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  1. Heinkel He.162B-5 Volksjäger ’46 (AZ7855) AZ Model by Kovozávody Prostějov As the tide of war turned against Nazi Germany, defensive action became more important than attack and expansion of the Reich, and aviation designs were called for under the jingoistic Volksjäger project, which translates to “People’s Fighter”. It was a specification that called for a jet engine point-defence fighter that was cheap to produce, used few strategic materials, could be piloted by a relatively unskilled pilot, and could be built in large numbers to break-up the Allied bomber streams that were pounding military production facilities and cities into rubble on a daily basis. Heinkel’s submission to the programme was the diminutive He.162 that was barely as large as a Bf.109, with short wingspan, a small fuselage that was low to the ground on squat landing gear, which assisted in repair and maintenance of the single jet engine mounted on top of the fuselage just behind the pilot’s canopy. This unfortunate juxtaposition resulted in an early ejection seat being fitted in the tiny cockpit, which would push the pilot clear of the engine intake, but with no anti-flail protection, it was as likely to injure or kill the pilot as save him. The slender fuselage meant that a low fuel load also contributed to a short 20 minute flight time, and there was also little room for armament, which consisted of two 20mm or 30mm autocannons mounted under the cockpit’s side consoles, firing through troughs under the nose. Once the initial issues were resolved, the aircraft was found to be an excellent and quick light fighter, but it wasn’t really simple enough to be flown by a novice pilot. Although it was simply engineered and was partly made of laminated wood, the parlous state of the German aviation industry meant that production was slower than anticipated, and only around 1,000 of the A-series type were completed or under construction by the end of the war, many of which remained grounded due to shortages of spares, fuel, pilots or any combination of the three, so very few saw action at squadron level before the end of the war, reaching service in April 1945, barely a month before the end. The training airframes were sometimes pressed into service in emergencies and racked up some kills, although ejection was highly dangerous, and the structure of the aircraft was known to have some issues, especially with the rudders. The B-series designs were intended to see action in 1946, but the end of the war curtailed development, so they remained predominantly paper-projects. The B was to have a longer fuselage to accommodate more fuel, larger wings, and a more powerful Heinkel designed jet engine, and straight wings with a lower dihedral. Pulsejet power units of the type used in the V-1 flying bomb were briefly considered, but their lack of power and need for a pre-existing airflow to start the engines meant that they were dismissed as a viable source of motive power. The Kit The war ended in 1945, but this kit assumes that hostilities had continued, and pulsejets were used as an alternative form of propulsion. It is based on the 2021 tooling of the A-2 Salamander kit, adding new parts for the engines and their mounts, plus a revised fuselage without the jet engine fairings. The kit arrives in an end-opening box with two sprues of grey styrene, a clear canopy part, decal sheet and the instruction booklet inside, the latter printed in colour on a sheet of folded A4 that covers all six of the B-series variants, so you’ll need to follow the instructions carefully to ensure you built the correct B-5 version with a single pulsejet and straight wingtips. Detail is good with crisply engraved panel lines throughout, a well-appointed cockpit, landing gear bays and even RATO pods for take-off assistance. Construction begins with the nose gear bay, which is built from two halves that have the rudder pedals mounted on each side, as the fuselage is that cramped. The simple ejection seat has decal belts, and a strip that joins the control column to the base, fitting the seat to the sloped bulkhead at the rear. The instrument panel and coaming are joined together and a decal is applied to the dials, adding a gunsight to the centre, and here you could nip off the styrene “glass” and replace it with a piece of acetate sheet for a little extra realism if your hands are steady enough. The main gear bay is built as a single assembly from five parts, which is inserted in the lower fuselage, while the cockpit, nose gear, instrument panel and two side consoles are added to the nose, painted and