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  1. As my early Mk I is nearing completion my thoughts are turning towards my next Spitfire build. I had thought to do a very late marque variant, probably the F Mk 22 or 24, but have decided instead that any self-respecting Spitfire collection needs a classic day fighter scheme, sky-spinner-and-band Mk V in its line-up. The airframe I have chosen is a fairly well known one – for 20 years or so it was the box star of Airfix’s 1/72 Vb, first tooled in the 1970s: Spitfire Mk Vb EN951/RF*D, flown by Squadron Leader Jan Zumbach during 1943. EN951 was originally issued to No. 133 “Eagle” Squadron in June 1942 and flown by Lt. Don Blakeslee, an American, before being transferred to No. 303 “Kosciuszko” Squadron in April 1943 to be flown by Zumbach, a Pole. This airframe was in fact the third Mk V to be flown by Zumbach, coded RF*D and painted with his personal “Donald Duck” emblem. It is a well photographed subject. Zumbach on the left: At one time the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight had their Mk Vb painted to represent this airframe, in fact I have a little bit of history with it, Ten or so years ago I went to a Spitfire “technical day” at RAF Coningsby. This was outside the flying season, so the BBMF planes were in various states of stripped-downness for winter maintenance, and I was able to get up close to them in the course of a very interesting day. Here’s me with said Spit on the day: And a shot of the same aircraft during a different visit to Conigsby: Zumbach himself was a colourful character. He began his military career as an infantryman, but qualified as a pilot in 1938; unfortunately he was unable to take part in the defence of Poland against German invasion due to a broken leg sustained in a flying accident, but his unit evacuated to France where he flew the Morane 406 and the Curtis Hawk. He was shot down in June 1940 but escaped unscathed. The following week he travelled to England by boat, and was one of the founding members of No. 303 Squadron in September of the same year. Flying Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain he chalked up eight kills and one probable. He was shot down again in May 1941, but again was unharmed. By May 1942 he was Squadron Leader of his unit, and was the first allied pilot to come up against the Fw 190. His war ended rather ignominiously when he spent a month as a prisoner of war, having accidentally landed the Auster he was piloting behind enemy lines due to a navigational error. After the war, under a Swiss passport (his Germanic surname comes from his Swiss grandfather) he made a living around Africa and the Middle East as a second-hand aircraft dealer, smuggler and mercenary. Zumbach died in slightly shady circumstances in France in 1986; an investigation into his death was closed by order of the French authorities without public explanation. No. 303 Squadron was one of the most storied units of the wartime RAF. Unlike squadrons made up of young, inexperienced, newly-trained British and Commonwealth pilots, 303’s Polish pilots with their combat experience and aggressiveness (it’s fair to say they had an axe to grind with the Germans over the invasion of their homeland) made them a formidable fighting group, and they scored the highest number of kills of any squadron during the Battle of Britain in their Hurricanes (despite joining the battle two months in), before converting to Spitfires in January 1941. Here they are with EN951: Anyway, that’s the background. The kit I’ll be using for this is the new-tool Airfix Mk Vb, which apart from the decals I’ll be building OOB. @stevej60 is very kindly sorting me out with decals, as the Techmod sheet I had in mind now seems to be discontinued. I'm going to have a look at the kit during the weekend. Thanks for looking in.
  2. Hello! Time for another lightning. As always I started with the interior. Seat always needs an upgrade. Pretty happy with this one. Going to be XS903 Any reference images would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Welcome all to my next WIP build, the new 1/72 Airfix Hawker Tempest. First impressions of this one are really good: there's a good amount of plastic in the box, a nicely detailed cockpit, nice clear instructions and two great looking schemes to choose from. Here's the obligatory box shot: This one will be mostly ootb, the cockpit is really closed off so won't add detail other than some foil seatbelts and think I'll use the kit markings to complete the version with yellow spinner and invasion stripes. I started with lots of dry fitting and found the thick trailing edges that others have commented on - why didn't they mould the flaps with the upper surface then have the join underneath? Anyway, I ground away some plastic on both upper and lower parts with my fake dremel tool then sanded the trailing edges until they were just going see through. I've now added the transparent bits, guns (drilled out too) and added the 0.6mm holes required for later. I glued the two halves together this evening and will see how it all looks before a bit of filling around the edges and more sanding away the TE if needed. The biggest modification I plan to make is to do a thorough riveting job on this little model as the larger scale versions I've seen look great with the extra detail. I'll do a bit of practice on an old paint mule and then get stuck in before gluing fuselage and wings together. Thanks for dropping in, more to come soon! Sam
  4. Just thought of something else I might have time to do. Probably not the Mistel itself as I suspect it would not be eligible (any thoughts @col?) though I believe 6 were built but never used in action, but if not the Ta-154 as a prototype has some appeal. The kit was originally issued in the 1980's as Pioneer 2, later PM, then Revell/Matchbox and finally it looks like the moulds were used by Airfix though that is not entirely certain on Scalemates. Anyhow, they issued the above in 2008. I can always build the 190 in the STGB next year. The kit itself is a bit of a dog judging by a build I saw earlier this year but without having to fiddle around with Flensburg aerials it might not be too bad. Anyway I already have a Pioneer original in my stash so plenty of scope there. The box art suggests that rather than the normal guided bomb version as in the normal Mistel with a Ju 88 lower component this might be a variation on the proposed "Pulk-Zerstorer" intended to explode amongst the USAAF formations over Germany. I will have to do a bit of research and see what I can come up with. More as and when. Pete
  5. I have so much paying work I need to do that I always feel guilty when I let myself indulge in my own interests. I always say each 1940 build will be a slow burn, fitted in as a reward for getting "day job" stuff done. We all know how that so often turns out! Feeling that I’ve been neglecting RAF Coastal Command for too long - please, don’t mention Bomber Command: I know I’ve been neglecting them as well, but they’re all so … BIG and space is currently limited in the display cabinet here - and having completed the Special Hobby Avro Anson recently, it felt right to pick another Coastal subject from the stash. My problem was I wanted something reasonably straightforward and not too big (cf. Bomber Command, et al). That pushed the Italeri Sunderland and Matchbox Stranraer right out of the frame from the off. The ancient Airfix Hudson probably either needs throwing away, or an awful lot of remedial work to correct errors, so that wasn’t likely either. As to the Saro Lerwick, well, that’s a vac form kit, and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for that! That left the new tool Airfix Beaufort. And here we are. Before getting stuck in, chopping parts out and gluing stuff together, some research was required. Choosing a suitable aircraft was also high on the list. The kit provides schemes for two aircraft, both dated to 1941. The Beaufort was a latecomer to service life, with a rocky development stage that meant it didn’t arrive with squadrons until April 1940. Happily, for the nerd in me, this meant I had quite the interesting choice of camouflage and markings. As first delivered, planes were painted in standard Dark Earth/Dark Green disruptive camouflage, with aluminium undersides. Type A blue/white/red roundels were applied to fuselage, upper and lower wings, squadron codes in light grey, and no fin flashes. By the end of June, instructions from on high were to add a yellow ring to the fuselage roundels (Type A1), and swap the upper wings to the Type B blue/red style. Around this time, the undersides were to change to Sky, or Special Night, or sometimes Eau-de-Nil (which was short-lived and officially unofficial). Choices, choices. I rather like the aluminium undersides, I must admit, and as luck would have it I found a No 22 Squadron profile with it as late as August 1940. It isn’t the aircraft in the kit markings, but I could stretch a point - or make my own markings. I have the technology, even if I don’t have the inclination right now. I guess that means I’m likely to build the model pretty much from the box, which isn’t a problem. Now, Beauforts were initially used for mine laying and bombing operations, only lately coming to their other main role as torpedo bomber. An underslung fish would be nice, so I find I’m really leaning to what comes in the box. That's my decision made, then. Option A, 22 Squadron, N1016 OA-X, it is. Brown/green camo, Sky undersides. Only without the gun pod under the nose, no beam guns, and probably with only the single Vickers in the turret. Backdated a few months, if you will, from the version that tried to sink the Gneisenau in April 1941. Quite when I’ll start remains to be seen. I’m sure it won’t be too long, though.
