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Found 22 results

  1. PS Great Western (A08252V) 1:180 Airfix Vintage Classics Designed by world-renowned engineer and architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the PS Great Western was the inaugural vessel owned by the eponymous Great Western Steamship Company. She was designed specifically for transatlantic travel, and was for two years the largest passenger ship afloat until superseded by the SS British Queen, which allowed it to claim the crown because it was delayed getting into service, but was itself outstripped only a year later. The Great Western was an oak-framed vessel that was iron-strapped for strength, and was equipped with four masts, which were a useful back-up power source for any failure of the steam-driven paddles on the sides of her hull that were intended to be her primary motive power. She went into service in 1837, almost catching an older ship that had departed four days earlier, cementing her claim for high-speed crossings at over 8 knots and cutting down travel time to around 16 days. On arrival in the US, a shipboard fire broke out and Brunel himself was injured after falling 20ft in the commotion, the fire putting off many customers for the return journey back to England. She served as a passenger liner for some years until the company went bankrupt following the running aground of her sister ship SS Great Britain that was stranded until refloated at great expense to the company, bringing them to their knees soon after. The Great Britain was eventually sent to the Falklands where she remained until brought back to England in the 1970s, with a view to restoring her, which eventually came to pass. The Great Western was sold to another shipping company where it travelled between the West Indies and Southampton, then other routes until 1855 when she was laid up back at Southampton, where she languished until used as a troop transport during the Crimean war, where she was referred to as Transport Number 6. She was sold for scrap a year later in 1856 and was broken up at a yard on the Thames, unlike her sibling who can be seen most days in a dock in Bristol thanks to the philanthropic efforts of Sir Jack Arnold Hayward and others. As subsequent steam ships were patterned on the competent design of the Great Western for some years after she was laid down, the Great Britain is probably as close as you will get to seeing her today. The Kit This kit first hit the shelves of your local model shop in 1966, before many of us were even born, which is why it’s in the Vintage Classics range, with the implication that you may need to apply some modelling skills to bring it up to today’s standards unless you’re just building it for fun or a trip down memory lane. Detail is as you would expect for the era, and there is a very slight bit of mould damage from the intervening years and multiple re-releases that it has endured. The good news is that it’s infrequent and amounts to a few surface blemishes for the most part. The scale is an unusual one for the modern modeller, but in the 60s rigid adherence to scales wasn’t all that important, and this results in a healthy 400mm long model that would look good on anyone’s shelves. The kit arrives in a sturdy red-themed top-opening box, and inside are nine borderless sprues and three hull parts in a toffee-coloured (think Caramac) styrene, a black sprue that contains a rigging jig, a vacformed sheet of off-white styrene for the sails, and two bobbins of thread for the rigging material. The instruction booklet is printed in colour, and hidden inside is a sticker representing the red ensign, or “red duster” as it is sometimes known, printed in a manner that gives the impression of a flag rippling in the breeze. Construction begins with the hull, which is moulded in halves with a deck that locates on a raised rim inside, which has a lug above it, with a scrap diagram showing where it should be in relation to several holes in the deck. The stand is shown built next to it, moulded as a cruciform part with upstands moulded into the longer ends, and separate supports on the shorter arms. It will be useful to have the stand built early on, as ships gave rise to the phrase “keel over” because they generally don’t have flat bottoms. Seven skylights are dotted around the main deck, and two raised hatches are added to a stepped section amidships behind the funnel base, fitting a circular quarterdeck on a semi-circular step, and installing a three-part gallery around the stern with the impression of windows moulded-in. Two-part railings are fitted around the fo’c’s’le, all of these installations fitting on pins into holes in the deck, or on raised boxes. The huge paddle wheels that propel the ship through the water are made from a lamination of three large wheels, then a set of paddles are arranged at regular intervals around the circumference of both wheels, with a scrap diagram showing which way they should fit in relation to the direction of travel. There is a little flash and clean-up needed around each paddle, so set aside some time for this to avoid frustration. Before installing the wheels, the fairings around it must be put in place, fixing large stepped sections into the deck, and bulking them out with additional parts, adding a pair of supports below where each arch will fit in the next step, shrouding the upper portion of the wheels to prevent spray covering the decks and crew. Rows of covered portholes reminiscent of a galleon’s gun ports are inserted into the hull fore and aft of the paddles, fitting the figurehead under the bowsprit base with a pair of cat heads (not literally) on the cheeks of the bow, and a capstan near the bow. The funnel is moulded in halves, and is inserted into the deck at a rakish angle just forward of the paddles. The lifeboats are made from a hollow hull with separate gunwales that incorporate the bench seating, to which two pairs of oars are applied, before they are suspended from the rear deck on a pair of davits that pin into the deck. The quarterdeck has a large section of gridwork moulded-in, and the ship’s wheel is built in the centre from two handle-studded wheels trapped between pedestals, and a compass mounted in front for easy viewing by the helmsman. The rudder under the stern is added below the quarterdeck, and two sets of steps for the crew to come and go, adding a set of three-part railings around the deck so the crew don’t end up in the drink. The next step involves installing the simplified lower shroud deadeyes and adjusting ropes as dog-bone shapes that fit into holes in the deck at the base of each mast, building the masts from two lengths with overlap, adding spreaders at the half-way point, diagonally placed gaff rails to the rear of each mast, plus two cross-masts on the forward mast. The bowsprit is a single part that fits under the fore deck, and it might be wise to leave the masts loose in their sockets until you have completed painting and rigging has begun. A large double-H frame links the two paddle arches athwartship, and creates a walkway with steps up and down, as shown in a scrap diagram nearby. The next page is a rigging diagram that also shows how to mount the anchors on the bow, and how to make the ratlines that run from the lower shrouds to the spreaders where the mast poles overlap. There are various additional rigging lines that stabilise the masts fore and aft, and keeps the gaffs in position, as well as lines to the bowsprit, but what makes me really sad is that I don’t have an excuse the use the word “futtock” when describing the rigging of the Great Western. The thread that is provided on the two bobbins is a braided cord, but there are still small quantities of fibres visible in the light, and some modellers may wish to replace it with another type of thread. There is a two-part rigging jig included in the box and its function defied my understanding initially until I flicked through the booklet and found an explanation that runs over two pages in English and nine other languages. The last instruction step details the use of the vacformed sheet of sails, which are moulded on the curve as if sailing at full speed, and they should be cut from the backing carefully with a sharp knife, preferably with support behind from Blutak or modelling clay, sanding the edges smooth once they are free. The individual sails have raised details moulded-in, and a letter next to each of them that corresponds to the diagram of the ship at the bottom of the page devoted to their fitting. Secure the tops of the sails with glue to the masts, then add extra rigging lines to the bottom corners, taking note of their locations from the box art, as the formal rigging diagram doesn’t show the sails or rigging lines specific to them. There will also be tackle blocks on some of lines, which could be replicated by slices of sprue or by adding blobs of PVA or other glue to the lines once in position, and painting them when they are dried. Markings The PS Great Western is depicted as she appeared in 1837 with copper bottom (where the phrase originated) and black hull sides, decorated with gold details. Two scrap drawings show parts of the deck at an angle to assist with detail painting, and an overhead drawing completes the instructions. The red ensign is shown suspended on a length of fine cotton between the gaff on the rear mast and the stern, but it is shown fluttering forward in the main diagram, which would be unlikely. The sticker folds down the centre mirror line, trapping the cord in position, after which you can glue the line into position under slight tension. Conclusion This is an old kit, but it is wearing well and it is still the only injection-moulded styrene kit of the ship in a relatively large scale, so it’s the best option to build. Sympathetically painted, weathered, and with tidy rigging will bring admiring glances from viewers. Recommended with the usual caveats of an older tooling. Review sample courtesy of
  2. I dropped in to the Local yesterday as I have a DCH 2 Beaver on nonurgent order, to see if it's in yet. Well,the answer was No- Airfix time is measured in months ,apparently...... But as compensation I spotted this on the Vintage Classics shelf, just waiting for a new home. I've done one already and really enjoyed the project, and the little plane is a real Looker. Plus Chris @bigbadbadge has just finished a lovely example which has put the thought of another Bassett right up in my mind 😀 I popped the box open when I got home....... and the next thing you know I'm carving plastic 🧚‍♂️🧚‍♀️🧚 I have plans for this one. My 1st build was pretty straightforward and I learned a few things along the way. This wee plane is a serious tailsitter and maximum effort is required to get her to stand with her tail up and nose wheel on the ground. I made use of some of the RAF decals and printed some general civil decor. The whole airframe is finished in a half-shiny white. But there's an alternative type, in fact there may be a few alternatives- some aircraft are fitted with 3blade props and I'd guess upgraded engines. The main item I'm trying for is the different passenger door layout, and I got straight onto the change It's the port side fuselage that's getting carved, And the cabin floor is extended a little and a different seating area layout. The rear bulkhead will be omitted- there's cargo stowage behind the rear seats anyway .And any contribution to adding lightness to the tail end is welcome The door survived quite well and I think it'll do the job once the window has been added. Much of the raised riveting and surface detail has been removed already and I had a try to demilitarise one of the bone-dome helmeted aircrew. This little plane features a pair of flaps with slats and pylons much in the style of the Bae Hawk. I'm thinking I should have a go at deploying them 🤔 So I'm under way, everything else pushed to the side....the 2nd one is always easier, isn't it?😇
