener either butted against it for a closed canopy, or pushed back to allow access and that wind-in-your-hair experience during flight. Red marks on the diagrams show where the parts should fit against the fuselage, and there are a pair of optional bottles on the aft deck for you to use or lose after checking with your references. The Tempest was a capable fighter-bomber, and often carried a an additional war-load for targets of opportunity on sorties or extra fuel if it was a long mission. KP have supplied a set of eight rockets on their rails, two bombs on slim mounts, or a pair of fuel tanks for you to use if you wish. Markings There are three decal options in the box, and all are wearing the paint-free option that became fairly common of the period toward the end and following WWII when camouflage wasn't considered important. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. In addition to the seatbelt decals there is a decal for the grille that covers the tropical filter, which you can apply if you need to. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, plenty of choices of load-out, and other extras that rounds out the package. You also have spare parts for a Mk.VI on the sprues and a pair of five-spoke wheels, just in case that’s of interest. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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