  6. Here is my Airfix 1/72 Buccaneer, finished around a year ago. I used the kit decals for a very late Buccanner (post gulf war) - and so not 100% as per Operation Granby, but I’m not a stickler, so it’s close enough for me, particularly as the ‘Sky Pirates’ was in there. A real benefit of doing desert pink was that as it was applied in a rush, there’s very limited stencilling to apply - which personally I find a pain. The kit is all OOB, which pushed my limited skill set to the edge. In particular I found the way the front fuselage and nose section went together was tricky - lots of joins along many different planes and angles. And so a lot of work with putty and sanding to correct my ham-fistedness. Tamiya paints (mix of XF-59 desert yellow, X-17 pink, and very small amounts of XF-2 white and XF-7 red until it looked ‘about right’) sprayed through Mr Procon PS-289: Weathered to appear war-weary, as they seemed to get grimy pretty quickly from the photos I’ve seen. At the time I hadn’t tried chipping, although now I have, and so were I to do it again perhaps I’d try and replicate some of the hastily applied desert pink coming off to show the grey/green underneath. It’s always easy to get carried away though.. I also wanted to have folded wings to take less shelf space and add interest. However I also wanted weaponary. Luckily I found a photo showing exactly that - hard points in use, wings folded, so it did happen occasionally! I will however try that eventually as this is number one of three Op Granby aircraft I’ll eventually get round to - I have the Eduard ‘Desert Babes’ Tornado and a Hasegawa Jaguar (with aftermarket decals), both 1/72, to complete the set. Period photos sometimes seem to show the colour closer to sand, and sometimes more ‘pink’ - so I did a ‘rough’ mix on the paint so that each aircraft will be a slightly different shade depending on the photo/airframe that I’m (trying) to represent. Thanks for looking
  7. Hi All, A nice little kit. One flaw, and then my own failings caused the rest.... I added a few of the usual aftermarket parts to this kit; resin wheels, PE seatbelts and Xtradecal decals. All good. But I lost the engine exhaust during the build process! Doh! No matter, after checking the references, this airframe had the later stack mod fitted - phew! Except that I wanted to represent the aeroplane as it looked in 1979, 2nd Dec, when I flew in the back seat. Apparently the mod came in after that? Judging by the photos of the real machine it looks like it has been re-built since back then. Anyway, kit is great except for those curved wings - which caught me out. I had to heat-treat them in boiling water to straighten them out. And somehow I managed to get a bad electo-static build up on it too, which I can't get rid of (if there's any proven cure for this, please let me know!). Paint is Tamiya and Humbrol lightly weathered and easy on the panel line wash. All in all, a great little kit and master stroke of marketing by Airfix for us oldies of certain generation who flew Chipmunks while in the ATC. I have more in the stash! The next one will be better! Cheers, Paul.
  8. Good morning, first of all, the justification! I had started building a 1/72 B17G Airfix in parallel with a Revell model. Here you can see it: Looking for detailing may have dulled my mojo, yet I am a bit of a fan of this aircraft, with the goal of building all the models that are sleeping in my stock (...a lot, that is! ) I will detail less the interior on the next ones, especially as you cannot see much when the fuselage is closed (familiar refrain). But I want to finish it! This is the construction now: I can say that the main part is done, I even riveted the bird: One reason I stopped the project was a deep reflection on the presence of the Mickey radar in the Airfix box: What if I built a Mickey ship? I mainly decorate my B17's with 91BG colours; I did some research, and found out that a 91BG B17G was a mickey ship. But I already did it, without the radar (I didnot know at the time!) (Tennessee Tess, radio call sign 44-8357, B17G-70-VE) Otherwise, I have plenty of decorations with pin up for B17G of 91eBG with cheyenne turret PS: for VP, I have the decos for the fox and Happy Bottom from the 381st. A little kick to help me? Regards, Eric-Snafu35
  9. Now….how many WIP do I have in here? Quite a handful. I am starting one more so that I can complete it by December. There is an Airfix Cup competition coming up in December here in Singapore. It’s a Tiger theme competition and the only tiger I have in my stash is the Lynx. I am not sure if I can pull through this build with tiny PE parts for the interior and exterior. This will be my first venture into the PE parts world. There are already numerous Lynx build here and I hope to do it as well as the rest. Alright, I will have to work on my B747 and this Lynx as well. Both aircraft needs to complete by year end.
  10. Hello Fellow Meteorites ! Let's start on another 1/48 Airfix F.8 Meteor. My contribution to the Group Build will be a Brazilian aircraft using the FCM 48-053 sheet. To contrast with James' (@81-er) camouflaged version, I will be doing this colourful 1966 scheme. I chose this because it has the 'Força Aérea Brasileira' title on the fuselage which appeals to me. Here's a photo of the real thing. I really like jet aircraft parked on grass - try that with an F-22 Raptor.... Proof I haven't started. I will also be using the Red Roo ADF Aerial housing and a CMK resin ejection seat which is winging its way from Poland right now. One of the sprues is warped but only has small parts on it so it shouldn't be a problem, and I won't be installing the cannon. This is my first 1/48 jet aircraft so it should be fun. Cheers Andrew
  11. This is the 1963 Airfix 1:600 kit altered to her 1940 refit. Scratched 15 x single 20mm guns and screens, 2 x radar offices, a Type 273 Surface Warning lantern, a pair of davits, and one of the ships boats. I used some of Set #6013 British Radars by Tom’s Modelworks. 3-bar rails and anchor cables were from White Ensign Models. Brush and airbrushed in Humbrol Acrylics, AK Interactive, Vallejo Model Color, and Life Color paints.
  12. Hope to be a relatively easy and quick build for this Airfix 1/72 P-40B kit. No optional parts or PE to add, just OOB. Watch a number of online video and build log, it should really be the case. 2x sprue with clear parts and decals. First of all, give the sprue a soap bath, toothbrush treatment and let it dry.