  3. Fairey Rotodyne (A04002V) 1:72 Airfix Vintage Classics The Fairey Rotodyne was an ambitious project in the post WWII heyday of British aviation, when the aviation world could re-concentrate their efforts on more radical designs, which included the development of rotary-winged flight types that had been of interest during the 30s, but was put on the back-burner during WWII to concentrate on more pressing matters. Fairey were interested in creating a combined rotorcraft that merged autogyro with helicopter, using both type’s strengths to provide a cheaper, faster method of transport that could take-off and land vertically without the high expense associated with helicopter flight then and now. Fairey envisaged blade-tip engines powering the rotors, thereby obviating the need for a stabilising tail rotor, while the rotor would transition to autogyro mode once horizontal flight was achieved, powering down the engines and utilising the passive lift generated from the blades along with the short wings carrying a pair of turbo-prop engines that would supply forward momentum, but could also be used to counter any torque encountered during flight. The engines also supplied high-pressure air to the blade-tip engines, mixing it with fuel and burning it to provide energy to the blades to rotate. Fairey already had experience with this type of flight with their Gyrodyne, which had been demonstrated to be effective, although its size and fuel capacity limited its range substantially. It acted as a development precursor that gave Fairey confidence in its design, although the form factor and layout changed from several times during development before they settled for the twin-engined design. Which brand and type of engine became a problem however, as Fairey had their preferences, and many leading engine manufacturers considered themselves already over-stretched with various projects. Politics reared its ugly and divisive head, as the British Government had been bankrolling the project on the basis that it could be useful for military applications, and in the hope that airline BEA would make an order for at least 20 airframes to act as financial backstop for the project, which they blew hot and cold on as time went by. During the greater periods of interest, there were plans to build an enlarged variant of the Rotodyne that could carry up to 70 passengers, which would have resulted in an even more cost-effective return than the already reduced cost of the original design. The choice and power output of the engines was an ongoing issue that helped to kill the project, along with concerns over the noise caused by the rapidly spinning blade-tip engines, which were said to be painful and potentially damaging to hearing close-up, and still a nuisance even at greater distances, making conversations within range a difficult prospect. There were attempts to reduce this to a more acceptable level, and progress was beginning to be made as funding was withdrawn in the early 60s, leading to the project’s cancellation when Fairey’s new owners, Westland were likely to have to foot the bill for the completion of development. There was a good chance that the noise could have been brought down to similar or lower levels than other vehicles that were in use at the time, but it was never to happen, as the curtain was brought down on a promising project. The Kit This is a reboxing of Airfix’s vintage tooling, which was first released in 1959 while the Rotodyne was still in development, so as you’d imagine it’s a product of its time, and expectations should be measured accordingly. It is however eminently possible to create a realistic and well-detailed model from the kit, as our membership have proved in the past if you’d care to search the forum’s sub-sections. The kit arrives in a modestly sized top-opening box, and inside are eight borderless sprues in a dark grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of decals, and the instruction booklet that is printed in colour on matt paper, with profiles for painting and decaling on the rear inner cover. As already mentioned, this is an old kit and should be viewed through rose-tinted glasses, as it’s even older than most of us on the forum. Considering its age, time has been kind to the moulds, with surprisingly little flash, and virtually no mould damage other than some scratches evident on the upper rotor-head and one of the tail parts at first glance. It was tooled during Airfix’s heavy riveting period, covering the skin of the kit in thousands of fine raised rivets that can be obliterated during seam filling. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is a simple floor with a moulded-in centre console with decal, and two turrets that the seats plug into, with a crew member for each seat, although they have their hands by their sides so won’t be doing much controlling of their charge unless you plan on undertaking some surgery. The cockpit is enhanced with a pair of thick control columns, and in front of the crew is an instrument panel for which a new decal has been provided, with realistic-looking dials on a grey background that look rather nice. The bulkhead behind the crew has a door moulded-in, and the nose gear leg with twin wheels is fixed to the bottom of this, putting the assembly aside while you prepare the two fuselage halves with ten oval portholes on each side, even though there is no interior present in the passenger cabin. This was the norm back in the day though, so you can either paint the interior a black shade, or build yourself a simple floor and add some seats. To close the fuselage, you will need to create the rotor-head, which consists of top and bottom halves, with a dome added to the top, and a shaft/pin inserted into the hole underneath. This and the cockpit are trapped between the two fuselage halves, taking care not to allow the glue to seep into the socket for the rotor if you wish it to remain mobile later. Seam-filling will doubtless remove some of the raised rivets on the surface, so you may wish to toy with the idea of either removing them all, converting the model to recessed rivets, or picking up some suitably pitched printed 3D rivet decals to replace those lost in the seam-filling process. The same will be true for the other external surfaces, so take it as read that this will occur for those parts of the model. The Rotodyne’s wings are simple top and bottom halves, painting a small portion of the underside interior silver because it will show through a hole in the upper wing. These are put to one side while the tail is made, creating the horizontal section from two parts plus a single flying surface that can be left mobile by not gluing them in, then adding the upper portion of the fin in two halves, and the lower portion that has a separate rudder panel, building one for each side of the model, and plugging them into the sides of the fuselage along with the wings and the surprisingly clear canopy part at the front. The two engine nacelles are split vertically in half, and are equipped with a nose with intake, through which the prop’s axle slots, securing the four-bladed propeller in position. Intakes and exhausts are added to the sides, and the main gear legs are trapped between the two nacelle halves during closure, fixing a pair of wheels to the ends of the axles. Once complete, they are pinned to the underside of the wings, and the main gear bays are given three doors each, plus another three for the nose gear leg that is now projecting from the bay under the nose. One useful feature of the Rotodyne was the clamshell rear doors that made loading cargo an easy task. These are supplied as two curved sections with four-part hinges that let them open and close if you are careful with the glue. They are locked into position by a pair of C-shaped clamps that glue to the interior of the fuselage in the tail. The penultimate task is to build the rotors themselves, adding half of the tip motors to the ends, and plugging each blade root into the rotor-head, ensuring they are installed at the same angle of attack for accuracy’s sake. The forward access door in the port side of the nose is depicted in the open position, hinging up and down in two halves, with a stairway glued to the lower portion for easy access. Markings There was only one flying Rotodyne, and it wore a fetching white, blue and silver scheme, with Fairey Rotodyne written in large text over the lower silver areas on the sides. From the box you can build the following: 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. Conclusion There is only one kit in this scale, and this is it. It’s an old kit, but it gets the basic shape, and despite some of the details being a little toy-like, a creditable replica can be made with a little effort. The inclusion of new decals will certainly help with that, as they are very crisply designed and printed, especially the instrument panels. Highly recommended for a vintage kit. Review sample courtesy of
  4. iBristol Bloodhound (A02309V) 1:76 Airfix Vintage Classics Following the cancellation of an earlier Ramjet-powered Surface-to-Air missile project by the name of Blue Envoy, due it seems to the 1957 Defence White Paper by the now-infamous Duncan Sandys, a shorter-range project was considered to pick-off the remaining enemy bombers that made it past the English Electric Lightnings that were responsible for point-defence of the Great British airspace. The fact that the Blue Envoy project had been progressing well, with successful trials of a scale-version of the missile, caused some scratching of heads, but the new Bloodhound missile benefitted from its technology, giving it a head start on its development path. Much of those technology benefits were incorporated into the Mark.II Bloodhound, extending its range to almost double that of the Mk.I. When launched, the missile accelerated incredibly quickly thanks to the four booster rockets that were ejected after only three seconds, by which time it would be travelling at an ear-popping 1,800mph, with attendant sonic boom in addition to the roar of the rockets and ramjets, making hearing defence an absolute necessity. It homed in on its target using a combination of semi-active radar and powerful computing capability (for the day) that gave it a high level of resistance to electronic countermeasures, and allowed it to accurately track low altitude targets, making it a lethal opponent for the expected waves of lumbering Soviet bombers and their escorts in the days before ICBMs took over the role of delivering nuclear weapons. It remained in service with the British and Swedes until the 90s due to its abilities, and Britain took their Bloodhounds out of service when the Berlin wall came down, while the Swedes kept theirs until just before the new millennium. The Bloodhounds first paired with the Thunderbird shorter range missile and then the Rapier that covered the required defensive envelope between them. The smaller missiles could also be transported comparatively easily, while the Bloodhound was of a size that lent itself to fixed installation, often around strategic areas such as airfields. The Swedish Bloodhounds were converted to be vehicle transportable, and a possible future development of the missile was to introduce this facility wholesale to the Mk.IV, while the Mk.III was to be nuclear tipped with a longer range that would presumably be used to thin the bomber stream over the sea, hopefully keeping any fall-out away from the land. Both those variants weren’t completed however. The Kit This kit was first released in 1960 when the missile itself was still new. It has been reboxed several times since then, and up until the announcement of its long-overdue re-release, it was achieving eye-watering prices on a certain auction site. It’s amazing how some people are prepared to throw money at something if they want it badly enough. Now that it is back in Airfix’s catalogue