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  1. Sopwith Camel Comic Lewis Guns (648726 for Eduard) 1:48 Eduard Brassin We’ve just reviewed the night fighter variant of the Camel - the Comic, and we may have mentioned that there was a separate resin set to upgrade the details of the twin Lewis Guns on the top wing that were characteristic of the type, in an effort to reduce the glare in the pilots’ eyes when firing their weapons. As is now usual with Eduard's smaller resin sets, they arrive in the new shallow Brassin cardboard box, with the resin parts safely cocooned in bags, and the instructions folded around acting as padding. This set includes sixteen resin parts and a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE). There are two options available to the modeller, one with both guns facing forward, and the other with one gun facing forward and the other inclined to near diagonal to use when attacking aircraft above and in front of the aircraft. The first step of the instructions illustrates this choice, and the other sheet has one option detailed per side. The twin forward-firing option has a matching pair of J-shaped brackets onto which the gun, its plate-style magazine, PE grab-handle and forward sights are added. The left-most gun has an extended pistol grip, but is otherwise identical, and both mounts are supported by a C-shaped brace that has two small brackets added outside the mount joint. A PE ring-and-bead sight is inserted into the kit deck in front of the pilot, then the guns are dropped into their sockets in the wing and glued to the brace, adding a pair of small circular resin alternative mounts on the trailing edge of the wing to the side of the guns, as illustrated in the accompanying diagram. The other option has you making up the guns in the same manner, again having the longer pistol grip on the left, but initially only the left-most gun is fitted on its mount, the other mount is fitted minus gun, but with a pair of empty circular brackets that would otherwise be holding the gun in place. The missing gun is then mounted on the circular resin parts that are installed on the C-shaped brace and the trailing edge of the wing to the side of the forward mount, as per the other option. Although the colours are called out in the kit instructions anyway, there are the usual colour call-outs in Gunze Aqueous and lacquer (C & H codes) to assist you with your build. Detail is exceptional, having been 3D printed directly with no intermediate casting stage, so all the parts are retained on their print-bases by narrow fingers that are easily nipped away and cleaned with a fine sanding stick. To protect the long delicate parts in the box, those printing bases have raised sections to the sides, as does the separate magazine to save the delicate top detail from harm. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Sopwith Camel Comic ProfiPACK (82175) 1:48 Eduard The Camel was a development of the earlier Sopwith Pup that entered service late in WWI and was an excellent fighter, although in typical form during warfare, it soon became outclassed and was relegated to ground attack duties where possible. It first flew at the very end of 1916, and was introduced into service in the summer of 1917 where it quickly became the Allies’ premiere fighter of the time, and was responsible for the most kills of any type during the conflict. It gained its unofficial name thanks to the cowlings around the twin Vickers machine guns that were intended to prevent them from freezing up at altitude. In flight it could be a tricky ride for the novice, thanks to the close proximity of the weighty elements of the airframe toward the very front of the fuselage, which was one of the aspects that made it a nimble aircraft in a turn, which is crucial in a dogfight. Its reputation became quite a problem, so a two-seat trainer was created to help overcome the problem, and went on to see wide service both with the RFC, RAF, nascent USAS and with the RNAS. Its climb-rate and top speed led to its withdrawal as a fighter, to be replaced by the Snipe, which was capable of coping with the new German fighters that were coming on-stream, such as the Fokker D.VII. Its ground attack role involved strafing enemy trenches and dropping 25lb Cooper bombs, but attrition levels were high due to their proximity to their targets and a total lack of protection for the pilot and engine. The last Camels were withdrawn in 1920, long after the end of WWI, having seen a good deal of foreign service in the meantime. The Comic variant was a night fighter that had the weapons moved from the cowling over the engine to the top of the wing, in order to reduce the flash from the gun’s effect on the pilot’s night vision. A pilot with temporary blindness caused by firing his guns would be both vulnerable to attack and likely to blunder into other aircraft or even the ground if his luck expired. The Kit This is a minor re-tool of Eduard’s recent new tooling of this famous WWI fighter, depicting the nightfighter with twin Lewis guns on the upper wing. Inside the top-opening box there are three sprues in blue/grey styrene, one in clear, a nickel-plated Photo-Etch (PE) fret with colour printing on much of it, and a set of kabuki tape masking (not pictured), pre-cut for your convenience. There is also a long narrow decal sheet, plus the instruction booklet with spot colour throughout and colour profiles in the rear: Construction begins with the pilot’s seat, which was wholly inappropriately made from wicker for minimum bullet resistance, mostly thanks to the weight constraints of the way. The back is either made from PE curved around the base, which has a perforated PE insert and has a horseshoe shaped styrene lip to the rear. There’s also a simpler alternative made from two styrene parts if you don’t feel up to wrangling PE. The aft section of the cockpit floor is a very sparse set of slats across a pair of stringers, which the seat is glued along with some pre-painted PE lap belts. The instrument panel is made, with two options made from a lamination of pre-painted PE parts with wood-grain printed on the front layer and the instruments on the rear. They are glued to a styrene back-plate, or you can choose the more simplistic styrene alternative that has decals for the instrument dials. The forward floor is made up and fitted to the fuselage lower insert as are the rudder pedals, then the cockpit side frames are inserted in the fuselage and painted before the aft floor is glued perpendicular sides with the panel also trapped in position, along with the rear tail-skid, with instructions in red letters telling you NOT to glue the two cockpit sub-assemblies in place. The front floor is inserted from below once closed up, then the front bulkhead with tank is inserted into the front of the fuselage. There is a choice of Clerget or Le Rhône engine for your Comic, the former made from three layers, the latter from just two, but both are full of detail and have detailed painting guides and a scrap diagram to the side to assist you with completion of your motor. With the engine in place, the cowling and cockpit surround assemblies are installed next, with optional ring-and-bead sights from PE added after drilling minute 0.3mm holes in the deck. More 0.5mm holes are drilled into the side for one markings option to add a pair of small parts, and further back down the fuselage the raised details are removed by sanding for one of the options. A windscreen with a circular PE sight set on an angled frame is added for some decal options, with the tapering upstand behind the pilot’s head also fitted. The tail is first of the flying surfaces to be made up, starting with the horizontal fin and the elevators, which have their styrene guide-horns removed and replaced by PE parts that are mounted in 0.3mm holes you’ll need to drill out. The rudder and its fin are inserted vertically, and the horns are removed and replaced in a similar manner too. The lower wings are single-thickness parts with superb detail of the ribs and tape, and have their ailerons separate with the PE horns replacing the styrene lumps, plus a small clear window over the pulley within the leading edge of the wing. Both lower wings slot into twin holes in the fuselage on long rectangular pins, and the upper wing in a single span is fitted with ailerons and their PE horns, plus more of the clear inspection windows for the control wires. There’s bound to be some rigging going on before you finally join the wings together, but the interplane struts and the cabane struts are inserted into the lower wing and lined up with the top wing, with either a pair of Lewis guns on a curved mount, or just one with an empty mount beside it, again depending on which decal option you will use. The empty mount is filled with