then the fuselage can be closed, making sure to add at least 10g of nose weight. The pulsejet engine is built from halves with a mesh panel in the front, and is mounted on a short pylon on the fuselage centreline, as marked in red on the instructions. As the engine is mounted further forward than some installations, an extension tube is added to the rear so that the jet efflux clears the tail of the aircraft. The V-tail is made from a one fin moulded into the rear fuselage insert, and this is joined by the other fin that is a separate part, as depicted in small scrap diagrams nearby. This variant has forward raked wings without anhedral wingtips, which are single parts that butt-join to the sides of the fuselage in the location picked out in red. Another scrap diagram shows the configuration from the front along with the other possibilities. Each variant shares the same landing gear, the nose strut equipped with a single wheel that is trapped by the two-part yoke, and the bay door opens down to the port side. The main gear struts have trailing scissor-links and forward-facing retraction jacks that have a single wheel on a stub axle perpendicular to the strut. They are shown fitted in the bare bay assembly so you can see all the location points properly. The bay doors open up and outward, and are each a single part, with detail moulded into the interior. An optional gun pack can be added under the centreline, and a pair of two-part RATO pods can be glued to the sides of the fuselage behind the main bay doors, their locations again marked in red. The final part is the canopy, which is moulded as a single part and glues into the cut-out over the cockpit. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, with four-view profiles on the back of the box in full colour that have colour names rather than any maker’s paint codes to guide you. 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 Luft’46 is interesting to some and not to others, which is fine, as life would be dull if we all liked the same thing. I like it, and forward swept wings with a pulsejet is definitely out of the ordinary. A nicely detailed model that won’t take up much room in the cabinet, and with some interesting decal options. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Quite often KP's decals are out of register and probably awful in other ways too. Has anyone bought this latest re-box "German Service" 72402? Mojehobby.pl has a photo of the decals, but it's hard to tell if the white borders on the crosses are in register.
  3. KP's 1/48 SIAI SF-260W in Irish colours. Tiny little plane in 1/48 scale. The kit felt really rushed in many aspects - the details, the fit, decals and instructions. Details are quite sparse and the plastic quality is more of a short run kit with partially soft details etc. The fit was simply atrocious - mainly the wing/fuselage fit. Decals were poor print quality and colours were not aligned, I needed to correct them with paint quite a lot. I lost patience with the instructions as they were simply missing bits and the decal placement instructions/coding was so bad that I gave up on them, only put down few of the smaller decals. But as I wasn't happy with the quality of the decals in the first place it didn't feel too bad leaving some out. But I don't want to be all negative, in the end it ended up a nice little plane with some character. I painted it with Vallejo acrylic paints and used Tamiya panel liner to bring out the details. Kit needs a huge amount of nose weight, I didn't put enough so it ended up a tail sitter. Hence the clear plastic rod on the underside... Part of my 2023 Challenge:
  4. I finished this some time ago, but realize I never did an RFI. This is a 1/72 Czechoslovakian Avia S-199 built from the KP "Diana" kit. I built this as part of my "Minor Gustavs" project, modeling Bf 109Gs and derivatives (which the S-199 is) in service with smaller air forces. It's a nice kit, although the new S-199 from Eduard no doubt relegates this to the "also ran" category. Decals were poor-ish quality, but with some work came out alright. Was planning to build it entirely OOB, but the kit was missing one of the MGs for the cowling, so I swapped out an AZ spare that included the upper cowling and the MGs built in; otherwise, she's OOB. I sprayed the camo with a Tamiya rattle can. The yellow spinner is a bit of a question mark, but I decided to go that route in the absence of anything definitive suggesting otherwise, because I'm a big fan of bright colours! And here's "Diana" with her sister Gustav from Romania (a Ga-6 from the Hobby Boss G-6 kit with Resin MG bulges and decals from RB).
