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  1. My entry is Meng's 1/35 Renault FT-17 Light Tank (Cast Turret). Plan is to finish it as a tank that saw service in 1940, to sit along side my Tamiya B1. Looks a cracking little kit, includes a interior & engine.
  2. After the F/A-18E (link), Meng is to release a 1/48th Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet - ref. LS013 Sources: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=4175061422607150&id=195290177250981 http://www.moxingfans.com/new/news/2021/0707/9354.html https://www.luckymodel.com/scale.aspx?item_no=MG-LS-013 V.P.
  3. A quick build (after a long haul with a Tomcat). Builds very well, a sheer joy to build ... and gives you the opportunity to go all in on the weathering. Built OOB, with just a few pipes added. I really recommend this little gem. /Torbjörn
  4. Fokker Dr.1 Triplane 1:24 Meng (QS-003) One of the most recognisable aircraft of the Great War, the Fokker Dr.1 triplane achieved a reputation well beyond the small number actually built. It was in service for not much more than six months from late 1917, until early summer 1918. It needed an experienced pilot to get the best from it, as it was slow but highly manoeuvrable. The all red aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen is the most famous of the Dr.1’s but several other aces also flew them. It seems that Wingnut Wings may have been working on producing aircraft in 1:24 scale, as the appearance and layout of all the sprues are very much in their style. Even down to the clear parts being sprue ‘C’, and the engine sprue ‘E’ which was always what they did in their 1:32 kits. Even the box art is by Steve Anderson, who did all the Wingnut Wings box art . I don’t suppose we will find out for sure, but circumstantial evidence suggests that Wingnut Wings DNA runs through this kit. That said, this is not a scaled up version of the 1:32nd Meng Dr.1 kit. The sprues and breakdown of the parts is completely different, as befits a larger model. Lifting the lid reveals seven polythene bags containing individually wrapped sprues (double in the case of sprue ‘D’) , six of which are in Meng’s usual light grey plastic, and one in clear. An A5 sized instruction booklet, four multi lingual cards outlining a brief history, a sheet of decals, a small sheet of fabric, and a little box of etched brass completes the package. Unusually construction begins with the assembly of the four-point harness, which is composed of pre-cut fabric straps and etched brass buckles. This is a ‘first’ in being supplied in a mainstream kit as far as I know, and should look extremely effective draped over the pilots seat. I’ve used aftermarket fabric seat belts in the past, they do look better than their etched metal equivalents, and I’d say that in this large scale they are essential. Construction then moves on to the rest of the cockpit, which is fully fitted out with a tubular structure, floor, seat, ammo box, instruments, and control items. This all builds up into a box structure, which is then fitted between the fuselage halves. Again, it is telling that it uses Wingnut Wings location method of an open hole in each side of the cockpit ‘module’ that locates over a raised circle moulded in the fuselage side. The inner fuselage halves themselves feature the long triangular plywood fairing that runs down the inside of the fuselage, and is such a feature of the Dr.1 cockpit. All the parts are beautifully moulded with no flash and very fine detail. The wrinkled fabric effect on the ‘Bulkhead’ behind the seat is a very nice touch, as is the provision of a couple of flare pistols. The fuselage underside has a moulded strip of stitching to apply in the same way as on Wingnut Wings 1/32 Fokker D.VII kits Looking at the wealth of finely detailed parts on this sprue, it is apparent how well suited 1/24 scale is. Everything is large enough to have strength, yet fine enough to appear exactly in scale, something that the smaller scales can struggle with. Externally the forward fuselage has a choice of square or circular inspection panels, the colour profiles at the end of the instruction booklet show which ones are appropriate for the particular options. The cockpit/midwing fairing is a large single piece that fits over the mid wing and onto the fuselage. The twin LMG 08/15 Spandau machine guns sit atop this fairing, with the choice of either solid plastic barrels, or some stunning fretted brass cooling jackets. I don’t know how they have been done, but the cooling jackets are finely etched (or milled) brass tubes, ready to slide over the plastic body and barrels of the basic machine gun mouldings. They couldn’t be simpler and will surely make into an amazing centre point of the completed model. Fine detail on the ammunition rounds and belt feed into the sides of each Spandau will enhance it further. Again, like the fabric seat belts this is the first time I have seen these pre-fretted brass tubes supplied in a mainstream kit. The wings are all provided as upper and lower halves, with internal ribs and spars moulded in to add strength. This ensures that there won’t be any repeat of the incidents of the slight warp that was found on the solid moulded wings in some of the 1/32 kits. All three wings are assembled the same way, with a drawing in the instruction book showing to open up flashed over holes in the leading edge to fit the stacking pads. Check which version you are building and follow the instructions to open up the correct pair. Two ‘Axle wings’ are provided for the undercarriage the main difference being short and long chord, and again it is pointed out in the instructions which one goes with which version. Interestingly there are two complete pairs of main wheels on the sprue D’s. D8 and D9 are the ones used by all four variants in the kit. The slightly smaller diameter D14 and D15’s are appropriate to the prototype Fokker F.1 as flown by Werner Voss and Manfred von Richthofen. In addition the F1 ailerons are present on sprue D, so I expect Meng will release a kit of this at some point. It won’t be possible to create an F.1 from this boxing as it only has the straight edged tailplane appropriate to the Dr.1. The 9 cylinder Oberursel UR.II was an almost identical copy of the French Le Rhone 9J, and was the standard engine fitted to the DR.1 at the factory. Some were retro fitted with captured Clerget 9B engines so be careful if choosing aftermarket decals. Here in the kit we have a very nicely moulded Oberursel, made up of few parts, but with separate cylinder caps and valves. All that the modeller needs to add is fine ignition wires running out to each spark plug. Most Oberursel powered Dr.1’s were fitted with the Axial propeller, although a Heine can sometimes be seen in contemporary photographs. The choice is yours as both types are provided in the kit, along with two further props that are not needed. The clear parts consist of several items, of which only one windscreen and the inspection panel cover are used. Interestingly an early reflector gunsight is included but not marked for use, as it is in the 1:32 kit. Etched parts. These come in their own little box, packed in a sponge 'wallet' with a lift off lid. Also in the protective sponge are the two beautiful Spandau cooling jackets mentioned earlier. The brass fret has no connection points to the individual components, instead all is held in place by a thin film of plastic. I really like this as it means you don't have to cut each part from the brass sheet, and clean up the inevitable 'nubs' on the parts. The two barrel ends and sights are provided, but most of the parts are buckles and connectors for threading on to the fabric seat belts. Options, Four are provided, but if you leave off the ‘LO’ text from option A it will make Ltn Hans Kirschstein's Jasta 6 586/17.This was passed on to Udet in May 1918, when his usual 'LO' marking applied over the black and white fuselage stripes. A. 586/17 Ltn Ernst Udet, Jasta 4, 1918. B. 152/17, Manfred von Richthofen, JG 1, March 1918. C. 577/17, Rudolf Klimke, Jasta 27, May 1918. D. 213/17, Ltn Kempf, Jasta 2, February 1918. Decals. The decals appear to be Mengs own production. They are neatly printed with on a sheet close to A4 size, covering all the various German crosses (Eisenkruez and Balkenkreuz) needed to complete any of the four options. The carrier film is minimal around the crosses, and naturally a little more extensive around the ‘LO’, ‘KEMPF’, and ‘kennscht mi noch’ texts, and also the anchors. The finish is overall matt, and everything appears to be in good register. Conclusion. An unexpected and surprise release this one. It is a beautifully designed and moulded kit, and should build into a very impressive model. Hopefully there will be more releases on the way, as its appeal will be increased if it can be displayed with a Camel, Se5a, Albatros DV, or Fokker D.VII to the same scale. The whole package is of very high quality, and a completely new kit that has nothing in common with Meng's smaller 1:32 scale release of the same aircraft. If you like early aircraft but are afraid of rigging, then this one is an ideal starter as it only has four very simple rigging lines to apply, and they can be easily done with stretched sprue or wire. And there is no complicated strut work either! Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. After the 1/32nd kit "inherited" from late WnW, Meng is to release a 1/24th Fokker Dr.1 kits - ref. QS003 - Fokker Dr.1 - ref. QS003s - Fokker Dr.1 + Blue Max Medal Sources: http://www.meng-model.com/en/contents/59/330.html http://www.meng-model.com/en/contents/59/334.html https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3743795272400436&id=195290177250981 V.P.