another Lewis gun at an angle, possibly in a pre-cursor to the WWII German Schrage muzik that was used to fire at targets from below and behind. Eduard have sensibly created an aftermarket set of 3D printed resin Lewis guns and their mounts, which are worth a look if you're detail-hungry. The bicycle-wheel landing gear has a choice of two types of wheel and supports, with a common aerodynamic axle fairing. A scrap diagram shows the correct angle of the parts from the front, as well as an optional mount for a fuel pressurisation prop on the vertical strut. The two-bladed prop has moulded-in front detail and glues onto the axle protruding from the front of the engine. Rigging This might put some modellers off, but there’s not a huge amount of it, so gird up your loins and crack on. There are two pages of drawings, with the lines marked in blue on greyscale drawings, and there is a central aerodynamic bullet suspended by four wires over the engine cowling. Good luck to you, and remember to keep it scale, and don’t use cotton as it’ll go fuzzy. Markings The kabuki tape masking will allow you to cut the demarcation between the tyres and their hubs neatly, mask off the windscreen, and also those inspection windows on the wings. From the box you can build one of the following: B9287 No.78(HD) Sqn., Sutton’s Farm, UK, Spring 1918 B2402, B Flight, No.44(HD) Sqn., Hainault Farm, UK, Jan 1918 C Flight, No.44(HD) Sqn., Hainault Farm, UK, Oct 1918 E5165, No.8 (Training) Sqn. AFC, Leighterton, UK, Sep 1918 E5165, Lt. L C Sheffield, No.151 Sqn., Vignacourt, France, Sep 1918 B4614, B Flight, No.44(HD) Sqn., Hainault Farm, UK, Feb 1918 The decals are printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Don’t forget that as of 2021, the carrier film from Eduard decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier-free, making the decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view. Conclusion The kit as it stands is excellent, but some of you want to add more to any kit you buy, so keep your eye out for the resin set with super-detailed Lewis guns. Lots of detail, lots of choices, and lots of colourful schemes to choose from. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. This is my build of the Octopus/Pavla 1/72 Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat. I acquired this kit from @Creepy Pete(thanks again) 2 years ago and promised to build it last year. And a year late, here it is. This is my first Octopus build and I have to say I was not impressed and would rank them in the lower tier of injection moulded plastic kits. One step above Mach 2 which is in a class by itself. I have 2 other of their kits in my pile and I shudder to think about building them. The kit is mostly plastic with a few resin parts, vac canopies, a Pavla interior, and decals. The vac canopies were actually pretty good with good demarcation of where to cut and window framing. The Pavla interior, like all the other Pavla interiors I have used, almost, but not quite fit the fuselage halve and the same can be said for the rest of the kit. It also had and eclectic set of parts not included with instructions to scratch build them. This kit required filling the entire large nose with #10 shot to get it to stand on the nose. I was able to find one review of this kit on the net (https://model-scale.com/grumman-f7f-tigercat) and I agree with everything he says including "The Octopus decals were far too thin; brittle; unable to be moved over the surface of the model to their correct position, and simply did not react at all to setting solutions!" I tried giving them a coat of Microscale Micro Superfilm and this appeared to solve most of the problem. That is until they dried when there was massive silvering on an unprecedented scale and after using copious amounts of Micro Sol I was forced to remove them and cobble together most of the markings from my spares. Missing are the "VMF(N)-542" and the data block that goes under the tail. Starfighter made an F7F-3N decal sheet (72-120) but it is discontinued and impossible to find. It will have the pieces I am missing and if it is ever reissued I will grab one up and add them. Well thanks to the generosity of @philp I was able to get the Starfighter sheet and I have updated the model: So if I haven't tired you out complaining here are the pictures: Next up will be the Sword AD-4W which should be a much more pleasant build. Enjoy
  4. Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I (A05128A) 1:48 Airfix The Defiant came about due to the Air Ministry’s obsession at the time with turreted fighters. The thinking was that the enemy bombers would come over unescorted in the mistaken belief that their defensive armament could fend off any attackers. It was decided that the fighters would intercept the bombers en masse, and approach them either from underneath or the side, using their turreted armament to pick them off, separating the workload of flying and shooting, and hopefully resulting in a better rate of attrition of the bomber stream. They were wrong of course, and the Defiant’s additional weight made the aircraft less manoeuvrable than its opponents, the Bf.109 and Bf.110, leading to unacceptable losses that resulted in it being moved to nightfighter duties where its talents were better utilised. Having no forward-firing armament was a drawback, but its lack of agility mattered less under the cover of darkness. It fought well as a nightfighter, but was eventually replaced by the more advanced Beaufighter and Mosquito, while the Defiant, nicknamed Daffy at the time was relegated to target tug and gunnery training duties until its services were no-longer required. The Kit This is a reboxing of the original 2016 release of the newly tooled kit, but with new decals to add a little variation to the proceedings. Although I’ve owned one of these kits for a number of years, we haven’t reviewed one yet but as all the previous boxings contained the same sprues you can take this as a review of them all save for their decals. The kit arrives in Airfix’s traditional red themed box and inside are four sprues of grey styrene, one of clear parts, a decal sheet and folded instruction booklet with colour profiles at the rear for painting and decaling. The detail is excellent, and typical of Airfix’s modern output with the clear parts separately bagged within the main bag for their safety. Construction begins with the cockpit, attaching the pilot’s seat to the bulkhead behind it, with a scrap diagram showing the correct angle from the side. Underneath are added the controls and mounts, then the assembly is fitted to the cockpit floor and foot-plates then the front-bulkhead is made up with the rudder pedal box and control column added along the way. In preparation for closing up the fuselage, the cockpit sidewalls moulded into the fuselage halves are ribbed horizontally, then upgraded with ribs and stringers plus additional cockpit instruments and detail painted before the cockpit assembly is trapped between the two halves. Also fitted at the same time is a single piece rear section for the turret and the pilot’s main instrument panel with a decal supplied to portray the instruments. Once the glue is all set up, the two connecting rails between the halves of the turret insert are cut away to leave a circular aperture for the turret later. The fuselage is then set aside for a while so that the wings can be made up. The lower centre section has the bay attaches from within, with a stiffener box added to the upper wing halves before they are joined to the lower centre section, then enclosed with an overlapping lower section for a strong joint. The fuselage is dropped into the waiting gap in between the wing fairings, after which the single-part ailerons can be glued at an angle that suits your requirements, with a total of 15o deflection possible. The radiator housing is fitted next, with two parts inside representing the radiators, and if you’re using an Airfix stand there is a choice of two pre-thinned holes that you can drill out to accommodate the locating pin. The elevator fins are fabricated from top and bottom parts plus separate elevators, which can be posed deflected 10o down or 22o up, with 25o in either direction for the rudder, which is also moulded from a single part with no visible sink marks. To complete the fuselage the top cowling is fitted to the assembly, covering where the Merlin engine would normally be. The tail-wheel is fixed and a single part, but you might benefit from adding it later, in case you knock it off during handling. You have an option to pose the aircraft wheels up, and that will be particularly useful if you are using the stand, which is sold separately in case you weren’t aware. Two inserts for the gear bay doors are supplied, with upstands that prevent them from