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  1. Here are the last pair of Mark I Models (ex-Eduard) 1:144 Fw 190s in my stash, which I completed last week. This time they're from the Fw 190F-8 boxing which had some colourful options. I already have built option B, the sand-coloured SG4 plane ten years ago using a Revell 1:72 kit. In the end though, I went for the least colourful option (A) because it covers a missing unit in one of my sub-collections, that of trying to cover as many Luftwaffe units as possible, in this case SG77. And it was in this spirit that the second kit was built. I found a profile for one of the operational conversion units, SG151, for which the white 11 of option B came in really handy. Apart from the modifications and/or fixes I made on the previous kits, this time I added a headrest in the cockpit (though I forgot to add the rear support strut (duh!)), I removed the outer guns as the F-8s didn't use them, and I used the underslung bomb. First up then is White T of II./SG77, Luftwaffe, at Lemberg (Lvov) airfield, Ukraine, summer 1944, with a standard RLM74/75/76 grey scheme livened by the yellow band and red spinner tip with the characteristic black square in the exhaust area. Second one is White 11 of 14./SG151, Luftwaffe, at Berlin-Staaken, Germany, early 1945. This aircraft was shot down on 4 February, 1945. The primary duties of SG151 was to provide replacement crews (incl. operational training), for the frontline Schlacht units, but during the war, several combat (Einsatz) units were formed from SG151 (Michael Holm, internet). This machine sports a very standard RLM74/75/76 scheme without any "extras". I used the kit instructions for the other kit as a guide for the pattern of this one. Decals came from various sources (spares), apart from the number, the upper wing crosses and the stencils which came from the kit's sheet. Despite the less interesting schemes, I am very pleased with both and glad I made them. Although the weathering is the same as with my previous kits, I changed my approach to some areas (using a smaller brush) and the result was much more satisfying. It's a pity there are no readily available Fw 190A-8/F-8 kits in 1:144 as I would like to have a go at the other two options of this boxing. I still have a pair of Aoshima kits but there are several other options I would like to make from the Printscale sheet too. I'll leave that for later on... Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome Miguel
  2. Hello everyone! Here is my latest kit finished this past weekend. It's Fw 190A-7 "Yellow 1" flown by Oberleutnant Otto "Bruno" Kittel, 3./JG54, Luftwaffe, from Riga, Latvia, in June 1944. This is the companion kit from the Mark I Models A-8/A-9 boxing (in 1:144). As I mentioned in the NC.900 posting, I wasn't that interested in the Mark I Models' A-8/A-9 kit options (except for the A-9 which was out of the question due to the lack of alternative parts), so I looked for something else. A profile in one of my books sparked my interest which grew with further investigation and seeing it was feasible with the decals I had in my spares made it possible. Otto Kittel was the 4th ranking Luftwaffe ace with 267 victories, all in the eastern front. He was also the top Fw 190 ace with less than 40 of his victories being achieved on Bf 109s. He was also the highest ranking Luftwaffe ace to not survive the war, being shot down and killed by an Il-2 over the Courland Pocket on 16 February, 1945. I made the same modifications I made on my other Fw 190A-7 earlier this year. I added the wing probe, tail mast, underside aerials, main u/c retraction arms, underside pylon sway braces and radio wire from stretched sprue. The scheme is a bit speculative as apart from the book profile and others I found and a couple of limited-view photos, the only other references for the pattern of the scheme I found were other people's kits on internet and they varied between them. I chose one and followed it. The spinner spiral was also a bit of guesswork as I could only see the front area. Decals came mostly from the MYK Design A-4/A-8 sheet (for different aircraft). I first used swastikas from the kit's sheet but I soon realised that didn't go over the greens but in a light blue square. Besides, they were too large. I overpainted them RLM76 and applied new smaller ones from another sheet and then repainted the greens around them. The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. I'm really happy with how this one came out and very glad I decided to make it. Thanks for looking and, as always, all comments are welcome. Miguel
  3. Hello everyone! Here is my latest kit finished earlier this week. It's S.N.C.A.C NC.900 A8 No.25 "white 11", GC III/5 "Normandie-Niemen", Armée de l'Air, Le Bourget, France, early 1946. After the Sea King and the summer holidays, I decided to resume my Fw 190 run. I went for the Mark I Models A-8/A-9 boxing (in 1:144). Unfortunately, the A-9 option wasn't feasible since the kit didn't have a bulged canopy and an alternate propeller with wider blades which were permanent features of that sub-variant. Added to that, the other three options of the kit didn't really interest me that much so I found a couple of others I could make instead. First one finished is an S.N.C.A.C. NC.900 A8. I had received a special edition bonus sheet for French Fw 190s with the MYK Design A-4/A-8 sheet so I decided to go for one of the options on offer. The NC.900s were Fw 190As (different sub-types) assembled in France from components and machines left behind under repair in French factories as France was liberated. The decision was made to complete up to 125 machines to rapidly, and cheaply, re-equip the Armée de l'Air. Service was brief mainly due to troubles with the reliability and others, mostly stemming from sabotage of parts during the occupation, and production was stopped in February 1946 at 62 units. Some machines carried on flying until 1949 with the CEV (Flight Test Centre) of Cazaux and Bretigny. About 14 or so served only with one unit, GC III/5 "Normandie-Niemen" at Le Bourget in early 1946. My kit represents one of these aircraft. The MYK sheet basically had options for two aircraft, all-green No.25, with and without the "11" and all-grey No.52. I had decided on doing the former. Investigating revealed a series of questions to which I slowly found answers. In most cases, the gun barrels were removed. No underside rack or aerials were present either. The tone of the green is unclear and could be anything from RLM71 to Olive Drab. The paints, most probably of German origin, were mixed for the tone and rapidly degraded. One machine was repainted in khaki and two in a light blue-grey (for the CEV). For the paint scheme, I decided for RLM71 overall with areas and patches overpainted/dry-brushed with a lighter mix I had. The effect actually came out quite good, only really showing once I applied varnish. Although some suggest the propeller was black I decided to stick to the standard RLM70. The remaining details were painted in standard colours. I don't know what kit the MYK Decals were really meant for. Apart from some discrepancies in the proportions of flaps and panel lines between the kit and MYK's illustrations, the only tricky part was the rudder which didn't quite match the shape in the decals. The decals went on very well as usual and I only had trouble removing the clear film on one side of the rudder. Once dry, I touched up the rudder with Hum89 (blue), white and Hum60 (red). I didn't want to do much weathering since these machines were barely used. Apart from highlighting moving surfaces with thinned Vallejo Black Grey, I dry-brushed a little Hum67 Tank Grey for the exhausts on the sides and underneath. I decided to use Vallejo Sky Grey to dry-brush a little wear on the wing roots. It wasn't coming out well so I tried to wash it off with water leaving a result which wasn't bad. I was uncertain about the radio wire. I can't see any in the photos but some kit builds and profiles have just the wire from the canopy to the tail so I went with this. I am pleased with the final result and glad I made this option. It really looks different. On top of it, I managed to complete it in just over two weeks! Whenever another Fw 190A-8 kit becomes readily available, I'll consider making the grey option as there are enough decals to make it. Thanks for looking and, as always, all comments are welcome. Miguel
  4. Away on hols, so I needed something small enough to pack and simple enough that I might actually finish in a week. One of my favourite planes, ever since a visit to the FAA Museum at Yeovilton about 60 years ago and purchasing the FROG model. The plastic looks nice. A quick comparison to the plans indicates they seem pretty accurate. Actually a lot, lot better than the 1/72 FROG kit. Nice decals too. I'm thinking I'll make WJ223/106 flown by Sub Lt. Brian 'Schmoo' Ellis, who shot down the MiG-15. https://www.aerosociety.com/news/sea-fury-vs-mig-15-the-true-story/ And VX764/134 of the RAN. Holiday reading; To work. Not sure what the big lugs/extrusions where, but obviously they had to go. Dry fit didn't highlight many problems apart from the need to make more room in the fuselage for the cockpit tub. But holiday walks with SWMBO and the dog (it's a toss up who's really in charge out of those two ) beckons. Back soon.