  5. Hello everyone! Here is my latest kit. It's KP's 1:72 Piper L-21B Super Cub In 1952, the Exército Português (Portuguese Army) received 22 L-21Bs through MDAP. The Força Aérea Portuguesa was formed that year and received five civilian PA-18-125s in 1954. The Army's L-21Bs were finally taken over by the FAP in 1955 although they remained in the army co-operation role with the Esquadrilha de Ligação e Observação at BA3 Tancos, Portugal. When this role was taken over by helicopters, they were used for liaison and training until they were withdrawn from service in 1976. The kit represents 3218 (cn 18-2555) one of the original Army batch and is one of three owned by the Museu do Ar and was on display at the museum in Sintra in 2019 where I took the photo below. This was the first light aviation aircraft I have built and the first time I have built a kit of a plane I have actually seen. When I saw KP was going to release this with the Portuguese option, I bought it as soon as it became available and when it arrived I decided to make it my next project as I was about to finish my previous kit (the Fw 200). I started this kit in early July with the hopes of finishing it before going on holidays at the end of the month. As soon as I started it I realised it was not going to be. The parts need cleaning up and fit isn't great. The instructions are very vague and give no indication as to what optional parts go with which option other than marking the wings that are not to be used. Location of the parts is vague too. In other words, references are a must. I used the photos I took of this plane at Sintra and of 3212 which I had seen on display at the museum's section at Alverca the previous year plus a few more I found on internet as a guide. I made the following additions and modifications: - The rear V frame inside the canopy is shown the wrong way round in the instructions. It had to be shortened too. The forward one needed some filing to fit on the coaming. - I added the missing diagonal frames in the rear cockpit from stretched sprue. - I added belts from masking tape. - The tail wheel is completely wrong. I only used the fork and wheel itself and scratchbuilt the leg from stretched sprue. - I added the intakes and vents to the engine cover that I could discern from my photos. I used and modified some kit parts and scratchbuilt others. Once I glued the exhaust pipe, I cut it to the appropriate length and sanded the end to the right angle. The two on display had the same configuration of the engine cover but I noticed another machine now in civilian hands had a slightly different one so beware. - The engine didn't fit inside and I had to cut the cylinders shorter to get it in place. - I cut off the blobs representing the wingtip lights and replaced then with parts made from stretched sprue. - I added the radio antenna and the tailwing support cables from stretched sprue. The kit is designed to glue the wings to the canopy by slotting some rods attached to one wing half through it and then somehow glue this to the fuselage assembly. I didn't like this idea as I felt it was too complicated and indeed the fit of the canopy with the fuselage needed work. Therefore, I removed the rods from the wing and made new ones and slid them through holes I made in the canopy. I then opened holes in the wings to slide them into the rods later on. The main wing struts benefit from shortening 0.5 to 1mm (I found out too late). The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. The decals were thin and settled well but were delicate and fragile. The printing resolution was a little low and the screen dots can be seen in some colours with the naked eye on close inspection. The tail decals were unfortunately oversized and I realised this when putting the first one. I managed to remove it and cut it in two (resulting in damage to the flag) to place the items a little better. I then used the scheme paint to make the flags a little smaller. Due to the damage, I had to paint over the flags. This kit was a struggle most of the way and I may have missed some details I could have added but I am very happy with the end result and glad I built it. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Messerschmitt Bf.109K-4 ‘The Last Chance’ (AZ7819) 1:72 AZ Model 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 new fuselage parts. It arrives in a small end-opening box with an attractive painting of the subject matter 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, which on my sample isn’t all that clearly printed, although it is legible. 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 up. There is a top insert added later to complete the fuselage, which has the two nose machine gun troughs and C-shaped gun insert, a combined fin and rudder, while the fuselage has a nicely faired side to obviate 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, reducing their size and 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 the majority 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 the 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 Erla-Haube canopy with reduced framing covers over the cockpit with the relocated D/F fairing quite a way back down the spine. Horn balance, chin intake, extra fuel tank and pylon, 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. Two of these aircraft were captured or reused after the war, so are wearing their new owner’s markings, sometimes painted straight over the crosses of the defunct Luftwaffe, and these markings are included on the decal sheet. Where the old crosses and swastikas have been painted over however, you will be responsible for painting those, so be prepared for a little detail painting. 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 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 Some interesting markings and camouflage options that were in use before the end and just after WWII, and its final German variant of this aircraft into the bargain. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. 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