  13. A confession - I love the Bristol Blenheim. To that end I've compiled a number of books, PDFs, and photos, and now I'm starting into the decal collection I've compiled in the last few months. By collection, I mean this, and this isn't even all of it - The partial sheet is an AML set which I used parts of for Finnish AF BL-117 - to be posted here soon. So far I've completed BL-117 and the previously posted MK. 1f YX*N, and at least 5 more will follow these, if not several more. Currently I'm working on a PDU Blenheim in blue, as was recently discussed. I'm not convinced of the color, but frankly, I like the idea (and look) of a blue Blenheim. Next will likely be a Bolingbroke, though which type I can't yet say. If I can find interior pics of a IVT, I may go with that, but if not I'm leaning towards a IVW if I can source engines and cowls. After that will be YB*N, a MK. 1 with black/white undersides. Yugoslav, Romanian, and Japanese Blenheims round out the list of one's I'm most interested in making at the moment, pending further research into Coastal Command a/c and MK. Vs in SE Asia. An Indian Air Force V may result from that given I already have the MPM kit on hand. Photos of the PDU machine to follow once some paint dries. Wish me luck in the ward... Tweener
  14. Douglas C-47 Skytrain (A08014) Airfix 1/72 Famed for its part in the D-Day assault into Northern France and folklore status in civil aviation history, the C-47 first flew in civilian guise in 1935 as the DST on the request of a sleeper aircraft for American Airlines based on the successful DC-2. The primary purpose for the aircraft was to provide East-West flights across the US in less than 24 hours. The DST became more famously known as the DC-3 when the sleeper arrangement was replaced by seats. Only one year later, KLM were taking the DC-3 from Amsterdam to Sydney, Australia to replace its DC-2’s on that route. Production of the DC-3 surprisingly ended in 1942 with only 600 airframes; however the demand for the aircraft was overtaken by the military for the transport role due to its excellent capacity and cabin uninterrupted by the wing spar due to the low wing layout. Only minor modifications were made to the C-47 including a reinforced floor and cargo door allowing wider loads to be carried. It could carry 6000lb of load such as a Jeep, a 37mm cannon, 28 fully loaded soldiers or 14 stretchers and medical staff. With this incredible flexibility, over 10,000 C-47 & C-53’s were built with production ending in 1945. Attempts were made later on to introduce a Super C-47, but the huge number of ex-military aircraft after the war meant that there were affordable alternatives for the airlines to purchase. This aircraft has had an incredible career with many still flying today, many in extreme climates. Over 50 versions were built and it’s been operated by around 100 hundred nations and many varied airlines, in every corner of globe. The kit This was originally released for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the aircraft has been tooled before by ESCI and Italeri and boxing’s of these by ESCI, Airfix, Italeri and Revell, this is the first new tooling since the early 1980’s and it is most welcome. Packed in the new style sturdy red box with stunning digital artwork by Alan Tooby, first impressions are very pleasing. There are 5 light grey sprues, a clear one obviously and an impressive instruction sheet that really adds to the quality presentation. Panel lines are of the recessed design and whilst heavier than your typical Hasegawa or Tamiya kit, aren’t as excessive as you might read about. Assembly starts with the interior as you’d probably expect. The cockpit and rear cabin interior are very nicely detailed with pilot and co-pilot figures included too (though these do seem a bit anemic). The instrument panel only has a decal option for the instruments, although not much will be seen once assembled anyway. The diagrams in the instructions are excellently drawn using colour to assist in clarifying assembly stages. The rear cabin is fitted out with bench type seats as an option, however you may choose to have a stripped out cargo area by omitting those. There are ejector marks on the interior surface, however I suspect that they won't be that visible once the kit has been put together. Assembly of the interior looks to be very straight forwards, with the whole assembled section being sandwiched between the fuselage halves. With the fuselage joined up, the lower wing mid section is fixed in place with a spar to reinforce the wing structure. There are a few strange assembly steps in this kit which caught my attention. The first being separate upper wing roots that need fitting before the upper wings are attached. I’m not sure why they aren’t just moulded as part of the fuselage. A nice little touch is the addition of oil tanks inside the nacelles that will be on show when looking in to the main gear bays and detailed rear engine bulkhead for the same reason. Detailing across the wing surface is predominantly represented with recessed panel lines with various raise details such as the wing kink reinforcing plates. Whilst these are obviously not scale accurate, they give a good representation of the panelling. The fabric effect on the ailerons and tail feathers is well moulded giving a good contrast to the metallic surfaces. The engine detail is quite well dealt with; the only thing that lets them down is lack of texture to represent the ribbed air cooling surfaces of the cylinders, similar to those found on the Lancaster B.II. Both banks of cylinders and the gearbox come as separate components that are to be mounted between the two nacelle halves. The undercarriage can be positioned in the raised or lowered position and of course has the option for skis if you choose the MATS scheme. The intricacies of the gear legs is well represented with no less than 6 parts making up each main gear leg excluding the skis which are made up of another 5 parts! All the doors are provided as separate parts. Whilst there is no internal detail on the front door near the cockpit, the cargo door has pleasing detail to enable you to have these in the open position. With this in mind, there is a great opportunity to detail the rear cabin and admire your handy work afterwards! The cabin windows are fitted from the outside which is good for assembly purposes, no pushing them in by mistake. The second feature that I find a bit unusual is the fact that the windscreen is made up of 3 parts; side windows and front section. Given that this is always a tricky part to avoid getting glue on, particularly for novice builders, a one piece windscreen or even a moulded section for the upper cockpit area could of made assembly and prevention of glue marks easier. Assembly finishes with the props and various aerials. Two types of prop blades are provided, both paddle and needle type. Decals The decal sheet is somewhat lacking in colour due to the liveries provided (although the MATS example does have its Artic Red areas, and the WWI version its Invasion Stripes), the register and crispness is superb as you would expect from Cartograf. A large collection of stencils is included on the sheet and despite the very small size, eyesight permitting are actually readable! Markings provided are: C-47A-65-DL 41-2100521 “Kilroy is HERE”, 92nd Troop Carrier Sqn/439th TCG, Operation Overlord operating from Upottery, Devon 6th June 1944 C47D 43-16062 Military Air Transport Service (MATS), Isachsen airstrip, North West Territory, Canada, 1949 Conclusion It is a good to see this kit re-released. Assembly on the whole looks fairly straight forwards and the level of detail is enough of a balance to satisfy both novice and experienced builders alike. With over 50 versions of the aircraft in the history books, I should imagine there will be plenty of options from the aftermarket industry in the pipeline to use this kit as a base model for modification too. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Sorry, not the superb new Airfix kit, but the much more affordable (and still OK) 1983 mould, dressed up to represent XM597 during Black Buck 5, the first of the Shrike anti-radar missions. The same aircraft undertook Black Buck 6, the only one of the Black Buck missions that actually hit its target as intended, but ended up with a broken refuelling probe, diversion to Rio and internment! The aircraft now sits outside at the Museum of Flight in East Fortune, near Edinburgh. The kit is very basic with raised panel lines and the hard thick plastic makes it a bit of a beast to build. But I got there in the end and it definitely looks like a Vulcan. Due to the current (and possibly ongoing) absence of many Humbrol enamel tins from the market, I had to use a Humbrol rattle can for the upper surface Medium Sea Grey. It worked surprisingly well for a first attempt, but sadly it did not match well with the tin of MSG I used to touch up areas such as the cockpit canopy. The Shrikes, pylons and adaptors all came from the spares box (ex Hasegawa I think). The jammer came from an old ESCI kit. I added some sprue detail in the cockpit and boxed in the access trunk in order to leave the hatch open. None of this can be seen, of course!!! ....and although I didn't use it, I couldn't resist mounting the kit's Blue Steel missile on a maintenance frame!
  16. Right. I want to be a kill joy. The new Aircraft mystery bundle is available from Airfix website. Can anyone tell me what kits are actually included? Trying to avoid getting duplicates of the ones I got back in July. Thanks
  17. Here is my newly finished Airfix Sabre in 1/48. It went together pretty well apart from some nasty sink marks on the bottom of the flaps which I filled and some less bad ones on the drop tanks, some of which I left, and the peculiar breakdown of parts around the fin fillet and fuselage spine. Perhaps some more careful dry fitting would have given me an easier ride here but I'm sure there must have been a better way to allow for a 'fillet-less' fin in later releases. I was pleased that I didn't manage to lose the small triangular leading edge piece that has to come off to allow the lower part of the gun bay to be displayed open and did manage to find a home for it on the step and even apply the stencil! Ah, the stencils - how the Americans love their stencils - but I persevered and (I think) only lost one. 'Sabre from the Cockpit' has some great photos and although I used them, it looks as though the small white stencils in front of the windscreen weren't applied to RAF Sabres. I've moaned about the lack of adhesion of Airfix decals in the past but after watching their 'How to' video on the Spitfire starter set discovered the technique has changed - no longer do you soak them in water until the decal loosens, you just dip them in water for a few seconds and let it work its magic. Presumably the old technique now washes the adhesive off the decal. It's a nice kit, perhaps not one of new Airfix's best but still very good. It's from the box apart from moving the drop tanks according to Sabrejet's posts and is brush painted with Humbrol enamels. Thanks for looking!
  18. This was done about ten years ago and has suffered over the passage of time, so please view with forgiving eyes. On the 27th September 1964 the TSR.2 took to the skies over England. Designed as a long range, all weather, twin engined supersonic bomber capable of precision bombing at both high and low altitude, the aircraft was fitted with advanced avionics that could deliver a variety of weapons. As it underwent extensive testing it soon became clear that the design exceeded its original expectations; the aircraft was 40 years ahead of its time. The following year, with the full backing of the Labour administration, English Electric went into full production. The American Defense Department, suitably impressed by demonstrations in the Nevada desert, cancel their order for the F-111 and procure 372 TSR.2’s in various combat role configurations. This single order consolidates Britain’s position as leading aircraft designers and combat aircraft manufacturers.
  19. In Autumn 2022, Airfix is to release a new tool 1/48th Avro Anson Mk.I kit - ref. A09191 Source: https://uk.airfix.com/products/avro-anson-mki-a09191 V.P. For me a Avro Anson C.19/T.21 in the same scale. V.P.
