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  1. Hello, Here's my recently finished 1/72 Italeri YF-12A. It's completely OOB, painted with Tamiya paints mostly, and weathered with some pastel powder. Not the best kit in the world, but it looks alright from a few feet away. I hope you like it. Thanks for looking, Pete
  2. GAF (Avro) Lincoln Enhancement Set for the Blackbird Models Conversion 1/72 Red Roo Models Following on from the success of the Lancaster, Avro's infamous chief designer Roy Chadwick, developed the Lincoln as a natural evolution with the purpose of being able to fly higher, further and with a greater payload as a result of the longer wing span, greater fuel capacity and more powerful Merlin engines. Despite the prototype being first tested in 1944 shortly after D-Day, the Lincoln was too late to see service in WWII although was intended to join the Tiger Force against Japanese forces. Apart from the extended wings and fuselage, the nose was redesigned significantly incorporating optically flat panels instead of the characteristic Lancaster blister nose ti improve visibility for the bomb aimer. A further modification included a Boulton Paul turret armed with two .50 Browning machine guns. As well as this was the introduction of a mid upper Bristol turret with two 20mm cannon to significantly improve defensive firepower. The Lincolns began to replace the 4 engine heavies in RAF service soon after the war with plans to produce versions in Canada and Australia. With the end of hostilities, production in Canada was ended with only one aircraft produced, but the Department of Aircraft Production in Australia (later known as Government Aircraft Factory) produced 73 Mk.30's. The first of these entered service with No.82 wing at RAAF Amberley in 1949 where they replaced Liberators. In the 1950's, the RAAF needed the Lincoln to perform anti-submarine- duties. To incorporate the necessary equipment, 20 aircraft with modified in to Mk.31's with the most notable difference being a 6.5' nose extension. Whilst this enabled carriage of the anti-submarine equipment, the long nose made it incredibly difficult to land, particularly at night due to poor visibility. 10 of the Mk.31's were later updated to MR Mk.31 to facilitate maritime reconnaissance duties. The RAAF Lincolns took part in bombing missions along side the RAF aircraft in the 1950's operating out of RAF Tengah in Singapore during the Malayan Conflict. The RAAF eventually retired its Lincolns in 1961. The enhancement set This set is designed to enhance the Blackbird Lincoln conversion set for the Airfix Lancaster B.II that was released two years ago. Whilst the Blackbird set isn't the only conversion around (Paragon which is like rocking horse poo and the readily available Flightpath set), it is the only one for the latest Airfix Lancaster kits. I built the Blackbird kit last year (HERE) and as you can see below, it builds in to an impressive replica. Whilst the Blackbird conversion contains most of the key features to produce a pleasing Lincoln, there are still gaps in the parts list necessary to complete an accurate conversion. I addressed several of these details by scratch building, but used the Airfix FN.82 rear turret as the next best thing to the Boulton Paul 'D' type turret that was actually fitted. This is where the Red Roo set comes in with particular focus on the Australian variants, namely the Mk.30 and Mk.31's. Before I get in to the part contents, it's important to pay homage to the instructions contained in this enhancement set. I know from the build above how much research is required to complete the Lincoln conversion accurately and Red Roo have made this element of the build stress free by including an incredibly comprehensive 13 page A4 colour instruction booklet. Diagrams and detailed explanations clearly navigate the builder through the finer details of the Lincoln assembly referring to both the Blackbird conversion and Airfix Lancaster donor kit. Further, on page 11, there is a matrix of all the Mk.31's produced with the variations in turret armament , flare outlet plate, rocket rails and roundel configurations. Whilst this set is focussed on the Australian variants, the instructions would of been most welcome in building my RAF rendition of this forgotten bomber, in particular, the angular cut necessary on the rear fuselage to achieve the correct profile after inserting the fuselage lengthening plug. The parts supplied come in various formats, resin, brass coloured white metal, platicard and steel wire. The contents are: Correct Bristol Type D rear turret - resin base and gun mount with clear resin front and rear sections & white metal .50 brownings Mid upper turret - resin base and early / later clear resin cupolas, white metal 20mm cannon .50 Browning barrels for front turret - white metal Rocket rails that were carried on the Australian variants (paper template included for accurate location under the wings) Gun laying equipment blister Strike camera housing Various aerials carried by RAAF variants (white metal, resin and steel wire) Resin windows for the Mk.31 extended nose Correct tail wheel The resin components are of very good quality. The mid upper turret is located further forwards than on a Lancaster due to the extra weight, so a 15mm diameter hole will need drilling in the fuselage as explained thoroughly in the instructions. It's important to check your references on the aircraft you are building as to whether it used the early 'flatter' cupola or whether it uses the later more rounded version which has the strengthening frame across it further back from the centre line. The white metal components are nicely represented, although given the nature of the material, slightly less well defined in detail compared to the resin. That said, the perforations in the .50's are good as you can see in the photo below. The clear resin parts are nicely moulded and look to be accurate. In the review set, the later mid upper cupola has a few minor bubbles and slightly more distortion in comparison with the early version, but with a dip in Kleer, all parts should look good. Notable in the review pack was two copies of the 20mm cannon