  10. MiG-23P "Flogger" (KPM0286) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 (NATO Code name Flogger) is a single-seat, variable geometry interceptor and ground attack aircraft. Designed to be tough and reliable yet cheap to manufacture, the Flogger was widely exported outside of the Soviet Union and is still in service with various air forces around the world. The aircraft was intended as a successor to the MiG-21, which although tough and agile, suffered from a limited range, poor weapon carrying ability and a relatively weak radar. The MiG-23 was a significant step forwards for the Soviet Union, providing the VVS and PVO with look down/shoot down capabilities as well as a beyond visual range missile platform. The MiG-23 is powered by a single Khatchaturov turbojet which provides a maximum 28,700 lb/ft of thrust with afterburner. This power gives the MiG-23 sprightly performance, enabling it to achieve a climb rate of 47,000 feet per minute and reach a maximum speed of mach 2.3 at altitude. Over 5,000 Floggers were produced, and although this is far fewer than the 11,400 MiG-21s that rolled off the production line, it still enjoyed considerable export success, finding its way into the inventory of air forces across Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The MiG-23P (Flogger G) was a second generation MiG-23. It was designed as a specialised air-defense interceptor variant for the Russian Air Force as an interim low-cost aircraft to replace the Su-9/Su-11 and MiG-19. P was for Perekhvatchik (or interceptor) it the same airframe and powerplant as the MiG-23ML, but with an improved avionics suite. Its radar was the improved Sapfir-23P (N006), which could be used in conjunction with the ASP-23P gunsight/HUD (later replaced with the improved ASP-23ML-P) for better look-down/shoot-down capabilities to counter increasing low-level threats like F-111s. The IRST however was removed. The SAU-23P autopilot included a new digital computer which, operating in conjunction with the Lasur-M datalink, enabled GCI ground stations to steer the aircraft towards the target. Here all the pilot had to do was control the engine and fire the weapons. The MiG-23P was the most numerous interceptor in the 1980s with around 500 manufactured between 1978 and 1981. This version of the MiG-23 was never exported and managed to endure the break-up of the Soviet Union, with the last MiG-23P units operating until 1998. Interestingly, in mock BVR air combat the MiG-23P when flown by experienced pilots proved to be equal or even better than the Su-27. The Kit This is in general the 2011 RV Aircraft kit which is being re-boxed by KP, however this is just the plastic without RV's photoetch. The clear parts are also remade by KP. For this version Inside the box are two sprues of grey plastic, a clear sprue; and an additional two small sprues for P specific parts. While the front Construction begins with the cockpit/ Decals are provided for the instrument panel either in Grey, or the Russian Turquoise colour. Next the seat is added to the cockpit tub along with the control column. Seat belts are provided as decals. We now move onto a couple of sub-assemblies. The 5 part engine exhaust nozzle, and the main gear wheels are built up. Now the cockpit tub and front wheel well can be added into the new front fuselage section for this kit, and this can be closed up. While the front fuselage was split left/right the rear is split upper/lower to accommodate the variable geometry wing. The single part wings are placed on their locating pins on the lower fuselage and the upper can then be added trapping the wings and allowing them to swing as needed. These are not interconnected like some kits. The exhaust is then fitted at the rear, and at the front the front fuselage including cockpit is added. The nose cone then goes onto this assembly. At the rear additional vents and airbrakes are added followed by the fin/rudder part (yes the one on the box art is incorrect, however the correct one is in the kit). To the front section the intakes are made up and added (make sure to use the new part for this boxing). The rear control surfaces are then fitted along with the main weapons pylons under the fixed part of the wings. Next up at the front the nose gear, its bay doors and the 23mm cannon pod are added. Following this we move to fit the main gear and its doors. Care must be taken to get the sit if the legs correctly. Two pylons are then fitted to the swinging wings for this version. The last items to be fitted are the canopies. Decals There are three decal options in the box to represent three Russian Aircraft. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