  6. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.A Early Zimmerit Decal (SPS-077) 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd If you're not sure what Zimmerit was, it was an anti-magnetic coating applied to the exterior of German AFVs from the end of 1943 to the 9th September 1944 in the factories and a little later in the field. It took the form of a thick fibrous paste with a greyish hue, and the application was usually ridged to give it a larger effective thickness without adding too much weight. It was water-based and applied to all vertical or near vertical surfaces over primer with a comb-like tool or stamp, and drying was then accelerated by using blow-torches over the application. There were a number of patterns used at certain factories, so it can be a minefield debating whether the vehicle had Zimmerit, which pattern it was, and how you would apply your own rendition to your model. Originally you were left to your own devices to use putty and a screw-driver tip, or later-on Photo-Etch (PE) sheets, which was a little regimented and inflexible. Now with the advances in decal technology, Meng and a few others have begun creating 3D decals that when applied give the appearance of this rough coating. The sheet arrives in thick plastic bag with a card header, a sheet of visual instructions and a sheet of Zimmerit decal protected by a thick piece of waxy paper. The instructions are simple diagrams showing where each part fits on the hull and turret, including such niceties as shaped parts for the mantlet, kugelblende and even the area under the side-skirts where a brave (foolhardy) man could slap a magnetic shaped-charge. A small note at the bottom in three languages indicates that if any edges begin to peel away from your model, you can re-glue them with super-glue (CA) or modelling glue. The decals are even printed in a similar grey shade to the real thing, so chipping a little paint could be used to depict exposed Zimmerit. This set is patterned for their newly released kit that you can see our review of here, which will be of use for any of the four decal options included with the kit, sold separately to give the modeller the option of either not bothering, doing it yourself, or adding these decals to your shopping cart. The pattern for this set is reminiscent of an oversized waffle-pattern, consisting of large roughly applied squares with small gaps between each one, and the distinct impression that they have been applied by hand, possibly by someone in a rush or who didn’t care about it being too tidy. That’s likely to be the case, as slave labour was commonly used in German WWII factories, particularly during the period that Zimmerit was being applied, and if they weren’t slaves they would have been employees under the cosh from management to keep the production-line moving quickly, as these tanks already took far too long to complete when compared to Shermans or T-34s. Conclusion You can of course apply Zimmerit yourself using whichever of the other techniques that you prefer, but this is likely to be the quickest and easiest method that should also be the most realistic once painted and weathered. It will also be easy to chip and abrade away to give the impression of a careworn coating. It also helps that it’s quite reasonably priced. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Sd.Kfz.171 Panther Ausf.A Early (TS-046) 1:35 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The Panther was Nazi Germany's answer to the surprise appearance of the Russian T-34 after the Soviet behemoth finally reacted to Operation Barbarossa, when Hitler unexpectedly broke their non-aggression pact, much to Stalin’s surprise. Although the project had been in gestation some time before, they took some design cues from the T-34 in the shape of the sloped armour, resulting in the Panther that was intended to fill the gap between the Panzer.IV and the (then) new Panzer VI Tiger. It was eventually supposed to replace both the Pz.IV and the earlier Pz.III that was really showing its age, but in reality it often fought alongside the Panzer IV, which was upgraded to be more resilient. It was planned as a lighter, more manoeuvrable tank than the Tiger, and was fitted with a high velocity gun from the outset, which gave it enormous penetrating power that was only equalled by the British 17-pounder fitted to the Sherman that became known as the Firefly. The sloped frontal armour gave it an increased effective armour thickness, but this was not so true of the side armour, which was comparatively weak, and this area became the preferred target of allied tank commanders, especially in urban combat where this was a telling issue. Like most German WWII tanks it was complex to manufacture, so suffered in terms of volume produced, and this led to it being rushed into service with quite a to-do list of issues still to resolve. Later production solved most of these initial gremlins, but loses in the interim were high with many being abandoned after failing mechanically during combat. Curiously, the Ausf.D was the first to enter production, with the Ausf.A following later in 1943, replacing attrition of the less reliable Ausf.Ds until they themselves were superseded by the Ausf.G, which became the final major variant with increased ammo storage, simplified design to ease production, and further improvements to reliability, although this was never fully remedied with a high rate of attrition due to mechanical issues, some of which resulted in catastrophic fires. The Early Ausf.As had a number of overly complex aspects of the design that were later altered or removed entirely, such as the commander’s cupola that was redesigned for better protection, as was the shell ejection port, which was reduced in size. A Panther II was planned, which retained much of the look of the original Panther, while improving armour and suspension. They got as far as creating a pair of prototypes before the war ended, and a destroyed but still substantial chunk of the Schmallturm (smaller turret) can be seen at Bovington. The Kit This is a reboxing of the initial tooling from our friends at Meng, now with two additional sprues to depict early variant parts, and moulded in a more neutral grey styrene instead of the sand or red-brown of the earlier releases. The box is typical Meng, with an attractive painting of a Zimmerit encrusted Panther on the front, with profiles, colour codes and information on the sides. Inside are individually bagged sprues to minimise chaffing during transport, and plenty of parts. There are thirteen sprues in light grey styrene, one in clear, plus three frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two of which are nickel plated, a decal sheet, two lengths of braided wire for the tow ropes, two strips of poly-caps, instruction booklet, and a pair of thick card information sheets in Russian, English and Japanese (I think?), which has become common with Meng releases of late. First impressions are excellent. The parts breakdown is sensible, the detail is superb, and the casting texture on parts like the mantlet (of which there are four in this boxing) is well done, while the wooden texture on the unditching block also worth a look. The instructions are typical Meng, offering crisp isometric views of the build with an uncluttered style that still manages to get the point across. You are informed that there are four decal options at the beginning, and advised that this will affect your choice of parts, so you should choose now. Construction begins with the road wheels, all of which are moulded with early rubber tyres before its scarcity forced the change to all-metal wheels, and they have a poly-cap fitted between the two dished wheels. The three-part drive sprockets and four-part idler wheels also have poly-caps at their heart, so that wheels can be added and removed as needed throughout the build. The lower hull is made up from two sides and one floor part, with two bracing double-crossed T shaped parts holding everything rigid inside, and two small holes drilled in the floor. The rear bulkhead, final drive housing and the many suspension arms are inserted into the hull sides, and the towing shackles are also clipped onto the torch-cut ends of the side plates at this stage. The pre-prepared road wheels, idlers and drive sprockets are all slid into place on the stub-axles, and an optional tow hook can be fitted under the rear of the vehicle directly below the jack, which is also installed now between the armoured single-tube exhausts. Either side of these the distinctive stowage boxes are added, with separate tops in case you wanted to leave them open or ajar. The tracks are individual parts that are glued into track runs and draped around the wheels until they set up, and here Meng have helpfully included a jig that will allow you to make up a length of tracks at the correct slope and sag for the return run from the drive sprocket to the second