slipping into the bays and should set them flush with the rest of the wing. If you’re using the landing gear however, the main strut is joined by the long retraction jack, oleo-scissor and the wheel, which is made from a single part tyre with another part for the hub, which slides through the tyre and should be glued in evenly with liquid cement. A scrap diagram shows the correct angle of the wheels to the ground. The main bay doors are captive to the leg, with a small socket moulded into the top section and a mating surface on the bottom. The angled inner doors are both attached either side of the centre-line by a small hinge that locks into a groove in the bay. The turret assembly is based on the turret ring, adding detail to the underside including support frame for the seat plus pedals for the gunner to rotate it. On the topside, the pivot point for the quad .303 guns is planted into the ring, then the pairs of guns on their mounts are fixed, as well as the twin firing handles between them. The front turret glazing slides over the guns and is glued in place, then the two sliding door panels are fixed to the rear, ready to insert into the fuselage. There is also a complete turret part that fits the same way if you plan on leaving the doors on it closed. Before the turret can be inserted however, the main cockpit is made up with a choice of open or closed glazing. The closed canopy uses the common windscreen part, with a single part for the rest of the glazing, and an insert that improves aerodynamics when the turret is stowed, or slides down to allow the guns to traverse and fire. With the canopy open, the opening section is placed over a different rear, which has the fairing moulded into it that should be painted before the canopy is glued over it. This restricts the movement of the turret to the sides and rear however, and if the movable insert to the rear is fitted in the raised position, the turret should be positioned pointed to the rear in the “travel” mode. It can also be posed toward the front with just the canopy insert dropped, but to my eyes that just looks awkward. Finally, with the canopy open, the turret can be positioned to the sides and rear as long as the rear insert is dropped. To drop the rear insert, the part is inserted without a spacer, setting it flush with the rest of the fuselage. We’re on the final straits now, with the prop next, made from a single blade part, front spinner, back-plate and axle, which passes through a collar that needs to remain glue-free if you want to leave the prop capable of spinning. The crew step in the wing root fairing can be posed up or down, and a choice of exhaust stubs with fish-tail or straight outlets is provided, although the exits aren’t hollow so you’ll have to either paint them black or figure out a way to ream them out if that bothers you. Clear lenses and reflectors for the wing-mounted landing and wingtip lights are the last parts from the clear sprue, then it’s a case of adding the pitot probe to the port wing and two antennae under the fuselage and it’s done. Markings This is the new part, and you get two decal options on the sheet, one a day fighter, the other an all-black night fighter. From the box you can build one of the following: L7021 No.264 Squ. RAF Hornchurch, Essex, England, 25th Aug 1940 N1801 No.264 Squ. RAF Duxford, Cambs, England April 1941 – flown by F.O. F.D. Hughes & Sgt. F Gash (gunner) The decals are printed 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. Conclusion A welcome reboxing of the new(ish) Defiant that brings all the latest improvements that the reinvigorated Airfix have brought to their modern range of kits. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF.Mk.11 (SH72358) NATO Users 1:72 Special Hobby Yes that an Armstrong Whitworth Meteor, not a Gloster one. Gloster did design the Meteor, however by the time the cold was was upon us the RAF had Meteors in the day fighter role but were still using Mosquitos in the night fighter role. At the time Gloster were heavily into the design of the Javelin for the RAF so it was put to AW to design and build a Night Fighter version (they did build the majority of Fighter Meteors for the RAF as well). The NF Meteor would come about as an amalgamation of meteor parts already in use, the main body was that of the tow seat T.7 but with the later tail of the F.8. The four 20mm cannon were moved into the wing outer spans to accommodate the AI Mk 10 Radar in the nose. Like the T.7 the crew would not be afforded ejection seats. The first aircraft flew in May 1950. Later on the NF.12 would feature a US built APS-12 radar, the NF.13 being a tropicalised NF.11. The final version of this venerable night fighter would be the NF.14 featuring a more modern blown canopy, As well as being supplied to the RAF NF.11s were supplied to other NATO countries. Belgium received 24, Denmark 20 and France had 41. The Kit This is a recent new tool kit from Special Hobby now being released in a boxing for NATO users;. As a new tool the moulding are of good quality with good detail and nice recessed panel lines. The kit arrives on 4 main spures, a smaller sprue and a clear sprue. Construction first begins in the cockpit which builds up to a complete module that slots into the fuselage when built up. The centre bulkhead is added to the floor and then the left side is added. The centre radar console is then built up and installed along with both seats. The rear bulkhead goes on, and in the front cockpit the control column goes in. The right side can then be added. To the underside of this module the nose gear well is then added. This assembly can then go into the right fuselage. The pilots instrument panel then goes in as does the deck behind the radar operator. The fuselage can then be closed up. Construction now moves onto the wings. Firstly the engines and jet pipes need to be assembled. There is a basic representative Derwent which you will see the front face of through the intake. Behind this there is the jet pipe, and exhaust. These go into the one part upper wing. In front of the engines goes the fairing over the front wing spar which is seen through the intake. Single part intake inners are then fitted. The aperture for the fuselage at the leading edge of the wing will need to widened slightly. Moving on the the lower wing the main gear wells need to be built up. The two wing sections can then be joined. The intake leading edges, and exhaust trailing edges are then fitted. The fuselage can now be joined to the wings. At the rear the tail planes then go on. The main gear units are then assembled and added along with their retraction struts and the main gear doors. Like the real units these are complicated and care need to get them right. At the front the nose wheel and its doors are then added also. To finish off the wing and belly tanks are fitted followed by the canopy, gun muzzles and pitot tube. Markings The glossy decal sheet is printed in house and looks sharp and in register. There are marking for three aircraft EN5/KT-S No.11 Sqn Belgian Air Force NF11-32/346-QH French air Force 501 of 723 Sqn Royal Danish Air Force Conclusion It is good to see a new kits of the Meteor Night Fighter out there. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Greetings! Recently completed build of the vintage Airfix Dornier 217J-1 night fighter from the 1978 kit. I purchased this kit from the Ahmad Jamal toy store in Riyadh in 1984 during my Saudi expat years, I think I paid 8 Riyals. Plenty of raised surface details and poorly fitting parts! Very much out of the box build with just a few small enhancements. 40 year old decals had to be drenched in direct sunlight, but went down very well. While not up to the current standards, I like the challenge of these old kits. Many thanks for having a look, questions and comments always welcome. Cheers, Bill
  7. Next to my Silver Spitfire I felt the urge to start another one as well and in this case is it a 111 squadron night fighter based at Debden in December 1941. I always liked that specialist edition from Airfix ( box A82015 )and bought two of these in the past as I liked both schemes very much! cheers, Jan