  5. Westland Wessex HU.5 in Commando Role (MKM144169L) 1:144 Mark I Models Developed and manufactured by rotary wing aviation pioneers Sikorsky, the H-34 Choctaw was ubiquitous throughout most of the Cold War, even in Great Britain where it was re-engineered and re-branded as the Westland Wessex. First flying in the mid-50s, it saw widespread service with many nations including the US military in various versions from military transport (passenger and cargo) to Coastguard and even civilian uses. Originally powered by a piston-engined Wright Cyclone engine, it was a versatile airframe that lent itself to many tasks, one of which was the carriage of VIPs by the Marines. It was used in a huge range of other operational tasks too, with many operators, including the UK and America’s near neighbour Canada. Whether it was in Navy use, Marines, Air Force or as an air-sea rescue chopper, and whether it was known by the name Choctaw, Wessex or H-34, it was a capable helicopter that was well-regarded by passengers and crew alike. The licence-built Westland Wessex was re-engined with a turboshaft engine that gave the aircraft more power and reliability, starting with the Napier Gazelle, and progressing to de Havilland Gnomes for later use. It was used by the British as a replacement for the Whirlwind, and was a substantial improvement over it predecessor in every way, from load carriage to faster spooling up of the engine that resulted in faster response times as an air ambulance, and it was also quieter and less-likely to loosen your fillings after a ride in one. Of the many variants, the HU.5 was intended as a troop transport, and as it could carry sixteen geared up Marines, it was nicknamed the Commando. Its most famous role was in the SAS mission over the glacier on South Georgia in an attempt to flank the Argentinian forces that were present. The Kit This is the second bagged kit we have reviewed from Mark I in 2023, bringing our total bagged kits since we began in 2007 to two, unless I've missed some. The kit arrives in a small Ziploc bag with a profile of one of the decal options on the header card, and all the options on the rear. Inside are two sprues of grey styrene, a separate Ziploc bag containing the clear sprue, the decal sheet and instruction booklet printed on folded A4 in colour, with profiles on the back page. Detail is good, especially considering the small scale, with alternative parts for some options. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is based upon an L-shaped floor and rear bulkhead, with moulded-in seats and central console, to which you add the control columns and the instrument panel. This is inserted into the starboard fuselage half along with a pair of side windows, a task that is repeated on the port side as one part before the two halves are joined. An alternative nose is included for two decal options, which fits to the front of the fuselage during joining. There is an underside insert that has moulded-in detail, adding interest. The canopy closes the fuselage, and that is made from three portions, the main windscreen and roof and two side windows with blown centres. The stabiliser slots into the tail fin, with a tail wheel beneath it, then you fix the main gear legs, one with two struts and a choice of two styles of flotation gear on the wheel hubs and lower strut. Each door has a small platform projecting from the side, which is supported by two struts and optional curved-topped box in the centre, near the new turboshaft exhausts, one on each side. The tail rotor is a single part, while the main rotor consists of a rotor head and four separate blades, which if you are depicting your chopper on the ground should have a little droop added. This can be done by taping the blades evenly to a bowl and running hot water over them, allowing them to cool naturally or with cold water to set their shape before removing the tape. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, and that includes a series of stripes for the rotor blades in yellow and red. 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 Another great small-scale release from Mark.I of this cool variant of the Westland Wessex, nee Chocktaw that was the workhorse of many British military operations during the Cold War. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Mirage IIIRS/EBR/5BA/50C (MKM144168L) 1:144 Mark 1 Models The Dassault Mirage III is one of the most recognisable aircraft to emerge from the Dassault Aviation stable in post war France with its distinctive delta wings and sharply pointed nose. The Mirage III grew out of French government studies for a light weight all weather interceptor able to reach an altitude 18,000 meters (59,500+ ft) in six minutes and able to reach Mach 1.3 in level flight. The tailless delta combined the wing with an area ruled Coke bottle-shaped fuselage to achieve such speed, minimising buffeting and other compressibility related issues that had plagued early supersonic designs. The Mirage IIIC would remain in French service from 1961 until 1988, and although the largest export customer for the Mirage III was Israel, there were many other smaller operators over the years. Switzerland flew eighteen RS variants, the export variant of the reconnaissance aircraft that was in turn based on the E that was used by the French Air Force. The EBR variant flew with the Brazilian Air Force in small numbers, and was also based upon the E, but was built locally and referred to as the F-103E in their service. The 5BA was an R that was built for the Belgian Air Force, while the Chile flew 50Cs, which were similar to the IIIBE. The Kit It’s probably been a long time since anyone wrote this in a review, but this kit arrives in a Ziploc bag with a card header, and is a rebagging with new decals of a recent tool from Mark I, originating in 2019, with new parts in 2022. The header has a profile of the Swiss Mirage IIIRS on the front, and the decal options printed on the back, so make sure you keep it after opening. Inside are two sprues of dark grey styrene plus a pair of canards on a length of sprue, a small clear sprue, and instruction sheet on folded A4 in colour, with profiles on the rear that show all aspects of the camouflage for completeness. The four decal options are split two by two by their tail fin fillet, as well as their operating nation. Detail is good, and I’m starting to sound like a broken record when I marvel at the amount of it that the designers can squeeze into these small-scale kits. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the seat on an L-shaped floor that receives the seat and control column, with a spacer and partial bulkhead below at the rear. The pilot’s instrument panel has a decal with dials applied, and is inserted below the coaming during fuselage closure. With the cockpit painted, the exhaust is made up from top and bottom halves with a cylindrical tip and a bulkhead on which to mount it that locates on a rib inside the fuselage. The fuselage can be closed then, installing the intakes from splitter and trunk on each side behind the cockpit and gluing the single part wings under the fuselage. The afore-mentioned fin fillet is cut from the spare fuselage half for decal options C & D and applied after removing the moulded-in section from the destination fuselage, all of which is marked in shades of red. The canopy is a single crystal-clear part, and fits over the cockpit cut-out in the closed position, showing off your work in there, and slotting the pitot into the tip of one of two choices of nose, which are installed after removing the moulded-in nose from the fuselage for all but one decal option. All decal options utilise the canards from the extra piece of sprue, fitted to each of the intake trunks with the aid of dotted red lines on the diagrams. The three landing gear struts are each one part, and has a wheel fixed to the axle, with captive bay doors on the main legs, and two smaller doors on the nose, which also has a captive door moulded into the front of the leg. A strake under the rear of the aircraft is removed using your favourite method, to be replaced by a new one from the sprues after making good. While you have the styrene removal tools out, if you are planning on using the Sidewinders, you will need to remove the forward section of the outer flap actuator fairing before fitting the pylon to the front of it. The AIM-9s are fixed to the rails after gluing two extra fins to the rear, then the characteristic fuel tanks under the wings are made up, with a choice of a single part, or a three-part option with aerodynamic fins at the rear, their location shown in dotted red lines on the drawing. The last part is a twin landing light that is fitted to the nose gear strut, with one decal option having a domed fairing under the nose that has a grey dielectric panel painted in its centre. Markings There are four options included on the sheet, which will dictate whether you use the fin fillet during construction, with plenty of variation in schemes and operators. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are printed in good registration, sharpness and colour density, split into subjects by dotted lines, with a number of stencils provided despite the small scale. Conclusion A great new bagging (instead of boxing) of this single-seat supersonic fighter that saw a great deal of service with smaller operators in the 70s and beyond. Detail is good, decal options interesting, although the pitot probe would look better replaced by some fine brass rod for scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Sea Fury FB.11 Mediterranean & Middle East (MKM144160) 1:144 Mark I Models The Hawker Sea Fury was a fast, agile fighter that, despite having entered service at the dawn of the jet age, enjoyed a successful career with a surprising number of air and naval forces around the globe. The Sea Fury evolved from the aircraft it was designed to replace; the larger, heavier Tempest. Originally conceived of as a smaller, dedicated fighter, the Fury began gestation in 1943 and although it missed the end of WWII, it eventually developed into a highly capable fighter-bomber with a change of operator and name to Sea Fury representing its pivot to carrier operations under the auspices of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Phenomenally fast thanks to its powerful Bristol Centaurus reciprocating engine that output around 2,500hp driving a five-bladed prop, the Sea Fury entered service with the Royal Navy in September 1947 with four Hispano 20mm cannons mounted two in each wing that gave it a powerful punch, and when it was found to be suitable for ground attack missions, hard-points were added under the wings to carry 1,000lb bombs and rockets for the role. The initial Mk.X was subjected to extensive land and sea-based trials, with the resulting improvements integrated into the Mk.11, which took up most of the 600+ Sea Furies that the FAA ordered, around 60 of which