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  1. These days, what with computers, wind tunnels and the like it may seem relatively easy to design a halfway decent aircraft, though there are sometimes exceptions such as the F-35 (OK, I don't quite know why I am unimpressed with that particular plane though I doubt I am the only one), but it still takes a lot of money, skill, experience, hard work and sometimes a bit of luck I think. After all, powered heavier than air flight has only been around for not much over 100 years (depending on which book you read) and back in the late 1940's the arrival of the jet engine was an added complication to what was then far from a perfect science. Some of the early jets designed in the USSR, UK, and US were real lemons whilst many others were, at best near misses, partly from design failings, but also due to problems developing powerful jet engines that not only produced the designed thrust but were reliable. I have already touched on the engine problems in my thread on the F3H Demon and now I am going to build another less than perfect example of a jet fighter for the US Navy. Between April 1954 and November 1957 it seems to have served in up to 13 USN squadrons if the test/evaluation ones are included, but in several cases accidents and maintenance problems resulted in them spending most of their time operating from shore establishments. I don't know about you but growing up in the 1950's I heard mention of a number of US aircraft that sounded rather weird and interesting, but with no internet and very little in the way of other media information knew very little about them. The Cutlass was one, and when I had "grown up" a little and decided to build a kit of one, all I could find were vacforms by Airmodel and Rareplanes. I can't remember which I actually built but I remember I painted it blue! Back in 1987 Fujimi released their injection moulded kit of the F7U-3, followed by the F7U-3M with missiles and the F7U-3P with the extended photo nose, and in around 1990 I picked one up cheap at my then local branch of Beatties in Cardiff - now long gone sadly as I had a "Price Match" card which allowed me to buy anything at the lowest price I had seen it advertised anywhere in the UK, saving quite a bit over the years! It comes with makings for 2 NMF examples and one Gray/White one, but given its age and provenance I will give the decs a coat of MS Liquid Decal Film as a precaution. If that fails I may be somewhat stuffed. The Cutlass was a product at least in part of the German aircraft technical information that fell into the hands of the allies at the end of WWII, resulting in what might be termed the "Buck Rogers" period of design, ranging from the fairly basic swept wing to deltas with and without tails and flying wings, some of which were pushing the boundaries of known aerodynamics at the time, given the research/design tools currently available. I am not quite sure what type the Cutlass should be classed as - some sources say a tailless swept wing even though it did have two vertical fins! With its long nose wheel leg to give it a high angle of attack on take off like most delta winged aircraft, one of its nicknames was apparently the "Preying Mantis". It is often dismissed as an underpowered failure that had a habit of killing its pilots - some sources say that a study in 1957 by Vought found that with around a quarter of the airframes (288 plus prototypes) produced being involved in accidents (78), and 4 Test Pilots and 21 other USN pilots killed it had the worst safety record of any USN swept wing jet aircraft, which may have given rise to another nickname - "Widow Maker". I will fill in some more background as we go along. Pete
  2. My Salty Sea Dog will be Fujimi's 1/72 Grumman A-6E Intruder finished as VA-65's 161675, the CAG bird for CVW-8 while flying off the USS Theodore Roosevelt during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Here's my subject, looking very much the salty sea dog, loaded with Mk 82 Snake Eyes, en route to a target in February 1991: (Attribution: U.S. Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons) During Desert Storm the jet wore short-lived nose art featuring the comic strip character Garfield wearing a flight helmet and wielding a baseball bat inscribed with "The Big Stick", a reference to US President Teddy Roosevelt's invocation to "speak softly and carry a big stick". Pic here: https://www.dstorm.eu/pictures/nose-arts/a-6/161675_4.jpg My kit is Fujimi's A-6E TRAM Intruder boxing, a 30 Aussie dollar bargain on that online auction website a few months back. Fujimi's are still deemed, by no lesser authority than a number of threads here on Britmodeller, the best 1/72 Intruder kits available (although apparently Trumpeter is about to release a 1/72 Intruder?). I'm looking forward to seeing what @Pappy does with his EA-6A build - that will really show what this kit is capable of, and hopefully give me a few pointers along the way. This kit dates to 1987, according to Scalemates. Mine looks in excellent condition, with all the sprues still in their plastic bags. Interestingly it actually included two sets of decals, and the box has a 'Bye Bye Midway Anniversary' sticker on the side and what looks to be a bonus decal sheet and decal/paint callout sheet. What I assume to be the original boxing's decals (top right) - as it features decals for the box art aircraft and the callouts are incorporated with the kit assembly instructions booklet - are in much better condition. But I have a set of AOA decals' "Punchers & Tigers, USN A-6E Intruders in the Cold War & Desert Storm" decal sheet on its way to me, so I can build the VA-65 CAG jet. I have a few bits of aftermarket already - masks, plus probes and resin wheels which I mainly bought as they were cheap and may or may not use, plus PE