Conclusion Clearly, tackling a build that involves cutting up a kit and inserting significant plugs and additional detail is not aimed at inexperienced modellers, so this enhancement set does expect a degree of modelling competence. One could argue that some of the parts contained should of been included in the Blackbird conversion (correct BP rear turret in particular), so it is great to see a solution available. Having built the Blackbird conversion which is a great set in itself, this enhancement set would of made the build much easier, both in terms of the research provided in the instructions and the additional parts that would normally require scratch building (20mm cannon and mid upper base for example). Of course, buying a conversion and then an enhancement set pushes up the cost somewhat, but if, like me, you had wanted to build a detailed Lincoln for many years using a good donor kit, the investment is justifiable. Given the contents of this set, whilst it is primarily marketed as a RAAF enhancement, it is equally valid on an RAF variant too. Review sample courtesy of
  3. I picked this up at Telford with the view of adding something of a rarity to the bomber Command Sig display. At £47 it certainly aint cheap, but I'm more than pleased with what you get in the box. It's designed to use the Airfix B.II kit as a donor and having a review kit spare, this is what will be used. I've taken some pictures below of what's in the box. Quality of the moulding is superb and from speaking to Glenn at Blackbird who is planning to follow up with a Manchester conversion and possibly more from the Bomber Command armoury, the future is looking quite promising where some of the gaps that the absence of Paragon designs has created. The only issues I have observed is that you only appear to get the earlier H2S radome which is the same as found on the Lanc and already available in the B.II kit. Many Lincolns were later equipped with a Mk.IV H2S set which was noticeable because of the dome being much larger so it would of been good to get this part included to provide all options. If you want to do an aircraft with the 20mm cannon turret, you will have to scratch build the two cannon as they aren't included either although the clear part is. As I've not yet decided on the aircraft I'm not sure if the lack of Mk.IV H2S will be an issue. So, some pictures of the resin: This part is for the Australian Mk.31 with the longer, uglier nose! Resin clear pieces - much better than vac form parts once dipped in Kleer As usual, I'll be learning about the Lincoln along the way, so looking for guidance and inspiration from the experts out there! I read the Warpaint booklet recently to get more familiar before I start. I quite fancy doing RF476 which fortunately uses the earlier H2S as it had an interesting combat record as demonstrated from its bomb tally on the nose, but I haven't seen any decals for it. If anyone knows of any, please let me know. Thanks
  4. Combat Models is to release (soon?) a 1/32nd Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird vacuform kit Source: http://combatmodels.us/home V.P.
  5. Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird with D-21B Drone Hasegawa 1:72 Rather than repeat the great review done by our very own Paul AH HERE this review will concentrate on the drone as the SR-71 is exactly the same. The kit does come in a very attractive open top box with an artists impression of the aircraft, complete with drone, at speed climbing through the clouds. Inside you get the upper and lower halves of the fuselage/wings plus two sprues of black styrene and one small sprue of clear styrene. The plastic is really quite hard and brittle which doesn’t bode well for cutting out. Being the same kit as the Gravestone version the build of the parent aircraft is exactly the same. The only difference in this version is the inclusion of the D-21B drone. Which is assembled from upper and lower fuselage sections with the wings pre-moulded just like the SR-71. To this assembly the exhaust nozzle is fitted aft along with the fin, whilst at the front the two piece nose section with pre-moulded pitot probe is fitted at the front. The pylon on which the drone is mounted is a two piece affair which went assembled is fitted to the parent aircraft through two slots that need to be opened up before the main fuselage pieces are glued together. The slots are well marked on the inside so shouldn’t prove too much of a problem to open and clean up. With the pylon in place and both aircraft and drone painted up the drone can be fitted in position. Decals The decal sheet not only provides the cockpit instrument panels and side consoles, but also a complete set of wing walk stripes, stencils and insignia. The choice of two aircraft can be built these are:- • US Air Force Test Aircraft 17950 with D-21B Drone 507 based at Area 51with both aircraft in overall black scheme • US Air Force Test Aircraft 06940 with D-21 Drone based at Area 51 in silver and black scheme with the drone overall silver with the nose and wing leading edges in black. Conclusion This is not the most complex kit in the world to build but it will require a good paint job to bring out the interesting nature of the beasts. I personally prefer the silver scheme as it contrasts nicely with the all black model normally seen. I’m not sure of the plastic Hasegawa use in this kit as it does seem extraordinarily hard compared with their other kits and I’m not sure how well it will react with normal liquid poly that I use. Still, it’s an interesting subject and will look good in any collection. Walkround photos available HERE Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for
  6. Well another project completed. Revell SR-71A Blackbird based out of Beale Air Force Base, California. My only criticism with this kit is that even with all of the decals they say to put on it for the Beale Air Force Base version it appears slightly plain (no pun intended). To that effect, I am thinking of using some of the decals from the alternate version of this kit (USAF/ USAF Symbol and US Air Force text) to improve the look of it, but the Beale AFB version did not have these decals on it. Opinions on this welcome. Anyway onto the photos. Blackbird head on. Blackbird in its new home (at least until the B-1B is decalled) excuse part of my book collection :-) Comments on this welcome, but again I have to say this one has come out quite nicely, especially as this was one of my earliest model builds after restarting the hobby. Thanks for looking. Rick