  20. English Electric Lightning F.2A (A04054A) 1:72 Airfix The astonishing pace of aeronautical development in the 20th century is perhaps best underlined by the contrast between the capabilities of aircraft designed either side of the Second World War. The story of the English Electric Lightning is one such example of this. Borne out of the realisation that Britain's post-war aircraft defences were completely unable to cope with the threat of fast, high-flying, yet comparatively conventional jet bombers in the same class as the Canberra, the resulting aircraft was a quantum leap over the aircraft in service just ten or so years before. Extreme performance requirements called for radical design solutions, which in turn necessitated the construction of two different development aircraft to test low-speed (Short SB.5) and high speed (English Electric P.1A and P.1B) qualities. Once the design was satisfactorily refined, the first Lightning proper, the F.1, rolled out of the factory. Its dramatic design, characterised by thin, sharply swept wings and sleek fuselage, offered superb performance but left relatively little room for fuel. This meant that although very fast, the early Lightnings were suitable only for point defence. The design was steadily refined though, through the F.1A and F.2 to the much more capable F.3, which featured more powerful engines, new radar and weapons system. In order to address the woeful endurance exacerbated by the more powerful Avons, the F.3A introduced a larger ventral fuel tank and kinked wing leading edges which also contained larger fuel tanks. The F.6, which featured jettisonable fuel tanks over the wing, was considered to be the ultimate incarnation of the Lightning, but the F.2A was the last to enter service. It was an upgrade to the F.2 which incorporated many of the features of the F.6 but utilised the same A.I.23 radar and Firestreak missiles of the version from which it was developed. The Kit This is a reboxing of Airfix’s 2013 tooling that superseded their ancient tooling of yore, and brings a lot more detail and modern moulding techniques to the party. The kit arrives in a red-themed top-opening box, and inside are four sprues in Airfix’s usual light grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, a very busy decal sheet and a folded instruction booklet with a separate glossy stencilling guide inside. Detail is good throughout and the clear parts are crystal, save for a tiny wavefront hairline mark in the windscreen that probably won’t show. Construction begins with the four-part ejection seat that slots into the cockpit tub with an additional part on the deck behind it, and has decals for the side consoles, plus another for the instrument panel, which fixes to the front of the cockpit and has the control column inserted into the footwell. There’s an optional hands-on-lap pilot with modern bone-dome helmet if you feel the need to use it to cover up the lack of seatbelts, or just because you like your models populated. The aerodynamic support for the radar nose cone is made of two halves and also incorporates the nose gear bay, with the cone glued on last after putting at least 4 grams of nose weight into the convenient compartment. The intake trunking closes around this insert, then butts up against the bulkhead that has the just visible lower engine’s front face moulded into it. To complete the assembly, the cockpit tub with or without pilot is glued into a pair of brackets on the top of the intake trunk and is trapped between the fuselage along with the twin exhaust pipes, which also have the engine rear faces moulded into the front bulkhead, and a pair of exhaust cans at the rear end. If you plan on using one of Airfix’s stands (sold separately), you’ll need to cut out the two flashed-over holes in the underside of the conformal belly fuel tank, which is completed by a two-part assembly that forms the forward section. The wings of the Lightning were wafer thin with barely enough space for a gear leg, and each one is made from two halves plus the flaps, which can be fitted deflected if you wish. They glue to the fuselage via the usual slot and tab, as do the elevators, although their tabs are circular, and a scrap diagram shows that they should be dead-level at 90° to the rudder fin, while the wings have a little anhedral engineered in, the values for which aren’t given though. The devilish detail is left to finish off your model, starting at the nose, which has a pair of cannon trough inserts and the cockpit coaming added, then a pair of belly strakes, arrestor hook and its fairing at the rear underside. Under the nose are either another two cannon troughs or blanking panels, depending on which decal option you’ve chosen. If you plan on building your Lightning wheels-up, the three gear bays are covered over by single parts that replicate the multi-part doors, with panel lines giving the impression. For gear down, the nose gear leg has its wheel moulded-in, and a trio of separate bay doors, the rear one latching to a nub on the rear of the gear leg. The main gear legs are snugged into a hole in the main bay roof, with retraction jacks added along with two captive bay doors, and another attached to the inside edge of the circular section of the bay. The skinny wheels are each separate parts and finish off the gear. You can also depict the air-brakes in open or closed poses by using the same panels, but fitting the retraction jacks into the hole in the bay and the rear of the brake. A scrap silhouette diagram shows the correct angle of the brakes from overhead. The Lightning drank fuel like it was going out of fashion, so was always thirsty once it had left the airfield. It was sometimes fitted with a long refuelling probe mounted under the wing, which is a single part, as is the nose-mounted pitot probe. A rounded end to a surface mounted conduit is also fixed to the side under the steeply swept wing leading edge. The box includes a pair of Firestreak missiles, which had a sharp faceted nose-cone, and these are provided in excellent detail, with one having a pair of fins moulded into one half, and the others separate parts that fix into slots on the perpendicular sides. Each one has a cone added to the front, and a T-shaped pylon that mates to the underside of the forward fuselage horizontally, as per the accompanying scrap diagram. The last choice is to decide whether to leave the canopy open or closed, which is as simple as posing the canopy appropriately, and gluing the windscreen in place over the clear HUD part that attaches to the coaming. Airfix have thoughtfully included a torus-shaped Foreign Object Debris (FOD) guard for the nose if you prefer not to deal with painting the intake or its seams, with a scrap diagram showing its orientation. Markings There are the usual two decal options on the sheet with a ton of stencils included, the application of which is made easier by the separate stencilling guide. From the box you can build one of the following: No.19 Sqn., RAF Germany, Gütersloh, 1970 No.92 Sqn., RAF Germany, Gütersloh, late 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. Conclusion A welcome re-release of the reinvigorated Lightning F.2A from Airfix with new decal options, with that appealing green scheme making an appearance. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. This may well be the first ever model kit I built myself at age 6. The original one survived 3 moves but has disappeared somewhere along the years - I do remember re-re-re-re-repainting it until it was more humbrol paint than plastic. So: for sentimental reasons, I have one red-stripe box in pristine state & sealed. That'll stay that way. The other one will be an attempt at doing better than 6 year old me. What could possibly go wrong?