harnesses on the way. I also have some excellent reference material. Speaking of refernce material, I've also downloaded as an ebook Osprey's excellent "A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96", which has a chapter detailing A-6 Desert Storm ops, which has been very useful to learn about load-outs. Based on that, and for extra Salty Sea Dog GB cred, I'll configure my Intruder for an "Armed Surface Reconnaissance" mission, hunting for Iraqi naval vessels in the Northern Arabian Gulf with a pair of Mk 20 Rockeye cluster bomb dispensers and a single AGM-123 Skipper anti-shlp weapon (a GBU-16 with a rocket motor - apparently it proved a bit of a dud due to propellent issues). The kit comes with Mk 82s, so I'll have to order a couple of Hasegawa weapons sets for the Rockeyes and Skipper. I'm really looking forward to getting this one underway, eventually, once my two other current builds are done. At least I have some great reading material, plus the many fascinating build threads in this GB to follow once it kicks off to keep me enthused on the subject in the meantime! Cheers, Gerard
  3. #4/2023 After the Lotus 72 not that long ago, my dad now finished another legendary race car. Well, it didn´t turn out "perfect", but which model does? Fujimi kit which dates back to 1989, this is the 2000 edition. Thekit decals weren´t usable, bought aftermarket ones from Slotracing Werk in Germany. They applied fine but once when dry they became a bit brittle, had to do some touch-ups with white paint. Tire decals are from Indycals. They are printed on a full decal film, to say the tire shape had to be cut out. As far as I´ve seen on original cars, the letter style was a bit different and the decals show a newer style, but better than nothing. Didn´t install the rearview mirror. Micro Klear didn´t work out and plastic or CA glue would have been to dangerous for the windshield, which btw didn´t fit that good and also was slightly too small. Build thread here https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235119141-le-mans-legends124-ford-gt40-mkii-1966/ The model shows one of 13! GT40 used in the 1966 Le Mans race. It was driven by US Americans Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant. The car didn´t finish the race. DSC_0001 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0002 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0004 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0005 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0007 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0008 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0009 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0010 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0011 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0013 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0014 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0015 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0017 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0018 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0003 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr
  4. Now that the Lotus 72C is almost finished, my dad started the next race car. DSC_0001 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0002 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0003 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0004 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0005 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr DSC_0006 by grimreaper110, auf Flickr
  5. I was surprised when I opened the box to discover a Kubelwagen and BMW motorcycle with sidecar. ]
  6. Hi all, with three builds nearly in the bag, the F6C will be next for some dirty attention, thought I'd get this going. This will be a Spitfire Mk XIV in 1/72 by Fujimi and will have the scheme of a 41 Sqn aircraft that reputably flew in the Kings Cup Race, Blackpool, 1946 (Scalemates) but according to Wiki, no Kings Cup Race happened in 1946... go figure. @Col. pointed me in the direction of a Mk XIV (RN201) that had this livery and many pics of her exist, thanks Col. Col says its legal, so onwards with the obligatory stuff... The box. The sprues, still in their bags. Instructions, glazing and decals. After completing the Kingcobra, I am now aware of stripping off the unnecessary on these warbird racers. Just wondering if they would've done this on this bird as the Kings Cup Race was a handicap race so... Stuart
  7. Hi all, My early kits upon returning to the hobby were dog rough. This is the last of my ‘semi acceptable’ finished kits that I’ve got photos of, so this brings me up to date, from now on the posts will be glacial. This is a Fujimi 1/72 Aichi Val. I really like some of the old Fujimi kits. For sure they don’t have much cockpit detail, but they seem to go together really well, and I like the fact they’re a tiny bit leftfield. The decals were shot - this was an old kit I bought from an internet auction site. I didn’t find out how bad until I tried them, even despite using Microscale liquid decal film. As such I used Dead Designs masks for the Hinomaru and angle reference lines on the tailplane (although the masks for these were a little short, I think they should be the full width of the tailplane) The identification codes on the fin were just about good enough to use. Errors: I lost one of the exhausts to the carpet monster, so elected not to fit the other one, and painted the depression where they should affix. I snapped the centre bomb rack - this was extremely brittle and fiddly. I also managed to snap the telescopic sight - so that’s half the length it should be! Despite those sizeable errors, I learned a lot about painting on this, and really enjoyed the build. I found the results from painting markings rather than decals particularly good. Thank you.