were two-seat trainer T.20s. The Sea Fury also did well in the export market, further increasing the number of airframes in service around the world, and while the type left British service in 1955, it carried on flying with other operators considerably longer. In 1959, the Cuban Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba, or FAEC) purchased seventeen refurbished Sea Furies from Hawker for use in the unsuccessful struggle against the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro. Following Castro's victory, the Sea Furies were retained by the new Fuerza Aerea Revolutionaria and saw limited action during the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Sea Fury later proved popular with pilots participating in the Reno Air Races, although many had their Centaurus engine replaced with US-built Wasp Major or Cyclone engines, as well as aerodynamic modifications and flashy paint schemes. Some of those racers were later converted back to original specification as war birds or museum pieces, and there are some still flying today, although those Centaurus engines do sometimes cause problems that cut short their performances. The Kit This is a new boxing of a new tooling from Mark I that portrays the aircraft in service overseas, and it arrives in a small end-opening box with a profile on the front, and all the decal option profiles on the rear. Inside are two sprues of grey styrene, one sprue of clear parts, decal sheet and the instruction booklet in full colour with decal profiles printed on the rear. The sprues are identical, allowing the modeller to build two of the decal options, and detail is excellent as we’ve come to expect from Mark I, taking 1:144 modelling to a better place than it’s been for years. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has side consoles and the seat base moulded into the floor, adding the rear bulkhead with the back cushion moulded-in, the control column in front, and the instrument panel with decal that glues to the front of the consoles. If your audience has 20/20 eyesight, they might even spot the rudder pedals that are moulded into the very front of the cockpit floor. Once painted and decaled, the cockpit is trapped between the two fuselage halves, fitting a tail gear bay at the rear during the process, and a decent rendition of the front of the Centaurus engine in the nose, although little to nothing of it will be seen thanks to the tight tolerances of the cowling. The canopy is a single part with excellent clarity, and it installs over the tiny cockpit cut-out, taking care to align it correctly. The lower wings are full-span, and a well-detailed main gear bay insert is inserted over the cut-out from the inside, aligned by the recess around the perimeter, and showing off the ribbing within the bay. The upper wing halves are glued over the top, then the fuselage is dropped into the gap between them, fitting the elevators to the tail on two pins each side. The last diagram is rather busy, dealing with the landing gear, bay doors, and choice of armaments, plus the prop and pitot probe in one sitting. The main gear legs have a retraction jack, three bay doors, the largest one captive to the strut, and a single part wheel slipping over the axle. The tail wheel is moulded into the strut, and has two bay doors, with the arrestor hook ‘stinger’ added just behind it, with lots of “Hawker Yellow” being used in the bays, which is probably going to open a can of worms for some folks, as there’s a bit of conjecture over the correct shade. A pair of drop-tanks are made from two halves and fit under the wings on a pair of pegs, while you have bombs under the wings on small rounded pylons, fitting under the wings on two more pins each. The prop is a single part, and is sandwiched between the spinner and its back-plate, slotting into the hole in the bell-housing of the engine in the front of the nose, finishing off by slotting the pitot probe into the starboard wing tip. A scrap diagram shows how your Sea Fury should look from in front to assist you with alignment of legs, bay doors, elevators and so forth. As an aside, Mark I have an accessory set coded MKA14428 that contains two 1,000lb bombs, plus six 3″ 60lb rockets on mounts that fit under the outer wing panels, adding a little individuality to your model and a lot of destructive power. Markings There are a generous four decal options included on the sheet, which for the scale is relatively large. The schemes are differentiated mainly by their codes and national markings, as is often the case with aircraft when they are relatively new. From the box you can build two of the following: After a quick test that confirmed my suspicions with an earlier kit, the decals appear to be printed by Eduard or using the same printing processes, 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, especially at this scale, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion The Sea Fury was the pinnacle of propeller driven technology, and certainly looks the part. This new tooling from Mark I portrays the grace and… well, Fury of the beast, and the even better news is that you can build two of them from this one little box, and there are now four boxings making for quite a shelf-full if you get them all. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Sea Fury FB.11 Far East (MKM144161) 1:144 Mark I Models The Hawker Sea Fury was a fast, agile fighter that, despite having entered service at the dawn of the jet age, enjoyed a successful career with a surprising number of air and naval forces around the globe. The Sea Fury evolved from the aircraft it was designed to replace; the larger, heavier Tempest. Originally conceived of as a smaller, dedicated fighter, the Fury began gestation in 1943 and although it missed the end of WWII, it eventually developed into a highly capable fighter-bomber with a change of operator and name to Sea Fury representing its pivot to carrier operations under the auspices of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Phenomenally fast thanks to its powerful Bristol Centaurus reciprocating engine that output around 2,500hp driving a five-bladed prop, the Sea Fury entered service with the Royal Navy in September 1947 with four Hispano 20mm cannons mounted two in each wing that gave it a powerful punch, and when it was found to be suitable for ground attack missions, hard-points were added under the wings to carry 1,000lb bombs and rockets for the role. The initial Mk.X was subjected to extensive land and sea-based trials, with the resulting improvements integrated into the Mk.11, which took up most of the 600+ Sea Furies that the FAA ordered, around 60 of which were two-seat trainer T.20s. The Sea Fury also did well in the export market, further increasing the number of airframes in service around the world, and while the type left British service in 1955, it carried on flying with other operators considerably longer. In 1959, the Cuban Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba, or FAEC) purchased seventeen refurbished Sea Furies from Hawker for use in the unsuccessful struggle against the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro. Following Castro's victory, the Sea Furies were retained by the new Fuerza Aerea Revolutionaria and saw limited action during the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Sea Fury later proved popular with pilots participating in the Reno Air Races, although many had their Centaurus engine replaced with US-built Wasp Major or Cyclone engines, as well as aerodynamic modifications and flashy paint schemes. Some of those racers were later converted back to original specification as war birds or museum pieces, and there are some still flying today, although those Centaurus engines do sometimes cause problems that cut short their performances. The Kit This is a another new boxing of a new tooling from Mark I that portrays the aircraft in service in the Far East, and it arrives in a small end-opening box with a profile on the front, and all the decal option profiles on the rear. Inside are two sprues of grey styrene, one sprue of clear parts, decal sheet and the instruction booklet in full colour with decal profiles printed on the rear. The sprues are identical, allowing the modeller to build two of the decal options, and detail is excellent as we’ve come to expect from Mark I, taking 1:144 modelling to a better place than it’s been for years. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has side consoles and the seat base moulded into the floor, adding the rear bulkhead with the back cushion moulded-in, the control column in front, and the instrument panel with decal that glues to the front of the consoles. If your audience has 20/20 eyesight, they might even spot the rudder pedals that are moulded into the very front of the cockpit floor. Once painted and decaled, the cockpit is trapped between the two fuselage halves, fitting a tail gear bay at the rear during the process, and a decent rendition of the front of the Centaurus engine in the nose, although little to nothing of it will be seen thanks to the tight tolerances of the cowling. The canopy is a single part with excellent clarity, and it installs over the tiny cockpit cut-out, taking care to align it correctly. The lower wings are full-span, and a well-detailed main gear bay insert is inserted over the cut-out from the inside, aligned by the recess around the perimeter, and showing off the ribbing within the bay. The upper wing halves are glued over the top, then the fuselage is dropped into the gap between them, fitting the elevators to the tail on two pins each side. The last diagram is rather busy, dealing with the landing gear, bay doors, and choice of armaments, plus the prop and pitot probe in one sitting. The main gear legs have a retraction jack, three bay doors, the largest one captive to the strut, and a single part wheel slipping over the axle. The tail wheel is moulded into the strut, and has two bay doors, with the optional arrestor hook ‘stinger’ added just behind it, with lots of “Hawker Yellow” being used in the bays, which is probably going to open a can of worms for some folks, as there’s a bit of conjecture over the correct shade. A pair of drop-tanks are made from two halves and fit under the wings on a pair of pegs, while you have bombs under the wings on small rounded pylons, fitting under the wings of some decal options on two more pins each. The prop is a single part, and is sandwiched between the spinner and its back-plate, slotting into the hole in the bell-housing of the engine in the front of the nose, finishing off by slotting the pitot probe into the starboard wing tip. A scrap diagram shows how your Sea Fury should look from in front to assist you with alignment of legs, bay doors, elevators and so forth. As an aside, Mark I have an accessory set coded MKA14428 that contains two 1,000lb bombs, plus six 3″ 60lb rockets on mounts that fit under the outer wing