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  1. Austin K2/Y Ambulance (A1375) 1:35 Airfix A militarised version of the Austin K30 30-cwt truck chassis was the basis for this ambulance, known as the K2 chassis to which they fixed a boxy body made by coach-builders Mann Egerton. The load area had been developed by the Royal Army Medical Corps and was capable of carrying up to ten seated casualties or four stretcher-cases, loaded from the double doors at the rear, but with access from the crew cab, which had simplified canvas flaps instead of doors that must have made from a draughty ride during the winter. It was powered by a 6-cylinder 3.5L Austin engine with a non-synchromesh ‘crash’ four-speed gearbox that had to be practiced and fully understood in order to be mastered. Lots of crunching gears were the symptoms of someone unfamiliar with the box, which complained loudly if you didn’t get the revs and clutch timing just right. Double-declutching was a common technique to smooth out gear changes, and with a trailing wind it could reach a maximum speed of around 50mph. The type was very well-liked by its operators, and was a literal life-saver to its passengers. During HM Queen Elizabeth’s Auxiliary Territorial Service training, she learned to drive a K2 ambulance and probably still has memories of that gearbox. Many hundreds were made during WWII, and a few even found their way into American service, with the type seeing the end of WWII and some of the Korean War before it was phased out. My father was an RAF Ambulance driver in the 50s serving in Germany, and remembers the type, but he drove a German made Ford during his period driving his “blood wagon” as he calls it. The Kit This is a new tooling from Airfix’s recent 1:35 scale AFV line, many of which have been reboxings from Korean company Academy. There has been talk of this kit being tooled for them by Academy, and the style of the sprues plus the Korean language on the back of the decal sheet backs that up. The kit arrives in a sturdy top-opening red-themed box, and inside are three sand-coloured sprues plus a separate single bonnet/hood that has been slide-moulded for detail. A clear sprue and a small Photo-Etch (PE) sheet completes the build fodder, and the instruction booklet rounds out the package, with colour profiles on the rear pages. Detail is good throughout, although there is no engine within the bay, and the square vents on the roof means that the kit depicts the later variant, the earlier roof having circular rotary vents. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, making it up from two rails with four cross-braces and a H-shaped front section that is moulded as one piece. The middle brace, part D13 has a square raised section on the top surface that should be used as an alignment cue, as identified in the diagram. A depiction of the underside of the Austin motor and gearbox drops in from above, and the rear leaf-springs are added to mounts on the sides at the back of the chassis. This supports the bulbous two-part back axle, which fits onto two rectangular plates, and is joined to the back of the gearbox by a long drive-shaft. The front leaf-springs attach to the sides at the front that supports the axle beam, and has a two-part exhaust slipped under that exits near the back axle on the left. A steering arm links the two front wheels together, which are different from the rear wheels, although they both have three parts each, just different hubcap details. The front wheels are covered over by a single-piece wrap-around wheel arch, and the twin fuel tanks are made up from four-parts each before they are attached to slots in the sides of the chassis rail, taking care to use the correct one for each side, as they are handed. The floor of the load area is moulded as a complex single part that incorporates the cab as well as the load area. It has the driver’s foot pedals fixed in the planked front, and two stretchers are laid on the raised seating area, which has an outrigger glued to the edge to take the wider stretcher’s feet in grooves. The bulkhead between the two areas is installed with the separate door able to be posed open or closed, and an upstand for the spare wheel is laid on the floor in front of it, with an extra angled section to support the tyre. The door also has a clear pane in the top, and what appears to be a fold-down jump seat glued to the centre section in the load area side. The interior side walls of the body are separate from the exterior, and have another bench about half way up with cushions on the base, and another stretcher that fits into slots like the lower one. The end-caps glue into slots in the wall, and the walls are then fitted to grooves in the floor. The crew cab receives the two-part spare tyre that is fixed in place by a bracket so it doesn’t roll away during cornering or braking, with a shallow hump in the outer wall to accommodate its bulk. The driver’s seat drops into place on two L-shaped lugs, and here there’s a shallow sink-mark in the centre of the seat part, which should be filled if you think it will be seen. The dashboard is a wide, straight part that lives up to its name, and has decals for the instruments, plus a steering wheel on long column that fits under the dash, then is mounted on the raised centre console, which has two levers located in front of it. A simple padded box seat is added for the co-driver, who also has a small rectangular pad fitted to the wall behind him, the lucky thing. At this point the outer walls are glued into position on the body, taking care to paint the sections that will be visible through the larger internal windows, as well as an empty rack for a pair of rifles next to the driver’s seat, and another pad that is located on the co-driver’s side. The rear frame starts closing in the back of the body with added hinges at the top and bottom of each side, then the windscreen with two clear panels is attached to the cab, covered over with a two-layer sloped roof to keep the drivers dry. At the rear the main roof is also two layers, adding extra detail to the interior, and helped by adding rectangular PE flanges to the edges of the two roof vents, after which you can put in the two back doors in either the open or closed position. The body is then flipped over onto its back to fit a pair of boxes just behind the cab, and another two at the very rear, the latter made from five parts each. The body and chassis are joined together, and while the model is still inverted, the rear wheels are bracketed by a large pair of angled mudguards, the forward two having brackets holding them in position. Flipping her back over onto her wheels again, you can choose whether to have the back steps deployed or folded in, and build up the engine cowling. Oddly, there’s a radiator core inside the cowling that won’t really be seen, as the radiator cowling is a plastic part with a mesh texture moulded into the panels, albeit very nice texture. The top cowling is on its own sprue fragment, as it has been slide-moulded to achieve crisp detail on all three sides, including a nicely done set of louvers on the sides. This drops over the engine bay, sealing it off from view. The canvas side-doors are depicted rolled up at the front of the openings, and a wing-mirror is mounted above it on each side of the windscreen frame, then the side-lights and headlights with a choice of clear lens or hooded shroud are fixed on the wings and bonnet sides, with the front bumper bar mounted in front of the radiator on two brackets. A circular PE placard is mounted to the right wing on a PE bracket, finishing the build. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, and you’d think they’d all be boring green, but they’re not. The different schemes are not only disparate, but one of them is also quite fun, with plenty of masking required in order to do it justice. From the box you can build one of the following: 30 Corps, Motor Ambulance Convoy, Royal Army Service Corps, North West Europe, 1944 British Army, North Africa, 1940 British Army, Alexandria, Egypt, 1942 (Not the one from Ice Cold in Alex) Auxiliary Territorial Service, England, 1944 Driven by Princess Elizabeth Decals appear to be printed by a Korean company in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin high gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s a really nice modern tooling of the almost ubiquitous British WWII ambulance, and may well feature in a few Ice Cold in Alex dioramas soon. It’s a shame there’s no engine, but how many would have been exposed anyway? There is resin for that if you’re so minded. At time of writing, it’s available at a discount with a FREE Airfix branded pint glass. What are you waiting for? Highly recommended. Tea-Total Option Beer Drinker’s Option Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hi All, Whilst commencing my 1:72 Stringbag build, I also felt like a bit of 1:48 indulgence. Seeing as @mark.au and @bigbadbadge have just started similar Spit builds, I thought 'well why not? I am a grown man, and nobody can tell me not to' (with the obvious exceptions ). It was lurking right near the top of the stash, so I've just about got time to finish it prior to the start of the impending P38 GB (which I'm also rather excited about as it will be my first GB). So here's the box art: Here's the sprues: They look lovely! I've got myself a few extras for this one: Although the box schemes are both quite attractive I've had a hankering for a SEAC Spit for a little while, so I also invested in the lovely Xtradecals set: Here's what's on offer: This allows for some lovely schemes for both highback and bubbletop versions. I nearly plumped for the DG/LSG 208 Sqn scheme, but I've chosen to model SM888, which is an aircraft of 28 Sqn RAF, based at Kuala Lumpur in 1946. Now although this falls outside my normal self-imposed WW2 restriction, a quick bit of research informed me that SM888 was first delivered to theatre in June 1945, so technically I'm home & hosed. Here's a photo of the aircraft: There's a few interesting things to note from the photo. Firstly, the scheme shows a red spinner, but the photo looks to be much lighter (Sky?) - conceivably the photo is from 28 Sqn's time in India, so I may go with the photo? Secondly, the camouflage pattern is non-standard on the fuselage as noted in the scheme. Thirdly, it looks as if the aircraft is fitted with a slipper tank, although it could just be the larger radiators fitted for the mighty Griffon - perhaps @Troy Smith might know? Anyway, the kit looks superb, so it will be a pleasant contrast seeing this develop alongside the Stringbag (as well as the concurrent Spit builds of Chris and Mark), Thanks for looking, Roger