  8. Took about two hours, two gentle stress-free and enjoyable hours. Not a “proper” kit - but as a palate cleanser, and to replicate my own bike, excellent. A little gem with impressive engineering.
  9. Committing to this Fujimi kit, which I commented in the chat thread. My third favourite racing car. Long time resident of my stash, I hadn't appreciated the history of that race. . . . . . until I watched this DVD, and read the book. Knowing the true story of the finish of the 1966 Le Mans race, rendered ending of the the film a huge Hollywood anti-climax for me. Showing the politics of Ford at the time, it acknowledging the massive efforts of driver Ken Miles, and raises Carroll Shelby to legendary status. With hindsight, I'd prefer to build Miles' car, but this is the kit I've got. Please, no suggestions for after market decals - I'll build the kit as it is.
  10. Hello all, I don’t often build vehicles - while I’ve done the Tamiya Eunos Roadster as I have one, I normally build aircraft. I do also have an Aoshima MX5 and Tamiya S2000 in the stash though, as I’ve had both. I imported a 1985 Honda C90 from Japan a few years ago. I love the little thing, to be honest I ride it more than any of my big bikes. Here it is. In researching kits I figured the best match I could get was A Fujimi Super Cub 110. It is a ‘Next’ series kit - meaning no glue and no paint, clip together. So like an Airfix click model, right? Last time I was in Japan I found one for 3300 yen, or about £20. A bit expensive for a click together kit, but I really want it in my garage near the 1/1 scale one, so so be it.
  11. Here is my recently completed build of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XIV in 1/72 using the Fujimi kit for the 'Prototypes, Racers, Research...GB'. Build thread here: Stuart
  12. So, after a couple of easy builds I will start on a few more complicated ones. About 10 years ago I got as far as priming it and joining up the hull and axles, but to comply with the 25% rule I have dismantled the latter so it is now back to as in the box other than the primer. I started building small scale kits after I bought the Airfix Sherman in Woolworths in Alloa just after it came out - I thought it was 1960 but Scalemates say 1961. I worked through their following issues - Panther, Tiger, Crusader etc but in the early 1970's Fujimi started releasing their 1/76 range which filled a lot of gaps. I bought 2 Sd Kfz 222 kits. As you can see I did one in the old and rather orange Humbrol Authentic Afrika Korps sand and one in late war colours. They are very nice kits to my mind, the only weakness being the "solid" wire mesh grenade screen on the top of the turret. I suppose it would be possible to replace it with some etched mesh but I can't be bothered. I did the same with a couple of Sd Kfz 251 kits and so a while back I picked up a third of each with a view to a Panzer Grey finish, and that is what I will be doing here. Cheers Pete
  13. As I mentioned in the intro to my Sd Kfz 222 build, back in the early 1970's I bought a couple of Fujimi 251 kits and here they are in Afrika Korps and late war colours together with what I think is the Fujimi ex Nitto Sd Kfz 250 released somewhat later. A few years back I bought another 251 intending to finish it in grey, but only got as far as priming it and painting/joining the tracks. The Germans probably built more different types of half track than anybody else using them as artillery tractors, recovery vehicles, mobile AA guns, personnel carriers etc. and it is the latter use I am interested in here. Back in around 1935 they decided that an armoured infantry carrier would be a good idea to support their planned armoured divisions and Hanomag were asked to design one based on the Sd Kfz 11 chassis with a body designed by Bussing-Nag. The result was initially called the Mittlere Gepanzerte Mannschaftskraftwagen though later this was changed to Mittlere Schutzenpanzerwagen Sd Kfz 251. It was eventually built in around 25 different variants depending on the purpose - personnel carrier, ambulance engineers vehicle etc, each type designated in the form Sd Kfz 251/1, Sd Kfz /10 etc, and with 4 different body variants ranging from the initial Ausfuhrung (Ausf) A to the late and simplified Ausf D which made up most of the production. As an infantry carrier the "medium" 251 could carry up to 12 men but a need was seen for a lighter version and the smaller "light" Sd Kfz 250 which was introduced in 1941 held 6 men. Although we tend to think of the Wehrmacht as being highly motorized that was far from