under the Vintage Classics line, there will be a few people feeling a little silly, but the rest of us will just be glad to see it again, and pleased that the moulds are still in good condition. I built one myself as a nipper, and remember it fondly. Where my kit went though, I have no idea. The kit arrives in a diminutive red-themed top-opening box, and inside are six sprues of various sizes in the new darker grey styrene that Airfix have been using, which has been well-received. There are no decals, but there is a Land Rover with missile trailer, and a set of figures to guard the emplacement, including a dog that one of the chaps has on an invisible lead. Detail on the missile is good, and once the seams are dealt with, it should look suitably sleek. The trailer is a nice inclusion, as is the Landy, but if you want to give it an improved look, you might consider adding some clear acetate windscreens, a bulkhead and a couple of seats for the crew, or at least the impression of those things. There are of course some ejector-pin marks here and there, most annoyingly on the canvas roof of the Land Rover, which will make careful removal and making good very important. There is surprisingly little flash too, most of it around the sprue runners and the figures, which should be quick enough to remove with the edge of a sharp blade and some fine sanding. Construction begins with the missile, joining the main halves that includes the two Bristol Thor ramjet engines, then adding delta-shaped steering fins forward and square fins to the rear, plus the support structure for the temporary boosters in the form of a cruciform part at the rear of the missile. Each Gosling booster rocket is made from two halves, one of which has the fin moulded-in, and once complete the quartet are joined to the main body on lugs near the front fins, and at the rear on the four points of the cross. In action, the rockets were hooked to a ring fore and aft, and once their thrust became less than the ramjets, they would slide backwards, opening like a set of petals before falling away. That’s the missile finished. The Land Rover is next, building the canvas-topped bodywork onto a flat-bottomed floor, adding the windscreen, bonnet and radiator assembly to the front, plus two axles that thread through holes in the arches, to be finished by adding wheels to each end of the axles. A scrap diagram shows that if you leave the glue off, the wheels should rotate. At the back of the vehicle a bulkhead with a notch for the towing hitch closes the rear. The launch platform has several parts left unglued to allow it to be moved, based upon a flat turntable, which is joined to the floor by a styrene pin that joins them together and allows them to rotate. The side walls trap the launch rails and their supports into position, adding extra supports as the parts are joined together, and finally a stopper pin that plugs into the back of the missile so it stays in position. The last main assembly is the trailer, the chassis made from two halves that trap the tread-plated floor in position, adding twin wheels into the rear arches on both sides, another frame is glued to the trailer’s gooseneck, and twin supports are added fore and aft. The front wheels are based on a pivoting platform secured in position by another styrene pin, adding two stub axles beneath that have more pins to hold the wheels in place, and an A-frame with towing eye on the front. There are five human figures and a dog on the sprues, although you only use three of them according to the instructions. One is an officer waving while a ‘Snowdrop’ RAF MP stands to attention, and a dog-handler should be linked to the dog via a fine wire so it doesn’t bite anyone. The other two dog-handlers don’t have a dog to handle, but you could adapt them to other poses if you feel the urge. Markings As already mentioned, there is only one colour scheme depicted, which consists of a white missile with yellow boosters, green launch platform and trailer, and an RAF blue Land Rover. Other schemes were used, so check your reference if you feel like a change. Conclusion A great many modellers have been waiting for this kit to come back in stock, and unlike those with bottomless pockets, we appreciate the reasonable price that it is now being offered at. Most of us won’t notice the slight difference in scale from the usual 1:72, and if you give it some care and attention, you should end up with a creditable replica of this Cold War Warrior. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Bond Bug (A02413V) 1:32 Airfix Vintage Classics The Bond Bug was designed by Ogle Design for Reliant, the famous 3-wheel car manufacturers in the early 70s, and it was a true child of that era, as well as having three wheels like the majority of Reliant’s other output. It was a distinctive vehicle, most of which were made in a vibrant tangerine orange, although a few were built in a bilious green for a change. There were even a few four-wheelers, although those were aftermarket conversions. Reliant first bought Bond Cars, and in order to prevent possible harm to their brand (were they serious?), they decided to press forward with the concept that had been wallowing in design form only under the Bond name. It ran on a shortened chassis that had been developed for their soon-to-be-released Regal, and ran with a 700cc petrol engine that was surprisingly mounted in the front and output a neck-braking 29hp initially, although an extra 2hp were squeezed out of it for the supposedly upmarket ES variant, although it came with a little extra torque to convince you that you were going fast. There was a comfort difference between the standard model and the ES too, with better seats and a few more bells and whistles. Despite the flurry of publicity, the sales never materialised, and the proposed upgrades to a more powerful engine were shelved, as were the 4-wheel drive option, which materialised later as a kit once the Websters owned the rights to the Bug. It utilised the sub-frame from a Mini, and could be bought as a small kit that needed a Reliant 3-wheeler, or as a full kit with all the parts included. It is understood that fewer than 30 kits were sold, so they’re quite rare. Webster also produced a few of the original design Bugs. In the 90s, a revamped Bug with four-wheel drive was in development, but Reliant got cold feet and it never reached production. The market for Bond Bugs has been buoyant since they passed into history, with the nostalgia factor increasing prices, and the availability of parts allowing owners to keep their cars in working order. It didn’t hurt that the bodywork was all fibreglass, and didn’t rust like most 70s vehicles. The Kit Airfix made the original tooling of this kit in 1971, soon after the launch of the real one, and was last seen being sold new in model shops in 1975, as evidenced by the large copyright stamp in the roof lining. It has been missing from Airfix’s line-up since then, with the second-hand market the only place they were available up until now. The re-launch has not been just a case of reboxing the old styrene either. There has been work done to improve the glazing of the model, which is usually a weak-point of older toolings. The newly designed and tooled glazing replicates the clear plastic side windows and black vinyl lowers to the doors along with the rest of the clear parts, redone for the new millennium. The tooling has clearly been kept in good condition with good detail visible, just the layout of the sprues and the raised part numbers on the larger parts flagging it as a child of the 70s. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are four sprues of grey styrene, plus a sprue of clear parts, decal sheet and the instruction booklet, which is concertina-fold and printed in spot colour. Construction begins with the two chassis rails, which are linked together by four cross-braces with the rear axle mounted on a pair of U-supports and a coil-spring that is surprisingly well moulded. At the front, a swing-arm is fitted with another coil-spring and damping arms, then the engine is built from seven parts plus a short drive-shaft that links it to the transmission in the centre of the rear axle. The radiator core is fitted under the upper bodyshell, which together with the lower encapsulates the chassis, adding a bulkhead and fuel tank to the rear. The steering column, wheel, stalks, gear stick, foot pedals and handbrake are all installed in the cabin, adding a simple console to the centre console, and the very 70s-looking driver if you use him sits in the right seat, adding his arms to grasp the wheel. Underneath is the puny exhaust pipe with muffler that has a scrap diagram showing its location once complete. The upper cowling has the windscreen and doors glued in place, and if you want to go for a little more realism, you can also remove the Airfix logo from the head liner. At the rear of the body there is a long lozenge-shaped rear window with the light clusters below, and more clear parts for the headlamps and side-lights in the bumper. The three wheels are each made from the main tyre and rear hub, plus a well-detailed outer hub that traps a washer inside to allow the wheels to rotate if you are careful with the glue. That’s it. You’ve just built a classic kit. It's not a large model Markings The Bug was predominantly painted in tangerine orange from the factory, but if you want to stamp your identity on it, you can paint it any colour you like. There are two number plate options, one of which is the BUG 700 plate, plus EEV 589, and while the significance of the first one is fairly obvious, the other isn’t – to this modeller at least. 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. Conclusion Whilst this isn’t the dominant scale in the car modelling world, it’s good to have it back in service, and looking like it is ready to be built. It has sold plenty in pre-order, so don’t hang about if you want one. Very highly recommended because it’s fun! Review sample courtesy of
  6. Bristol F.2B Fighter & Fokker Dr.1 (A02141V) 1:72 Airfix Vintage Classics The Bristol F.2B Fighter, colloquially known as the Brisfit was the definitive version of the F.2 fighter during WWI that was well-liked, and continued service until well after the war was over, bearing more of a resemblance to an interwar design than the stingbags we typically associate with aircraft from the Great War. Once the teething troubles of the F.2A were resolved, it was found to be an agile, fast fighter that could be flown against other supposedly more light-weight fighters without disadvantage. In fact, the flexible rear mounted gun was a bonus when it came to rear attacks, a feature not present in most fighters of the day. The Fokker Dr.1 was a response to the British Sopwith Triplane, and was a small, lightweight triplane that was highly manoeuvrable, entering service in 1918 and most famously being flown by the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen during what was to be the last part of his career, and was also the aircraft that he was shot down and killed whilst flying. One of its weak points was the wings, which were prone to failure, even after the issue had been identified and attempts had been made to correct the deficiency. The Kit This is a re-release of a truly ancient dogfight double boxing by Airfix under their Vintage Classics banner, the Brisfit fuselage having a copyright dated 1957, and the Fokker released during the same year as a bagged kit with cardboard header. Both kits are sixty-five years old at time of writing, and are most definitely products of their time, the parts found on open-sided trees, rather than sprues as we know them, and some noticeable ejector-pin marks on the wings of both kits that will need to be dealt with if you plan on creating realistic models of the types. The wings also have a fabric texture moulded into them that appears a little rough, possibly from mould wear, and