  3. Hi All, My next completion is ICM's lovely 1:32 Gladiator Mk.II. I couldn't resist the move to larger scale for this kit, which I had seen built to great effect on these pages. I decided to model as KW-T, an aircraft of 615 (County of Surrey) Sqn RAF, based at St Inglevert, France in April 1940. Here's the scheme as presented: I could not find any photos of the aircraft, but here is a photo of several 615 aircraft, presumably in France (copyright IWM): You can see that the aircraft is finished in the rather complex 4 colour camo which was standard on the Gladiator at this time: Dark Earth and Dark Green, 'shadowed' by Light Earth and Light Green, over black/white undersides. The scheme also sports some rather natty red & white wheel hubs, along with a red repair patch over the port roundel. I added a Yahu instrument panel and HGW harness, as well as a set of Montex masks - otherwise the build was OOB. Here's the WIP if anybody is interested: Here's a couple of shots of the lovely interior: Finally, here is the finished article: I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed this build - the ICM kit is superb, and I fully intend to build the Sea Gladiator at some future date. Thanks to all who have offered help and encouragement along the way - it has been sincerely appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  4. Luftwaffe Rudder Pedals PRINT (672292) 1:72 Eduard Brassin Although this set arrives in a flat package, the directly 3D printed parts are safe inside a clear plastic clamshell box inside the package, which also has a sticky pad inside to prevent the parts from rattling about. This set has six printed resin parts on two print platforms, with the parts attached to the base via thin tendril-like fingers that are easy to cut off and sand the little upstands away, leaving the parts ready for action. It contains six rudder pedals on a single printing base, so three pairs with excellent detail, far beyond what you could achieve in either injection moulded styrene or standard resin. The only real competitor would be Photo-Etch (PE) brass, but folding and gluing brass isn’t for everyone, especially at this scale. They’re drop-in replacements for any kit parts, and come with the actuators behind them, so should be pretty easy to put in place in your cockpit once you’ve cleaned away the tiny attachment points of the fingers, especially those with a glass nose like the He.111. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. I reviewed this model and as I didn't even finish a single complete kit last year, I wanted to get at least a couple done this year, which I've now managed It's the Dora Wings Vultee Vengeance Mk.II in 1:48, and it was painted up with Gunze Mr Color of the Aqueous and the other ones (I forget the name - they start with C, rather than H). It's pretty much OOB apart from a few bits that I lost and had to replace by scratch-building them. I'm going to have to have a word with that wormhole on my workbench soon Anyway - it's picture time! Note: the tail-wheel went for a lie down just before I took this pic. ...and that me old dears is it. I hope you enjoyed looking at the pics as much as I did building the kit, and if it encourages you to pick one up, just go for it. The fit is good, the finish is excellent, and it's a doozy of a kit of a weird and ugly looking aircraft, which is probably why it appealed to me Next up is the painting of the Special 1:48 Hobby V-1 Reichenberg and the delayed completion of the Eduard 1:48 Zero from the tail-end of last year. if you can bear to watch along, I'd be glad to see y'all
  6. Battle of France, Spring 1940 (DS3515) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd After WWII began following the invasion of Poland in 1939, there was a lull from a British point of view, that was sometimes referred to as the Phoney War. Suddenly in Spring 1940, the Nazi behemoth awoke and rolled through Belgium, the Netherlands and into France, using the Blitzkrieg tactic to plough through static defences that were more suited to WWI, leaving trailing units to mop-up, while they pushed on toward Paris. They also steamrolled the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) along with the brave French soldiers, who held off the Germans while the flotilla of Little Ships helped to rescue over 300,000 troops from Dunkirk, turning defeat into a victory of sorts that gave Britain another chance to stave off the Nazis during the crucial Battle of Britain that followed. The Boxed Set This set from ICM sees the amalgamation of three individual AFV kits, plus three separate figure sets, giving you six kits in one box. The kits are squeezed into a compact box, each one in its own resealable bag, while the instruction booklets are collected within a card folder for your ease, with the decals slipped inside the three larger booklets. There are two Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.A half-tracks with almost identical sprues, differing by one tasked with general troop carriage as an APC (/1), the other having radio gear and a bedstead antennae on the roof (/6). The third vehicle is an le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz.2), which also has a set of radio gear in the rear. The figure sets include a set of German Infantry, Drivers, and Command Crew, all of which we have seen before either separately, or included in other boxings from ICM. The Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1 was the mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but was flexible enough to also take up many other tasks within the Nazi War Machine, from Anti-Aircraft duties to Howitzer carriage and back again to armoured reconnaissance, which led to a lot of variants. With two steering wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough. It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and aerial bombardment, where the armour would concentrate the blast and reduce the interior to a tangled mess. The Ausf.A was used at the beginning of WWII alongside the Ausf.B, and was generally fitted with an MG.34 on the front cab wall, operated from inside. There were more than 20 official variants and more unofficial field modifications, but despite their seemingly ubiquitous nature in German service, not many were preserved after the war, and they are highly sought after now, with many examples being based upon post-war builds from Czech factories that have been made to look as convincing as possible by their restorers. While the purist may notice the differences in films, they're still a huge improvement on repainted American half-tracks from an authenticity point of view. Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A (35101) This kit consists of five sprues of light grey styrene, a clear sprue, and two spruelets of flexible "rubbery" parts. A small decal sheet is found slipped inside the glossy colour printed instruction booklet, completing the package. This is a full interior kit, and has the engine, crew compartment and a substantial number of interior parts, including weapons, stowage and personal belongings, so the build should result in a highly detailed model. First impressions are good, and after the initial pages detailing with sprue diagrams, the instructions jump straight into the build with the underfloor pan, which has its ladder chassis added and is then added to the interior floor, and has stowage bins added on the sponsons. The angular hull sides are held in the correct angle by butting up against the sides of the bins, and the rear bulkhead with door cut-out completes alignment. The engine compartment is fabricated from various panels including an armoured sump-guard, and work commences on the engine and compartment fittings. Suspension, steering gear and the block are assembled and fitted in turn, with colour call-outs to help you get the painting right. The firewall is fitted out with the driver's controls and inserted into a ledge within the hull, after which some engine ancillaries fit to the other side of the bulkhead. The driver's seat, bench seats and a range of tools, weapons and spare ammunition are installed with the upper hull plates off, while a hollow former marks the space between the cab and crew compartment, which will be hidden under the upper hull part when it is installed. A number of vision hatches and their hinges are supplied as separate parts, as are the engine compartment doors, plus some small flush forward stowage bins. Spare rifles and machine gun barrels are fitted to the underside of the upper hull on racks, with radio gear, drum mags for the machine guns, after which it is glued to the lower hull, trapping the two hinge frames between its halves. The angled doors are then fitted to those hinges, allowing them to operate if you have been careful with the glue. It's unusual to get this far into an AFV model without building up the wheels, but it's at this stage that it's done here. The sing-arms and stub axles slot into holes in the sides of the ladder rail, with bump-stops fitted where applicable, and the interleaved wheels are then slid onto the axles with the drive sprocket at the front. The two steering wheels are made up from two-part hubs, and have rubberised tyres fitted to them before slotting them onto the front axles, and with the three layers of road wheels installed, the tracks can be wound round the lengths, and glued with normal glue. The build is finished off with a shielded machine gun mount at the front, a tripod mount, pioneer tools, fire extinguisher, number plate, rear machine gun mount, rear view mirrors, headlamps, width indicators and aerial. Markings With this being an early mark, it's any colour as long as it's Panzer Grey, with only the number plates and the style of Balkenkreuz to differentiate between vehicles. From the box you can build one of the following: WH 726465 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940 WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 WH 95709 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, Nov 1941 Decals are printed on a bright blue paper, have good register, colour density and sharpness, with decals for the driver's binnacle included on the sheet. Sd.Kfz.151/6 Ausf.A (35102) This kit is essentially the same as that above, but with the addition of another sprue that contains parts for the bed-frame antenna that surrounds the open crew area and the radio gear that it carries. Markings 2 markings are supplied in any colour you want as long as its Panzer Grey. From the sheet you can build one of the following: WH 179467 Command Vehicle of General H Guderian, Poland, 1939 WH 609084 1941 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz.2) After 1933, Germany began to build a modern army. The light off-road passenger car was built by the BMW-Werk Eisenach under the designation BMW 325, as well as Hanomag (Type 20 and Stoewer. The vehicles were used as troop carriers (Kfz. 1), by repair-and-maintenance squads (Kfz. 2/40), by artillery reconnaissance sonic measurement squads (Kfz. 3) and by troop-level aerial defence (Kfz. 4). Almost 13,000 units were built. Between 1940 and 1943, only Stoewer continued to build the R 200 Spezial without the four-wheel steering (Typ 40). The cars weighed 1,775 kg empty (1,700 kg without the four-wheel steering). 90% of all military branches rejected the vehicle as "unfit for wartime service" in a 1942 enquiry, while the much simpler, lighter and cheaper Volkswagen Kübelwagen proved to be far superior in basically every respect. The bag contains four sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The chassis is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is thread through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4-cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three-part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added, with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above. Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. The additional sprue contains the radio gear that fixes onto the covered rear of the vehicle and palettes, with an aerial strapped to the side of the body. Markings The small decal sheet contains registration numbers for four vehicles, along with unit ID insignia. Three of the four vehicles are painted in the overall tank grey with field grey roof canvas, while the fourth is painted for desert operations. From the box you can build one of the following: Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), 29th Artillery Regiment, France 1940 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), 3./JG51, Smolensk, Russia August 1941 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), 6 P.D, Russia, September 1941 Le.gl.Einheits-Pkw (Kfz-2), Ramcke Brigade, Libya 1942 German Drivers 1939-45 (35642) This small set from ICM gives you four figures to fill those empty seats. The bag contains a single sprue of figures in grey styrene with some accessories surrounding the parts - the pic below is sand coloured, but don't let that distract you. It's safe to say that these figures are all posed in the seated position, and two are dressed in standard Wehrmacht uniforms with a forage and patrol cap on their heads. One other figure has a smock coat over his uniform with a lace-up neck, and the final one is an officer with a rather relaxed hand draped over the top of his steering wheel. Two of the drivers forage cap and smock guy are looking to their left, while patrol cap guy seems to be looking at his steering wheel, perhaps at a map? Each figure comes broken down as torso, individual legs and arms, head and hat, with a couple of ammo pouches for the belt around the smock bedecked gentleman. The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper, with part numbers and colour call outs that reference a chart on the rear that shows Revell and Tamiya colour codes, plus the name of the colour in English and Ukrainian (that's a guess). Sculpting and moulding is excellent as we have come to expect from ICM, and the figures will doubtless fit a lot of applications without any adjustment, although that isn't guaranteed, so prepare yourself for a little sanding and such to adapt them. German Command Vehicle Crew 1939-42 (35644) This set is also a single sprue of mid-grey styrene and a short instruction sheet. On the sprue are four figures, including a driver figure and two radio operators, one adjusting his set whilst listening in on headphones, the other with his headphones round his neck writing on a pad that is resting on his left knee. The officer of course is wearing his rank appropriate cap, binoculars and riding breeches, and is resting his right arm on the lip of the vehicle's walls and his corresponding foot propped up on a box within the vehicle. His other hand is looped through his belt/over his holster and he is leaning forward as if he is interested in what's going on. The accessories are fairly sparse due to the duties of the crew, and consist of bands for headphones, binoculars, pistol holster and notepad, while the figures themselves are broken down into separate legs, arms, torso, head with moulded in caps, or separate cap for the officer. The driver figure has his arms split at the elbow to obtain a more realistic position while maintaining detail on the hands etc., and to give a little adjustment when fitting his hands onto the steering wheel. German Infantry 1939-42 (35639) This set consists of two main sprues, one containing four infantry figures that are walking or standing around, the other that supplies a lot of accessories, bags, pouches and weapons to complete the figures. As usual all the figures are extremely well sculpted, have sensible mould-lines and parts breakdown, with separate heads, torsos, legs and arms, plus hats for those not wearing forage caps. An officer is standing with binoculars ready looking at a map (not with the binoculars, silly!), another rank is pointing into the distance with an MP40 in his other hand, while the third and fourth characters are carrying an MG34 machine gun and copious ammo in the form of a belt of link round the gunner’s neck, and a pair of ammo boxes in the hands of the assistant. The accessory sprue is covered in the standard gear seen by German soldiers of this era, plus the aforementioned weapons and a Kar98 for the shoulder of the ammo carrier. A tiny sprue also carries two lengths of ammo for the hungry breech of the MG34. Conclusion These sets from ICM are great for everyone. The modeller gets a lot of quality plastic for their money in a very condensed form to keep the stash volume expansion to a minimum, while ICM are reusing recent toolings to generate income coupled with great value. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Hawker Tempest Mk.V (A02109) 1:72 Airfix The Hawker Tempest was a development of the Typhoon, originally called the Typhoon II, it was envisioned to solve all of the issues that bothered its designer Sidney Camm. The main difference was a much thinner wing which reduced drag and improved aerodynamics of the laminar airflow. The wings could accommodate 20mm Hispano cannons that packed an enormous punch, and lent itself to the low-level attack role that it was designed for. The engines intended to power the aircraft were the Centaurus, Griffon and Sabre IV, and initially the Rolls-Royce Vulture, which was terminated early in the design phase, leaving the three options going forward and necessitating substantially different cowlings to accommodate their differing shapes. The Mark V was split into two series, with the Series 1 having the Sabre II that had a similar chin intake to the Typhoon and many Typhoon parts, while the later Series 2 used fewer Typhoon parts and had their cannon barrels shortened so they fitted flush with the leading edge on the wings. A few of the early Mk.Vs were used as test beds, while other marks were developed alongside it, such as the Mk.IIs with Centaurus engines and a cylindrical cowl; Mk.VIs which had a very short production run; the Mk.III and Mk.IV that used two types of Griffon engine and didn't see service, and later the TT.Mk.5, which is where a lot of Mk.Vs ended their days towing targets. The Kit This is a new tooling from Airfix in what I jokingly call “the one poo scale” to irritate my fellow Moderator, Julien who calls it “the one true scale”. In reality I have no issues with any scale, but prefer my models in 1:48 for aircraft. Truthishly, I’ve been more impressed with each passing release and the detail being squeezed into this scale, so you can be assured of my equanimity during this review. The kit arrives in a standard red-themed top-opening box, and inside are four sprues in Airfix’s usual light grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, decal sheet and a folded instruction booklet with spot colour printing. The sprues are filled with well-detailed parts and some clever engineering, which should please anyone in the market for a 1:72 Tempest V or anyone that appreciates a nicely crafted kit. Construction begins with the seat, which has a slightly soft quilted rear cushion and is attached to the head armour, with lateral tubular mouldings, which sets the tone for the cockpit being made in sub-assemblies. In order to close up the fuselage however, there are a number of other sections that need completing first. The simple two-part L-shaped tail-wheel bay is first; The instrument panel with clear gunsight/compass and instrument decal; then the three-part intake grille is made up with its circular centre. Two 0.6mm holes are made in the fuselage halves before all four assemblies are added to the starboard fuselage half after painting the cockpit walls, so the fuselage can be closed up. The cockpit sill insert is inserted into the oversize aperture later on. The lower wings are full-span, and are stiffened by adding the spar/wheel bay walls and the cannon barrels, plus the closed-up main bay doors if you’re going for a gear-up model. Clear landing lights slot into the holes, and another is added into the belly, and a few more holes are drilled. Surprisingly, the upper wings are full-span too, and have the cockpit floor moulded in with the foot trays ready for the rudder pedals and control column to be added once the wings are closed up. Rudder pedals at 1:72 is good to see, although only until you close up the fuselage and consign them to darkness, most likely. The completed wing assembly is then joined to the fuselage by inserting the leading edge into the back of the chin bulge, and dropping the trailing edge into place, gluing it all closed once done. The elevators are each single parts with P & S on their tabs, but you get a separate rudder to add to the tail fin, which you can offset for a more candid look. Beneath the tail you can close up the tail-wheel bay for in-flight, or pop a two-part tail wheel into the bay with a pair of doors installed at an angle on either side. The main gear is a single strut with retraction mechanism and captive door, and a short ancillary door that is fixed to the outer edge of the bay before inserting the main legs. A retraction jack and triangular inner bay door is then inserted into the two inner edges and the 5-spoke wheels are placed on the axles, with another 4-spoke set left on the sprues. Both sets have some sag engineered into the bottom of the tyres to give the impression of weight. Behind the chin take is an outlet ramp with a cooling flap that is added while the underside is completed by fitting L-shaped pitot; crew step and aerial, the latter having scrap diagrams to show their correct orientation. The six exhaust stubs are each made from two parts that interlink to create the stacks for each side, so they can be slotted into the sides of the engine cowling, then the single-part prop is given a choice of different shaped two-part spinners, before it is placed against a tubular insert that has the axle pushed through to join the prop carefully with as little glue as necessary. Once the glue is dry the tubular insert is pushed into the front of the fuselage and cemented in place, leaving you with a spinning prop if you’re careful. There’s a pilot figure included on the sprues, with a detailed painting guide if you wish to use him, and you also have a choice of open or closed canopies, fixing the windscreen first, and either butting the canopy up to the screen or leaving it open as far back as the head armour. An aerial is fixed to the fuselage spine at an angle, and another pair of scrap diagrams help with orientation. There are a pair of clear fuel tanks included on the clear sprue, but they aren’t needed for this boxing, and there are no stencils for the clear pylons. Markings There are two decal options on the sheet, as is common with Airfix kits, and you have a choice of one in D-Day stripes and one without. From the box you can build one of the following: Wing Commander Roland Prosper “Bee” beamont, No.150 Wing, Newchurch, Kent, England, June 1944 No.486 Sqn., Royal New Zealand Air Force, RAF Castle Camps, Cambs., England, April 1944 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 This is an excellent new tool from Airfix with plenty of detail baked-in. There’s no doubt that there will be more boxings, as indicated by the unused drop-tanks and wheels, so keep a look out to expand your squadron. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. This kit has been lying in my stash for quite some time, after a really horrible start to 2022, I decided to do a quick OOB build. The Fly kit is a reasonable easy build, I was a little sceptical about the "Wellenmuster" finish so decided to search the net for an alternative finish. I eventually found photos of other camouflaged Grunau Baby 11b's which appeared to have been camouflaged with paintbrushes!! I am not sure of the colours used for camouflage and decided on RLM 62. For the main finish I used Vallejo Aged White. The result was as follows :- Cheers, Andy
  9. Lots of issues to improve upon on: brush strokes, canopy painting, raised paint lines between schemes, filling and sanding etc. And I got images to work!