  7. SR-71A Blackbird ‘Gravestone’ 1:72 Hasegawa If it were to be rolled out of Lockheed’s famous ‘Skunkworks’ factory for the first time tomorrow, the SR-71 Blackbird would still look like something from the future. It’s simply phenomenal to think that the sleek design of the aircraft, with its blended wing, colossal engines and sinister matt black paint, is over 50 years old. The SR-71 flew for the first time in 1964, two years after the aircraft it was developed from, the A-12. In comparison with its predecessor, the SR-71 was a larger aircraft, with a stretched fuselage designed to hold more fuel for greater endurance and a second cockpit for a Reconnaissance Systems Operator. The SR-71 began its active service career in 1966. The aircraft was used for reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam and Laos, flying from its base on the Japanese island of Okinawa. It also flew missions over the Baltic Sea from Mildenhall in the UK. Always a hugely expensive aircraft to operate, the Blackbird was retired in 1989, with the funding for the programme redirected to the troubled B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit programmes. However, with no suitable replacement in the development pipeline and increasing tensions across the globe, the SR-71 programme was reactivated in the early nineties, only to be retired for the second and final time in 1998. During its 32 year career, the Blackbird set dozens of records for absolute altitude and absolute speed, most of which still stand today, making the aircraft a true Cold War icon. Hasegawa’s SR-71A has been around for quite some time now, and although it lags some way behind newer kits in terms of part count and detail, it’s still a good all-rounder which will fulfil the basic requirements of most modellers. The kit arrives packed into a large top-opening box, inside which are just 43 parts. This is surprisingly few parts for such a large aircraft, but it’s as much down to the sleek, uncluttered design of the SR-71 as it is the vintage of the kit. The parts are moulded in glossy black plastic, with the obvious exception of the clear parts. When I say the plastic is glossy, I mean it. If you’re thinking of skipping the primer coat when you paint this model, I have one word of advice for you: don’t! Hasegawa’s moulds always seem to stand the test of time fairly well, and this is no exception. There is very little flash present, with the exception of the part for the windscreen on the clear sprue. Surface detail on this model is comprised of consistently fine, raised panel lines, with the exception of the control surfaces which are recessed. Given the choice I would opt for recessed panel lines, but I guess one of the virtues of a kit that must be painted near-black is that this feature doesn’t matter so much. The cockpit is comprised of a floor with side consoles moulded in place, onto which have to be added the bulkheads which fit behind each seat and the ejector seats themselves. These are well-shaped but fairly basic items, so you might want to replace them if you particularly want to pose the canopy in the open position. The instrument panels fit into the inside of the upper fuselage rather than the cockpit tub itself. In typical Hasegawa style, there is no raised detail on either the instrument panels or the side consoles, with decals being provided instead. That, as far as interior detail is concerned, is that. As you can see from the photographs above, the fuselage is comprised of upper and lower halves, with wings and nacelles moulded in place. The fit of the two halves appears to be excellent, and as the join line is around the SR-71’s distinctive chines, there will be little in the way of seams to clean up. The nose cone, with pitot tube moulded in place, is a separate assembly. The engine nacelles require the addition of the distinctive spikes at the front and the flame holders and exhausts at the rear. The flame holders are rather basic, solid parts, but they will help to prevent the dreaded see through effect. After the addition of the vertical stabilisers, all that remains to be done is add the parts for the undercarriage and the cockpit canopy. The undercarriage parts are fairly respectable in terms of detail, although the undercarriage bays themselves are fairly basic. I like the design of the main gear legs as the central of the three wheels is moulded in place. This will give the undercarriage greater strength and will aid with the alignment of the inner and outer wheels. The canopy is pretty thin and clear, although the aforementioned flash will need to be cleaned up. Decal options are provided for two aircraft: SR-71A of Detachment 1, 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Kadena Air Force Base, USAF. This aircraft features the gravestone artwork depicted on the lid of the box; and An SR-71A identified only as ‘Nighthawk’ owing to the tail artwork. Both aircraft are finished in a near black scheme. The paint used on the SR-71 in real life was, I believe, extremely dark blue so I’d be tempted to try Tamiya’s new Rubber Black or a similar shade from another manufacturer. The decals are nicely printed, if a little on the thick side. In my experience, however, Hasegawa decals usually perform quite well. Conclusion Although it’s no spring chicken, this is still a pretty reasonable kit. Whilst it may lack some of the finer details here and there, the fit of parts seems to be very good and it should build up into a pretty nice model. Having said that, this edition is not a cheap option, so you’ll need to decide whether you particularly want the decal options included before you decide which version to buy. Overall though it’s a decent kit and should be a fun, quick build. Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for
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