road wheel, which forms a gentle curve and would be tricky to achieve without help from the jig. Each track link is free from ejector-pin marks, and has a pair of guide-horns that you will need to glue into place. This is a manual job, so prepare your tweezers and a good playlist to listen to or documentary to watch whilst you plough through this necessarily tedious part, building up 87 links per side. Each track link has three sprue gate, but the guide-horns only have one on their base, so it's swings and roundabouts. Given the level of detail visible on the external side of each link though, it is worth having those sprue gates to ensure there is no under-shoot on the detail. The upper hull has a number of rectangular holes in the front, sides and top, with only some of them making sense initially, until you realise that the glacis and side walls are added separately to give you all the detail. The circular radiator vents are separate too, as is the engine hatch and the two crew hatches at the front of the tank. The crew get clear periscope blocks, while the perforated engine deck vents are covered from the inside by inserts that well-represent the radiator baths and the fan in the centre. The small wedge-shaped skirt at the rear of the sponsons are also added from separate parts layered over the moulded-in sections, and the underside of the sponsons are closed in by two plates that sit on turrets moulded into the upper hull, and holds them in place while you add all the brackets for the Schürzen parts later, which were fitted to pre-detonate shaped charges. These nickel-plated parts are fitted later, and if scraped gently after painting should reveal some of their bright metal underneath. The upper hull is detailed with all the usual parts you would expect, such as the armoured periscope covers; mesh screens on the engine deck; stowage bracketing; spare track links; pioneer tools; gun cleaning kit; towing cables with plastic eyes and wire ropes; the aforementioned skirt plates with separate PE clips; mudguards with PE brackets and width lollipops; lifting lugs and so forth, that are added to the hull after joining. The turret is constructed on a skeleton framework using individual panels that are detailed up during the build. The rear has a hatch added that can be posed open or closed with the pistol-port cut out and fitted with a hatch, the sides have small ports in the sides cut out for three decal options, while the roof is initially fitted with a mushroom vent, vision block and aerial base. The gun's breech is depicted in three parts, with a pair of poly-caps linking it to the two pivot points that bracket either end of the inner mantlet, which is then hidden by one of the two new cast mantlets that are included. The styrene barrel fits snugly into a keyed slot in the mantlet, and has a three-part flash-suppressor added to the front in styrene, plus the very tip of the coaxial machine gun fitted through from the inside of the mantlet. The Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun that fits to the commander's cupola is an MG34 on a simple ring-mount with a belt-feed of ammo from a cloth bag, and that is glued onto the ring after it is fitted to the top of the cupola once the clear vision blocks and hatch cover have been put in place. The completed cupola fits into the roof of the turret with a key ensuring correct alignment, then the mantlet with surround are added to the front. The turret is a drop-fit, but the gun can be locked in place by using the supplied travel lock, which has a length of simulated chain wrapping over the top. Markings Four markings options are included with this kit, all of which will require you to either purchase the Zimmerit decals I’ll be reviewing shortly, or to apply your own the old-fashioned (and sometimes messy) way. From the box you can build one of the following: No.1102 HQ 2nd Battalion, 23rd Panzer Regiment, Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, Winter 1943 No.221 1st Battalion, 15th Panzer Regiment, 11th Panzer Division, Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, Autumn 1943 No.613 2nd Battalion, 5th Panzer Regiment, Waffen-SS, Kowel, Poland, Spring 1944 No.102 Command Vehicle, HQ 1st Battalion, 4th Panzer Regiment, Wehrmacht, Florence, Italy, Summer 1944 Decals are printed in China, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. You can see our review of the Zimmerit decals (SPS-077) that will simplify the whole process here. Conclusion This is an excellent representation of an early Panther Ausf.A from the box, but add the previously release suspension and track sets and some Zimmerit decals that are available separately, and it will make up into an even more stunning model. Detail is exceptional, and the build should provide plenty of pleasure due to the fit and finish usually associated with Meng kits. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. First go at a WIP and I have to make it a bit of a blitz! (I'd like to get this one done before the Phantom GB starts in a mere couple of weeks.) My gear is all over the place, I don't yet have a proper bench, there are certain issues with the kit, my camera handbook remains unread, there's 106 miles to Chicago, I've got a full tank of gas, it's dark out, and I'm wearing sunglasses. Hit it! This is the Meng 1/35 British Army (but see below...) WWI Medium Tank Whippet Mk.A. It's goint to be strictly an out of the box high speed build and then a slower and more considered painting session. I'm pretty sure I can do all of the building and then all of the painting, which is pretty well unique strategy. That's the way we used to work when we were kids, no? There's no interior detail, and it's one colour all over, apart from the tracks which I will paint before I clip them on. Clip, not glue so that hardly counts as building to my way of thinking. Suddenly, I'm more confident that I can do it in the time allowed. One update per day, promise. Probably in the morning while the dog is sleeping off her breakfast and our big walk of the day. But I digress... The kit came slowly on a boat from China which saved me some money but may have given me some grief. It was reasonably packed and I've never had any problems before but look at the box. I wonder where in its thousands of miles of travel, some idiot stood on it? My local sorting office? On the last sampan out of nowhere? Whatever, it didn't look too bad until I noticed this... My apologies, the photo has gone! And so has the box, so I can't retake it! 2/8/21 "The box is bent outward, like it exploded from inside." Let's hope its not something that will give me indigestion after my stir-fry. "They musta broke the mould after they made this piece!" Otherwise, how did they get it out? Yes, I know, everyone is doing slide moulding these days but I'm still impressed with this large lump. It's detailed nicely all over and will simplify my build and keep everything on the square and level. I have astigmatism which makes it difficult to judge angles visually so that's a great help to me. The rivets are huge and crude just like the real thing. The plates have a subtle rolled steel texture. Perhaps too subtle (boring). So I might add a few dings and dents to add a bit of interest. Another photo evaporated. Probs my error, sorry. The back door. Upside down, I now realise. Side plate detail. Look at those 'U' bolts. They will look smashing under paint. And this is the piece that was driven through the roof of the box. It's tiny and by rights, should be flattened entirely. I was lucky. The other side of this idler wheel has deep holes to take the other ends of the broken bars so they will be easy to locate and repair. AS far as I can tell, this is the only other transit damage. I was very lucky but Meng helped by putting it all in a very stout box which sacrificed itself for its plastic contents. That gun's a beauty. I wont be spending days making the track as its a snap together system, similar to the Takom type which I used on a couple of MkIVs last year. An hour tops on assembly and paint it afterwards. Great. This is a mystery. The box art says three schemes are included but doesn't say what. The instructions don't mention any. There's a colour profile page which details two schemes, both British. And the decals have four, including a German Beutepanzer and a Russian version. No worries, I'm doing a British one anyway. I rapidly found the other two online and they are no more exciting than the British one. (This could be a good kit for the 'In the Wrong Hands GB??) So there I have it. I'll shut the laptop and make a start. See you in the morning. p.s. Please feel free to advise me what works well, or not, for you as readers. Are the pictures ok (new camera with the unread instructions and inadequate lighting). Too few or too many photos? Do I ramble on too much? And do please take the thread wherever you want to go, digress, talk to each other, take the mick, have some fun!