an overall light sanding should improve that, but in other places, such as the stitching on the fuselage of the Brisfit, the detail is still pretty good for its age. Cockpits are of course simple platforms on which you place the pilots, the Brisfit faring better, while the Fokker has an anachronistic WWII style pilot, complete with Mae West and RAF style uniform plus flying boots. We’ll discuss the models separately, even though they arrive in the same top-opening red-themed box, with the kits separately bagged, as is the clear sprue that contains two classic Airfix stands for your dogfight double. The instruction booklet is shared between the kits, as is the decal sheet, with four sprues in the Brisfit bag, and two for the Fokker. We use the term sprues advisedly here, as they’re open and sometimes contain only a few parts each, or even one in the case of the Brisfit’s wings. Bristol F.2B Fighter Construction begins with the fuselage, installing the two half crew figures on their perches, one facing forward and the other to the rear, with a Lewis gun mounted on a simplified Scarff ring, using no glue so it can be elevated, in the typical toy-like fashion of the day. Two exhaust extensions are applied to the sides of the fuselage in sockets, taking care to use the lower of the two holes at the front, the top one being the location for the bottom end of a cabane strut in the next step. The tail fin is moulded into the fuselage halves, and the elevators plug into slots in the sides. The lower wing is full span, and has ejector-pin marks between the twin holes for each interplane strut, presumably in a none-to-successful attempt to hide them. These will need some work before you add the struts if you think they’ll be seen, as it will be impossible later. The wing itself plugs into the underside of the fuselage on four pins, then two pairs of interplane struts are installed in each wing, plus two pairs of cabane struts in the area between the engine and cockpit. Once the glue is set, the upper wings, which have their ejector-pins on the lower surface, again between the holes for the struts, can be installed on top of the struts, with a scrap diagram showing the correct angle of 14° of the struts between the two wings. Up front, the rounded radiator housing, which was shaped that way to improve the pilot’s view over the nose, is fixed to the fuselage after pinning the two-bladed prop to it, which can remain mobile if you are sparing with the glue. Flipping the model on its back, the two A-frames that support the landing gear axle are mounted on holes in the lower wings, adding wheels to the ends of the axle, which should allow the wheels to rotate, again if you’re not too liberal with the glue. The tail is supported by a single skid, which finished off the build. Fokker Dr.1 The Fokker starts the same way, gluing the two fuselage halves together around the time-travelling pilot, although the instructions show one more appropriate for the era, confusingly. The lower wing inserts under the fuselage, and is then joined by the other two, pushing the large interplane struts through the centre wing, and adding cabane struts to the forward deck of the fuselage that is moulded into the centre wing. Incidentally, the interplane struts weren’t structurally necessary, but were added to reduce wing-warping during flight, giving the aircraft crisper handling characteristics. The wings should form a 17° angle with the perpendicular once completed, which is again shown in a scrap diagram nearby. The fin is moulded into the fuselage, and the triangular elevators are a single part that is inserted into a recess in the top of the fuselage in front of the fin. At the front, the cowling with a couple of the rotary engine’s cylinders showing at the bottom is fitted to the nose after securing the two-bladed prop from behind with a styrene pin. The usual caveats about leaving it mobile by being careful with the glue apply. Inverting the model allows fitting of the two wing protecting skids near the tips, another skid in the tail, and the two V-shaped gear legs that have the aerodynamically faired axle, onto which you glue the two wheels with impunity, as there’s no easy way to allow them to remain mobile. Markings Each model has just one set of markings on the sheet, depicting the types in action, although they are several months apart and in different locations according to the instructions, which would have made dogfighting a little difficult. From the box you can build the following: Bristol F.2B Fighter, No.39 (Home Defence) Sqn., North Weald, Essex, England, September 1918 Fokker Dr.1 Dreidecker, flown by Manfred von Richthofen, Kommandeur Geschwader 1, March 1918 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. Conclusion If you like a challenge, or just fancy building these relics from a bygone era of modelling, this could make an interesting project, and at a very reasonable price, with the Vintage Classic banner forewarning you that you may have some work ahead of you. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Auster Antarctic (A01023V) 1:72 Airfix Vintage Classics Developed from the Auster AOP.6 that was a military observation aircraft, the Antarctic was an uprated design for a polar expedition that was strengthened to cope with the rigors of its proposed task, and took advantage of the more powerful engine to counter the increased weight that included additional radio gear. The initial order for just under 300 of the AOP.6 was purchased by the RAF at the end of the 40s, with a new batch taking the total to around 400 aircraft, some of which were sold overseas to the Saudis, Belgium, Hong Kong and Canada, although not all of them saw snow. In RAF service they were phased out by 1955 to be replaced by a more rugged Auster AOP.9 design, which was eventually itself replaced by the similar-looking Beagle Terrier over a decade later. The trip that the Antarctic was developed for was the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1956, and the aircraft was converted from a dual control T.7, but given larger tail surfaces and the capability of landing on ice or water by fitting skis or floats in the field. The additional radio gear was for safety, in case of failure of one set to maintain critical communications with the ground party, and with the added weight of the other equipment carried for the mission, the extra power of the engine and larger prop than earlier models gave it all the abilities needed by the support crews. The Kit This is a reissue by Airfix under their Vintage Classics label, and this one is a real blast from the past, with a copyright date of 1959, originally sold as a bagged kit with card header. As you can probably imagine, this is a true vintage kit, and you shouldn’t expect the tooling to have miraculously transmogrified over the years into a modern model of the little Auster. It arrives in an end-opening red-themed box with the old Roy Cross painting of the model on the front, and the decal option on the rear. Inside are three frameless sprues in grey styrene, plus a separately bagged clear sprue, instruction booklet with coloured logo printed in the top corner, and the decal sheet to complete the package. It is a tiny kit with a fuselage that is under 9cm long. Detail is about what you would expect from the original era, with little mould damage, but occasional ejector-pin marks on the visible surfaces that will need some work to bring up to modern expectations. Additionally, the fuselage halves have slight surface inconsistencies around the access door, although they won’t take too much effort to correct. Construction is straight-forward and extends to only six steps, starting with closure of the fuselage around the pilot, who sits on a bench moulded into the fuselage halves, as was common for the time. The bench is hidden from behind by adding a stepped block that may be the radio gear, closing the fuselage halves, fitting the elevator and fin parts across the tail, closing the front of the fuselage with a Tiger-Moth style cowling into which the two-bladed prop is inserted. The wings are fixed to the top of the canopy, which is first to be installed, adding a clear panel with a hump in the centre over the hole, which allows the wings to be fitted. Each wing is made from top and bottom halves that are supported by V-struts that locate at the bottom of the fuselage under the cockpit, adding the non-retractable flaps under the trailing edges at the root. You then have a choice of modelling your Antarctic with wheels, skis or floats, the first two using the same three core components to create a W-profile frame for the main gear, to which you add either wheels or skis at the ends of the axles. The tail wheel is similarly fitted with either a wheel on a short strut, or a similar part that has a small ski moulded in. The float option has a pair of N-shaped supports fitted instead of the standard legs, gluing a two-part float to the end of each one, and bracing the floats apart with two straight rods. A smaller float is fitted under the tail, and a rudder vane is fixed to the rear of the starboard float for control in the water. Markings As a specific boxing, there is just one decal option for the brightly painted yellow aircraft that retained its RAF roundels and codes under the wings. From the box you can build this: Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion If you want an Auster Antarctic in 1:72, this is about the only game in town, apart from an antipodean resin kit that popped out at some point. Cockpit detail is scant, and there are a few blemishes here and there, but as usual with vintage Airfix kits, the basics are there. Recommended with the caveats inherent with any old tooling. Review sample courtesy of
  8. HMS Devonshire – D02 (A03202V) 1:600 Airfix Vintage Classics The Devonshire was the first of the County Class Destroyers to be completed in 1960 at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, not a million miles away from Britmodeller HQ. It was commissioned by the Royal Navy in ’62, taking most of the rest of the year to work-up to operational readiness before returning to her home port of Portsmouth in the south of England. The ship had been designed around the unproven Sea Slug anti-aircraft missile system from the outset, which was intended to take down enemy aircraft before they could release stand-off anti-ship missiles aimed at the fleet they were protecting. Sadly, the only time the missile was used in anger during the Falklands war, the results were less than impressive. She also carried a supply of Sea Cat missiles, and fielded two twin 4.5” main guns in boxy turrets in front of the superstructure, anti-aircraft guns, and two racks of three torpedoes. She could also carry a Wessex helicopter on a small pad on the aft deck. I suspect I may have seen her during one of my summer holidays with my folks in the 70s, as we were sometimes visiting Portsmouth and other ports during Royal outings – totally coincidentally, of course. Our theory was she used to follow us round the country. HMS Devonshire served in the Navy until she became a victim of defence cuts in 1978, after which she was decommissioned and in the harbour where she languished for six more years that included a failed sale to Egypt before an ignominious end. It was decided somewhere high up that she could perform one last duty for her country as a target for missile tests for the then-new Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile, the British equivalent of the Exocet missile. After the trials she was finally sunk by British submarine HMS Splendid, in their own test of the new Mark 24-Mod-2 Tigerfish torpedo, which at the time had a poor reputation for reliability. An 80% detonation rate was good enough to see the Devonshire to the bottom of the North Atlantic however. The Kit This is one of Airfix’s Vintage Classic line, which is a clear indicator that it is an old