  22. Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc (A17001) 1:24 Airfix The Supermarine Spitfire was the mainstay of British Fighter Command for the majority of WWII, in conjunction with the Hurricane during the Battle of Britain, with the Mk.IX being the most popular (with many) throughout the war, seeing extended periods of production with only minor alterations for the role for which it was intended that differentiated between the sub-variants. Originally requested to counter the superiority of the then-new Fw.190, a two-stage supercharged Merlin designated type 61 provided performance in spades, and the fitting of twin wing-mounted cannons with accommodating blisters gave it enough punch to take down its diminutive Butcher-Bird prey. The suffix following the mark number relates to the wings fitted to the aircraft, as they could vary. The C wing was also known as the Universal Wing, and saw extensive use because it mounted two 20mm cannon in each wing, the outer barrel usually covered by a rubber plug. The main gear was adjusted in an effort to give it more stable landing characteristics, and bowed gear bays removed the need for blisters on the upper wing surface, helping aerodynamics. The gun mounts were redesigned to need smaller blisters in the wing tops to accommodate the feeder motors, and there was even more room for fuel than earlier wings. Lastly, the wings were able to have longer elliptical or shorter clipped tips fitted, the resulting shorter wingspan giving the aircraft a faster roll-rate that would be especially useful in low-altitude combat. The Kit A lot of Britmodellers have been waiting for this kit, some of them more patiently than others, and at last it has arrived. This big box of plastic shouldn’t be confused with the old 1970s vintage 1:24 Spit, as it is a brand-new 100% 21st Century tooling that uses a culmination of all the lessons and skills learned by modern Airfix, and extending that to create a highly-detailed, well-appointed model of this graceful and deadly WWII fighter, in what is thought by many to be its definitive Merlin-powered mark, the Mark IX or 9 if your Roman numerals aren’t what they used to be. The kit arrives in a comparatively compact box that has a certain heft to it thanks to what’s packed inside. The artwork on the front depicts a squadron of Mk.IXs in loose formation, all wearing D-Day stripes and flying over the invasion fleet in the English Channel. The box has a satin finish that I feel adds a little class to the package, but the rest of the box is finished in the familiar red theme that we expect from Airfix these days. Inside are eleven sprues in mid-grey styrene, one of clear parts, a thick instruction booklet that is printed on heavier stock than usual, three folded A3 sheets in full colour on glossy paper, and everything is individually bagged, apart from the fuselage and wing sprues, which are naked and separated by a sheet of brown paper to prevent scuffing and scratches in transit and storage. A word about detail. There’s a lot, and it’s pretty impressive, ranging from fine panel lines and riveting, to ‘oil-canning’ of the thin skin of the aircraft, delicate styrene seat belts, a full Rolls-Royce Merlin engine with bearers and hollow exhaust tips, and wing armament plus representation of some of the various ribs within the wings that will be seen if you leave the bays open. You’ll have to drill out the gun muzzles yourself, but in the grand scheme of things that’s a moment’s work. The decals are by Cartograf, and you five disparate markings options from which to choose from. Construction begins with a page of diagrams showing where the interior decals go, and there are plenty of them, with over 25 on the instrument panel alone. With all that committed to memory, the pilot’s seat is the first actual modelling to be done, making up the seat and its mount from four main parts, plus another two on the rear, linking the support rails together, with the seat armour sliding over the arms, and latching on a spur moulded into the back of the seat. The lap belts are draped over the seat pan, sliding them through the slots in the sides of the seat, then the adjustment lever clips onto the left side. The fuselage frame behind the seat is prepared by adding the small block on the rear at the top, with the triangular head armour panel on the opposite side, fitting the seat to the front once finished. The cockpit floor is a busy place, and starts with a long shallow curved segment to which some ribs and other parts are glued, to be joined by the starboard sidewall, which is also detailed and has all the colours called out as you go. The instrument panel frame includes the foot well aperture, and has the compass mount hung from it with a clear lens, and then a choice of two instrument panels, one with blank dials to receive decals, or the other with raised details for you to paint if your hands are steady enough. Refer to the diagrams at the front of the booklet for the decal placement, although I’m never sure why companies mould their panels in clear then tell you to paint them. Moving on, the completed panel is inserted into a groove in the floor, and the port sidewall is mated along its length, using the ribs as a guide to the correct angle. The prominent bundle of thick wires are run down the side, leading to the throttle quadrant, and the rudder pedals with their linkages are laid into the floor along with another frame over the top, then they’re hemmed in by the bulkhead that has a pair of indented areas to accommodate the larger-footed pilot’s toes. The seat and its frame are inserted into another groove in the floor with an accompanying side-view, and the two frames behind them are also installed, with two bracing struts keeping them at the correct distance from each other. The shoulder straps can be added to the seat now, slipped through the slot in the head armour, and attached to the cross-brace in the frame behind. The port sidewall is detailed next, and the control column is built up from the wider lower section, with the top section having the spade-grip and control-lines moulded-in, which should strengthen the join. There is also a separate trigger lever that attaches to the back of the grip, then the completed column is plugged into the socket in the floor. The fuselage is prepared by adding inserts under the tail to accommodate the fixed tail-wheel that this mark had, indicating some future release with a retractable wheel. They’d be daft not to, to be honest. The next step only applies if you intend to close up the canopy, and includes holding part N4, which has the word “JIG” written on it, against the starboard cockpit sill to use as a guide to removing the lip. You are told in big bold letters NOT to glue the jig to the fuselage sides, for reasons that might not be clear to everyone. Additional detail parts are glued to the inside of the fuselage above the waist-line where the cockpit tub will sit, then adding another control box with wiring once the cockpit is in situ. A long, ribbed hose with a small rectangular box on the end is threaded through the aft cockpit, and a few more greeblies are inserted for’ard, then the radio trestle is glued to the back of the aftmost frame, with the battery-like radio box built up and fitted on the platform, which has an arrow moulded into it, so you put it in the right way around. At the rear the tail gear bay is inserted into its raised location area, and is painted silver. The next choice is partly dependent on whether you have already removed the lip from the starboard sill for the closed canopy option. The other two options are to have the canopy open but the side door closed, or have the door open, and for once you don’t have to cut a section out of the fuselage. The port fuselage half has the cut-out already there, and if you are closing up the door you insert the crowbar, remembering not to paint it red (a post-war thing that purists hate), and then place the door into position. The door is given an opener mechanism along the top edge for the other two options along with its crowbar, and is either put in closed, or open after removing the four little tabs from around the aperture. At long last, you can close up the fuselage, and add the firewall after fixing a part that holds the fuel filler cap just below the level of the deck in front of the windscreen. There’s a note that some aircraft had that bulkhead painted aluminium instead of the usual interior green, so if you’re a stickler, you’ll need to find out which to choose, or do what I usually do and paint it whichever colour you think will be prettiest. The first of the flying surfaces to be built up are the elevators, and you have a choice of two styles depending on which decal option you have chosen, as they carried different shaped elevators. The aerofoils and the flying surfaces are each two parts, with a separate trim-tab in each one that you can leave loose, although that’s probably not a good idea, as a droopy trim-tab would indicate a badly trimmed aircraft, or a broken cable. The aerofoils slot into the tail with male and female aspects to the tabs that allow them to mate together within the fuselage for additional strength. The appropriate flying surfaces are glued to the trailing edges after inserting the inner end into a slot in the fuselage, just like the real one, and the rudder panel is made up and glued in the middle with a separate trim tab, stopping the two elevators from fighting. An actuator is glued under the elevators to the rudder on the port side, although if you’ve deflected the rudder, you might need to extend or shorten the rod between the two fairings. The Spitfire’s lower wings are moulded as a single span part that extends out to the tip joint, and incorporates the rear fairing underneath the fuselage like most other Spitfire kits. A pair of inserts for the flap bay walls are glued near the rear of the wing, and a small raised half-circle upstand is removed from the starboard wing-root, as two are moulded in, one in each root because the location of the gun-camera sometimes varied. The main spar has two holes that are filled with inserts that accept the gear legs later on, with a scrap diagram showing their correct location. At this stage the spar isn’t glued in place, but is used as a guide along with the first of the ribs (F33 & F3) for the following steps that build up the gear bays. Each circular section of the main bays are built up from three sectors plus a rib, while the long portion of the bay is formed by the spar and another wall part that is glued to the edge of the bay, but not the first rib, or the rib attached to the round bay section. Once both bays have been completed, glue can be run along the spar and the initial ribs, presumably to ensure everything is correctly