  9. IDF Infantry Set 2000- (HS-004) 1:35 Meng Models With the profusion of Israeli armour that we seem to have these days, it makes sense to have some figures to go with them, and Meng have now released another set to complement their original vehicle crew set that we reviewed here some time ago. This set contains four figures that would be ideally suited to a foot patrol accompanying armour, with modern equipment that places them in this millennium. They arrive in a standard figure-sized box in a satin finish, and inside you will find four sprues in a shiny mid-grey styrene. The instructions consist of a painting guide on the rear of the box, and each figure's parts are together on one sprue for ease of construction. Each figure has separate legs, arms torso and head, plus a helmet with an oversize cover that looks unusual, but I believe has something to do with cooling and shading the soldier's neck and shoulders. Weapons are all Tavor (TAR-21) based, with either red-dot or holo-sights, and one has a 40mm grenade launcher attached under the barrel. Ammo pouches are also separate and are shown attached in various arrangements to the figures' vests, with additional pouches and day-sacks in various configurations. The figures are very well moulded, although a little flash is present, which can be seen from the photos. It's all pretty easy to remove however, and a good wash in warm soapy water is advisable, as there seems to be quite a lot of mould-release agent on the plastic, probably due to the complex nature of the mouldings. Two of the figures are in a walking pose, one with his weapon across his chest, the other holding it down to his side. Of the remaining two, one is standing with his rifle in both hands in a relaxed but ready pose. The other is on one knee shouting (judging by the size of his cake-hole) into a field radio handset, with his rifle cradled in his free hand. Colour call-outs are given in Vallejo codes, but it's easy enough to convert these to any other brand, or you could pick up the IDF colour set from Lifecolor that is within my review here. Be sure to check out my review of the resin IDF load-carrying equipment set here. Review sample courtesy of
  10. High Performance Flexible Sandpaper (MTS-042) (Extra Fine Set) Meng Model/DSPIAE via Creative Models Ltd We originally got this set in from Creative a month or so ago, but they looked so cool and useful that by the time we got round to reviewing them, they’d gone out of stock. Now they’re back, and we’re rushing to let you know about them. Meng’s range of modelling tools has been expanding, and since their tie-up with DSPIAE it has included metal tools, and lots of other useful bits & bobs that are enticing, as well as handy. This set of flexible sponge-backed sanding sheets arrive in a card box, with an attractive smoke-coloured translucent plastic box in a poly-bag. It is divided up into five individual sections, each of which has its own lid with snap-down closure and hinge. Inside are a five sections full of sandpaper of various grades, each on different thicknesses of coloured sponge, which corresponds with the grade of grit that it holds. The box lids have the grade engraved on the top, and each sponge back is over-printed with both the grade and the Meng brand name so you don’t forget who makes them. In the box you get the following: #1000 2 x thick, 2 x medium, 2 x thin #1200 2 x thick, 2 x medium, 2 x thin #1500 2 x thick, 2 x medium, 2 x thin #2000 2 x thick, 2 x medium, 2 x thin #2500 2 x thick, 2 x medium, 2 x thin That’s a total of 30 sheets, each one measuring approximately 70mm x 20mm. The sandpaper is 0.3mm thick, and the sponges are 2mm, 3mm and 5mm for thin, medium & thick respectively. They’re a useful size, with not too much “middle” that’s not quite as easy to use in precision applications, and with high quality sandpaper well-adhered to the foam that should lead to a long service-life, with refills of individual grits available for a reasonable price. You should remember that they are intended to sand shapes, and shouldn’t be relied on to create flat surfaces, as they have a tendency to round off flat surfaces when used extensively or carelessly. They are great for smoothing off shapes that you want to diminish or minimise, reducing flat-spots, and for gently sanding detailed areas where you don’t want to obliterate the detail. There is also a Fine set, which has more aggressive grits of 150, 250, 400, 600, and 800 in the same style box, with additional bright foam colours to tell them all apart, providing your memory is up to the task. Very highly recommended. Extra Fine Set (MTS-042) Fine Set (MTS-041) Review sample courtesy of
  11. Ford GT40 Mk.II ’66 (CS-004) 1:24 Meng via Creative Models Ltd Ford began taking an interest in endurance racing in the 60s after a falling-out with Enzo Ferrari during a potential take-over by Ford, and to improve their brand name awareness, which started in the UK in Slough with a Lola chassis, lacking in success initially. It was taken back in-house so to speak and carried on in the USA, using the genius behind the Lola GT6 that had shown promise, despite it failing to finish the race. They created the GT40, with the 40 stemming from the minimum height in inches at the time, using some of the Lola’s chassis and a Mustang engine in the Mk.I, which was far too rough and not at all ready for racing at that point. This led to another change in personnel, putting the famous and rebellious Carrol Shelby in charge, who with input from driver/mechanic Ken Miles undertook a series of significant modifications that gave it a great deal of power and success. The Mk.II was fitted with a larger 7.0L V8 engine that turned it into a beast that was mated with a four-speed gearbox, to be used by three racing teams to stunning effect. Those teams took 1,2,3 at Le Mans in 1966, leaving the previously successful Ferraris in their dust, which they continued to do for the next two years. As is usual with racing, improvements were made to the bodyshell, the carbs and other parts, although they were not without their problems. A technical failure took out every GT40 at Daytona in 1967, causing a brief return to prominence of the Ferraris, but they were back to their winning ways again for a total of three years, which is a long time in racing. Its successor began life as the J-Car, but after killing driver Ken Miles in a testing accident due to materials deficiencies and aerodynamic issues, it was redeveloped as the Mk.IV, but was often left in the garage at race-time while the Mk.II was still winning, as the older car was a more reliable platform. By 1968 the Mk.II was no-longer competitive, and the Mk.IV was fielded, but success was elusive. An attempt was made to continue the name with the Mk.V but this was more of a sports car than a racing car. A few kit cars carried on the look over the years, but in 2002 a new model was released by Ford as a sports car using the name GT, but it was negatively affected by Jeremy Clarkson’s unfortunate experience of persistent unreliability of his example, bought with his own money. 2015 saw a second generation launched as a street car, with an endurance racing team beginning in 2016 and carrying on until 2019 with a healthy number of victories. The Kit This is Meng’s second kit of the famous GT40, the first being the double-size 1:12 uber kit that was released in 2020 and re-released in a pre-coloured moulding this year. Taking advantage of their research, Meng have now downscaled the kit to 1:24, which was probably a lot more complex than putting it on a photocopier and choosing 50%. It arrives in a compact Meng style box, as it isn’t actually a very large car, and inside are three large and one small sprue plus two bodyshell halves in pale grey styrene, a clear sprue, four flexible black tyres, a quartet of poly-caps, a small Photo-Etch (PE) sheet, a sheet of sticky-backed flock material, a sheet of windscreen masks, and the instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages. The detail is typical Meng, with a complete engine, transmission and suspension included, as well as the interior, which will be seen through some crystal-clear transparencies, although it doesn’t have the opening doors of its larger sibling. The decals are crisp too, and include instrument and tyre stencils into the bargain. Construction begins by choosing which of the three team vehicles you wish to build. You have the choice of the iconic pale blue Gulf No.1 (Ken Miles & Denny Hulme in 2nd place), black No.2 (Bruce McLaren & Chris Amon in 1st place) and gold No.5 (Ronnie Bucknum & Dick Hutcherson in 3rd place), as this makes a difference to the details of the model. The front hubs are the first to be made, trapping poly-caps between the two halves, then putting them to one side while the passenger “tub” has the pedal box, gear shifter and fire extinguisher added, and the upper front suspension framework inserted above the moulded-in lowers, with a sprung damper between them and the hubs slotted in place at the outer end of the frames. An overhead diagram shows the painting of the tub for each of the decal options, with another for the floor pan, which glues to the underside of the tub, while you also attach a linkage between the two front hubs so the wheels point in the same direction. Two inner arch inserts are installed around the front axles, and the radiator assembly is dropped into the front with two side supports over the front lip. The engine is built in top and bottom halves, beginning with the block, transmission and the ancillaries running from the timing belt, with the hoses for cooling extending forwards. The transmission has the drive-shaft boots moulded in, and this assembly is then dropped into the floor pan along with the lower suspension wishbones. More suspension trickery is inserted over the top of the transmission with a pair of crisply moulded springs and a filler hose included. At the rear, a “bike rack” slips over the two rectangular forms either side of the transmission, top suspension framework and twin oil-coolers fixed to their bases at the front of the engine bay. The top of the engine has the cylinder heads and rocker covers, air intake and distributor fitted, then the complex 8-port exhaust manifold is installed from four sinuous parts that join to create the two exhausts that project from the rear of the car. The rear hubs are made up from two halves and a poly-cap, linked to the transmission by a short drive-shaft that slots into the boots, one per side of course. The GT40 has two seats, with one just for show, while the other has set of four-point belts that are made from the pre-cut flock material, which is slid over the buckles and adjusters, then attached to the seat. The GT40 seats were perforated initially to save weight and keep the driver cooler, with holes through the padding and metal eyelets keeping things from fraying. While these seats aren’t perforated due to the scale making it impractical, the eyelets are moulded into the fabric and can be painted silver as long as you didn’t drink too much last night. The texture and deformation of the surface of the material part of the seat is also excellent, and gives a very realistic impression that will be accentuated by some careful painting. The engine firewall has some nice moulding present too, and has a few ancillaries attached to the rear face along with the glazing before it is dropped into the tub. At the other end of the tub, the dashboard is made up of a vertical panel with the dials inlaid, which all have decals, the horizontal coaming with moulded-in grille, and the steering wheel on