  11. MiG-23MF "Arabian Floggers" (KPM0309) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 (NATO Code name Flogger) is a single-seat, variable geometry interceptor and ground attack aircraft. Designed to be tough and reliable yet cheap to manufacture, the Flogger was widely exported outside of the Soviet Union and is still in service with various air forces around the world. The aircraft was intended as a successor to the MiG-21, which although tough and agile, suffered from a limited range, poor weapon carrying ability and a relatively weak radar. The MiG-23 was a significant step forwards for the Soviet Union, providing the VVS and PVO with look down/shoot down capabilities as well as a beyond visual range missile platform. The MiG-23 is powered by a single Khatchaturov turbojet which provides a maximum 28,700 lb/ft of thrust with afterburner. This power gives the MiG-23 sprightly performance, enabling it to achieve a climb rate of 47,000 feet per minute and reach a maximum speed of mach 2.3 at altitude. Over 5,000 Floggers were produced, and although this is far fewer than the 11,400 MiG-21s that rolled off the production line, it still enjoyed considerable export success, finding its way into the inventory of air forces across Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The MiG-23MF or Flogger B was an export derivative of the MiG-23M produced from 1978 to 1983. There were two versions produced, the first (2A or 23-11A), intended for sale to the Warsaw Pact countries, was practically the same as the MiG-23M with small differences in communication and IFF equipment. The second (2B or 23-11B) was designed for sale for certain Third World client states. Like the 23-11A it featured the Sapfir-23D-III radar (redesignated Sapfir-23E), this however lacked electronic counter-countermeasure (ECCM) features and had a lower overall performance. The communication equipment was also less powerful, with the Lasour-SMA datalink removed from some aircraft. Until 1981, these were delivered to customers with the R-13M missile instead of the R-60. The Kit This is the 2011 RV Aircraft kit which is being re-boxed by KP, however this is just the plastic without RV's photoetch. The clear parts are also remade by KP. Inside the box are two sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. Its noted there are parts on the spure for other versions not used here. Construction begins with the cockpit/ Decals are provided for the instrument panel either in Grey, or the Russian Turquoise colour. Next the seat is added to the cockpit tub along with the control column. Seat belts are provided as decals. We now move onto a couple of sub-assemblies. The 5 part engine exhaust nozzle, and the main gear wheels are built up. Now the cockpit tub and front wheel well can be added into the front fuselage section and this can be closed up. While the front fuselage was split left/right the rear is split upper/lower to accommodate the variable geometry wing. The single part wings are placed on their locating pins on the lower fuselage and the upper can then be added trapping the wings and allowing them to swing as needed. These are not interconnected like some kits. The exhaust is then fitted at the rear, and at the front the front fuselage including cockpit is added. The nose cone then goes onto theis assembly. At the rear additional vents and airbrakes are added followed by the fin/rudder part. To the front section the intakes are made up and added. The rear control surfaces are then fitted along with the main weapons pylons under the fixed part of the wings. Next up at the front the nose gear, its bay doors and the 23mm cannon pod are added. Following this we move to fit the main gear and its doors. Care must be taken to get the sit if the legs correctly. The last items to be fitted are the canopies. Decals There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft from Algeria, Iraq, and Libya. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
  12. Miles M.38 Messenger 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Miles Messenger was developed to meet a British Army requirement for an observation and liaison aircraft. The aircraft would be a low wing single engined monoplane. It was to be powered by the de Havilland Gipsy Major 1D inline engine. It was fitted with retractable auxiliary wing flaps and featured triple fins / rudders in order to maintain sufficient controllability down to the exceptionally low stalling speed of 25 mph. Originally the prototype was converted from the Mile Mercury, this though caused problems as Miles had not sought authorisation from the Ministry of Aircraft supply to do this, Even though it met Army requirements no orders were forthcoming due to these issues with the Army gaining Auster aircraft instead. Later the Messenger would receive a small reprieve with the RAF accepting the design as a VIP transport aircraft, and placing a small order against Specification 17/43. Notable users of the type included Marshal of the Royal Air Force 1st Baron Tedder, and Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery. 21 Aircraft were produced in WWII. Post war the design was further advanced with a retractable undercarriage with a further 71 of these being built. Several Messengers remain airworthy around the world. The Kit Scalemates says this kit is an offshoot of the 2000 Pavla kit, though its doubtful. That was a multimedia kit where as this kit is entirely injection moulded and a lot better in quality than the earlier kit. I would say this is a new tool 2022 boxing in KP's line of kits. As is usual, they have produced a number of boxings that vary in decals, giving the modeler plenty of choice which one(s) to get. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box, and inside is a single sprue of grey styrene, an injection canopy, 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. Construction begins with the instrument panel, and connecting panel to the rear seats; instruments are provided as decals. Next up the seats fit to the cockpit floor with control columns also being fitted. Seatbelts for all seats are provided as decals. The main cockpit parts, and the instrument panels can then be fitted in and the fuselage closed up. The engine front and propeller mount is added at the front, while at the rear the tail surfaces and rudders go on. The wings are now added. These are a butt joint so some pinning would be advisable for a stronger join. The wings themselves are conventional left/right uppers/lowers. The prop can now also be added, this is followed by the injection canopy. To finish off the auxiliary wing flaps are added, along with the landing gear and engine exhaust. This is by no means a complicated model, but then again the full size aircraft was not either. It should build up into a good looking model. Miles M.38 Messenger "In civil service" (KPM0317) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used in civilian service. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Miles Messenger Mk.I "Monty's Planes" (KPM0318) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used in Military service by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Miles Messenger Mk.I "RAF" (KPM0319) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used by the Royal Air Force Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
  13. Miles M.2H Hawk Major 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The M.2H Hawk Major light two seat monoplane was developed from the earlier M.2 Hawk. F.G Miles took advantage of the newly inverted de Havilland Gipsy Major engine and designed new metal engine mounts to fit this to the Hawk, becoming the Hawk Major. Other improvements were a more streamlined undercarriage. With the new 130 Hp engine the aircraft proved popular. Notable achievements of the types were second place in the 1934 King's Cup air race at an average speed of 147.78 mph (using the prototype aircraft), and in October 1934, while competing in the MacRobertson Air Race Squadron Leader Malcolm Charles McGregor flew from RAF Mildenhall to Melbourne, Australia in 7 days, 15 hours. The Kit This is a new tool 2022 boxing in KP's line of kits. As is usual, they have produced a number of boxings that vary in decals, giving the modeler plenty of choice which one(s) to get. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box, and inside is a single sprue of grey styrene, an acetate windscreen sheet, 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. Construction begins with both instrument panels, instruments are provided as decals. Next up the seats fit to the cockpit floor with control columns also being fitted. Seatbelts for both seats are provided as decals. The main cockpit parts, the instrument panels, and bulkheads can then be fitted in and the fuselage closed up. The engine front and propeller mount is added at the front, while at the rear the tail surfaces and rudder go on. A small streamlined fairing is added on top of the fuselage behind the cockpit opening. The wings are now added. These are a butt joint so some pinning would be advisable for a stronger join. The wings themselves are a single part either side. The prop can now also be added. No injection windscreens are provided, I suspect due to their size. On a small sheet of acetate there are two wrap around, and two angled screens provided. Once these are on the last items to be made up and added is the undercarriage. At the rear its a simple tail skid, while the mains are enclosed in spats each side. This is by no means a complicated model, but then again the full size aircraft was not either. It should build up into a good looking model. Miles M.2H Hawk Major "Over Spain" (KPM282) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used by both side in the Spanish Civil war. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Miles M.2H Hawk Major "International" (KPM283) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used overseas. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Miles M.2H Hawk Major "Military Service" (KPM284) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used in Military service. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Miles M.2H Hawk Major (KPM285) There are three decal options in the box to represent Aircraft in markings used in civilian service. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
  14. Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.XI "SEAC" (KPM0295) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain along with the Hurricane and a few other less well-known players, and it’s an aircraft with an amazing reputation that started from a bit of a damp squib in the shape of the Supermarine Type 224. The 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 accumulating, the Ministry issued more orders and it became a battle to create enough to fulfil demand in time for the outbreak and early days of war from September 1939 onwards. By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered. 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 with a new Mk.XII Merlin, followed by the Mk.V that had yet another more powerful Merlin fitted. With the development of new Merlin 60 powered Spitfires, both the Mk VII and VIII were to have photo-reconnaissance (PR) variants. T he Mk XI was based on a combination of features from the marks VII, VIII and IX. It was the first PR variant to have the option of using two vertically mounted F52 cameras in the fuselage behind the cockpit. Other configurations could also be fitted, depending on the mission. The Mk XIs had a deeper nose fairing to accommodate a larger 14.5 gal oil tank and used the unarmoured, wrap-around PRU windscreen. Booster pumps for the wing tanks were fitted these being covered by teardrop shaped fairings under the wings. Retractable tailwheels were fitted as standard and the majority of the Mk XIs built had the later large-area pointed rudder. 