positioned and symmetrical. You are advised to hold each wing on a flat surface while the glue dries, to further ensure correct alignment. That might be challenging for the impatient modellers amongst us. The next stage is to create the gun bays, starting with four more ribs, each one having an additional tube-part fitted along the way. There are two twin receptacles for ammo boxes in the wing, but only one is filled in this variant, with a well-detailed run of ammo moulded into the top of a box-like part slotting into the front of the two spaces, one for each wing. Each wing is fitted with two of the four ribs made up earlier, plus four additional ribs that need no preparation, dropping a spacer between two of the outer ones, and the ammo feed into slots between the two wider spaced ribs. A horseshoe-shaped part slips in the front of the outer pair, and another sturdy rib slots into the space between the innermost two, then an L-shaped trunk and a straight extension snake from the inner wing to the outer, linking up with the small tubes inserted in the ribs earlier. Very clever, and carried out twice in mirror image of course. Even with the little gun-camera cradle you have a choice of putting either a lens in, or blacking out the interior to give it some depth, so make your choice. The inner bay is fitted out with a 20mm cannon breech, linking into to the heating trunk (guns freeze at altitude), and a two-part drum feeder is slipped over the breech and into the ammo box, again with lots of clever engineering on show. This mark also carried a pair of .303 machine guns in the outer gun bays, which you can install with their ammo feed if you plan on leaving the bays closed, or with their mounting clamp if you are opening the bays up. Once they’re glued in, your options are limited if you change your mind unless you abrade away the clamp, which will otherwise baulk the bay door. Again, this is done in mirror-image on the other wing, then the lower bay doors are optionally fitted into the lower wing, unless you plan on showing them off. Surprisingly, you can then join the fuselage to the lower wings, with two scrap diagrams showing how the two assemblies lock together top and bottom. The upper wings are separate assemblies, and take much less effort than the lowers, simply adding the bay doors if you want to, and choosing the appropriate cannon bulge for your decal option, then gluing them onto the lower wings. She’s looking very Spitfire-y ‘round about now. Attention stays with the wings, but on the exterior of the lowers, where you will find the radiator boxes. The process begins with making up the radiator baths on a C-shaped bearer, adding two textured faces to the open sides, taking care to heed the arrows moulded into the backsides of the parts. The bath laminates to the floor of the fairing, and two side panels are added, making the choice of posing the cooling flaps open or closed, and again doing this twice, one for each wing. The depression in the wing underside is prepared with a short length of pipework at the rear and a strake at the front, then after a little bit of pre-emptive painting, the radiator fairings are docked with the lip of their bay and glued in place. Yet again, you have another choice, this time of whether to have the traditional elliptical wingtips that are made of two halves plus a clear light, or a totally clear clipped tip that only one decal option uses in this boxing. More choices! If you prefer your models buttoned up with the cowlings in place, you have an option to build up a slender core of the engine that uses a few parts that will be visible to give you something to hang your prop on. Alternatively, you can build the whole Merlin engine up and display it proudly after you’ve painted and weathered it to your whim. The instructions hold your hand and allow you to step through the process with minimal fuss. We’ll follow the easy route first, then come back and discuss the building of this impressive hunk of plastic Merlin next. Engine Cowling On The basic engine block is made out of three sections of plastic, and at the front is a flared portion onto which you glue the transfer casing with its many closure bolts, after sliding the splined drive-shaft inside without any glue. You use this as a jig for the engine bearers, but don’t be tempted to throw the engine away afterwards. The two triangular mounts clip onto the sides of the engine and are joined together via a U-shaped cross-member, then once the glue is dry, you remove the engine and add a flat-bottomed V-shaped brace between the U-brace and the rear of the mounts. The completed mount is then inserted into the holes pre-drilled in the firewall bulkhead and left to dry while you finish off making the core of the engine. The substantial supercharger assembly is made up from eight parts, and a section of the trunking marked in green is cut off to allow easier fitting of the cowling parts. The finished sub-assembly is glued to the rear of the block, and it is re-introduced between the engine bearers, this time with the addition of glue. The ram air intake under the nose has a filter box installed on some decal options, which is made out of two halves plus slim side parts, or you fit the basic L-shaped intake that is moulded in two halves, joining down the middle. You attach whichever option you choose to the intake end of the supercharger assembly under the engine, then start making up the cowling panels for installation, starting with the side cowlings, which have an extra frame added inside after clipping off the pegs at the rear end. The spinner backing disc joins the two panels at the front, and the top is covered over with a one-piece top cowling, avoiding all those horrible centre seams of yesteryear. The lower cowling is still moulded in two parts through necessity however, as it has the air intake of either long or short variety with a separate lip added to the front of either option. It is glued to the bottom of the cowling assembly, creating the completed nose, revealing why you chopped that section off the engine earlier. Two small wing root fairings are added at the leading edge of the wings, covering over the gun-camera, after which you can install the cowling to give your Spitfire a nose. Engine Cowling Off The first step is the same, joining three parts to make the block, then making up two cylinder blocks out of another three parts each, and remembering to paint the RR logos red when you’ve finished. Each head received a few small parts, then they are linked together by the intake, which is made from a two-part duct and two three-legged spurs, one each side. The completed subassembly is installed on top of the block, locating on raised pads and adding more small parts before building up a more detailed version of the supercharger and adding a curved tank under the transfer casing. The vertical intake ducting is also more detailed with various ancillaries, and the extras just keep piling up on the sides of the engine, including a wiring harness and dynamo, plus a number of parts spilling over onto the bulkhead, which includes a couple of small tanks of various shapes. The three-part engine mount is formed around the engine, using it as a jig while you glue it, adding the V-shaped braces and two thick hoses snaking through the interstices, with two scrap diagrams showing their correct orientation. The motor drops into its supports, and more wires and hoses are added, some of them with scrap diagrams to help you with routing them. The oil tank that is slung under the engine is shaped around the sump, and is made from top and bottom surfaces, plus an end-cap and a filler tube on one side. It mounts under the engine on four lugs hanging from the mounts, then the spinner backing disc glues to the front of the transfer casing, locating on three pips. Two more lugs on the sides of the spinner plate locate the front of the mounting frame for the cowling, and there is one for each side, adding the root fairings over the hoses and the gun-camera location. Creating the two ram air intake options is the same for the engine-out option, making up either the filter box or the L-shaped intake, then building the appropriate cowling with its intake lip and installing it under the engine, unless you’d rather leave it off to see your work on the engine better. The side cowlings have a small intake on the port side, and a choice of blister shape on the starboard, and you can fit one, both or neither as you see fit, with the same choice for the top cowling, which has a small intake on the starboard side near the rear. The ejector exhausts are all separate from each other, and have an insert in the inner face to give each one a hollow tip, although you may need to do a little filling if you don’t get a neat join. It is on the backside though, so you don’t have to be too tidy. Each stub is handed, so take care to keep the sides separate, and slot them into the grooves in the cowling, starting at the rear due to the cranked tip. You have another choice under the wings, to decide whether you want to pose the flaps up for a ‘clean’ airframe, or pose them down as was often seen when taxi-ing, although rumour has it that a pilot would be fined a few shillings if he left them down once parked up. The closed flaps are the easiest option, requiring fitting of the two flap sections flush with the airflow under each wing, and gluing the flap indicator tabs level with the upper wing surface. Posing the flaps down is a little more involved, but could hardly be called complicated. The flaps sections are posed dropped, and an actuator is inserted into the wing, pushing up the indicator tab into the vertical position. The ailerons are next, made of two halves plus a C-shaped hinge that is set within the halves unglued to allow you to pose them as you like. I’ll probably set mine and flood them with glue to keep them in position, as I’ll get told off if they’re both hanging down, or the one deflected upward is too severe. I’m referring to a conversation I had with my buddy @Stringbag the other day when we were dismantling a rotten glider wing, when he showed me how little deflection upward there was in your typical aileron. The twin cannon fairings are both made of two halves, and have a peg moulded in that should give a strong joint, but the wings still aren’t finished! If you plan on displaying your model wheels-up, the main gear is made up starting with only half the tyre, inserting a two-part hub in the middle, and then sliding the leg into the centre. The painted assemblies are then set into the bays flush, inserting the top dog-leg into the socket in the spar, and the inner part of the bay is covered over by a B-2 Spirit shaped cover – I mean it, it really does look like a tiny stealth bomber. The main gear bay covers