panels, adding a little individuality to your model and a lot of destructive power. Markings There are a generous four decal options included on the sheet, which for the scale is relatively large. The schemes are differentiated mainly by their codes and national markings, with one aircraft flown by the Burmese (modern day Myanmar). From the box you can build two of the following: After a quick test that confirmed my suspicions with an earlier kit, the decals appear to be printed by Eduard or using the same printing processes, 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, especially at this scale, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion The Sea Fury was the pinnacle of propeller driven technology, and certainly looks the part. This new kit from Mark I portrays the grace and… well, Fury of the beast, and the even better news is that you can build two of them from this one little box, and there are now four boxings making for quite a shelf-full if you get them all, even at this scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. DH Mosquito NF/F/PR.II Intruder (MKM144123) 1:144 Mark I Models The Mosquito was one of the most ground-breaking private projects of WWII, and it contributed a significant effort toward victory against Nazi Germany from its introduction in 1941 to the end of the war and beyond. Initially conceived by Geoffrey de Havilland as a fast bomber, it was not intended to carry armament, simply relying on speed to take it out of harm's way. Numerous versions were considered, but a twin-engine design with a wooden monocoque fuselage was eventually used, with space for four 20mm cannons in the forward section of the bomb bay. It was initially met with a very lukewarm reception from the Air Ministry, as they still clung to their obsession of turreted aircraft, the designs for which became heavy and complex, reducing speed both in the air and through the production line. After some shenanigans that included a mock-up of a turret behind the main canopy, DH were issued with a requirement for a 400mph capable light bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, which solidified as DH.98, and was named Mosquito. Despite having been ordered to stop development work after Dunkirk, DH carried on due to the vagueness of the request, and the prototype flew at the end of 1940. After lengthening the engine nacelles and splitting the flaps to cure poor handling at certain speeds, she flew for the ministry and managed to outpace a Spitfire, pulling away with a speed advantage of 20mph. Later developments of the Merlin engines that powered the Mossie included two-stage superchargers that gave the engine a substantial boost, with a commensurate increase in performance. Many 7X series Merlin variants were fitted to the Wooden Wonder, which included the B.XVI that also had a pressurised cabin for the crew’s comfort at higher altitude, and it could comfortably cruise at 350mph at 30,000 feet. Without the gun pack in the belly, the XVI could carry the 4,000lb Cookie bomb, allowing it to punch well above its weight in terms of ordnance carriage as well. The Mosquito production lines were split between bomber and recon variants with glass noses and fighter variants with the four cannons in the belly and four .303 machine guns in the nose. It really was the master of all things, as it demonstrated when it became a night-fighter, torpedo bomber, and even in its dotage it was well-used as a target tug until the early 60s. During the war, the Mossie was even converted to carry two bouncing bombs called Highballs, and always gave a good account of itself, striking fear as well as jealousy into the hearts of the opposition. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which was evidenced by the German Focke-Wulf Ta.154 Moskito, which attempted to recreate the success of the wooden Mossie, but failed due largely to inferior construction and use of an acidic glue, causing delamination of the wings in the air. The Mosquito did suffer some wood and glue issues in hot and humid theatres, but those were cured by new techniques and frequent maintenance. The Mosquito was mainly constructed by woodworkers and cabinet-makers that might otherwise have been left idle during the austerity of the war, and it was their skill and ingenuity that contributed to the success of the aircraft, and made it economical to build using little in the way of strategic materials, although the American manufactures couldn’t see it when the plans were first offered to them for license production. Time is unkind to wood however, and very few Mosquitos have survived in airworthy condition, the last one in Britain being lost in 1998 in a fatal crash. One day soon we may get to see one or possibly even two in the skies of the UK again, and there are already a few in the air elsewhere in the world, most rebuilt by a company called AVSPEC in New Zealand. The Kit This is a new boxing of the original kit from 2018, adding more fighter-bomber parts to the box to portray this mark more accurately. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box with one of the profiles of the decal options on the front, and all of them on the rear. Inside are two full-size sprues plus a pair of spinners and two fuselage halves in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and the instruction sheet in folded A4, printed in colour. Detail is good, and they seem to have captured the shape of the Mosquito well, with the possible exception of the tail fin, which on referring to photographs appears a little too curved along the leading edge. At this scale that’s the work of moments to correct, using the afore-mentioned references as your guide. Construction begins with the stepped cockpit floor, adding the radio box on the rear shelf, the co-pilot’s seat moulded-in, and the pilot’s seat on a block behind the control column, which is a yoke-style in this boxing. The instrument panel is inserted at the front with a decal providing the dials once the assembly has been painted. Of course, at this scale you can’t expect a totally accurate cockpit, but you could add the co-pilot's raised seat back from a slip of styrene as a simple improvement. The completed cockpit is trapped between the fuselage halves, remembering to paint the interior with light grey/green, and sparing an amount for the tail-wheel bay, which has a tiny circular bulkhead added, to fix the tail wheel to during closure. The wings are made from upper and lower halves, adding landing lights to the underside, which is a surprise at this scale, as are the clear wingtips that give you the ability to have clear lenses at this small scale. The wings butt-join into a socket on the sides of the fuselage, while the elevators have a pair of pins to secure them, all of which should be perpendicular to the tail fin that is moulded into the fuselage. The engine nacelles are handed, and each have a bulkhead inserted into the front and rear of the gear bay, gluing onto the wings from below, and installing the twin-strut gear legs, retraction H-frame, mudguard, the intakes under the nacelles, and flexing the legs around the two-part wheels to allow her to stand on her own tyres. Needle-bladed props are included on the sprues, both covered by aerodynamic spinners that are in a separate bag, and night-operations flare hiders over the location of the exhausts, plus an aerial mast on the spine behind the cockpit, then it’s time to apply the canopy over the cockpit cut-out, install the four nose guns and add optional night fighter antenna at the tip of the nose cone. Markings There are a generous four decal options included on the sheet, which for the scale is relatively large. The schemes are substantially different to please the widest range of modellers, with two camouflaged options, a black night fighter, and a blue/grey Photo-recon bird. From the box you can build one of the following: After a quick test that confirmed my suspicions, 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, especially at this scale, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion A handsome model of an aggressive mosquito that really does it justice at this scale, including some unused parts in the shape of bombs, un-shrouded exhausts and two sizes of ‘slipper’ fuel tanks if you wanted to go off-piste to depict another gun-nosed variant. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Sea Fury F.X/FB.11/F.50 Early Schemes (MKM144158) 1:144 Mark I Models The Hawker Sea Fury was a fast, agile fighter that, despite having entered service at the dawn of the jet age, enjoyed a successful career with a surprising number of air and naval forces around the globe. The Sea Fury evolved from the aircraft it was designed to replace; the larger, heavier Tempest. Originally conceived of as a smaller, dedicated fighter, the Fury began gestation in 1943 and although it missed the end of WWII, it eventually developed into a highly capable fighter-bomber with a change of operator and name to Sea Fury representing its pivot to carrier operations under the auspices of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Phenomenally fast thanks to its powerful Bristol Centaurus reciprocating engine that output around 2,500hp driving a five-bladed prop, the Sea Fury entered service with the Royal Navy in September 1947 with four Hispano 20mm cannons mounted two in each wing that gave it a powerful punch, and when it was found to be suitable for ground attack missions, hard-points were added under the wings to carry 1,000lb bombs and rockets for the role. The initial Mk.X was subjected to extensive land and sea-based trials, with the resulting improvements integrated into the Mk.11, which took up most of the 600+ Sea Furies that the FAA ordered, around 60 of which were two-seat trainer T.20s. The Sea Fury also did well in the export market, further increasing the number of airframes in service around the world, and while the type left British service in 1955, it carried on flying with other operators considerably longer. In 1959, the Cuban Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba, or FAEC) purchased seventeen refurbished Sea Furies from Hawker for use in the unsuccessful struggle against the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro. Following Castro's victory, the Sea Furies were retained by the new Fuerza Aerea Revolutionaria and saw limited action during the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Sea Fury later proved popular with pilots participating in the Reno Air Races, although many had their Centaurus engine replaced with US-built Wasp Major or Cyclone engines, as well as aerodynamic modifications and flashy paint schemes. Some of those racers were later converted back to original specification as war birds or museum pieces, and there are some still flying today, although those Centaurus engines do sometimes cause problems that cut short their performances. The Kit This is a new tooling from Mark I that portrays the early aircraft in service, and it arrives in a small end-opening box with a profile on the front, and all the decal option profiles on the rear. Inside are two sprues of grey styrene, one sprue of clear parts, decal sheet and the instruction booklet in full colour with decal profiles printed on the rear. The sprues are identical, allowing the modeller to build two of the decal options, and detail is excellent as we’ve come to expect from Mark I, taking 1:144 modelling to a better place than it’s been for years. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has side consoles and the seat base moulded into the floor, adding the rear bulkhead with the back cushion moulded-in, the control column in front, and the instrument panel with decal that glues to the front of the consoles. If your audience has 20/20 eyesight, they might even spot the rudder pedals that are moulded into the very front of the cockpit floor. Once painted and decaled, the cockpit is trapped between the two fuselage halves, fitting a tail gear bay at the rear during the process, and a decent rendition of the front of the Centaurus engine in the nose, although little to nothing of it will be seen thanks to the tight tolerances of the cowling. The canopy is a single part with excellent clarity, and it installs over the tiny cockpit cut-out, taking care to align it correctly. The lower wings are full-span, and a well-detailed main gear bay insert is inserted over the cut-out from the inside, aligned by the recess around the perimeter, and showing off the ribbing within the bay. The upper wing halves are glued over the top, then the fuselage is dropped into the gap between them, fitting the elevators to the tail on two pins each side. The last diagram is rather busy, dealing with the landing gear, bay doors, and choice of armaments, plus the prop and pitot probe in one sitting. The main gear legs have a retraction jack, three bay doors, the largest one captive to the strut, and a single part wheel slipping over the axle. The tail wheel is moulded into the strut, and has two bay doors, with the arrestor hook ‘stinger’ added just behind it, with lots of “Hawker Yellow” being used in the bays, which is probably going to open a can of worms for some folks, as there’s a bit of conjecture over the correct shade. A pair of drop-tanks are made from two halves and fit under the wings on a pair of pegs, while you have bombs under the wings on small rounded pylons, fitting under the wings on two more pins each. The prop is a single part, and is sandwiched between the spinner and its back-plate, slotting into the hole in the bell-housing of the engine in the front of the nose, finishing off by slotting the pitot probe into the starboard wing tip. A scrap diagram shows how your Sea Fury should look from in front to assist you with alignment of legs, bay doors, elevators and so forth. As an aside, Mark I have an accessory set coded MKA14428 that contains two 1,000lb bombs, plus six 3″ 60lb rockets on mounts that fit under the outer wing panels, adding a little individuality to your model and a lot of destructive power. Markings There are a generous four decal options included on the sheet, which for the scale is relatively large. The schemes are differentiated mainly by their codes and national markings, as is often the case with aircraft when they are relatively new. From the box you can build two of the following: After a quick test that confirmed my suspicions with an earlier kit, 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, especially at this scale, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion The Sea Fury was the pinnacle of propeller driven technology, and certainly looks the part. This new tooling from Mark I portrays the grace and… well, Fury of the beast, and the even better news is that you can build two of them from this one little box. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Hello everyone! Here are my latest kits, a couple of Mark I Models 1:144 Focke-Wulf Fw 190As. These were reboxed Eduard kits with resin cockpits added and a new selection of decals for, in this case, A-6 and A-7 variants, of which I have built one of each. The kits built up well with minimum fuss, just cleaning up parts and mating surfaces being needed. The only major flaw, the overly long main undercarriage legs, was fixed by removing 1mm from the top of the doors and legs. Apart from that, I shortened the gun barrels a bit and replaced the tail mast as it was too flimsy. I added a few missing details, all from stretched sprue: the underside aerials, the wing probe, main u/c retraction arms, the ETC rack sway bars and the radio wires. In the case of the A-6, I modified the main doors to shorten them at the bottom and scratchbuilt inner doors from thin plastic (initially, the A-6 had two-part doors). The kits were fully painted and varnished with brush. I am very pleased with how they came out although the only let down was that the contrast between the Pollyscale RLM75 and Xtracrylix RLM74 became minimal under the matt varnish. First: Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-7 "Red 13", flown by Heinz Bär, II./JG1, Luftwaffe, Störmede, Germany, April 1944. Second: Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-6 "Green 1", flown by Hans-Joachim "Hajo" Herrmann, Stab/Versuchskommando Herrmann, Luftwaffe, Bonn-Hangelar, Germany, August 1943. Versuchskommando Herrmann was established in late June 1943 with Herrmann and several other retrained bomber pilots who had experience in blind flying to test the concept of what would become known as "Wilde Sau". Two months later, it was redesignated JG300, the first of the Wilde Sau units. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  12. DH Mosquito FB.VI (MKM144125) Commonwealth Service 1:144 Mark I Models The Mosquito was one of the most ground-breaking private projects of WWII, and it contributed a significant effort toward victory against Nazi Germany from its introduction in 1941 to the end of the war and beyond. Initially conceived by Geoffrey de Havilland as a fast bomber, it was not intended to carry armament, simply relying on speed to take it out of harm's way. Numerous versions were considered, but a twin-engine design with a wooden monocoque fuselage was eventually used, with space for four 20mm cannons in the forward section of the bomb bay. It was initially met with a very lukewarm reception from the Air Ministry, as they still clung to their obsession of turreted aircraft, the designs for which became heavy and complex, reducing speed both in the air and through the production line. After some shenanigans that included a mock-up of a turret behind the main canopy, DH were issued with a requirement for a 400mph capable light bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, which solidified as DH.98, and was named Mosquito. Despite having been ordered to stop development work after Dunkirk, DH carried on due to the vagueness of the request, and the prototype flew at the end of 1940. After lengthening the engine nacelles and splitting the flaps to cure poor handling at certain speeds, she flew for the ministry and managed to outpace a Spitfire, pulling away with a speed advantage of 20mph. Later developments of the Merlin engines that powered the Mossie included two-stage superchargers that gave the engine a substantial boost, with a commensurate increase in performance. Many 7X series Merlin variants were fitted to the Wooden Wonder, which included the B.XVI that also had a pressurised cabin for the crew’s comfort at higher altitude, and it could comfortably cruise at 350mph at 30,000 feet. Without the gun pack in the belly, the XVI could carry the 4,000lb Cookie bomb, allowing it to punch well above its weight in terms of ordnance carriage as well. The Mosquito production lines were split between bomber and recon variants with glass noses and fighter variants with the four cannons in the belly and four .303 machine guns in the nose. It really was the master of all things, as it demonstrated when it became a night-fighter, torpedo bomber, and even in its dotage it was well-used as a target tug until the early 60s. During the war, the Mossie was even converted to carry two bouncing bombs called Highballs, and always gave a good account of itself, striking fear as well as jealousy into the hearts of the opposition. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which was evidenced by the German Focke-Wulf Ta.154 Moskito, which attempted to recreate the success of the wooden Mossie, but failed due largely to inferior construction and use of an acidic glue, causing delamination of the wings in the air. The Mosquito did suffer some wood and glue issues in hot and humid theatres, but those were cured by new techniques and frequent maintenance. The Mosquito was mainly constructed by woodworkers and cabinet-makers that might otherwise have been left idle during the austerity of the war, and it was their skill and ingenuity that contributed to the success of the aircraft, and made it economical to build using little in the way of strategic materials, although the American manufactures couldn’t see it when the plans were first offered to them for license production. Time is unkind to wood however, and very few Mosquitos have survived in airworthy condition, the last one in Britain being lost in 1998 in a fatal crash. One day soon we may get to see one or possibly even two in the skies of the UK again, and there are already a few in the air elsewhere in the world, most rebuilt by AVSPEC in New Zealand. The Kit This is a new boxing of the original kit from 2018, adding more fighter-bomber parts to the box to portray this mark more accurately. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box with one of the profiles of the decal options on the front, and all of them on the rear. Inside are two full-size sprues plus another smaller sprue and two fuselage halves in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and the instruction sheet in folded A4, printed in colour. Detail is good, and they seem to have captured the shape of the Mosquito well, with the possible exception of the tail fin, which on referring to photographs appears a little too curved along the leading edge. At this scale that’s the work of moments to correct, using the afore-mentioned references as your guide. Construction begins with the stepped cockpit floor, adding the radio box on the rear shelf, the co-pilot’s seat moulded-in, and the pilot’s seat on a block behind the control column, which is a yoke-style in this boxing. The instrument panel is inserted at the front with a decal providing the dials once the assembly has been painted. Of course, at this scale you can’t expect a totally accurate cockpit, but you could add the co-pilot's raised seat back from a slip of styrene as a simple improvement. The completed cockpit is trapped between the fuselage halves, remembering to paint the interior with light grey/green, and sparing an amount for the tail-wheel bay, which has a tiny circular bulkhead added, to fix the tail wheel to during closure. The wings are made from upper and lower halves, adding landing lights to the underside, which is a surprise at this scale, as are the clear wingtips that give you the ability to have clear lenses at this small scale. The wings butt-join into a socket on the sides of the fuselage, while the elevators have a pair of pins to secure them, all of which should be perpendicular to the tail fin that is moulded into the fuselage. The engine nacelles are handed, and each have a bulkhead inserted into the front and rear of the gear bay, gluing onto the wings from below, and installing the twin-strut gear legs, retraction H-frame, mudguard, the intakes under the nacelles, and flexing the legs around the two-part wheels to allow her to stand on her own tyres. Needle-nose and paddle-bladed props are included on the sprues, with the choice depending on your decal option, both covered by aerodynamic spinners, and a choice of exhaust stubs or night-operations flare hiders over their location, depending again on your decal option. Three schemes have an aerial mast on the spine, then it’s time to apply the canopy over the cockpit cut-out, and choose between two-part slipper-tanks of two sizes, bombs of two sizes on short pylons, the quartet of nose guns, and optional night fighter antenna at the tip of the nose cone. A scrap diagram shows the location for the pylons 23mm inboard from the wingtip to assist you with placement. Markings There are a generous four decal options included on the sheet, which for the scale is relatively large. The schemes are substantially different to please the widest range of modellers, with a post-war example included amongst the wartime aircraft. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are printed in good registration, sharpness, and colour density, including several stencils that include the large red crossed-boxes on the wings over the radiator baths, plus black outlines for the 20mm cannon troughs and ejector chutes under the belly, despite the small scale. Conclusion A handsome model of a handsome aircraft that should do it justice at this scale, including some unused parts if you wanted to go ‘off-piste’ for another gun-nosed variant. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Sikorsky H-34 US & Canadian Service (MKM144145) 1:144 Mark I Models Developed and manufactured by rotary wing aviation pioneers Sikorsky, the H-34 Choctaw was ubiquitous throughout most of the Cold War, even in Great Britain where it was re-engineered and re-branded as the Westland Wessex. First flying in the mid-50s, it saw widespread service with many nations including the US military in various versions from military transport (passenger and cargo) to Coastguard and even civilian uses. Powered by a piston-engined Wright Cyclone engine, it was a versatile airframe that lent itself to many tasks, one of which was the carriage of VIPs by the Marines. It was used in a huge range of other operational tasks too, with many operators, including the UK and America’s near neighbour Canada. Whether it was in Navy use, Marines, Air Force or as an air-sea rescue chopper, and whether it was known by the name Choctaw, Wessex or H-34, it was a capable helicopter that was well-regarded by passengers and crew alike. It saw extensive service with the Marines in Vietnam where it was usually painted a camouflage green, but in other uses where visibility could be an advantage it was painted in much brighter, some might say garish liveries that made it stand out. The Kit This is the first boxing of a new 2022 tool from Mark I, and it arrives in a small end-opening box with a profile of one of the decal options on the front, and all the options on the rear. Inside is a single re-sealable clear foil bag containing two sprues of grey styrene, a separate Ziploc bag containing the clear sprue, the decal sheet and instruction booklet printed on folded A4 in colour, with profiles on the back page. Detail is good, especially considering the small scale, with alternative parts for some options. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is based upon an L-shaped floor and rear bulkhead, with moulded-in seats and central console, to which you add the control columns and the instrument panel, with a decal provided to add detail. This is inserted into the starboard fuselage half along with a pair of side windows, a task that is repeated on the port side before the two halves are joined. An alternative nose is included for the port side of one decal option, which would require the removal of the front of the fuselage before joining. There are two underside inserts that are used in conjunction with different detail parts to create the three options that depend on which aircraft you are building. Two decal options also have a different side door layout that is achieved by removing the kit door from the fuselage side and replacing it with a new part, which will be best done by cutting an undersized hole followed by plenty of test-fitting as you adjust it by gradual sanding. The canopy closes the fuselage, and that is made from three portions, the main windscreen and roof and two side windows with blown centres. The stabiliser slots into the tail fin, with a tail wheel beneath it, then you have a choice of two styles of main gear legs, one with two struts and flotation gear on the wheel hubs and lower strut. The other has an A-frame on the lower leg with a support that links to just below the cockpit windows, and both options share the same wheels, the hubs covered with the cylindrical fairing for the flotation equipped bird. A winch is fixed over the starboard side door for three decal options, made from three parts with a fairing behind it that is replicated on the opposite side, then for two of the decal options a two-part additional fuel tank on a mount is installed, the location for which is shown in a scrap diagram nearby. The tail rotor is a single part, while the main rotor consists of a rotor head and four separate blades, which if you are depicting your chopper on the ground should have a little droop added. This can be done by taping the blades evenly to a bowl and running hot water over them, allowing them to cool naturally or with cold water to freeze their shape before removing the tape. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, and that includes a series of grille decals around the nose and under the rotor-head, plus the afore mentioned instrument panel decal for added realism. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals are printed in good registration, sharpness and colour density, split into subjects by dotted lines, with a number of stencils provided despite the small scale. Conclusion Another great small-scale release from Mark.I of this almost ubiquitous early Cold-War helicopter in US and Canadian service, complete with some colourful markings options. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Mirage IIIDP/5SDD/5DM/Nesher T (MKM144133) 1:144 Mark I Models The Dassault Mirage III is one of the most recognisable aircraft to emerge from the Dassault Aviation stable in post war France with its distinctive delta wings and sharply pointed nose. The Mirage III grew out of French government studies for a light weight all weather interceptor able to reach an altitude 18,000 meters (59,500+ ft) in six minutes and able to reach Mach 1.3 in level flight. The tail less delta combined the wing with an area ruled Coke bottle-shaped fuselage to achieve such speed, minimising buffeting and other compressibility related issues that had plagued early supersonic designs. The Mirage IIIC would remain in French service from 1961 until 1988, and the largest export customer for the Mirage III was Israel, operating the Mirage IIICJ that had less advanced avionics and some aspects of the design removed or simplified. Nevertheless, Israel found these aircraft and weapons systems more than a match for anything her neighbours were able to field during the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars, with the aircraft being a resounding success in combat with Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian aircraft, many of which were of Soviet origin. Israel then sold some of these aircraft to Argentina when they had been replaced by more modern designs. The IIIDP was a short-run of five two-seat airframes that were built for the Pakistani Air Force, although they were used in other roles too. The Mirage 5 was externally similar to the Mirage III, but with a long slim nose that differentiates it from its earlier stable-mate, while the Nesher T was an Israeli development from the Mirage 5, the T variant predictably being the two-seat trainer, Nesher meaning Vulture. The Kit This is a reboxing with new decals of a recent tool from Mark I, originating in 2019, with new parts in 2022. It arrives in a small end-opening box with a profile of the Israeli Nesher T on the front, and the decal options printed on the back. Inside are three sprues of dark grey styrene, a small clear sprue, and instruction sheet on folded A4 in colour, with profiles on the rear that show all aspects of the camouflage for completeness. The four decal options are differentiated by their tail fin fillet, and there are three unused fuselage halves and a few other spare parts on the sprues, which are marked on the diagram in grey overprinting. Detail is good, and I’m starting to sound like a broken record when I marvel at the amount of it that the designers can squeeze into these small-scale kits. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is made in two portions, starting with the front seat on an L-shaped floor that receives the seat and control column, with another in the rear on a shallow floor with a partial bulkhead below at the rear. The pilot’s instrument panel has a decal with dials applied, and the rear seater’s panel is depicted by another decal that is applied to the back of the pilot’s bulkhead. With the cockpit painted, the exhaust is made up from top and bottom halves with a cylindrical tip and a bulkhead on which to mount it that ledges on a rib inside the fuselage. The fuselage can be closed up then, installing the intakes from splitter and trunk on each side of the rear cockpit and gluing the single part wings under the fuselage. The afore-mentioned fin fillet is cut from the third fuselage half and added to the fin for three decal options after removing the moulded-in section, all of which is marked in red. The canopy is a single crystal-clear part, and fits over the cockpit cut-out in the closed position, showing off your work in there, and slotting the pitot into the tip of the nose. The three landing gear struts are all one part each, and each has a wheel fixed to the axle, with captive bay doors on the main legs, and two smaller doors on the nose, which also has a captive door moulded into the front of the leg. A strake under the rear of the aircraft is removed using your favourite method of destruction, to be replaced by a new one from the sprues after making good. While you have the styrene removal tools out, if you are planning on using the Sidewinders, you will need to remove the forward section of the outer flap actuator fairing before fitting the pylon to the front of it. The AIM-9s are fixed to the rails after gluing two extra fins to the rear, then the characteristic gas tanks under the wings are made up, with a choice of a single part, or the three-part option with aerodynamic fins at the rear, their location shown in dotted red lines on the drawing. The last part is a twin landing light that is fitted to the nose gear strut, with a frontal scrap diagram showing the location and the correct angle of the gear legs to assist you. Markings There are four options included on the sheet, which will dictate the correct fin fillet you apply during construction, with plenty of variation in schemes and operators. From the box you can build one of the following: IAI Nesher T (Vulture), c/n T-05, Black 625, No.144 ‘Defenders of Arava’ Sq. (144 Tayeset), Israeli Air Force (Kheil HaAvir), Etzion Air Base (Bacha 10), Sinai, Israel, 1975 AMD Mirage IIIDP, s/n 67-301, Black 301, No.7 (TA) ‘Bandits’ Sq., No.32 (Tactical Attack) Wing, Pakistan Air Force (Pakistan Fiza’ya), Masroor Air Base, Pakistan, 2017-18 AMD Mirage 5SDD, c/n 2005, Black 2005, “Royal Saudi Air Force”, a/c purchased by Saudi Arabia on behalf of Egypt for service with the EAF (Egyptian Air Force), AMD plant, Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport, France, 1974 Mirage 5DM, c/n 202, Black M202, No.211 Sq., 21st Fighter-Attack Wing, Zaire Air Force (Force Aérienne Zaïroise, FAZ), Kamina Air Base, Zaire, late 1970s The decals are printed in good registration, sharpness and colour density, split into subjects by dotted lines, with a number of stencils provided despite the small scale. Conclusion A great new boxing of this two-seat supersonic trainer/fighter that saw a great deal of service with smaller operators in the 70s and beyond. The detail is good, decal options interesting, although the pitot probe would look better replaced by some fine brass rod for scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Lavochkin La-7 Berlin Operation (MKM144152) 1:144 Mark I Models The Lavochkin La-7 was the ultimate refinement of a series of designs that began in the pre-war period with the underpowered LaGG-1. It differed from its immediate predecessor, the La-5, in several ways. The wing was redesigned in order to accommodate the engine air intakes and stronger, lighter wing spars made from aluminium alloy that were utilised. The engine benefitted from redesigned exhausts and a new propeller was fitted up front, and many aircraft were fitted with three of the lighter Berezin B-20 20mm cannon instead of a pair of ShVAK 20mm cannon carried by the La-5, increasing the weight a little, but the slowing effects of their bulk was all-but cancelled out by the additional power of the engine, aerodynamic improvements and the new exhausts that contributed a little thrust to the equation. Despite flaws with the new engine arrangement, combat trials were considered a success, with 55 enemy aircraft shot down for 4 losses. It was considered superior to its German contemporaries, lacking only in terms of firepower (hence the switch to the three Berezin cannon arrangement) and reliability. The latter gradually improved over the aircraft's service life, and the great Soviet fighter ace Ivan Nykytovych Kozhedub flew the aircraft when he claimed the last 17 of his 64 official victories. Around 2,000 airframes were delivered into service before the war’s end, with a grand total of 5,700 flooding off the production lines before they were shut down in 1946. The Kit This is a new kit from Mark I, and the first boxing includes markings for airframes that were flying over Berlin during the last days of WWII. The kit arrives in a small end-opening box, which isn’t an issue at this scale, and inside are two sprues of olive green styrene, two sprues of clear parts, a single decal sheet, and a folded sheet of A4 instructions, printed in colour on both sides. You get parts to make two kits, and there is a choice of cowling parts for each of your models to differentiate them on the display shelves. The models are very small of course, with the fuselage parts only 5cm or 2” long before adding the cowlings, but detail is good, but be prepared for handling small parts, as there are quite a few. You may be able to see from the photos that there are very fine tooling marks on some of the sloping surfaces, but having run my fingers over them, they are visual only, and will disappear under a coat of primer. These two photos are of the same sprue from either side to show the detail. Construction begins with the minute little cockpit, which has a separate seat and control column added to the L-shaped floor, that is then inserted in the space between the upper wing halves that are moulded in their entirety as a single-span, single-thickness part, with commendably thin trailing edges as a result. The fuselage halves are joined together, have the top cowling choice made after removing a little flash in the area, the representation of the engine inserted in the choice of cowlings, after which it can be mated with the fuselage, noting that there is a tiny instrument panel with dial decal, and a rear bulkhead that are added beforehand. The fin and rudder are moulded into the fuselage, but the elevators are each a single part that use the standard slot and tab method to fit into the tail of the beast. You even have a choice of open or closed canopies, using either one contiguous clear part, or three separate sections to pose the canopy open. Underneath the model are main gear legs with separate retraction jacks, wheels and captive gear bay doors, plus a tail-wheel in the rear that has a linked pair of bay doors inserted into the fuselage that also acts as the base for the strut. A front view shows how the landing gear should sit on the ground to assist you with fitting it all at the correct angle. The main gear bays also have small inner doors moulded as a V, and the radiator fairing under the belly is also fixed onto a recess in the central trailing edge of the wing part. The final assembly is the three-bladed prop, which is moulded as a single part with a two-part spinner surrounding it, sliding the axle into the hole in the front of the fuselage. There is a radio antenna moulded into one fuselage half, but you’ll need to make your own pitot probe for the starboard tip, which the colour profiles will help with, as they’re 1:144. They also provide a wiring map for the radio mast to the tail. Markings There are a generous four decal options on the sheet, of which you’ll be able to build two, of course. The profiles are given in full in the instruction sheet, but larger side profiles can be found on the back of the box. From the box you can build two of the following: Decals are by an unknown printer, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion I’m constantly amazed by the level of detail achievable on such small models, and this little Lavochkin won’t disappoint. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. I was curious to make some of these MKM 1/144 scale kits. My thinking was that being tiny scale, not only would it stand a chance of fitting in my house, would also take less time to build and frankly be less of a loss when my first attempts at new techniques inevitably went horribly wrong. This thinking, as I'm sure you all already know, has its flaws; half scale does not equate to half the build time! I also have a soft spot for the scale since by childhood bedroom was adorned with a range of academy minicraft kits hanging from the ceiling. Anyway, so far it's been a nice kit. It has something of the whiff of limited run of course, but mostly has come together nicely. The issues are that I've used it as a test bed for trying out techniques for the first time and the results have been predictably dodgy. It thought this would be a good place to get some advice! Here's after closing up. Note the trademark acetone spill on the wing. The port oil cooler pinged off into the carpet, so is now some sprue with a rather rough hole drilled in the front. It could do with more shaping, but I'd rather lost interest in tarting it up at that point. The plan was originally to brush paint this when away from the spraybooth (small enough to take with me during weekends getting free child care at the parents' house!), but it's evolved into my first experiment spraying humbrol enamels (which, being a child of the 90s UK, I have something of a soft spot for). I've had a lot of problems getting the mix and pressure right, possibly because the paint is hard to measure and dissolves rather reluctantly into budget white spirit. Anyway the Sky and EDSG went on okay (over Mr surfacer 1500 IIRC). Dark slate grey before EDSG would've been the sensible choice but I was as yet unsure whether or not I wanted the TSS camo. So far so good (enough) Now was perhaps the point of particular genius on my part. Not content to just try a new paint type, I thought I'd also try with a new technique: freehand camouflage. Setting aside that this is entirely the wrong scale to use such a technique, I ploughed on regardless. I had all kinds of issues with tip dry, un-tip dry, sudden splatters, underthinning, overthinning, having to go back over it with EDSG. The results are here for your comedy viewing pleasure. Please be aware, there are pictures following that some viewers may find distressing. Oh god my eyes. The splodging and necessity of going over it so many times also led to the predictable result of lots of bleeding and seepage around the demarcation masks. So at this point I was deciding whether I could be bottomed to strip it back to plastic and start all over again. I couldn't. Instead I thought I may as well whack some Gunze GX100 on it randomly to see what happened. This happened. Oddly enough, the colour (though certainly not the surface) evened out somewhat. I had a cursory hack at bringing back a little with some fine sandpaper, and then in a further spasm of 'meh whatever', slapped the decals on it. and battered the thing with GX100 again. Clearly we're not getting any awards for this one, but I'm kinda amazed how comparatively un-horrific is has become. Of course now I've got to actually go and clean up all those shonky top/bottom demarcations. Right now I'm sanding back the decal bumps and generally trying not to think about the spindly landing gear that I've mostly already snapped. So there you are. It's been a fun learning experience so far for me, getting a little more experience about where the line is between binning it and ploughing on with your hands over your ears going 'lalala I'm not listening'.