  10. Used Easter to finish the second diorama from the Pacific (after Kawasaki Hien). Here are some photos: And some un-photoshopped ones As always, thanks for viewing. Comments welcome
  11. USAAF Pilots 1944-45 Paint Set (3012) ICM via Hannants Ltd ICM have long been a plastic model company that is well-known to most of us, but until recently they haven’t had their own paint range, which has now changed. There are 77 acrylic colours in the initial collection, plus three varnishes in matt, satin and gloss, all in the same 12ml plastic bottles. A conversion chart is available that will give you equivalents in AK, Tamiya, Humbrol, Gunze, Testors, RLM, RAL, FS, Revell, AK Real Color, and even Citadel paints, although there aren’t many direct cross-overs in that last one. The paint is undiluted, so will need thinning by between 40-60% with water or acrylic thinner for use with an airbrush, and they naturally have a semi-gloss finish that can be adjusted later by the use of varnishes, and are waterproof when dry like most acrylics. During my testing I used Ultimate Thinners, my go-to thinners for any acrylic paint, which helps keep the number of large bottles in my spray booth to a minimum. The paint comes out of the bottle quite thick and viscous, so it’s possible you’ll have to dilute for serious brush painting use although I used it neat during testing, so a small bottle will go a long way in either case. It sprays well when diluted, and like a lot of acrylics a light coat is best initially, then followed quickly after by heavier coats until you have the coverage you require. It dries quite quickly, and is touch-dry in 5-10 minutes in those long-gone summery 20-23oc temperatures, unless you’re in the antipodes as I write this. I have used them to create a number of spray-out cards and spoons for other sets in the range, and they both spray and brush very well, with little issue other than my inexpert application by brush. We recently reviewed a 1:32 figure set from ICM called “A Photo to Remember”, which depicted three pilots posing for a portrait in front of their aircraft, which you can read here. This set is intended to complement these figures, and it includes the following colours, but it would be useful to add white if you don’t already have it for lightening the colours to create many other shades: 1002 Black 1008 Deep Brown 1052 Hull Red 1068 Olive Green 1044 Basic Skin Tone 1059 Green Ochre On the rear of the box are drawings of the figures that are identical to the set mentioned above, with colour call-outs in their own codes, and suggests that they may also be useful for additional ICM kits, such as 1:48 USAF Pilots & Groundcrew 48088, 1:32 A Photo to Remember 32116 and 1:32 USAF Pilots 1941-45 32104. That’s just a few ICM models, but I doubt they’d complain if you used them in conjunction with other manufacturers’ kits. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Panzerjäger (ISBN: 9788412372717) Weapons & Organisation of Wehrmacht’s Anti-Tank Units (1935-45) Abteilung 502 via AK Interactive Even before WWII the Nazis realised that towed artillery could be difficult to move around, and that self-propelled artillery was both easier to deploy and faster between locations, with none of the fuss and hassle of folding the trails and stashing the ammo and equipment back in the towing vehicle. Initially these were smaller calibre guns mounted on captured chassis of obsolete tanks such as the French R35 and the Czech T38, which were often ridiculous-looking vehicles due to the size of their casemates. Later models used obsolete German tanks such as the Panzer I, II and III, eventually using the Panzer IV, which was still relatively modern. Their final attempts to create the ultimate Panzerjäger met with mixed success, such as the StuG and Hetzer types that were well-regarded, the Jagdpanther and Jagdpanther, whilst impressive and terrifying, were not efficient use of their dwindling resources both in terms of men and materials. The Jagdpanther was over-complicated, and the Jagdpanzer was simply too heavy for its drive-train, leaving many of them stranded on the battlefield, abandoned by their crews. The Book This book by Ricardo Recio Cardona and illustrated by Carlos de Diego Vaquerizo catalogues the history of the type from its genus in the mid-30s to the end of WWII. It is not a picture-book, but there are many interesting pictures throughout with informative captions accompanying them. The text in between the photos and illustrations concerns the creation of the battalions and units that would form the backbone of the German Self-Propelled Gun force. It also details the different vehicles that they used, including the captured vehicles that were stripped of their upper structure and had casemates of varying sizes installed instead to house whatever artillery piece was flavour of the month. The book is hard bound with a matt black cover that is covered with profiles on the front and photos on the rear with 112 pages of thick satin-finished paper within, plus two blank card leaves separating the pages from the cover. The quality of the contemporary photos is excellent for the most part, although some have a little grain and pixelation due to their source material being less than we expect from modern hi-def digital sources. The illustrations are excellent and highly realistic, with their captions usually detailing the sources that gave the artist inspiration. Many of the photographs are candid in nature, showing the troops and crews at rest or hard at work maintaining, or even operating their vehicles. Other photos depict the vehicles after the war in either an abandoned or destroyed state, and all of these are perfect inspiration for dioramas for any modeller. The text is informative, although as it has been translated from another language, occasionally an unusual choice of words pops up that jars ever-so-slightly to a native speaker. It’s easy enough to understand though, so isn’t an issue, just worth mentioning. It's amazing how many different types the Germans fielded during the war, and it’s hardly surprising that they found it difficult to support them with spares and repairs. Conclusion This is a very interesting book that will keep your mind entertained as well as your eyeballs. Tons of pictures in between the text, and a great deal of information throughout the pages. It’s a little poignant and sad seeing the happy smiling faces of the crews, many of whom wouldn’t have made it through the war, and it’s scary how young they all were. In our increasingly online world, you’ll be interested to hear that you can buy these books digitally by using the AK Interactive app on either iTunes of Google Play. There's a link from the site. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Hawker Typhoon (inc. Tornado) 3rd Edition ISBN: 9781912932245 Valiant Wings Publishing Although the Hawker Typhoon was originally intended to be a direct replacement for the ageing Hurricane from their own stable, it never quite got around to fulfilling the role of medium altitude interceptor, but it did find its own niche before being replaced by the Tempest at the tail end of the piston-engined domination of the fighter era. It was tough, with a thick wing that could carry plenty of fuel and weapons, originally intended to fit 12 brownings, but ending up with two 20mm cannons in each wing, and thanks to its powerful Napier Sabre engine it could catch and keep up with the recently developed Fw.190 that had caused the Supermarine engineers to go scurrying back to their drawing boards to improve the Spitfire’s performance again. Its thick wing and other issues were to blame for its comparatively short tenure, to be replaced by the Tempest that bore a familial resemblance unless you were looking at the radial cowling variants that lacked the prominent chin intake. The Book This is the third edition of this particular book that we've reviewed, the second coinciding roughly with both the 1:72 and 1:24 offerings from Airfix, which weren't included in the original back in 2011, as well as the new car-door variant that was released in 2016. In the last few years we have had the Eduard reboxings of the Hasegawa kit too, and now after a seemly pause, the 3rd Edition of this useful and interesting book appears. Updates and expansions have been applied of course, although perhaps fewer than the differences between editions 1 and 2. It is perfect-bound and extends to 176 pages on glossy paper, with tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, isometric drawings by Jacek Jackiewicz, plus smaller scale models by Libor Jekl and Steve A Evans, and two 1:24 Airfix kits by Dani Zamarbide and John Wilkes. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the content is broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. There is also information to be had on the Tornado (no, not that one), which was the progenitor of the Typhoon and looked somewhere between it and the Hurricane it was intended to replace – if you squint. The headings remain the same, laid out as below: Airframe Chapters Evolution - Tornado Evolution - Typhoon Typhoon Production Variants Drawing-Board Projects Camouflage & Markings Survivor Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters Hawker Typhoon Kits Building a Selection Building a Collection In Detail: The Hawker Typhoon Appendices i Tornado & Typhoon Kit List ii Tornado & Typhoon Accessory List iii Typhoon Decal List iv Tornado & Typhoon Production v Bibliography A set of fold-out plans in 1:48 are still there at the very rear of the book, and everything is up to Valiant's usual standards of research and print quality, the plans penned by Jacek Jackiewicz, and as you can see at the top, they have reused the cover illustration of a pair of Typhoons besting a German flying boat over the briny. Conclusion If you missed out on either of the original editions, are looking forward to building one or more of the newer kits, or just have an interest in the Typhoon in general, this book should be of great interest. As usual, my favourite section is the isometric drawings showing the variants and the projects that didn’t reach service for one reason or another. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Soviet Officers at Field Briefing (35365) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The success of any military operation depends largely on its briefings before any significant battle, allocating tasks to the various combat units to ensure that the plans go according to the commander’s wishes as far as possible. When a building wasn’t available, literal fields would sometimes take the place of a table as the location for these get-togethers. This set depicts just such a briefing with the various branches of the WWII Soviet army taking part, from infantry to artillery and tankers, each with their own variation on the uniform. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped end-opening figure box, and contains four sprues in grey styrene and a small sheet with the sprue diagrams and a number of maps for you to cut out and add to your finished model. There are five figures on the sprues, all standing for the briefing and sporting different styles of uniform with the common theme of knee-high boots. Three of the figures are tankers, one in overalls, one in fairly standard Soviet era uniform and the third in a leather jacket holding his padded helmet in one hand. The other two are either infantry or artillery and have standard uniforms, with their caps differentiating them. The comrade in the flat-topped cap is either bored or synchronising his watch, while the gentleman in the cloth cap is poring over a large map, which is supplied as a styrene part to which you can glue a map from the sheet, with others folded and used around their meeting. There are plenty of small-arms on the two smaller sprues, with map cases, field glasses and a case, plus a tiny magazine for the Tokarev TT-33 pistol, a Nagant M1895 revolver, two flare guns, one of which is broken open waiting for a spare flare that is quite well-disguised as a sprue-spur in the vicinity of the two smaller pistol holsters. The larger holster is for the flare-gun, but during my research I could only find later post-war holsters of this pattern, so check your references before using it to ensure it is appropriate. There are two weapons sprues, so everything is doubled up. At the bottom of the rear of the box is a table with colour swatches plus codes for Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and colour names to assist you with choosing your shades from whatever brand you use. Conclusion Another great set of figures from MiniArt, with excellent sculpting, realistic poses, drape of material and sensible breakdown of parts. Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
  15. German 20mm Flak 38 Crew (84418) 1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The Nazis made extensive use of Flak guns of numerous types during WWII, mostly in their original anti-aircraft role, but later in the war when the Allies were advancing toward their homeland, those same guns were deployed against the oncoming troops with their barrels depressed almost as far as they’d go to make mincemeat of the approaching troops and armoured vehicles. The 20mm+ rounds that Flak cannons fired were incredibly effective against humans and lightly armoured vehicles, but could still incapacitate a Sherman if they impacted the tracks, vision blocks or any of the weapons systems, rendering them useless during that attack at least, with the opportunity of taking out any crew that tried to escape. This figure set is a reboxing of an older Trimaster offering under the Hobby Boss banner, and although they’re not brand-new, they’re still pretty good, holding up well against the more modern sets, with the possible exception of the Kar98 rifles that are a little soft compared to the best available today. If you’ve got any spares from other sets, they could be used instead. The set arrives in an end-opening figure box with a single sprue in sand-coloured styrene filling the available space. There are four figures on the sprue, and their instructions and painting guide can be found on the rear of the box along with a colour chart giving codes in Mr Hobby (acrylic & lacquer), Acrysion, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol brands. The figures are all engaged in rolling their Flak unit manually, probably adjusting its position after unhitching from an unseen towing vehicle, or moving to meet the challenge of an newly discovered threat. There is a yellow arrowed bubble on the back of the box stating “Flak38 not included!” just in case you wondered, but they forgot to mention the grass in the box art painting. Where’s my grass??? Anyway, getting back to sensible-land, three of the figures are stood leaning at a sharp angle while they push with both hands against the gun, while the fourth is crouched down with his hands out trying to coax one wheel to move, which you can see on the box art above. Breakdown of the figure parts are pretty standard, comprising separate torso, arms, legs, heads and separate helmets, all of which are covered with a camo fabric. The crew are all wearing later war pea-camo smocks with elasticated cuffs that are well-depicted with realistic drape and form. They all have accessories such as mag-pouches, bedrolls, gasmask canisters and entrenching tools, plus water bottles and mess-kit in its canister. Your only choice of weapon is the slightly-soft appearing Kar98s, which in the box art are slung over their shoulders out of the way, so you might consider using tape, lead sheet or some other slim, flexible medium to create the slings for a bit of additional realism. Conclusion These figures are well-sculpted, and would look equally good pushing any form of wheeled artillery, or even a small vehicle if you felt the urge to diversify. There’s a tiny amount of flash creeping in around the edges of some parts, but it’s mostly on the sprues, although that’s only the work of moments to remove. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Good day, colleagues and sympathizers. For a review, I present to you a model whose appearance in plastic I have been waiting for a long time. American one-and-a-half-ton Chevrolet G506 truck in the G7107 variant. The second largest truck delivered to the USSR under Lend-Lease (47700 units!) And here in my hands is the cherished box from ICM. Start building! At first everything seemed fine... We are studying the prototype. The first thing that catches your eye is the body ... Incomprehensible short beams, the absence of a box at the back from below. And the body is metal. Disorder. Sawed through. I didn't bother with the cabin, and it looks more or less like it. We redo the fat bumper and its fasteners at the same time (hello, thin metal and evergreen), slightly modify the front grille. Making new wipers. Throw out native wheels with native hubs. Wheels - PanzerArt from GMC, self-made hubs. Adding some wiring. We fill the body. An canvas made of tracing paper, all sorts of junk from stocks. The most interesting task was to make straps on the left side of the body similar to the photo. It seems to have worked out. The driver is ICM, the comrades in the body are hybrid from ICM, Zvezda and MSD. A pair of machine guns, a Zvezda and an ICM. Coloring - Akan, Tamiya, GSI. Marking is a stencil. Oil and pigments - AK, MIG, etc. Enjoy watching! Thanks for attention.