tooling that dates back to 1963, just one year after she went into service with the Navy. You shouldn’t expect great things of these vintage kits, as technology has changed immeasurably since they were tooled and released. Time takes a toll on toolings of even the toughest metals, and quantities of flash are inevitable eventually, and there is some evident on this kit as you can see in the photos. The kit arrives in a slim red-themed box, and inside are two sprues and the deck in grey styrene that don’t have the outer runners that we are now used to these days. Saying that, none of the parts had fallen off the review sample’s runners. The box is completed by the instruction booklet with colour profiles inside, and a small decal sheet. Construction begins with the hull, which is split into two halves that have the demarcations between the underside anti-fouling, boot-topping and the upper colour marked out for you by fine raised lines, which should speed up masking immensely. The deck is a long section with a step up behind the front turret, which has planking engraved into the forward section, plus the anchor chains, bulwark and the turret bases moulded into it. The stepped-down rear deck is a separate part that also has another part to create the step itself, then the basic superstructure is fitted. The forward section is made from two halves plus the upper deck, and it locates on the main deck by a large rectangular upstand moulded into the deck. The rear superstructure is a single moulding that locates on a C-shaped raised mark and a square mark at the rear. A pair of W-shaped anchors fit into the hawse-pipe outlets on the sides of the bow, then the hull is flipped over and the twin propellers are installed on long shafts that have support struts roughly half way along their length, plus a separate twin-boomed strut further aft. Behind the blades are two rudders that fit into holes in the hull, which need drilling out for a better fit. There are a couple of ejector-pin marks in the neighbourhood too, so two jobs can be carried out at once. Righting the hull, the superstructure is then fitted out with twin funnels; flying bridges; twin masts with arms and antennae; four life boats and ship’s tender on davits; weapons turrets including the Sea Slug turret at the rear and other small parts. The pair of gun turrets each have separate barrels slipped into elevation slots in the front of the boxy structure, and these are slotted into holes in the bases, held in place by friction or glue at your whim. Abaft the superstructure the basic shape of a Westland Wessex with separate main and tail-rotors can be glued to the deck after putting the white location markings on the surface, then a pair of staffs for the jack and ensign are glued into holes in the bow and stern deck. A pair of simple stands are included on the sprues for you to use if you wish, one at each end of the completed model. Markings The Devonshire wore grey throughout her career, but the markings option that is provided in the kit depicts her as she was in 1968, with its Wessex in blue/yellow livery with decals to finish the job. From the box you can build this: Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion 1:600 isn’t a massively popular maritime scale, but if you want a small-scale HMS Devonshire this is still pretty-much the only game in town, but if you wanted to put more detail into it, Atlantic Models do a Photo-Etch (PE) upgrade set. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. F-80C Shooting Star (A02043V) 1:72 Airfix "Vintage Classics" The Lockheed P-80 was the US's first operational Jet fighter aircraft. Designed and built in only 143 days with two pre-production aircraft seeing limited service in Italy before the end of WWII. The aircraft like its British contemporary the Meteor was a conventional straight wing design which would limit its speed and manoeuvrability compared to later swept wing types which would be developed from captured German research data. The F-80C following re-designation on the formation of the USAF were P-80A aircraft with a J-33-A-35 engine and and ejection seat, also fitted were wing tip fuel tanks. 128 P-80A aircraft were modified to the F-80C standard. These aircraft would see front line service in Korea where the aircraft were outclassed by the swept wing MiG-15. Despite this USAF F-80 pilots would account for 6 Migs. With the introduction of the F-86 Sabre the Shooting Star would be transferred to a ground attack role. The Kit This is a re-boxing of Airfix's original kit from 1973 and released under their Vintage Classics Series, as such its a tooling of the time. Construction starts in the cockpit. The pilot fits into his seat which in turn slots into a simplified cockpit tub, An instrument panel is fitted along with the pilots control column. Into the fuselage is fitted the completed tub, the single part nose wheel, and a roof for the nose wheel bay. The fuselage can then be closed up not forgetting the advised 5 grams nose weight. Next up we move to the wings, these are a conventional single part lower with left/right uppers. Holes must be drilled for the wing bomb pylons and the tip tanks. To the main fuselage the intakes and their splitter plates are added, followed by the main wing assembly. At the rear the tail planes and exhaust are added. The main landing gear is then built up and added along with its gear doors. The nose bay door and ventral speed brakes are also added to the underside. The bombs are assembled and added to their pylons which can be fitted under the wings, then the same is done for the tip tanks. The rounder and later Misawa tanks are provided in the kit. To finish off the pitot tube under the nose is added and finally the canopy is as well. Markings There are two options on the decal sheet; A. 9650 "Saggin Dragon", 16th FIS, 51st FIW, USAF, Suwon Air Base, South Korea 1951. (Box Art) B. 9873 36th Bomber Sqn, 8th FBW, USAF, South Korea 1951. 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. Conclusion Recommended bearing in mind its a classic. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Westland Whirlwind HAS.22 (A02056V) 1:72 Airfix "Vintage Classics" The S-55 Was Sikorsky's model number for the H-19 Chickasaw. The design was financed privately by the company but soon taken up by the new US Air Force. Westlands already had a licence co-operation with Sikorsky dating back to 1948 and the S-51 Dragonfly. Westlands had a history with improving the Powerplant on offer with the Whirlwind with HAS 5 introducing the 850hp Alvi Leonides Major, and later fitting 1000hp Bristol Siddeley Gnome. The Gnome also featured an early computer controlled fuel system which reduced pilot workload. Even though this is listed as Westland aircraft the HAS.22 were in fact 15 S-55/HO4S-3 built by Sikorsky for the Royal Navy with a 700hp Wright R-1300-3 Engine. The Kit This is a re-boxing of Airfix's original kit from 1956 and released under their Vintage Classics Series, as such its a tooling of the time. The plastic parts are still pretty good, although the clear parts are a tad think and not too good. Construction starts in the cockpit. There are seats and figures for both the pilot and co-pilot. Both figures get a collective control but no cyclic. In front an instrument panel is provided. At the rear of the cockpit the transmission tunnel complete with sound insulation padding goes in. Once complete the cockpit section plus all the cabin windows can be added into the fuselage and this closed up. There are no details for the main cabin provided in the kit. It is recommended that 5 grams of weight is added into the nose. Next up the main rotor is completed with the three blades being sandwiched between an upper and lower part of the rotor head. Following this we can move back to the main fuselage and attach the four main wheels and their supporting legs. Above the cabin door the helicopters winch is fitted. At the nose the exhaust is added. To the rear aerials, the tail skid and tail rotor are added. The last items to go on are the front cabin glass and the main rotor. Markings There is only one decal options on the sheet. WV223 No.781 NAS, RNAS Lee-On-Solent, England 1961 as seen on the box art. 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. Conclusion Recommended bearing in mind its a classic. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1 (A18001V) 1:24 Airfix Vintage Classics The Harrier is an iconic (in the truest sense) example of what was possible when British Aviation was at its prime. It was a revolutionary design back in the 60s, and has seen many improvements and even a complete re-design in the shape of the Harrier II, which saw McDonnell Douglas get more heavily involved, giving the US Marines their much beloved AV-8B, and the British the Gr.5/7/9, all of which had new carbon-composite wings, massively upgraded avionics and improved versions of the doughty Pegasus engine, which was always at the heart of this legendary design. The Harrier is a difficult aircraft to fly due to the high pilot workload, and requires the best pilots to do it justice in the hovering flight mode particularly, where the pilot has to control the throttle, direction of the airflow, and also make minor adjustments to its attitude and altitude with the use of puffer jets, even before having to do anything trivial like avoid obstacles or land. The original Harrier to reach service at the very end of the 1960s was the GR.1, which still bore a substantial familial resemblance to the prototype and the earlier Kestrel, having a pointed nose and relatively confined canopy that hadn't yet been ‘blown’ to improve the pilot’s ability to move his head around to gain better situational awareness. The following GR.3 had a more powerful engine, the peculiar looking laser tracker in an extended nose fairing, as well as many sensor, avionics upgrades and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM). With the re-development of the aircraft into the Harrier II, the anteater nose was phased out and the new composite winged GR.5 with massively improved avionics, engine and other systems took over the mantle. For the most part, the general public don’t really see them as different machines, and the media’s persistent reference to them as “jump jet” makes the corners of eyes twitch for those that know. The Kit Airfix made headlines in the modelling press in the 1970s when it began its range of super-kits in 1:24 that included the Spitfire, Hurricane, Bf.109 and others, plus the GR.1 Harrier that we see again now after a rest period for the moulds. It is a product of 1974, when standards were less than they are today, which is why it has the V suffix to its product code, and the Vintage Classics scroll on the box, so that potential customers go in with their eyes open. That said, the surface detail on the fuselage and wings is pretty impressive for the day, having engraved panel lines and rivets all over it. Some of the ancillary parts would be considered simplified by today’s standards, such as the Mk.9 Martin Baker ejector seat, and the level of detail on the engine, but these can be considered as canvases on which to improve either by scratch-building, or availing yourself of the few aftermarket items that are still available, such as the Airscale instrument panel. The kit arrives in a large top-opening box, and all the space is needed to cater for the sprues and the massive fuselage halves that each have their own runners. There are a total of ten sprues in light grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a separate bag containing five black flexible tyres, a large decal sheet, instruction booklet and painting guide sheet printed on both sides in glossy colour. A word of caution regarding un-boxing your brand-new purchase, as although most of the sprues are enclosed with angular runners, there are a lot of flimsy gates connecting the parts to the sprues, and it’s likely that a few parts