  8. Do.217N-1 Update Sets (For ICM) 1:48 Eduard ICM have been systematically going through the whole Flying pencil range over the past year or two, and from this 1:48 modeller’s point of view, I couldn’t be happier. Eduard's new range of sets are here to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Interior (491018) Two frets are included, one nickel plated and pre-painted, the other in bare brass. A complete set of new layered instrument panels, radio gear and other instrument consoles are the primary parts on the painted set, with new rudder pedals; flooring panels; additional boxes and canopy internal structure also supplied. Seatbelts STEEL (FE1019) In case you have been stuck behind a wardrobe for a while and don’t know, these belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived extra depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. As well as the two sets of flight crew belts, you also get a set of lap belts for the poor rear crewman that would probably have ended up with a sore head in the event of a belly landing. Exterior (48998) This larger bare brass set contains some upgrades, such as delicate new pulleys and extra-fuel tank strapping inside the bomb bay; an interior roof and bulkhead skin for the bomb bay rear; cooling flaps for the radiators on the engine nacelles; towel rail aerial under the rear of the fuselage, and finally a comprehensive replacement for the kit’s radar antennae forest that involves using the original main mast but removing the over-thick dipoles and replacing them with scale-friendly new parts that slot into the masts that you cut with a razor saw. A small extension is saved for use after the dipoles are fitted, then added to the end and tipped with two stabilising brackets, probably as a result of vibrations picked up on the prototype. Radar Antennae (FE1020) If you don’t want the Exterior set for any reason, or have a different kit you’d like to apply the antennae included in the above set, this is a subset that includes only the antennae parts for your use. Construction is the same, as you’d expect. Review sample courtesy of
  9. My second build in the BF 109 Night Fighter series this one with Fug 217J radar on the underside of the plane. Not much detail on this a/c all that I've come up with is it was in 4./NJG 11 late war. Markings white 7 I have modified the engine cover to reflect the G10 finished off the cockpit. What do you think of the fuselage join is it smooth enough? comments welcome. @Corsairfoxfouruncle Dennis what are your thoughts?
  10. Like so many I've rekindled my hobby after a very very long time. After getting back into it a few months ago I had to buy an airbrush and try it. The guinea pig is a ME 262 B-1A. After some lengthy research I think I found the correct colour scheme for this particular a/c which is Red 12. So this Jo-Han kit is old its 1973 and its very basic with no cockpit detail. Now I confess this isn't much of a work in progress as I pretty much finished before discovering this forum. Save decals and weights its almost done. I will post more once completed. Box Art from the 70's Note the high production values in the instruction booklet Here is my first go at air brushing This kit didn't come with drop tanks which is another little anomaly with the kit, any way its an easy fix.
  11. Hi Chaps, I've been looking forward to the Night fighter Group build for a while. This kit was almost stated last year for the 1960 NATO GB and again it just missed the 1950 NATO GB in January. So 3rd attempt to start will commence when my 2 Hawks in the Training Group build are done. Not decided the scheme yet but I have plenty of choice. Colin W
  12. I have finally got around to uploading some photos of my Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I. I thought I had posted it last weekend before we went away for the week, only to discover today that I hadn't. So anyway, ready for inspection is my 1:72 Airfix Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I, the aircraft is built in the night fighter scheme of N3328 of No. 151 Squadron, flown by Sgt J.L. Coulter (pilot) RAAF. There is a wealth of information about this aircraft online and film footage of the excavation of its crash site available on YouTube. I would like to thank Andy for emailing me the crash cards from the real aircraft, I aim to sit the build ontop of them once printed. The build is an out of the box build, the kit went together really well Airfix have done a fantastic job, the only variations I have made is using Vallejo acrylics, and mixing up a very dark grey/black for the aircrafts top coat. I hope I have done both the pilot and aircraft proud. Thanks for looking.
  13. My next build is Airfix's 1:72 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I. I have had this kit in my stash for a while now, and am excited to finally begin building it. I plan to build this one as it comes out of the box, in the night fighter scheme of N3328 as flown by F/Sgt John Leslie Goulter RAAF. I have done a little research already and there is lots of information about this aircraft available online, including footage of The Lancaster Aircraft Investigation Team's dig, to recover parts of the aircraft from its final resting place, I will attach some more info later. So now to the kit itself..... The box contains 3 detailed grey sprues with little to no flash and a small clear sprue. There is a detailed instruction booklet and small decal sheet with the choice of two colour schemes. The kit looks like it is going to be good to build, and I'm pretty excited about this one as I think it is a pretty aircraft. I just hope I can do the aircraft and it's pilot justice.
  14. Bristol Beaufighter – Airframe Album 14 A Detailed Guide to Bristol's Hard-Hitting Twin Valiant Wings Publishing Based upon the Beaufort bomber, the whittled-down heavy fighter became an excellent nightfighter, ground-attack and maritime strike in European and South Pacific theatres, with many variants and improvements along the way. Entering service in time for the Battle of Britain, it quickly fell into the nightfighter role, with its ability to carry heavy armament and equipment without unduly affecting its performance endearing it to the pilots and strategists alike. After being re-engined early on with Hercules radial engines to gain the extra power needed, it became a common sight behind German bombers at night, raking them with four 20mm cannon and wings full of six additional machine guns. The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) were also fond of the type, as it was able to carry enough munitions in either free-fall or rocket-propelled forms to deal a substantial blow to any enemy shipping it happened upon. The Mosquito coming on-stream took some of the limelight away from the Beau, and it was eventually replaced by it in many roles, most notably the night fighting arena. The Book The fourteenth volume of the popular and interesting Airframe Album series by Richard A Franks details this pugnacious heavy fighter, its versions, trials and tribulations. It spans 178 pages and is perfect bound in an A4(ish) portrait format. If you are familiar with the series you will know what to expect, with the book broken down into sections, as follows: i. Introduction A brief narrative history of the development and operation use of the Beaufighter by Fighter & Coastal Commands and the FAA, as well as those by the USAAF and supplied to other nations. 1. Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment 2. Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants 3. Camouflage and Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 4. Models A build of the 1:72nd scale TF.Mk.X from Airfix by Libor Jekl and the all-new 1:48th scale TF.X from Revell by Steve A Evans. Appendices I Beaufighter Kit List II Beaufighter Accessory, Mask & Decal List III Bibliography As usual with Valiant's books, the pictures are both high quality and unusual, with lots of "behind the scenes" shots of production, testing and their ultimate capture by the Allies, plus plenty more pictures of museum examples for those needing reference pictures. I always find the 3D Isometrics very interesting to discern the differences between variants, especially as I have the memory of a goldfish. I particularly enjoyed the teaching installations that consisted of the front end of a Beaufighter, inner wings and nacelles, and behind the wing a scabbed on shed (yes – a garden variety shed) that was used as a classroom. What a brilliant diorama that would make! Conclusion Valiant Wings publish a good book about interesting subjects, and this is another one that tweaked mine right away. If you're a modeller, aviation buff or even just interested in engineering, this will make an interesting read, which you'll come back to again when you need it for references. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. A typical Fujimi model: not many parts, scarce interior details, very simple build and gentle panel lines. Build process went okay, some effort and several styrene strips are needed for the alignment of rear upper fuselage and the upper wing/fuselage joint. MLG interior could use some details, due to its size. Gunze colours were used over Alclad aluminium base. Upper colour is Gunze Nakajima IJN Green, lower surfaces Gunze IJN Gray. National insignia and yellow ID stripes airbrushed. AK weathering oils were used and chipping was done with various colored pencils.