fill the rest of the aperture, leaving part of the tyre visible at the outermost edge. For wheels down, you start with a choice of three styles of hub. One with five spokes for two options, another with four for two more, and a solid hub for just one option. Your choice is slipped into the two-part tyre, and the gear leg has a separate oleo-scissor link added to the rear, joining the two moving parts of the strut. Before they are inserted into their sockets in the spar, a small mechanism is installed in the bay, connecting to an actuator at the upper end of each leg. The little B-2 shaped insert and main wheel are fixed to both sides, and the captive bay doors are mated with the backs of the struts after painting them the same colour as the underside. This Spit had a fixed tail-wheel, which is made up from a short strut with split yoke, and a two-part wheel with slim flat-spot at the bottom. It is slipped into the small opening under the tail, and secures in a hole in the bulkhead within, regardless of whether you are posing your model flying or on the ground. We’re on the final gluey strait now, inserting an L-shaped pitot under the port wing and an antenna under the starboard, the mast antenna behind the cockpit with either a fairing or a clear lens just behind it, and a choice of two styles of gunsight in the front of the cockpit, both of which are made from a number of parts, some of which are clear for realism. You have a few choices with the canopy beyond whether to pose it open or closed, but the windscreen is devoid of choice, having a circular rear-view mirror added at the top, and the fixed rear portion of the canopy is also standard. Where you do have a choice is whether to use the simplified un-blown canopy that has no seam down the outside, or go for the more accurately-shaped canopy and sand then polish the seamline away. It’s a surprisingly simple task with the correct tools, so I’d suggest making the effort to use the more realistic version, but if you really can’t face the prospect, you have an easy alternative that doesn’t look too different. You use the same part for the sliding canopy whether you are depicting it open or closed, and if you have decided to pose the door open, that gets glued in place at this stage too. It will probably end up left off until after painting in the real world though. All that’s left is to make up the prop, which has four separate blades, each one having an insert at the root of the blade to obtain the correct shape. A little filling and sanding might be required here, but getting it right with the glue should help reduce that. Each blade is keyed and inserted into the two-part boss, which is laid over the spinner back-plate and has a front section that fits over a square peg, then is covered over by the pointed spinner cap, or could be left off for a maintenance diorama. Markings There are a generous five decal options included with this kit, although you could argue that there are seven, because one option has two alternatives, on a decal sheet that is quite a bit larger than A4 and was a swine to scan. The glossy profiles take a side per option, and the sixth side covers the stencils that will be very visible at this scale and will make the task easier without the clutter of the other decals or colour on the drawings. From the box you can build one of the following: ML214 flown by Sqn.Ldr. Johnny Plagis, No.126 (Persian Gulf) Sqn., RAF Harrowbeer, Devon, England, July 1944 (with options for June & Dec 1944) EN398 flown by Lt.Lt. Ian Keltie, No.402 Sqn. “City of Winnipeg”, RAF Kenley, Surrey, England, March 1943 EN398 flown by Wing Commander James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, No.402 Sqn. “City of Winnipeg” RAF Kenley, Surrey, England, Summer 1943 Aircraft flown by Cpt. Garth Jared, Commanding Officer, 309th Fighter Sqn., 31st Fighter Group, USAAF, Italy, December 1943 GR 2/33 “Savoie”, Armée de l’Air, Luxeuil-le-Bains, France, early 1945 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 a very impressive successor to the original 70s era “Super Kits” of yore, and brings a huge quantity of detail to the party that will look great under a few coats of paint and maybe some sympathetic weathering. It’s a beauty, with some subtle overlapping panels and oil-canning of the skin, and has been well-worth the wait. Very highly recommended. At time of writing there’s a free A2 poster of the box art work Review sample courtesy of
  23. BIG Airfix News… We have some exciting news from the Airfix team today, the news we know you have all be waiting to hear! Airfix Club is back and goes live today at 12pm! This is going to be the biggest news today for our fans all over the World. From 12pm (U.K) the Airfix Club webpage will be live and awaiting its first members who we know are eagerly waiting after we sent out a teaser on our Social Media platforms yesterday. The above image shows what member will receive if they decide to go with our Airfix Club Plus option, as we have not one but two types of Club available, which are both available to UK and overseas members. Airfix Club Membership Packages We know that not all of our members are interested in the same subjects, so we are offering an option to become a member without a model, so that if the model being offered doesn’t have much interest, then no problem, the Airfix Club is the right option. Airfix Club Membership This option comes without the kit, and will include a Welcome Pack, which as you can see from above contains an impressive Keep Calm poster, an Airfix Club Trolley coin and the Airfix Club Flying Hours passport. Flying hours can be collected from most Airfix Kits, and then traded in for more kits! All you do is collect the tokens, fill in the back of your passport with your preferred kits and send it in. All of this comes packed neatly in an Airfix Club box, unique to members only. The cost of this option is: RRP UK £14.99 RRP International £34.99 Airfix Club PLUS Membership This option comes with everything you see in the image above, including the Club Exclusive Kit which is a remarkable Surrender/Evaluation Kate. The cost of this option is: RRP UK £24.99 RRP International £39.99 The above isn’t all you get, both Memberships include many benefits, and if at a later date members decide they do in fact want the exclusive kit they simply log into the Club Members Area and place an order (as long as there is stock). There are lots of Airfix related products also available to Club Members at discounted prices. This includes several Airfix tins and tubs, and some very iconic Airfix prints. This range will keep on growing, so we suggest you keep checking the Airfix Club page to see any updates. And not forgetting our exclusive Club magazine, with members receiving three editions a year. Members will also receive a calendar at the beginning of the year. What is not to love? These packs are ready for dispatch, and our Customer Services team are eagerly waiting to get these orders and get the packs sent out. We now had a credit card style membership, which will be sent out separately within 28 days of signing up. Be one of the ‘first 1000’ And finally, one last bonus. If you are one of the first 1000 members who join the Airfix 2020 Club, then you will receive a printed copy of the Complete Airfix artist and kit list (6th Edition). This has been compiled by a very good friend of ours, and the master of all Airfix knowledge Jeremy Brook. Airfix are very grateful for all of Jeremy’s continued assistance.
  24. Recently I've been hacking away at Airfix's new Tempest. It being a fairly agricultural attempt at a relatively simple, common kit, all OOB, I've so far spared you all the WiP; but I've accumulated enough questions that I felt it was finally worth starting one. So here it is you poor sods, with my sincerest apologies! So far it's been mostly plane sailing, this being a really well designed and great fitting kit. The radiator inner surface is part of the lower wing, and it locks nicely over the radiator assembly. The undercarriage bay walls are a single piece that provides a lot of strength to the wing and with little care, the wingroots came together perfectly in a tight, filler free join. The only real issue has been the trailing edges, which are very thick and needed a lot of scraping to bring to a reasonable edge. Aside from a drop of filler under the spinner, the seams have all been tight enough to just require a little sanding and a quick brush of Tamiya extra thin to 'sprue goo' the resulting dust. Just a little modification of the vertical locating pins between the two sides was needed to prevent an offset ledge along the cowl. The cockpit floor is part of the upper wing assembly. Aside from eduard PE belts, the cockpit was bosched together in my usual lazy shambolic and ineffective style, and having not taken pictures, I can't honestly remember how it went; I guess we'll see when it gets unmasked. I've gone with the usual 'RLM66ish' (xf63) for black, and @Casey's mix for RAF interior green. The only slightly strange part is the separate upper fuselage around the cockpit, which would've benefitted from being a more sensible shape. A plus of airfix kits is the provision of wheels up parts, which I've repurposed into spray masks. The fit is excellent to the point that I'll probably have to drill a hole in them to get them out again. Its simplicity meant this was a good kit to assemble in part, when away from home, so I used opportunity to try out brush painting the undersides, which I figured might be a useful skill to have. Tamiyas are notoriously poorly suited to brushwork, so this attempt used a mix of about 50% xf83, perhaps 30% x-20a thinners, a good dollop of tamiya acrylic retarder (which was blimming hard to get hold of, I believe it isn't listed by UK tamiya distributors) and a similar squirt of x22 gloss varnish (my current theory is that I might get a smoother, tougher and even straight decallable finish by cutting my matte tamiyas with gloss, thanks to @John Laidlaw for the tip). @Troy Smith I believe suggested water for brushing tamiyas, but I thought using the (deliciously) chalky Cambridge variant that was available to me was probably asking a bit much of chemistry. I should point out that I'd given the model a layer of Mr Surfacer 1500, straight from the can, to help give a surface for the paint to key on. The hard part was leaving enough time to cure between coats since tamiyas become touch dry so fast. 3 hours or so seemed enough if one is able to resist the temptation to keep 'going over' too much. Certainly I think the mix needed more retarder as the coat became tacky after a single stroke, after which it would bobble or lift up with repeated brushing. 