  17. Hi guy new member here I want to show you guy my newest project. I know there is a lot of incredible Nagato builds out there so i want my Nagato to be difference. So I took the inspiration from the opening scene from the famous WW2 movie " Tora Tora Tora" and recreated into 1/350 scale. It took me an good amount of time and effort to pull this off. In the end more than 450+ figures were use and I most proud is the stern of the ship were in 1939 Yamamoto became commander in chief of the Combined Fleet. I scratch built the entire Marine Band on that one. Thank you for watching and be safe wherever you are and keep modeling. Cheers from Viet Nam
  18. British at War Volume #2(AK130003) AK Interactive World War II saw the British forces engaging in a huge variety of combat in most theatres of war, sometimes using British designed and manufactured equipment, other times with imported Lend/Lease hardware to battle the evils of the Axis powers. This book is edition #2 of tomes that are becoming a series as additional volumes become available. Sadly, we missed volume #1 but here’s number two, and it’s packed with articles on a pretty large handful of builds from many talented modellers. It arrives in a thick card cover that has glossy exterior and folded-in dust-jacket style flaps, and inside are 184 pages on glossy paper, fully printed in colour with English and Spanish text on the left and right sides of the pages respectively. After a short introduction, the book is broken down into the following sections: Captured British by Rubén González Hernández 06 A 1:35 Mirror Models CMP Ford F15A in Caunter camouflage on a desert base. Road to Mandalay by Lester Plaskitt 24 A 1:35 Takom M3 Lee in dark green finish passing a temple statue of Buddha’s face in Burma. Popski’s Jeep by Kristof Pulinckx 46 A modified 1:35 Tamiya Willy’s Jeep in the service of Popski’s Private Army, conducting guerrilla warfare behind German lines on a muddy base. Perfect Recon by Rudi Meir 60 A 1:35 Bronco Staghound covered in stowage and depicted on a sloped woody base. Bright Side of Life by Roy Schurgers 72 A 1:35 Tamiya Quad Gun Tractor that is broken-down and baking in the desert sun while a soldier sits in the shade lamenting his lack of water. He’s being watched by a group of hungry-looking vultures. Crossing the Rhine by Rick Lawler 80 A 1:35 AFV Club Churchill Mk.VI with tape camouflage and some US soldiers hitching a ride into Germany. Desert Patrol by Michal Tafil 96 An A10 Light Tank in 1:35 by Gecko Models, wearing a rather worn Caunter scheme and passing a Vulcan 2-Pounder field gun in a tumbledown desert location. Road to Hell by Jia Sheng Wu 114 A Scammell Pioneer tractor towing a 7.2inch howitzer through a bog in 1:35 on an ammunition box-based diorama base. The Longest Day by Chao Xu 134 A 1:35 Tamiya Cromwell Mk.IV with some substantial PE upgrades, including deep-water wading gear in a similar bog to the Scammell, being examined by a pair of soldiers. Dragoon Guards by Jorge López Ferrer 152 A detailed diorama with buildings as background and a 1:35 Dragon M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage Half-Track that has a large British roundel on the bonnet. Tracked Archer by Kreangkrai Paojinda 166 A 1:35 Tamiya Valentine Mk.I Archer Self-Propelled 17pdr gun on a small cobbled street that has seen better and less war-torn days. Each section is a walk-through of the builds, including any groundwork that accompanies the model, with results that are competition-worthy without exception. There are plenty of tips for building better models and dioramas, and in between the sections are a page or two of crisp, detailed photos of other British themed dioramas that would be worthy of articles in their own right. There are a lot of AK Interactive products visible in the pages as you’d expect, but it isn’t a total AK love-fest, and where additional kits and accessories are used to augment the builds, they are pointed out so that you can pick them up yourself if you’re so minded. The photos during the builds are numbered and cross-referenced with their captions, and photography is first rate throughout, while the captions are concise and informative, although I can’t speak for the Spanish text due to my poor foreign language skills. Conclusion A few of the greens in the pictures appear to be overly bright and verdant, possibly down to post-processing of the photos, but in general the look of the book is first rate and the technical quality is excellent. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Next up from the Wednesday trip to the airport is another Testors kit from Hawk, this time from 1960. My Testors kit was issued in 1982. The aircraft is the well-known rocket-powered interceptor, the Me163 Komet, in 1/48 scale. This kit had only about 25 pieces and the instruction sheet had good four-view drawings for four different color schemes and some actually pretty good decaling and weathering tips. I chose the simplest of the four: Me-163B-O V-41, Eprobungskommando 16, Bad Zwischenahn, May 1944. (flown on first operational Komet mission according to the instruction's notes) I believe I’ve read that the all-red paintwork was done as a tribute to the World War One ace, the "Red Baron", Manfred von Richthofen. The only addition I made to the kit was adding the two cannon barrels. Other than that, it was straight OOB. I remember building this in the winter of 1989-90 at the kitchen table of my grandmother’s house where we lived while our house was being finished, and she was living in a nursing home. Again, I added a poorly painted ground crewman (never thought he would see the light of day...), from the Monogram Me-262 kit to add a sense of the true size of the little “power egg”; a plane that seemed as dangerous to its pilots as it was to the enemy. I knew a former WWII top-turret gunner in a B-17, here in our hometown. I once asked him if he had seen any of the German jets or rocket planes. He said he had but they were so fast, he was never sure if he had hit any! The wind played hob with the Komet at the airport. It wobbles on its take-off dolly anyway and the wind kept it moving up and down. I expect some pics might be a bit blurry. I expected her to actually take flight any minute, lol. That photo session was cut pretty short and I only got a few pics but that’s okay. The model isn’t really worth too many pics at best and I had one more plane to photograph. So, with no further ado, here’s my Komet at the Cameron Airport. Thanks for looking in and please leave comments, good and bad!
  20. Messerschmitt Bf.109G-6 (A02029B) 1:72 Airfix With almost 34,000 examples constructed over a 10-year period, the Messerschmitt Bf.109 is one of the most widely produced aircraft in history and it saw active service in every theatre in which German armed forces were engaged. Designed in the mid-1930s, the Bf.109 shared a similar configuration to the Spitfire, deploying monocoque construction and V12 engine, albeit an inverted V with fuel injection rather than a carburettor used in the Spit. Initially designed as a lightweight interceptor, like many German types during WWII, the Bf.109 evolved beyond its original brief into a bomber escort, fighter bomber, night fighter, ground-attack and reconnaissance platform. The Bf.109G series, colloquially known as the Gustav, was first produced in 1942. The airframe and wing were extensively modified to accommodate a more powerful engine, greater internal fuel capacity and additional armour. In contrast to early 109s, which were powered by engines delivering less than 700hp, some of the later Gustavs could output almost 2000hp with water injection and high-performance superchargers. The Gustav series accounted for a dizzying array of sub-variants, some of which featured a larger tail of wooden construction. Odd number suffixed aircraft had pressurised cockpits for high altitude operation, Erla Haube clear view canopy with clear rear head armour, underwing points for tanks, cannon or rockets and larger main wheels resulting in square fairings on the inner upper wings to accommodate them. The Kit Airfix's Bf.109G-6 dates back to 2009, and as such is one of the earlier kits released under Hornby's ownership. The kit bears all the hallmarks of that particular era, with a low part count and broad, deep panel lines. Those hoping that this would be a re-tooling of the aforementioned kit will be disappointed, as the plastic is exactly the same as that provided in the original release. The kit is part of Airfix's Skill Level 1 range, and it arrives in a top opening box with the kind of dramatic artwork that we have come to expect from Big Red. Inside the box are three sprues of grey plastic and a single, small clear sprue. There are just 41 parts in total, which is quite low when you consider that the more recent 'Emil' in the same scale is made up of 64 parts. Out of the box the kit is cleanly moulded and the plastic has a satin finish to it. The cockpit is extremely spartan, comprising of a simplified seat, pilot and nothing else. There is no instrument panel, no control column and no sidewall detail, which harks back to days gone by. This is in stark contrast to the Emil, as that kit was very nicely detailed, despite being part of the series 1 range. The instructions recommend that the propeller be joined to the fuselage at the same time that the fuselage halves are joined, but I would recommend leaving this step until the end as it will make painting more difficult otherwise. The bulges for the 13mm MG 131s on the upper fuselage in front of the cockpit are inaccurate as they are represented by a single large bulge rather than two separate bulges on each side of the fuselage with a depression between them. The wings follow the usual format for a model of this type, with a single span lower wing and separate port and starboard upper wings. Flaps and control surfaces are moulded in place, but some basic structural details have been moulded onto the roof of the main landing gear bays. The horizontals stabilisers are moulded as solid parts, as is the rudder. As with other recent Airfix kits, there are different parts provided for you to use if you wish to pose your model with landing gear up or down. The landing gear legs provided for the down option are moulded in place with the bay doors, which is a plus point for strength and ease of assembly, but a negative point in terms of detail and ease of painting. A drop tank and two under wing gun pods are provided, along with a choice of canopies, including the aforementioned Erla Haube canopy. Both are duplicated and moulded in one piece, but this is no great loss given the lack of internal detail. Markings There are the usual two options from the included decal sheet, both different enough to give you variety, and both having some fun schemes that will test your masking and airbrushing skills. Option A has a saw-tooth splinter pattern on the wing uppers, while option B has a an RLM75 sinewave squiggle on all its upper surfaces. Better get your airbrushing and/or masking skills honed for either option. From the box you can build one of the following: Bf.109g-6 Maj. Herman Graf, Jagdgeschwader 50, Wiesbaden/Erbenheim, Germany, Autumn 1943 Bf.109GF-6/R6 Lt. Manfred Dieterle, 3./Jagdgeschwader 300, Bonn-Hangelar Airfield, Germany, Mar-April 1944 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 This isn't the most detailed nor the most accurate Gustav on the market. It also lacks finesse in terms of the overall finish. All-in-all, there isn't much here to tempt the modeller with a primary focus on detail. Having said that, this is probably one of the cheapest Gustavs around, which is perhaps a hint to its intended market? Possibly the best thing about the kit is that it shows how far Airfix have come since this kit was initially tooled. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. The Westland Whirlwind – Airframe Album #4 (9781912932221) A Detailed Guide to the RAF’s Twin-Engine Fighter Valiant Wings Publishing The new Special Hobby Whirlwind kit in 1:32 has sparked renewed interest in this under-utilised aircraft that looks like it goes fast and means business, but due to the lack of development capacity at the time, relegated it to an aviation history dead-end. This book has been enhanced and updated to hit the market at just the right time, the original having been released a surprising seven years ago – a fact that blew my mind. The book is written by Richard A Franks, a man with prolific output who must have a gigantic reference library, with the strapline "A Detailed Guide to the RAF's Twin-Engined Fighter" carried over. It has 96 pages (excluding covers) of glossy paper in a soft-backed perfect bound portrait format, an increase of 16 pages over the original edition, whilst retaining its portrait A4 format. Inside the front cover is the following index: Technical Description Detailed coverage of constructions and equipment Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs Production Concise history of each airframe built Big-Scale Whirlwind Build of the all-new 1:32 scale Whirlwind Mk.I from Special Hobby by Steve A Evans Appendices I Kit list II Accessory & Decal List III Bibliography 1:48 Scale Plans A preface and introduction to the Whirlwind takes up the first pages, with the next section at 30 pages covering the technical description with tons of photos. Evolution takes up 14 pages (no change, as there have been no new versions, unsurprisingly), with 17 pages taken up with camouflage and markings as per the previous edition. The next section is 9 pages long and is allocated to the production with a variable number of lines of text for each one, depending on how interesting its history was, which is possible due to the low number of airframes that were made. The new Big-Scale Whirlwind section has Steve A Evans building Special Hobby’s kit from the box, adding just some old Eduard Sutton Harnesses to the pilot’s seat, and of course a heap of talent plus some paint and glue, coming in at 7 pages. The end result is of course excellent, and the kind of model we all aspire to. There are three pages devoted to the appendices, and as they are time critical, they have been kept compact, rather than padding out the back of the book. The plans at the rear of the book are in 1:48, which is my favourite scale and will be very useful for anyone trying to build the Trumpeter kit in that scale that came out around the time of the first edition. That’s not a perfect kit, but it’s probably the best one we're likely to get for a while, given the paucity of alternatives. The text of the rest of the book is closely spaced around the numerous photos, diagrams and drawings that are everywhere without being hard to read or appearing cluttered. The aforementioned pictures are of high quality and will be of great interest to the modeller as well as the amateur historian, or just anyone interested in aviation in general and the Whirlwind in particular. The colour profiles in section four are by Richard J Caruana, and are of high quality, accompanied by notes appropriate to each airframe depicted, helping the reader to gain insight into the subject matter. Conclusion This a yet another very accessible book for the modeller or interested reader, and serves up even larger quantities of information, some of which hasn't been available on the web, as well as a build of the new Special Hobby kit. The Whirlwind has been long overlooked in the history of British early WWII fighters, and it is a welcome sight to see that being remedied in kit form over the last few years, and while no kits are perfect, they’re certainly welcome, as is the re-print of this expanded book. Well worth a read, and great reference material. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. What is the true colour of Dark Green as applied to UK manufactured aircraft during WWII? For many years I've used Humbrol 30 and it is very close to US FS 595A Ref 34096. I got a copy of the Federal Standard paint chips back in the 1970s and it is kept in the dark. RAF Dark Green is a bluish green with no hint of brown. Recent tins of 30 are, when dry, almost exactly the same as 30 painted on to models back in the 1970s. Exploring airbrushing and acrylics purchased a number of Vallejo paints, covering WWII RAF colours. I was given a basic set of LifeColour paints. This week I tried both Life Colour 538 and Vallejo 71.016. Both claim to be RAF Dark Green, but once painted and dry are VERY different. The Vallejo seems to be more like 34096, a dark olive green colour with no blue hue at all and the Lifecolour is worse, a light earthy colour, more like 34027. What is the general experience of the colour accuracy of acrylic paints form the various makers? At the moment, based on one trial I'm very suspicious of all these acrylic paints..based on these two the temptation is to bin the lot!
  23. Bristol Beaufort Mk.I (A04021) 1:72 Airfix The Beaufort was a medium- and torpedo-bomber that was developed from lessons learned from the Blenheim, which was a little out-dated by the time hostilities commenced. It was named after the Duke of Beaufort, and was ordered side-by-side with its competitor for the specification, which was the Blackburn Botha. It is a twin-engined bomber powered by a pair of Bristol Taurus radial engines, and although it was originally intended primarily as a torpedo bomber, it was more often used as a bomber where it saw extensive service during the opening years of WWII. It was fast and rugged, but initially its armament was found to be insufficient to defend against attack, so this was remedied by adding more guns, including a clear dustbin under the nose, which turned out to be practically useless, so was often removed. By 1942 it was deemed to be unfit for front-line service, although more airframes had been lost to accident and mechanical issues than to enemy action, partly due to the troublesome Taurus engines. Various upgrades were made in addition to the armament in order to improve the capabilities and reliability of the aircraft, with the Taurus engines briefly replaced by Pratt & Whitney Twin-Wasps, but returning to the Taurus units when supplies of the P&W engines couldn’t be maintained. After leaving the front-line, it was used in training, with the last heavily modified airframe leaving the factory in 1943 in the UK. Many Beauforts were made in Australia as DAP Beauforts, with their own variants, including a transport type with a new centre fuselage section. The basic design of the Beaufort was re-used in the more successful Beaufighter, which was almost a coupé Beaufort with a much-reduced fuselage that gave it a higher top speed and better overall performance, plus it was found that it could carry out pretty much all of the tasks previously allocated to the Beauforts, as well as being an excellent nightfighter with heavy armament. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Airfix, and should make many people quite happy. We’re a bit late to the party, but it’s better late than never, so here goes. It’s a high-quality, crisp tooling from the Airfix stable, and includes plenty of detail that used to only appear in kits in a larger scale, as well as their modern tooling tricks that make the build a more pleasant proposition. One aspect that hasn’t quite worked out are the trapezoid protectors on the fuselage sprue, which were designed to save the trailing edge fairings from damage during shipping. This hasn’t worked, and both tips of the fairings were curled over on my example, but not so badly that they couldn’t be straightened. Otherwise detail is excellent, which is high praise coming from a modeller used to larger scales. Construction begins with the fuselage floor, which has three 1mm holes drilled in it if you intend fitting the torpedo. The aft wing spar has a seat attached to the front, then it is joined with the floor along with the front spar with moulded-in bulkhead, and appliqué radio gear fitted to its rear. In the cockpit is a “slide” under the hatch, and in the centre a long console with controls and an upstand for the instrument panel is glued in before adding the pilot’s seat with armour panel over a flat floor insert. The instrument panel has the rudder pedals fixed behind it, and a decal with the dials on for the front, with the foot well closed off behind and a swivelling seat for the front crew member hanging out over the nose. The control column is glued in a recess in the floor, and aft of the wings an Elsan toilet is salted away under where the window for the waist gun will be later. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’ll leave it up to you! The fuselage halves both have ribbing moulded into them, and they are prepped by adding circular windows, an access hatch with a D-shaped window, and a support for the waist gun, which will be occupied later. There is a flange at the rear of the upper fuselage that should be removed from both sides for the turret insert to fit properly later, then the interior can be slid into place in the port fuselage through the spar slots. A section of floor in front of the pilot is added at the front, then the tail-wheel bay and bulkhead at the rear, and another bulkhead just forward of the Elsan, after which you can close up the fuselage, installing the optional pilot on his seat if you intend using him. A scrap diagram gives a detailed painting guide if you need it. Moving back aft to the turret, the insert with turret ring is inserted into the aperture, then underneath the bomb bay bulkheads with their torpedo cut-out are installed, to be finished off later. The wings are separate entities that are slipped over the twin spars when complete, and they have a cut-out for a pair of landing lights in the port side, and recesses for the main gear bays with some nice detail moulded-in. The flying surfaces are separate, and you get a choice of flaps, depending on which decal option you have chosen. The ailerons are standard across both, as are the elevators, which have single thickness flying surfaces and dual-thickness fins, with an unusual circular location pin that I’ve not seen before. The rudder is also separate and can be added deflected if you wish. Before the engine nacelles are made up, the locations for the main gear legs are built from three sections to create a twin A-frame, a bulkhead is inserted into the rear of the bay recess, then the nacelles are each