will have come loose by the time you get around to building your large Harrier, so watch for falling parts and double-check the bags for sprue-litter if you are disposing of them responsibly. Construction begins with the block of ancillaries on top of the Pegasus engine that is made up from a number of parts, and is prepared alongside the mechanism that makes all the exhaust nozzles rotate in unison later on. The actuators are placed in the lower half of the engine on a number of supports, then it is clamped in place by gluing the top of the engine in place and adding the ancillary block and a few other small parts. Each nozzle backing plate will affix to a rounded rectangular block at the end of the actuator axles, taking care not to get any glue on the edges. At the front the big fan and its mounting ring are added, which will be visible through the intakes once the model is finished. All through this process and the rest of the build the paint codes are called out in Humbrol codes in circles, the names of which you can find on the painting guide pages. A pilot figure is included in the box, as was the fashion in the 70s, and he is made up from a front and rear half, plus a pair of arms for you to pose around the controls. He’s surprisingly well sculpted for his day, and with some sympathetic painting should look the part and go some way toward hiding the slightly bland seat, which is next and has been provided with a pair of stencil decals for the sides of the headbox, and the instrument panel also has some decals for the dials, as well as a clear lens for the large central goldfish bowl. A HUD is affixed to the front centre of the panel, and it is slotted into the cockpit tub along with the rudder pedals, control column, ejection seat, pilot, plus front and rear bulkheads. The side consoles are well-detailed for the time too, and if well painted the cockpit should look pretty reasonable to a non-Harrier expert, with perhaps some ribs added to the sidewalls. The nose gear bay is situated behind the cockpit in the space between the intake trunks, and this is made up next, to be inserted into the starboard fuselage half, securing on raised ridges for security. The starboard bay door hooks into the edges of the bay and if left unglued, can open or close once the fuselage is closed up, remembering to insert the door for the other side. The aforementioned intake trunking is then made up from an outer section and a slightly longer inner sleeve, which slips inside the fuselage half and clips around the bay inside. The rear gear bay wall is attached to the centre of the fuselage to be completed later, and a stiffener plate is inserted into a groove inside the fuselage lower. There’s a short interlude next to make up some of the sub-assemblies that you will need later. The Harrier has four vectoring nozzles, two each of hot and cold (it’s all relative), although I can never remember 100% which is which, but usually assume the rear pair are the hot ones because of the plates behind them. They are all made from two halves with two baffles inserted into the body on pegs, avoiding any hideous join-lines in the middle of the nozzles that would be very difficult to fill and sand. The nose gear strut is made from two halves that trap the yoke between them plus three small parts including a landing light, and accepts a single wheel with two-part hub and black flexible tyres, which are firm but still slightly flexible. The rear strut is a single part that has the twin wheels added, each of which is made from two hub halves, the flexible tyre, and a separate collar in the centre that is inserted without glue to allow the wheels to rotate freely - hopefully. A pair of decals are applied to the outer surface of the wheels to give the impression of the holes that are present in the hub fronts, but you could always use them as templates to actually drill them out. Another section of the rear bay is made up from four parts that link together with slots and tabs, and that too is inserted into the fuselage with the doors slipped into place before closing up the fuselage. The elevators are slender, but the centre section is dual layer to avoid sink marks, and has the swash plate added to the root on a tab, with a short peg to slide through the fuselage later. The tail fin is in two halves that are joined around the rudder, leaving it to swing freely if you wish. Moving parts for playing were a big thing in the 70s. The ventral air-brake is made up from three parts, two making the hinge, while the shovel-shaped brake has detail moulded into the inside face, and a similar hinge is made up for the short rear door for the nose gear bay. If you are using the centreline pylon the two halves are joined together and added later, like the rest of these parts, which includes the two 30mm Aden cannon pods that are ostensibly complete save for the barrel tips that are separate and locate on a pair of shallow pins. The starboard fuselage half has the engine inserted along with the air-brake bay and a collar that holds the elevator in place and allows it to rotate if that floats your boat. A pair of protective plates are fixed to the fuselage sides on two pegs each, and if you plan on mounting the centre pylon, there are two slots to open up, after which you can close up the fuselage, remembering to add the air-brake, cannon pods or replacement strakes, and a couple of small bay doors under the fuselage. The four nozzles are all fitted onto their circular plates, the rudder is slotted into the top of the tail, with a cap added to finish off the stinger, plus a couple of aerials under the fuselage and the two gear legs. There is a forest of small parts festooned around the nose, and the cockpit itself has a separate coaming placed over the panel before the windscreen glazing is glued in place, and yet more sub-assemblies are prepared for completion of the wings. The flying surfaces are first, each made of two sides, then the out-rigger wheels that were in the wingtips on the original design, each one made from a two-part leg that traps the wheel in between the yoke, then this is itself trapped between two halves of the upper section to allow it to rise up and down as necessary, with the final part the retraction jack. The wheel is then spatted by a two-part fairing and put to one side while the four pylons are made up from their halves. The mounting pegs are angled to suit the anhedral of the wings, so take care to mark their intended position so they hang vertically once installed. Just like the real thing the wing is a separate assembly that drops over the fuselage, the lower surface being full-width. The upper skin is in three sections plus separate tips, and when it is glued in place it also traps the flying surfaces and the outriggers in place, which get another fairing added to the front. A pair of small inserts shim out the leading-edge root, and a pair of trailing tubes (possibly fuel dumps) fix between the aileron and flaps, with a large aerial and position light on the hump between the wings. You are told to add the pylons at this stage, but the instructions advise you to apply the decals to the underside before doing so to avoid having to cut them into sections. The last step building the airframe involves gluing the wings in place, adding the lift-off panel over the engine compartment, and fitting the canopy onto its rails to slide back and forth as per the scrap diagram nearby. The rest of the parts are weapons. There is a generous supply of munitions included in the box, including a pair of AIM-9G Sidewinders, which have separate forward and rear sections with paired fins that slide through grooves in the bodywork, sitting on an adapter rail. There are also three 1,000lb iron bombs, which also have separate cross-fins, a separate tapering rear section and a front spinner for arming the weapon. There are two dual-rail adapters to mount a pair of rocket pods each, which have separate nose cones and rears that fit on a two-part body, a pair of two-part drop-tanks, and a pair of 500lb Mk.83 iron bombs with separate tail and nose cones. There is a page on the rear of the instructions with load-out suggestions for RAF and US Marine Corps. aircraft, but if you’re going for accuracy, check your references or ask the knowledgeable members of the forum for real-world suggestions. Markings There are two decal options included on the A4+ sheet, and each one has a full page of colour profiles on the folded A3 sheet, one each for the RAF and USMC. From the box you can build one of the following: Harrier GR.1, No.1(F) Sqn., RAF Wittering, England, 1973 AV-8A Harrier, VMA-513 ‘Flying Nightmares’, USMC Beaufort (Merritt Field), South Carolina, United States, 1973 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. our example received a little damage to one corner during transit, but it shouldn't affect the general usefulness of the sheet. Conclusion Bear in mind that this is a 1970s vintage tooling, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the level of detail on many of the parts, and if any areas appear a little bland to your 21st century eyes, there’s plenty of scope for improvement using a little modelling skill or by opening your wallet. At the end of the day you’re going to be building a large scale early Harrier though, you lucky devil! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Aichi D3A1 "Val" 1:72 Airfix "Vintage Classics" A02014V The Val was designed in the 1930s by Aichi to replace the D1A1 biplane for the Japanese Navy. Following acceptance into the Navy the aircraft undertook its first combat missions in China in 1940. Later 126 would take part in the attack on Pearl Harbour where it proved highly accurate in it dive bombing role. In this attack many of the aircraft were sent to target the several American airfields on the Island of Oahu, using precision strikes to ensure as many US aircraft were destroyed before they could take to the air, thus minimising potential losses to the aircraft assigned to main attack. Although the aircraft went on to other success after this it went on to suffer heavy losses as allied Anti Aircraft fire improved , and superior fight cover was made available. The Kit this is Airfix's own tool dating back to 1965 which has enjoyed many re-releases over the years. As its an old tool you get the two fuselage halves, two wings, two smaller sprues of parts and a clear sprue. Moulding is typical of the time period and the tool seems to have held up. On starting the build there is no real cockpit to speak of. The two standard Airfix pilots fit into seats and these fit directly into the fuselage, At the rear an arrestor hook is fitted then the fuselage can be closed up. The wings are made up and the wheels with their spats are added. To the fuselage ar now added the wings, the tail planes; and at the front the engine and propeller. Two small exhaust stubs are added to the engine, and then under the fuselage a centreline bomb and its swing cradle. To finish the canopies are added, as are the dive brakes to the wings, and at the rear the small tail wheel. Markings A small decal sheet from Cartograf provides markings for only one aircraft based on the carrier Akagi during the attack on Pearl Harbour 1941. Conclusion Airfix seem to be releasing their back catalog now as "Vintage Classics", this gives some indication you are getting an told tool kit not a new one. Recommended if you want a bit of nostalgia modelling. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Here it is in all its glory. The moulds have obviously fared very well - it looks like a lovely little kit. Hoping to try out some Tamiya lacquers on this one, and have enlisted the help of a dehydrator to speed up the drying process of the paint. It'll be a Great Escape option this time around, hopefully start early Saturday morning to get some paint on the body shell asap. 😀 Rubbing my hands in anticipation of another great Blitzbuild GB.