the case and in fact most of the infantry had to walk or if they were lucky were carried in trucks - only 15250 Sd Kfz 251 and 4250 Sd Kfz 250 of all types were built by the end of the war and many did not carry infantry. Initially the 251 was issued to the "Panzer Grenadier" regiments so they could hopefully keep up with the tanks but in the battles both in France and later in Russia there were many instances of the tanks having to wait hours if not days for the bulk of the infantry and support to catch up thus rather spoiling the effect of the Blitzkreig tactics. This compares with about 15000 basic M3 carriers and another 38000 variants built if I am reading Wiki correctly, or 57000 Universal (Bren Gun) carriers of all types by 1945. The Fujimi kit appears to have the bodywork of the Ausf B, production of which ended in 1940, and comes with the option of the normal 251/1 with 12 crew and 2 MG 34, later MG 42, and the 251/10 which was issued to platoon leaders and replaced the forward MG with a 37mm Pak 35/36 (L45) A/T gun and a reduced crew of 5. I suppose it was intended to provide a degree of support if they ran into anything heavy without their tanks close to hand. Pete
  14. Hi all, This is my first time posting on this forum, and I'm not sure I'm quite up to snuff yet to wow any of you seasoned old dogs, but here goes. I started this model in July 2022 and just finished. I like to write about the process in some depth, but understand this is not the place for that. If anyone is interested in reading more about how this model came together (probably only of interest to beginner types like me), please check out my blog: https://meatchicken.wordpress.com/ Thanks for looking and for any comments/suggestions! Cheers.
  15. So, now the next model. This time a J.A.S.D.F. RF-86F, flown with the Air Defense Command, Headquarters Flight Squadron. The kit is from 1986 and therefore quite old. However, I find it quite good and the decals still worked very well. It was mostly painted with colors from MRP. I also used an Eduard PE kit (SS139), masks from Montex (SM72105) and beautiful wheels from ResKit (72-0078).
  16. Hello all, a complete change for me here is the latest from the shed. This is the first Japanese WW2 aircraft I’ve built since my teens!! And I have to say I had great fun making it. It was bought as a practice piece before I make the main event, a “Pete” on a catapult. Designed as a three-seater deck borne Reconnaissance aircraft the C6N1 entered service after the majority of Japanese carriers had been destroyed, so most were flown from land. It was a very fast aircraft for its time and could outrun most pursuing fighters. The C6N1-S was a modified C6N1. It was developed as a night fighter to counter allied bombers as they came within reach of the Japanese homelands and had a 30mm cannon obliquely mounted in the cockpit area, where the centre seat used to be in the reconnaissance version. Having no radar severely diminished the effectiveness of the aircraft. The Kit provides three options, one of them being the night fighter. A bit reminiscent of the old Frog kits the interior was a bit sparse, so I added stringers and longerons and a few boxes to fill it up. Apart from the wing roots the fit was pretty good and the decals were excellent. The instructions were in Japanese so thank heavens for good diagrams. Its finished with Humbrol and Xtracolor enamels, Flory dark dirt wash and weathered with Tamiya powders. Here’s a few pics. Thanks for looking Pete
  17. I've got a couple of aircraft builds well on the way to the finishing stage, so I started casting around for a next project. And it looks like I've chosen this.... It kind of feels like the kit chose itself. A couple of Fujimi car kits came my way a while ago, I grabbed a Ford GT40 off the shelf in the local model shop and a short while later got this 'un from a fellow club member. It's the first time I have tried out with the Fujimi brand of kits. Always hankered after a GT40 ever since my slot racing days in the late 60s. The Cobra I'm not so familiar with, but it's very much of that era. I like the look of it. And it has quite an interesting back story that I'm still unravelling. Basically, Caroll Shelby took a fairly ordinary British sports car by AC and shoehorned a big Ford V8 engine in. And it developed from there. He obviously saw something promising in the AC running gear! Loads of development and modifications over time and it became a real American classic, a motoring icon. There is nothing elaborate or sophisticated about the car. A great