made from two halves with a bulkhead at the inside front and are then glued over the location, adding intakes into the recess at the top. Both banks of Taurus cylinders are depicted in the kit, the aft bank surrounded by a circular ring, and the front bank glued in place trapping the propeller shaft in place, which slides through a collector with stators in a three-pointed star form. The nacelle halves join around it and the cooling flaps are fixed to the rear, completing the assembly by extending the exhaust to the rear. The engines and cowlings are handed, so their mating points with the nacelles are also keyed to ensure they go together correctly, with the exhausts on the outboard side of the cowlings. The Beaufort was quite well-stocked for windows, which are crystal clear and include small sections of the fuselage where appropriate on this kit, forming the stepped canopy and asymmetrical glazing on the right side, the glass nose for the bombardier's use, and the angular windows from which he takes aim under the tip of the nose. The mid-upper turret is well-detailed and covered by two glazed sections with twin Lewis guns and a bicycle seat for the operator, while the semi-useless nose lower gun station is fitted to the outside skin with its single .303 machine gun mounted in the clear glazing. The turrets are dealt with later in the build after the bomb bay and landing gear are finished. You have three choices regarding the bomb bay, which is to insert a single part that closes over all three sections, pose the front and rear torpedo sections opened inward and the wider central section opened outwards, or cut the outer sections of the closed bay off and use them to close the outer section of the main bay to carry a torpedo, which is made later. If you’re building your Beaufort in a wheels-up pose, you’ll still need to make and paint the wheels, as they’re visible even retracted, but they are inserted with the flat-spot uppermost, hidden inside the bay, and with a representation of the strut and bay door covering the front of the bay. The tail wheel is always extended, and is a single part that fits into the bay with a transparent diagram showing how it attaches within. For the gear down option, the retraction frames are made up, and inserted into the rear of the bays, with the bottom ends glued to the main legs. Scrap diagrams help you fit them correctly, then the two bay doors are snapped into the bay sides on their long hinges, and the two-part wheels are flexed into position, with what looks like a 4-legged squid attached to the front of each strut. They’re more likely to be bumpers to assist the doors opening and closing, like the Mossie. Various small parts are added around the wings, then the turrets mentioned earlier are put in place, with a fairing around the top turret and a scrap diagram showing how it should fit. Torpedo time! It was one of the Beaufort’s primary uses, and it would be churlish not to include one, so they did. The main body is assembled from two halves, a set of screws at the rear, a substantial H-shaped stabiliser at the very rear, and a fusing spinner at the front. It is mounted on a trestle-like pylon within the main bay, which is made from two parts, and once the torpedo is installed, it is bracketed by the outer panels of the bay doors cut from the cruciform closed bay insert. An L-shaped pitot is slotted into a hole under the glass nose, a pair of clear lights are glued into each wingtip, and if you have left the waist gun hatch open, a Lewis gun with dinner-plate magazine is affixed to the support within the window. The model is finished by putting on the props with their little spinners, adding a stocky aerial behind the cockpit, another near the top turret, and a narrow, raised part between them. Markings Two options are included on the decal sheet, one in dark earth/dark green over sky, the other in dark sea grey/dark slate grey over black. From the box you can build one of the following: N1016 OA*X No.22 Sqn., RAF St Eval, Cornwall, England, 6th April 1941 – mission against German Battleship Gneisenau L9866 MW*J, No.217 Sqn. RAF St Eval, Cornwall, England, 1st February 1941 – mission against German cruiser Admiral Hipper 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. There are also plenty of stencils to apply around the airframe, which always improves the detail of any aircraft model. Conclusion What a nice kit. There is a lot of detail, all of which is crisp and delicate, much improved from their output from back in the day. Now I just need one in 1:48 please. Pretty please? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. FIAT G.50 Initial Series (MKM144127) 1:144 Mark.I Models 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, and was faster by a good margin, and as time went by the shortcoming 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 improvement. By this time the G.55 was designed and underway, taking full advantage of the DB engine and at the start of its journey to obtain an excellent reputation as an 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 brand-new tooling from Czech-based Mark.I Models, and for all you 1:144 aficionados out there, this should be a welcome sight. The kit arrives in a diminutive yellow-themed box, with a nice painting of the type on the front, and the profiles on the rear. Inside are two sprues of a grey styrene, two tiny spruelets in clear, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet, which has colour profiles on the rear pages. The sprues permit you to build two examples of this aircraft, so pick two of the decal options and away you go. Despite the scale, there are recessed panel lines, cockpit detail and plenty of landing gear parts, but that’s the level we’ve come to expect from Mark.I over the years. Construction begins with the tiny cockpit, which has a seat on a rear bulkhead, floor, control column, and instrument panel, which has a couple of decals for it. How cool is that? The painted cockpit is placed inside two fuselage halves, and after adding the thicker centre section of the wings, the two subassemblies are mated to create the basic airframe. There is a two-part engine included that represents both cylinder banks, and that slips inside the two cowling halves, then onto the flat front of the fuselage along with an exhaust insert. At this stage the decal option require different fitments around the underside, namely the intake between the main gear bays, the location of the tail-wheel, and the shape of the spinner slipped over the one-piece prop, be it pointy, curved or absent? On the nose the gun barrels fit into their troughs, and a pair of humped fairings are added further back, then the landing gear is made up, with separate leg, retraction jack, wheel and captive bay door for each one. The tail-wheel is a single part, with the aforementioned caveat of the different location for one decal option. Markings There are four options on the included sheet, with a wide range of colour schemes that will test your airbrushing skills if you go for the mottled options. Two are Italian, while the other two are Finnish, and only one of the latter options is painted in solid colours. From the box you can build two of the following: FIAT G.50 Srs.IV (CMASA-built), Black 352-Red 13 (MM 5403), 352 Flight, 20th Fighters Sqn., 56th Wing, Italian Air Corps, Italian Air Force, Ursel Airfield, Belgium, Autumn 1940 FIAT G.50 Srs.IV (CMASA-built), Black 354-Red 3 (MM unknown), 354 Flight, 24th Fighters Sqn., 52nd Wing, Italian Air Force, Tirana Airfield, Albania, Jan 1941 FIAT G.50 Srs.III (CMASA-built), FA-27 (MM 4944), Black FA-27, 3/LeLv 26, Finnish Air Force, Kilpasilta Airfield, Finland, 1942 FIAT G.50 Srs.I (CMASA-built), FA-17 (MM 3599), Black FA-17/White 1, 1/LeLv 26, Finnish Air Force, Lunkula Airfield, summer, 1941 The decals are printed with the Mark.I logo, and have good register, sharpness and colour density as you would expect, plus a thin glossy carrier film. Given the scale there are no stencils, but it was pleasing to see prop markings as well as the instrument panels for both the kits. Conclusion This isn’t my scale of course, but I have a lot of respect for Mark.I and their kits, which they constantly squeeze detail into, to a far higher degree than many in this scale. Couple this with sometimes unusual subjects, and it’s not surprising that 1:144 modellers watch their every move. Highly recommended. Available from all good model shops Review sample courtesy of
  25. le.gl.Einheits - Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35582) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd Made mostly by three German companies, this all-wheel drive staff car designed by Stoewer was produced with different bodies during the early war, the most prevalent being the four seat staff car depicted here. It was however complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The Kit This is a re-release of their kit (35581) but with new parts for a deployed soft-top roof, which hasn't yet been available with only the stowed roof released so far. The box contains five sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The additional sprue contains the new parts for the roof, but you'll still find the retracted roof parts on the original sprues in case you change your mind. New Sprue Construction begins with the chassis, which is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is threaded through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4 cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above is still available if you decide you don't want to install the new one. If you do, and that's probably the main reason you would chose this boxing, the semi-rigid side panels with the glazing panels that mostly stayed on the sprues previously are inserted into the frames which are then attached to the sills and the windscreen. The rear of the hood has a small rectangular window inserted into the flat panel, then has the corners attached before the assembly is fitted to the rear of the car. The external retraction frame drops into grooves in the sides of the rear hood, and finally the top fits on to complete the roof. Of all the joins on the hood the only ones that may need sanding and/or filling are those on the corners at the rear, as the top panel has a handy overlap so has a natural step that matches the kit's panel. Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. Markings There are four theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice, and these haven't been changed from the earlier boxing, as they're essentially the same vehicles but with the hood up! From the bag you can build one of the following: WH-102 360 16 Pz.D, Don area, June 1942 WH-240 663 11 Pz.D, Ukraine, July 1941 WH-307 582 Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941 WL-22662 I./JG51 Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941 Conclusion A welcome addition to the Kfz.1 line from ICM, and perfect for a rainy day... literally! Great detail, crystal clear parts and only a few ejector pin marks on the hood parts if you think they'll be visible. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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