  14. HMS Fearless (A03205V) 1:600 Airfix Vintage Classics HMS Fearless (L10) was an amphibious assault ship of the Royal Navy that acted as a base and provided Headquarters facilities for the Royal Marines that were aboard, before and during their assault missions. She was constructed in the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Northern Ireland in the early 60s, reaching service in 1965 at the beginning of a career that was to be longer than many ships of her era, which also made her the last steam-driven ship in the Royal Navy, with her career coming to an end in 2002. She spent another five to six years laid-up before being sent to be dismantled in an environmentally responsible manner by a Belgian shipyard, recycling the majority of its metals during the process. She was one of two ships of the class, her sister Intrepid was L11, and served alongside her until she was withdrawn into deep storage where she provided spares for Fearless, which is a little sad from her point of view, but kept fearless sailing for longer. Intrepid was dismantled around the same time as Fearless, but in a UK location. During service Fearless was capable of transporting 400 troops plus armour, or 700 troops if the armour wasn’t required, and those troops were Royal Marines, who formed the 4th Assault Squadron while they were aboard. They would be put ashore using the four LCVP landing craft, or one of up to five Wessex helicopters that could land on the expansive deck that covered the majority of the dock where the landing craft were embarked. Both Fearless class ships took part in Operation Corporate to retake the Falkland Isles in 1982, where they performed admirably, and after they returned only Fearless underwent a two-year refit to extend its working life, as Intrepid wasn’t in good condition by then. The type’s replacements were ordered at the beginning of the 90s in anticipation of the end of the Fearless’s career, although there was a brief period where there were no Assault Ships in service while they waited for HMS Albion to replace the retired Fearless a year later, to be joined by Bulkwark in 2005. The Kit This is a very welcome trip down memory lane for me, as I built this kit as a boy and really enjoyed playing with the included landing craft and helicopters that are in the kit. That should give you an idea of how old the kit is, and the fact that it’s in the Vintage Classics range should give you another clue. The kit was originally tooled in 1968, just three years after the real thing ‘joined the Navy’, so you’ll probably know what to expect from the sprues within the box. Speaking of the box, it arrives in an old-skool Airfix box, and inside are four sprues and five separate parts in grey styrene, the sprues being the original style with no protective runners around the edges like we’ve come to expect from modern kits. The instruction booklet is very vintage too, but the decal sheet is from Cartograf, which means it’s good to go. Looking over the sprues while trying not to knock any parts off, the detail is what we would expect from a kit of that era, and although the moulds are showing some signs of age, time has been relatively kind and the model should be buildable, although a little flash and some sink marks will need to be dealt with if they bother you. This is currently the only choice in this scale, and there’s sadly no 1:350 kit around. Construction begins with the hull, which is made from two halves, a six-part dock inside the stern, the deck that has raised tie-downs moulded into the aft area, and a pair of anchors in the bow. The two simple display stands are also shown in this first diagram, for you to use or dispose of as you see fit. The hull has fine raised lines around its sides for the anti-fouling and boot-topping, but there appears to be a scratch in the mould of the starboard side near the bow, but as it is raised, it shouldn’t be a problem to dispose of. Age is a cruel mistress. Under the stern, two prop shafts are fixed into shallow depressions along with a fairing where the shaft exits the hull, a two-legged strut, separate rudders and four-bladed screws at the tips. The superstructure is made up from ten parts, the sides of which have some raised portholes and other surface shapes moulded into them. The superstructure is then detailed with davits; lifeboats; four smaller utility landing craft; defensive weapons of the era; the twin funnels on either side of the hangar; two masts of different heights with various horizontals and antennae. Around the dock are a number of small parts and a three-part crane on one side, plus a smaller one on the opposite side. Another crane is fixed to a circular base outside the hangar for the ship’s boat, the jackstaffs fore and aft, and four lengths of stairs are fixed to holes in the sides of the hull below stubs that are moulded into the deck. Over the page the accessories are built up from a few parts each. You have two of the four LCVP landing craft, which have a separate ramp to the front and raised pilot house at the rear, while the two Wessex helicopters that are included have separate blades and tail rotors, although the depiction of their wheels is a simple cylinder across the underside of the fuselage. Markings Fearless was grey throughout her career, with plenty of rusty streaking seen in most photographs from any period. The instructions depict her as she was in 1968 when the kit was originally tooled. From the box you can build her thusly: Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s an old kit, but it certainly has a lot of fond memories for me. She was a great ship with a long career, and unless you fancy scratch-building something larger, it’s the only choice apart from expensive resin in a smaller scale. Her motto says it all - Explicit Nomen ‘The name says it all’. Recommended, but more-so because it’s the Fearless. Review sample courtesy of
  15. FIAT G.50 (A01046V) 1:72 Airfix Vintage Classics The G.50 was Italy’s first all-metal monoplane with retractable undercarriage, and was in-service by 1938, performing well amongst its contemporaries. It was somewhat short-ranged, and had issues with its initial armament being a little light, originally consisting of two .50cal equivalent machine guns in the wing. The Hawker Hurricane could out-fly it however, as well as being faster by a good margin, and as time went by the shortcomings became more apparent. A number of attempts to remedy them were made, including improvements to the engine, more fuel and armament changes, but even the installation of a Daimler Benz 601 didn’t give it enough of a boost. By this time the G.55 was designed and production was underway, taking full advantage of the DB engine at the start of its journey to obtain an excellent reputation as a good all-round fighter. Under 800 of the G.50 were made, with a number of two-seat trainers amongst them, and over half as the G.50 Bis, that took the airframe as far as was practical. The Kit This is a re-release from Airfix’s back catalogue, with the original tooling dating back to 1967, when raised panel lines were standard and cockpits were two pegs with a seat resting on them, topped with a pilot figure if you were lucky. The kit arrives in a small red-themed end-opening box, with a classic Cross painting of the type on the front, and a set of colour profiles on the back. Inside are two open sprues in grey styrene, plus fuselage halves and wings on their own sprues in the same colour. A separate bag contains four windscreen parts, all of which are the same, and a small decal sheet is slipped inside the two-page instruction booklet. Bear in mind that this is a vintage design, so don’t expect miracles of detail from the sprues, and do expect a few ejector-pin marks and small amounts of flash on some of the parts, although most of it is on the sprues. Construction begins with gluing the pilot onto his simple seat, and then fixing that assembly onto the pegs in the fuselage sides, closing the fuselage around them during the process. A pair of cannon barrel stubs fit into their fairings on the top of the nose, and you can pick whichever windscreen part you think is best and glue it in front of the pilot. The cowling is a single part with the cooling flaps moulded-in, and there appear to be a few score-marks on my example, which should respond well to a little filler before you slide in the two banks of pistons that make up the radial engine from behind. A C-Shaped exhaust is inserted into grooves in the lower edge of the cowling, and you could drill these out if you feel the urge. Once the glue is dry, the prop and its spinner are inserted into the hole in the centre of the engine, and a washer is glued to the back of the spindle to hold it in place, and if you’re lucky should leave it spinning once the glue is dry. The lower wing is full-width, and has two gear bays near the centre, with small ledges moulded-in to support the in-flight retracted doors and skinny half-wheels that allow them to fit into the bay. The fuselage drops into the slot between the upper wing halves, the elevators are glued in using the usual slot and tab method, and the cowling is glued into place on the ledge at the front of the fuselage. Both wingtips have pitot probes near the ends, and a small fairing is slotted into the groove in the underside of the cowling, then it’s a choice of wheels up or down. For wheels up the bay doors and half-width wheels are placed in the bays with the fixed tail wheel in the rear, while for wheels down, the bay doors are fitted perpendicular to the wing, and joined to the strut toward the bottom, with a full-thickness wheel flex-fitted into place in each one. The retraction jack joins the inner bay and the upper portion of the gear leg, and that’s your lot. Markings There’s only one decal option on the sheet, and it’s a traditional brown-yellow base with medium green camo over a light grey underside. From the box you can build the following: 352a Squadriglia 20o Gruppo, North Africa, 1941 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Of course, this kit is a product of its time, and you should approach it as such. It can be built out of the box or detailed to more modern standards, just remember to have fun with it. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Reporting for duty is one of Airfix's recent re-releases. Built this one from a blister pack back in the day - the plastic says 1974 so I imagine that's when it would have been as new releases from Airfix were snapped up asap back then. OOB for this one, can't do a fat lot on Saturday as we are out, and so I'll be plumping for the Great Escape option. Also a nod to the Turning Japanese GB, as ongoing builds in the Matchbox GB preclude me from entering 🙁. The plastic looks lovely, and the tracks look quite delicate.