chassis, a big V8 on song, and a very stylishly simple bodywork and there you go..... Magic . Well, there's a couple of things that can irritate with a car kit. For one thing they can sit quite high on the suspension. I prefer to get them down on the springs a bit like there's some weight to the car, filled up and road ready. Do you know what I mean? Not like a museum queen, tanks drained and empty. I like to get the steering operational, it's more like a matter of principle for me, like aircraft propellers spinning. I'm afraid Fujimi have taken a few liberties with the chassis and suspension arrangements on this kit which will require some remedial work. The ride height is governed by the top wishbones front and back, which are just moulded onto the chassis frame with fictitious side panels. A main characteristic of the Cobra is a big X frame in front of the engine taking the top of the front suspension wishbones. It's substantial, you can't miss it! Well, Fujimi have missed it. Top adjust the ride height, this idiotic shortcut will need hacking into. I've already addressed the rear suspension and some dry fitting of components suggests I'm on the right track. At which point I thought I should start a WIP and catalogue my efforts with the project, keep me on track
  18. These are the nice Fujimi Skyhawks, recently reboxed by Hobby2000. I added a bit of sidewall detail to the pretty good cockpit interiors, spare PE seatbelts in the A-4E and a couple of Pavla resin seats in the TA-4F. The aft canopy bulkhead of the TA-4F was scratched, as were the straight IFR probes. Armament consists of Verlinden Mk.82 bombs and a couple of Eduard Zuni's: although the rocket heads on Fujimi's Zuni's are actually quite nicely molded, dimensions and detail of the launchers are way off, so I used resin types instead. Paints are Gunze/Tamiya acrylics mainly. Weathering consists of a bit of pre- and postshading as well as oil washes. As reference pictures from Chu Lai AB showed particularly weary aircraft, I went a bit heavier on the A-4E. Decals are from two very old Microscale sheets, with the red/yellow bands on fuselage and tail fins painted on. The A-4E portrays an aircraft operating at Chu Lai AB: in 1965, the USMC constructed a SATS (Short Airfield for Tactical Support) on the shores of the Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. Both the runway and flightline were built from interlocking metal AM-2 matting, with revetments constructed from oil drums. Interestingly, this runway was equipped with catapult and carrier deck type arresting gear. A-4's also used JATO (Jet-Assisted Takeoff) rockets, providing a short extra thrust on takeoff thus shortening the takeoff distance. As of 1966, a paved runway was constructed, followed by hardened shelters and related buildings. When looking for reference material on Chu Lai AB, I came across a blog by fellow Britmodeller Gary @Oldsarge : https://oldsargesaircraft.blogspot.com/search/label/Chu Lai RVN A lot of interesting pictures on this subject/era can be found here (but also on other aircraft-related topics) and Gary was kind enough to grant me permission to use one of his pictures. The aircraft shown in this photo are A-4C type Skyhawks, but it's a good example of the typical Chu Lai flightline layout. Thanks again mate!! Credits background picture: designed by Freepik, photo by jannoon028: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/clouds-sunset-mountains_986559.htm The second build shows a TA-4F operating from Da Nang AB in a Forward Air Controller (FAC) role, using rocket pods to mark targets for incoming strike aircraft. I had as much fun building up the accessories as I did constructing both aircraft: revetment consists of Brengun oil drums and putty sandbags. Access ladder, loose PSP plates and nitrogen cart are also Brengun items. The bomb lorry, fire extinghuisher and generator set are from Hasegawa, with some spare PE added. I also used some Valuegear blobs and the tie-down chains are from Infini models. For the fun of it, here is a final pic with Hasegawa's 1/48 A-4E that I built a few years ago. Hope you enjoy the pictures, thanks for looking!! Patrick
  19. My workshop will be on the Ferrari 250 GTO. I am not sure which model I will choose yet: It would seem that the models of one car produced by different manufacturers will be similar to each other. It turns out that not really. I did a small comparison of the appearance of the F250GTO bodies made by Fujimi, Revell and Gunze. Below are some photos from this comparison: I leave the decision for later .....