  16. I just purchased this kit and thought I would get in to it while finishing off a few others as well as starting an A-20 in RAAF colours. The kit is nicely cast with minimal flash on the parts. The interior is going to be RLM 02 and the exterior is black, this will be done with various grays at this stage with minimal actual black paint involved. There are some ejector post marks that need cleaning up more than I initially thought, especially in the cockpit area and bomb bay The easy part of gluing in the cockpit parts prior to painting it RLM 02 and then detailing the dials etc. The bulkheads are going in ok and have not caused any problems as yet when test fitted with a closed fuselage. There has been a little more flash than I first thought, nothing extreme, but a little bit. It is a little bigger than I thought it would be. The join behind the cockpit is going to be a problem and will need to be filled with filler or plastic card as I can't quite get it to fit properly. This poor fitting may just change when the fuselage i s actually glued together.
  17. Ok the idea for this build is a bit of a mash up of a couple of builds I have wanted to do, but didn’t the time or the motivation for at the time. One has been running around in one form or another in my mind for quite a while now. I have come close a couple of times to starting it, (a Ho-229 was to be the base for one) and I sort of did with the Turbo-Prop Arado, but it still wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I have two similar projects on the go but they're on the back burner for a bit. The second was that I have a Planet Models Ju-388J nightfighter (Jumo 213 version) sitting in the stash that I have been dying to build and have never had the excuse to. So after seeing the Ju-88 STGB I finally had the idea of how to killer two birds with one stone and bring these two ideas together! So the plan is…… If the war had stretched into 1946 we would have seen some interesting aircraft and technologies in service, especially so with radar technology advancing as quick as is was. By the end of the war we were already seeing the next generation of radar systems which operated in the Centimetre band, like the RAF’s H2S and US H2X radars and the German FuG-240 (Berlin) & FuG-244 (Bremen) units. A few of the Ju-88’s were fitted with the FuG-240 and it was found they recovered their original speed which had been lost with the earlier radar units and their large antennas/antlers! It would have been only to be a matter of time before the use of the FuG-240 (and later versions) would have been more widespread, with it being fitted to newer aircraft models as they became available. With the venerable Ju-88 reaching it’s peak in the Ju-388 family this aircraft would have been a prime candidate for the new radar system. Well that’s the plan, chop the nose off a 388 and fit a new nose, simple really, but……….. I want it to be as believable as possible and not too whiffy which will make it a bit harder. So this will be the base, Planet Models Ju-388J-3 with Jumo 213 engines, of cause I reserve the right to add lots of other stuff as I go along, it wouldn’t a normal build if I didn’t throw in heaps of extras! The 388 is actually quite a nice model the only thing that may give me issues is the wings, they are very slightly warped and getting the dihedral right will be fun! The nose is just a resin cast of the long radome version, it looks a bit better in my opinion than the shorter version. Well best to start by cutting off the nose, luckily there is a very convenient panel line to follow for this. Strangely enough this happens to be almost perfectly round which will make life much easier as we go to fit the nose. Ok first fit, it doesn’t look all the great, I’ll need to move it forward a bit. That’s looking a bit better, so I’m going to have to add a bit to get the profiles right, I have a plan for that! First I’ll make a ring using plastic card, working with plastic will make this part so much easier! Next to fill the gap I’m going to use plastic strip like so. I just keep adding rings till I get the right diameter. Then add a disk at the back the size I require and the first part is done, only a small amount of filler required for shaping. Ignoring the joint gap for the moment I now have to decide how I want the new nose to sit, sort of inline with the horizontal axis or a bit dropped down? I like the inline one as it looks good, but I have to remember the flying attitude of the 388 (and 88 for that matter) was slightly nose up, they didn’t fly truly level! So I may need to have it slightly drooped down so the antenna face would be lined up to the vertical axis. Have a look at how the antennas were mounted on 88’s and you’ll see what I mean. Well I’ve made a start, there’s only a couple of hours work (I needed a brake from the Ta-152 as I was getting annoyed with it!) and the project is a goer. I’ve actually done the filling of the nose now as well and it’s looking good! This won’t be a full time project, just something to work on when my other builds frustrate me and I need a break from them. I can’t promise I’ll be finished by Xmas either as I’m bound to do other mods on this as I go along. This should be an interesting build!