  17. The 2022 Airfix Vintage Classics list had a couple of welcome choices but ignored a lot of kits that have not been re-issued in a very long time and that I would really like to see again. Here’s what I’d like to see for future Airfix Vintage Classics: 1/72 BAC TSR.2 Boeing B-29 Cessna O-1 Bird Dog Cessna O-2A Skymaster Curtiss SB2C Helldiver Dassault Super Mystere Douglas A-26B/C Invader Douglas F4D-1 Skyray Grumman TBM-3 Avenger Heinkel He 177A-5 Henschel Hs 129B Kaman SH-2F Seasprite Lockheed F-117A Lockheed S-3A Viking McDonnell F2H Banshee Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet North American F-86D Sabre Dog North American RA-5C Vigilante Rockwell B-1B Lancer Saab J-35 Drakken Supermarine S.6b Westland Puma 1/32 Bond Bug Morris Marina Austin Maxi Porsche Carrera Six 1/48 Grumman EA-6B Prowler BAC TSR.2 1/600 MV Free Enterprise II
  18. Here's my offering - a kit I first knocked up in a Saturday afternoon 50 years ago, I would guess. This is one of Airfix's Vintage Classics - the plastic is a lighter green and a little softer than the original I think. The moulds look to have stood the test of time quite well - a touch of flash here and there. Not too bothered about how accurate this little fella is, hopefully it will fit together ok. If it goes ok I might have a bash at getting some glazing in.
  19. Handley Page Jetstream 1:72 Airfix (A03012V) Handley Page developed the Jetstream to fill a niche in the market for a small twin turbo prop airliner for the US market. In order t improve sales in the US the original Turboméca engines were to be replaced by Garrett engines, and this aircraft was ordered by the UASF as the C-10A. It was to feature a rear cargo door with seating for 12 passengers or 6 stretchers. The USAF would eventually cancel these orders due to late delivery. Following the demise of Handley Page the design was picked up by a group of investors headed by Scottish Aviation, and the Company Jetstream Aviation was created. 26 Jetstream T.1s were ordered by the RAF, 14 of these would be modified to T.2s for use by the Royal Navy. When Scottish Aviation became part of BAe they would continue to develop the design into the Jetstream 31. The Kit Airfix's kit has been around since 1969 and feature the aircraft with the Garett engines for the USAF examples. The tooling is the old school multi part sprues however the tooling is still good, nice and sharp with no flash. Construction is fairly standard. The cockpit is fairly basic with two seated pilots who are identical, The completed cockpit fits into the right fuselage half . For the main fuselage a full stretcher fit is included. Once this is all in thee fuselage can be completed and the wings added, these are a single lower wing with left & right uppers, The tailplanes and rudder can then go onto the fuselage, and the engines can be built up and fitted to the wings. The landing gears and doors can be added along with the main rear airstairs door. Decals The small decal sheet with USAF Markings only is by cartograf so there is no issues there. Conclusion Whilst I would love to see Airfix release a brand new tool of this aircraft, the tooling on this one is still good, all though it is only really good for the version the USAF never actually bought in the end. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Hi all, Nice, simple and above all, quick build to start me off. Airfix's Panzer IV which I would have built aged about 9 - It was completed with a coat of light brown Humbrol paint and I managed to paint the tyres black despite not having any small paintbrushes! I built that one as the short gunned option so this time am going to do the long barrelled one - Aren't options great? Appear to have been moulded in the same colour plastic as I remembered. Anyways - 2 1/2 hours later while listening to a streamed Jesse Malin show we are now at this stage.... I seem to recall that I was at a similar construction stage, time wise, when I built Tamiya's 1/35th scale PzIV. More when it happens. IanJ
  21. Astronauts (A00741V) 1:76 Airfix Vintage Classics In the 60s and 70s there was a huge interest in going to the Moon, and consequently there were a lot of space-themed toys. These figures stand out in my memory because I used to own a set, and loved the little gadgets you could put together and play with. I have no idea where they went in the long-term, but when I opened the little box from Airfix the other day, I was beaming from ear to ear (not the Star Trek kind) almost immediately. Arriving in a small end-opening rectangular box, you get four sprues of pure white vinyl, unlike the old ones with were a cheesy yellow colour, even from new. Funnily enough, the illustration of the contents on the back of the box show them to be yellowish, but white is the colour, and a proper colour it is too. The copyright message tags them as from 1971, and time hasn't been too unkind to them. They hail from the era of angular sprues with no external runners to protect the parts, but vinyl isn't as prone to breakage as styrene, so everything is still attached to the sprues. There's a little bit of flash here and there, but most of it is on the sprues, so won't be an issue, and there are a few ejector pin marks too, most notably on the rear of the tyres and the astronauts' backs, although the latter will be covered by their backpacks anyway, so don't matter. Some of the design work is fanciful, including two types of lander that could allegedly be used for getting around faster than the moon rover that is also supplied. The vehicles are a little simplified for obvious reasons, but they still have that cool factor that makes me smile. In the box you get 59 parts to make up the following: 1 x Astronaut with a flag 2 x Astronaut with a probe/golf club 2 x Astronaut carrying a pair of containers 2 x Astronaut walking with his hands stretched out to his sides 2 x Astronaut with a video camera 2 x Astronaut with a personal one-man rocket-propelled travel platform 2 x Astronaut in a moonbuggy 2 x Astronaut on 1 x larger 2-seat lander-style travel platform A brief clean-up was done for this photo of some of the parts, but most of the figures were much as they came off the sprue. The round platform took the most clean-up. Preparation involves nipping the parts off the sprue and cutting the gate flush to allow them to sit straight on the moon's regolith, and then using an incredibly sharp blade to remove any small blemishes or flash that might be found. Be careful of cutting the pins too short on the various parts that slot together, as they're a bit hard to see amongst the white of the sprues. This can bite you in the bottom later on when you realise your rocketman won't stay on his platform, which is incidentally where the most flash is to be found in between the verticals. They're vinyl of course, so flexible and not likely to take standard paints if you get the modelling urge, but I believe that there are some flexible paints out there, or some that can be made flexible with the addition of something akin to PVA… my memory is hazy on this though, so have a Google if some bright spark doesn't help us out below. Conclusion I think they're awesome, but then I'm biased. They're still very cool IMHO, and surprisingly affordable if you're feeling nostalgic. Lots of play value for the 8 and older child, self included. What glues vinyl well? Nostalgically highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. #Airfix have released several more model kits from their range of #Vintage #Classic kits, bringing back old favourites from their impressive & extensive back catalogue of plastic #modelkits, available to buy online and in store now. https://www.wonderlandmodels.com/blog/article/airfix-vintage-classics-ships-tanks/
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