  20. This month's phixation is the F-4 Phantom. This is the Fujimi F-4N kit in a very colourful set of US Navy markings for VF-111 Sundowners. Fujimi F-4s are always a delight to build and although this one is not as nicely detailed as their British Phantoms, it was still a lot of fun. My decals were a bit iffy, with several disintegrating as they hit water. Next up - another Fujimi F-4, this time an FGR.2 of 111 Sqn at RAF Leuchars (see what I've done there!) which should finish next week
  21. .... next up, a dirty mud-moving Phantom, trying its best to do Air Defence. 111 Sqn formed up on the FGR.2 Phantom at RAF Coningsby in 1974, but quickly moved to RAF Leuchars as the Phantom took over most Air Defence activities from the Lightning. In comparison to 43 Sqn's (RN surplus) FG.1s already at Leuchars, the FGR.2 was optimised for ground attack and reconnaissance and not quite so suited to QRA. As soon as ex-RN Phantoms became available in 1979 as HMS ARK ROYAL Paid off, 111 swapped over to the FG.1. This and the RN's extra dark grey Phantoms are what I envisage whenever someone says Phantom. Ugly and mean looking, they convey brute strength and aggression in a way that no modern aircraft can do. These are a mix of Xtradecal markings with a few smaller Modeldcal ones thrown in to backfill those that were missing. I've fitted a gorund attack weapon load just to emphasise that it is not an FG.1. I asume that 111 retained this capability throughout their time on the FGR.2 and certainly one of the roles of the Leuchars based aircraft was support to RN ships, for which it would be a reasonable load (not as good as a Buccaneer though!). Once again, I really love these Fujimi kits, this one being the improved (H19) version with dropped flaps and corrected auxiliary air intakes. I didn't use the vinyl wheels as I have heard that they deteriorate quickly with age. As usual, paints are Humbrol enamel, applied by hairy stick and trembling hand..... FredT With a"pretty" F-4N: When the sun comes out and i can find a bigger table, I will do another group shot with the rest of my F-4s,
  22. Hi all. Here I present my recently completed RF-86F that I started back in Oct 2019, can't remember why it stopped but here she is. Built mainly OOB with the only addition being a Pavla resin seat. Build log here: Basically, a Sabre kit with additional sprues for side blisters and camera housings. No problems during build. Painted with Tamiya AS12, kit decals for a JASDF unit. That's all folks. Stuart
  23. Hi All, With my F-86F-30 fighter-bomber now at home and heading for the spray booth, it's time to ready-up my next Sabre build. So, by popular request, I'm doing an RF-86F Recon Sabre of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force using the 1/72 Fujimi kit, my first Sabre from this manufacturer. Usual intro: Pretty box. Wing sprue. Starboard fuselage+ sprue. Port fuselage+ sprue. Side blisters and 'blank' gun-port panels. Underside camera fairings. Cockpit glazing. Decal sheet. And obviously an instruction sheet. This will run alongside my Caudron build at my 'works' work bench and will be built OOB, unless somebody knows something I don't with this kit. Laters... Stuart
  24. Here is my latest finish. A little break from AFVs and dull yellows, greys and greens. Probably my favourite car but as a lottery win wouldn't be enough to own one, a £30 plastic model will have to suffice. The kit itself by Fujimi; The good: It is on the whole a really nice kit with good parts that can build OOB or give you a good base for some super detailing. Fit of parts, for the majority, is very good. The bad: The wheels are a pig to fit so properly dry fit and tweak at the beginning or else you will have a miserable time at the end. They're still not 100% right. The shell is also a bit of a struggle. You have to get the front in first and gently flex and bend to get the back in. The ugly: No prancing horse for the grill so you have to use a decal, which doesn't give a good effect. There is also a tiny seam on the back window but using the fingernail test I couldn't figure out what side it is. So rather than sanding and a potential mess it's been left. The locating hole for the wing mirror is too big so fix this at the beginning. Paints used; Tamiya Laquer LP21 Italian Red. Mr Color 80 Cobalt Blue. Mr Color Super Metallic Chrome 2. Vallejo Metal Color Chrome. And assorted brands of black and metallics. Thanks for looking and happy Easter to all.