260 Mk XIs were powered by Merlin 61, 63 or 63A engines, while the remaining 211 used the high-altitude Merlin 70. All of the Merlin 70 and 198 of the Merlin 60 series aircraft were fitted with the Vokes Aero-Vee dust filter in the extended, streamlined carburettor air intake under the nose. All Merlin 60 powered aircraft featured the fuel cooler in the port leading edge wing root. Additional slipper drop tanks could be fitted under the centre-section; in common with the Mk IX these could be 30, 45 or 90 gal capacity and, for the Mk XI, a tank of 170 gal capacity was also available. The aircraft were capable of a top speed of 417 mph (671 km/h) at 24,000 ft and could cruise at 395 mph at 32,000 ft. Normally Spitfire XIs cruised between these altitudes although, in an emergency, the aircraft could climb to 44,000 ft. However, pilots could not withstand such altitudes for long in a non-pressurised cockpit.[info from Wikipedia] The Kit This is a new tool 2022 boxing in KP's line of Spitfire kits. 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 two 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. Construction begins with the cockpit, the front bulkhead gets its instrument panel, with the instruments being provided as decals. The seat back and head armour attaches to the rear bulkhead and this is fitted to the floor members. The control column is added followed by the seat. Belts are supplied as decals. At the front of each fuselage half blanking plates go in for the exhausts and then the cockpit can go in the and halves can be closed up. Moving onto the wings the left and right uppers can be added to the single part lower wing making sure the small parts for the wheels wells go in first. The radiators go on. The wing can now be fitted to the fuselage and at the rear the tail surfaces and rudder are fitted, along with the tail wheel. The main gear can be built up and added along with the chin intake and prop. On top the canopy and aerial mast is added. At the front the prop is fitted. Markings There are three decal options in the box to represent RAF Aircraft operating in South East Asian Command. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.XI "RAF" (KPM0292) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain along with the Hurricane and a few other less well-known players, and it’s an aircraft with an amazing reputation that started from a bit of a damp squib in the shape of the Supermarine Type 224. The 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 accumulating, the Ministry issued more orders and it became a battle to create enough to fulfil demand in time for the outbreak and early days of war from September 1939 onwards. By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered. 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 with a new Mk.XII Merlin, followed by the Mk.V that had yet another more powerful Merlin fitted. With the development of new Merlin 60 powered Spitfires, both the Mk VII and VIII were to have photo-reconnaissance (PR) variants. T he Mk XI was based on a combination of features from the marks VII, VIII and IX. It was the first PR variant to have the option of using two vertically mounted F52 cameras in the fuselage behind the cockpit. Other configurations could also be fitted, depending on the mission. The Mk XIs had a deeper nose fairing to accommodate a larger 14.5 gal oil tank and used the unarmoured, wrap-around PRU windscreen. Booster pumps for the wing tanks were fitted these being covered by teardrop shaped fairings under the wings. Retractable tailwheels were fitted as standard and the majority of the Mk XIs built had the later large-area pointed rudder. 260 Mk XIs were powered by Merlin 61, 63 or 63A engines, while the remaining 211 used the high-altitude Merlin 70. All of the Merlin 70 and 198 of the Merlin 60 series aircraft were fitted with the Vokes Aero-Vee dust filter in the extended, streamlined carburettor air intake under the nose. All Merlin 60 powered aircraft featured the fuel cooler in the port leading edge wing root. Additional slipper drop tanks could be fitted under the centre-section; in common with the Mk IX these could be 30, 45 or 90 gal capacity and, for the Mk XI, a tank of 170 gal capacity was also available. The aircraft were capable of a top speed of 417 mph (671 km/h) at 24,000 ft and could cruise at 395 mph at 32,000 ft. Normally Spitfire XIs cruised between these altitudes although, in an emergency, the aircraft could climb to 44,000 ft. However, pilots could not withstand such altitudes for long in a non-pressurised cockpit.[info from Wikipedia] The Kit This is a new tool 2022 boxing in KP's line of Spitfire kits. 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 two 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. Construction begins with the cockpit, the front bulkhead gets its instrument panel, with the instruments being provided as decals. The seat back and head armour attaches to the rear bulkhead and this is fitted to the floor members. The control column is added followed by the seat. Belts are supplied as decals. At the front of each fuselage half blanking plates go in for the exhausts and then the cockpit can go in the and halves can be closed up. Moving onto the wings the left and right uppers can be added to the single part lower wing making sure the small parts for the wheels wells go in first. The radiators go on. The wing can now be fitted to the fuselage and at the rear the tail surfaces and rudder are fitted, along with the tail wheel. The main gear can be built up and added along with the chin intake and prop. On top the canopy and aerial mast is added. At the front the prop is fitted. Markings There are three decal options in the box to represent RAF Aircraft operating in Western Europe. Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. Conclusion Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Alpha Jet E "In French Service" (KPM0264) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov At the end of the 60s, with the SEPECAT Jaguar transformed from a trainer into an attack aircraft, it left the advanced jet trainer replacement unfulfilled, so France and Germany began a collaboration to design a new trainer that was to become the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, the Breguet part in the collaboration being absorbed by Dassault when they bought the company. It flew late in 1973, and went into service with France in 1979 after extensive trials as the Alpha Jet E, fulfilling a similar role to the BAe Hawk in the RAF. The Germans used the jet as a Light Attack aircraft with the A suffix appended, and limited export success brought the Alpha Jet to Francophile countries in Europe and Africa, with a number of ex-Luftwaffe aircraft finding their way to Thailand and Portugal. One of Britain's defence company QinetiQ bought 6 ex-Luftwaffe aircraft, which occasionally make appearances at airshows. Germany has retired the aircraft now, but many airframes are still in service, with the later MS2 with new avionics, engines, a glass cockpit and improved weapons carrying performance used to train pilots on modern types. The Kit Originally released in 2021, there have been a number of reboxings of the core kit, with various markings options and parts to address the needs and wants of us modellers, which is their stock-in-trade. This boxing offers you the ability to model the A, E or more advanced MS using the parts in the box, but the decals supplied are purely for the A, as stated on the box, opening the door for anyone with aftermarket decals for the other types to use this boxing to apply their own decals. Good to know. The kit arrives in a figure-type end-opening box, with two sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and instruction booklet. The rear of the box has all the profiles for the marking options printed on it in colour. Construction begins with the cockpit, which revolves around the two-seat tub, with the two seats having belt decals, a pair of control columns, additional console parts, and decals for the side consoles. The two instrument panels also have decals, with a choice of decals, depending on which mark you are depicting. The cockpit and rear coaming are inserted into the fuselage along with the nose-gear bay, and in anticipation of adding the underside insert, the main gear bays are built on a single roof part with bulkheads separating them and outfitted with landing gear struts and wheels, then glued into the inside of the insert, which can be fitted into the fuselage, closing up the underside. The wings are simple structures with two main parts each, the undersides smaller than the uppers, to make for a slimmer trailing edge, and attaching to the fuselage by the usual slot-and-tab method, as are the elevators, with a pair of blade antennae fixed near the top of the tail fin. The intakes are also installed at this stage, which each have an inner splitter plate with a C-profile intake trunk joined together and offered up to the fuselage either side of the rear pilot’s cockpit. The mark of your model is determined by the instrument decals within the cockpits and the nose cones, which you have a choice of for all three types of this aircraft. The decals are for the E, which has a rounded nose. A busy diagram shows the installation of the nose gear and all the remaining bay doors, the former being made from three parts with an additional retraction strut added as it is inserted into the bay. Four underwing pylons are included in the kit, which can be left empty or have two extra fuel tanks slung under them, with the option of a central gun pack under the belly. The forward sections of the flap fairings are moulded into the wings, but the aft sections are added from separate parts on the moulded-in flying surfaces. The sensor fit differs between options, with extra steps showing those for French, Canadian and QinetiQ, then the one-piece canopy is glued in place with a small intake on the side of the spine, after which it’s time to paint your model. Markings A separate sheet shows the location of all the stencils, of which there are quite a few, then you refer to the rear of the box for your main markings options. From the box you can build one of the following: Decals are printed without acknowledgment, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The upper wing stencils are printed on a single decal per wing, so care will be needed to ensure it doesn’t break up, and here the thin carrier film will be a boon once applied, but tricky during fitting. Conclusion I’ve always liked the Alpha Jet, and this is a great little model with lots of detail moulded-in, and some nice decal markings for in service French Jets. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. New in May 2019 by Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) - ref. KPM0136 - Ilyushin Il-2 “Interim Guners Station" Source: https://www.kovozavody.cz/en/produkt/iljusin-il-2-interim-guners-station/ - ref. KPM0137 - Ilyushin Il-2M "Black Death" Source: https://www.kovozavody.cz/en/produkt/iljusin-il-2m-black-dead/ V.P.
  18. New in May 2019 by Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) - ref. KPM0134 - Orlican VSO-10B Grandient Source: https://www.kovozavody.cz/produkt/vso-10b-gradient/ - ref. KPM0135 - Orlican VSO-10C Grandient Source: https://www.kovozavody.cz/produkt/vso-10c-gradient/ V.P.
  19. New in May 2019 by Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) - ref. KPM0130 - Grob CS-77 Astir Source: https://www.kovozavody.cz/produkt/astir-cs-77/ - ref. KPM0133 - Grob CS-77 Astir Jeans Source: https://www.kovozavody.cz/produkt/astir-cs-77-jeans/ V.P.
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