3 or 4 coats, brushing in alternating directions yielded this: The result was I think decent for a first effort but certainly room for improvement. The gloss at least, has come through, though the thickness has certainly blunted the detail somewhat. Notice I immediately ruined the colour with overspray from the yellow leading edges, which will need fixing at some point. I've opted to go for a mishmash of schemes, using the included pre- D Day 486 squadron decals, but over a later 'just the under fuselage invasion stripes' scheme, along with all the kit parts that suggested a series 2 aircraft rather than the series 1 that the instructions portray. Of course the serial number won't be historically accurate, but it's not the kind of thing I lose sleep over if it looks okay. A lot of jiggey pokery with masking, some tactical use of a 72nd scale rule that @Troy Smith was kind enough to refer me to, and hopefully it won't be too horrific when the tape comes off. Turns out I've not built anything in DFS yet, and I hear Tamiya's Ocean Grey is too cold and their Dark Green too warm, but I figured I'd press on with the lazy option. Back home by this point, here's the OG cut with some x22, sprayed over the masked off leading edges and invasion stripes. I'm broadly happy with this new (for me) approach of glossing the xf paints, but the proof will be in the decalling. After my rather unsuccessful attempts at freehand with the martlet, I've opted for good old blutack worms this time. Again some gloss thrown into the mix. Side note, XF81 does look a little 'brownish' to me. Bit of patching up needed here and there, and we're caught up with my current progress. Now this is one of my four on the go builds, all meant to be simple kits that I would just enjoy, get off the bench 'quicky' and not get too bogged down in making 'just right'. It's not working out for me so far! I had planned to do this one as clean and factory fresh as possible (tidiness has not been my forte), but even the sharp clean look benefits greatly from some shading, as I've discovered with much envy, while poring over @mark.au's back catalogue. My attempts at this technique so far have been pretty awful, so I'm at the decision point as to whether to just get this one done as simply as possible with uniform blocks of colour, or to let it slide into the same hole of failed self improvement that my other builds have succumbed to. I've been looking at pictures of 'clean' tempests all day with a view towards the kinds of shade variations and spray shapes that might work, but with little free time and other builds getting bogged down, perhaps it's a good idea to 'play to my level' on this one. I'm having enough issues with techniques use regularly anyway. So there we are, sorry for the wall of text, perhaps starting a WIP early is preferable that this alternative 'lead with an essay to the face' approach! Thanks for looking in if you've managed to make it this far! Cheers, Andy
  25. Type 45 Destroyer (A12203) 1:350 Airfix The Daring Class Destroyers have been around now for over a decade, and yet whenever I see one, its angular shapes and thick, top-heavy superstructure still jars my eyes. The six vessels of the class were created to replace the aging Type 42 Sheffield class, and were built by two sub-divisions of BAe Systems in prefabricated sections that were put together in the docks and literally welded together. Gone are the days of thick armour belts around the hull, as modern weapons can take out an armoured ship just as well as one of a more “civilian” style of construction. Their type is intended to provide air-cover to the British and Allied fleets, with advanced radars guiding modern anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, although the original requirement was eventually halved due to budget cuts, and upsetting many who felt that was too few to effectively defend Allied assets. The eponymous HMS Daring slid down the slipway in 2006 to be outfitted with gas turbine engines and all the other systems needed to make her into a battle-capable weapon of war. She was commissioned three years later, and has been joined by the other five over the next few years. In a horrible PR disaster for the type and the defence procurement in general, in 2016 it was found that the engines could not cope with the weather conditions in the Gulf, and there were further problems in the other electronic systems, demanding refits with additional diesel power generation options, and fixing those pesky engines. This did not play well for the Royal Navy, or BAe Systems with enough embarrassment to go around. Slowly the ships came back into service, with the exception of Dauntless, which was been given the role of on-shore training in nearby (to me) Birkenhead, with a proposed return to service in the next year or so. The Kit This is a re-release of Airfix’s 2012 new tooling, and I’m personally amazed that it has been that long since release. Where does the time go? The kit arrives in a fairly moderate-sized top-opening box for the size of the ship, and has the same painting on the lid as before, with various profiles on the sides. Inside are five sprues in light grey styrene, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet with colour cover and painting guide inside the rear page. The detail is good, and typical of Airfix of the period. They have improved since then, but with a ship at 1:350 scale it’s hardly an issue. The first thing you notice is a massive (and I mean deep) sink-mark on one of the superstructure elements, but don’t panic, those get a new outer skin before you slap paint on it, so ignore them. The hull is full-length with a separate keel part so that you can model the kit waterline or on the stand that’s also provided along with a name-plate decal that’s a bit 80s, with a red stripe above and blue below the text. Construction begins with the top deck, having a number of holes drilled out for the various weapons that may be installed later, with 'helpful' question marks next to each one. The majority of the parts and indeed the work is carried out on the deck section, which has the basic shape of much of the superstructure moulded-in, to be covered by detailed panels added over the top of give the sides watertight doors, ladders etc. This process begins at the hangar, with a decal added to the floor before you install the walls, then the ribs with their cranes folded away on each outer side of the hangar. The hangar is covered over, and the aft panel has a door fitted in open or closed positions before it is glued into the deck to complete that section. More panels are added forward, making up the higher areas of the superstructure fore and aft, culminating with the huge upstand with the golf-ball on the top, which stands above the rest of the ship, giving that odd look I’m still not used to. The bridge has a basic representation of the interior, including seats and consoles that will be dimly visible through the windows when it is closed up. Due to the faceted nature of the bridge front, there are five sections that fit into slots in the floor, with two side panels added before fitting it in front of the “mast” and popping the lid on top to close it in. Just in front of the bridge is the weapons pack where the missiles are kept in an upright position, ready for launch. The 48-cell A50 Sylver Vertical Launching System hatches are fitted first in two rows, then are boxed in by front, rear and two side panels that have access and maintenance doors moulded-in. Further forward is the lazy V-shaped bulwark, completing the main structure of the topside, in readiness for the detail parts later. The deck is flipped over and has four bulkheads glued underneath that act as formers for the hull structure, which is prepared for installation next. Each side runs the full length of the ship, and has optional louvered doors over the compartments where the ribs are stored, so choose now as they have to be fitted before the hull is complete. Each side of the hull is brought together with the deck assembly, then you make the choice to install the lower hull and build up the three-part stand, or leave the keel off and go waterline. For the waterline option there is a different stern panel with a flat bottom, while the full-hull stern has a rounded lower edge that marries up with the keel panel. The bow bulb is a separate part from the keel and will need a little filler to completely hide the seam. Strakes and finlets are slotted into the underside, with two rudders and supports for the long prop-shafts that slide through the large supports further aft, and are tipped with a pair of screws and end-caps. If you’re careful with the glue, you can leave the screws mobile. The rest of the build consists of sensor, radars, emergency equipment and weapons installation, including the two four-packs of Harpoon anti-ship missiles between the bridge and the Aster vertical missile storage packs. 30mm cannons, Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) gatling guns for missile and aircraft take-down, and the 4.5-inch Mark 8 Mod 1 naval gun, which is about the only thing a WWII matelot would instantly recognise other than the hull. There are gangways on each side of the hull, and when not in use they are stored away behind flush-mount doors in a shaped bay for reduced radar returns, so you need to decide what to do there too. The aft of the ship has a large helipad for the use of the ship’s complement of helicopters, which can be either two Lynxes or one Merlin in the hangar, but it is also capable of landing a Chinook on the deck, but it won’t fit in the hangar unless you have a massive hammer. You get one of each of the Merlin and Lynx, with two halves for their fuselages, separate tail rotors and a choice of folded or deployed blades, and in the case of the Merlin, a folded tail because it’s a big helo. They’re moulded in grey styrene, so the glazing will have to be painted a suitable colour to appear glass-like. Markings You can make any of the six of the type with the decal sheet, with options for various decals given in text to the sides, which includes their D coding, and HMS Dragon has its fancy Welsh Dragon decal for the bow, which is very fetching. Even the rear deck has a code at the stern to ensure the incoming pilots know where they’re landing. From the box you can build any one of the following: D32 HMS Daring D33 HMS Dauntless D34 HMS Diamond D35 HMS Dragon D36 HMS Defender D37 HMS Duncan 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 It was good when it was first released, and it’s about the same now. I had one but gave it away, and always regretted it a little bit. Looking at it afresh I’m very pleased to see it again, and will probably keep this one, even though I’m not a big maritime modeller. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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