  25. I suppose that like many of you, when I was building kits in the 1960's I had no problem getting Airfix, Revell and Frog kits locally but except for the late 60/early 1970 Frog reboxings of Hasegawa kits, very few Japanese or Italian made kits were on the shelves so I had to resort to mail order. During that period a company called BMW in Wimbledon used to advertise all sorts of “exotic” kits in Airfix Magazine, and so when I happened to get a job interview with Marks and Spencer in Baker St. London in early 1970 I though I would pay BMW a visit – in those days they paid for your trip and put you up in a hotel! This being my first visit to the capital I arrived early on the day before the interview and did a bit of touring about, and the following day, after the interview I took the tube out to Wimbledon. After quite a long walk out past the “All England Tennis Club” I finally found their small “shop” - BMW stood for “Builders Merchants, Wimbledon” and that is exactly what they were, but they had started a sideline in Mail Order kits etc a few years previously. Unlike H.J. Walker (Hackney) Ltd who I used a lot in later years, where Tony had a lot of space on two floors in his parents' Post Office on Homerton High Street, BMW were a bit out of the way and must have had very little passing trade, so the shop was just a small single room stacked with all sorts of kits I had never heard of. I ended up buying a couple, probably both by L S – one was the “Yasukuni” - one of the Ki-67 Hiryu aka Peggys that the JNAF borrowed from the JAAF and used as torpedo bombers, and the other was a D4Y2 “Judy”. After a few years the latter was replaced by the Fujimi kit, which was part built when my wife decided to decorate my work room, and during the move it got smashed when something dropped on it. I eventually got a replacement kit but never built it, and when digging out my Ki-100 for this GB I found it. In some ways the story of the D4Y resembles that of the Ki-100 in that it started out with a water cooled imline engine - initially one based on the German DB 600G, though after the prototypes a version of the DB 601A was substituted, and later it ended up having to be converted to take a Japanese radial engine, but more on that later. I guess that is why the front end is on a seperate sprue. This will therefore be my third attempt at a D4Y2 and I have also got the D4Y3 which is in need of a good refurbishment so I will do that in parallel. The kit was originally released in 1983 I believe and is pretty basic but it does at least have the makings of a cockpit, so the build will be pretty much OOB. A brief note on Japanese inline engines. The vast majority of Japanese aircraft were powered by home grown air cooled radial engines, but between the wars a few had inlines. The Kawanishi E7K floatplane for example had a Hiro 91 inline with three banks of cylinders in a so called "W" layout rather than the more common twin bank "V" whilst the Kawasaki Ki-10 fighter and Ki-32 light bomber were powered by Ha-9 engines which were licenced built copies of the BMW VI. During the early days several companies had arrangements with German manufacturers to help them with design - Aichi for example submitted several designs which were slightly modified Heinkel aircraft, though as time went by the Japanese content increased though German influence remained for a time. Likewise Kawasaki had an arrangement with Dornier, who actually lent them designer Dr Richard Voght (later of Blohn und Voss) for a while, and of course there was a certain British influence as well as a result of the Sempill Mission. These arrangements probably go some way to explaining the Western view that Japanese planes were just copies of obsolete foreign designs! Aichi eventually got a licence to build the DB 600 engine, but soon switched to the later DB 601, which they produced as their Atsuta, whilst Kawasaki also licence built it as the Ha-40 (later renamed Ha-60 under the joint Army/Navy system). Unfortunately the Japanese aero engine industry was not capable of getting the very close tolerances needed by these long engines and this resulted in lubrication and other problems such as crankshaft failure, and a shortage of parts/raw materials saw the inlines falling from favour. Pete
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