a short column set to the right side, which also has a boss decal. The thick door card panels are also inserted into the tub at this stage, boxing in the sides of the cab. The GT40’s wheels were larger at the rear to get the power down more efficiently, and this is replicated faithfully in the kit, using two pairs of beautifully moulded hubs with separate knock-off wheel nuts, and flexible black tyres with a subtle tread on the contact surfaces, and pin-stripe decals in a pale blue that go around the circumference of the tyre rim, plus some undocumented curved Good Year logos should you want them or your references require it. The completed wheels push-fit into the hubs and are held in place by the poly-caps, which will come in useful during the rest of construction. Attention turns to the bodyshell, and the front cab and bonnet section is prepped with inner arch inserts and a couple of clear lenses pushed in from the inside. There are a number of ejector-pin marks on the roof that will need hiding if you feel they’ll be seen, which is best done before adding the rear-view mirror and the other external parts. Externally, there are three small raised button-fairings on the left door, some of which should be removed and smoothed over for the various options, and from the inside a pair of holes are drilled for two of the options to add a raised fairing on the roof of the right-hand door, which I suspect was there to accommodate taller drivers. A filler cap is inserted into the right wing, and clear lenses for the headlights and side lights are also glued into their recesses in the front. The rest of the glazing is next, starting with the large windscreen, the two aerodynamic clear lenses on the headlights, sidelights, and the fixed side-windows with their tiny sliding hatches moulded-in. Masks are included for the glazing, and they are pre-cut from a white kabuki tape style of material. The bonnet hatch is an insert with a sculpted exhaust slot to extract hot air from the radiator, supported by a central strake, which was absent from golden number 5, so will need to be removed if you are modelling that option. That completes the front of the bodyshell, and it is attached to the floor pan while the rear section is made. The rear bodyshell has a liner that is a convoluted shape that has a pair of intakes added to the sides, and an extended Y-shaped hose inserted through holes in the sides, which is then painted before it is inserted into the outer skin after putting the clear rear lights in the rear from the inside. Externally, the rear window with its mask is put into the frame, and an intake with clear cover just behind it, which also has a mask to keep it that way too. Two intake “horn” scoops are set on their bases either side of the clear intake, and the PE mesh panel that makes up a good proportion of the rear of the vehicle is added to the frame, leaving a rectangular gap in the centre for the exhausts to exit once it is in place, pivoting on a pair of hinges at the rear. Thanks to the liner, the bland interior of the skin is hidden, which would otherwise have been visible when the back was opened up. Markings As previously mentioned, there are three options from the 1966 Le Mans 24 hours race, where they took first, second and third place in a stage-managed echelon that went over the line together, sneakily robbing Ken Miles of his number one spot (yes, I’ve seen Ford Vs Ferrari/Le Mans 66). From the box you can build one of the following: 2nd Place, 24 hours of Le Mans, France, 1966 Champion, 24 hours of Le Mans, France, 1966 3rd Place, 24 hours of Le Mans, France, 1966 The decals are printed anonymously and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The GT40 is truly an iconic racing car, and dominated endurance racing for three whole years, leaving a legacy that lasts to today. This is a well-detailed model of the Le Mans winners from ’66, and should appeal to a great many, even non-car modellers. I’m off to watch Steve McQueen in Le Mans now – similar but different. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Hi All, quick question, just starting next build, starting with tracks, I have the Friulmodel ATL-160 but did not notice they were wide- even though it says it on box - doh , so did MkV use the slightly wider ones ? cheers Mark
  13. Glass File (Long MTS-048a Short MTS-048b) Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd Meng have a growing range of tools thanks to their collaboration with high quality tools expert DSPIAE. These new files arrive in a card box with a header hanger, and inside you will find a flexible plastic box that protects the tempered glass file within. The box is printed with instructions, which advise you to avoid dropping the files, or storing them outside their packet – all common sense if you’ve ever experienced the explosive disassembly of a piece of tempered glass before. The recent concept of etching an abrasive pattern onto glass files has been around in the nail salon world for a while now, but they have been rustic, insofar as the pattern is random to cut in every direction. The engineers behind this more technologically advanced variant on the theme have etched a unidirectional “tread” onto tempered glass that will give an incredibly accurate result on an unerringly flat surface. The files have a mirrored finish on their abrasive side, with the logo in negative and again in positive on the opposite side. The short version has abrasive etched along its full-length of 90mm, across the 12.7mm width, while the long version has an average of 67mm of abrasive (it’s cut at an angle), with a total length of 110mm, and the same width as the shorter version. Apologies if looking at this photo makes your eyes go "gozzy". It really affected mine in a quite unpleasant manner, so you've been warned. No staring! In use they are strange when initially rubbed against plastic, but the result is shiny thanks to the fine abrasive. This doesn’t affect the speed at which the material is abraded away however, but you have to be careful not to dig one edge of the file into the surface, as this can result in a groove. With a little practice, flat, smooth surfaces can be obtained, thanks in part to the inflexibility of the file, unlike those rounded-off surfaces that can plague users of files with soft, flexible surfaces. The fact that these files produce such a smooth result also saves time, and to illustrate that, I have just taken a few seconds to remove a large blocky sprue gate with the file very quickly and to the exact height of the surrounding plastic, leaving no residual work left to do. When using it to remove material, you will notice that small shavings are thrown out of the path of the file, as the tiny shapes are performing a task somewhat akin to a wood plane, only on a minute scale. The phrase "nano-technology" is used on the outer box, so it must be modern! The instructions also advise not to use the files on anything harder than plastic, as it will damage the nano-blades on the surface, and shorten the life of the tool, possibly also ruining the smoothness of the results into the bargain. It’s best not to find out, so store them in their boxes and use them as advised on the out box. Conclusion A highly useful tool that will become a part of your toolkit to see frequent action in your modelling time. You might not use it daily, but when you do, you’ll be glad you have it. Highly recommended. Currently out of stock with Creative due to popularity, but keep checking back for new stock. Long (MTS-048a) Short (MTS-048b) Review sample courtesy of
  14. I've really enjoyed doing this one. Very nice model to make. Other than the fiddley running gear everything is a breeze. Even the tracks are fine since they are huge! I wanted to show this thing off with some sort of purpose since the only pics are the test P1-P6 ones which were pared down with little in the way of gear on the outside. The experimental element of this kit was the camo netting which sort of went how I wanted it to and I must give a big thanks to @Das Abteilung for the donation of the scrim and also inspiration from his build. I thought I'd add a few bits to the back and made a crate for all the gear. All bar the jerry cans and flimsies are scratch built. The two straps on the rear near side and jerry are scratch plus a few other bits and bobs and I added the aftermarket side loading hatch. Taking inspiration from how Churchills were in WW2 I removed the central track covers and replaced with wire mesh. As in keeping with British armour of the time I also added a mantel cover which I think finishes her of nicely. There are a few pics of one of the actual test units sporting a cover so.... This was also my first go with dry decals from Archer. I have to say I'm a fan. Oh and a first serious go ate brush chipping. I went a little over the top but with most things modelling I soon realised that less is more. I'm rather chuffed with myself on the restrained mud weathering. Well done me Set in about 1948 this little cutie would prowling around the German - Polish border looking for anything big and Russian! The crew have a keen sense of irony and conscious that this is a bit of a big girl so she needed a little help in the wardrobe department in the way of Camo netting. I think she looks pretty suitably intimidating And for size comparison!! The WIP is here - Thanks for looking all Andrew
  15. Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (LS-012) 1:48 Meng via Creative Models Ltd The original Hornet design lost the Lightweight Fighter battle with what became the F-16, but after some re-designing and tweaking, it won the contract for the US Navy’s do-it-all fighter to replace the Tomcats, Corsairs et al, becoming the multi-role F/A-18 Hornet. When more capabilities were required, a further re-design that was more of a total do-over but retained the same general shape and designation, only about a third larger for reasons best left unsaid, but probably budget related, and a way to get around possible restrictions or pitfalls barring a new type. This much larger aircraft became the Super Hornet, with the two-seater designated F/A-18F, and the single-seat variant E, both of which began production in the late 90s, entering service just before the new millennium. With the withdrawal of the F-14 Tomcat in 2006 they became the primary carrier-borne fighter of the US Navy and Marines, serving alongside the original Hornet for a while, but all of the “legacy” Hornets have now left US service, although they remain on the books of some foreign operators. You can easily tell them apart without a size reference by checking the intakes. Oval = Hornet, Rectangular = Super Hornet. The enlargement of the wing area, lengthening on the fuselage and installation of more powerful GE engines changed the characteristics of the airframe markedly, giving it more speed, weapons capability and range, with even more tankage hung from the wings, and buddy-pods allowing same-type refuelling operations without having a vulnerable dedicated tanker on station. There have been various upgrades over the years, and the Super Hornet has a wide range of munitions to choose from, making it a capable all-round war-fighter that is still nowhere near the end of its service life, although trials with pilotless carrier-based aircraft are underway. In addition to the E and F variants, the G, or Growler is a heavily modified two-seater with a huge quantity of Electronic Warfare equipment carried both internally and externally on pylons. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Meng, who have a habit of popping out an aircraft model every now and again, alongside their more regular armour range, which is similarly well-regarded. We have come to expect great things from Meng, as they have impressive skills and a penchant for high levels of detail in their kits. It arrives in one of their standard satin-sheened deep boxes with a painting of the aircraft on the front, and a host of goodies inside. Opening the box reveals eighteen sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two fuselage halves in the same plastic, five sprues in clear plus the canopy (all wrapped in protective self-cling plastic), three sets of small poly-caps, a Ziploc bag of ten flat-headed pins, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) metal, two sheets of decals, a sheet of pre-cut paper masks, the instruction booklet with colour profiles in the rear, four sheets of card with information about the F/A-18 in four languages, and a similarly multi-lingual competition flyer to win cash prizes, apparently. Everything is separately bagged with mildly annoying staples closing them up, and once you strip these off you see the high quality of the parts within. Detail is right up there with the best, and has finely engraved detail, with raised detail where appropriate and slide-moulding used to improve details further without creating more parts that make some people shout “over-engineered!” because… well, I guess more parts are harder? Construction begins reassuringly conventionally with the cockpit, with the single-seat tub having a cover fitted over the rear, the sidewalls installed next to the detailed side consoles, a large control column part, chunky throttle, and a well-appointed instrument panel, which has a number of individual decals supplied for both it and the side consoles, the numbers for which are called out in a scrap diagram. The rudder pedals are moulded into the floor and could do with some more detail if you aren’t inserting the supplied pilot figure, which you can see in the detail photos. The nose gear bay is made up from the roof, shallow sides, front bulkhead and some thick trunking/hoses snaking through the bay. Those two subassemblies are mated then trapped between the forward lower fuselage halves, with the top half moulded-into the rest of the upper fuselage, to be brought together later. In the meantime, the upper fuselage is prepared by fitting the wing lowers with a choice of folded or straight wing-hinge supports, and another choice of ECS ram air exhaust types, the multi-tubular type having some impressive moulding. The F-18 runs two GE F414 turbofans, with long intakes to keep the rapidly rotating fans away from the prying eyes of enemy radar beams. The trunking is made from two halves, and has a few ejector pin marks inside, but cleaning those up before joining the halves should make the task easier. The rear is covered by a representation of the engine front, then the completed trunks are attached to the appropriate main gear bays, which are made from three parts, and have more highly impressive detail moulded-in, as shown above. The two subassemblies are inserted into the lower fuselage from within, and splitter plates are attached to the sides of the fuselage on two slots, with some fine detail moulded-in. The rectangular sides of the intake trunking and lower fuselage sides fit around the assembly, then a pair of pivots are slotted into the rear fuselage with poly-caps allowing them to pivot without suffering from modeller’s droop. The lower nose clips into the lower fuselage, then the upper fuselage is lowered over it, mating snugly even without glue from a quick test fit I made. She’s looking like an aircraft now, but the cockpit is unfinished and she’s got no nose. I won’t ask how she smells though. The coaming is first, and has the HUD sides added and a circular projector lens in the bottom. The two clear panels are inserted between the supports one over the other, with a scrap diagram showing the correct position, then it can be glued in place and the windscreen fixed over the top. At the rear of the cockpit the cover over the avionics bay is attached, followed by the nose cone and insert with the muzzle cover for the M61A2 Vulcan cannon at the top, joined to the fuselage with a stepped ridge helping to improve fit. The Hornet’s wings are moulded into the fuselage, but the slats and flaps are separate paired parts, the slats capable of being modelled deployed, or by cutting off the nubs in the leading edge, retracted. The flaps can also be depicted cleaned-up with one set of straight actuator fairings, or fully deployed by using a separate cranked set, with the gap between the sections filled by the upper surface inserts. If you chose the unfolded wing joint earlier, it’s simply a matter of applying the top and bottom sections to the link, adding the spacer, then fitting the appropriate flap actuator fairings for the flaps, and the slats in extended or retracted positions, again by removing the nubs on the leading edge. The folded wingtips are made up with retracted flaps and slats plus straight fairings before they are inserted into the L-shaped fold with a different set of spacers. The two vertical fins have a T-shaped pivot point inserted under a small separate section of the rudder, then the completed rudder is trapped between the two halves of the fin without glue so it can pivot later. A nav light is inserted into the outer side, and the other fin is a near mirror image. The fins fit into slots in the rear fuselage, and the elevators push into the poly-caps hidden within the fuselage sides later on. The twin exhausts start with a cylinder with the rear of the engine moulded-in, a PE afterburner ring, then a two-part length of trunking with a corrugated interior. A choice of exhaust petal types finishes off the rear, one set having straight petals, the other with cranked rear sections, and after painting they’re inserted into the two apertures in the rear of the fuselage. The rugged nose gear of the F-18 has to be sturdy to withstand repeated carrier launches and landings, and you have a choice of setting the catapult bar in the up position for parked, or down for an aircraft ready to launch. A landing light and a number of stencil placards are applied to the leg after painting it white, and the twin wheels fit either side of the transverse axle. Additional parts are fitted in and around the nose gear bay when inserting the gear leg, then gear bay doors are fixed around the bay, causing much perspiration when you have to add the red edges to each one. The main gear legs also have a number of placards added after painting, and the wheels are made up from two parts each. These too have additional parts added during fitting into the bays, closely followed by the red-rimmed bay doors and their actuators. Just in case you wanted to catch an arrestor wire, the hook nestles between the two exhaust fairings on a long lug. The instructions have you making up the munitions for a break before completing the model, but we’ll cover that later. The ejection seat is made up from a series of very well detailed parts, and although it doesn’t have seatbelts for an absent pilot, there are stencils for the headbox sides and rear. It is installed in the cockpit, optionally along with one of the pilot figures that come on the sprues, which have separate arms, a wrap-around flotation vest and separate helmeted head with O2 hose, and as there are two additional arms (x2) you could experiment with some alternative poses to add a little variety to your model. The canopy clear part is crystal clear with an external seam over the top that you can either leave there (it’s pretty fine), or sand flush and polish back to clarity. There is a frame insert to fit within the canopy, and a choice of two canopy openers, depending on whether you wish to pose the canopy open or closed. A blade antenna in the centre of spine finishes off the top of your model. Under the port Leading Edge Root Extension (LERX), the integral crew ladder is stored (on the real thing), and it can be posed open by adding the ladder with its two supports and the open door to the bay, or if you want to pose it closed, put the long narrow part that represents one edge of the ladder. Back to the weapons. This is where the pins and tiny poly-caps come into play, allowing you to switch and change your load-out whenever you want on some of the pylons. Most of the pylon types have the pins trapped between them, four of type-A, two of type-B, and one of type-C. Type-B also has an adapter rail fitted instead of pins, which is also made from two parts, and these fit on the outer wing stations, while the four identical pylons fit on the two inner stations per wing, and the solo Type-C attaches to the centreline. A pair of wingtip rails are made up with spacer plates, then you can choose which of the supplied weapon types to hang from them. Two GBU-24s are built from halves, with the perpendicular fins separate, a clear-domed seeker head and a locating plate on the topside. Inside are two cups that hold poly-caps within, and these are glued into position lined up with the pre-moulded holes in the sides of the bomb and its mounting plate. The same process applies to the GBU-16s, except all the fins in the front and rear are separate, and there is a clear “droopy” seeker-head, with the poly-caps inserted into chambers in the bomb halves. The AIM-9Xs have clear seeker-heads and exhausts, plus adapter rails, while the three AIM-120Cs are each moulded complete, with a slim adapter rail. The two AIM-9Ms have a clear seeker, and eight separate fins, then the AN/ASQ-228 targeting pod is made from two halves, a two-part rotating sensor mounting, and tubular rear fairing, which is mounted on a concave pylon that fits to the port of the underside fuselage. Scrap diagrams show the correct location of the missiles on their rails, as well as the targeting pod, while another larger diagram shows which options can be placed on which pylons. It’s always best to look at some real-world photos for examples for demonstrable and practical load-outs. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, and you also get a set of canopy masks that are pre-cut from paper, using frame-hugging masks on the compound curves, so that the gaps can be covered by tape offcuts or liquid mask. There are also masks for the landing light and targeting pod lens, plus a set of toroidal masks for the wheels to allow you to cut a sharp demarcation with little effort. From the box you can build one of the following: Capt. James McCall, CO of CAW 8, VFA-31 “Felix the Cat”, USS George H W Bush, 2017 LtCdr. Carlisle Lustenberger, VFA-31 “Felix the Cat”, USS George H W Bush, 2009 LtCdr R J Prescott, VFA-87 “Golden Warriors”, USS George H W Bush, 2017 Pilot Unknown, US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, 2019 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The main sheet includes all the markings for the airframe, while the smaller sheet contains the stencils for the pylons and the weapons, of which there are many on a modern jet. The colours are called out in Meng/AK codes, as well as Gunze’s recent water-based Acrysion paints, which don’t seem to be prominently available in the UK. Conclusion Of course, there are lots of F-18 kits in this scale, but those don’t make any money for Meng, and they have brought their own particular set of skills to the party. They have produced a highly detailed model, with some excellent moulding and markings to create a model that is excellent out of the box, without the necessity of aftermarket. Extemely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Hi Everyone, Started my latest project, been looking forward to this, Meng MkV, Started it Two weeks ago, and following a different format, building more parts into sub assemblies and painting more parts on mass once assembled instead of all individual, seems to be working reasonably well. have only come across some minor fit issues, all with the side sponsons, I should be able to work it out after reading loads of tips in various posts, shame so much of the kit is hidden, just wish I had the skill to open up access panels to do it justice. Very impressed with the detail on the Ricardo engine, shame you will not see most of it. The rest of the engine cradle and drivetrain/clutch is rather nice too. Did no clean up at all on the rollers for the tracks, cut from sprue as close as I could and that’s it, they are totally hidden, added the PE plates on one side, but not on other, You cannot see them is one reason and also I may run some cables through here for the lights I am going to add to the interior, The guns look ace, currently researching correct/best colours for them, added the ally barrels from Aber Engine primed in Stynlrez Black primer, I think it has come out so well there is no point adding Black paint to it, just a little chipping and colour in places. Interior done yesterday, Stynlrez white primer, good enough as I think, then I decided even a new tank not long arrived in theatre probably would not still be white, so added Hataka interior Buff, definitely has right colour for tobacco and other staining, will be adding a bit more suitable grime as well. Got to tidy up engine cradle, should have at least painted that separately in retrospect, probably won’t see it I inside though. Got the idea of the cream colour from a good friend who did the work on the MkV at the IWM in London, then came across the Hataka Buff colour. So there is the progress so far, Cheers Mark
  17. Fokker Dr.1 Triplane 1:32 Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd Entering service in the latter few months of 1917, the Fokker DR.1 hardly needs any introduction, as it probably the most famous German aircraft of the Great War. Manfred Von Richthofens overall red machine is instantly recognisable and is probably the most famous pilot/aircraft combination ever. It achieved a fame out of all proportion to the number built (320) and length of service (c6 months). It wasn't particularly fast, but was highly maneuverable and had an impressive rate of climb.In the hands of a skilled pilot it could be highly effective, and became the favoured mount of many aces until the superior Fokker D.VII replaced it from April 1918. The kit was due to be released earlier this year by Wingnut Wings, and was thus developed to their uncompromising standards. Unfortunately they shut down without any warning in April and laid off all their staff. Mystery surrounds the reasons for this, but speculation abounds so I'll refrain from comment other than to say I was very saddened by the closure. They were producing kits to a standard not equaled by any other manufacturer, and will be sorely missed. The Fokker Dr.1 kit was in the final stages of approval, and I was one of many who eagerly examined the test sprues displayed at Telford 2019. It seems that Meng were contracted to produce the moulds, and with the demise of Wingnut Wings have rebranded and released the kit under their own name. Packaged in a sturdy top opening box, the artwork features Manfred von Richthofens well known all red 425/17, having shot down a Bristol F2.b fighter. Inside are five light grey sprue frames of varying sizes, one small clear frame, a sheet of decals, a small sheet of etched brass, and the instruction booklet. All are individually wrapped in their own clear plastic bags. It is immediately apparent that the mouldings are in Wingnut Wings style, from the layout of parts and their quality. The plastic is the same light grey type favoured by WnW, and the customary superb detailing is all there. It is obvious that this is all the work of the Wingnut Wings master designers. The instruction booklet is simpler than the superb examples that Wingnut Wings used to supply, but adequately and clearly shows the construction stages. Naturally enough this begins with the cockpit, most parts of which are found on sprue A. The mouldings are well defined, with sharp detail. The seat/bulkhead, floor, and ammunition tank are fitted between two side frames, which then accurately position the whole assembly inside each fuselage half by locating a circular cutout over a raised ring. This sprue also contains all the parts that were fitted to the main production DR.1, as opposed to the early pre-production F.1. Sprue B holds all three wings and the fuselage halves. The fabric effect and rib tapes are nicely done, but there are a couple of issues with the wings themselves. They are all solid single piece mouldings, and there is a slight upward curvature along the span of all three, which should not be there. I saw comment on this on various internet forums from people who managed to get hold of this kit early on, so it is not unique to this example. Apparently it is easily solved by immersing the parts in hot water, taking them out and gently bending straight between thumb and forefinger. Also reported by others is a breakage on the cockpit fairing moulded integrally with the middle wing, part B6. Again this is also present on the review kit, and again should be simple to rectify. Attaching it to the fuselage side when fitting the middle wing in stage 10 should ensure a strong joint. Two propellers are also provided, part 3 is an Axial, the classic fit for an Oberursel powered DR.1. Sprue C holds four clear parts, of which C3 and C4 are optional windscreens. Part C1 is an early reflector gun sight, and an interesting option to have been included. It is only for the all red Richthofen machine. Part C2 is not mentioned in the instructions and is thus not required. The axle wing, late type cowling, late type control column, and alternate propeller are on sprue D. The propeller is not named, but looks to me more like an allied one that would probably have been paired with the Clerget engine. Sprue E is the engine, which is provided with alternate front faces for the Le Rhone 9J (Part E1) and Oberursel UR.II (Part E7), The Oberursel being a licence built Le Rhone. Many German pilots considered the Oberursel to be inferior to the original French built engines and fitted captured examples to their aircraft. Identifying which powerplants were fitted to particular DR.1s is a bit of a minefield, as captured Clerget engines were also used. At least we have two choices here! Option B, Werner Voss's aircraft is a prototype F.1 rather than a production DR.1, and was fitted with a captured Le Rhone. Sprue F holds all the alternate parts for the F.1. These are ailerons with larger mass balances, different shape rudder, curve edged tailplane, smaller wheels, and different cowling. The F.1 also did not have the wingtip skids fitted, so the locating holes in the lower wing will need filling. The etched fret offers jackets for the LMG08/15 machine guns, which need to be rolled into a cylindrical shape and attached to the injection moulded bodies. If you do not feel confident doing this, then fully injection moulded alternatives are also offered. A four point harness is provided for the seat, along with round or square inspection panels for the front fuselage. These were field modifications, so check your references if not choosing one of the kit supplied markings. Decals are printed by Meng and look very sharp with minimal carrier film, and an overall matt finish. It consists mostly of various forms of black crosses, with instrument decals and various serial numbers. There are few individual markings needed for the options, but unfortunately the 'face' for the Voss option doesn't look particularly accurate, so it may be better to hand paint it. Four options are provided, one F.1 and three DR.1's. Of course one of them is Manfred von Richthofen's all red version, which is a good choice by Meng as it is so famous and the box art will attract interest from potential buyers. For those of us who like the less obvious, the other three provide good alternatives. It wouldn't be that difficult to make Richthofen's earlier machine with the Fokker 'streaky' finish, and a red top wing, rear fuselage, wheels and cowling. By cutting out some of the serial numbers from the other options, you can make up the '152/17' it needs. Option A. DR.1, 425/17. Manfred Von Richthofen, JG1, March 1918. Option B. F.1, 103/17. Werner Voss, Jasta 10, September 1917. Option C. DR.1 206/17. Herman Goering, Jasts 27, May 1918. Option D. RD.1, Walter Gottsch, Jasta 19, February 1918. Instructions. The instructions are supplied as a neat little 20 page booklet showing all assembly sequences clearly, and unambiguously pointing out which parts are appropriate for which of the finishing options. There is a parts map and colour reference at the end, but I am not familiar with any of the paint manufacturers quoted. Fortunately each colour is named so you can select from your own preferred range. It is not to the same exemplary standard that Wingnut Wings presented their instructions, but is still very good. There are also a set of A4 sized cards, mostly in Chinese, but with some English translation explaining the types history. Conclusion. The sudden closure of Wingnut Wings was a real shock to the modelling community, the Fokker DR.1 was right on the cusp of being released and suddenly it was gone. This eagerly awaited kit was due to be released in 'Early' and 'Late' versions, and it seemed unlikely we would ever be able to get hold of them. Fortunately Meng had been contracted to produce the moulds,and were able to release the kit under their own name with all the parts for the 'Early and 'Late' versions in one box. It is a lovely kit, despite the minor issues with the breakage on the wing/cockpit part and a slight wing warp. Both are easily solved and it seems that it may have been sorted out by now as other modellers are reporting that their kits are free of this issue. It is in any case the best kit of the DR.1 in any scale. Not surprisingly Wingnut Wings kits sold out everywhere and are now like gold dust, fetching silly prices. At least we now have the opportunity to purchase this kit with Wingnut Wings DNA running through it, and at a sensible price. The aftermarket decal producers are already offering alternate finishing options for it, including the Fokker 'streaky' camouflage if you don't want to paint it. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Got it because online shop hasn't updated stock availability and I had to swap my original purchase. I think it's my favourite german plane, tbh, one of the 3 planes in front of I always spent most of my time in Cosford . Goal is to glue everything clean and neat and paint it with more vibrant colors than usual (and with more contrast). Might not be 100% historically accurate because of that. First thing I've done after opening the box: was glueing together few interior pieces and painting everything else in sprues: I've notice that there isn't any decal for control panels. First time in my life I've decided to paint everything inside with a brush. (only aftermarkets I'm going to use are Montex masks and Aires exhaust - mostly because I had to add something to have minimal order at Hannants ). I'm in the middle atm, and I'm quite happy how it looks tbh. Few things have to be corrected, have to add some mud on the floor and some cables at the back of control panel as well (back is going to be clearly visible).