  17. Hello everyone Here is the third of three Mark I Models 1:144 Buffalo kits I have completed this past weekend. It represents White 24 (BuNo 1431), US Naval Air Training Command, US Navy, NAS Miami, Florida, USA, summer 1942. By mid-1942, most Brewster F2A Buffaloes in US service had been withdrawn from frontline units and were being used for training. Many had their gunsights upgraded and a gun camera added, mounted on a structure on the starboard side. This particular machine had the camera added but still had the telescopic gunsight. As with the other two Buffaloes, additions made to the kit included: the roll bar in the cockpit plus belts on the seat, the missing exhaust pipes, the wing pitot as well as the radio wires. This kit also had a life raft and headrest added in the cockpit plus the aforementioned gun camera and telescopic gunsight made from stretched sprue and scrap resin. I opened the leading edge gun holes. I also improved the hardly-noticeable cuffs of the propeller blades by adding a layer of Kristal Klear on them. The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. A photo of this machine shows it was very weathered which wouldn't be surprising since I imagine these aircraft would be hard worked to train all the new fighter pilot recruits. Therefore, I went further weathering this one. Although I am very pleased with all three kits, this one has become my favourite. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  18. Hello everyone Here is the second of three Mark I Models 1:144 Brewster Buffalo kits I have completed this past weekend. It represents B-339D "White 2" (ex ML-KNIL), of the Air Technical Research Laboratory, Imperial Japanese Army Air Force, at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, in 1942, one of several Dutch machines captured and tested by the Japanese. As with the previous B-339D, additions made to the kit were: the roll bar in the cockpit plus belts on the seat, the missing exhaust pipes, the wing pitot as well as the radio wires. I opened the leading edge gun holes. The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  19. Here is the second kit of my Twin Spitfire project which has kept me busy these past two months and my personal favourite: Supermarine Twin Spitfire PR.II "T" of RAF No 541 Sqn based in the UK during summer 1945. The first prototypes of the Twin Spitfire didn't take long to show the potential of the design and requests were immediately made for a photo-recce variant but with some changes with respect to the planned initial fighter configuration. The most notable was the cockpit on the starboard side mainly for navigation although both crew members would end up being pilots, and the outer tailplanes which improved flight at high altitude. Due to the high degree of communality with the standard Spitfire F.XIVe, the changes were easy to make. The loss of extra fuel tanks in the starboard fuselage was compensated by extra tanks in the weapons section of the central main wing since the variant was unarmed. Various external tanks were tested and the type could actually carry up to three but a fortuitous event when one Twin Spitfire was fitted with a P-47's belly tank revealed this to offer the best performance and so this became the usual fit. The PR.II actually entered service before the F.I when three machines joined 541 Sqn in April 1945. The type's exceptional performance combined with its array of 6 cameras (4 vertical and two sideways (on opposite sides)) made it a formidable photo-recce asset, eluding the Luftwaffe with complete impunity until early 1946. For more general information of this project please see the first post (if you haven't already): It's a conversion using two Mark I Models 1:144 Spitfire XIV/XVIIIs and adding the central main and tail wings. Otherwise the build was mostly OOB. I opened up the camera ports and glazed them with Kristal Klear. I made the whip antenna and underwing pitot from stretched sprue. I scratchbuilt a pylon and used a drop tank from a Platz P-47 kit as it was the only one I had available that looked right. The decals came from various sources and the kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. Personally, I think this one looks fantastic and it came out much better than I imagined. Many thanks for looking and all comments a welcome Miguel
  20. Here is my latest kit, the first of a project I have been working on for over 2 months. Supermarine Twin Spitfire F.I The original concept in service with No 11 Sqn, based in the UK in summer 1945, using the type as a "high-speed" interceptor and long-range escort, especially for the Mosquito which was starting to become vulnerable to new Luftwaffe types. Operational use quickly revealed the limitations of the one-cockpit concept and its poor visibility on the starboard side leading to the two-cockpit layout being definite in the next variants. Production of the F.I variant was short due to this. Earlier this year, I found the picture below in Pinterest which led to the "what-if" article in Hushkit.net (https://hushkit.net/2012/06/29/the-ultimate-what-if-siamese-supermarine-the-twin-spitfire/). I found the concept interesting and the idea of making one in kit form went on growing until I finally decided to get on with it. The problem is I found more ideas on the concept, mainly at https://www.strijdbewijs.nl/birds/spitfire/secret/spitproject.htm. As a result, this project expanded from making one kit to three with different configurations. This project was definitely going to be in 1:144 and, although there are no Spitfire F.21s in this scale, I decided to use Mark I Models' Spitfire XIV/XVIII kits rather than Eduard's Spitfire IX kits or F-toys' Griffon Spitfires as they were more readily available to buy and I think the bubbletop Griffon-engined Spitfire looks best for this project. I built the basic kits more-or-less from the box, cutting off opposite main wings and covering the cockpit on the starboard fuselage. The outer tailplanes were omitted and the holes covered. I used the smaller of the two types of rudder available in the kits. A central wing section and tailplane were made from pieces in my spares box. The central gun barrels came from other wings and from a rod in the spares box. The Mark I kit has some fit issues and the worst that didn't quite come out right was the propeller. Getting everything true was tricky and I wasn't 100% successful but it looks the part. The spine whip antenna and the underwing pitot were made from stretched sprue. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. I used the decals from the Mark I kits. The Sky letters and bands were too green and vivid so I had to overpaint them. Despite some problems and the tricky build, this project was fun and the end result was worth it. I think it looks fantastic though the second one looks better. I'll be posting the others as soon as I have the photos ready and time to post them. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome, as usual. Miguel
  21. Here is the third kit of my Twin Spitfire 3-kit project: Supermarine Twin Spitfire FB.III "M" of RAF No 135 Sqn based in India in November 1945. Once the Twin Spitfire had entered service in the fighter and reconnaissance roles, its use for attack was tested and the results were promising. With the need to replace the P-47s in SEAC with something with more speed and punch, the FB.III was quickly developed. Since the emphasis was in low-level performance, the wings were clipped and the central tailplane replaced by standard Spitfire tailplanes on the inside. By now the twin cockpit layout had become definite. Most of the sub-type's production was sent to India and they started entering service in early October 1945. Even with a full load of two drop tanks and four bombs, the FB.III was much faster and more agile than the P-47 it replaced and delivered a considerable punch in fast attack missions, acquitting itself quite well against the latest Japanese fighters in the theatre. In fact, the impact of the type was such that the Japanese sent some of their very latest fighter designs to the theatre and although a couple were indeed superior, there were too few of them and losses inflicted on the Twin Spitfire were fortunately much less than they could have been. For more general information of this project please see the first post (if you haven't already): It's a conversion using two Mark I Models 1:144 Spitfire XIV/XVIIIs and adding the central main wing only in this case and, unlike the other two, leaving the standard tailplanes. Otherwise the build was mostly OOB. This time I also decided to make it with clipped wings. The only Allied WW2 bombs I had available in this scale were in Platz P-47 kits so I pinched them from there as well as the outer pylons. The other pylons were scratchbuilt. I made the torpedo-type drop tanks similar to those actually use by Spitfires from the kits' sprues. As with the other two, the whip antennae and the underwing pitot were added from stretched sprue. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. I used the decals from the Mark I kits. Thanks for looking and, as usual, all comments are welcome Miguel
  22. I had forgotten that I had signed up for this, but a timely reminder from Col had me checking through the kit pile only to find that it was somewhat lacking in 109's. The only thing suitable that I have in at the moment are the remnants of a Mark I 2 in 1 boxing of the Bf 109G-4 having built one of them previously, probably as a failed attempt for a Blitzbuild. I have something else on the way but I thought that this would make an ideal gap filler until that arrives. by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr Here is the one that I finished a while ago. by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr
  23. Here is the second of a trio of two-seater Starfighters I have been working on the past month-and-a-half. It's F-104F Starfighter BB+362 (s/n 59-4996, c/n 5049) of WaSLw 10 (Waffenschule der Luftwaffe), Luftwaffe, at Jever AB, German Federal Republic, in the late 1960s from Mark I's reboxing of the Revell kit. Only 30 of this variant were built, all exclusively for Germany. The F-104F was basically an F-104D with the F-104G's uprated engine. Like the F-104D, it had no radar and no weapons capability and was exclusively for pilot training. Apart from sanding down the main undercarriage door bulges as indicated in the instructions, I made some more modifications that Mark I missed. The arrestor hook was removed as this variant didn't have it. The tip tanks had symmetrical horizontal fins so I reshaped the inner ones to match the outer ones. No underwing stores were carried either. One good addition by Mark I was the Lockheed-type ejection seats. Although simplified, they do the part being very different from the Martin-Baker seats that come in the original moulds. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. This scheme required more work but the end result was worth it. Thanks for looking Miguel
  24. Here is the first of three two-seater Starfighters I have been working on the past month-and-a-half. It's a CF-104D from Mark I's reboxing of the Revell kit. It represents RT-657 (104657, ex-CAF 5327) of Esk 726, Royal Danish AF, at Alborg AB, Denmark, in 1983-85. Apart from sanding down the main undercarriage door bulges as indicated in the instructions, I made some more modifications. I found photos of this machine and it was one of the later Canadian-built Starfighters equipped with RWR blisters under the nose and on both sides of the tail. I also added some aerials, one behind the cockpit (clearly shown on Mark I's colour profile!) and two below the nose as well as a position light on the spine closer to the tailfin. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. I made the scheme with the paint starting to fade. Photos showed that it had a certain sheen with the nose section being more matt. Due to a mistake of mine, the kit came out with more sheen than I intended but I'm living with it. As a comment, checking photos of worn machines the effect is reversed with the nose maintaining colour and sheen and the paint faded to a matt finish. The decals were slightly out of register but otherwise went on very well. I'm very pleased with the result. This one finished ahead of the other two due to the simpler scheme. Now to get the other two finished before year's end! Thanks for looking and comments are, as always, welcome Miguel
  25. Here are a pair of desert scheme Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17PF "Fresco Ds" I built back in 2014. Both are from the Attack 1:144 kit moulds, the Syrian one from the original boxing whereas the Egyptian one was from the Mark I re-boxing. The Mark I kit came with a resin cockpit so I used it as a guide to scratchbuild one for the Attack kit using a Matador Models white metal MiG-21PF seat. Both kits had the radio mast and wing probes added from stretched sprue. The missing sway braces for the drop tanks were also added from thin plastic sheet. They were fully painted and varnished by brush. Firstly, ‘452’ of the Syrian Air Force, Syria, early 1970s. Secondly, a MiG-17PF of the Air Defence Air Regiment, United Arab Republic (Egypt) Air Force, Egypt, June 1967, during the Six Day War. Thanks for looking Miguel
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