  18. Question for the Hurricane experten out there - would Karl Kuttelwascher's Hurricane II JX*E (the grey/green over black scheme) have the yellow outboard leading edge I.D. marking, and would the wheelwells, inside surface of the doors, struts, and wheel hubs remain aluminum (silver) or be painted black? I'm about to start Hasegawa's Mk II, I have Eaglestrike's set 48126, which seems to indicate NO leading edge yellow, but does not address the gear color ... Any help would be appreciated, Thanks, Colin
  19. Good Evening one and all, Just thought I'd share a few pics of this build hot off the bench this afternoon. Airfix new 1/72 Defiant built straight out of the box, my only deviation being a set of Eduard Masks for that pesky greenhouse turret and canopy (there was no way I was doing that myself!). This was an on/off build for me but could easily be done in a couple of days. I chose the night fighter scheme as I like black aircraft and the shark mouth was a bonus. Painted Tamiya NATO black and certain panels picked out in slightly different shades to break up the plain finish. Panel wash was a mix of light and dark grey Flory washes, panel edges and chips done with a graphite pencil, and some pastels for exhaust streaksand underside dirt/grime. Anyway I hope you like her, need to get back to some jets next, enjoy the pic's and feel free to comment/critique as you wish. Thanks for looking, Eng
  20. I'm interested to find out more about the use and provenance of the grey over black post-war scheme. Does anyone know of the scheme as applied to NF Mossies? The example in the link below looks as if it's come from a Squadron Signal book, so one would hope it's based on something concrete, but you never know... http://img.wp.scn.ru/camms/ar/77/pics/9_36.jpg Doubts (aside from being unable to find a photo) are twofold: - The Sharp/Bowyer tome suggests that Mosquito night fighters wore the Dark Geen/MSG scheme to the end of their service. - Thirsk's Illustrated History (Vol. 2) has a photo of 139 Sqn B.35s in the scheme, and it's described as the RAF Night Bomber sheme. All the NF.36s in this book appear to be in DG/MSG. The scheme also appears on Beaufighters & Brigands (Malaya?) which presumably were not classed as bombers, so there's some evidence in favour of the scheme on fighters. So what were the circumstances which would dictate the application of this scheme rather than DG/MSG? I've also just remembered the Lucas volume on post war schemes, but checking that will have to wait until this evening. TIA, Jason
  21. I don't know if this has been announced here previously but three 1:144 versions of the Beaufighter are due to be issued in June by Mark 1 Models. These should be a welcome addition for WW2 British aircraft modellers. Mike
  22. Well, I have finally completed this beasty for the Bf110 GB. It is the last BF110 flown by Heinz Schnaufer’s , who was the wars most successful night fighter pilot with 121 confirmed kills. Though with this aircraft, his final, he didn’t record any kills. There is not too many details on this particular and the only parts to survive the war are the rudders which are now on display (one each) in the Imperial War Museum and the Australian War Museum. I could have chosen a simpler build than Eduard’s 1/48 Bf110G and a simpler scheme then Schnaufer’s last aircraft!!! Eduard’s Bf110 is not a simple model to build, plus add extra bits and she becomes a bit of a challenge. On top of this a colour scheme for the most successful night fighter of all times last aircraft...for which there is little to no real info or photos for and you have the makings of an interesting build (I have other words to describe it but there may be children reading!!!). A big thanks to Max (“galgos”) for invaluable help on some of the details. It was a hard build plus for those who know my work routine one that had serious time constraints! But she’s finally finish, there are quite a few things I could have done better but in the end she’s a great addition to my night fighter collection (at least she’s finished). Lastly this model is dedicated to my Dad who passed away late last year......thanks for getting me into models and having the aircraft bug. Please enjoy, build thread: build link
  23. Well I almost completely forgot about/missed this one. Like the majority probably will, I’m going for an Eduard model as well, though mine will be the 1/48 ProfiPACK G4. And being a Bf100 it was only even going to be a nightfighter for me and not just any, supposedly the last aircraft ever flown by Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, the greatest Night Fighter pilot of all time (there’s a lot of debate whether it was C3+BA). Along with all the lovely gear Eduard supplies I’m adding their details set and Master models beautiful FuG 218 antenna set. As the model doesn’t support ( ) the FuG218 I had to steal the mast for my Dragon Ho229B. For decals I’ll be using Peddinghaus’s beautiful decal set, plus I got a feeling I may have ordered some resin wheels as well!! I’m really looking forward to building this one but am already super stressed over time! I know it’s 3 months but I’m about to go back to 3w/1w roster so will be away from home most of the time. It works out I have 15 full days at home until the February finish and no I can’t spend all that time locked away building...would be trouble if I did. So there will be a mad rush over the first few days of the build to get all the basics done, no step by step build this time!! :frantic: :frantic: Roll on start time!!!!
  24. Brush painted in Revell acrylics with a top coat of Tamiya satin varnish, pastels were used for the weathering. Markings are fictional for a night fighter but I wasn't about to spend £10 for decals on a £3 kit.
  25. P-61B Black Widow 1:32 Hobby Boss From the outset, the XP-61 was designed as a night-fighter, and engineered to incorporate the early radar sets that were being developed even before the war in the UK and US. The various design requirements led to a large aircraft with twin engines and fairly bristling with offensive armament. The name Black Widow was coined to reflect its sheer power and the fact that a lot of them would be painted black in their night fighting role. Its less-than-conventional twin-boom design gave it an imposing look, and in competition with the XA-26 from Douglas (later to become the Invader) it won the day. It had a long gestation period due to its innovative design, and finally reached service in 1944, too late to take a huge role in the conflict. Where it did feature, it was highly effective, and its high speed, capability at altitude, long loiter time and fire power helped greatly. The three-man crew also reduced the workload on the individual members, leaving the gunner to concentrate on the current targets while the radar operator searched for more, as well as keeping a look-out for night intruders that would seek to knock them down. The concentration of four 20mm cannon and a further four .50cal Brownings in the top turret gave it an awesome stopping power, which was enhanced by gyroscopic stabilisation of the guns, with control being selectable by either the gunner, or radar operator as needed. The twin 2800 Double-Wasp engines gave it a significant speed advantage over the bombers it was designed to combat, which it used to its advantage, downing many of the larger German and Japanese types, and plenty of fighters into the bargain. Although it served in the Pacific theatre, its use in the European theatre is possibly less well known, where it acquitted itself well, taking part in the Battle of the Bulge, and flying from airfields in France and Belgium. In the Pacific, it was used widely, replacing the Ageing Bostons and taking part in some of the notable actions and missions in that area. Some squadrons weren't so fortunate with their kill-tally, finishing the war with no credited kills. During the last months of the war the addition of drop-tanks carried under the wings gave extra loiter time, which was solely lacking in the widely spread Pacific Island campaign. After the war the Widow continued on in service, although with the rapid advances being made in jet aircraft technology, its days were already numbered. The last in service aircraft were withdrawn just before the start of the Korean War, to be replaced initially by the Twin Mustang, and then the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, which was on the drawing board even as the last shots of WWII were being fired. The Kit There has been a resurgence of P-61 based activity and interest of late, with the GWH Widow making its debut in 1:48 last year in a couple of versions, and now we have this monster of a kit from Hobby Boss. It arrives in one of HB's large top-opener boxes with a fine painting by Kostas Kavvathias, who is a member of this