  19. I really like the triangular black and red markings Mozambique use, but all the ones in my stash are for MiGs that are already well represented in this GB already. So I went back a generation to the 1965-74 War of Independence and looked at some of the Fiat G.91Rs operated as counter insurgency/ground attack aircraft by Portugal during that conflict. There is a set of decals out there that has 'my' scheme on and also an overall dark green aircraft from the early 70s. Meng made it easy for me by including the scheme in one of their boxings, so that's what I've got. Or will have. Sorry postie This is the box... ...and this is the scheme I'll be doing from it I've been reading up and a Portuguese member of BM built this one back in 2014 and painted it light grey rather than natural metal. I'm going to follow his lead. Hopefully mine will be within touching distance of how good his turned out. Andy
  20. The third of my three planned builds is Meng's 1/72 F-106A.
  21. My second planned build is Meng's Convair F-102A Delta Dagger. I have the George Bush boxing but plan to use aftermarket decals as I want something a bit more colourful.
  22. Bending Pliers for Photo-Etched parts (MTS-029) Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd. Successfully handling Photo-Etch is a task that requires some fairly specific tools, and to get the most out of it you need to obey the mantra "use the right tools for the job". With this in mind, PE bending tools should be on your shopping list (really? ), and while PE bending brakes are essential for some jobs, they're not suitable for every job. PE pliers are useful for smaller parts, and for those where you have to bend parts close to each other, such as tiny boxes etc. You can use standard flat-bladed pliers with some success, but they generally tend to be on the larger side that aren't always useful. Even the Tamiya PE pliers are a bit wide for some jobs, so this new tool from Meng could well fit a gap in the market. Arriving in a well-appointed brown card box, inside is a high-density foam liner with the shape of the pliers cut out and the pliers well stuffed into the hole. They take a little effort to get out, and once free you can see that they have very narrow blades, at only 1mm at the very tip. The overall shape, especially the handles have a Xuron feeling, the jaws are sprung, and the red plastic handles (which look more orange in the pictures) are glued in place with a strong epoxy to prevent them from creeping off during use. The two blades are bent so that they mesh directly over each other, with about 20mm of useable bending length from front to back. The Meng logo and product code are etched into one side of the jaws behind the riveted pivot point, which allows zero play between the jaws for a positive action. The jaws are made from quality tool steel, and the springs should last a lifetime, making relaxing your grip as simple as opening your hand. To try them out I used an old Reheat PE set that includes WWII RAF seats and belts, bending up a seat with raised detail on the inside. The blades are easy to locate on the bending line, and grip is firm. With half-thickness PE next to the fold, it's wise to bend against a flat surface, such as a rule or a desk to prevent the weaker thin part from bending, and the blade's square edge results in a nice clean bend. The seat took a matter of seconds to fold up, and as you can see in the picture I didn't apply any glue to the joins, as this wasn't a test of my modelling prowess. I can see this being very useful for folds that have narrow gaps between them, such as equipment boxes often found in Eduard sets, which makes it a very useful part of your PE handling tool kit. Add a bending brake, some fine tweezers, a sticky wax pencil, some fine files for removing attachment point stubs and a few grades of super glue, and PE should present much less of a challenge. Practice also helps immensely as does magnification, so even if you initially struggle, you'll soon get used to the process, and wonder what the fuss was about. I have slightly chunky mitts, and they fall to hand well, being on the small side of comfortable, with the handles just about reaching the edge of my palm when held ready for action. This should minimise any dropping incidents, even though I've got a bit of an issue with that sort of thing due to my advancing age and a few medical conditions. Each handle has a small hole through it, which would permit the use of a lanyard if your grip is worse than mine, as a fall blade first onto a hard surface could be difficult to recover from. Conclusion A very useful part of any modeller's PE handling tool kit that will pay dividends once you get used to using them. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Hello, Here is my recently completed model, the Meng 1/72 F-102A. It is OBB. I hope you will like it. Thanks for watching. Cheers, Ilan.
  24. I've had this in the stash for a few years now, purchased it when it came out, & here's a good excuse to get it made. I know it may be a small thing to some but I really like the quality of the box top & the artwork that Meng employs. I'll be using the Microscale decal sheet 72-363 which has an F-102A 56-0977 of the 32nd FIS at Soesterberg & Microscale's info says it's from 1961. Here's a couple of rererence pics of mine from a few years ago of 56-1032 at the National Military Museum at Soesterberg . Got some primer & relevant paint on the first stage parts that initially need painting before it goes together. They'l get an enamel wash for the cockpit & undercarriage bays. Primed with Ammo one shot which dried & set quickly then airbrushed with Mig acrylics. Before I close it up, will I need any nose weight? Is the 102 a tail sitter? So far I can see that this will go together pretty quickly. Martin
  25. So, a King Tiger appeared down the chimney for Christmas It has been suggested that I should keep it for the Tiger Tank STGB in May. However, as this is currently my only kit, I couldn't wait that long, so here it comes (maybe I'll just get another Tiger for May ) I've read and watched loads about potential suspension problems, so it was with some trepidation that I cracked open the box yesterday. First impressions: the dark red plastic is slightly strange to start with. However, detail is very good. There's a nice little bit of PE for engine grills, and they've helped out with the tracks by including some 'ready-build' straight sections. No metal barrel for me However, really looking forward to it. Also, coming straight from a Panzer IV build, this feels huge Here goes... Straight into the chassis and wheels. The wheels come with poly-bushes which enable them to be taken on and off the chassis, which is really useful. Just sprue-attachment cleanup really. Despite the horror stories, the suspension sat really well, and the wheels are nice and flat on the surface. Maybe I just got a 'good kit'??? So I'm always learning. If you want to learn about the different Tiger II variants, then I can recommend this excellent video from the Tanks Museum: That's all for now... I'm not a quick worker, but will keep you all posted
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