site. The box is large and heavy, and that is because it is pretty full of "stuff". Inside the box are twenty two sprues of mid-grey styrene, four of clear styrene (plus two clear engine cowlings), a small sprue of flexible black styrene, a set of tyres in the same black flexible styrene, five white metal nose weight pieces, two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, three white metal landing gear struts, two decal sheets, instruction booklet and full colour painting and decaling guide. The first impression, once you get over the stacked box, is that there is detail everywhere. Some kits that cross my desk do so without enticing me to pore through the contents again, and don't induce a satisfied smile while doing so. This kit is one of those kits that makes a modeller grin, and 1:32 isn't my thing normally, so it's clearly doing something right. The kit has been cleverly engineered so that none of the parts are too large, with the inherent problems of possible warping and increase in tooling costs. In fact, every sprue fitted in my photo tent, which as well as being rather convenient of me makes handling the sprues easier during construction. A small thing, but I find large sprues a bit of a pain, as you have a tendency to clear your desk of things while wielding them. Construction starts conventionally with the cockpit, with the floor running the whole length of the fuselage pod. A bulkhead separates the front from the rear, behind which the turret gear will sit. The pilot's control column, foot pedals and instrument panel (which is clear) are added along with a gunsight for the under fuselage cannons, while the gunners seat and turret controls are installed just in front of the bulkhead. Each chair is made up from a large number of parts, with plenty of detail captured, as well as a full set of PE seatbelts. The bulkhead is detailed with some add-on parts such as the crew operated fire extinguisher, and from the flexible sprue, a long hose is made up from two parts and attached to a box at the top of the bulkhead, although the correct location of the other end isn't immediately clear. A large corrugated tube runs from the bulkhead (from an L-shaped cylindrical assembly) to the front of the cockpit, and is cut to length to terminate at the end of the pilot's footwell. A pair of nicely detailed sidewall parts are decorated with equipment and side consoles for the pilot, but are relatively simple toward the gunner's station, with only rib work present. Decals are supplied for all of the pilot's instruments both on the main panel and on the side consoles, although more detailed dial faces are available from the Airscale range, which is certainly worth investigating. The rear seat, which also faces forward is reserved for the radar operator, who has the same design chair as the gunner (he also has access to the gun controls, so that makes sense), and a stack of black boxes and radar screens to peer into. His workstation covers over a page of the instruction booklet and uses almost 50 parts, excluding the seat, which takes up another 20. The sidewall detail for his station is moulded into the fuselage halves, and augmented by a number of boxes and flexible tubes before the fuselage is closed up. Turning the cockpit over, and element of the gun bay is moulded into the underside. This causes some very shallow sink marks on the mid-section of the topside, which you can either fill for a dead-flat floor, or rely on painting to disguise the fact, knowing that nothing will be seen once the glazing and turret are installed. The nose gear bay is a separate part that has its own roof skin, so sink marks aren't a problem in the very visible front cockpit. It is boxed in by shallow side walls, and the deeper wheel well and crew access section is boxed in. The gap between the bay roof and the cockpit floor is filled with a custom shaped lump of white metal that is more dense and has a finer surface than the metal found in short-run kits. Wiring looms are added from separate parts, and the gear lock is added just aft of the gear leg's pivot point. The wheel well is covered by a hinged bath-shaped panel, to which a crew ladder is attached at the rear. This is shown deployed in the instructions, but closing it up shouldn't tax the modeller much. The gear leg is shown in the instructions as fully styrene, but can be replaced by a hybrid that has a white metal core that is enclosed in a styrene outer above the wheel yoke. The cannon bay is moulded to the underside of the cockpit, as mentioned earlier, to which a number of boxes are added, as well as a small bulkhead that prevents the see-thru look at the rear of the cockpit floor. The four 20mm Hispano M2 cannons are mounted with barrel braces to the bay roof, and each cannon has a nicely done hollow barrel, courtesy of slide-moulding, and a flexible length of shells that run back to the feeder holes in the roof/floor. These should be secure once installed, with little concern about them coming loose during the process of sealing the fuselage. The fuselage halves have large wing-root shaped depressions in their side, which are covered over by two identically shaped inserts that continue the internal detail mentioned above in the rear. Another large shaped white-metal weight is installed forward of the main instrument panel before the fuselage is closed up, ensuring that your pride and joy sits on its wheels rather that its tail. Cleverly, the radar assembly in the nose also hides two more weights, which masquerade as the cylindrical drums (capacitors/accumulators?) that sit behind the dish on a floor part. This is then attached to the forward bulkhead and further braced by two y-shaped legs for strength. The clear radome part is frosted, as even when left unpainted, these domes weren't totally clear. The top of the fuselage between the two main canopies is also supplied as a frosted clear part, as is the turret itself, which although slightly thought provoking as to why, shouldn't be an issue, as they hold paint as well as any styrene. It does open up the possibility of being able to "ghost" the fuselage top, but as there is little in that section other than the turret, there seems little point. The pointed rear glazing is installed along with a pair of side-windows, and a couple of small inspection panels and intakes are added to the sides of the fuselage. The top turret is next, and this is supplied as a complete unit that drops into the hole in the frosted fuselage top. It is built up from a pair of semi-cylindrical halves, into which flat internal bulkheads are added with the pivot point for the gun platform at their top. You have a choice of smooth or perforated jackets for the M2 machine guns, and all four of each have slide moulded hollow muzzled. They attach to the two part breeches, and these fit into a stepped base, with pivot points at each side that fit into the receptors on the turret body. A pair of flexible black styrene ammo feeds are supplied, which are bent once installed to enter the turret body outboard of the hinges. Front and rear access panels are added, and a ribbed turret ring is installed by sliding it over the barrels, and positioning it around the top of the turret body. It slips into the fuselage and glues in place by its tapered base. The frosted clear turret cowling is installed in the same way as the turret ring, and I'm still struggling as to why this is a clear part. The main canopy glazing has optional emergency exits for crew access, but these are only shown installed in the closed position, so some research will be needed if you plan on leaving them open. Clarity and gloss on these parts is first rate, and there will be plenty of detail visible in the cockpit even if you leave everything closed. Underneath the fuselage are the gun bays and the rear crew access, as well as the large nose gear bay doors. The barrels of the cannon pack are covered over with nicely shaped covers (or not - your choice!), and the door is just a chunk of the rear underside fuselage that hinges down with a single part ladder on the concave internal surface. At this stage of the build, the fuselage is pretty much complete, but it still needs wings, tail booms, motive power and of course the main gear legs. HB have gone to town on the engines, which are both supplied as very detailed units with their mounting frames holding them firmly in place against the firewall. Both rows of pistons, head-gear, exhaust and wiring are depicted, as well as the magnetos and reduction gear in front, which has a prop-shaft installed to hold the large four-bladed propellers in place. I can't imagine a resin engine improving much on this detail at this scale, and a pair of transparent cowlings are included to allow you to show off your handiwork if you wish. If you're not interested in that aspect of modelling, and some aren't, you simply paint the inside a suitable primer colour and paint the outer skin at the same time as the rest of the fuselage. I'd be tempted to leave a little "window" on one of the engines unpainted to allow the viewer to see the engines from one side at least. In order to close up the booms, the main landing gear bays are made up, and detail here is very nice. There are very close ribbing details in the upper roof of the bay, and some odds-and-sods added to a partial bulkhead, with the landing gear leg added at the same time as the bay walls. As seems to be the vogue with Chinese kits of late, the gear legs have to be enclosed at this point, unless you're planning on doing some adjustments to allow them to be added later. I'm actually coming round to this way of building, as long as the legs and their attachment parts are strong, which in this case they definitely will be. The legs are supplied as either completely styrene in the instructions, but there are white-metal alternatives for the main strut, in case you are worried about their strength. The parts will need a little fettling to remove the seam lines in either case, but the metal legs also have some prominent ejector pin marks on them, which will need cleaning up and/or filling. The bonus of extra strength should be well worth the effort, and if you're phobic of metal parts, you can still use the styrene alternatives. It's odd that the metal parts aren't mentioned in the instructions though. The hubs and auxiliary struts are all styrene, with the hub provided as front and rear sides that trap those rubbery styrene tyres in place. Love them or loathe them, they're your only choice out of the box, and as they are hollow (just like the real thing), I wonder if they would sag more and more over time. With these assemblies built and painted, the engine nacelle/tail-booms can be closed up, with the engines added to the bulkhead at this point. The booms are then set aside while the wings are built up. The Widow was fitted with full-width flaps, and used Zap-flaps, named after their designer, to replace the ailerons. These flipped out of the upper surface of the wing, slowing airflow and reducing lift, causing that wing to drop. These are depicted deployed on the kit, with no option of stowing them. That's a shame for such an expensive kit, but I suspect an easy scratch-build fix. Interestingly, the wings are built from four outer skin parts, split outboard of the boom location point, and joined strongly by an internal spar part that is ribbed lengthways for extra strength, and forms the attachment tab at its inboard end once installed. Before closing the wings up however, you must build up the intakes on the leading edge that are found either side of the engine nacelle. These are made up from top and bottom halves, and have full length trunking, plus PE parts for the splitter vanes, and a separate outer lip that traps the PE parts in place. A very nicely detailed part of the wing that could easily have been overlooked. A scrap diagram shows how the PE vanes are folded up into box-like shapes, and all of the joints are pre-weakened with etched fold-lines. Once closed up, two clear leading edge light covers are added, and a wing-tip light inserted in a hole at the end of the wing. The flaps are all then added, and could be depicted deployed if you wish, although they are shown stowed in the instructions. The Zap-Flaps are curved, and the PE parts must be rolled to match the profile of the supports, so a rolling tool might be useful if you want to get the correct shape to them. There are two perforated spoilers on each wing, the shorter one having two supports and the outboard long one having three. Again, there are no parts documented to show them retracted, which might be the only option if you're PE averse, or manage to make a mess of rolling the PE by some chance. Some reference material and styrene strip could be the way to go here if you don't want to have them hanging out. The wings and booms are brought together next, and have a good sized mating surface for a strong joint. There should be minimal seam filling if you take care with the joint too, as the seams are all on panel line breaks. The large rounded rudders are added at the rear on the hinge tabs, so could be offset if you wish, but remember to point them both in the same direction! Underneath the nacelle, a large PE grille is installed in a recess, a vent is added to a rectangular hole behind it, and the gear bay doors are added to each side. Interior detail on the doors is well done, but I'd leave them off until after painting to ease masking, handling and painting. The cowling for the engine is clear, as mentioned earlier, but the cowling flaps are separate styrene parts, with open and closed parts included for a little variety. Simply slip your choice of parts over the engine and glue in place, following that with the clear (or previously painted) cowling parts. Hobby Boss would also have you install the props here, but these are also best left off until the end. The rear of the boss accepts the blades, which are all keyed, and the front of the boss is then put in place to hold everything together in-line. The kit includes two types of prop, and in this instance you are instructed to use the needle-ended type, but there are broader paddle-type blades included on another sprue, so check whether your intended subject was ever fitted with the alternative blades, just in case. Final assembly sees both wings mounted on the fuselage using the large tab/spars sandwiched between the wings, and the large horizontal stabiliser is added across the full length between the two booms, with the elevator a separate posable part build up from two halves, as is the stabiliser. Four large drop-tanks are included in the kit, but if you are building any early B models, the first 62 had no hard points installed for extra tanks, and the following 38 had only the inboard tank points fitted. From the B-10 onwards, all B models had the four hard points. The two main gun-pack doors are added, and some small antennae attached to the nose and forward fuselage, finishing off the build. Markings The decal sheet is fairly restricted in content, extending to the national markings, serials, walk-ways and some squadron badges, plus instrument panel decals. The separate sheet has only four decals on it, two of each of the nose art paintings, depicting a scantily clad woman on her knees leaning back, and a topless woman sitting on a crescent moon. The decals are well printed, with thin carrier film, and even a hole in the underwing stars-and-bars for the landing light, which is nice. From the box you can model one of the following two options: P-61B 6th NFS, Capt. Ernest Thomas, March 1945 - all over black "Sleepy Time Gal" Sn. 239414 P-61B 547th NFS Lingayen, Philippines Lt. Arthur Bourque - all over black "Lady in the Dark" Sn. 239713 If I'm reading the serials correct however, Sleepy Time Gal is a P-61B-2, and as such wouldn't have a turret, and only the two inner fuel tanks. Lady in the Dark is a P-61B-15, so should have the turret with four guns and all the drop-tanks. It's entirely possible that I've got it wrong (it happens), but even so, if you look on sprue RA, part 2 is the cover for the missing turret, so you can still model it accurately if you fill the outer drop-tank points. The turret wasn't reinstated on the B until the B-11, which leaves around 150 early airframes without turrets, and over 60 Bs without drop-tanks. Please though, just check for yourself that I'm not talking drivel. Conclusion This is a monster of a kit, and will scale out to be only a little smaller than the excellent HK Model B-25J released last year. It is a well-stocked box though, and will keep most modellers entertained for a good many hours. Detail is excellent on the parts, and marks a step-change from the recent F-117 in the same scale. Some don't like the rubber tyres, and I have misgivings, and a few more parts could have improved the fit options immensely by providing closed doors for the open bays or retracted Zap-flaps, but these aren't massive problems that can be surmounted with the application of a little modelling skill. Why should you have to? Because every kit is built to a budget in the end, and the extra parts would have resulted in a higher price tag, and probably accusations of over-engineering. Apart from the tyres, the only part of the build that would cause me a little trepidation is the final joining of the wings to the fuselage and tail. It's difficult to tell whether that will be a snug fit or not, and that will be key to easing the job, as a loose wing joint would result in a rather wobbly airframe while the glue set up. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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